Things To Say…

So, I have some things to say. I’ve always been a writer and a talker, but mostly a talker. However, I’ve always loved to write and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often. Probably because I just don’t have the time. I’m a part-time, working mom, and taking care of a Pre-Schooler and 1st Grader. Ask anyone, they’ll tell you, that’s a handful. At least in my world it is. ūüėČ

A few things have been bothering me. Maybe you can relate to this or at least understand my points of view. I have a couple of pet peeves and I will elaborate on this. This is just my opinion, and like that even matters (haha!), but I love to write about things that others only think about. Especially things that people think but do not say.

So here we go…

Did you ever notice that we are now older but not wiser? We have more money, but we are not richer. We have more conveniences but do we have more time? We have more friends, (ie 365 friends on Facebook) but we are lonely. We have more toys, tools and gadgets and gizmos but are bored out of our minds! These are the “things” that are truly bothering me these days!

I guess to start, I am just feeling my age! I’m 43 and I do feel older, a lot older. But when I really think about it, do I feel wiser? I did get my Associates degree, and a Culinary Diploma, but I really don’t feel any “smarter”. I have friends and associates that continued on with school, obtained their Bachelor’s and now have that “dream job” or that “career they’ve always wanted”. Way to go friend. I feel like I was in that same educational “race” but then tripped on a rock or bump and I have stumbled into a learning abyss, I fell flat on my face and never crossed the finish line. I don’t believe that I’ll be advancing or moving forward because I’m stuck in that comfy rut. In my job that “pays pretty good” and that gives me that schedule that is convenient for my kids and I. But is this what I really want?? Will this “job” fulfill me and have me thinking, this is the best job for me and I’m finally happy! In the end, that is all we really want, to be happy. To feel we have accomplished and succeeded. Are 95% of us feeling this way? Are you looking for motivational Periscope videos too and signing up on Linked In to make connections with people that you will never come close to meeting or being in their “circle”?? Is it just me?

What I mean by we are richer but we have less money, is exactly that. We are making more money than we did 10 years ago, but we don’t really have money. Things are more expensive, there are now daycare costs and other costs we never even dreamed of. We are working moms, paying for daycare costs to help take care of our kids, which would cost us nothing if we were just able to stay home! Part of our pay is going to those costs, along with subscriptions to Ipsy, Sephora and Birchbox, so we can get products to help us look better and feel better about being a tired mother. We are also going broke paying for those uber convenient meals-in-a-box like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and the like so we can get dinner on the table in 30 minutes because life is crazy and we are exhausted from working all day. The last thing we want to do is meal plan, grocery shop or cook a home cooked meal for God’s sake! Not to mention, we are buying more of those convenience foods like toaster breakfasts, lunch in a bento box, or even just forking out the $3.30 per hot lunch per day for our kiddos. Then we factor in the pizza at least once a week or even twice a week due to sports, extra curricular activities and just being down right tired! What about school pictures – 2 x a year @ at least $25 a pop, plus all of those darn fundraisers for the school? I mean, I’m all for buying some delicious cookie dough (thank you Otis) but darn, I sure as heck didn’t figure $30 into the food budget for that! Or what about the jump-a-thon, dance-a-thon, jog-a-thon or bike-a-thon fundraisers! Did you factor all of that into your budget?? Does your budget allow for all of this or do you somehow just make it work, like I do???¬† Do you see what I mean about not having any money? Because after all this, I am pretty much broke. Well, I have money for the wine and bourbon that we feel we need to have because we are so stressed about money (and kids! haha)…so after buying that, we definitely have no money. (I’m kidding, but you get the idea right???)

