FOLLOWERS!

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GUYS, there are almost 100 of you following this tiny little blog. I’m so excited i can’t stand it. 100 people who share some interest in this crazy life. 100 people who can relate to the life of a step parent (or parent in general). 100 people who probably feel a little better about their cooking skills after reading my Cranberry Relish in it’s worst form. post and my failed Recipe Round ups.

In the few short months this blog has been active, I have gained some real friends. Some that I will never meet, but pray for often. There are many of you who face grave losses and many who have battled in so many different ways, now writing about conquering those challenges. I am so grateful to be on this journey with you.

Blogging is weird, folks. It’s like a diary that other people get to read? and you prepare for it? and take pictures for it? and share it with the entire world? I still don’t get it. I know there is a release in it.

Things I’ve discovered since I started TheStepMommaBlog:

  • Verbalizing what’s going on in my daily life somehow does help
  • A small, weird little group of us bloggers in my Church have banded together and meet up for blog dates. It’s great but i still think blogging is weird
  • TAKING PICTURES OF FOOD IS SO FUN
  • I’m not the only one in the world in a situation like this

Once I hit 100, what should we do? Throw a party? Learn 100 more things about TheStepMomma? Share 100 of my favorite things? Share 100 pictures? What do you want to see!?

Italian Chicken, bread dip, hand pies, mmm.

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So last night was clearly a sappy holiday, so i felt like trying to be a #goodwife and attempting to cook a meal for my dear husband. I also knew i was alone in the house for 2 hours, so i could photograph every step of the way.

I am 100% not a cook. I need step-by-step-by-step instructions. Your “Dash of Basil” does me no good. I need precise measurements. I like baking for that reason. So here we go: This is the part where I teach you how to cook Italian Chicken with bread sauce and hand pies.

First, thaw chicken. We used about 1 pound of meat and probably could have used half of it and had plenty. Prince Charming left this out for me in the morning so I could come home and be ready to go.

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Italian Seasoning consists of:

Parsley- 3 tablespoons
Basil- 3 tablespoons
Garlic powder- 1 tsp
Rosemary-1 tsp
Onion Powder- 1 tsp
Oregano- 2.5 tsp
Thyme-1 tsp
Red pepper- .5 tsp
Black pepper- .25tsp

Or if you did like me and sifted through the entire cabinet only to find there is no thyme or rosemary, you can use pre-made italian seasoning, which i also didn’t know we had.img_0100 img_0102

For best results, lay chicken flat on surface and cover evenly with italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and garlic powder. Flip over and do the same to the other side. For even better results, do this in a bowl with the other items you will be eating, so they all get the same, even flavor.

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This is where I went wrong.
Learning Point #1. Do not put veggies in at the same time as the raw meat. Raw meat will take much longer to cook than veggies, but hyperactive brain does not compute that.
I sprinkled some onion & garlic powder on the asparagus we ate, after cutting off the woody side.. which is the stalk side, so I learned. You can take about 3 inches off. I picked up each piece and just bent it til it snapped- it naturally breaks where it needs to usually. img_0107img_0109img_0110img_0112img_0111

A regular cooking time for this would be 4 hours on low in your crockpot, but we didn’t have all night- so I cranked it up to high and cooked it for about 2.5 hours. Only after realizing that it was on warm for 45 minutes, i think it would naturally only take 2 hours on high to cook properly.

Hand pies:

Cheat. Use the pre-made, store-bought pie crusts. It’s so simple. I bought them on my lunch for $2.99 and let them sit in my car to thaw out until I got home. It’s okay if they don’t fall out of the pan perfectly, you’re going to use a rolling pin on them to flatten them anyway 🙂

Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

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because it was Valentines Day, of course my hand pies were heart shaped. I used a heart cookie cutter that was about 3.5 inches wide. My two pie crusts made 4 hand pies and 4 leftover crust pieces that i brought to my coworker who loves pie crust, but not pie. I hate it all, so this works for me.img_0119

Just like cookies, rip the excess crust away from the cutter and roll back into a ball, then re-roll it and flatten to use again.img_0115

You’re supposed to use JAM for this but we only had jelly. i dont see the difference and PC didn’t mind. Take 1 generous scoop of jelly and put in the center of your heart. spread evenly, but dont get toooo close to the edge or you’ll have a sloppy jelly mess. But i guess that isn’t really a bad thing.

