About me

I am a Stay at Home Mom. I love Chai Lattes, anything chocolate, and all of the Real Housewives. I hate cleaning bathrooms.

I've been with my husband since 2000, married since 2005, and together we have two little girls. Little Bear was born in 2009 and Crazy Plates in 2010.

This is my blog. A place where I share all the fun and frustrating things about being a Stay at Home Mom.

I hope you can enjoy, relate, and have a little laugh.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bette Midler vs Ariana Grande. But Who Is Really To Blame?

Recently, Bette Midler took aim at Ariana Grande.  In a nutshell, she said "Trust your talent. You don't have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead."  My first reaction was, that's a bit harsh, but, you go Bette!  It's true, maybe I'm getting old, or maybe it's because I'm a mom of two little girls, but I don't think our young pop idols need to be so sexualized. But, then I got to thinking.  Is it right to pick on Ariana?  I mean, I can't really blame her, she works in an industry where she is competing for stage time with people like Jennifer Lopez.   

Did you see Jennifer's performance at this year's American Music Awards?  That girl can dance!  She was up there with her oiled up legs, her tiny waste and her wind machine, rubbing booties with Iggy Azalea.  So, what else do we expect Ariana to do?  But, I can't really fault Jennifer.  She's just trying to compete with Kim Kardashian for media coverage. 

Ah yes.  Kim Kardashian.  I'm sure by now we've all seen her pictures in Paper magazine.  The outrage that she, a mother, would pose nude! But, I can't really fault her for doing it.  This is how Kim has always made her living.  It's not very realistic of us to expect her to put on a sweater set and get a job at a bank.  She's just trying to keep her ratings up. 

I don't think the blame should be placed on Ariana Grande, or Jennifer Lopez, or even Kim Kardashian.  The problem isn't that Ariana Grande is all sexed up on stage.  The problem is that millions of us tune in to watch it.   The problem isn't Jennifer Lopez singing a song with lyrics like "All the sexy girls in the party.  Go and grab a man, bring him to the dance floor.  Go on let them jeans touch you while you're dancing.  It's his birthday, give him what he ask for (Let me show you how to do it)."  The problem is that we put this song and it's performance on prime time TV.  The problem isn't that Kim Kardashian posed nude for Paper magazine.  The problem is that the photos are so easily accessed with a simple Google search.

The celebrities that we criticize for being too sexualized and setting a bad example for our young girls, are really just giving us what we want.  Guess we should be more careful with what we ask for. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

What's for Dinner: Housewife Pie!

In high school I dated a guy whose family is from Newfoundland.  At a big family gathering one day, his aunt said to me, "You need to try my Newfie potato salad."  "Oh," I replied, "What's different about it?  What makes it Newfie potato salad?"  "A Newfie made it" was her answer.

Following along with that logic, I present to you Housewife Pie.  It's Sheppard's Pie, made by a housewife.  But, this housewife prefers sausage and sweet potatoes over ground beef and white potatoes, so that is my spin on this traditional dinner fare. 

This is what I started with.  Ground Johnsonville sausage, frozen mixed vegetables, and sweet potatoes.  Pretty simple so far, right?

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and boil in a large pot until tender.  In the meantime, cook the ground sausage, and when it is almost cooked through, add a few handfuls of mixed frozen veggies.  Then, drain the sweet potatoes and mash them with a bit of butter, maple syrup and brown sugar.  Put the sausage mixture in a casserole dish, top with the mashed sweet potato, and put the whole thing in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, just to make sure it's heated through and so that when you cut into it, it stays together and doesn't all fall apart.  Then, eat it up! 

Here are a couple extra tips for you.  You can assemble your Housewife Pie in a freezer safe dish, and freeze for a quick meal that is ready to go when you need it.  Just pull it out of the freezer, thaw it a bit, and cook at 350 degrees until it is heated through.  Another great tip is to cook a little extra Johnsonville ground sausage, and leave a few sweet potato cubes un-mashed.  Then, the next morning, warm up the sausage and sweet potato in the microwave, and top with a couple of eggs, cooked the way you like them.  Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can't See The Forest For The Christmas Trees

Combine my love of Christmas, with my love of crafts, with my new found love of Pinterest, and the result is this.  A whole bunch of DIY Christmas trees.  If I lived alone, my house would be decoupaged from top to bottom.  But, since I have a husband and two kids that need to share the space with me, I suppress my desire to glue gun everything.  Suppress, that is, until Christmas.  Come Christmas, the house belongs to me.  Me and my little bit of heaven on Earth, Michael's Craft Store.