We have all these conveniences but do we have more time? We have a microwave that can “nuke” our food in minutes, yet we still spend hours in the kitchen! We spend hours on You Tube and Facebook watching foodie and recipe videos and we still have no idea what to cook for dinner! We have a cell phone where we can order food in minutes, buy tickets, shop for anything anywhere at anytime, check our emails, voicemails, talk to people with the push of a button, order groceries, buy something and have it delivered in 2 hours, look up information and ask Google or Alexa for anything. Yet we are still rushed, pressed for time, stressed about everything we have to get done and have even more to do now than we did 20 years ago. I’m constantly hearing my parents say, “When I was your age, we didn’t have to worry about cell phones or giving our kids tablets or electronic devices!”….Oh my gosh, how in the world did you order a pizza, check the weather,do that book report or get your kids to listen??? The answers were, call it in, watch the nightly news at 10 pm, go to the library and spank them! But these things took time! So, if we are saving SO much time by having a cell phone (ordering online), looking up the weather online or using the internet for that book report, where is all the saved time going?? I figure that would save us about 4 – 5 hours right there! Where did it go? And then there is the hour that we saved by microwaving our dinner. Plus the two hours that we didn’t waste grocery shopping at the physical store, hmmm…that is at least 8 hours! Dang, I could do A LOT with 8 more hours in the day! Even if you cut that in half, that is four freaking hours! Well, I suppose I didn’t get to level 255 in Candy Crush overnight.

I never used to have 365 friends. At least I don’t think I had that many in my “contacts” or “address book” as it was called then. I had maybe 30 or 40? So, now that Facebook helped me find all these people that “I might know”, I seem to be lingering around the 365 mark of “Friends”. Thank you Facebook for also importing them ALL into my contacts on my phone.¬† Did I know I was doing that at the time?? Now I have eight, yes that is 8, Michelle’s in my phone that I’m pretty sure I have no idea who they are but you seem to think they are my “friends”. Well, I may know 1 of them, and we might have been close at one time. (This is an example! One of my best-est friends is a Michelle!) Do you see my point?? So, why is it that I feel lonelier than ever? It could be that I’m a 43-year-old mom with younger aged children and most of the moms my age kids are graduating high school. Or it could be that most ladies my age are settled down in a house and I’m now in an apartment. Or it could be because stupid Facebook said and led me to believe these people would be my friend and they are not! I might hear from about 25 of them on a daily basis, if that! In fact, just recently that number of 365 dwindled to 273 and not one of those 92 people even reached out to say hey, why did you delete me? Hmm, not so much a friend in the end. We use social media so much these days like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Linked In, so why do we feel so disconnected? We are losing our “connections” by putting our face into an electronic device instead of picking up the phone and saying “hey, I miss you, let’s talk”.¬† But…we are saving time by not picking up the phone and having that 2-hour phone call and texting instead…so where did those 2 hours go that we saved?? Well, we spend 1 hour on the phone texting that person, then spent 1 hour playing Farmville? However we also sent 3 emails, made 2 appointments and listened to 4 voicemails. *Sigh*

So nowadays, we have less time, we are busier, more stressed, have less money and feel lonelier. Internet to blame? Social Media? Most people say that social media brings their family closer. Hmm, I have to disagree myself. I’m sure others would disagree as well. They would see that picture of the girl’s night out that they didn’t get invited to and be like “that bxxxx didn’t invite me!”. Hmmm, that¬†has ever happened to me. (RIGHT!)

We have all these cool gadgets from Pampered Chef, Harbor Freight, Best Buy, Fry’s, we have tablets and devices, game systems and toys…oh so many toys, but we are bored. Our kids can’t sit and “play” for five minutes without saying “I don’t have anything to do”…as I look around in the SEA of toys surrounding them. We can’t wait in a line for 3 minutes without pulling out our cell phone and checking our Facebook feed or sending a text. We are constantly looking for that instant gratification or quick fix. We are all a bunch of junkies! That’s it. We are junkies who haven’t much money, we are short on time, without real friends, with too much stuff.

I have recently moved from state to state. I’ve lost touch with some of my friends, well all of them really. I wonder why they don’t call or text even, but then I realize I haven’t called either. It’s been a hard few months transitioning from a home to an apartment. It’s still hard. I have been purging like crazy because like I said above, we have too much “stuff”. It’s all been a learning experience.

I hope to make some new friends here or at least reconnect with some old ones. I don’t have much time because I am a busy working mother, but hey maybe you can come over and I’ll open up a Hello Fresh bag and that bottle of bourbon I was talking about?