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The fun part: take a second heart and place on top of the jelly covered heart. line them up and press to seal it shut around edges with fingers. (I usually skipped that step). Then grab a fork and add some detail to the edge. This really seals the jelly into place and also adds a fun and cute detail to the edges that makes it look like you spent a LOT of time on…… when really it takes about 1 minute per heart (if that).img_0121img_0123img_0125img_0126img_0127img_0128

To make your hand pies golden brown, do this simple trick.

Use 1 egg Learning point 2: 2 eggs is too many for this small amount of pies, even if they’re the tiny farm eggs. just. use. one.

Use 1 egg and add a tiny bit of water to it. Whisk until it is an even yellow and even consistency. Take this egg mix and cover your pies with it. I used a wadded up paper towel, you can use your hands, you can use a brush, whatever you need- just be sure to cover the entire surface so it is evenly brown.img_0129img_0131

The final touch: Icing.

This is so simple guys. Use about 3 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar (depending on how much icing you like). Stir them together. They start to thicken and form an easy icing. It tastes SO GOOD. I had to try it, but can’t have any milk-based items, so i only got a little bit.img_0132img_0133img_0134img_0135img_0136img_0137

Pop these bad boys into the oven for 20-30 minutes and voila.

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I attempted to make a bread oil, but we aren’t sure about it yet.
Take about 6 tablespoons of minced garlic
1 cup of extra virgin oil
3 tablespoons of basil
2-3 tablespoons of oregano
Parmesan cheese to top it.
Stir- yummy bread oil at your fingertips

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Add some candy hearts as a pretty centerpiece. Complete with your husband’s favorite chocolate. img_0139img_0140

Decorate with the giant bouquet of flowers he got you.img_0141img_0142

EAT.

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(PC was home, I had to sneak final pics with my phone so he didnt think I was weird)

 

and, ok y’all. these are original images and i had a lot of fun taking them. you can use them, but please just give credit where it is due. these are images of my real life home and my real life messy kitchen and the flowers are the ones my husband chose just for me. these things mean something to me, so just take a second and don’t just steal my things 😀

valentines daze

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There’s a reason I call him Prince Charming.

He sends me unexpected flowers four days early, 6 roses with daisies, lillies, some pretty purple things, carnations and greens and brightens my day.

He texts me and tells me he loves me.

He rolls to his side and always reaches for my hand or side when we sleep.

He teases me when he walks in the door and i don’t come running to greet him (I always stop what I’m doing and greet him when he comes home, so I ask him why he doesn’t do it for me. now it’s a joke and i love it.)

He deals with my sappy facebook posts about him.

He hugs me tightly and whispers that he loves me.

He’s not afraid to kiss me or hold my hand in front of the kids. He wants us to show them that we love each other. He wants to gross them out by how sappy we can be. They respond with “EWWs” each time, but we think its fun.

He compliments how long my hair is getting and tells me it looks nice.

He tells me I look “dressed up” even when I’m in leggings and a tshirt

He will eat my leftover spaghetti or taco meat because he knows I tried and I really don’t know how to cook much more (attempting a real valentines dinner tonight!)

He loves me fiercely and gently at the same time.

Maybe not every single day is like Valentines Day with him. But we don’t need a special day to celebrate love. He loves me every day. He doesn’t leave the house without reminding me. I am grateful for the reminders he gives me and that a commercial holiday isn’t the only time I feel his affection for me. Tomorrow marks 3 years of being together, so this is a special time of year for me, naturally.

My Prince,

I am so grateful for your love. For your unending love. For the way you let me scream and kick and fight even when i know I’m wrong. I am grateful for your smile and your laughter. Even your dad jokes. I am completely head over heels for you and those crazy kids. You bring more joy to my life than I can explain. I hope that I bring even an ounce of that to you. I love you incredibly and cannot wait for the next 60 years.

