Friday, February 1, 2013


I know what you must be saying I don't have time to plan meals, I barely have time to get them on the table.  Well this really isn't true.  Meal planning does not take a lot of time and in the end actually saves time.  How you say?  Well did you ever try to make a meal and find out that you are missing an ingredient and then have to start over with something else?  Did you ever just stand looking in your refrigerator and gaze mindlessly hoping something jumps out at you telling you what to make for dinner?  Been there, done that and not very well I must say.

It is very frustrating and wastes more time not only in decision making but in running around finding ingredients and maybe forcing you to make another trip to the store or deciding on a quick take out meal instead.  Not really saving any time right?

This doesn't have to happen if you plan ahead.  It is only a matter of taking maybe 10 minutes one night a week and deciding what meals you'll have the following week.  If you know Monday will be busy with soccer practice and you'll eat later than usual, you can plan something easy say tacos, write your shopping list at the same time so you'll have all the ingredients for tacos and move on to the next  night.  When you look at Monday's menu, you see tacos and know ahead of time what you'll be having and maybe brown the meat earlier in the day, grate the cheese or whatever prep you can do ahead of time and lo and behold when soccer practice or the game is over, you'll be able to have the meal on the table in no time.

You can do this for the whole week and make you grocery list as you go along.  Calendar in hand as to activities coming up and decide what will work with your schedule.  A lot of prep can be done on the weekends if you know ahead of time what's on the menu.

Once you establish this type of meal planning and preparation, it will be second nature and you'll find you are less stressed, your family will eat healthier food and mealtimes will be pleasant and more enjoyable.

We as moms need to set the mood in our homes.  If we are stressed and irritable, it will transfer to the family and  you'll find that the children will be more difficult to handle, more chaos will fill your home and things will get out of control.  Ever wonder why things seem to escalate when you are at your worse? 

Planning is the key to many things in the home and meal preparation is one of them.  If you add up all the meals we prepare as moms, it will blow your mind.  It is not worth the stress if you can find a solution.  I challenge you to give it a try for one month and see if it makes a difference. .

As moms, like I said before, we set the temperature of the home and when we feel frustrated and frazzled, our family will feel the same.  Mealtimes should be pleasant and unhurried.  Children should feel safe, loved and free to express themselves, not uptight and tense.  If they see mom is hurried and is slamming pots and pans, shouting at the dog, raising her voice, then they will worry something is wrong.  We certainly don't want that.

Menus don't have to be elaborate to be good.  Choose foods that are quick and easy.  There are so many good cookbooks out there and even websites available for meals that can be made in 30 minutes or even 15 minutes or less.  Remember it takes longer to go through a drive-thru, order food, pay for it, drive home, and set it up than it does to prepare some quick healthy meals.   It is also much healthier too.
I have some great recipes that I will share with you for healthy meals that don't take a lot of time and I also have some that take longer which are good for weekend meals. 
Another way to ease the burden is to double or triple your cooking process.  You can brown several pounds of ground beef or ground turkey and separate them into Ziploc bags (I use my Food Saver), label them and you'll have it ready for future meals.    When you do, just defrost them and you will have half the meal already done for meatballs, sloppy Joes, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, tacos or anything that requires ground meat. 

Photo courtesy of

I'll be back in further posts with other ideas for making meal time easier and not such a stressful, frustrating time. 

If you are looking for a comfort food, especially a sweet desert, this recipe is for you.  It has been a little colder than usual here in California so I decided to make this and boy was it good and
SOOOOOOOOO very comforting too.




2/3 Cup enriched white rice (not converted or instant)
3 Cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 Cup butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon vanilla

In the top of a double boiler, combine rice, boiling water and salt.  Cook covered over medium heat about 40 min or until rice is tender.  Water in bottom of double boiler should be boiling and more water may need to be added before rice is done.  Do not drain rice.  Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and butter.  Cook uncovered, stirring frequently until slightly thickened about 20 min. 