For this first Christmas tree, you'll need a Styrofoam Christmas tree, mint leaf gummies, and straight pins.  It's best to go with the green Styrofoam Christmas tree since some will show through, and look for the straight pins with the multi-coloured ends, since they will act as the Christmas decorations on the tree.  

Starting at the bottom, pin each mint leaf gummy onto the Christmas tree.  That's about it.  I was watching The Blacklist with my husband while making this, and I have to say, the hardest part about this project was trying to get him to stop eating my craft supplies.

When your tree is done, look through your Christmas decorations for something that can act as a topper.  It can be anything you like.  Or nothing at all.  It's your tree.  It looks good enough to eat, don't you think?  But, I wouldn't eat it.  Unless you like eating little bits of Styrofoam.  

This next tree is just as quick and easy as the last one.  You can put the kids down for a nap, make a tree, and still have time to do the laundry before they wake up.  That's my kind of craft project.  For this tree, you'll need a Styrofoam tree, a glue gun and fuzzy ribbon.  I don't know the actual name, but it's in the ribbon section of Michael's, so you can't miss it.  Oh, and a cup of tea.  The tea is important. 

Starting at the top, wrap the fuzzy ribbon around the Christmas tree.  You'll want to glue the entire first row, to ensure it will stay in place.  As you wrap the fuzzy wired ribbon down the tree you'll only need to glue sporadically.  Ok...I have to confess something.  This final design was not my original intention for this project.  I ran out of fuzzy wired ribbon.  But, me being me, I couldn't wait until I was next able to go to Michael's to buy some more, so I decided to rummage through my Christmas decorations to find something to glue to the base to hide the Styrofoam tree.  So, you can either buy enough material, or, plan to hid the bottom. 

Before we had kids, my friend Vanessa and I owned a gift basket company.  We were perfect basket business partners because we both like tedious activities.  Need me to add a gift tag to 200 favours?  No problem.  Want a tiny crystal glued on each gift tag?  Even better.  If you can relate to this, then this next tree is for you.  For this tree you'll need a couple bags of mixed buttons, and some straight pins with coloured ends, and, of course, a Styrofoam tree.  Oh, and a glue gun.  First, separate the buttons into two bowls, one with large buttons and one with small buttons.  Tedious task #1.  

Start by gluing the large buttons all over the tree.  Don't worry if some white shows through, you'll be covering that up later.  Tedious task #2.  Once that is done, using the straight pins, pin the smaller buttons onto the tree to cover up the white spots.  Overlap the large buttons with the smaller buttons as well, for a fuller look.  Tedious task #3.

And voila.  The most adorable, tedious button tree ever. 

Ok, back to the easy trees.  These next three trees are all completed the same way.  You'll need, can you guess?  A Styrofoam tree, a glue gun, and this time some yarn and some twine.  And any straight pins you have left over.  Just wrap the trees with the yarn or the twine, gluing as you go.  For the yarn trees, you really don't need too much glue.  But you will need to wrap the yarn around the tree in a couple of layers.  The twine will only require one layer.  Then top with whatever decoration you found in your basement.

For the twine tree, take any leftover straight pins and pin them all over the tree to act as adorable little ornaments.  

So, now, what to do with all these DIY Christmas trees?  Make a DIY Christmas tree forest, of course!  Add some garland to amp up the forest feel and your Christmas tree forest is complete.  Alright, this was supposed to be a blog post about trees, but, since you asked, I'll tell you how I added those red ornaments to my photos.  

Using a piece of twine, tie a loop at the top and tie an ornament at the bottom.  Hang the ornament on the nail used to hang the picture, then hang the picture back on the nail.

Next, tie a piece of twine around the frame, off to one side.  The nail in the back will stop the twine from sliding down the frame.  Then, on each end of the tied twine, tie an ornament.  Easy peasy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

What I Learned About Life From An Old Man At Starbucks

I was at Starbucks the other day, and there was an old man in line behind me.  He leaned forward and said, "Nice day out."  I turned my head and said "Ya, looks like it's going to be".  Then he started talking to me about this and that, and I ended up standing there, talking to him until my chai latte was ready.  When it was ready, I grabbed it, told the old man to have a nice day and he said "It was nice talking to you, dear.  Take care."

I left Starbucks feeling happier than usual.  This old man and his pleasant small talk really put me in a good mood.  I drove out of the parking lot and waved a car to go ahead, even though it was clearly my turn.  When I was out running my errands, I held the door for people, and smiled as they walked through.  I had a little more patience with my kids.  All because of the small talk I made with the old man at Starbucks.  It got me thinking.

