Saturday, November 22, 2014

Being THE mom sucks sometimes...

okay it sucks being mom most of the time but seriously....
I've been sick the past couple of days and yes I'm going to whine about it right now.
I am a chronic pain sufferer and most days I continue on despite the pain and agony I am in. I don't expect my kids or anyone else for that matter to give me props for that.

But the past couple of days have been awful and I was literally bed ridden. In that time I would expect a little help and respect. NONE was given. NONE. On either front.
The dishes continued to pile up and not one person could be bothered to wash one single dish. Now I don't necessarily expect Jay, who is working 2 jobs, to come home and wash dishes. But I would think that one or two of the very capable kids could wash a few dishes. Nope. Not a single one. 

Add to that, the 8 year olds just took the "mommy is not constantly watching us" thing to mean lets play with and break all of mommy's stuff. Like literally even down to my crappy free pen from the lawyers office. Seriously even my pen?? What the hell is that bullshit?
 I will whine about this till the cows come home even though no-one really cares anyway.

yea yea yea enough bitching already. I know I know! 

I am feeling a bit better today and as I sit here trying to figure out what I want to do with myself today what I actually realize is I want to eat. A LOT!!! I haven't eaten much in a few days and I am famished. But without a vehicle and add to that being sick for the better part of a week I clearly haven't done any food shopping. So the cupboards are a bit lacking. I sit here and think and think and think.....
Eureka!!! I have an idea. I have crescent rolls... and cinnamon.. and sugar..and butter...and I know if I put those ingredients in my trusty internet search I will find a yummy recipe to make myself (ok and the hellions er kiddos) a yummy treat. 
Here is what I found Cinnamon Crescent Twists and they are OH MY GOSH deliciousness. Heavenly!!

There ya have it. They were yummy and they are all gone. I will definitely be making more of those. That recipe is going in my book. ;)

Thats it for now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I feel like chicken tonight.....

Okay so I feel like chicken most any night.
 I love chicken!

So a couple of weeks ago when I began this new quest with my crock pot I found this recipe for Hawaiian Chicken and thought mmm that sounds yummy. So I gave it a go (minus the chilli sauce, cause yea no I'm not that kind of adventurous) and we found it to be lacking. Now maybe that was because of the missing chilli sauce. So I did some research. Yes I had to research because remember I'm not the kind of person who posses the kind of knowledge about food to know what works together and what doesn't. So I did some research and had also come across a marinade in my local grocery store. 

Today I set to task to make a better Hawaiian Chicken. I put 6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts in a large ziplock bag with the Hawaiian marinade for about an hour and a half. I laid pineapple slices in the bottom of the crock pot and poured a little of the juice from the can in. I placed the chicken pieces on top of the slices and poured in a whole can of pineapple chunks (minus the liquid). I added 1/3 cup of brown sugar to the pineapple juice that remained from the first can and mixed it up then poured it over the top. Put the lid on and set it to high for 3 1/2 hours. 

And it came out much more flavorful. It was tangy and delicious. I served it with white rice.
 okay okay I know not the greatest picture. But I was super anxious to eat it. ;)
And just so you can see, this is the marinade I used. I shop mostly at Aldi and they have several different kinds of liquid marinades. This is the first one I've used. A+ so far ;)
And of course my picky eaters had pasta. Plain old pasta. At least it is so much easier for me to serve dinner now.

I will admit I am a bit intimidated by some of the recipes I find. I don't like particularly spicy foods. So when I come across recipes that call for things like chilli sauce or a dash of cumin or the like I tend to stay away from them out of fear. I fear that I'll make the dish and not like it and then I'll have worked on a meal I cant/wont eat. What a bummer. :/ I realize in omitting some of those called for ingredients I'm doing a horrible disservice to the recipe whereby probably making the dish more bland than it actually would be. Its a fear I'm aware of and I will do my best to over come. In the meantime I am trying to make life a little bit easier or at least more manageable.

Of course as with any great adventure comes great mess and the dishes can sometimes be overwhelming and pile up pretty quickly. Especially when I decide to bake cupcakes with the kiddos for a special dessert.
Which leads me to this.........
I think I might be getting a dishwasher installed. Maybe it will be a Christmas present. Wouldn't that be the ultimate? It would mean losing a much needed cupboard and I will be sad for that but I will gladly make that sacrifice.

I shouldn't get ahead of myself and get my hopes up. But........I might anyway.

That's all I got for now.

I'd love to hear your favorite crock pot recipes. Please share.

Monday, November 17, 2014

If your mama dont cook......

I've never been a fan of cooking. Truth be told I just don't have a great imagination when it comes to food. Don't get me wrong I love to eat. My waist line is proof positive of that. But seriously I never had a knack for what kinds of seasoning and spices to use with what kind of meat. Or what sides would perfectly compliment a dish. 

