If you have found me through Mother Letters, welcome to my house. Feel free to make yourself at home and look around.
Put your feet up on the coffee table, see what I have in the pantry, and enjoy our time together.
If you would like to read my entire Mother Letter, click here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day

For me Mother's day is a love/hate relationship. I love that my sweet hubby works hard to make me breakfast in bed, my kids make cards and pick dandelions and other wildflowers and smother me in "I love you"s and kisses and hugs. Hubby is also a master at picking just the right card to make me cry and manages to find the perfect gift for me. Some years it's jewelry, some times it's a carpet cleaner or miter saw (hint, hint), but whatever he gets it's always just perfect. I know without a doubt I am loved. Who wouldn't want to celebrate that?
I guess the hate part comes in when I reflect on my idea of the kind of mother I wanted to become. The Norman Rockwell picture of warm chocolate chip cookies in a tidy house. The listening, sympathetic ear and hugging arms readily available at all times. Fun educational crafts and projects always waiting in the wings, ready at a moments notice. Infinite patience and good advice for every heart break. Knowing just what to do in any given situation. Enabling them to participate and experience every sport, every instrument, educational opportunity while still managing to find balance to play and have a carefree childhood. To have an unending source of energy, and never be "too tired". Somewhere deep inside, past all logic, my guilt says I am less of a mother than I could be, not the mother I should be, not the mother my kids need to help them reach their full potential. As Hubby and I discussed this, he told me to think of it this way... I am the perfect grandma in training. I think being a grandparent would be great! Have them when you want them and when your patience or energy runs out, or they have a dirty diaper, send them home.

I think the most amazing thing about motherhood is when you realize why the Savior asked us to be like little children. By design, they are forgiving and offer unconditional love. A child looks for reasons to smile and laugh. They choose to be happy. When I ask my girls if they are happy they always say yes. When asked why the answers are always, in my mind, small and simple things like "It's sunshiney outside" or "I'm drawing a picture" or "Cause I'm with my mom". It is only as we reach adulthood that we put on the blinders of drudgery, focusing on the "have to"s and losing sight of the "get to"s. Inately, children don't feel guilt but as a mother, sometimes I let it consume my life.

Oh, to be more childlike. To want to dance even when there isn't any music. To laugh because I can't hold it in any longer. To blow dandelion seeds without the guilt of unfinished chores. To find shapes in the clouds. To not only forgive but forget so completely. To love without judgement or expectations. And to play, to really play.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Family Favorite Recipes

I thought I would post a couple of our family's favorite dinner recipes. The first recipe, I adapted from one I found on a blog that I have since lost track of. If anyone knows which it came from I would love to find it again. It is quick, it's simple, it's healthy, and (drum roll.....) we ALL like it! It is rare that dinner gets a cheer from every member of the family. Usually there is at least one family member rolling their eyes, moaning, gagging or some combination thereof.

Veggie Sausage Skillet

1lb pasta (we like penne or bowtie)
1 package sausage (we used Hillshire Farms smoked, the oval one)
1 pint grape tomatoes (cut in half)
minced garlic
olive oil
grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

any add ins, we enjoy broccoli, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, mushrooms etc.
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pasta and veggies

1. Start by cooking pasta according to the directions. I am lazy so I add my veggies about half way through so I only use one pot.

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sausage, garlic, tomatoes

2. Meanwhile, slice sausage into discs and brown in a large skillet

3. Slice grape tomatoes in half and add them to the skillet with minced garlic.

4. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and then add to skillet. Pour in some extra virgin olive oil and stir well.
5. Serve with grated cheese on top. This recipe is different everytime I make it depending on the ingredients I have on hand. The only thing that has to be constant is the sausage and some kind of pasta for it to be a hit.  Hubby likes to season his with Tony's seasoning to add a little kick.

The second recipe comes from my good friend Alaina. She is an amazing cook that just makes things up as she goes along. As a result she doesn't deal with many exact measurements, so my stuff never turns out quite as good as hers. I think, just maybe, she likes it that way. ;) I want to be like her when I grow up! (Even though I happen to be older than she is).
Chicken Penne Pasta
Penne pasta
Rotelli's Alfredo sauce
1-2 c Italian cheese blend
enough chicken to feed your family
I add veggies as well. Some of our favorites are chopped asparagus, mushrooms, and spinach.
1. Marinate chicken over night or all day (don't cut short, the marinating time really makes it tender and flavorful) in:
virgin olive oil, teriyaki sauce, Italian dressing, black pepper, Cajun seasoning (we use Tony's) and a little meat tenderizer.
2. Cook pasta according to the directions. I add veggies to the pasta for the last half of cooking time.
3. Grill chicken and cube.
4. Drain pasta and veggies. Add chicken and stir in Alfredo sauce and cheese. Warm and serve. You can also add a little chopped cilantro too.
This recipe is also met with "Yummm, we're having that chicken pasta stuff again." As I mentioned before, I much prefer this response to "Ewwww, how much do I HAVE to eat?"
Here's hoping your dinner menu receives rave reviews from your family. I know mine are my most difficult critics.