Wednesday, September 30, 2015

5 Times It's (almost too) Hard to Be a Parent.


Hi Everyone!

For most, parenting is among the most rewarding, gratifying and the fulfilling parts of their lives. However, let's be honest as well. Parenting, is tough work, period. It's never ending, it's exhausting, it's all consuming and overwhelming. It's a whole bunch of  "No, you cannot do that's" in a sea of  "But, whhhhyyyyy, Mommy?!"'s. It's "yes, you must eat your dinner to have dessert" surrounded by a symphony orchestra playing, "But I don't like this, Mommy!" It's 25 "GO TO BED's" yelled upstairs every night; and then "Get up, we're late!"'s the next morning.
Still, we do it. We get up in the morning, put our big pants on and parent our children, in hopes that one day they will be contributing, functional members of society with good manners, successful families, friendships and careers of their choosing. We also hope that one day, they will exhibit the same amount of strength, stamina and determination when it comes to their own parenting skills.
However, there are times when being a parent just almost seems too hard. Moments where, I know, I've wondered..."what was I thinking?" Perhaps these will sound familiar to you as well.



1. When it is Brand New:  The first year of parenting is life-changing.  There's really no other way to describe it. You can read all the books, listen to all the advice, develop a plan, learn all you think you'll ever know during the 9 months of pregnancy and you still won't even have any idea how your life is going to be turned upside down. Parenting a newborn for the first time, especially the first 6 months, is an experience that, I believe, is designed to test the limits of a person's mind, body and soul. Sleep deprived in a body that feels like it's been hit by a freight train (and usually looks like it has too) along with the overwhelming and all too sudden realization that this "tiny little human" is depending on you for everything...and I mean EVERYTHING is enough to make a new parent give up before the journey begins. The fact that babies are lacking in communication skills, doesn't help either! I'm just saying...

2. When they Learn Independence: That "depend on you for everything" scenario I talked about a minute ago? Yeah...you'll wish for it back when they turn 2 and 3 years old! Any parent that has taken her "scuba shoe, snorkel wearing, polka dotted princess dress with a wand" daughter to the grocery store, knows exactly what I"m talking about! Or any parent who has listened to countless "NO, I don't need help!" and "I do it ...I do it... I do it,  Mommy!"'s also understands. Fast forward and before you know it it's time for driving lessons, group dates, and college campus visits. These are all stepping stones to being self -reliant, to being able to fly away from the nest one day; but still...watching your children take these important steps isn't always easy.


3. When They are Hurt or Sick. The first time you have to rush your child to the ER because of illness or injury, your heart will come undone. (ok...maybe not literally) but you will experience a feeling of helplessness unlike anything you've ever have in the past. When you watch your child, almost in slow motion, fall down the stairs or out of the tree in the backyard, or off his bike. Raging fevers, vomiting, coughing that lasts for days and nights and then spreads to the other children leaving you in a pool of mental and physical fatigue so deep that you're convinced the universe is punishing you for some long ago forgotten misdeed. When you think everything is fine, everyone is healthy...and then you find out that may not be the case. When, as in my own recently personal experience, a doctor says..."we think she has a tumor." That is when parenting almost becomes a little too hard...

4. When They Disappoint You: I know this probably sounds harsh and some may be taken aback by that statement. However, I believe it's true. Parents don't just corner the market on disappointing children when it comes to having to say no to things, or changing plans. When your child comes home from school with a failing grade on a test, or they lie to you about something, or they are mean to somebody...that's disappointing! It's almost having to admit a moment of defeat in parenting. It's hard to spend time teaching our children the difference between right and wrong only to have them do exactly what we told them not to do!

5. When You Have to Let Them Go. This is the one I think about most often:

--When I let them go to Kindergarten
--When I let them go to College
--When I let them go to new adventures away from home
--When I let them go to say "I do"
--When I let them go to hear their own new "I love you, Mommy!" 's  and "I love you, Daddy!"'s

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Mini Frito Taco Pie

Hi Everyone!

