Cooking: Joy or Chore

Lately I have decided to step up my game in the house. I am not quite the domestic diva as many of you know.  Lisa can tell the story of me adding water to the spaghetti sauce in college. Reiggin can share the time I melted a spatula while making him a grilled cheese sandwich. I am sure there are more stories that I could share.

I decided to start my domestic diva training by creating a cleaning routine and having my BFF Lisa be my support system.  Lisa is improving her cleaning routine as well so we decided to keep each other on track. I took Monday and Tuesday and tackled my biggest problem areas, the kitchen and the living room. I also confronted the mountain I call our laundry. Once I got all these areas taken care of I sat down and assigned each day a cleaning task.

Monday: Cleaning all the bed sheets and do a rough vacuum of all the floors.
Tuesday: Clean Virginia's Room and My Bedroom
Wednesday: Clean my bathroom and tackle the laundry
Thursday: Free Day ( just doing small de-cluttering )
Friday: Do another vacuum sweep of the home. 
Sunday: Create a weekly meal plan

Weekends I try to keep open to enjoying family time. Of course each day throughout the week I will be keeping the kitchen clean. Making sure all the dishes are put away and cleaned. I also make a point now before I head to bed to pick up the living room. Now that Virginia is older I am getting her involved and having her pick up all her toys before her bedtime. This has helped a ton. Those little toddler toys can add up and over take any living room. Laundry is mixed in each day, but I am trying to make it where I just tackle all the laundry on Wednesday. Sunday is the day that I create the weekly meal plan. 

The weekly meal plan is the thorn in my side. I wish I could say that I am that housewife that has a warm and delicious meal on the table every night for my husband and child to enjoy. Reality is I try and I do feed my family each day. Some nights are going out to eat, which I hope to cut down. Other nights are just not that healthy like hotdogs, hamburgers, and mexican. 

I want to work and improve my cooking skills. I want to be able to walk into the kitchen and whip up a delicious meal that will impress my husband. A meal that my child will want to lick the plate clean. Also hope to make cooking less of a chore and more joy. Reiggin will tell you my main mistake is not sticking to the recipe. I tend to drift from the original recipe and do what I think is right. I know, big mistake when you are starting off. My next mistake is not making a detailed grocery list. I always start a meal and realize I am missing ingredients. Last night I was making chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese. I thought I had everything, but I was missing bread crumbs, a few spices, and frying oil. I thought I would be smart and crush croutons up for the bread crumbs and this some what worked. I was ok on the spices and just substituted. I had half the oil I needed and did find more, but lets just say the expiration date was questionable. In the end the meal turned out fine with the help from my husband and my family cleaned their plates. 

Now I am reaching out and asking for help. Please share your recipes and tips with me. Share your favorite weekly meals that you enjoy making for your family. Hopefully with your help I will be able to add the cooking jewel to my crown.

Picky Eater

Growing up I can remember many nights of sitting at the kitchen table all by myself. I would be at the table for hours just staring down my green beans. I would wish for them to disappear, push them around my plate so it seemed like I had taken a few bites, and wish our dog was an inside dog.  But none of those solutions really helped me. Eventually my Mom would come in all red faced and mad and tell me to just leave the kitchen. 

Back then I thought my parents were the toughest parents around. Forcing me to eat my vegetables and try new dishes. I never understood why they just couldn't let me eat what I wanted too. Now that I am a parent of a two and a half year old little girl, I would just like to say, " Sorry Mom and Dad." Call it pay back or just part of growing up, but my daughter is a bit of a picky eater as I was. 

But her picky eating is silly things and changes day by day. The kid won't eat spaghetti, grilled cheese, or a hotdog. Her mood can change with the day. One day she will try a grilled cheese sandwich and the next she will look at me like I am crazy. This makes meal planning a little challenging. I want my child to have a healthy meal and grow up strong. At the same time I don't want to be a short order cook either.

Reiggin and I have started to take the approach of allowing her to choose what she wants to eat for breakfast and lunch. Dinner she has to eat what we put in front of her or else go to bed without dinner. The going to bed without dinner at first was tough for me. I hated the idea of my child starving laying in bed dreaming of food. I quickly realized that I was being silly and that my child would eat when she was hungry. 

