Attempting to Embrace the Chaos

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lately I've been trying really hard to embrace the crazy. I threw my hands up and cried 'Uncle.' My Type A, anal side is having a hard time accepting the reality of how frenetic our lives have become lately, but the practical side is encouraging the the Type A side to take deep breaths and realize things will slow down soon enough.

I think it would be easier for me to let go if my mom and I hadn't had a few 'discussions' about everything from the state of my carpets to my son's wrinkled shorts. We're having one of those mother daughter moments where advice is really criticism in disguise. I've had to defend the choices I've made (or not made).

She doesn't understand why I can't "do it all" while one of the first things she did after my brother moved out a few years ago was hire a someone to clean twice a month. Things got heated. The phrase 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' was used. I realized I was on the verge of saying things I would end up regretting only after the satisfaction of getting the last word wore off.

Here's the thing: no, you can't eat off my floors but why would you want to? I have a perfectly good (and clean) kitchen table. My carpets are embarrassing, but the couch is clean. Sure, you'll have to move a pile of laundry to sit down but at least it's clean and folded. No one who comes into my home is afraid to sit down or eat anything I've made.

When I look back on my childhood and tell stories, I don't say, "man, my mom sure kept a super clean house." Instead, I talk about the green cookie jar that was always full of homemade cookies, us going shopping, her taking me to the library and buying me Sweet Valley High books, taking me to our local indoor pool and to the skating rink.

I don't think about our house or the laundry, I think about my mom herself. And that's what I want for Tyler. I want him to remember getting excited when I made his favorite meals for dinner and that I was at almost all of his practices and games. I also want Tyler to see me doing things that make me happy.

Am I happy that my house is a mess? No. It drives me absolutely crazy. But I decided awhile ago that I'm not a maid. I've already tried spending two hours a day making sure the house is exactly the way I like it (basically, perfect) and I've also tried screaming at my family to get them to help out more. Both ways left all of us miserable. I was resentful that I spent so much time cleaning for two people who could obviously care less and they got tired of me nagging.

The way I left it with my mom was to tell her that I don't have to do things the same way she did. We don't have to be the same kind of mom. She's a great mom and I like to think I'm doing a pretty good job myself. But, that doesn't mean I have to follow in her exact footsteps. And it definitely doesn't mean I should feel guilty for doing what works for us. Things may be crazy, busy and messy but we're having fun. At the end of the day, that's really all that matters.

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12 Cheap or Free Cookbooks for Kindle | Frugal Friday

Friday, April 13, 2012

I want to make better food choices for us, but I really don't like to cook. I used to, but now it's more like a chore. "What's for dinner?" are three words I dread hearing. I figure if I can gather enough recipes to start varying what we eat, maybe I'll start to enjoy cooking again.

I've been using the library to check out cookbooks. It's been a great way to know if I want them before I buy. The two titles I have now are Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook and Eat Cheap, But Eat Well. Both are really good.

My other resource for cookbooks is Amazon. I go to the site a few times a day to look at the Kindle book offers. I've been able to grab several free and really cheap items that way. I look through the books on my tablet and decide if they're something I want to own or just borrow from the library. Today the cookbook section is pretty heavy with deals so I thought I'd share*.

These are two I can personally recommend. I've been reading Stephanie's food blog for at least a year, probably longer. I was so happy for her when she announced her first cookbook deal. Both of her titles are on special for $3.03 today.

I've also started to go to NPR for book and cookbook recommendations and they have these titles by Melissa Clark as one of their top choices for 2011 and 2010, respectively ($2.99 and $3.03). At this price these will  make excellent gift closet items.

These I can't vouch for but the prices are definitely right. All are .99.


All I can think of with these two is comfort food. The biscuits on the cover are making me drool ($2.99 and $2.51).

Phil's family spends a week camping at the beach near our house. Everyone takes turns making dinner. Last year was our first time getting our own campsite and I think the boys are going to want to camp more often. I can send them on their merry way with a cooler full of ready to heat meals. (free)

Tyler has been complaining about his lunch being boring. I told him picky eaters don't have many choices. Since this title is free, I thought we could go through it together and come up with some new things he may want to try. I love that the book is by bloggers!

I really hope I can get my kitchen mojo back. Tyler has asked a few times to help with dinner and I'm ready to let him.

What are your favorite cookbooks?

*I am an Amazon affiliate and these are affiliate links. You help keep me Starbucks card loaded when you make a purchase. Amazon prices change fast so always confirm the price before you add it to your cart. You don't need a Kindle to read Kindle books!
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