Thursday, September 27, 2012

I had it all wrong!

So I've had it all wrong my friends...... I thought that kids loved ice cream IN their cones, but instead my children just love ice cream CONES.  Literally...JUST.THE.CONE.  Not sure what that's all about, but apparently they could care less if there's ice cream in it.  They just love to crunch.  In fact, they run to find them in the evening, after dinner and get beyond excited when I had them...a cone.

Try it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Why Can't I Win???

Why can't I just win once.  No, not the lottery.  Although that would be pretty sweet.  I'm talking about just winning one in life.  I'm not saying that my life is horrible--it's definitely not.  In fact, I'm blessed in so many ways it's hard to even count them all.  But it's like I can't catch a break sometimes. 

After years of feeling horrible health-wise, and even worse the last 16 months or so, I finally visited a specialist last month.  Today I got the results.  The good news is it's not Lupus or Arthritis.   And I was already cleared for MS earlier this year.  Instead it's Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  A syndrome I used to chuckle at because I didn't really understand it.  But now I do.  I'm living it.  I've lived it for years but now I know the name of it.

Back in my early 20's I got mono.  Not sure exactly how, as I thought it was something you'd get earlier in life--but I did.  And since then I've had one weird illness after another.  Ironically, this CFS is actually affiliated with the Epstein Barr virus which is what causes mono.  It basically never leaves some people's bodies. 

As a result I live in daily pain.  Like the kind you have when you are sick with the flu--very achy joints and muscles.  Everywhere.  And in addition there is a lot of weakness and tiredness. 

I guess I dealt with this pre-children because I just didn't know what else it was--but now with two small children, one of which requires a LOT of energy it's truly taking a toll on me.  I want to be the mom that can keep up and run around with them.  Again, for my older son he needs it as therapy.  And now I feel like it's getting harder and harder to provide it for him.  Literally taking a walk down the block will wear me out.  No, not immediately but the next day.  It's truly why every time I would start a good workout regime, I would have to end it quickly .... I would always get 'flu like' for days afterwards.  I just assumed it WAS the flu or some weird virus. 

So now I'm looking for anything that will help me.  Help me to be a stronger parent.  I read all of these stories about people with CFS being on disability because it's such a disabling illness and honestly, I used to judge--but now I totally "get" it.  I guess yet another lesson in life about not judging people. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cooking for 2....meals.

As a busy mom of 2, it's important to me to not spend my life over the stove and instead, spend valuable time with them.  That is why I LOVE to find recipes that I can cook and manipulate in to a couple of totally different meals.

One of my faves:

1st meal:  Chicken (taco) salad

--SUPER EASY.  Take a package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 7 of them) and plop them in to a slow cooker.  Then add your favorite jar of salsa (yes, the entire jar).  Then just cook for about 7 hours on low (I basically turn it on before leaving for work and it's done when I return....).  About 30 minutes before it's done, take a couple forks and shred it up.  Keep it in the salsa mix.

Then I take a package of taco salad shells.  You can get these in the refrigerated section of your grocery store (by the refrigerated taco shells).  You bake them for about 7 minutes.  Then I use SHREDS lettuce (you know, the stuff that's in the bag in your produce department).  Fill the shell with lettuce, add tomatoes, shredded cheese, your chicken mixture and top with sour cream.

2nd meal--day 2:  Chicken Tortilla soup

--So now you'll take the leftover chicken mixture and toss it BACK in to the slow cooker the next day.  Add in the following:
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1 onion--finely chopped
some garlic
14.5 oz can of chicken broth
1 can of enchilada sauce (the 10 oz size)
1 teaspoon each of:  cumin and chili powder
A bit of pepper to your taste
1 can of chopped green chiles
I add in about a half bag of frozen corn and a can of black beans

You guessed it.  TURN ON the slow cooker--about 6-7 hours on low.  Top with freshly chopped cilantro.  YUM!  Then take some taco chips and you can break them up and eat with it.  Top with sour cream.

So yummy!!!!  Enjoy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My (unpopular) thoughts on the Chicago Teacher's Strike

I must say, the news that the Chicago Public School teachers striking this morning was just a slap in the face to the public and more so, to the students that they teach. 

