9 Nov 2011, 8:36am
Chronicles Of A Stay At Home Mom:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Chronicles: Find That Happy Place

    I know, for sure, it has to exist, somewhere, within each of us lies a space that is bright, sparkly, airy and the grass is really green.  Yesterday was a wonderful day for me, and I cherish those days, the weather was perfect, I went for a run and I accomplished what I had set for myself that day.  There is something about checking off my list that gives me the biggest inner smile.

    For some reason, looking at my day in bite-sized pieces does wonders for my psyche.

    But some days, there is a little dark cloud that sits about my head and dumps rain on everything I set my hand to.  That little space I mentioned earlier?  Yeah. Gone.  The flowers trampled and muddy puddles everywhere.  I find myself fighting with the little black, dumpy cloud and looking for a little respite in the mental storm.
    It’s not always easy.

    But just as easily as that little cloud can circle over my head, full of worries, concerns or grief, I am learning how to push through it to find the tiny sparkles and bright spots to dwell on.

    I was talking to a dear friend yesterday and they were sharing a little of their dark cloud woes with me.   As I listened, something struck me and I asked, abruptly, “what drives you?  what makes you tick?  what do you love?  what do you live for?  Find those things and think on them.”  Yes, re-focusing really helps to remove that ominous cloud from overhead and replace it with a little bit of sunshine.

    For me, my sunshine is made up of my children’s smiles and their little hands touching my face, my husband’s voice and the way he cares for us, my dad’s encouraging words, my sisters’ love for me, my mom’s maternal intuition…that is what I focus on.  The positive.  That’s what my happy place is made up of.  Each petal is a kind word, an encouraging smile from someone who loves me.  Each sparkle is a giggle from my children…

    I have the perfect little happy place…full of love.

    7 Nov 2011, 9:34am
    Mommy Hobbies running:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Running: My first 10 mile run

    My mind is still in shock.  Saturday I overcame a long time fear.  Running more than 8 miles.  If you’ve been reading me for a while, you’ll know that my longest run to-date was only 8 miles.  It was something I was extremely proud of but couldn’t seem to push past, for several months.  But, that’s all changed and I have a new goal to reach.  My next run will be 13 miles.

    Yesterday was the ING NYC Marathon, a marathon I was supposed to run in.  Remember my plea for support oh so long ago?  I feel slightly embarrassed that I was unable to come through with my goal, but I didn’t realize that running in the NYC Marathon wasn’t just simply signing up.  There are guidelines.  Now, I’m aware and have recently applied for the lottery to guarantee myself a slot in the 2012 43rd running of the race.  If I don’t win the lottery, there is always spring where I can try again for a spot…I mean, over 47,000 people ran through the streets of NYC yesterday!!  Can you imagine?  This is no small thing.

    So, Saturday, as I was winding my way through the hills and back roads of Central Pa, I started chanting to myself, “if I want to run a marathon, this is is what I have to do.  I can’t give up.  I have to keep moving…”  Over and over I repeated those words, I zoned out, I breathed, I enjoyed every step and then I imagined my victory dance.  Mentally, I was doing war-whoops and screaming ecstatically, but when my Garmin finally clicked over to 10 miles, I gave out a pathetic yelp…well, a couple of weak yelps.  The sense of pride that overcame me was amazing.  I did my “impossible”.  It was MY impossible.  I ran 10 miles, non-stop.  ‘Nuff said.

    I came inside and my knees felt like they were going to burst.  There were really sore and felt swollen.  Ice packs to the rescue.  D set me up and I chilled (hahah) for about 20 minutes, I stretched, rolled out my muscles and had very little after effects.  Today, my muscles are slightly sore, but I’m ready for another run.  I feel like I can do anything right now.  Running 10 miles is just THAT good.  I wonder what 15 miles feels like?  And 26.2?  That must be runner’s heaven…

    *Dear Fairy Jog Mother, hear me out…don’t let me give out on my commitment, ya hear?  Give me bright happy running gear for Christmas and keep my nose warm during my long winter runs ahead…thanks in advance.  Oh!  One last thing, I really, REALLY don’t want to lose my pinky toe toenail.  Can you work a deal for me on that one?*

    4 Nov 2011, 8:32am
    weekend:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • This Weekend: Stay Committed

    You know how they say when the going gets tough…

    the tough get going

    But to where?  Somewhere cool, I’m sure

    Because they’re focused

    Not going to give up

    Staying committed and dug in for the long haul.

