Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School Shopping for Mamas

I like having new clothes.  I do not, however, always enjoy shopping for clothes.  First, there is always the realization that after wearing comfortable dresses and stretchy pants all summer, I have masked the fact that I may have grown a little.  Second, there are the unflattering lights and mirror angles in the dressing room that make my skin look pasty and my hips wide.   (Maybe I went in there with pasty skin and wide hips, I just don't need the mirrors to remind me.  I feel there should be soft, gentle lights and trick mirrors.)  Third, I live in a small town and to find an assortment of shops, I have to travel.  I like to travel.  But to travel, then shop, then try on clothes, then drive home can wear me out.

My favorite solution for shopping for myself is to shop online.  I can spend hours shopping online. However, I get sucked into sites that are overpriced.  Or I search for hours and find the perfect item, only to find that it is no longer in my size.  Or that the shipping and handling is ridiculous.  Or worry that when it comes, I will have to return it.

This is my favorite new site that solves some of my online shopping worries.

Shop It To Me

Once you create an account, you choose your favorite brands, sizes, price range, types of clothing.  What this fancy little place does is to watch your favorites and send you weekly emails that meet your requirements.  It is a personal online shopper.

For example, I love Boden.  When I look at their site, I love their clothes, their style. I don't like the prices.  I can't afford it.  But the nice thing is that when there is a sale, I can afford it.  Now, instead of looking at their site and wishing and filling the online shopping cart with clothes I can't really purchase, I have Shop It To Me alert me when my size fits my price range.  Simple.  I also know that Boden is consistent in their sizing, so when it comes, it will fit.

It also does brands, not just shopping sites.  So, if you are interested in a Kate Spade bag, it will send you links to different stores carrying Kate Spade bags, allowing you to comparison shop.  What a dream.

The weekly email includes pictures of the items, so I can quickly scan and see if anything appeals to me.  I click on the pictures, and it takes me directly to the site.  You can even set how often it sends you emails. I currently receive emails twice a week.

Go set up account.  Tell me you don't love it!

My Boden package this week.  It comes boxed so nicely.  

My Boden sale items.  Two skirts, a dress, a shirt, and a necklace. 

Friday, August 17, 2012


On the Sundays that I have my punks, we eat pancakes. It is usually late in the morning.  Because most of the week I have to get up early, Sunday is mama's time to snooze in bed, be lazy and read.  The punks get up quietly and eat dry cereal and watch TV.  When I emerge from the cocoon of the bed in my pajamas, I make pancakes with their help.  It is required that pajamas are worn while eating the pancakes.  This has become our ritual.

I know in my heart that I would like for the ritual to include a church service, another place of community to help the kids.  But even, now a year later after the divorce, I feel we all need this time together.  There is something about being home, with no plans, no urgent matters.

Someday when the punks are older, I want them to remember their Sunday mornings with me at our house. I've told them that we are never moving again.  I want them to have that sanctuary in this world.

Just know that you're not alone
I'm going to make this place your home. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Chicken Gets Me Every Time

I don't go to the grocery store hungry.  I know that lesson.  But I do shop once a week, having planned out what we will eat.  My cart is full of makings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, including something for that day's dinner.  But by the time I get to the deli, I start smelling those rotisserie chickens and my mouth starts watering.

I know that it is easy to roast a chicken at home, but that cooked chicken with greasy, golden skin always calls my name.  I throw it into the cart, pick up a package of rolls, grab some steamer vegetables from the freezer section, and dinner is done in five minutes once I get home.  We can usually eat the chicken for dinner, a casserole the next night, and still have chopped, cooked chicken to put in the freezer for dinner later.

This recipe calls from ground beef, but I found that the cooked chicken is just as good.  If you want to add ground beef, use a pound in place of the chicken and brown it with the onions and garlic.  Then, proceed with the recipe.

Frick loves this and asks for "that pasta".  It took me a long time to make the connection.  This is one of those dishes that gets better the longer it sits.  The tortillas become very soft, almost pasta-like.  Left-overs are deadly for breakfast with all the black beans, but I recommend that you try it to start your day.

Quesadilla Casserole
1 lb. ground beef  or 2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce  (Have also made this with salsa when I didn't have tomato sauce.)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (8 3/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (4 1/2 oz.) chopped green chiles, undrained
6 flour tortillas (8-inch)
2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Brown the beef and onion in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add in garlic when the beef begins to brown.  If using chicken, soften the onions and garlic in skillet and add the chicken to warm.  Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, and green chiles.  Stir in all of the spices, except red pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; simmer five minutes.  Add red pepper if desired for extra spiciness.  Spread 1/2 c. of the sauce mix on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with three of the tortillas, overlapping as needed.  Layer with 1/2 of the remaining sauce mix and 1/2 of the cheese.  Repeat with additional layers.  (I always end with tortilla and cheese on top as the final layer.  That tortilla gets crunchy.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand five minutes before serving.

Monday, August 13, 2012


A morning last week found me in the doctor's office for a yearly check-up. My appointment was at 9:00 am, and at 10:00, they called me back, where I sat naked in the ripped open muumuu and the paper towel to cover myself. It had been twenty minutes and my anxiety was growing by the minute. Of course, there is the general anxiety one may feel just from visiting the doctor. Then the anxiety of having to wait. Add to that the nagging questions that your brain uses to occupy its time.

Do I have this muumuu on correctly? Do I put the opening in the front or back? If the fire alarm goes off, do I have time to get dressed? What if they have forgotten I'm In here? What if they have forgotten I'm in here and being someone else in? How long will it be because I need to use the restroom? Is this paper under my butt really sanitizing me from the last person's butt that was here?

After all that, they wonder why my blood pressure is higher than normal.

Hopefully, your anxieties are not getting the most of you today. Maybe your biggest worry is that you don't have enough zucchini recipes to use all that zucchini from your garden. If that is the case, I highly suggest you try this lovely bread recipe. It is one of my new favorites.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. sugar
2 c. shredded zucchini
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
2 c. fresh blueberries

Lightly grease two loaf pans. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, oil, vanilla extract, and sugar. Fold in zucchini. Mix in flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Fold in blueberries. Bake in 350 degree oven for 55 - 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 25 minutes, and then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.


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