Archives for March 2016

My Life In Pictures: March 1 – 15, 2016

Back in October, I started what I thought was the best idea EVER: To share my Instagram pictures a couple of times a month since I can’t seem to find time to write! I decided to call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here. So here’s what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks.

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Ethan found a favorite author – Roald Dahl – which makes this bookworm very happy! We’ve already read The BFG and The Twits, and we are currently reading The Witches. I found a copy of the book with a glow-in-the-dark cover, and Ethan loves that when we are done reading each night he can still see the book. These books are all fun reads, and I was surprised that I had never gotten one myself as a kid.

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I love this picture of Jason working away on his tiny work computer and Ethan working away on homework on my Mac. Ethan’s already asked when the Mac will become his computer. That’s a loooonnngg way off, son.

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Ethan wanted to play soccer this season, and since Jason’s schedule has changed, he was able to volunteer to coach. Ethan loves that his dad is the coach, and Jason is learning a lot about patience.

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This gorgeous flower is called a passion flower vine, and it used to grow along the back of our fence in the backyard. I adore it because it’s so pretty, it’s unusual, and it’s hard to kill. It comes in lots of different colors and varieties, too. I am getting ready to plant more right now, and can’t wait to see it bloom.

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Even though I was super sick and it was pouring rain, I took the kids to see Zootopia. While they didn’t “get it,” they loved it and are already asking me to buy the movie when it comes out.

Aside from all of that, we’ve been fighting the flu, doing lots of spring cleaning (cleaning tips to come!,) and spending a ton of time outside since the time change has left us some light each evening. What have you been up to?


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I Wish I Could

I wish I could nap all day instead of having to work and mom and be responsible. I’m tired. I’m getting over being sick, and I’m tired. I’m tired of being sick and of being tired.


So instead of napping all day, I have to settle for a little time in the sun. I’m taking a break from the computer and lying outside with my eyes closed, pretending to be at some tropical resort instead of in my backyard.


I hear the rustle of the palm fronds. Bird singing sweetly. Little animals and lizards scurrying about in the bushes. The dog’s claws on the cement. Somewhere, a TV is on and a dog is barking.

I hear my own breathing slow relaxed. The sun gently envelops my face, warm. Spring is here. It’s beautiful outside, and I don’t want to get back up. I wish I could lay here like this all day.

My eyes are closed and I see patterns on my eyelids from the sun; dancing squiggly lines and dots the colors of the rainbow.

Was that my phone ringing? Never mind, it will be there when I’m done.

I hear plane slowly cruise by overhead. I hear the honk of a horn and a siren. I hear a hummingbird buzzing happily near her nest.

I wish I could record the quietness and play it on repeat in my office. It’s so relaxing.

And I hear the sound of bees. The low, dull droning sound of bees working away. A lot of bees. Oh shit, a TON of bees!

I sit up quickly and look around. I hear them, but I don’t see them. Are they at the top of the house trying to get into our attic like they did a few years ago? No, thankfully not there.

I look into the trees on the hill behind our house. I see small birds and a squirrel, but no bees. Where are those bees?

And just like that, my quiet time in the sun is over. I wish I could lay there like that all day. But with all those bees around, maybe tomorrow would be better.

Are you listening? A short piece of fiction inspired by the word "listen".I wrote this for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop for Prompt #3: I wish I could…

I actually wrote this yesterday after I laid down in the backyard trying to get away from the computer for a few minutes. I snapped the pictures too. Then this morning I decided to check on Mama Kat’s writing prompts and it fit!

Mommy Of A Monster Is Six Years Old!


Today, Mommy of a Monster and Twins turns six years old. Six.Years.Old.

Six years ago I wrote the words “My First Entry” where I introduce the kids (I used only their first initials at the time). Today, I have over 1,300 published posts and more than 40 drafts of works-in-progress.

Six years of parenting. From blogging about raising three under three to not blogging about them anymore because they now tell me “please don’t put that on your blog.”

Six years of being an open book. From blogging about unexplained infertility to depression and beyond, I’ve honestly laid myself out for the world to see (and judge) and I don’t regret a second of it.