 

SOS

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This weekend started with me quickly sending out SOS texts to some of my closest friends. “What do you do when they drive you absolutely batty? I can’t escape.” “That’s it, I’m faking my death. No, if I actually die, then they really can’t find me.”
It started when 17 came over with gbaby. Prince Charming was supposed to be home and 17, boyfriend and gbaby were due to visit us. They show up early and all is fine, this means I get to snuggle gbaby all on my own and not fight off the other baby-obsessed folk in my home. grandma wins.  Except that ten minutes into it being just me and them home, 17 says “I THOUGHT Dad was going to be here. Where is he? I thought he was leaving?” girl. your dad and time do not go well together, you should know.
As soon as PC, 12 and 9 walk through the door, 9 starts asking for dinner. He’s been with PC all day, so why hasn’t he ate? He asks at least 7 times before I begin cooking. Then, mid-stir, WHEN. WILL. IT. BE. READY.
and i do the crazy lady head tilt. I swear if you ask me one more time when we are going to eat, i’m banning you from dinner. do. not. ask. me. again. After all, I’m in the kitchen, standing in front of the stove, putting things in the oven, setting the table, getting the drinks and trying to be cordial with 17. She volunteers to help, but simultaneously forgets and starts doing something else. Awesome.
After dinner is served, 9 complains about the types of cheese, that they ate spaghetti with mom earlier in the week, that there isn’t enough bread (there was enough for each of us to have 2. that’s plenty.) 12 hits him in my defense. I love that one. I sit in silence and eat.

I can’t explain how the rest of the weekend went. I felt aggravated the entire time, without prompting. We spent Sunday at church and at the community college pool, while PC went to get some study help.  I am exhausted. Noise is overwhelming. We packed lunches and ate them before we swam, this should buy us a few hours.

We get home, I hadn’t eaten anything because I don’t like sandwiches. I grab a cold piece of pizza and try to eat it before they can see me. They try to tell me they’re hungry, but they just got donuts as treats on the way home and had lunch not too long ago. It’s not even 5:00. They won’t leave my side while I try to eat one. slice. of. pizza. So i shoo them. Go read for a few minutes. Please. Just go read. Go somewhere, Please.

12 is yelling answers in my ear to every question i ask PC. I tell him to shush. He gets louder. I ask PC to repeat himself because I can’t hear or handle anything right at that moment. 12 is yelling again. I scream. I scream like I have never screamed before. I turn red. I feel something different in me when I scream. I walk into my room and shut the door and I cry for what feels like days. I don’t want to be a monster.

I cry until I can compose myself and walk into 12’s room and apologize, hanging my head down low. He said he deserved it, he knew he was wrong for talking over me and not letting me just ask a question to his dad. No kid. You don’t ever deserve to be talked to like that. But you’re right, you were annoying the shit out of me. I’m sorry.

I go across the hall to find my Prince. I am red in the face and my eyes are still wet. I tell him I need him to give me time alone when it’s a weekend with kids. That I need him to recognize when I need a break, because I know I won’t. I need him to just give me ten minutes to breathe. He tells me I don’t have to ask for breaks and to take them when I need them, but he doesn’t understand. I fall apart and i cry. I have never walked up to him and cried before. except when I found out my step dad had cancer. He hugged me like he finally saw me. He apologized and told me he’s worse at yelling than I am and that the kids know we lose our cools sometimes and we’re humans and its okay. He told me to apologize and smiled when i told him I already had. I told him it hurts to try to love on kids who shut you out. They love you.

I know, but it’s different. They love me but when they sit by me on the couch and accidentally find themselves with their leg against mine or they are leaning on me, they realize it and scoot far away. If they pull my hand to show me something, they quickly realize that they can’t touch me and drop their arms down. They don’t tell me they love me or hardly even tell me good night. I don’t expect them to say much or be very affectionate, I just wish I could hug them every now and again. Or feel like it isn’t wrong if I do. I tell PC that the only night they’ve ever hugged me was when their mom came and ripped them away from me, and I had to ask for it. 12 had to convince 9 it was okay for him to hug me.

