Archives for May 2012

Where Oh Where Is Natalie?

You haven’t seen me on Twitter or Facebook. I haven’t been pinning or Skyping. I haven’t posted here on my blog in a week. Where have I been?

Living life.

I am kind of at a crossroads here. I have absolutely NO desire to be on the computer lately. I keep thinking I should post something and I should probably tweet something. But here’s the thing…at that point, to me it feels like work and not my passion anymore. And that scares me.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been burnt out before. I have taken blogging breaks. But I have been fighting with this one for months and I don’t know what’s changed.

I have talked to a couple of people who have suggested it’s the age of the kids and the fact that they are more active now and so we are out and about more. There are field trips and parties and play dates and fun activities we find in the city and through play groups. It keeps them busy, but it leaves me with less time to get chores and errands done…which of course means less computer time.

Or maybe it’s the time of the year – my favorite – so I want to be outside enjoying it.

Or maybe, and I really hate this thought, I have lost the fire that kept me blogging.

I don’t know what it is, but I do know this…I don’t want to give up on it all just yet. I will just have to make some changes. Post less. Be more selective about additional work I take on. Get back to posting about the kids and what we are up to. Get back to focusing on my “real” life and not the life I have on the computer.

I’ve blogged before, several times in fact, about how hard it is to balance it all. I’ve never found the balance in the 2-1/2 years I’ve been doing this. Maybe there is no balance. Maybe the kids getting older is making the balance even more elusive to find.

I know some of you have felt this way before and worked through it…I am wide open to any suggestions or words of encouragement!

and by the way…if you love to cook as much as I do, check out my Lawry’s giveaway…you will want to win this package!

Easy Chicken Recipe: Grilled Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken

I’ve told you before that I have some picky eaters in my house. If it doesn’t look like something the kids are already familiar with, they ain’t eatin’ it. I think that’s how I got them to eat my Grilled Cheese with Spinach and Prosciutto…they know what grilled cheese is, I hid the spinach in the middle of it and told them the prosciutto was bacon. Sometimes you gotta be sneaky! But there was no need to be sneaky with this recipe from Lawry’s for Grilled Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken…one look at this and the kids couldn’t wait to dig in!

Lawry’s (famous for their Lawry’s Seasoning Salt) recently sent me several of their new Lawry’s salt blends and marinades. I couldn’t wait to give them a shot! I tried several of them (I even used the Roasted Garlic Salt in my grilled cheese recipe!), and I’ve decided my favorite is the Mediterranean Herb & White Wine Marinade. It is so versatile! You can use it on a variety of meats, or even use it as a spread (I did that last summer when I created some slider recipes using Lawry’s marinades).

easy_chicken_recipe So I made the Grilled Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken using the Mediterranean Herb & White Wine Marinade. Check out the recipe – it is simple and fast to make. This is the kind of last minute meal you can throw together that will taste like it took you hours to create!

The marinade is the secret ingredient that makes it possible – it’s full of big flavors like basil and oregano, garlic and sun dried tomatoes. If you put all of these things together with chicken, it would be expensive – Lawry’s has made it affordable and ready for you to use without having to mix it all yourself!

As part of the The Motherhood, I received free Lawry’s products and a stipend to write this review.

The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe EVER!

The girls enjoying their cheese squares! Brings back lots of childhood memories…

Okay, I’ll be honest…I make a damn good grilled cheese sandwich. I can make good-old-fashioned-plain grilled cheese, churched-up grilled cheese and even add fruit to grilled cheese sandwiches. I love cheese, and there’s nothing better for a cheese lover than a kick ass grilled cheese sandwich…who’s with me? The sandwich I am about to introduce you to is very addicting, so only try it if you are willing to become addicted to the best grilled cheese sandwich EVER!

I should also add that this sandwich is a nod to Giada De Laurentiis’ grilled cheese with spinach and pancetta recipe out of her new cookbook weeknights with Giada. I say nod because she makes hers with pancetta, makes a spread for the middle, and cooks it as a panini. Too much work for me. So I changed it up to make it simple to make.

The kids love this new grilled cheese creation, I love it and even Jason, who is not a huge grilled cheese fan loves it. Try it out and let me know if your family loves it, too!

This recipe is for a simple grilled cheese sandwich that's kicked up a notch with spinach and prosciutto. It becomes the best grilled cheese sandwich EVER!

Best Grilled Cheese, Spinach, and Prosciutto Sandwich EVER!