Remove from heat.  Add vanilla and pour into serving dishes.  Yummmmmmmmmm.

If you make this pudding, let me know.  I sprinkled cinnamon over the top.  I absolutely love cinnamon and I think it gives it that extra zing.  You can leave it off if you want.  Also some people like raisins in their pudding.  I don't so if you want you can add them with the vanilla.  I would add about 1/2 cup. 

So get in the kitchen and make something special for your family.  Put on that attitude of joy remembering that they are watching you, listening to you and taking their queues from you.  Set the tone of peace and harmony even if you don't feel like it.  A grilled cheese sandwich made with love and tenderness is better than a steak made with frustration and bitterness.  It is not what you make but how it is made.

Until next time......remember you can do this, you can change the way you do things, learn new ideas and start saving time in the kitchen.  Put on a positive attitude and give it a try.  It takes time and practice but having less stress is always better for everyone.



Monday, January 21, 2013


As I said before, I love being a mom and now a grandmother.  Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your baby grow into a responsible adult, loving them with all your heart and watching them raise your grandchildren.  It does take a lot of work and patience and part of that work involves setting up routines and schedules that work for your home.  Each family is different so each system should be customized to fit the needs of your household.

If you are a working mom, then your system will be different than a stay-at-home mom.  No one system or schedule is right or wrong.  It should be what works for you and your family.  Believe me, I tried many types of organizational schedules and routines and had to keep redoing them because for one reason or another they just didn't work.  So if something is not working, start over.  It doesn't mean you failed, it means that system is not right for you so find another.

I do believe everyone needs a schedule whether it is a calendar on the wall, a planner, a white board just something where you can see what is going on for the week and the days ahead.  This is nothing new to you I'm sure but you would be surprised how many moms fail to write things down and then wonder why they miss dates such as birthdays, soccer practice, PTA meetings, get togethers with friends, etc.  If your calendar is up where you can see it every day, I say in the kitchen, you will see it and know what you need to accomplish or what is coming up in the next week.


There are all types of calendars and now you can even print out pages from the Internet.  Make sure they have enough space to write your daily activities in the blocks.  I find this is so helpful for appointments especially since I'm always forgetting them.  When you have infants and small children, there are always doctors and dentist appointments, school activities and other obligations that take up your time so be sure to schedule them on your calendar.  Also remember this is a great way to keep yourself from over scheduling and avoid too much stress in your life.
Now you can even schedule appointments on your I phone but if you don't always have your phone near you, you might not see the message or hear the alarm.  I still think a hard copy of a calendar in the kitchen where you are several times a day is a good idea.

If you are a working mom, then another calendar in the office as a double check works well too.
One of the changes I've noticed over the years is that parents have felt the need to keep their children in several activities at once filling up their schedules too.  Are we giving them too much to do at such a young age?  Are we stressing them out and cramming their lives with too many activities?   I have seen children so busy 5 days a week that they barely have time to breathe.  They are in school all day, have after-school activities, homework and then it starts all over again the next day.  When do they have time just to be a kid?  This is another reason your schedule is so full.  Reevaluate what your children are doing and maybe you can scale back a little and reduce the stress on everyone.
On your calendar also schedule your household chores.  You say you don't have time for cleaning.  Well you can clean many things in a short time if you devote a block of time to that one task and spread the tasks throughout the week.  On Monday you might write "clean master bathroom".  So now it is Monday and this is what you will do.  Find a 15 minute uninterrupted block of time and go like crazy and clean that bathroom.  Set a timer and have all your tools ready. 