PC suggests that I think about how chaotic life with kids is, because I want to have a child (not right this second, calm down.) But i tell him it would be different. The chaos would be different. the consequences would be different. the love would be different.

He nods like he knows. It’d be different because it would be yours.

Yeah.

The Blog-aholic Award!

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Y’all, Angela Campbell just nominated me for the “Blog-aholic Award” which just made me smile from ear to ear! I am new to the blogosphere and am still trying to gain my audience and readers. THANK YOU for your nomination! I love it!

 

The Blog-aholic Award is an award for bloggers addicted to blogging with creative, ingenious and inspiring posts. They mesmerize their followers with their posts, keep them captivated and riveted to their blog. The Blog-aholic Award is also for bloggers who ‘share and inspire others’” –The Recipe Hunter (Cook & Enjoy)

Rules

  • Put the above logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog (it can be to the post in which they nominated you or any other post or you can even link to their ‘About’ page)
  • Mention the creator of the award and please provide a link to The Recipe Hunter (Cook & Enjoy)
  • Write a post to show your award
  • Share a link to your best post(s)
  • Share 3 interesting and different facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-10 bloggers, or more of you wish
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

My best posts:

3 facts about me:

  1. I’m sort of wildly obsessed with flowers of all sorts (especially sunflowers) but have the furthest thing from a Green Thumb. Send me pictures of them or come and plant some for me, I am obsessed.
  2. I run a small time photography shop and am so excited to start expanding!
  3. My husband and my dad are my absolute best friends in the entire world. I don’t know what I would do without them cheering me on every day.

My nominees are:

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Things Boys do That I’ll Never Understand

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You’d think that since we have all, you know, been a child before, we would understand them a little better. Their mannerisms and the things they put up stinks about doing. But no, they are similar to what I imagine an alien life form to be- unsure, very weird, and very messy.

I will never understand why  little boys will remove their socks in the middle of the living room and forget they ever owned them.

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I find about 6 pairs of socks scattered between the living room, kitchen and bathroom on weekends that the kids are with us. They will be tucked in the couch cushions, left under chairs, blatantly dropped on the floor, or hanging from a door knob. They will never be removed and placed into one of the four hampers we have in our house (one in the bathroom, one in our room, one in the office, where Prince Charming’s closet is, one in the boys’ room. There should be no stray clothes anywhere.)

I will never understand why being tired is sinful to them. If they are kicking and screaming, red in the face and full of agony and we ask if they are tired and want a nap-

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World War 3, people. 9 will cry, he will hit, he will ball up his fists. There is no “Tired” in his book unless he decides to sleep on his own.

WHY THEY LOVE TO BE TICKLED

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I just talked to Prince Charming about this on Wednesday. Something these boys do that honestly weirds me out is ask to be tickled. They will put on PJs so they can move freer, they’ll lay themselves on a bed or couch and ask to be tickled. The other one joins in and then I am literally dodging feet and arms from kicking me in the face from both sides. I HATE being tickled and these boys LIVE off of it.

Cartoons.

adventure_time_chibi.pngDon’t get me wrong. I love me a good Disney or Pixar movie, but Alvin and the Chipmunks? Cars? Angry Birds? I told PC that kids tv shows are one of the driving factors behind me always saying I never wanted children. I could never love someone enough to endure the repetitive songs on these awful childrens shows. We weren’t watered down with baby shows, I don’t ever want that for my child. My sister was 20 when she had my nephew and she refused to let us baby talk him because she felt like it was belittling. WELL. I think that watching tigers dance in tutus while singing about doing chores is belittling. I won’t have it.

Showering and Personal Hygiene.

cavities.jpgThese kids. They can go 6 days without a shower, but if we are busy all day on the 7th and they can’t get a shower, it’s like the world ends. Your greasy hair won’t look any greasier tomorrow kid, you just gotta deal and be the stinky kid. Why is it like PULLING teeth to get kids to BRUSH their teeth? Our kids can’t be in the same room when they brush their teeth, somehow it becomes a game or a time for magic tricks or some shenanigans and it’s now a house rule that they have to be in separate rooms when brushing teeth.