    Stay committed to what you know is right and true.  Don’t let twisted views skew the truth for you.  Stay committed.

    2 Nov 2011, 12:00pm
    Chronicles Of A Stay At Home Mom
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Chronicles: Give it to God

    Winner of Tata:: Lindsy W.  Thank you all for entering! ::

    How hard is that??  Sometimes when I pray, I have to draw a mental picture in my mind of me holding every one of my problems in my hands, lifting them up to God, then waiting for him to take them from me.  I revisit this mental picture several times throughout my prayers in hopes that I’m “giving it all to God”.
    It’s hard.

    But did I truly “give it to God”?  After my morning prayer and bible reading, I usually feel pretty good about life in general.  I’ve noticed that starting my day with God, balances out any issues or circumstances I might encounter later.  It’s true.
    So, back to this whole dilemma of me, God and “giving” it all to him.  I never really understood it until recently.  Why, after all my prayer and supplication did I still *feel* worried, sad, angry, possibly a little bitter, sick to my stomach or any other myriad of physical manifestations of what was going on in my life…  It didn’t make sense, was my last half hour spent on my knees for nothing?  No.  It wasn’t.  But then again I didn’t keep up with my end of the deal.

    It hit me.  Giving it all to God is simply: detaching your emotions from whatever situation is currently in the top of your omgwhyisthishappeningtome list.  You know, that long list that sits on your fridge and you growl at it in the mornings?  Mmmhmmm.

    Once I detached myself emotionally, it didn’t run rampant in my mind.  I wasn’t watching instant replays, potential instant replays, rehearsing what I would say to…whoever.  Yeah, all that?  Out the door.  Why?  Because I didn’t want to deal with those feelings or thoughts.  That is all God’s territory.  I’ll give him all my problems and save my emotions, feelings and thoughts for my husband and children.  No need to waste them pointlessly.

    I haven’t mastered the detachment process completely, but boy has it sure helped.  With each new bump in the road of my life, it’s become easier to learn through each trial instead of being bogged down to the point of mental exhaustion and anguish.

    *Here God, I give you my problems, while I step away from my emotional attachment to them.  I’ll stand here and wait while you work it out because I know you can.  Thanks, God.  Oh, and sorry for the times I thought I knew what you should do and got frustrated because it worked out differently.  It turned out better your way anyhow.  Silly me.  Awesome you.*

    Amen.

    2 Nov 2011, 8:45am
    Of Food and Love recipes:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Of Food And Love: Beef Stew

    ::Don’t forget to ENTER the Handmade Goodness Giveaway for Tata, the Punk Monkey::

    When I get a bee in my bonnet or a hunger pang in my stomach, I do something about it.

    Thank you Tasty Kitchen.  You always come to my rescue.

    In this case, it was a hunger pang.  My stomach wanted a good beef stew.  Like, a hearty one along the lines of Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon but without the extensive prep work.

    And  I found it!!  This is such a simple stew and we made sure every bit was wiped from our bowls.

    There are similar aspects to my first, very delicious and memorable, beef stew.  Browning the meat, for instance.

    The best part about stews is all the vegetables.  That’s the one part I think about the most, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms…so delicious.

    Sauteed and then cooked slowly in the broth with fresh sprigs of rosemary.  Oh, that broth…Cylas couldn’t get enough.  I filled his little bowl twice with the steaming liquid.

    A little over an hour later, we ate.  The perfect stew for the wintery days ahead.

    Becca’s Beef Stew :: courtesy of Tasty Kitchen

    • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil (Divided Use)
    • 3 pounds Chopped Beef Stew Meat
    • 1 Tablespoon Salt (I thought this was a bit much so I only added half a tablespoon)
    • 1 Tablespoon Cracked Black Pepper
    • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
    • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
    • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
    • 2 teaspoons Paprika
    • 3 Tablespoons Butter
    • 1-½ cup Button Mushrooms (I used just regular white mushrooms)
    • 2 cups Chopped Onions
    • 1-½ cup Roughly Chopped Celery
    • 2 cups Sliced Carrots
    • 2 cloves Garlic
    • 4 Tablespoons Flour ( I only used 3.5 Tbl)
    • 4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
    • 4 cups Beef Stock (I found that there wasn’t enough broth for our taste so if you added a little more liquid, like a half cup, it wouldn’t hurt)
    • ½ cups Dry Red Wine
    • 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
    • 3 cups Diced Potatoes

    A few quick notes:
    - Beef can be purchased as stew meat or you can cube up most any cut of steak.
    - I like to mix things up with the onions, sometimes I simply chop the onion I have in the house, sometimes I like to add pearl onions.
    - Any type of potato will work, I prefer the redskin potatoes for flavor and texture and they look pretty. Potatoes must be cut small – 1 inch cubes.
    - If you don’t want to use wine just add more beef broth.
    - Omit or add veggies as you wish. I use the large carrots and slice them penny thin but you could simply use halved baby carrots too. All measurements for vegetables are just approximate. I use 2 or 3 carrots, stalks of celery, 4 or 5 potatoes, just whatever looks right to me. It’s about what you want to eat most of. Add more broth/wine if you would like a less thick stew.