Life just continues to be rather busy busy for me! I am determined, however this week to try my best to do at least 1 recipe, 1 parenting post, and 1 crafting post. I'm not sure about Saturday Morning Coffee Cafe yet. That post takes a LOT of prep time...and I'm not sure anyone is really even reading it. So...we'll see.

So for this week's recipe, I have a super...I mean SUPER quick and easy weeknight dinner for you! It was almost TOO easy to even share; but if you're anything like me, sometimes a busy night or late activities call for something that is just mindless to put together and will those tummies!
Now, I will say that I bake these in these little corning ware dishes that I have because...well, they're cute and everyone likes having their own little dish. You could, however, bake this in a bigger casserole dish such as a 9x9 dish or an 11x7 dish. I don't think you'd have enough filling for a 13x9; but you could try!


One of the keys to this dish is to not over bake it, so that the Frito chips on the bottom stay crispy and don't get soft and soggy. Everything you're putting into the oven is already cooked, so you are really only putting it in long enough to melt the cheese on top.

Ingredients:

-- 1 lb ground beef and favorite taco meat mixture ingredients
-- Frito Corn Chips ( I do recommend using the "real" Fritos as opposed to store brand or generic)
-- shredded taco or Mexican cheese...which ever you prefer

Directions:

-- Pre heat oven to 375
-- Prepare your taco meat mixture however you normally do. Most of us have a standby recipe we use. 
-- Put some Frito Chips in the bottom of either individual baking dishes as I have done, or another dish. Try to make as much of a single layer as you can. Cover the bottom of the dish; but don't over crowd it.
-- Cover the Fritos with some of the meat mixture.
-- Top with cheese and bake about 7-10 minutes. Just long enough to melt the cheese. 


It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with any linky parties, so I am sharing this week's recipe with the following:


Have a great day, everyone! And I will see you all again soon...I promise!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chocolate Chip Toffee Bit Cookies




Hi Everyone!

Well, it's been a little while hasn't it?! I'm so sorry for the haphazard posting lately. We had a bit of a medical scare with my daughter and my time has been preoccupied with taking care of that situation. I am happy to report though that all is well for the time being. We just need to monitor her closely over the next few months.  I will probably elaborate a bit more in a parent post a little later.


For now though, let's talk about these cookies:


These cookies...OH. MY. WORD....THESE cookies are going to CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
They are perfectly crispy on the outside, warm and gooey in the middle. The best part is they are soft and deliciously chewy from the first day to the last. One of my biggest pet peeves about a cookie is when it's perfect on the first day, and then by the third day, they are hard and stiff and just not good....

These cookies though...

These cookies are just well...they're just perfect.  Honestly, I don't know how else to describe them.

Want to know the secret?

*whispers* Cornstarch

Yep! A little cornstarch mixed in with the flour mixture gives you the lasting softness and uber goodnes of these cookies.

A few more tips to share with you for perfect cookies:


1. Chill the dough before you bake it and between batches as well. I chilled mine for about 45 mins

2. When preparing the second batch of cookies, instead of placing the dough directly on the cookie pan, scoop all the cookies out first onto a separate plate and then place them onto the cookie sheet. This is to keep the cookies that you put on the hot cookie sheet from starting to cook while you are still scooping out the remaining cookies.

3. Do NOT over bake!! Honestly, I think people are SO worried about a cookie being raw in the middle that they just over cook them. That moment when you look at cookies and you think, "Gee, I wonder if these are done?" That's the moment you take them out of the oven.  Leave them on the sheet and let the little bit of carry over cooking finish them off for about 3-5 mins.  Make sure to let them cool on a wire rack.

Anyhow, I hope you give these a try and I hope you like them as much as we did!

Have a great day; and I will be back again soon!