I like meat. I like veggies. 

I'm the kind of person who...yep...I'm going to say it....will just mix everything up on my plate and eat it. It grosses my kids out. I admit its a little cave womanish but hey it's all going to the same place *shrug* right?

Anyway all of this is to say that I wasn't always like this. For starters as a kid I was a super picky eater. Drove my mom bat-shit. She gave up cooking because of me. My brother and sister...normal. Me....NOT!! 
Then I grew up and became a smoker and unknowingly at the time couldn't even taste food the same. So by the time I got married I would cook things but always used a ton of salt because everything tasted so bland. It wasn't until much later when I quit smoking that I would realize how wonderful food tasted and rarely use salt again. Which was when I began to love food the most. Which is when I got FAT! ;) Ok when I got REAL FAT ;) 

That was 7 years ago!! 

Holy shit! 

Moving on from that crazy realization of how quickly time flies right the fuck past ya.... 

Jay loves to cook, fortunate for me.  
And he's really good. Very fortunate for me.
This Fall with his new job and the fact that he's trying to get the other house completed he's been working some nights until almost 9 pm. So I've been taking the dinner responsibility. Which for obvious reasons is ok and not the reason for this post. 

Since I have taken over dinner the fact that my cooking skills SUCK has become glaringly obvious. And I am so sick of pasta, yea me the Italian, is completely sick of pasta. I crave meat and veggies. I decided to do a little research. Some research on how a seemingly hopeless cause like myself could possibly cook something other than pasta or chicken nuggets. Blech!!! Blech!!! Blech!!!

*keep in mind I will still have to cook pasta because I have 3 extremely picky eaters (hmm wonder where they get that from) two of whom literally wont eat meat. 

So here's my criteria:
*3 picky eaters who will only eat pasta or french fries
*easy enough even I cant fuck up
*normal ingredients for this still semi - picky eater 
*still within a budget for a single income household
*I'm not cooking two meals every night

 My solutions:

Here is something I didn't know I could do. I can cook a large batch of pasta early in the week say Sunday evening or Monday and keep it refrigerated all week and just reheat the individual servings when needed. So that takes care of my picky eaters. And I taste tested the pasta to make sure its not horrible. Just rinse it with some warm water to loosen it then toss in the microwave for a couple of minutes depending on how much you need. 2 minutes per plateful is usually pretty sufficient. Then add sauce or butter (I have one of those) and done. 

I have rediscovered my Crock Pot!
Yep that's the answer. It pretty much checks everything else off my criteria list. I mean who can seriously fuck up anything in a crock pot I ask you? Not even me. Still normal ingredients. Meat, veggies, hell they even make several different types of all spice mixes and even crock pot spice pouches etc. so its pretty damn normal and easy. You can get fancy...but you don't have to. And that's the most awesome thing about it. It also falls within a reasonable budget since most things can be bought in bulk especially if you get a little ahead of the game and do freezer batch cooking. And that leads into the last criteria I am NOT cooking two meals every night. So there I don't have to. I hardly have to cook any. Lets recap. 

I get up and take a large freezer bag out of the fridge (where I placed it from the freezer the night before) and dump its contents into the crock pot set it according to the instructions on the bag and pretty much forget it exists for several hours. 




My house smells like someone has been cooking something delicious all day (that would be Moi) and now after homework is done I set the table. Now comes the part where I might need to spend a whole 30 - 45 minutes actually preparing the meal by making the rice or whatever side veggie or rolls etc that might accompany the meal and heat up some spaghetti from the fridge (3 kids = 6 mins total in the microwave) and get it all set on the table. And sometimes if we're lucky Jay will actually make it home in time to eat a hot dinner with us. 

Basically I think I've finally got a lock on just how to feed my whole family the things they love at the same time without losing my mind or burning the house down. I've only just started out so I admit there have already been a few nights of "oh screw it we're ordering pizza" or "hey kids its cereal for dinner" but hey we can't all be perfect. Whatever!

I've gotten some really great ideas from some pretty neat blogs. As soon as I finish testing them I'll post links. I want to be able to give an honest opinion. So far so good. 

That's it for now. 
To the Crock Pot and beyond!

Kids for Sale.....or free......

 ....or better yet I'll pay you to take them. 
Yes its been one of those days.