The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe EVER!
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • (Per Sandwich)
  • 1-2 slices of proscuitto
  • 2 slices of mild or sharp cheddar cheese (or your favorite!)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted spreadable butter
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
  • 4-6 spinach leaves
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Get a piece of tin foil and lay the prosciutto slices in a single layer on top of the foil. Bake until crispy and brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Cool for a few minutes and crumble. Set aside.
  2. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter on 1 side of both pieces of bread. Add the garlic salt and grated Parmesan cheese. Place one piece of bread in a heated skillet (butter side should be on the skillet). Top with the cheese, crumbled prosciutto, and spinach leaves. Put the remaining bread slice on top (butter side should be facing up).
  3. Grill the sandwich about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Let cool for 2 minutes, cut each sandwich in half and serve with fresh fruit.
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This recipe is for a simple grilled cheese sandwich that's kicked up a notch with spinach and prosciutto. It becomes the best grilled cheese sandwich EVER!

Yummy, right? This makes a great lunchtime sandwich or even a great dinner sandwich! And you can make it your own…change up the meat, use different varieties of cheese, or use your favorite bread. The possibilities are endless!

Looking for more of the best grilled cheese sandwiches around? Try my Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Apples and check out my Grilled Cheese board on Pinterest.

Mommy Moment – Wendy Style

Welcome to another Mommy Moment! If you’re not sure what it is, head over and read all about how Mommy Moments at the Monster came to be. Today, I am excited to welcome Wendy from wendy will blog!

Wendy Will Blog
Wendy is a mom to a sweet (and very pretty!) four year old girl, she’s also a blogger, Twitter fanatic and breast cancer survivor. I have also met Wendy a couple of times in person and she is sweet, genuine and very easy to talk to. If you don’t already know her, you’re gonna love her.

So go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

———-

It was well past her bedtime at a recent family celebration.  My daughter – fueled by chocolate cake and ice cream – squealed in delight as her Uncle chased after her around our living room.  Giggles and full belly laughs made the evening feel even more festive until she shouted – with hands on hips, mind you – “Watch out before I punch you out!”  My husband and I exchanged wide eyes as the rest of there room erupted in laughter.  She’s the only grandchild, so I’m sure you can imagine the kind of attention she’s used to getting.  And at that moment?  She was reveling in the response from the family.

I tend to forget that my little girl is only four years old.  She should be making mud pies, painting on butcher paper, or tending to her baby dolls.  She should be outside riding her bike with the neighbor kids.  She should be hanging from monkey bars and turning cartwheels.  Instead, she’s often saddled up on the couch consumed by a television show geared for 7 and 8 year olds.  Hence, the sassy threat of violence toward her Uncle who only dotes on her.

And it’s totally my fault.

I’m guilty of getting caught up in my own agenda and pursing my own hobbies and dreams and some days a preschooler doesn’t fit into that equation.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my child.  Love.  But sometimes this mommy just wants an hour or two to peruse the internet, write something, make a phone call to a friend – whatever.  And my solution?  The idiot box.

It used to just be the usual fare of Dora, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Clifford.  Somehow though that turned into a slew of age-inappropriate programming.  I’m pretty sure it comes from my intolerance of cartoons.  In my defense, it’s not like she’s watching “Jersey Shore.”  I mean, after her infamous plead of “no more guidos” I didn’t have any other choice than to find something tamer.  Regardless, the tween shows are full of mouthy backtalk and I am witness to its influence on my kid.

Can I stop this runaway train and do I really even want to?  You tell me what is worse: a sassy four year old or a frazzled 37 year old at her wits end?

———-

And there you have it. The exact reason that I’ve cut WAY BACK on blogging and social media. Too much time on the computer for me means way too much time watching TV for them. I really need to start being more active in my real life away from the computer! It’s been a hard adjustment to make, but after something similar happening here, I decided I needed to do it.

I can wait to hear what others have to say about this!

We all take on so much as moms – it’s a tough gig! There’s no manual out there for what we do, so sharing stories like this helps us all learn from each other.

Now head over to wendy will blog and say hello to Wendy. If you are a Twitter addict, you can find her there, and on Facebook and Pinterest, too! And if you are a new follower, make sure to tell her that I sent you!

Tea Collection’s Memorial Day sale going on now! You’ll find $15 Girls Dresses, $10 Girls Leggings, $10 Boys Tops and more!

Why 2 Year Olds Shouldn’t Wear Lipstick

A few weeks ago we were at my brother’s house for his son’s 1st birthday. There were a ton of kids running around, including the kids that live next door. One of the kids was a little girl, who brought over her hot pink Barbie lipstick, which she then left lying on the table.

I think we all know my girls love them some makeup. They eat Chapstick, put lotion in each other’s hair and create fine art using my mascara. So I’m sure that Barbie Lipstick was like hitting the lottery for them.

I don’t know where they went to put it on, and I haven’t heard from my brother that they painted his walls with it, but when we found them they looked like this:

Lila

 

Mia

Notice they are getting smarter about making a mess. This time they put the lipstick on, hid it and then went in two separate directions to avoid us finding them. When asked if they’d put on lipstick, the answer was no. Apparently they didn’t look at each other!

It is worth noting that Mia did a pretty damn good job putting the lipstick on. Or maybe, just maybe, somebody else put it on for her?