Cooking with Crazy 

It’s Friday. And I have the night off, so that means I want to make dinner.

I love making dinner. I’m not a mom who complains about this one. 

Cleaning the bathrooms? Yes. 

Folding laundry? Eww. 

But cooking …I love it. 

There are definitely issues when someone, like me, in my situation, steps up to the stove. And I will get to that. 

For now, let’s talk about what I made.

Shrimp scampi over riced cauliflower. 

So simple. So easy. And just good. (Most things, when kept simple, are good.)

Here are my ingredients (as adapted from Pinterest):

Edit

I found this list of ingredients in Pinterert and knew I could work with them. Rather than using a carb heavy pasta, I decided to combine this recipe with a new fave of mine: cauliflower rice. 

The whole thing took about 20 minutes all together. Very fast and easy. 

1. Peel and mince garlic *Note: this is the most time consuming step – and while it’s not that difficult, everything else is smooth sailing afterwards.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet add garlic and shrimp ( with tails cut off)

3. Mince cauliflower in a food processor *buy a food processor – it sounds intimidating but it’s so easy and life changing, really. Go buy one. Like, now.

4. Deglaze the pan with juice of one lemon and a half cup of dry white wine 

5. Add a cup of chicken broth. Keep heat at med-high.

6. Add riced cauliflower

7. Chop parsley – This is the first time I’ve ever bought or cooked with parsley. It’s not necessary for flavor but is a 100% improvement on the appearance of the dish, which is just lookin like white grits up until this point. Mentally, you will enjoy your dinner so much more with it.

8. Add parsley; total cool time of this dish should be about 5 mins or until the liquid has evaporated out. 

So what’s going on in the meantime with my kids? What’s happening while mommy pretends to be Nigella Lawson?

Let’s see what I meant before when I said there are “issues” when someone in my “situation” tries to cook…

Baby J repeatedly got it into our fridge, and at one point, was caught DRINKING Parmesan cheese.

The girls spent that 20 minutes wrestling. You think boys are the only ones who wrestle? I used to too… Nope. Gracie now has a loose tooth, which she’s pretty excited about. She even ran to go clean her room for the tooth fairies anticipated arrival. (Thanks Grandma L for that idea)

So you see, I’m not exactly cooking in peace and wouldn’t blame another mom who just said eff it and ordered a Friday night pizza.

If you have a personality like me though, once your into something, you’re entranced. Bottomline, I’m a mad woman in the kitchen. 

After the liquid is evaporated, I cover and remove my skillet from the heat, and I allow it to sit while I set up plates. 

This keeps it hot, and gives that cauliflower a wee bit more cook time.

I know what else you’re wondering…

What did I do with the leftover wine?

Ahhh… Here’s a little Mommy refreshment for after dinner and baths. 

A little dry champagne and frozen blueberries – complete with antioxidants! So you can feel good about getting boozed up 😉

(This sparkling wine is like 80% off at Kroger right now, and if you buy 4 bottles, you get an additional 10% off. Just sayin. ) Comment and let me know if you try some variation of these!

Have a happy Labor Day weekend!

Big Love,

Meg 

Yesterday 

When it comes to parties, ‘simple’ is not in my vernacular.

The one thrown for my four year old this weekend was no different. 

A four year old really only needs a nice sugary cake and friends whom with to run around. Because she hasn’t had a really good party since her first birthday (and also because my mommy guilt is strong with this middle child), she was given a bash. 

Invitations were ordered from Etsy and sent to 60 of our closest friends and family members:


(https://www.etsy.com/shop/MulliganDesign)

Elle wasn’t sure if she wanted a general ‘Princess’ theme or a ‘Cinderella’ one — until she decided, we did the broader fairy tale type invite. 

Once they were out and it was time to pick up the decorations, I asked her one last time what she wanted to do… Cinderella it was. 

I made center pieces.

 This kinda felt extreme, but Elle likes things to be pretty, and I enjoy making things pretty; so it worked.

Scooter teased me and my love for spray paint, “Every time we have a party, you’re busting out a can of spray paint.” (It might be true.)

Jars found randomly around my home to spray paint sparkly gold, and flowers and pumpkins were picked up from the Dollar Tree. 