I hope you liked my rant and my “deep thoughts”. I do love writing and hope I get to do it again soon…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Plan Week #2

HEARTY TUSCAN SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

ASIAN CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

CHICKEN, BACON & RANCH PIZZA

EASY WEEKNIGHT CHILI (FOR ROCKCROK XL

CREOLE GUMBO WITH CORNBREAD MUFFINS  (5 star recipe!)

CREAMY LEMON-PESTO CHICKEN & LINGUINE

BRUSCHETTA PASTA

And for dessert….

MINI CLASSIC VANILLA BUNDT CAKES

OR

EASY FUDGE BROWNIES

Click HERE for entire grocery list! Hopefully this will save you some time in the kitchen. I am also hoping you will enjoy these healthy, quick meals. Stick around to see Week #3’s meal plan too! xoxo

Happy cooking,

Charlene

 

One Pot Sausage & Kale Pasta

This is a consultant exclusive recipe! It’s a 5 star favorite and I wanted to share it with all of you ūüôā Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1¬†tbsp (15 mL)¬†canola oil, divided
  • 1¬†lb. (450 g)¬†mild Italian turkey sausage (casings removed)
  • 1¬† ¬†medium onion
  • 2¬† ¬†garlic cloves
  • 4¬†cups (1 L)¬†unsalted chicken stock
  • 1¬†can (14.5 oz)¬†diced tomatoes, undrained (1¬ĺ cups/425 mL)
  • 1¬†can (8 oz/ or 398 mLg)¬†tomato sauce
  • 1/2¬†tbsp (7 mL)¬†red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1¬†lb. (450 g)¬†farfalle pasta
  • 2¬†oz (60 g)¬†fresh Parmesan cheese, plus additional if desired
  • 8¬†cups (2 L)¬†fresh kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces (see cook‚Äôs tips)
  • 4¬†oz (125 g)¬†‚Öď less fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), softened

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat ¬Ĺ tbsp of the oil in the¬†All-Purpose Pot¬†over medium heat for 1‚Äď3 minutes, or until shimmering. Add the sausage. Cook uncovered for 4‚Äď6 minutes or until browned, using the¬†Mix ‚ÄėN Chop¬†to break the sausage into crumbles. Drain and remove from the pot.
  2. Cut the onion into chunks. Chop with the Food Chopper. Add the remaining oil, onion, and garlic pressed with the Garlic Press to the pot; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sausage, stock, diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and pasta to the pot. Stir to combine.
  4. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Grate the Parmesan with the¬†Microplane¬ģ Adjustable Fine Grater. Stir in the Parmesan, kale, and cream cheese. Cover the pot and simmer for 4‚Äď6 minutes, or until pasta and kale are tender. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Yield:

  • 8¬† servings of¬†1¬Ĺ¬†cups (375mL)

Nutrients per serving:

Calories 440, Total Fat 12 g, Saturated Fat 3.5 g, Cholesterol 50 mg, Sodium 650 mg, Carbohydrate 56 g, Fiber 5 g, Sugars 7 g, Protein 28 g

Cook’s Tips:

To remove stems from your kale, fold leaves in half with the vein side out. Then trim along the stem from top to bottom.

You may substitute baby spinach for kale.

 

Zucchini Deep Dish Pie (Quiche) by Pampered Chef – Modified

Zucchini Deep Dish Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

zucchini pie

Ingredients

    Crust

  • 1¬†package (8 ounces)¬†refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 2¬†teaspoons¬†Dijon mustard
    Filling

