June 18, 2019

Musings from an Accidental SAHM

So with having no job right now, I am pretty lucky I get to be home with my kid. The term STAY-AT-HOME-MOM is a little demeaning in a sense because we don't just stay home with the kids. We do errands and make plans for the day or in my case, week.  Although I am slowly straying away from planing.every.little.thing.that.should.or.needs.to.be.done.  With kids home during the Summer I do think having a plan for the week or at least an outline of things that should get done or things that you need for yourself or the kids , should be put into place.  This includes visiting other family members you haven't seen in a while, going to the pool and be prepared well enough to enjoy yourselves, setting up a movie afternoon or just some time outside, laying out different crafts or games.

That ALL helps, but do you notice a small detail here?  It's EXHAUSTING. I love, love LOVE the beach or as we say in NJ, the shore, it's probably my favorite spot to be in the world, unless I am on the beach in the Bahamas, then the Bahamas is where I want to be.  But frankly, I don't want to visit the beach with my kid.  She actually doesn't like it still.  Since she was a baby, she would scream her head off whenever we tried to place her in the water. It's also the other stuff I can't stand like schlepping four or more chairs down the long, hot sandy trail to the beach.  It's the cooler I need which is 98% of my kids food and snacks and water bottles.  I have a beach trolley contraption that my parents gave us a while back which we still haven't used but unless my husband and I actually plan an entire beach day, I do not want to go myself.  I've done it a few times over the years with just my daughter and sometimes my mom even came with me, which of course helped big time!  But it's just too much of a hassle in my eyes.  We have a pool now and it's pure joy-we'll stick with that for now while not missing sand getting in every crevice one can think of. 

Things I don't mind doing with my kid:

food shopping ( light loads)
trips to the library
trips to story time at Barnes and Noble and of course mama gets a coffee there! win-win! ( they typically hold story time 10-1030am on Thursdays).
bubbles outside
painting rocks outside ( as long as it's not a heatwave outside)
swimming of course!
watching movies ( she's 5 and as long as it's a movie she's never seen before or hasn't seen in a long time, she'll sit through it.  Not without a snack though).
shopping ( when necessary and practical)
play dates and meet ups with some of her friends! ( this will happen more once July hits)

I'm sure there's more but that's a good list for now.  I'm just an average mother to an awesome 5 year old little girl who is currently a SAHM.  Again, we don't 'just' stay home.  Maybe we should coin a new phrase since I think Stay At Home Mom sucks.  How about, "SCTNWRN"....SHE CHOSE TO NOT WORK RIGHT NOW."  Over two years ago I got laid off from my full time job as a document controller, so, I didn't choose to leave my job, but at the time, I think it was for the best since the job had no leverage and I wasn't getting anywhere.  I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up and I'll be 37 later this year.  I am not ashamed of this and I think this is pretty normal among my generation.  I'm working on it, but not stressing *too much* most days about it. I know I am just a better person, wife and mama mentally when I work; it helps keep me sane.

This isn't a complain and whine post, this is something that's reality for me and that I do struggle with a lot.  I work on myself every day.  I'm very grateful to be home with my daughter , especially once she's totally done with school settings for 6 weeks.  I'm going to soak up the sun, relax and keep taking care of myself and we will see what happens down the line.


March 28, 2019

Five Years Later: The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted

I wrote this post five years ago and I would like to read this book again some time.  Today was one of those days where I ate whatever I wanted.  Let me embellish this a little bit more.  Today was a rest day/relaxing day for me.  I typically like to have these days at least once a week or depending on how I feel, twice a week.

 It's healthy and good for the body to rest and recover from workouts or simply from just doing too much or from running around a lot. I try to workout at least five days a week and I just go with what I feel like doing that day whether that's weights, cardio, or a combo of both or simply a good fifteen minute stretching session. So I'll cut to the chase- today I rested, after taking my dog to the vet in the morning to have surgery.  I didn't have any breakfast, just coffee. I slept in until 7am and it was glorious.  I was pretty hungry once 10am came around but I was running around in the morning and just couldn't stop for food.  At noon, I picked my husband and I up lunch from chic-fil-a.  I had the grilled chicken sandwich with fries and their own sauce which is  made from crack, I'm certain.  I drank a good amount of water today and then about an hour later I enjoyed two homemade chocolate chip cookies.

It was about 3pm and I still wanted something sweet and felt slightly hungry.  I could have made a healthier snack like apples with peanut butter, or have some caramel rice cakes or yogurt. But today just wasn't that kind of day.  I had remembered a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby in the freezer and basically began craving it.  So, I went with how I felt and ate the ice cream.  It was basically almost the entire pint I devoured.  Let it be known that I rarely do this or eat that much ice cream, but it was just so good and hit the spot.  However, that's a lot of sugar in one sitting.  I of course felt slightly guilty when I was done eating it and I didn't feel too great.  I was shaky and had a headache; close to a hangover.  I decided to take a walk since it was beautiful outside.  Sunny and 60 degrees! I felt slightly better after that.  I drank another bottle of water and relaxed on the couch.