You will be surprised how fast you will clean it when you know you are under a time limit.  Once that timer goes off you are done and the bathroom will be clean.  Wow you got that chore done.  Now on Tuesday, pick another chore say vacuum the living room and do the same thing.  Set the timer for 15 minutes and find that uninterrupted block of time and just do it. Keep the kids busy with homework or another activity.  If they are very young, occupy them with coloring or an age-appropriate movie. Do the same thing for the rest of the week and you'll have the whole house cleaned by the end of the week.
If you look at the whole picture such as "I need to clean this whole house and I'll never get it done", it is too overwhelming but if you break it down into little blocks of time, it will get done and you will feel a sense of accomplishment without stressing yourself out.

I believe the key is organization and a little effort put into scheduling and sticking to it make it possible.  Of course there will be days when the schedule goes out the window and everything falls apart.  We all have those days but then you pick up where you left off and start again.  Don't get discouraged, it happens to all of us.  Kids get sick, moms get sick (although we don't get the warm fuzzies and chicken soup).  Babies need lots of TLC. 
You think you don't have 15 minutes, well think again because you do.  I used this system for many years and it worked.  Sometimes I blew it and felt inadequate, a failure, a lousy housekeeper, a bad mother.  I got so depressed because again I wanted everything perfect.  Forget it, it never happened and I had to adjust my expectations.  Kids don't need perfect.  They need you.
So pick yourself up, and get back on track.  You are fantastic and wonderfully made.  You are God's creation and he picked you to be your children's mom, that special person to raise and protect his precious children.  You can do this.  Start small and work toward the big things.  I'll talk about how you can handle the big jobs such as cleaning the refrigerator, stove, cabinets etc. in another post but for now just concentrate on the every day stuff. 
You are a blessing to your family and your attitude means so much to the temperature in your home.  When  you are happy the rest of the family will be happy.  Don't get discouraged by what you can't do, concentrate on what you ARE doing and the rest will fall into place.  Until next time .....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a mom.  Like most little girls, I played pretend with my dolls and would act out being a mommy.  As I grew older I knew I wanted to have children and be a real mommy.  I absolutely loved babies and when my brother and his wife had my niece and she came to stay with us when I was 8 years old, I was elated.  I got to change her diapers, feed her and rock her to sleep.  To me there was nothing better.  I know for most girls at that age it probably would not seem like much but to me it was everything.

After I got married and became pregnant, I was on cloud 9.  I felt well and had no problems with my pregnancy.  Bringing home my own baby was a dream come true.  My son had brought me to tears many times just by looking at him.  I could not believe this was my child.  I was in awe of his tiny fingers and tiny toes, cute little nose and sweet smell.  What I didn't realize was I was clueless in regard to the extensive care an infant needed.  Fortunately, my mom was there to help for a few days but like most parents you eventually are pretty much on your own.  The available resources were slim, not like today so there was a lot of trial and error.  Most of the time my motherly instincts kicked in and everything turned out fine.
Before my son was born, I was very particular on how my house was kept.  Furniture was polished weekly.  Vacuuming was done frequently.  Windows washed regularly.  Everything had a place and things were always in order.
Well as all moms know, all those ideas go out the window when a baby comes into the home.    I, for one, still felt I should do it all.  I tried to keep up the same schedule I had before my son was born.  You know the saying "sleep when the baby sleeps".  Yeah, right.  I would clean and do laundry and make sure everything was in its place while he slept.  I still had to do the vacuuming, polishing, cooking a big meal nightly and everything I did before.  I drove myself and my husband nuts.
A baby is a lot of work and new moms should rest when they can.  I thought I was different.  I thought I could continue in the same way I had before.  I was fortunate I had a husband who helped with the care of my son and did a lot of the household chores but I still felt guilty if everything wasn't perfect.  I needed it done my way, "the right way" which I felt was the only way.  Do you get what I mean?  Boy did I have a lot to learn.
Do some of you feel that way?  Your house has to be just right.  Everything has to be in perfect order.  All the rooms have to be picked up and neat and tidy.  You worry that someone will pop over and see some dust.  Oh my goodness, will that be a crime?  I know how you feel because I've been there.  I thought people would judge me if the furniture had dust on it.  They would surely think I couldn't handle being a mother and a wife.  I thought they would look at my house and immediately think I was a lousy housekeeper.  I had all sorts of scenarios played in my mind.  I knew for sure the dust police would be coming to my house and cite me for having dust mites while raising a baby.
That was a ridiculous notion on my part.  I put all that pressure on myself for no reason.  A baby or for that matter a toddler requires work, lots of it and there will always be messes to clean up.  The house will not always be House Beautiful ready but with a few quick tips and some organization you can have it managed and livable and isn't that what we want anyway, a warm, happy home, livable and inviting to the people we love.  We don't need a show place, just a clean, comfortable home.
In the next posting I will share some of what worked for me and what didn't.  There are a lot of ideas out there and you probably already have tried some of them.  I don't claim to know everything but again I was a working mother most of my marriage and raised 3 children so I've tried lots of methods to keep my home running smoothly.  I hope you come back and check out what I have to share.
Until next time, remember that baby, toddler or child will one day grow up and you will never get back those precious moments.  You will always have dirty floors to clean, dishes to wash and clothes to put away but those little hands that seem to be making messes all day long will one day be waving bye to you and you'll wish for them to be home again.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Welcome to my new blog.  I titled it Surviving Motherhood because I know being a mom is a challenging as well as a rewarding vocation.  It is also the most difficult job you will ever have your entire life.  Surviving it is not an option.  It is a necessity, you can't throw in the towel, you can't hand in your resignation, you have to do your job no matter what. 