The old man grew up in a time when you would walk down the street, make eye contact with the people you passed, and smile or say hello.  You would greet your butcher by name and ask him what was fresh.  You sat on your front porch in the hopes of seeing your neighbours so you could say hello and ask how little Johnny made out at his soccer game, or ask how your neighbours ailing mother was doing.  He grew up in a time where it was common place to strike up a conversation while waiting in line at the bank.  Everyone knew everyone's business, not because they were nosey, but because they cared.  People genuinely cared about other people. 

We now live in a time where we don't make eye contact with the people we pass on the street, because our heads are buried in our smart phones.  We walk past them, as if we didn't even see them.  We don't greet our butcher by name, because we don't know his name.  We rush from our car into the house, and therefore don't know our neighbours.  But we do notice that they haven't cut their grass or brought in their blue bins.  And we are quick to point out our neighbours house-keeping flaws to our friends.  We don't strike up a conversation at the bank because we are doing our banking online or at the drive-thru window.  We still know each other's business, not because we care, but because it showed up on our twitter and Facebook feed.  We've stopped talking to strangers on the street, and started fighting with strangers on the internet. 

I think we're all so busy trying to get to the next place, run the next errand, get to the next meeting, that we never realize or enjoy where we are.  I too am guilty of this.  I was in a rush that day at Starbucks, and didn't think I had time to make small talk with a stranger.  But, it changed my whole day.  Put me in a great mood that lasted.  Imagine if we all had come in contact with that old man that day.  If we all had taken a bit of time to talk to a stranger, open a door, wave someone on while driving.  How different would that day have been?  The small talk the old man and I made that day was mostly centered around the tragic shooting in Ottawa in October.  Maybe we'd all be nicer to each other, if we start being nicer to each other. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Am I Wasting my University Education by Being a Stay at Home Mom?

Some people say that I'm wasting my university education by being a stay at home mom.  And the rest just think it.  But I can tell you, with 100% certainty, that I am not.  Finding a good job isn't the only reason to go to university.  There are many reasons to further your education.  Many lessons to be learned both in and outside the classroom. 

Life skills.  I lived on and off campus while at university, and that is probably where I did most of my learning.  October of first year, my mom sent back to university with me a Tupperware full of turkey and stuffing.  I ate it, then put the Tupperware on the top shelf of the wardrobe in my residence room.  In late April of the following year, I was packing to move back home for the summer, and I reached up to that top shelf to get the Tupperware.  Do you know what happens to little bits of turkey and stuffing that are left in a Tupperware for 6 months?  It's not pretty.  But by the end of fourth year I was cooking up meals for my roommates, doing my own laundry, and yes, washing my dishes in a timely manner.  It's a basic life skill, but it's one I learned at university that I now use on the daily. 

Socialization.  High school, as we know, if full of cliques that we never really seem to fit in with.  There may have been cliques in my university, but there were so many people that, if they were there, I didn't notice.  That high school mentality seemed to have faded with our summer tans and everyone was just nicer, more accepting, and it was a place I was able to be myself.  I was also completely in charge of my social life.  I didn't have a curfew, I didn't have to sneak in after my curfew, and if I was hung over and late for class, there was no one kicking my butt to get there.  It was all on me.  I quickly learned to balance my social life, my waitressing job, and my classes.  If you knew me in high school, you would know that time management wasn't one of my best qualities, but it definitely improved during my time in university. 

The education part.  In university, my major was Criminal Justice and Public Policy.  I had classes such as Serial Murder, Advanced Topics in Criminal Justice, Ontario Politics, and Anthropology.  These are all things that interest me.  Was I ever going to be an Ontario politician studying human behaviour while revamping the criminal legislation through the eyes of a serial murderer?  No.  But taking these courses fed my curiosity on the subjects, opened me up to new ways of looking at the world, and gave me a better understanding of the political system I live in.  I have also taken piano lessons, squash lessons, and skating lessons.  I am not a part of an orchestra, at all athletic, and I can only skate forward.  I can't stop or go backwards.  But, those classes weren't a waste either. 

Critical Thinking.  Any arts program at any university is based on developing critical thinking.  That's why they make you write an essay for everything.  To help you develop your critical thinking, your creative writing, to improve your communication skills so you can better articulate your point of view and your opinions.  Critical thinking and problem solving are two skills I use all the time.  Researching a contractor to reno our kitchen.  Trouble-shooting my broken dish washer.  Working through all the baby advice I was given, and deciphering the good from the bad.  Arguing with my husband.  Critical thinking, problem solving, good communication. 

