Monday, August 15, 2016

Life Moves On....

Today in a search for a recipe I decided to revisit my blog.... and realized I haven't posted on here since spring. Life moves on.... We still have our good days and bad days. Some better and some worse.... Things have stabilized and gone crazy all at the same time.
Our eldest has graduated High School! We are proud of her, and about to miss her a lot.  She is moving out in a few weeks to live with her Grandmother in Missouri. Then she will start community college down there in the spring.
We are working on our paperwork for our next PCS (military move for those non-military who follow us).  As of right now the plan is to move to the lovely isle of Oahu! We have been trying to get stationed there since Jim joined the Army 18 years ago.... How fitting that unless something changes, it will be our last assignment before Jim retires.
I am about to start my final semester of grad school and then there will be some freedom in my life....

But, none of you follow me for all of that, you follow me for my cooking and cleaning suggestions. Today I'm working on my grocery list and meal plan. This weeks dinner plan is revisiting a blog post from years ago and making my Sloppy Joes :)  Feel free to look at the old blog and I will try yet again to post more frequently
http://thiscrazyarmywife.blogspot.com/2012/09/sloppy-joes.html

Monday, January 25, 2016

Trying my best..........

This is going to be a real, honest, and painful post. If you aren't up for it, don't read on.

I'm failing as a mother. No, I don't mean that I'm not a good Mom, or I don't love my kids because I do and I know that I am a good Mom. But that doesn't change the hurt and pain I am currently feeling in my heart because of the struggles my kids are going through.

My teen, the wonderful girl who made me a Mom, is struggling with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. She is struggling, and at the moment she is losing that battle. She goes to counseling weekly (some weeks twice a week), she takes her medicine and yet she's not getting better. Some days we get a glimpse of our smiling happy girl.... but not often.  Most days it seems like she is getting worse.
She feels like a failure because she can't do what other kids her age are doing.... most days now she can't even bring herself to leave the house. She was switched to online schooling in an effort to help with her anxiety and she is doing okay in her classes. She was supposed to be in Band at the local school and as the school year has continued she has gone fewer, and fewer days. The Band director loves her, but he's about to fill her slot with another student.... I don't blame him for that. He has been patient for a long time, but has to consider the other students in the band. This is huge for her.... the feeling that she is letting them all down. That she is letting us down.
We tell her every day that we love her, that we are proud of her, that eventually things are going to improve for her.... I have to believe in my heart of hearts that they will.

I'm failing as a mother because I can't fix this for her.... Now, I know that is a completely irrational thought. This is beyond me, it's chemistry in her brain and nothing I have done as her Mom has caused this, nor can I really do much to help her beyond support her.

I am trying my best.... but this is hard. I doubt everything I am doing for her at this point. I question every decision I have ever made as her Mom.... looking for where I failed, how it got this bad.

The good news is, she asked for help. The good news is, she's getting help. The good news is, that even though things are bad right now.... she's still here. She's still talking, she's still breathing.

She had a lot of plans when she found out where the Army was moving us next, to graduate early and start college in the fall. I don't see that happening right now.... I forsee her moving with us, or if she is really that strongly objecting to the new location living with someone else in the family while she finishes up her last 6 months of school. I pray that I'm wrong..... I want her to succeed.
I want my daughter back.... I want to help her and I can't. This is a journey that only she can make.... and it sucks beyond belief to sit and watch her suffer.

I will keep trying, and keep loving her along.... This isn't easy, on a day to day it's a battle. This on top of the other's girls issues and Grad school for me may make me crazy some days. I find myself in tears on the phone with my closest friends as they remind me yet again that I am not a failure, that she is going to be okay.... I hear their words and I believe them for a time. Then I need to be reminded again.