Really though my plan for this post is to introduce to you my family. First off moi, I am 37 (yes I just had to ask my son how old I was) I have been married and divorced (mostly amicably), I have been with an abusive (physically, mentally and emotionally) partner who is an alcoholic and drug addict. I am fortunate and blessed to have met a wonderful man, Jay, who has taken such good care of the kids and I. He works very hard to provide for us. He is a wonderful role model for my kiddos. He very rarely raises his voice and shocks the hell out of all of us on the rare occasion that he does. Cause ya know these kids can even make him crack once in awhile. 
Our tribe consists of 5 children that live with us full time and 1 that doesn't. 
Robert = 16
Jaden = 14
Trevor = 14
Alexa = 10
Tyler & Abby (twins) = 8

Yep thats 6. Holy shit we have 6 kids. And we have 2 furkids. 
Mr. Dudley the Dog is a giant black lab. Seriously hes gotta be over 100 lbs now. Fatso. ;)
and Marigold the fat beautiful orange tabby cat. My heart and home are full. 

I have been an almost life long sufferer of depression. I am also a chronic pain sufferer. I know most people don't believe that's a real thing and that's because they don't understand what it really means to have unexplained chronic pain. More about that later.

My first born, Robert, was also a party to the abusive behavior of my second partner. I've tried to get him into counseling because I'm pretty sure he suffers from depression. I wont give up trying to get him to go. He deserves to be happy and I know if he gets some therapy he can at least learn to deal with his demons.

My second born, Alexa, is a sweet but confused kid. She didn't suffer physical abuse but there was definite mental and emotional abuse. Its taken a long time for me to be able to talk about any of this because naturally I feel like 'what kind of mother am I that I didn't see how this was all happening and even when I suspected, I wasn't able to protect my babies?' Believe you me I struggle with my inner demons on a daily basis. There isn't a person in this world who hates me more than me. 

Then there are my twins, Tyler and Abby. They both have their own set of issues. I've known since early on that they did. Their dad, deadbeat #2 did not ever want to hear about any of my suspicions. So therefore I was never allowed to discuss things with their pediatrician. I wasn't allowed to put them in preschool or daycare. So in the past few years that we have been away from him I have had them evaluated.

Tyler has been diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder, and ADHD; combined type.
Abby has been diagnosed with Depressive Disorder w/self injurious behaviors, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and Mixed Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder. And even a touch of ADHD. However they believe that the ADHD may be a bi-product symptom of some of the more severe diagnosis. 

My son Jaden is my son in my heart and my soul but not biologically. He is deadbeat #2's son from a previous relationship. Jaden came to live with us when he was 5 years old (4 days before I gave birth to the twins) and has been with me ever since. He is fully aware that he has a biological mom and he basically knows what happened back then. But he started calling me mom about a year after living with us and I assumed the role he seemed to want me to fill.

Trevor is my step-son. He is Jay's son. He lives with his mom and grandparents full time and comes and stays with us on the occasional weekend or holiday/vacation. He's a good kid. Pretty typical 14 year old boy. ;)

I'm even going to throw in our fur kids. Cause even they have a story. Mr. Dudley came to us from a rescue group called the Critter Cavalry Rescue at the most perfect time. Jay and I had been together for a while and we had moved our joined family into a house with a nice decent sized fenced in yard. I was working 3rd shift and was home all day taking care of my mom while Jay was at work and the kids were all in school and I was lonely. So we discussed and discussed getting a dog. We immediately agreed we wanted a large, family friendly breed to adopt (not buy). So I took to the internet and found Critter Cavalry through Petfinder. And low and behold Mr. Dudley was one of two dogs we were really interested in. A little bit of paperwork and a few phone calls with Ms. Candace (super sweet awesome Candace) and we anxiously awaited our meet up at the Coventry park n ride. And here we are, as I sit typing this now Mr. Dudley is snoring soundly at my feet, never more than a stones throw away from me. He adores the kids. He even loved my mom. She wasn't a big pet person but they got used to each other and right up until she moved into the nursing home he would sleep close to her bedroom door whenever I would shower or need to run an errand. He was aware of her disability and need and also aware that she didn't want him to cuddle or be real close to her. But he would also keep a close eye on her when she would move around with her walker which always earned him a treat when she finally made it to the kitchen. He's been a perfect fit for our family. He loves camping and taking walks. He loves to play in the snow. He loves to lay around and be super lazy ;) and he loves to vacation at Grampa's house in Maine.

Our girl Marigold is also a rescue. Again I do not buy cats and dogs from pet shops. There are too many homeless cats and dogs to be adopted. So we looked and looked and we found Marigold. She is an orange tabby cat. She was small and shy and timid when we adopted her. She has long since come out of that shell and thinks she is Queen of Sheba now. She is loud and mouthy and typical in so many ways. I absolutely love her to pieces. She owns everyone in this house, yes even Jay, though he'll deny it. ;) If I had it my way I'd have at least 5 more cats. I just love cats. ;) But Jay wont hear of it. We'll see ;) She is a good cat though. She likes things her way and as long as you give her what she wants she behaves ;) isn't that the way it is with cats?

So there ya have it....we are one big huge dysfunctional yet somehow functioning family. And deep down I guess I wouldn't have it any other way.
Good night friends.