Baby steps to adulthood.  I lived with my parents up until I went to university, and then moved right back in with them once I graduated and stayed until the day I returned from my honeymoon.  So for me, I really needed those 4 years at university.  I grew up in those four years, gained a lot of independence, learned to manage my time and my money, paid bills, rented a house, I even founded the Criminal Justice and Public Policy society.  And was president of it.  Just saying.  I was on my way to adulthood, and fast, but I was surrounded by professors, residence staff, a housing manager, guidance councillors, senior teaching assistants and great friends to help me.  And I definitely used their help.    

University is fun.  I met amazing people.  I made life long friendships.  I met my husband.  I learned about the strain theory of criminal behaviour, which is totally applicable to parenthood.  You should Google it.  It was some of the best years of my life.  Amazing life experiences, like my 4 years at the University of Guelph (go Gryphons!) are never wasted.  They shape who we are as people, they build character, and the more amazing life experiences we can put on our resume, the better.  Even if we never use that resume for anything. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Working Moms vs Stay At Home Moms

Last week I wrote a blog post called 8 Things You Should Never Say to a Stay at Home Mom.  I posted it, thought it would grace the screens of a couple hundred computers, then forever sit on a virtual shelf in my blog archives.  Boy was I wrong.

Erica Ehm's Yummy Mummy Club shared it on their Facebook page.  This was beyond exciting for me.  I really like their page and their posts, so it was super cool for me to be one of the posts on their page.  Because of their sharing, more people read my post than attended my high school.  And I didn't go to a small high school.  But as I learned, if a lot of people read your blog post, the chances are greater that some aren't going to like it.  And some people sure didn't like it.  So I decided to write a rebuttal.  That's such a funny word, rebuttal.  Don't you think?  Anyway...

Here are a couple of the comments I will be rebutting.  Ok, that word is even funnier. 

I apologize if my tone was negative.  I didn't mean for it to come across as negative.  The tone I was going for was fed up and frustrated.  Also, I re-read my blog post, and I'm not sure how I'm contributing to the working mom vs stay at home mom battle.  In my blog post, I wasn't speaking to working moms, I was speaking to those people who have made those comments to me.  Men, women, children, purple dinosaurs, if you asked me one of those questions, or made one of those comments, then it was to you that I was directing my responses.  It's not a working mom vs stay at home mom thing.  It's a respect others' decisions and stop being so judgemental thing. 

Again, I have to apologize.  If I had known you were so tired of reading articles about stay at home moms, I wouldn't have tricked you into reading my blog post by giving it such a cryptic title.  And guess what, I don't work full time but I have enough empathy and understanding to know that of course you work all day and do mommy things all night.  I re-read my blog post a second time and can't find where in the article I suggested that you don't.  If you're finding article upon article from SAHMs trying to prove how busy they are, maybe it's because we face a lot of judgement towards our decision to stay home.  Maybe you don't find articles from working moms reeling about how busy they are because nobody is questioning how busy they are.  Everybody knows. 

If any of the commenters had read my very first blog post, then they would know where I stand on the working mom vs stay at home mom debate.  But since they obviously didn't read it, let me explain.  I think it's ridiculous.  We're all moms, we all face the same struggles, same challenges, same fears, same worries, same victories.  Some work in the home, some work out of the home, some have nannies, some are single moms.  Our situations are all different, but none are better or worse.  At the heart of it, we're all just moms.

I have also never ever made claims that being a stay at home mom is the hardest job in the world.  I can think of lots of jobs that are harder.  Brain surgeon, for example.  The person who cleans out port-a-potties.  Kindergarten teachers.  All harder jobs.  And you know what?  It was never a goal of mine to have a the hardest job in the world.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer.  Some kids want to be a police man.  Some want to be an astronaut.  Find me a kid who wants to grow up to have the hardest job in the world.  As I got older, my aspirations changed from wanting to be a lawyer to wanting a job that I loved and having the respect of my peers.  I now have a job that I love.  I'm just working on the respect of my peers part.   

I think the working mom vs stay at home mom debate is as silly as The Bachelor.  25 women fighting over one guy, and for what?  If they'd stop fighting long enough, they'd realize they are on the same side and they could band together, kick the bachelor out, and have the mansion all to themselves.  Then they could order pizza and watch chick flicks in their pajamas.  With no make up on.  And their hair tied up in a scrunchie.  Sounds pretty good to me.