Monday, July 25, 2016

No it isn't Tuesday. Yes this is a food post.

Do you ever not want to go to the grocery store?  Do you ever not have the money to go to the grocery store?  Do you possibly just hate the grocery store?





Yeah, me too.  Today's post is for those of us who are kind of over the grocery store.

I'm writing this post from a place of plain out laziness.  I'm also writing this post last week not today.  Currently, my fridge looks like we ran out of rations and the war isn't over.  It is kind of bad.  As I was putting this post together I started shaking my head at myself.  Yes, we have food.  I have a freezer with turkey burgers, ground beef, chicken, and fish in it.  You know what the problem is?

Laziness.


via GIPHY

Last week I didn't want to cook at all because I was on my own.  A good ole 'mater sandwich was good enough for me (are you my SnapChat friend?)  But this week...

This week the kids are back.  They require food.  They require lots of food.  Something about growing or whatever.

Today's blog post is how I formulated some meals without going to the grocery store.  We can tie this into saving money, being frugal, supporting laziness, whatever label you want.

When I'm lazy and the kids want food I think like a kid and realize we really only need two things:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Cheese


No you sick, weird, human - we don't eat them together.  Eww gross.  My kids love peanut butter sandwiches and since we only keep natural peanut butter around I'm cool with that.  They also love grilled cheese.  The way I see it is if we have bread then we are golden.  Now you know my go to meals for the kids in the summer (kid food, PB sandwiches and grilled cheese sandwiches.)  Shame me if you want or cheer for me if you are riding in my boat.

Blah blah blah kids need a good balanced diet.  Well that's where I tell you I can whip up some tacos.


via GIPHY

 Tacos are a necessity in this house.  I keep some ground beef or turkey in the freezer just for tacos.  See, I am kind of prepared!  There is always shredded cheese in the refrigerator because when I buy shredded cheese it is generally buy two get three free and mama gets the five packs!  Since it is summer there are tomatoes to be chopped and lettuce to go on them...my mouth is watering.  I feel like I should also let you know that taco seasoning is like thirty-nine cents and tortillas are dirt cheap too so have at it.  In one meal your kids get grains, protein, veggies, and dairy!  She shoots and she scores - muy bien!

When I purchase chicken I purchase it in large quantities because its so versatile.  I can slide in the crock pot with some seasoning and then shred it up for sandwiches.  Maybe I want to grill it, awesome.  Perhaps, I'll make chicken salad?  Baked chicken anyone?  Yes, I can do all this and it is delicious.


via GIPHY

Fish is mommy and daddy's favorite and the kids tend to run in the other direction at the idea of eating fish that hasn't been fried.  What can I say they are Carolina babies.  They like it fried and served with french fries and fried dough - we call that hush puppies.  Mom and dad like it seared with some lemon and butter.  So when we eat fish they eat grilled cheese.

And then there is my waffle issue.  I buy Eggo Waffles in bulk because my kids swear by them.  These little breakfast lovelies are good beyond the hours of 6 AM and 10 AM.  You can make little shortcakes with them, change up your peanut butter and jelly with them, yeah ok that is as far as I can go.

What if the kids want a snack?  Then they should get jobs and buy their own.


via GIPHY

Snacks are expensive because hello capitalism.  I do keep a monster pack of Go Gurts in the fridge and they can have some Skinny Pop if they want it (but recently my daughter says she cannot do Skinny Pop anymore, well go hungry and then you'll be begging for it.)

I challenge you this week to make meals from what you have.  Save yourself the time, money, and mostly the effort of going to the grocery store.  Be creative.  Enjoy your summer.

xo
Amanda

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Notes on a mama break.

Hey friends!  Happy Saturday to each of you.  I do not do Saturday posts anymore but today is my exception.  I wanted to reflect on this past week.  It was kind of a big deal.

See for the first time in nearly nine years I was childless.  Childless for more than 24 hours.  Childless for five days.

And I'm not afraid to admit that I really enjoyed it.

A lot of bloggers would play that card of how lost they were without their children and how lonely or sad they were/are.  Not me.  I savored every minute.  I took in every second I had to myself.  Yes, I enjoyed it to the hilt and here is why:

I hung up the ref shirt.
My babies are at the ages where they argue - a lot.  It is generally instigated by my eight (going on twenty-eight) daughter.  She is a very demanding kid and is a typical my way or the highway girl.  Really, I cannot tell you how many times a day she starts arguing with her three year old brother and it becomes a tear fest.
It is true that I had forgot what it was like to live in a peaceful home.  One where the arguing was banished and silence took it's place.
Yes, enjoyable.