  • 4¬†cups¬†thinly sliced zucchini (3-4 small)
  • 1¬†cup¬†coarsely chopped onion
  • 2¬†tablespoons¬†butter or margarine
  • 1¬† ¬†garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†Italian seasoning (I increased this to 1 tsp)
  • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬†salt (I increased this to 1 tsp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†ground black pepper ( I increased this to 1/2 tsp)
  • 2¬†tablespoons¬†snipped fresh parsley
  • 2¬† ¬†eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream (I added this to mine)
  • 2¬†cups (8 ounces)¬†shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375¬įF. For crust, unroll crescent dough; separate into triangles. Arrange evenly in Deep Dish Pie Plate with points toward the center. Using lightly floured Baker’s Roller¬ģ, roll dough over bottom to seal seams. Press dough halfway up sides to form a crust. Spread mustard over bottom of crust.
  2. For filling, slice zucchini using Simple Slicer Set blade to #2. Coarsely chop onion using Food Chopper. Melt butter in (12-in.) Skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir zucchini, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.
  3. Whisk eggs & cream in Classic Batter Bowl. Stir in cheese. Add vegetable mixture; mix well. Pour vegetable mixture over crust, spreading evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes or until center is set and crust is golden brown. Cut into wedges to serve.

Side Note: I increased the seasonings and I would say it was just right. You may need to taste your zucchini after it is done sauteing to see if it has enough flavor. I feel like the cream gave it a little bit of richness but not too much.

 

Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon Salad w/Edamame

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I made this very easy, healthy grilled salmon salad for lunch! It was delicious!

Grilled Salmon Salad w/Edamame

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Couple handfuls of assorted lettuce – I like to use 2 green leafy lettuces and arugula
  • 1/2 small cucumber, chopped or sliced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped or sliced
  • 1 small mandarin orange or 1/2 an orange, peeled & segmented
  • 1 4-5 oz portion of salmon, grilled

Mix all ingredients for salad and top with the grilled salmon. I like to sprinkle my salad with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a little lemon juice, but you can top with any dressing you like for this!

Enjoy!

I Feel the Need, the Need to Write…

Anyone else get this 80’s term? Maybe this will help, “I feel the need, the need for speed!”. Whoever thought that would be iconic one day.¬† (Top Gun…if you didn’t get it!) Maybe something in my writing will be iconic one day. Ha…one can dream right?

I am sad that I haven’t been writing. I haven’t had that “release”. Where you feel that things and emotions are bottling up inside of you and you might explode if you don’t get it out…do you ever feel that? Well maybe you need to write. Let it out. Let it go. “Let it goooo!” (Little Frozen reference there)

It’s about to get REAL…

I can’t believe I haven’t written since November. I have been slacking. That’s probably also the last time I have felt “creative”. It’s so sad really. I was really into Stampin Up and thought I was good at it but now I’m not so sure. I guess when you don’t get much business and sales you start doubting yourself. I’ve done a lot of that…doubting…

Let’s take a poll, shall we?

How many of you have done home based businesses? (Hands raised…ME!) Now, how many businesses have you done? …. Let’s see…Mary Kay, Stampin Up, Premier Jewelry, Thirty-One, It Works… ok so that’s 5. That’s not too bad I guess. I guess most of us stay at home moms are looking for the next best thing. The next thing that will get us out of the house for a “break” for some “me” time. Because why? Because “Mommying” is HARD. Being a mom, I’ve realized after 5 years, is the HARDEST job, EVER. Sometimes probably just as stressful as being an air traffic controller. Well almost.

How do I know this? Because I think I lost 6 months of my life when I went out to lunch with my 2 toddlers today, by myself. Because I have 2 toddlers that are 19 months apart. I wasn’t by myself, actually, I was with a few other mom’s from my daughter’s pre-school. I said ok to the lunch invitation in hopes of meeting the “cool” moms, making new friends and just feeling accepted. I knew that it would be tough. I knew that Sophie would not want to sit in a “baby” chair and would try to leave the table after 3 bites. I knew that Wyatt would start acting cranky after barely eating anything. The kids had already been at school for 3 hours and I knew they just wanted food and a nap (or quiet time).¬† So did I too. Want them to have nap time that is. Well, lunch went well, it was great meeting new people. They were helpful letting Sophia sit on her lap and watch our things when I had to take the kids to go potty, twice. Of course my son had to poop while we were there. I let him go by himself, but thank goodness one of the other moms was in there and came out to let me know my son needed me. Of course. All the while Sophie kept running away from the table. I finally strapped her into the baby chair much to her chagrin. I even pulled out the crayons, small tube of play-doh and coloring books to help keep my kids busy. (Since the cute paper puzzle dinosaurs the restaurant gave us were not working)

One of the moms commented, “you’re so good, look at you with your bag of stuff for the kids!”…Um well, that’s one way to look at it, put nicely. It’s more like, I know my kids are going to misbehave at some point and they’re gonna need some shit to do. Hahaha!