What are your kids’ weird habits? Do they do this stuff? I just don’t GET IT.

The Matthew Challenge: Day 8 Verse 8

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Any time we get to talk about Healing, I’m all about it. My God is so incredibly GOOD. Some people are scared, some are afraid and some are uncertain of what He is capable of. MY God is capable of healing cancer. He feeds the hungry, he heals the lepers.

In Matthew 8, the passage opens with a man with leprosy who simply kneels before God (so simple) and asks if He would be willing to heal him. Jesus TOUCHES him and commands that the leper be clean. He tells the leper not to share it with anyone, just to go see the priest and offer the testimony of Moses to him.

HE JUST TOUCHES HIM. HIS LEPROSY IS GONE. FINETO.

Just. Like. That.

Now, I am also particularly interested in Jesus’ healings because of my own physical ailments.

In 2012, I was rear ended by a truck going about 40mph while I was stationary. It impacted more than 20 of the joints in my spine and put me in physical therapy and required chiropractic treatment for 2 years. I started with chiropractic 5 days/week and finally dwindled down to once every six week a normal, healthy visit to my chiropractor.
I was left with brain trauma that the doctors couldn’t heal and couldn’t even see. They tested me several times and just had nothing for me. My family doctor finally caught onto the fac that my brain was LEAKING FLUID. So he put me on an antibiotic to slow it down. I could physically feel the fluid in my brain freezing (it was winter) and no one believed it until I saw this doc.
I was also left with a bout of (self diagnosed) PTSD. 100% of the signs are there, I don’t really need to see a doctor for him to tell me that it’s what’s happening in my mind.
One particular night at prayer, I felt God speaking to me. He told me to lie down on the ground, face down, as low as you can get. Be still. So I did.
Don’t move. Be still.
The worship team was strumming some music, which we didnt do every week, and the pastor/worship leader started playing Healer by Kari Jobe. and I immediately started sobbing.
Don’t. Move.
One member of the band stepped away and came to me, placed her hands on my head and started praying over me. She told me she felt uncomfortable but knew she needed to pray for me.
The next member stepped away from their instrument and came near, I felt a hand on my back. Then another by my feet. That was my pastor. I could feel her tears dripping on my legs.
Don’t move.
We all sang the chorus over and over.
God grabbed a hold of my mind and showed me this whirlwind. These bright pink and purple connections and dots with lines pulling them together. Some were bright and some were dull. Some were functioning right and some seemed distant. It was my brain. He showed me the inside of my HEAD. And of course I just started sobbing.
My mind was spinning a million miles an hour and all I could see was this almost lava-lamp replica of my brain. It’s not something I could ever draw or paint a picture of, it’s not the typical scientific image of a brain. It was my broken brain.
And then God just whispered to me: Time.
Time. Time. Time.

So I am still holding onto the promise that He spoke to me in regards to my own healing. That it will come in Time. When I get to read about His miraculous healings, it reminds me that my time will come. That He hasn’t forgotten me. He sees my spine, now that I’ve been in a second accident and it has a physical curve in it and I’ve shrunk an inch and am only 26. He sees me. He sees my brain get overwhelmed and my speech slur. He knows when I can’t form proper sentences or when the keys bring up letters that I didn’t mean to punch in. He sees the fogginess, 5 years later. His time. Not mine.

Back to Matthew.

“He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

Immediately following this story, we have the parable of Jesus and the men on the boat. You of little faith.
You think I can’t heal the curve in your spine? I created you. I have stopped the seas from crashing in on my men. I have removed Leprosy from my people. I have cast out demons. You of little faith. Where is your heart?

Matthew shocks me with healing stories. It humbles me and grounds me and forces me to turn my face to Christ when even I have forgotten to pray for my healing. It seems so long ago and as if it’s just a part of me now. Me, of little faith. My God doesn’t break His promises.

Time.