Six years of recipes. Family favorites, kid-friendly, kid-approved, fast and easy to make. And I probably have at least 6 more years of recipes to waiting to be shared with you.

Six years of laughter, tears, love, fun, sadness, learning, and growth.

I’ve made friends.

I’ve started a new career.

I learned that I know how to “write” and was surprised myself to learn that I had a passion for it.

I’ve learned about myself as a woman and mother.

I’ve fell in love with this little piece of the internet.

All simply by typing honest – sometimes too honest – words onto a keyboard.

Thank you for being a part of it…for your support, your advice, your suggestions.

Here’s to another 6 years!

photo source

Spring Time Change: Spring Ahead This Weekend!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time for the spring time change, and that means it’s time to spring ahead. I love the time change because it means that it stays light later into the evening…the kids can play outside longer and everything just seems to go more smoothly, easily.

The spring time change is this weekend - don't forget to set your clocks ahead before bed. And you'll never wake up to a chirping smoke detector in the middle of the night again if you do this one chore every time the time changes.

On Sunday morning at 2 AM, the clocks will spring forward to 3 AM. Just set those clocks forward before you go to sleep. And be ready for the kids to all be up early on Sunday because even though it stays light longer into the evening, it also gets light earlier in the morning.

Spring Time Change Chores

With every spring time change comes some chores that need to be done. The chores that you usually don’t think about until something goes wrong or the smoke detectors starts chirping at 3 in the morning because the batteries need to be changed.

The time change is this weekend - don't forget to set your clocks ahead before bed. And these 5 chores should be done every time the time changes. I’ve got 5 chores that you should do every time the time changes. Just bookmark this page and set a reminder on your phone!

And since it’s spring, let’s talk cleaning. I have already started my spring cleaning, and it always surprises me how much junk we accumulate. If you have the same problem, I highly suggest reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You’ll find a ton of cleaning and organization tips on one of my favorite Pinterest boards, too!

Follow Natalie Hoage – Mommy of a Monster’s board Cleaning Tips & Organization on Pinterest.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic And Bacon

Garlic. Bacon. Need I say more? Today I’m sharing a recipe for roasted Brussels Sprouts that are absolutely delicious! I know, I know…you don’t like Brussels Sprouts. A lot of people don’t. My kids don’t….or they didn’t until they tried these. While they will probably never be a favorite of the kids, I know if I make them this way that they will eat them.

Not a fan of Brussels sprouts? This recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic, bacon & more will make you one! Includes a recipe for the best broccoli ever, too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic And Bacon

While the garlic and the bacon are a must to making these roasted Brussels Sprouts delicious, I also add in a couple of extras: pine nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese. Why? Because the kids will eat anything I put pine nuts and cheese on. Turns out it actually tastes pretty damn good too!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Garlic And Bacon
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  • 1 - 2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, diced
  • 2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cover a 13X9 baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Put the Brussels sprouts in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except the cheese) to the sprouts. Gently toss to have the ingredients cover the sprouts (I use my hands.)
  5. Bake for 13 - 15 minutes, or until tender.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

This recipe may seem a bit ambiguous. For example, I say 2 – 4 garlic cloves. That’s solely based on your family’s taste preferences. For us, more is better. The beauty of this recipe is that you can easily adjust it to suit your family. I wouldn’t omit the balsamic vinegar, bacon, or fresh garlic though because that’s really where all the flavor comes from.

Not a fan of Brussels sprouts? This recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic, bacon & more will make you one! Includes a recipe for the best broccoli ever, too.

Another veggie some people aren’t big fans of is broccoli. This is a quick & easy broccoli recipe for the Best Broccoli EVER. No really, it’s the 3rd most popular post on my blog. It’s delicious and it’s versatile. Serve it as a side dish, toss it into some pasta with chicken and eat it like a meal, or if you’re like my son, eat it as a snack!

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Follow Natalie Hoage – Mommy of a Monster’s board Healthy Eats & Drinks on Pinterest.

Are you a fan of roasted Brussels sprouts and broccoli? Do you have a recipe to share? I’m always looking for new ones to try. If you would you like to get a recipe featured at Mommy of a Monster, find out how to do it here.