It's currently 530pm and I am getting a little hungry again.  We are going to order a pizza and wings soon and I'm going to enjoy my dinner.  And that's my Thursday!  

Take care of your body.  Rest is crucial.  Eating more calories is crucial sometimes too.  Go with how you feel.  There is such a thing as too many salads.  It gets old real fast.  I love eating healthy.  Today is not that kind of day though. I swear it's like clockwork for me- I have these kinds of days at least once a week.  The human body does speak to us.  Listen to it.

February 18, 2019

The Red Hen Review

The Red Hen
1303 Kings Hwy
Swedesboro, NJ 08085

My husband was the one to mention this place to me.  After finding out that this place is 9 minutes from us, reading their overall great reviews and seeing photos of their insane looking milkshakes on their Facebook page like this one, we had to check it out.  I have a thing for good customer service- i'm a stickler for employees who actually care about their customers and whom are also very helpful as well as professional.  This is probably because I worked in the customer service industry for over 17 years. As soon as my family and I walked in, we were greeted by not one 'hello' and a smile, but two!  I immediately was a fan of the place.  Our server was the same, though I do not recall her name unfortunately.  From the moment we sat down until the moment we left, nothing but helpful and kind service was provided. With a casual, not too big and not too small atmosphere, serving American -fare food with a twist on  a lot of great classics, such as their REAL Crab Fries- served with cheese sauce, and REAL jumbo lump crab meat on top that still had the flavor of Old Bay spice in them.  DELICIOUS!

I wish I had taken photos of all the food but I was a mixture of tired and hungry and I just wanted to enjoy myself.  I've taken a break from social media for the past three weeks and haven't taken photos of food in a while either, but it's been a refreshing break from it all.  That will change the next time we visit there.

So we devoured most of the REAL crab fries, but it's a huge portion for an appetizer!  We started with a couple of drinks from the bar- my husband ordered a Vodka Mule and I had a glass of white wine.  we had two drinks each and it felt wonderful after a long week on a Friday night! I decided to order their Salmon burger which comes with regular french fries or you can upgrade to sweet potato fries which of course, I went for.  You can add cheese to the burger but it comes with a tarter sauce on top and so I just added tomatoes and onions.  The roll is a soft, kaiser bun.  The burger was a good size and I did not finish it all.  My only complaint is that it's not served with enough sauce on top ( if you're a sauce person like me) so next time I would just ask for extra on the side.  The salmon itself was good but I think it could have used more flavor and the dish should be served with two lemon wedges because, well, it's a fish dish.  That's just my opinion though but it's nice to have available if you like like squeezing lemon your fish like me.  Overall, I give my dish a 7!

My husband ordered their buttermilk fried chicken sandwich.   Now it comes with pickles and ranch dressing which, looooooove all of that and holy yum!  However,  he's picky, so he ordered no ranch and no pickles.  Party pooper.  He had BBQ sauce put on their instead which is still yummy, and lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese.  I forget  what kind of cheese.  It looked huge and totally drool worthy. I may have to try that next time OR we could totally split it.  I think overall, he gave his dish a 7 as well!  Our daughter ordered the kids hot dog ( no bun because I couldn't tell you why, but is she crazy?!)  and french fries.  She devoured her entire hot dog and ate a good amount of fries!  We always tell her she can have a special dessert ( which is typically ice cream) if she eats really well at dinner time.  This place gets another gold star in my book because they actually had mint chip ice cream which is he favorite!  They also have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and probably even more flavors since they make intense milkshakes with all the crazy toppings! She asked for whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles , too.

When the waitress brought the ice cream out, it all looked homemade/fresh to me. That's never not a good thing. Maybe not the ice cream,but the whipped cream for sure!  The reason I know this?  My daughter loves whipped cream but she' used to Reddi Whip in the can- I mean, that stuff is amazing too!  She took one bite and instantly had disdain across he face.  It gets better, she is used to classic rainbow"jimmies", long rods.  These rainbow sprinkles were the pearls or round ones.  She wasn't a fan of those either.  So I thought she wouldn't like the ice cream , too.  She ate most of that which was a relief. ha!  Still, I know her favorite brand is Turkey Hill Mint Chip.  Turkey Hill is THE BEST ice cream in my opinion.  My husband would disagree.

Anyway, I'd say overall our experience at The Red Hen was a great one and we WILL be back soon!  My husband and I decided next time we go, we'll split the chicken and waffles appetizer ( yes, appetizer- which I hear is huge)!  and then split a crazy milkshake for fun.  Eek!  I see tummy troubles in my future but on the same token, YOLO.