There were no cartoons on the television.
I have never been a cartoon person.  Even as a kid there were a select few I liked (Smurfs, Snorks, Rainbow Brite!) so the idea of cartoons available 24/7 that have no purpose or point drives me insane.  While the kids were gone I banned all channels that had anything to do with cartoons or kids.
And I had television time.  As in - I watched shows not on the DVR!  I even had a Netflix night and watched a movie! That was delicious.

Speaking of delicious, I didn't cook.
No little mouths to feed meant I could revert to my college days and eat simpleton food.  I had tomato sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and one night waffles.  This was the irony of me enjoying my mommy free time - I kind of ate like a kid!  At night my dog and I shared graham crackers and milk!  Yes, she likes milk and no we didn't drink from the same cup.

I cleaned my house and it stayed clean.
Truth - when the kids are here and I clean my house I think to myself, "How pointless is this venture?"  Well I cleaned it this week and it stayed CLEAN!  Not cluttered.  No toys, books, underwear, or random housewares strewn through the palace!  It was so incredibly nice.

One load of laundry.
Yes, one load all week.  Precious.

Pool time was pure relaxation.
When you have children, as many know and as many don't, pool time is not relaxing.  My kids expect me to get in the water and play with them for the full two to three hours.  I'm not against swimming around with my kids but mama wants to crawl up in that lounge chair while you little boogers are peaceful and happy swimming around pretending to be sea creatures!  This week I could slip off to the pool, swim laps, turn up the music, then go crawl up in the pool chair and read!

Evening peace.
My evenings were filled not with children fighting, crying, or stalling to go to bed but with a blanket, pillow, and my book.  I even had a fabulous Face Time with my bestie one evening.  I stayed up late and watched television and slept in - kind of.  I remember doing all that a life time ago.

My work was easier!
Since I didn't have my minis to worry about I felt more at peace doing my work for the clients I had on the calendar for the week.

Target, Starbucks, Sam's - alone!
Target had a Cartwheel offer of an extra 20% off their summer clearance.  I thought I would check it out and scored several outfits for little man for the rest of the summer and the warm fall.  Even though the kids were off enjoying the ocean I still couldn't fathom getting anything for me when there were such good deals for one of them.  So I put back the jacket I wanted for myself.  See, even when you are enjoying your you time they are still taking precedence.  I did finally get a pair of sneakers on Friday though.  I've been without a pair for a month.  Not good.

I am so grateful that I had this time to myself.  It wasn't a planned week away for the kids but my mom couldn't bare the idea of the kids leaving with us on Monday from the beach.

The kids will be arriving any time now and I will be happy to see them and give them hugs.  They are my babies so even if you took this post the wrong way you should realize that a mom never stops loving her kids, worrying about her kids, thinking about her kids - but good mamas will be honest with you and say - we all need time to recharge.  We all deserve more than an hour or two.  It is good to have time where you are forced to do some nice things for yourself, even if it is graham crackers and milk with your puggle.

Being a mom is really tough - thank the Lord for respite.

Now let's go get ready to see those babies.

xo
Amanda

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fried-day

My title is in honor of the dog days of summer!  The hottest weather of the season has hit us in NC and everything on this post is a little fried!



National Ice Cream Day....at the beach!

What's the beach without a taco stand?

Dad & Little Man heading out to get their toes wet!

On our way to eat some seafood!


One:  Beach Weekend

Last Saturday we loaded up and left out for North Myrtle Beach.  Originally, the weather forecast showed nothing but rain but guess what?  It didn't!  We had sunshine and blue skies!  There is nothing better than some ocean and sunshine to make you feel better!  Oh and fried food - ADMITTING!  Yes I partook in french fries, fried oysters, fried pickles, buttered toast, and other very bad for me foods.
I was so thrilled that my husband got to go on this little trip.  He normally misses out on smaller trips in the summer because of his work schedule.  The kids loved having him with us too.
Since he had to be back at work on Tuesday and I have clients to keep happy (yay) with clean homes on Wednesday and Thursday we loaded up to come home on Monday evening.  

Just me, a book, the dog, and the water.  Peaceful!


Two:  A week with no kids?!?!