According to Mirriam-Webster's Dictionary it defines survive as "to remain alive or existent; outlive, outlast". 

Wow, are you doing just that?  Are you outliving, outlasting, just being existent?  Seems like it doesn't it? 

In this blog I hope to help you through the journey of motherhood with its up's and down's, high's and low's, accomplishments and disappointments.  I've lived through just about everything you can think of.  I now am enjoying the fruits of my labor so to speak.  I have 3 grandchildren and am sitting back and watching my children raise their children.  It is the best time and so rewarding to know that through all of the struggles and heartaches, I did something right.

I would like to share with you many of the things I learned through the years and what helped me raise 3 children while being a full time working mom.  I also chose to have home-cooked meals most nights of the week and cleaned my own house as well as do my own laundry.  I was not fortunate to have a housekeeper or maid.  Fiances were tight so dinners out were very rare.   We also suffered 3 layoffs during those years and lived on very little.   We learned how to sacrifice and be thrifty.  Our children didn't always have the best but had what they needed.  They worked when they could and learned that life was hard and mom and dad couldn't give them everything they wanted.

We went through several family tragedies including deaths, hospitalizations, illnesses, as well as unexpected expenses typical of any family unit.   It is all about experiences and how you deal with them that matters, the survival of them, not throwing in the towel. 

Again, my goal in this blog is to make it a place where you can find some answers to those questions or situations where you just don't know what to do next.  Please feel free to post your questions and I'll be sure to provide the answers if I can. 

In the future, I would like to share organizational tips, meal preparations, recipes, money matters, raising responsible children etc.  I am not a professional of any kind, just a mom who has been through it all and am proud to say that I am on the other side now and have lots to share.  I hope you would like to hear what that is.

Being a mom is the greatest blessing I could have besides being a wife.  Watching my children grow into responsible adults, being close to them now as they raise their families and sharing in their lives brings me such joy.  At times it may seem impossible, but it is all worth it, every broken dish, every dirty floor, every spilled glass, all of it.  Don't get caught up in the little details, they will disappear.  Enjoy the moments, those will be what you miss. 

Remember time goes by fast and you too will one day be on the other end looking back.  You too will survive.

If you would like to receive notice of more blog posts, please subscribe to my blog and leave a comment.  I really would appreciate hearing from you.

Until next time, remember this quote "There's no job more noble on this earth, than to care for those whom we've given birth."  Author Unknown.