At lunch time today I asked Virginia what she would like to eat. She surprised me by saying a sandwich. I did my best to hold my excitement in for fear she would change her mind. I quickly grabbed out the ham, cheese, and bread. I kept the sandwich simple and even cut the crust off for her. I remember how my mom use to take cookie cutters and cut our sandwiches into fun shapes. 

At first Virginia just stared the sandwich down. Trying to figure out what she was suppose to do with this thing in front of her. Finally after some coaching and cutting the sandwich into squares and a mini photo session. 

Virginia ate more the half of her sandwich. I was screaming with joy and doing the happy dance all around my living room. It is little accomplishments like these that make being a mother awesome. 

I just hope that this continues and that Virginia will continue to try new things. So Moms please tell me how you handle your picky eaters. 

Weekend in Rewind

Wow, what a weekend I have had! Saturday, Virginia and I made it out to the CentralPiedmontMommies Yard Sale / Vendor Fair going on in Kannapolis. We browsed the yard sale items and then made our way inside to scope out the vendors. I knew I wanted to check out the Scentsy booth and the Spoiled So Sweet Boutique booth

I ended up grabbing a catalog at the Scentsy booth since I didn't see a warmer that I was in love with. Virginia was not being miss patient either. We moved onto my friend Angela's booth for Spoiled So Sweet Boutique. She has the best bows, bottle cap necklaces, and tutus. I mean the bows she makes just blow me away. We ended up getting two necklaces and one drop dead cute tutu for Virginia. Virginia wore her tutu out to the parking lot and everyone was saying, " oh she is so cute." Virginia was loving every minute. She did a few turns and smiled. 

Then we were off to grab a quick present for a birthday party. After snagging the present we stopped at Walgreens for a bag for the present. As I am grabbing the toy out of the trunk and putting the present in the bag, I manage to lock my keys in the trunk of my car.

I felt like hitting my head on my car in frustration. I am known for locking my keys in the car. My best friend Lisa and I have locked my keys in the car almost three times in one day. But I had been so good and it had been so long since I had locked the keys in the car. To make things worse no one knew where the extra key was. I had to call a locksmith. The locksmith takes almost 50 minutes to get to me and then I just wanted to scream when I saw the bill. I got in my car and got home to relax and forget about my afternoon.

That night we went to CiCi's for a family night out and Virginia ate her weight in pizza. We made a quick stop at Pet Smart. Virginia loves the fishes, dogs, cats, birds, well pretty much every kind of animal. I think the fish and the birds are her true favorites. 

Sunday brought the major event of the weekend, Sarah and Norman's wedding. Two of my best friends from high school got married at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville, NC. Virginia and I drove up for the wedding and the location was gracious. The back drop was a quarry with a pond and tall trees. The guests were seated on a sandy beach area where Norman and Sarah were standing on a  rock surface looking over the pond. 

Sarah was breathtaking in her lacy wedding gown. The ceremony was wonderful and even made me laugh watching Noman and Sarah dance back down the aisle. Really showing both their fun loving personalities. Virginia spent the whole ceremony playing in the sand. She was as happy as can be as long as she was digging in the sand.

I also was thrilled to see one of my friends from high school, Brad. It had been nine years since I had seen him and his family. Since then him and his wife have had a baby boy, Wyatt. Wyatt is just the cutest thing ever.  He was so well behaved for a such a little boy, I think he is 13 months. Virginia on the other hand was not such an angel. She was wired and wanted to do her thing. Between jumping on me, knocking tea on the table, and insisting on playing in the sand she was just not her well behaved self. 

This event taught me that with a toddler, you have to have a game plan. You need water in your bag for them to drink during the hot summer. You need snacks to keep their bellies full and happy. Having a distraction toy such as my DS is also a good idea. If you don't have said items you will find yourself sitting on a rock eating dinner while your child plays knee deep in sand. 

But the night was beautiful and Norman and Sarah said their I Do's and both looked gorgeous. Virginia and I made it home in one piece. Worn out and exhausted both our bed's made for a nice ending to an amazing weekend.