Summer is officially here and the ‘Sibling Squabble Showdown’ is in full swing!

DSC_4843So, I devised a plan to combat some of the misplaced frustrations.  It was a plan so simple and so easy, it could only be executed by the use of one simple phrase.

Shorty.  My lovely Shorty.  Super smart, big sister extraordinaire is quite frequently the protagonist of the sibling squabble.  Like many older siblings, she pokes and prods, mimics and harasses, and end with the infamous phrase, “I’m not going to be your friend any more!”

I know…all of this is pretty standard behavior for young kids, but the phrase really bothers me.  I mean REALLY, REALLY bothers me, so after hearing it for the umpteenth time this summer (is it August yet?) I decided to put an end to this, once and for all!

So, without getting upset or without missing a beat, I gave Tiny the perfect retort…”it’s ok. I’m your friend and I love you anyway.”

Genius right?!  KK.pngSo I spent the rest of the day gloating and about my awesome parenting skills!

That is…until the sun rose, and my golden nugget came back to bite me in the bottom!

 

It started, at breakfast. Captain and I were squabbling over something random at breakfast…in a barely audible whisper Tiny says, “Mom! Tell dad you love him and you’re his friend!”  Cold busted!

She hit me again later in the car day after I dinged him for speeding, busted…again.

I don’t even remember what prompted strike three, but once again, I was “schooled” by my youngest.  I couldn’t believe it!

So, excuse me while I spend the rest of my week “being the change I want to see.”

Lesson learned

The girls are at an age where they are self sufficient. 

Shorty can pick out her own clothes, take care of basic hygiene, and can self entertain. 

Namaste with Shorty

Tiny can walk, talk and is in the early stages of reading. 

I can read!

This is a glorious stage! They’re big enough to pitch in! Just today Shorty asked to help make dinner. Tiny helped me put up the breakfast dishes… I should be in heaven, right?!

So why, why, WHY do I melt when I see chubby cheeks and toothless grins?!!! 

This makes no sense whatsoever! I’m not even a “baby” type Mom. I like independence. I like it when they can tell me what is wrong.(aka toddlerhood)
But man, oh man, tiny fingers and toes are working me over good!!!

The drool, the big eyes, the tiny fingers and toes are like a big old bag of kryptonite to me right now. 

Sooooo what’s a mother to do?  That’s right… it’s time to borrow baby! 

 After a few hours of babysitting I’ll have my fix and I’ll help out a new mama in the process. 
Any takers?!

If you can’t tell by now I’m a no holds barred, grab life by the seat of my pants, lets “get ‘er done” type of gal.

I don’t like slothfulness.  I have the patience of an Indy Car racer revving the starting line.

And if I can’t go all out, I tend to have withdrawals.

But I’m trying something new.  I’m ridding my life of any “extras.”  Extra clothes that aren’t being worn, extra household items that aren’t being used, extra interactions that aren’t productive, and I’ve got to say, so far so good.

The area where I’m having the biggest time letting go is my food selection.  I tend to buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  Along with that, I tend to buy tons of bread and milk.  But theres a definite trend I’ve been noticing these past few months…no one is consuming my large quantities but Tiny & I.  In turn, that leaves us with plenty of uneaten leftovers, and lots of formerly fresh turned spoiled and forgotten perishables.

What is a mother to do?!

For the past two weeks I’ve been folding my newfound K.I.S.S. program into my grocery shopping, and unfortunately the jury is still out.

While we haven’t wasted nearly as much food, I found myself adding about $35 additional dollars to my overall bill.

*insert confused emoji here*

But I’m not giving up all hope.  I kept last week’s grocery receipt so I can use it as a means of compare.

In the meantime, I’m looking for ways to lower the overall cost.

If you have any suggestions, I’d sure like to hear them.

The day Shorty disappeared

It’s the day every parent dreads… the day your little ones aren’t so little, and don’t need you quite as much.

For me, that “day” has been slowly building for months now, but the chickens came home to roost last week, and I was NOT prepared!

She’s only 8, with a birthday just around the bend!  Is it really time for the ‘parental disconnect?’

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Here’s how it went down:

It began as any other day. I grabbed Shorty from school and made the bee line to the library.

(Side note: we typically kill time before soccer practice by going to the library after school on, Monday, Tuesday & Thursdays.)