If you have a friend who is struggling as a parent, or see a teen who seems lost along the way.... don't judge. You have no idea what their day to day life is like.... just because it looks like they have the perfect life doesn't mean they do. They are human and broken, just like we all are.
TO my friends who are there.... know that I love you and you are a lifeline to me in this battle for my daughter. Thank you for that.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wow... Over a Year has passed

I haven't been on my blog in forever.... Not sure anyone still reads it.
A quick update and explanation on what happened, where did I dissapear to you ask?
GRAD SCHOOL!  I am working hard on earning my degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner, this on top of the busy life of Mom and Army Wife has made me scarce. 
That being said I'm going to try and do better about blogging ;0

Maybe once a week or so if possible. We shall see what happens?  Anyone out there?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This week's meal plan..... with links and my grocery list

It's Tuesday... my menu planning grocery shopping day.  I sleep off my weekend on Monday so Tuesday is when I plan and normally shop while the teen is at bowling team (although today she's at home....). Here is this weeks meal plan with links to the recipes and my grocery list. That being said.... check the recipes for missing ingredients because I didn't include things I already had in my pantry like flour, spices, etc....

Tuesday - Spaghetti with meat sauce (no link, my own recipe).  I'm also going to double it and make a baked spaghetti to drop off at my neighbor's who just had a baby.

Wednesday - Geschnetzletes and spaetzle. We love and miss German food. I don't claim to be the best German cook in the world, but after living overseas so long we really enjoy it so I try to make it occasionally. This is the recipe I am using, she has a great homemade spaetzle recipe as well, but I'm going to buy mine this week.
http://www.daringgourmet.com/2013/03/26/german-creamy-mushroom-pork-hunters-sauce-with-spaetzle/

Thursday - Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup. I have a narrow one hour window on Tuesday's and Thursday's to feed my teen between bowling practice and band practice. The crock pot comes in handy for those nights.
 http://foxeslovelemons.com/slow-cooker-chicken-parmesan-soup-sundaysupper/

Friday - PIZZA NIGHT! This is a tradition at our house. Some weeks we make homemade pizza, some weeks it's frozen pizza and some weeks we order in. I don't know which this week will be.

Saturday - Creamed Chip Beef with Peas on Toast. Old school, my mom used to cook this, I haven't made it for the girls before so we shall see what they think.
http://www.joyouslydomestic.com/2013/12/old-school-creamed-chipped-beef.html

Sunday - Dad's night.... This is the night that Jim plans and cooks his own dinner for the family. He's a great cook, but I don't have a clue what he is planning.

Monday - Normally a leftover night, but not this week. This week I'm planning Chicken and Biscuits. It's a quick meal and I have cooked shredded chicken in my freezer to make it with.
http://www.joyouslydomestic.com/2012/11/chicken-and-biscuit-bake.html

Grocery List

Caeser Salad Kit
Mushrooms
Onions
Garlic
Bell Pepper
Penne Pasta
Spaghetti
Spaetzle
Spaghetti Sauce (again, I make my own but in case you don't buy some!)
Crushed Tomatoes
Peas
Chicken Bouillon
Chicken Stock
Cream of Chicken Soup
Butter
Cream
Frozen Mixed Veggies
Chicken Breast
Thin Pork cutlet

Of course I need milk, eggs, bread etc... but this is the basic list for the menu.  Hope it inspires you, As for me, I'm off to the store.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Meals........

How many days a week do you eat out? Are you exhausted when you get home from work or are done playing with the kids all day?
I have a few questions for you....
How many people in your house are 13 or older? Are they helping with the cooking? if not, why not?
In my house, there are 3 people over the age of 13. Myself, my husband and my teenager Tess. I personally enjoy cooking, so I cook almost every night. My husband cooks on Sundays, because I work weekend night shift and by Sunday I am exhausted and not in the mood to cook.
Tess cooks usually once a week, or every other week depending on her school activity and homework schedule (her schedule is more cluttered than mine right now between AP courses, Band and Bowling....).
I cook the other nights of the week, except for Friday night.... which is Pizza night!
Do you have a Pizza night? If not I HIGHLY recommend implementing one. Whether you purchase frozen pizzas, pick up, or have delivery Pizza night is a simple night to give to someone else to cook. Even if you choose to do homemade Pizza (which we do sometimes) it's not time intensive to do.
Monday nights at my house are almost always leftover/sandwich night. Everyone is responsible for their own meal. We save our leftovers for lunches and for leftover night. If there aren't any leftovers, we have sandwiches or cereal.  The point is no one has to cook.
I am a meal planner, if you plan out your meals for the week you are less likely to eat out. Do you have a crockpot? If so use it, if not BUY One! At least one night a week I use the crock-pot. I look at the girls activities for the week, and my schedule and plan something I can throw in the crock first thing in the morning and not worry about for that day.
So this is an example of what my week looks like - I alternate the nights as I need to.

Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Mexican food (tacos, casseroles, etc...)
Wednesday - Pasta
Thursday - Chicken Dish
Friday - Pizza night
Saturday - Beef
Sunday - Jim Cooks

I alternate things, we have meatless nights, seafood nights etc. The point is that one day a week, usually on Tuesdays, I sit down and figure out what I'm cooking that week.  Then I shop for my groceries (I shop at two stores Aldis and then whoever else has the sales I need to finish out my list). I try to let Tessa cook one night a week if she can, I get the younger girls in the kitchen at least once a week to help cook so that when they are just a bit older they can take turns being responsible for dinner.
I also do freezer cooking, I try to have some foods in the freezer that all I have to do is thaw out and either put in the crock pot or throw in the oven. That way if I am absolutely exhausted and neither of my other cooks can take over there is still a dinner available.
Yes, we still eat out some... yes, we even resort to the drive through, but overall we try not to. It saves money and it is much healthier to eat in.
Remember, TEAMWORK.... get the other people in your house involved in cooking and meal planning. Share the work and remember to enjoy the people you love.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Give yourself a break........ There is no such thing as SuperMom or SuperDad!

I know I don't post that often, life as we all know keeps me insanely busy.... Today though, today I feel the need to share something. Not because it's earth shattering but because maybe someone needs to hear it.
People often call me supermom or superwoman. I juggle quite a bit in my life and on the surface I appear to have it all together. Unfortunately, i think some of my friends even think that if they are struggling with what they have on their plates they aren't measuring up because I have more going on and I can do it.....
Let me clarify for you my friends.  YOU AREN"T ALONE! There isn't a parent out there who doesn't get overwhelmed at times. There isn't a working parent who doesn't feel like the house could be cleaner, there isn't a parent in the world who doesn't think that they are screwing up their kids sometimes, we all think that we should be doing something better.... Remember you tell your kids, if this is your best it's good enough???? Give yourself that Grace!
Parenting isn't perfection, it's not possible to acheive that so give yourselves a break. 
Yes, I am balancing somehow my kids, being the Mom taxi, the house, graduate school and working. I may appear to some to have it all together and be flawless.... That is as far from the truth as you can imagine. Yep, I'm juggling it, but I often drop the balls.
I spent some time on the phone today with a friend in crisis, a friend who is feeling the pressure of trying to do it all and not measuring up to the standard they set for themselves. As I spent that time talking to them, I have a mountain of laundry on my couch (clean, but still being folded and put away), my sink was full of dishes from breakfast, the floors need to be swept and vacuumed and i have three classes worth of grad school work that i need to be doing. Not to mention the paperwork for Karah's girl scout thing and most likely a few other things I'm forgetting....
i don't have it all together, i just balance as best as i can. it's been several hours since that call and some things have gotten done (the dishes, and more laundry is folded) and others are still waiting. I will likely be up late tonight finishing up some of the schoolwork.
I prioritize whatever i have going on for the day, and when i feel like life is a drudge (and let's face it who doesn't) i remind myself that although the work of the house is NEVER done, there is a point to it. If you show up at my house unannounced, you will likely find it to be lived in, with dog hair on the floor. There might be clutter on the counters, the dishes might be sitting in the sink, and the never-ending laundry will likely be in some state of getting done.
When i get to feeling too overwhelmed, I give the family the teamwork speech.... we are a team, I need your help, pitch in!  I try new chore systems on a regular basis, everything works for awhile, but I have yet to find a system that didn't eventually lose interest. I do cook most nights, because I enjoy cooking... but I have a teenager who cooks if I need her too, and my husband cooks on Sunday's because I'm too tired from working by then to do it.
Every parent has days where they just feel overwhelmed, talk to your spouse if you have one, or a friend if you don't. Please, reach out to someone and be brave enough to admit how you feel. If it's me, i'm likely going to offer suggestions and advice (because I'm a fixer that's just who I am) of things that have worked for me.
I'm also going to tell you that it's okay.... You aren't doing a bad job, you don't have to be perfect. Lighten up on yourself, give yourself a break!
Tomorrow... I'm going to post some suggestions I do have about the drudgery of housework, some things that have worked for me, some things that haven't, or didn't work for long. For today I just wanted to tell you to be nice to yourself. Are you too tired to cook tonight? Give them sandwiches or cereal, or if they are old enough tell them to fend for themselves!  It's okay to do that sometimes....
For now, I'm going back to Mount Laundry and getting ready to get one of these girls to help me make Tamale Pie for dinner.....