    Place Dutch oven on medium high heat and add 1.5 Tablespoons of olive oil to the pot. Spread beef in an even layer on a plate or chopping board. Season evenly with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, garlic powder and paprika. Place half the beef in the Dutch oven and cook until browned on each side (usually 2-3 minutes per side). Remove beef from pot and place in a bowl. Add remaining olive oil and repeat cooking with remaining beef. Remove beef to bowl after browning.

    Add butter and mushrooms to the pot to cook, stirring occasionally until well browned (about 3 minutes). I like my mushrooms diced very fine so as not to see them when eating my stew but you can simply slice them if you like mushrooms. Add onions and cook until caramelized again about 3 minutes. Add celery (finely chopped) and carrots. Add garlic (I use the jar minced kind – or you can mince your own) and stir well. Sprinkle veggies with flour and cook for about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, beef stock, and wine. Stir well. Place 3 whole springs of rosemary in mix. Add the cooked beef and all the juices back to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover pot (I just turn my lid a little crooked) and cook for a half hour stirring occasionally. Then add potatoes to the stew and simmer for an hour or so longer, until potatoes are very tender. Be sure to stir fairly often, scraping edges and bottom of the pot. Give stew a good stir and remove from heat. Remove rosemary stems and serve hot. Makes excellent leftovers and freezes well.

    Some people like to serve their stew over rice or noodles, if that is your preference, enjoy!

    1 Nov 2011, 1:54pm
    life
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • 1 Nov 2011, 8:30am
    Mommy Hobbies Of Food and Love sewing:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Of Food And Love: Free Candy Day!

    ::Don’t forget to ENTER the Handmade Goodness Giveaway for Tata, the Punk Monkey::

    Yesterday was Free Candy Day.  That’s what we call it around our house.  The one day in the year where most everyone is out on their doorsteps passing out candy, fruit, poptarts(?) and school supplies to the neighborhood children.

    Cylas was really, really looking forward to it all.  I know that it’s a bit controversial this “holiday”, but I’d like to post this to celebrate the fact that I made their costumes!  Hah.  I couldn’t believe I did it.  I think my ideas are bigger than my hands can make sometimes, so their costumes were quite simple.

    Hey, Little Red Riding Hood, you sure are lookin’ good…

    Who’s there?  The Wolf, of course!

    I’m going to eeeaaatt youuu *big growl*

    Noooo.  Poor Little Red Ridinging Hood runs for her cute little life.

    I made her cape and pants.

    I re-fashioned his ($2 thrift store) hoodie and made his tail. 

    That’s all.  And so went our Free Candy Day :)

    31 Oct 2011, 12:30pm
    Mommy Hobbies running:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Running: My partner

    Last year, or was it the year before, we bought an incredible stroller.  I noticed it while I was in New York, before we had kids, and I vowed that THAT stroller would be mine when the time came.  And it was!
    We bought the Phil and Ted and haven’t looked back since.  But, man, it was a long road getting there.  We bought, and I kid you not, over six different strollers found a couple we really liked, but they could only do so much.  Finally, we snagged the jogger off Craigslist.  It was so light and rode like a dream…unfortunately, we traded it out for another style which is a little more cumbersome, but it works.  Because it’s heavier and doesn’t turn as smoothly, I get a little extra workout in my arms as I’m running.

    So, with my stroller and my two year old, I’ve been going out on runs that I that call “2 for 2″.  Two miles with my two year old.  It’s a great workout.  She loves, loves going out with me and sits so quietly.  My run usually lasts between 18-20 min, which is nice.  I keep about a 9 min per mile pace.  Decent.  But, she’s going to be turning three soon!  One of my Twitter followers asked if I was going to make it a “3 for 3″.  Yipes!  I could do it, I know I could.  Jogging with a stroller takes a lot of extra work, I don’t mind it.  I need all the help I can get.