Back to the story—Shorty, in her ever-growing independence asks if she can walk to our homework spot alone.  The walk involves a trip up two flights of steps.  I cringed when the question was popped, but I thought it over and gave in.  I mean, we were only going to the third floor right?  What’s the worst that can happen?

So, I put on my big girl pants, watched her walk to the stairwell, pushed the elevator button to the third floor and rode to the top.  When the elevator door opened, I hopped off,  copped a table, and sat in front of the stairwell door.  I waited, and waited, aaaannnnddd waited for what was likely a minute, but felt like an eternity,  then it happened….I heard tears coming from the stairwell. Familiar tears. My baby’s tears!!! That’s when I panicked!

I ran over to the stair well and began frantically looking for my child, “Shorty?!” “SHOOOOORRRRRTTTTYYYY!!!” No answer and more importantly, no sign of shorty!

Now I’m in total come apart mode… Where did she go?  Did someone snatch her? Is she hurt?  Think, think, think!!!  What if she stopped by the second floor to say hi to her little classmate?!  Yeah, that must be it!  So, off I ran to the second floor to find said classmate! When I found her, I asked her if she’d seen her?

Pregnant pause…. “No ma’am”

*worlds colliding, volcano erupting, mom convulsing*

This is not good!

*Cue the scared mama tears!*

I rush over to the second floor librarian’s desk to see if they’ve seen her: Nada.

Now I’m running toward the stairwell!  Next stop, first floor!

In what seemed like an eternity I make it to the bottom, and I head straight toward the information desk,  my heart drops. No Shorty!

That is until I turn to my left to see her standing, visibly shaken, near a well dressed man. My spider senses are going crazy at this point guys.  Who is this dude?! Why is she crying?! How quickly can I take this guy down?!

While I’m checking off my mom-Kung fu checklist, she waddles over to me with arms outstretched and tears in her eyes and gives me the biggest hug I’ve received in months.

Through tear-stained eyes she tells me returned to the first floor after she was unable to open the door to third floor stairwell.

She returned to the first floor only after remembering what I’d told her as a small child: return to the front, find an adult, and wait.

At this point I’m relieved but horrified at the same time. I’m happy she remembered what I told her but I’m upset at my parenting fail. How soon is too soon to downsize helicopter parenting?  How old is old enough to walk alone?
I dunno folks. I need help here. I’ve been kicking myself for days about this situation, so please, feel free to weigh in while I commit myself to the corner to calm my nerves.

A few weeks ago I made an impulse purchase—and grabbed picked up a pack of green lentil’s at Aldi. Lentils frequently come up in the vegan database when trying to find protein, so I figured, it couldn’t be too bad.

So I took my package home and did what any confused mom looking to feed her brood would do: I went to Google.
The first thing that popped into my search was a vegan chili recipe.  Pinned it, made it and loved it.

vegan chili
Vegan Lentil Chili featuring cilantro & avocado slices

But there’s only so much chili one person can stand.  So the search continued.

That’s when I ran across multiple recipes for Lentil Sloppy Joe’s.  What you say now?!  I LOVE Sloppy Joes!

Growing up, Sloppy Joe’s were a staple.

Everyone has their own way…some prefer Manwich, other slather their meat of choice with BBQ sauce.

I’m a part of the latter camp, so if BBQ sauce isn’t your idea of a good time—stop reading now!

This recipe makes four servings.  You can always double it if you’d like.

1 c of green lentils
1/2 c of brown rice3 1/2 c of water
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 tbsp garlic salt
3 tbsp of any Masterpiece Grilling Seasoning (I’ve made this recipe using to variations thus far, but I prefer the chicken.)

Boil brown rice in 1 1/2 c of water in a separate boiler.
Wait 15-20 minutes and put the remaining ingredients into a separate boiler.  Once tender in both pots combine.  Can be eaten as a side item, if you’d like, but if you came for the main event, add some Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (as much as you like) and slap that bad boy on a bun, and call it a night!

While this probably goes without saying, I’ll mention it here:  this recipe is a great meal for lunch or dinner, but if you choose to try this for breakfast one morning (you know, cause you like leftovers, or are really lazy like myself) be warned, the chicken grill masterpiece seasoning has kick, and it could be a bit much for your morning fare.
You’ve been warned.
Now, unfortunately I did not grab any pictures of the finished product this time, I suspect this will become a pretty regular staple, so stay tuned for pics of that.