Friday, January 10, 2014

An attempt at Gluten Free bread....

There's a reason we are trying to transition away from gluten, because we all love breads and pastas so much :)

That being said I know that if we are going to make this transition I MUST find a bread recipe that will work for us.  I did some searching to find paleo bread recipes and decided to start out by trying this one....

http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/03/finally-gluten-free-bread-that-doesnt-suck.html

I didn't follow her recipe exactly, I didn't have brown rice flour for the flour blend, only white rice flour but I decided to go ahead anyway.  I also didn't have egg replacer powder, I added a Tablespoon of potato starch instead at that step.  I also used 2% milk instead of powdered milk and just subtracted from the water.

Here is my version: Which still needs to be tweaked based on my results

Rice Flour Blend
Makes 4 cups
1⅓ cups rice flour
1⅓ cups tapioca flour
1⅓ cups cornstarch
1 tablespoon potato flour

 Mix this up together, I put it in a canister and shook it up.

Jillee’s Gluten-Free Bread That Doesn’t Suck 

This is her recipe, with my changes in the side in parentheses... She has lots of good info on her blog. Ingredients:
4 cups Brown Rice Flour Blend (remember her recipe uses brown rice flour, I used regular)
1 tablespoon xanthum gum
1 tablespoon gluten free egg replacement (I subbed potato flour)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cups Powdered milk (I used 1/2 cup 2% milk since we aren't avoiding dairy)
 3 large eggs at room temperature
¼ cup butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
⅓ cup honey
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast (not INSTANT dry yeast)
2 cups warm water (I only used 1 1/2 cup since I was using real milk)

Prep your two loaf pans (spray with cooking spray or grease them)
Add the yeast to the 2 cups of warm water and stir until mixed. Set this aside to activate while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
 Mix the flour blend, xanthum gum, gluten-free egg replacer, salt, and powdered milk together in a medium-size bowl and set aside.

Put eggs, butter, vinegar,milk (if using liquid) and honey in the bowl of your mixer. With the paddle attachment, mix together for about 30 seconds. The butter will be chunky, that’s OK.
Add half the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in the mixer. Mix just until blended, and then add the remaining dry ingredients and mix for another 30 seconds, until blended.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the warm water and yeast mixture, then turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 4 minutes.  After the 4 minutes your bread dough should resemble thick cake batter.
Pour into prepared pans and using wet fingers smooth the top.  Like so...

 Set them aside to rise in a warm dry place.  Mine took FOREVER to rise, but I think it's because my house is so drafty.... Unfortunately after raising for awhile it fell before I could get it into the oven so my loaves are flat.
Preheat your oven to 375 and bake for 45-50 minutes.
 Let cool for 10 minutes then flip out of pan to finish cooling COMPLETELY
 Slice and enjoy....
 As you can see it has nice air pockets and a nice crust.  I wish it hadn't fallen but it still tastes good and slices easily.  I'm going to try it again after we eat these two loaves and see if I can get a higher loaf.