So  as we were leaving the beach my mom calls and asks if the kids can just stay the week with her at the beach.  Ummm....yes!  Look I love my babies but every mom likes a break!  Our brains and spirits can get really fried when we have small kids!  I can admit it!  I had a week of no referreeing fights or watching cartoons - it was heaven! Also, the ability to go through mounds of toys and clothes and properly organize their rooms was no less than fabulous.  Can I tell you that maybe I was too comfortable in the evenings not fixing a dinner and watching whatever I wanted to on the television?  And the pool...oh my lord the pool with no arguing was a true joy.  I love my babies and I am priveledged to have them and care for them but this week has been shear wonderment.  

#JesusSaves Bible Verse of the Day - www.air1.com/verse:
I have been praying for a new job opportunity for my husband.  Patience and prayer - worked!

Three:  The hubby got a new job!

On Tuesday my husband was offered a new job.  He had interviewed for it the week before and before we left for the beach a bug had been put in his ear that he got it.  Well guess what?  He did!  I am so proud of my hubby!  I am also super excited he'll be back in our regularly scheduled lives!  You may remember me saying he worked at night and well that puts a damper on family things. It fried me out being the parent in charge of all nightly rituals and routines. Now we will eventually readjust to dad being home in the afternoons/evenings and being apart of our every day.  

Atonement (2007) - I only liked the first half, when the little girl wasn't grown up yet.:
Pretty good flick!

Four:  I watched a movie.

This past week while I was on mommy sabbatical I watched a movie.  Now this is a big deal because I'm the type of person who will sit down to watch something and put myself on a guilt trip.  Yeah I'm the annoying human who thinks she has to be doing something at every moment of the day or night. Maybe that is why I am fried mentally all the time. Do they make medication for this?  Anyway, my sweet, beautiful, and did I mention pregnant with her first baby and I got to texting and she was giving me movies to check out on Netflix.  (By the way are you following me on SnapChat and Instagram?  You should be.) She said I should watch some Nicholas Sparks movie...no, J, no.  I had actually blogged about the one she wanted me to watch.  Anyway, I couldn't do Nikki Sparks so she says I should watch a Patrick Swayze movie that wasn't on Netflix.  No, girl, no.  So we settled on Atonement.  OMG it was a good movie!  Check it out I don't want to talk about it because I will give the entire story away but it was good!  And I sat through it and only got up ONE TIME.  

Five:  How do you feel about bachelorette parties?

My bestie is on her way to a bachelorette party this weekend.  We have had a few conversations about this over the course of the past two weeks.  Just so you all know me and my bestie are old.  We are ten years past getting wasted to get wasted.  And guess what?  The bride is wanting to get wasted to get wasted.  My bestie was thinking the cool thing to do would be get massages and facials at a day spa, visit a winery, have some good food...Not get knee walking drunk (we can insert another fried here) in a club of twenty somethings.  So y'all give some prayers for my girl for this weekend.  She's going to need them.  By the way, yes we are old.  Kids do that to you.  Meanwhile, this weekend I'll be welcoming my ducklings home and teaching Sunday School. 

I am really and truly so thankful for all of you! xo! Mrs. French. **create your own stunning Thanksgiving wishes with the Juju app!**:

Six:  Thank you!

This week I took time off from blogging because we were on our weekend getaway and then I had the house to myself.  I just want to say you blogger buddies and readers are so fabulous.  All the well wishes for my week were so sweet and taken fully!  There have been times I have thought of quitting my blog but it seems like every week I meet a new reader or form a stronger friendship with another amazing writer and you know it - I love you all.  

Now, let's go enjoy our Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!  I'll see you all on Monday with something, not sure what yet, but something!  Be sure to add me on your social media accounts.  I'm told you should really add me on Snap Chat...at least to hear what people say is my fried accent.  Touche.

Linked up with Katie & Christina

xoxoxox

Amanda





Thursday, July 21, 2016

Be...beautiful.

Superficial

That's what I think of when I hear the world beautiful in 2016.  As time has passed us by we're so far from the true definition of certain words in our language that they have corroded to ruin us.

We live in a place that tells us beauty is:

Breast Implants
Tummy Tucks
Lipo
Lip injections
Hair extensions
Butt implants
Calf implants
Botox

Read between the lines and you will see that beauty is defined not by how you were made naturally but how you create yourself to look with the help of needles, scalpels, and glue.

I like to look my best and achieve that through things like diet, exercise, washing my hair (ha!), and taking care of my skin.  I made it through tweendom, middle school, and those critical teen years realizing that the pop culture icons were made to look the way they did thanks to managers, labels, and producers.

Today I raise a child who is growing up in a time where the ideology of beauty is so incredibly warped. I have to remind her over and over that what she sees is not "normal"  or "realistic".