I find a good party is in the people. An exceptional party is in the details — things like a sparkly pumpkin or one of the magic cookie wands that my beautiful mother made for us. (Seen below)(Don’t mind my make shift ice bucket — my children destroyed the one and only that I had)I love the series of moments that make up a really good gathering. The quiet before the first guest arrives; the serious concentration of my daughter’s face as she opens her presents; or little pink boots that have been kicked to the side for some serious play in bare feet.

My ultimate favorite moment though was this:We had a special guest arrive after cake and gifts. Elle was completely humbled in her presence. One of the best parts of parenting is seeing the reaction of your little ones to something new. This was quite special.

Cinderella was sent to us by Kirko Productions (link at the end of the article). She led a sing along with the children and even brought a glass slipper for the birthday girl. 

The girls also did crafts with the princess and had their faces painted. It was an eventful evening for sure.What’s a good party without a little something for the grown ups? My husband made sure there was a little ‘play’ for the big kids too. While I couldn’t participate as I was following a 2 year old or doing hostess things, it was awesome to watch guests of all ages join in some fun.Scooter got his volleyball game in (a few of them actually). We didn’t know if it would be possible, as the forecast teased us with rain — going back and forth, back and forth, until finally came the day, and the forecast STILL was unclear. 

The evening ended with a few good people sitting around a table, the kids tucked in bed, and a gentle rain as the backdrop of our conversation. 

I have to admit – I was pretty in love with yesterday. 
Cinderella courtesy of: http://www.kirkoproductions.com/

My Chaos

I like to move through daily activities with a sense of humor, but tonight I find myself just so darn tired that there’s no humor.

No humor what so ever.

Typically, if I can’t be humorous, I can tap into some sort of nostalgia or whimsy. Trust me when I say: I’m all out of effin whimsy.

This was my first full week on the third shift (aka midnights (aka the graveyard shift)). While it started well, and it hasn’t ended poorly… I’ll just put it this way: at one point I found kielbasa in the toilet.

See evidence below:

Exhibit A: The Aforementioned Toilet Kielbasa
When I wasn’t discovering that dinner has been literally chucked in the toilet, I was cutting holes into Baby J’s diapers… To make room for a tail.

Somehow in the chaos that is our life, we lost track of how old Lucy girl is now. When we realized that she was on her doggie girly time, Scooter and I had an ‘ohh yeah’ moment; one where we looked at each and realized that we’d been forgetting something. Surprise! Lucy’s officially a woman, and you two are officially idiots. How could we forget to spay her? 

Eh, soon soon.

These are a few of the occurrences that unfolded between the planned events of the week. Events like: grocery shopping, eBay package sending, scrub ordering, preschool sign up-ing, parade walking, meal making, calorie logging, laundry folding, party planning, suit case packing, and night shift working.

It’s overwhelming, and I’m tired beyond being cute. Being a working mom is new territory and has come with a whole new group of challenges. 

But it’s the same chaos as before. It’s my chaos, and whether I’m too tired to laugh about it or not…

I love my chaos.

Old Lady Changing

” How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?”

The late Dr. Wayne Dwyer asked this question, and I have to be honest, I feel OLD.

I’d blame it on the minivan or the three kids that roll in it, but that’s not really fair now. Is it? 

The truth of the matter is that I feel old because I’ve not been properly taking care of myself. 

I recently started working at a health care facility for the elderly and those who can no longer care for themselve; it’s been eye-opening. 

I want to be as healthy as I can for as long as I can. 

And that’s why I’ve really made the commitment to set a solid example for those three kids rolling in that minivan.

I’m talking salads and workouts.

The Gingerbread Mom

Hi there all. Well, in case you were wondering what would happen when you work out routinely for months and then stop with little to no movement for months, the answer is: it will feel like starting all over again. In my case, it may possibly be worse. 

I’m currently on Day 3 of my 21 Day Fix…

 and I am sore…My muscles are so stiff that I currently have the gait of a gingerbread man. 

Now let me tell you: walking like a gingerbread  man is troublesome enough when you’re alone, but when you have three hooligans (also known as my children) and a puppy running around your house, it’s a whole another ballgame. And I mean that literally. My son just hit my daughter in the head with a nerf football. My dog then soon snatched it up, chewing into foam bits all over our carpet. Super!

Normally, this would be a minor fiasco that could be extinguished in under 2 minutes, by because I am currently gingerbread Mom, I can’t move much faster than grandma after Christmas dinner. 