So that’s cute that other moms thing I’m prepared, that does make me feel good. But don’t think for a second it’s because I have my shit together, because trust me, I don’t.

As I left the restaurant $22 later and with 2 takeout boxes of leftovers of all the kids food they didn’t touch, I vowed that I wouldn’t go back to that restaurant without reinforcements…or any restaurant without a “play place” for that matter. We all decided to do that next time.

I don’t feel like I have “bad” kids, I just think that the timing was off for them, they were tired and also needed “something” to do. It’s hard keeping a 2-5 year old “entertained”. If you don’t believe me, just ask a mom or a dad of one.

Anyone, hope you enjoyed this writing and maybe got a little chuckle out of it. I know I did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOJO Monday #472 – Making Spirits Brights

Hi there Stamping Friends!

Just thought I’d play along this week with MOJO Monday. Super cute sketch and I was able to use my circle framelits set from Stampin Up. These circles are so great for layering! I also cannot wait to make a cute scrapbook page using them to show off our adorable design paper!

mojo472

Here’s my card for this challenge. It was pretty quick and easy.

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See the twine? It’s actually the burlap ribbon we have! It’s very versatile! I will try to make a video to show you the different ways to use it!

And here are the other items I used:

And Back to Our Scheduled Cardmaking…

Hi Friends!

Remember me? That crazy lady who’s motor home burned to the ground and was traumatized so she quit posting on her blog???

Ok, so I wasn’t “traumatized” (maybe just a wee bit stressed out???) but it has been difficult getting back into the swing of things! We were living with the in-laws when we got here, and it was difficult, especially with 3 dogs (1 was ours). Then in June, I had to put down our 14 year old dog Hunny. She was the SWEETEST dog. It was one of the HARDEST things I’ve ever had to do. I miss her every day.¬† Here’s a sweet picture of her exploring the snow when we first got here. Sometimes I still can’t believe she’s gone. Love you Hunny Bun. Always.

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In July we finally found our forever home (hopefully!) and moved in. We’re pretty much settled in now just finishing the backyard and doing some decorating. Still a ways to go but it’s wonderful. First thing was first and I took over the space under the stairs (temporarily) for my stampin space. It’s so…Harry Potter-ish! haha…My stamping space is the “cupboard under the stairs”! I love it. Here’s a pic!

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The kids are adjusting to this life and Wyatt is doing much better. Poor thing, you could really tell he was having a hard time when we first got here.

I’m doing home pre-school for this year for both kiddos and Sophie is in Gymnastics once a week. She LOVES it. We’re looking into soccer for Wyatt. They have some cute toddler teams out here like Soccer Buddies.

So…on to cardmaking!! I received my holiday items and I’m in love! The cookie cutter stamps and punch are SO darling. If you haven’t seen some of the products, check out my pre-order haul video HERE.

I actually wanted to share a cute alternate project (which has nothing to do with the Holiday Catty – HA!) I was in need of a wine tag and thought that the cute gift card holder from the March 2016 Paper Pumpkin – Pocketful of Cheer kit would be neat! Also, minimal work because it’s practically done for you! All I did was punch an 1-1/4″ circle into the top, did some embossing and stamping with the Endless Birthday Wishes set,¬† and used the pieces in the kit to add a pull tab. Then all I had to do was write on the card.

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Here’s a close up:

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Yep, should have used the embossing buddy so I wouldn’t have the tiny specks of powder all over it! (I was being lazy! hahaha)

This tag was perfect! You could even fold it up and adhere it with washi or a mini staple if you think it’s a little long.

Well I’m so glad to be back! I hope to be posting more, making and sharing more videos and writing more (little anecdotes & short stories!). Thanks for sticking with me!

Be back soon with more stamping FUN!!!