Striving to remind her she is beautifully and wonderfully made, teaching her take care of her body, and making sure she knows that the secret of beauty is to love yourself and what sets you apart from the masses - that's my lesson plan on raising in a daughter in a world obstructed by fallacies of beauty.

But most of all it is setting the example for her.

As moms, aunts, big sisters, and babysitters we are the epitome of beauty to so many girls in our lives.  They look to us and think we are the supermodels.  Therefore, we have to watch what we do and what we say about ourselves at all times.  It is too easy to leave an imprint on a child (without meaning to) about the way we look and our insecurities.

Realizing we're the role model we need to set a good example each and every day.  We need to take control of our health and our beauty will follow.

My daughter knows mama loves to work out and loves to eat fresh and healthy.  She knows that her mom drinks water and unsweet tea and washes her face and brushes her teeth twice a day!  But the best part of it is she knows her mama does it because she loves her and her brother and wants to be around for the duration.

Set a good example.  You are the definition of beautiful early on and if you sit on that pedestal they raise you to you are the long lasting link to how they will view what beautiful is.

Linked up with Michelle for Party At My Place.

xo
Amanda

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TT: Check These Out STAT!



Hey sweets! I'm on my little sabbatical this week and decided I was not going to type up a nutrition lesson or put together a post on a recipe I love.  BUT next week I'll be sharing a recipe for fish with you so woo hoo!

This week I wanted to share some food blog love.  So many of us love to cook and share it!  I decided to fuel that fire of food love and blogging by sharing away today!  Here are some bloggers and posts that I think you need to gobble up!

Last week I found a new friend on this blog planet.  Well I'm calling her a friend because her posts are awesome and her blog name is the best.   Missy Quigley over at My Shitty Kitchen is churning out some food this mama can devour and love.  Last week she shared this recipe and I am so freaking excited to make it in the coming week!

Cheese....cream cheese....veggies....yes!  

Christina at Carolina Charm blog shared a fabulous summer salad recipe she loves from Hello Fresh.  Oh my goodness it looks so good - steak and citrus!  To get the recipe you'll need to click this link to her Friday blog post and then you'll click the link for he salad and it will download to your computer/phone!  She also has a code for you to try Hello Fresh for $29!

I really want to eat this, now.

Last Friday my friend Emily at Simply A Rough Draft left us with a cliff hanger on her post.  She's posting a fish taco recipe this week!  There is a recipe link up that we both participate in over at Johanna's - you have to check it out this week!

You better be on the look out for this recipe from Emily!  Check her blog religiously!
And finally...my sweet Andrea at Living on Cloud Nine always posts something incredibly yummy on her blog on Tuesdays and though I'm pre-writing this and have no clue what she'll be putting up this week I invite you to her blog to see what amazing food she's made for us to delight in this week!  You should totally check out this fabulous summery dessert that speaks to my pineapple loving heart!

You know you want to go head first into the plate!

I hope you guys have a tasty Tuesday where you are and fill your tummies with something super yummy today.

xo-
Amanda







Friday, July 15, 2016

Fri-Boom-Shak-A-Laka-Day

Hello you beautiful person!  And hello you beautiful day!  It is Friday as per the usual I'm linking up with the fabulous Katie and over at Christina's as well.

This week is a mix of notes and recap.  I thought I would change up my format a little bit!





This week started with what I am going to deem as my most favorite post - thus far - that I have written about girl life.  The term tribe for friendships is very trendy right now and also something you should totally celebrate if you are a member of one!  But if you're not or if you're wondering why not everyone identifies with a tribe then you should check out my post.  Not only was it my most read this post - wow on those numbers - it was also my most shared post in blog history.  Holy rum runners, y'all!

One thing I really enjoyed was reading your comments and seeing how you translated the post to identify.  My most favorite thing about writing, just like art, is that every time we write people interpret it so differently.  Sure, my own message was not quite matching up to what others read and gained from it but that is what makes writing and sharing so incredibly wonderful.

Thank you so much for your love, identification, and most of all sweetness in every comment, email, share, etc.  You guys are why I adore being a blogger and letting my writing continue!

Read the post here:




This week dragged in the dog days of summer.  Our temperatures hover between ninety and ninety-seven.  The humidity is about seventy percent most days.  I swear on Monday the air in North Carolina failed to move!  But don't think I am complaining.  Since I'm not suffering from breathing disorders I bask in the thick heat.



Of course it helps that we combat the heat by diving into the pool!  Last weekend we had one of our precious family days just hanging out in the water together.  My son was able to ditch the swimmies and swim like a little turtle all around the pool - he even started jumping off the diving board!  Our daughter was able to have a fun swim date at her friend's A&A's house and then spend a day at the water park with our church's elementary youth group.

