You can have children, animals, and nice things… just not all at once.
My mom says this, and for years I thought she was crazy. She raised my brother and I in a home with all three. She kept a spotless house, worked, raised children, and managed the needs of a menagerie that, over the years, included a bird, a guinea pig, fish, a few cats, and, always, dogs.
I wondered why Mom would say that, seeing as she sure had it all together.
As I waddled through the end of my first pregnancy, I still believed my mother only said that to be funny. I had no plans to un-decorate my house, creating a padded surface devoted to children. I would have children, pets (our first baby was a German Shepherd) and a nice home, dang it.
It’s been seven years, two kids, a couple houses, and a new puppy since then. I finally get it. My mother was not being literal, she was extending a gentle warning: let the things, no matter how nice, be just things.
My house is filled with beautiful (to me, anyway) pieces, many are mementos that mean something to our family. I do have lovely things, but I don’t value them more than I value the life lived around those things.
Vases (pronounced with a long a here; we are not vahz people) break, floors get scratched, and sofas have mystery stains that nobody owns up to.
I have to choose: do I weep for the thing, or rejoice in the family life that damaged it?
I pick the latter. That’s not to say I don’t scream (in my head) and occasionally fantasize about scuff-free walls. But I remember: I chose the kids and the pets. I will always choose life first, things second.
As usual, my mom is right.
I don’t know about you, but my family wants to eat three meals a day, every day. For me, preparing all this food is one of the hardest things about motherhood.
A chef, I’m not — but I do enjoy making soups and sauces. There is peace in the process of mixing, simmering, tasting, then layering in more flavor. The best thing about sauces and soups is that you can make a lot, providing you with a second meal in the freezer. (You do have to remember the food is in the freezer, another issue altogether.)
I especially love homemade pasta sauce. I don’t use a recipe, which is why you won’t find one here. I use what I have on hand to make anything from a simple tomato sauce to a simmer-all-day bolognese.
Now here comes the tip (you were wondering, weren’t you?): leftover pasta sauce makes amazing pizza.
When I plan to make sauce, I also pick up some pizza crusts at the store (no, I don’t make my own, but you could). Put the leftover meat or veggie sauce, a little cheese, olives, a drizzle of oil, or whatever it is you like on your pizza, and voila, two meals crossed off your list for the week. Just 19 more to go.
*EDITOR UPDATE 6/5/2013: Author has retracted the following Find, stating “Since writing my guest post and sharing the Harper Willow case, my case has started peeling and looks awful. Their customer service was not polite or helpful, either.”
My hands are always full of bags, keys, leashes, and small hands belonging to other people.
Because I try to carry more than two hands can handle, I drop stuff. Often. My phone is usually one of the items I’m juggling, so I buy heavy-duty cases that can withstand, well, me.
The problem with tough cases is that tough and cute can be mutually exclusive. When I upgraded my phone, I went on the hunt for a case that was both, and I found Harper Willow.
Harper Willow makes custom Otterbox cases, so your phone looks great while it’s protected by one of the toughest cases around. The only drawback: with so many designs to choose from, you may get overwhelmed and spend half a day deciding which one to order. I didn’t do that, but you might.