    My latest running running news::  I signed up for my FIRST half-marathon!!  It will be in D.C in March of next year.  The D.C Rock ‘n Roll.  My mind is still swimming with the fact that I actually did it, so, now, every extra step I can take to prepare myself is a must.  So, yes, quite possibly, I will soon be writing about my “3 for 3″ runs with my baby girl.  She is the cutest running partner.

    I’ve been hitting the pavement regularly.  My mileage isn’t as high as I’d like it to be, and I still haven’t ever run over 8 miles, but I can pound out 7 miles in no time and I still feel good.  Maybe it’s time to take the next step?? Why do I get so nervous about these types of things??

    *this was by no means a stroller review just sharing my experience as a running mother with kids and what I’ve found works for me.*

    31 Oct 2011, 8:27am
    Chronicles Of A Stay At Home Mom:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • Chronicles: Getting Organized

    ::Don’t forget to ENTER the Handmade Goodness Giveaway for Tata, the Punk Monkey::

    Ok, so, I love making lists, I love taking my pencil and scratching through each item as I finish it, I love purging my children’s toys, clothes or other items, and I love finding totes and filling it with folded fabric, hats, scarves, gloves…whatever needs to find a home.

    Lately, I’ve been feeling that for all the cleaning I do.  It’s just is not enough.  Because, if one were to take a peek into my bathroom closet, or into any other number of closets in my house…they would see that my skills only go so far.

    I feel like I should be completely embarrassed, but I’m not.  My lack of skill is a sad fact.  I have small bins in there to hold extra soaps, lotions or other hygiene items, my towels are folded, cleaning supplies lined up, but it still looks like a mess!!  My sister sister informed me, in not so many words, that I needed “help”.  If I couldn’t see past the small amount of organization to a deeper level, I was missing something.  I tend to agree.

    Lately, I’ve found that I clean my house obsessively.  Like, you don’t even wanna know…I’m always running with a vacuuming, spritzing with cleaning spray, picking up toys, doing laundry, but it seems like I can’t keep my house clean enough. 

     

    Messes fiddle with my brain functions and my mood meter.  Anyone who has stayed with our family for any amount of time can tell you that my smile takes a dip if after a couple of hours the toys haven’t been picked up.  My kids have free reign of the house, they are allowed to turn the couch upside down, jump on the beds, take the covers off, build forts from the table and use the house as a war zone.  I don’t mind.  But, when all is said and done…that’s when I get very, very frustrated.  If they don’t pick up their “fun”, mommy goes into holygoodnessshebecrazy mode.  Once it’s clean, I’m nice again.  See, it’s magic.

    Clean house = happy mommy

    But I’m starting to think there is an underlying tone to my frustration.  I know that there are details I’m missing in order to make our house not just “clean”, but organized.  And that’s what I want.  So, I am writing about this in hopes that I’m not the only one ready for some change, some clean up, some rearranging, and purging of unnecessary  things.  Who’s with me?
    I’m going to give updates on my progress and tricks that I’ve learned to help streamline my house and life through just simply getting organized.  I’m pretty sure part of the streamlining process is going to include me learning how to look at my tasks one at a time and not the WHOLE picture.  It’s so overwhelming that I want to quit before I start.  Baby steps, *breathe* baby steps, *breathe*

    I’m so ready to do this.  Anyone out there been at this point before?  Where did you start and how did it work out?  Do share.

    This is me, being vulnerable.  Help!

    28 Oct 2011, 9:15am
    weekend:
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  • What’s new

    Top of the list is: Handmade Goodness Giveaways Project! Please be sure to ENTER. Just click the link (when there is one) at the top of the most recent post! This project is in an effort to promote local and independent artists. Crafters, photographers, designers (of all types) -- man, woman or child all are welcome. Each giveaway will feature a different artist with a different talent, please join, if you will! Contact me: mommyhobbies [at] gmail [dot] com
  • In my napsack stash

  • This Weekend: Run

    ::Don’t forget to ENTER the Handmade Goodness Giveaway for Tata, the Punk Monkey::

    Run away from bad feelings

    Bad thoughts

    My son's self-portrait

    Stinky smells(via Pinterest)

    Messy rooms

    People with bad, destructive habits, whatever they may be…(via Pinterest)

    Run toward positive feelings

    Good thoughts

    ...yet another self-portrait

    Clean laundry

    Spiffy rooms

    And people who love and support you

    No better way to take on life than in the arms of someone who loves you.

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