With an average salary of approximately $76,000 (not including benefits), it's tough to feel bad for them.  In a society where people are working two jobs and not even coming close to that salary, how CAN you feel bad? 

Of course the Union indicates that no, the teachers don't make that much.  It's a bit lower than that.  OK.  That may be true, but we're talking about $5K less.  Sorry guys....still not looking too good.  Keep in mind that this salary includes 3 MONTHS of summer vacation along with many...many days off for holidays in between. 

The teachers argue that they aren't being reviewed properly, since new guidelines would indicate that those who teach students that perform very low on standardized tests could potentially lose their jobs.  The teachers indicate that their students are hungry...and poor...and that is the reason that they perform so low. 
I won't argue that hunger in America is a real problem and certainly can hurt a child's ability to learn.  However, most of these students receive not only free lunch from the school, but breakfast as well.   And I'm sorry, but being poor doesn't mean that you get a free pass at tests.  There are plenty of true success stories of those who rose from the projects and even homelessness.  The poorest of the poor. 

So how is this different than any of us who work in corporate America?  We are all reviewed on metrics that we may or may not be able to move the needle on.  And for those that we can, we truly work our butts off.  And yet, we do it.  And we don't get paid nearly what these teachers do, nor have the time off.  And we can't afford to strike with every little thing we disagree on.  We're lucky to have jobs.  Although we may not have these jobs for long if we have to take off of work to provide childcare for our children who now do not have school (and just returned from a 3 month summer break).  Or better yet, find it necessary to spend OUR hard-earned money (not even coming close to their teacher's salaries) to find a temporary childcare provider.  So that's 350,000 students PLUS their parents that are now finding themselves in an uncomfortable and unfair position. 

I believe in Unions, but this time it's gone too far.  In a society where students need "good" teachers more than ever, I'm starting to think that perhaps it's time to find new ones.  Perhaps ones that CAN help the students reach appropriate scores on standardized tests.  Heck, think of the amount of money the school system would save.  I mean, a teacher just starting out--who is fresh and committed and not yet burnt out could be a real influence to the students.  And they most likely wouldn't come anywhere NEAR the median salary that the tenured teachers are.   Something to think about.  I'd love to hear your comments. 

Here's a great story:  how much do teacher's make?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

At what point....

So at what point do we as "moms" go from wearing cute two-piece swimsuits to wearing sensible "tankini" style swimsuits that showcase a skirted bottom in lieu of the traditional bikini?  

THAT was the realization I recently made while my husband and I took the boys to a waterpark.  I was looking at other guests relaxing with adult beverages and bikinis that didn't leave much to the imagination when I looked down at my own attire thinking, "when did this happen??!"  That used to be ME.  Thirty pounds thinner and with a much higher chest.  When I looked around the waterpark, I found that there was an entire club of swim-skirt wearing moms.  The segregation was amazing. 

But although I miss that body I once had, the trade-in to a skirted "mom" swimsuit is something I would never undo.  I love my children more than life itself.  Sure, my abs will never be what they once were, and I have lumps and bumps where I never knew I could.  But it's the body that God gave me and I'm trying each day to love it.  No....not enough to wear a bikini --but enough to not wear a moo-moo.  In public.  Now the sweats....I can't give THOSE up.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Remember him?

The e-trade baby.   We all fell in love with this lil' guy.  Well, he's not so little anymore.  While getting my daily dose of complete trash -- I came across THIS LINK:  TMZ link to etrade baby


Of course, then I also came across a video of Taylor Swift, who I admit....I'm starting to actually like.  No, I'm not going to admit that I just downloaded one of her new songs on to my iphone.  I can't admit that to people I don't know. 

So anyways, there was that great special featuring lots of stars raising money for cancer research.  Taylor Swift has a new song called "Ronan" that she sung.  Check out the link and have lots of tissues handy.  It's a tear-jerker.  Ronan was a 3-yr old who died of cancer and this song is heart-breaking.  LINK:  TAYLOR SWIFT'S RONAN VIDEO