Until next time!

The truth hurts…DAY 3

When you think of summer you think of fresh fruit, swimming pools and barbeque!

We grilled a little for Memorial: nothing fancy, some hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken wings.  While I enjoyed the meaty fare I started longing for the days of vegan eats and veggie based treats.

Truth be told, I’ve doubled back on this journey multiple times.  I was initially ashamed at my lack of discipline.  I mean, at home I was fine, but I found that as I ventured out, things became a little hairy.  Add that with being on the go, promoting my new photography venture, and it spelled DISASTER.

But then, I ran across other vegan bloggers.  The more I read, the more at peace I became with my wavering. Some promoted going cold turkey.  Others suggest a slow ease into the lifestyle. The common theme that stood out in each of them was to “go at your own pace.”

This is no one’s journey but your own.  Take it however fast or slow as you can handle.  With that being said, I’ve decided to do a little bit of both—by phasing out.  I’ll switch between meat and vegan fare until I phase meat out completely.

The good news is most fruits and vegetables are fairly cheap, especially right now with many of them being in season.
The bad news I’m sorta stuck when it comes to vegan food preparation.  As I mentioned in a previous post, many vegetarian/vegan recipes I find online are fairly complicated, using a million and one ingredients (many of whom are not on the budget friendly list).

So I’ll use this time to find vegan/budget friendly meals you and your whole family can enjoy.

First up on the menu: Meatless sloppy Joe’s

#happycooking

The truth is, when things were going good, they were really, really good.

When things are bad…they’re horrible.

This month has been a roller coaster of sorts.  I told you guys about the death of a precious family member.

I also told you I’ve grown bored with cooking, and food in general.

So here I sit, at a quarter til four on a Sunday afternoon, struggling to calm my spirit. My dishwasher went caput; I’m getting more interest in my photography endeavors; I’ve received more interest from employers, this week, than I have in months.

Sounds like everything is on the up and up, right?  So why am I so antsy?

The truth is, I’m finding some pretty important truths in the following saying…

quote

I’ve spent the past few weeks mulling over the fact that I didn’t have enough “mad money,” so I started applying for part-time/flexible jobs to help infuse some cash into the situation.  But you and I both know, hindsight is 20/20, right?

Background:

I apply for a job at a pretty corporate company and I receive not one but two interviews! Being the awesome person that I am, I rocked them both.  Unfortunately reality quickly brought me back down to earth: child for Tiny, homework duties for Shorty, all parental obligations and responsibilities will all take on different meanings with both parents back in the regular workforce.  It’s a reality we’ve not had to consider for three years.   And my business, well it would simply have to wait…right?

Wrong!

I’ve always done the “appropriate” thing, followed the rules no matter how stupid, remained as conservative as possible, that is, until now.

Corporate America will have to wait.  This may be the one time in my life I can afford to take a risk without rocking the boat.

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With that being said, stay tuned as we set sail on a new type of adventure.  One where CG is in the captain’s seat and a few mates on deck.

Stay tuned

 

I love vegetables as much as the next gal, but let me tell you something….when everything you eat involves foods of the “rooted” variety, that love can quickly fade.

I know you’re thinking, CG it’s only been one day!

While I appreciate your observance,  the reality is, I’m finding this to be a bit more difficult, than I originally planned.

It’s not all bad.  In fact, I rather enjoy many of the homemade recipes I’ve found online…

Unfortunately, when it comes to eating on the run, the options narrow, considerably.

Today, Captain and I took Tiny to the zoo.  I pre-packed a few healthy snacks like apples and bananas. (Yay me!)

Unfortunately after a few hours of walking around, I was ready to throw all caution to the wind and  eat everything in sight!

elephant & us1
Gray Manor Photography

Thankfully I did not succumb to my need for instant gratification, and yummy nachos?

We packed up our party, and headed back toward town.  There ee scoured around until we found a local Chinese restaurant, where I ordered a white rice and vegetable meal: crisis averted, at least, for now.

#Day2
#winning

 

epic-win-meme_133614103669

But the reality is, this lifestyle is something I need to research a little more to see how sustainable it will be in the long run.
If you have any tips or tricks, I’m all ears.Just drop a line below.CG

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