Your Brother’s Head Is Not a Weapon

A new mom asked if we ever find ourselves telling the kids strange things, like, “There’s avocado on your nose.”

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If that’s the strangest thing she’s told her son, she’s got a long future ahead. I tell my boys odd statements all the time, mostly in reference to violent behavior.

My most common phrase?

“_______________ is not a weapon.”

Feel free to insert pretty much anything in the blank, and it’s been said. This morning it was “The Monopoly game box.” Yesterday was, “Your car pillow.” And, yes, I have also told them not to use their brother’s head as a weapon as well.

Whose Vacation IS This?

I’m writing today’s post from the comfort of a crowded, loud room in which the children are happily watching hours and hours of cartoons. My temperamental laptop is shoved among a pile of food I just spent two hours shopping for. I keep getting interrupted every 30 seconds to break up a fight or acknowledge a, “Hey, Mom! Look at that!”

We’re on vacation.

Well, some of us are.

I heard, once, that a family vacation is never a vacation for the parents. Frankly, while I’m in The Mom Years, no vacation is a vacation for me. I know because my husband and I saved up a lot of money and went on one of those romantic island vacations this year, and I still followed my usual routine.

You know what routine I’m talking about.

Pre-Vacation: Pack, pack, pack, plan, plan, plan, CLEAN. None of those steps involve actually packing my things nor planning activities just for me.

Day 1: Driving or flying. This means no sleep, sore muscles, and extra fat from all the car snacks. On top of that, the kids all fall asleep and then wake up completely wired.

Day 2 or 4 or 22: Attempting to do all sorts of fun activities so that memories are made and families are bonded and our bank account is left gasping on the shore.

All the Days: At least one child or spouse has a meltdown over all the bonding and activities.

At Least Once Every Three Days: Mom has a sobbing meltdown and determines to take a vacation with only herself.

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I don’t know about other moms, but even that resolution doesn’t work for me. The few times I’ve had a few hours completely to myself, I’ve spent them thinking, Child A would just love this store. Then I buy things for the little monsters. Or I mentally plan how they could all come along to that place and have memories, bonding, and money-spending fun together with me.

Guess I’ll never learn.

Now it’s time for lunch.

Aaand I forgot to buy ketchup.

The Cheapest, Bestest Dinner Ideas, IV

We’re taking a short break from breakfast today and talking soup instead.

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Do you remember the children’s story, Stone Soup? Some soldiers who were super hungry couldn’t get the tight-fisted villagers to help a stranger out so they cleverly opened the clenched palms one ingredient at a time. As a kid, I thought that was merely a great way to pull one over on everyone. As an adult, I’ve realized that soup is one of the best ways to whip up a meal with little or nothing around the house.

Well… that and casserole. But I grew up in a house where ‘casserole’ became almost as dirty a word as ‘meatloaf,’ so I tend to avoid those mixed-leftovers things.

My top favorite non-casserole extra-food-mix meal is Chicken Tortilla Soup. I found a great recipe over at allrecipes.com and it’s been my go-to whenever we haven’t had it for a while.

My secret for this is to use leftover chicken (fried up in the obligatory spices), extra-chunky salsa, and have the other ingredients on hand. Keeping tortilla chips around, alone, will help prepare you for at least three other meals. And I’ve already talked about the wonders of pre-shredded cheddar cheese.

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If you buy the super-huge bottle, you can make this every week!

The other staples I have around are oil (of course!), minced garlic, cumin, chicken broth, frozen corn, lemon juice, chopped onion (frozen), chili powder, and salsa –whoa! I keep everything ready for this meal!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

Skinless, boneless chicken breast or pieces – about 1.5 lbs
1/2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth -about 4 cups
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup chunky salsa

Toppings
Tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, guacamole or chopped avocado

Necessary Materials

Cutting board and knife
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Soup pot
Ladle
Can opener
Grater, if cheese is not pre-shredded

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken breast or leftover chicken into bite-sized cubes.
  2. In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook and sauté chicken cubes in the oil for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cumin and mix well.
  4. Add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice, and salsa. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 20-30 minutes.
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  5. Serve the soup in individual bowls. Top with crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and guacamole or avocado -according to taste.

The sour cream thickens the soup and balances out that spicy kick from the chili powder and salsa. Even my son who hates sour cream adds some to his soup because of this.

Besides the appeal of the flavor and the healthy factor, I think my kids like this meal because they get to smash a bunch of chips in their hands and then stir everything in mad scientist-style.

This is an easy, cheap, healthy meal that takes about half an hour to make if you have all the ingredients ready to go. I like to make it in general, but also get a hankering whenever I have a cold and/or the weather is cold.

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How to Understand Women

 

 

….

I’m thinking, all right?!

-Seriously, though. This is a toughie. I’m a woman yet am often scratching my head to formulate a reasonable explanation for female actions -and that’s just for my own.

I think the problem is that there is no one-size-fits-all explanation glove to what the heck a woman just did or thought or said. Well, you know, besides HORMONES.

Aha!

What we really need here is perspective. And, to make our findings appear more logical, I will provide them in list format.

  1. Hormones
    This is The Biggie. I’ve never been a guy, so maybe menfolk have similar issues. Being a woman, though, I feel like the passenger of a crazed roller coaster pilot who has just decided to test whether the cars can function off the track …and, say, down a few waterfalls.
    One day I am content (not happy, mind you, because laundry). Within an hour, I can be reduced to eating ice cream from the container and crying over baby videos on the internet all because some stranger with an obscure username wrote about the precious gift of motherhood.
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  2. Pain
    Again, not to dismiss any guys with chronic illnesses or whatnot but this issue comes up A LOT around our house.
    Monthly, I am referring to good old Aunt Flo. My husband even had the gall to ask me why I whine when it happens every month. Shouldn’t I be used to it by now?
    Nope. The excruciating pain and bleeding hurts like hell every time.
    On top of that, I’ve had recurring hemorrhoid sensitivities since Pregnancy #1, sensitive teeth since forever, and am usually experiencing bruises anywhere on my body that the kids can access.
  3. Fatigue
    Are you happy when you stay up late to finish a project (socks -yay!) and then you somehow woke to find you were stabbed in your abdomen (but, you should be used to the pain by now) but first were wakened every two to three hours for important client requests (glass of water and nightmare reassurances)?
    Even before I was a mother, I often slept poorly just because of worrying about the next days’ tasks.
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    …Which leads to
  4. Responsibility
    Maybe your woman is the fun person in your relationship. If you have kids, though, odds are she’s the one worrying about whether little Tommy is wiping his nose on the other kids or if Anisha just fell down a rabbit hole.
    I seem to be the only one who sits up in shock at the early-morning sounds of the garbageman, to know where the extra toilet paper is stored, and to realize that empty boxes of cereal cannot walk to the recycling bin on their own.
  5. Appearances
    I think I’m screwy when my whole day feels ruined over a bad haircut, but it does. Give me a fresh, flattering outfit and a great hair and makeup day, and I’m all smiles.
    Just imagine how I’d feel with a new outfit every day!

Now that we’ve got our highly-logical list, what can we do with our knowledge? Hug more? Sympathize a heck of a lot more? Allow that shopping trip, but ensure there’s a credit limit?

Yes!

At the very least, I’d suggest chocolate, but that’s probably the hormones talking.