So it should be quite the sight for my kids to see me as I hobble over side to side trying to reprimand and discipline, but let’s be honest here people: there is no discipline today. No discipline at all. These kids are running a muck, and I’m just trying to maintain survival for us all.

Wish me luck this coming week as I push through this discomfort. Today is “leg day”, and one of my last “leg days”, I tore the moulding off of the wall while trying to position myself on the toilet to pee. Elle told me I was like a robot monster (Yes, she busted into the bathroom to be witness to the whole thing.)

Today’s real challenge though…

These stairs. 


Big love,

Meg

Lullabies and Lessons

* This was written before Lydia and Jax entered our lives, and before Scott left this earth. *

Last Wednesday was like any other Wednesday afternoon for a while there, then my life changed a little bit, and I was given a window of insight into the true meaning of motherhood.

It was a gift.

A woman, of about 60 years, came through the vestibule, wheeling her son into the restaurant. They had visited The Country Inn before, and it was always my assumption that he was born with a disability of some sorts.

It’s the kind of disability that makes one uncomfortable no matter how kind of heart you are. For this poor soul, this grown boy had no voice. No speech. He wailed out once in a while, his tiny arms coiled under, tucked into his frail white body. He had a head brace and flailed about every so often. For me it was difficult to see. I wondered if he suffered.

So Wednesday they came in, and Wednesday this boy (We would later learn his name: Chris) was in a particular disarray. He grunted loudly, wailed, and flailed his wrists. We even had another couple stop us to ask if we’d box their meals up, “We can’t eat with all this noise.” (As servers, we granted their request. As human beings, we wanted to tell them to grow a heart.)

Approaching the table of Chris and his mother, I saw a woman caring for her child. I saw myself in her, “Why are you so unhappy today, baby? What can Mommy do to calm you down?” She looked at me, “Maybe some ice cream?” She was directing her thoughts aloud to me.

“That sounds good,” I said, “We have vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.”

“Mommy’s going to get you some ice cream. Ok?” She said, cupping his head in her hand, “We’ll take a little bit of vanilla please.” She was sure to smile warmly at me, but her eyes looked tired.

I brought the ice cream out to her, while holding my own tears back. My heart swelled to see such love between a mother and a child. I left them to their dessert, watching from afar in pure admiration and awe as she spooned the ice cream into his mouth to the tune of a lullaby.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.

You make me happy, when skies are grey.

Coming by to take her order, she spoke before I could ask if she was ready, “He wasn’t always like this. You know.” I didn’t say a word. What would I say? I was just called upon to listen, “When Christopher was six, we lived on the canal. He was outside tagging along with his uncles when he fell through the ice.” My eyes flooded, “but they rescued him. They sure did. He would have died. It took them 20 minutes to get him out from under there, but they got him.”

“Oh my goodness.” They were the only words I could manage to get out.

“Yes, when they rescued him, his lips were blue. He aspirated. That’s actually what cut the oxygen supply to his brain. He hasn’t grown since then,” She spooned another bite of vanilla into his mouth, and I looked into his brown eyes, wondering what his thoughts were. Was he that six year old little boy trapped in a completely disabled body, unable to talk, walk, or smile? “He’s actually 31. Believe it or not. It happened 25 years ago, and he’s been my little boy all this time.”

“Bless you.” I said and quickly walked away so I could cry and pray.

And she sang on…

You’ll never know dear.

How much I love you.

Please don’t take

my sunshine away.

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I kissed my daughters about a hundred times that evening. Since then, I’ve snuggled with her to the very second she’s fallen asleep at night. If she wants to read a second, third, fourth book, I’ve done it.

Because it’s more time with her. Precious time.

I don’t want to generalize everyone, so I will only speak for myself. I know I tend to take life for granted. I make plans around growing old and complain about happenings that are outside of my control; Petty things that won’t matter five years from now, next year, or tomorrow.

What I’ve never known though…

What Chris’ mom taught me is…

I am not guaranteed to grow old.

Everything I’ve been blessed with in this life…

it isn’t mine forever.

So I kiss my daughter a few extra times before I leave her, and I tell the ones I love that I am happy to see them because I am. I don’t take for granted that everyone knows how I feel any more. I tell them.

Sophie and I have a thing we like to do at night. We take turns telling God what we are thankful for that day. My wish for her is that she grows up, knowing how precious life is and how lucky we all are to experience it.

Chris’ mom has a remarkable love for her son and her inspiration will have a warm place in my heart forever.

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Big love.