Ingredients:

-- 3/4 cup sugar
-- 3/4 cup brown sugar
-- 1 cup butter softened to room temperature
-- 2 eggs
-- 2 tsp vanilla 
-- 2 1/4 cups flour
-- 1 Tsp salt
-- 2 Tsp Cornstarch
-- 1 tsp baking soda
--1 tsp baking powder
-- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (or more or less to taste)
-- 1 cup Heath "Bits of Brickle" toffee bits

Directions:

-- Preheat oven to 375
-- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt,baking soda and cornstarch. Set aside.
-- Put softened butter into stand mixer and mix for a couple of minutes on medium speed to make it fluffy (I know...very technical term) 
-- Add the sugars and continue to cream together over medium speed with butter until soft and fluffy. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl
-- Turn the mixer down to low and add the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. 
-- Add the vanilla, turn the mixer back up to medium speed and continue to mix for another 2 minutes.
-- Return the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture.
-- Stir in the chocolate chips and toffee bits
-- Chill the dough for about an hour.
-- Bake at 350 for approx 10-14 minutes. Everyone's oven is different...I started checking mine at 10; but they weren't really ready to come out until 14 minutes. (See the notes above)








Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sending You Lots of Hugs (StampTember!)

Hi Everyone!

I am so sorry it has been a few days since I've posted anything. I've had some personal family issues that have required my attention. The blog will probably take a bit of a slow down over the next couple of months; but I will continue to share things as I can.

In the meantime, I do have a new card to share with you. My Simon Says Stamp "Stamptember"order arrived this week and I was able to find a bit of time to play around with some new products. I am so so so in love with this new small chevron stripes wafer die!! The possibilities are endless. It's just plain fun to play with! I already have another project in progress on my desk. I will share that as soon as I can.


I used Simon Says Stamp inks to color strips of Neenah Solar White card stock (Lipstick red, Beanstalk Green, Caribbean Blue, and Goldenlocks) I stamped the sentiment from "Best Hugs"  in Caribbean Blue and then covered it with some Wink of Stella clear glitter pen. I added the smaller sentiment and then the little hearts for finishing touches. 

I am posting this a little late in the evening so I can link it up at the SSS Wednesday Challenge to use a Stamp. I hope to post a couple of more entries before next week as well!

Have a great night! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

You're Very Special

Hi Everyone.

I wanted to share another card with you that  I made. I have placed my Simon Says Stamp "Stamp-tember" order and am waiting anxiously for my package to arrive! In the meantime, I found some other great SSS products to play with. I love this "Lots of Dots" set that Kristina Werner designed. Sadly, though I have lost some of the circles from it...especially the really teeny tiny tiny ones. Will have to order a make up set soon.

For my color palette, I chose black and white and then a variety of SSS ink pads for the circles below. (Teal, Schoolhouse Red, Khaki, Green Leaf, and Hero Arts Wet Cement) The Sentiment is from an SSS stamp set called "Very Special" but I don't think it's available anymore.
I used the air vent die to separate the two parts of the card.  I added some Wink of Stella clear glitter to some of the circles, as well as some glossy accents; but it is hard to tell in the photograph. Finally, I rounded the top corners of the card for a final touch.

I am blogging on the go today, so I'll have to provide product links later. I've decided to not participate in any challenges for a while because it's a LOT of work! 

Have a great day, everyone!






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dream, Joy, Love: Keep Smiling

Hi Everyone, 

I have two cards to share with you today. Did you know that it is time for "Stamp-tember" over at Simon Says Stamp! I am having so much fun looking at the new products and deciding what new goodies I want to add to my collection! I can't wait to get them and then create and share with you. So...stay tuned!!

You will probably notice a jump in crafty posts this month and a little decrease in parenting and recipe posts. One because "Stamp-tember" makes me want to craft more and more; and two because I need some time to develop some parenting articles and ideas as well as some new recipes. 

My inspiration for the color palette for this card came from this group which I pinned a while ago.
I didn't have the exact colors; but I think I found some relatively decent substitutes. 



The first card features paper from Simon Says Stamp and Paper Trey Ink and the sentiments are from Verve Stamps "Tag Time" which I stamped using Simon Says Stamp Slate Ink and Coral Reef Ink 


My second card features a CAS design using the same papers from the first card. The sentiment is from Simon Says Stamp "Thinking of You" set which I stamped in Slate ink and the tiny circle border with Coral Reef. 

So, for now I leave you with these.  Have a great day!

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