Blog Worthy Baked Chicken Tacos

 ( click here to see how tasty they look).

my computer is being annoying currently and I can't seem to upload photos from my phone to my desktop.  Boo.

Lately, my family and I have been  ordering out to eat more than we'd care to admit.  We've been going out to eat too, which, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that but it comes down to balance and we need a detox of some sort again asap!  Today is Sunday and I decided to make chicken tacos after having cleaned and organized my fridge/freezer and could actually see what we have in there.  I had four peppers from a previous shopping trip, two red and two green. I just had to use them up!

I only used two with 2 smaller onions I had.  I love that these kinds of foods take forever to start going bad.  I had to hit the food store anyway so I picked up taco fixings like salsa and my meat and a 25% lower sodium taco seasoning mix.  I always have them on hand for nights like these!  I also had a brand new box of crunchy taco shells in my cupboard so I decided to go for backed tacos which is simply placing a few shells in a shallow baking dish, putting the tacos together and baking them until golden brown and crispy and the cheese is gooey melted-10 minutes tops!I got this idea from a food blog I follow- The Baker Mama. But she makes everything looks wonderful!  I typically use standing shells ( yup that's a real thing) because they are easier to assemble but I didn't have those this time.

Anyway- the fun part and slightly genius maybe?  I don't know but these were the best baked tacos I have made to date-and I've made a lot over the years.  I bought chicken tenders and cut them into 2 inch pieces.  Cooked them in some evoo for about ten minutes until mostly cooked and added chopped cilantro to the pan and fresh squeezed lime juice ( juice of two lemons) and then lastly added in the taco seasoning packet. *the lime juice is key for how flavorful these turned out*  I sliced up the peppers and onions and coked those down as well in some evoo, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat up under the chicken until the lime juice and seasonings thicken up and turn both pans off .  Get ready to assemble your tacos!!

This is how I made them:
-sprinkle some shredded cheese on bottom of the shell
-top with some onions and peppers
-add about 3-4 pieces of chicken
-top with more cheese ( be generous)
-place in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
-use any and all taco toppings you love and enjoy!!

These hit the spot because we were so hungry!  I'm all about balance, but tonight we're having leftovers because there's a ton leftover from that meal.  Tuesday night will be breakfast for dinner aka brinner!  Homemade waffles, scrambled eggs, apple-smoked bacon and breakfast style potatoes.  Can't wait!  My daughter will only eat the bacon and her min pancakes.  We'll see though.  She's always full of surprises!

August 22, 2018

Cherry On Top Ice Cream Shoppe Review

Cherry On Top Ice Cream Shoppe-26 S Main St, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

One random evening, it was approaching 5pm and my family and I weren't necessarily starving but we could definitely eat something. Clearly dinner was not planned for this night. I decided on a whim to just go for ice cream so we had an excuse to try the local ice cream shop.  I didn't want a huge dinner and I also didn't feel like eating ice cream shortly after.  My stomach tends to not like me whenever I do that.  My husband at first was iffy about doing that but eventually said, "you want to just do that then?  Yes, yes I do.  And my daughter looked at me and laughed and immediately loved the idea! 

This time we didn't do a bike ride.  We were conventional and drove. I learned the place is fairly new and not even a year old yet.  It's a cute shop with typical old time knickknacks and  a decent sized space to sit inside and eat your ice cream or there's a cute porch to sit on and a few tables to the side of the shop to enjoy your treat.  It was again particularly hot this day as well so we just sat inside.  I tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to good ice cream and also large menus because I just have zero willpower and want to try everything.  At this point I was pretty hungry and figured since I didn't have dinner, I would indulge and try three different flavors. YOLO!

My daughter ordered her usual which is the chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles, my husband ordered a cup of their mint chocolate chip flavor with peanut butter sauce and whipped cream.  They both looked delectable.  I sampled a cookie dough flavor and a cherry vanilla flavor which is in season right now when I first walked up to the counter.  After about 5 minutes or so, I decided on a triple scoop of cherry vanilla, cookie dough and chocolate marshmallow flavors all atop a rainbow sprinkle cone that  was dipped in chocolate.  To say I was in heaven is a huge understatement. The ice cream was so creamy and not too rich either! You can taste the fresh ingredients and if you adore black cherries, you must get yourself or at least sample their cherry vanilla flavor. Chunks of cherries are sporadically spread throughout the creamy vanilla .  You don't  normally come across ice cream shops that make all their flavors from scratch.  Their soft serve is also homemade which really just seals the deal for me.

I finished it all except maybe three small bites of the cone and it was worth every lick! We will most certainly be back soon!