When it is really hot and humid I don't want to eat very much.  Needless to say I'm not cooking that much this week so I shared another listing of stuff I am eating - I lovingly call it crap.  I'm going for more fruit and light as air foods this month.

Check out:





In our home we have three vehicles.
1.  A Kia Optima named Kelly.  She's actually the only one with a name because she is my regular ride.  I love my car and honestly cannot think of driving anything else on the regular at this point.  She is comfy and cozy.  She is a light drinker.  She's just a good girl.  Now, I should probably knock on wood because once you compliment a car something generally goes down.

2.  The Exploder, I mean Explorer.  This old piece of crap is nineteen and is my husband's daily driver.  I hate that car.  It is ugly, it is old, and when you are in it you get a simulation of being in a blender.  It rattles and shakes and sounds like it may bust apart.  A couple weeks ago the radiator shared that it had a hole in it with us and that was just plain out delightful.

3.  The Chevy.  Our full size truck and the vehicle of choice for longer drives and vacations.  It is large and comfortable but it is so very bad on gas.  Where my car is the light drinker the Chevy is a full blown alcoholic.  This is the only vehicle we are making any payments on so I love it but I hate the damned thing too.

We're about to take off on a mini get away to the coast.  Since we're not going to be there very long we realize we don't need to pack the entire house and half of Walmart.  That means we're taking Kelly Kia instead of the Chevy (I really need to name her!  Maybe Shelly Chevy?)  That also means we're extremely limited on packing.  This is not a fete I am generally good at.  Packing light means I forget 75% of what I need or end up having 1.5 outfits.  I posted my plan as well as my Pinterest 5 for he light packing trial on Wednesday.

The post:



Friends, I'm sad.  I finished a fabulous book on Wednesday night - after cleaning and organizing and watching RHONY.  The book was so good I could sit down and read so many chapters at one time.  Lately, for me I have been struggling to really get into anything I am reading but this one was the book that changed that.  If you need a good summer read and you can stomach a romance then you need to read 


set in the 1930's on the coast of Rhode Island.

Next up I am starting:

 



Is best summed up like this...

Typography Pt. 01 by Manas Pratim Sarma #typography #typostrate:




Next week will be limited over here at ABW.  I have some posts that will be publishing out but I won' be able to respond to comments and emails quite as quickly as normal.  I'm taking a little time to myself.  You can still catch me on some of my social media accounts though!



Have a wonderful weekend.

xo-
Amanda



Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Wino Thursday

Today I'm linked up with Michelle at Grammie Time again!  I'm loving her topics and they are fitting with my summer perfectly.  Today we're all sharing what we are currently reading and also what we're sipping from our glasses!

How fitting is it that I am currently reading a book that Michelle shared a couple weeks back?



How I love this book!  It is set in 1938 and is a romance but the story is just captivating.  Here is the synopsis from Amazon....

Lily Dane has returned to Seaview, Rhode Island, where her family has summered for generations. It’s an escape not only from New York’s social scene but from a heartbreak that still haunts her. Here, among the seaside community that has embraced her since childhood, she finds comfort in the familiar rituals of summer.

But this summer is different. Budgie and Nick Greenwald—Lily’s former best friend and former fiancĂ©—have arrived, too, and Seaview’s elite are abuzz. Under Budgie’s glamorous influence, Lily is seduced into a complicated web of renewed friendship and dangerous longing.

As a cataclysmic hurricane churns north through the Atlantic, and uneasy secrets slowly reveal themselves, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional storm that will change their worlds forever…


This is now available on Amazon Prime for $8.51!  Or you can check it out at your local library like I did :)

A couple weeks back I finished this book...



To just be blunt it is about a middle aged woman who is getting a divorce and becomes a crystal meth head.  I'm not kidding.  In the midst of it all are her two daughters - one grown and in a mountain of debt and the other in high school and in a mountain of a mess as she has became the class slut.

I felt the need to give you my snapshot of the book instead of Amazon's.  The book is good but it took me a bit longer to get through than normal.

This book is currently available via Amazon for $13.73 is you are a Prime member.

So what am I sipping on?

Wine wise...nothing special.  Barefoot Pinot Grigio - my cheap go to for summer sippers.  I love red wine but in the summer I prefer white.



Liquor wise....you know I am a pirate.  I mix my banana rum and dark rum with cranberry juice and sip away the day.


Happy Thursday!

Amanda

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