Mom Life

Mom-life: Throwback to a Particularly NUTS Friday

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When asked how I manage to mother 5 kids now, my reply is that some days I feel like supermom. But most days I feel like life is crazy and out of control.

One Friday last October was particularly nuts. I was late for EVERYTHING. It started with an orthodontist appointment where the doc realized my 8-year-old son needed more work than we actually came for. When I told the orthodontist he needed to be at school for a field trip in 20 minutes, he went to town pulling out brackets and a spacer and fitting him for a retainer. It was a fast and furious (and bloody) ordeal. When it was over, I whisked my son to school just in time to make the field trip bus. My next mission was to return home and get my oldest daughter off to school–very late. Now it was time for a few games of volleyball at the church which came to an abrupt end when we realized the kids snuck out the nursery room window and were running around outside.

Later that afternoon when I got a call from the school on my way to pick up my daughter for a doctor appointment, I assumed she was calling to tell me I was late. Instead, it was my son calling to tell me he got kneed in the eye while playing tag on his field trip. His eye was almost swollen shut. So I decided to take all 3 of my school kids to the doctor appointment with me– they all needed flu shots anyways.

While I was in the school office checking the kids out (3 minutes–max), my 4-year-old son waited for me with my sleeping baby. I had brought my makeup bag with me so I could throw some on before heading to the doctor appointment. When I finished checking the kids out, my son had drawn all over his face for the *second time* that day. We were a sight to be seen in the doctor’s office: one kid with a swollen eye, two kids with a cough, one with eyeliner all over his face. That’s when I realized I never fully rinsed all the conditioner out of my hair from my shower 20 minutes earlier. So we added a makeup-less mom with greasy hair to the mix. Luckily, our pediatrician thought it was hilarious and didn’t report me to Child Protection Services.

The afternoon continued with falls, spills, tears, and sore arms and thighs from flu shots and vaccines at the doctor. The good news is my daughter and her dad were able to have a fun time at a pinewood derby for girls. The poor girl carried on the (strong) Andersen family Legacy of coming in last place, because she put her car together in less than an hour without any guidance from her busy dad.

Good. Heavens. This was a Friday that just kept on giving! We had a hearty laugh as we re-traced the events of the day before bed that night. Thankfully, not every day as a mother of five is this eventful, but really do love this crazy life of mine.

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FeaturedMeal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

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This is our last week with no Daddy at home, and I will say that meal plans have been saving me during this busy time. Single-parenting is NO JOKE! The way I am surviving is keeping to as normal schedule as possible, and family meals have been a big part of that. It has been messy, but we have managed to eat homemade meals most nights, so I call that a win. My 10-year-old daughter even made one meal completely by herself last week while I was busy doing the yard work into the night. Talk about the best day ever when I walked inside, smelling like exhaust and covered in grass to a delicious bowl of corn chowder that I didn’t make. Meal plans–I’m telling you! They are magical! Meal plans and helpful daughters, that is.

OK, enough bragging. Here’s what we are cooking for dinners this week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday–Dad comes home!!!

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Prepear App on your desktop, tablet, or phone and get the shopping list for this week’s meal plan!

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BreakfastRecipesSaladsSides

Spring Fruit and Yogurt Salad

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This is one of our favorite ways to eat Spring fruit. Granny Smith apples are one of the last apples that still have good flavor by Springtime when the harvest has been over for 8 or 9 months now. Blend those with a seasonal fruit like fresh raspberries and you’ve got a salad with peak flavor. Enjoy!

Spring Fruit and Yogurt

Seasonal Spring fruit with peak flavor

Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword seasonal spring fruit
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Grannysmith apples chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Raspberries fresh
  • 1 cup Plain, Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Honey

Instructions

  1. Chop apples, wash and drain raspberries. Mix with greek yogurt and honey. Serve immediately.

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Baked GoodsRecipesTreats

Soft and Chewy Whole-grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This is our go-to recipe for Sunday night cookies. These chocolate chip cookies are the perfect blend of soft, chewy, nutty, and sweet. You will get the perfect amount of chocolate in each bite, because I use mini chocolate chips instead of the large chunks.

Much to my family’s dismay, I have served some real failures in the chocolate cookie department–bricks, crumbly as sand, bland–you name it, I have made it. These, my friends, are the result of years of recipe tweaking and they are soooooo delicious. Just like most of the recipes in my “treats” tab, they contain less sugar and more fiber than the original. This one stays true to that form, and no one protests. I hope your family enjoys these as much as we do!

Soft and Chewy Whole-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Perfectly soft and chewy, nutty and chocolaty cookies that happen to be whole-grain.
Course Dessert, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Chocolate Chip Cookies, whole grain
Prep Time 24 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 40 cookies
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar packed
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 6 ounces Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 1/2 Cups Walnuts chopped or Pecans

Instructions

  1. Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and smooth.
  2. Put oats in a blender and grind until it turns into a coarse flour.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, ground oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Mix one cup of dry ingredients at a time into the creamed wet ingredients.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. On an ungreased cookie sheet, spoon a tablespoon of dough for each cookie and place 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. Let cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes before removing with a spatula.

Recipe Notes

As with any other baked good, this task is finished a lot faster with my Bosch Mixer. (Affiliate Link) Oh, how I love my Bosch!

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About MeMom Life

An Unexpected Ending to the “Perfect” Day and how we met Harry-the-camouflaged-friend

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It was Thursday of Spring Break. At the beginning of the week, I declared a TV ban during daylight hours and encouraged the kids to be creative with their time. Most of my kids’ friends were out of town for Spring Break, so they were forced to play with each other at home. We went on a jog together in the morning and the kids did an awesome job on a few chores in the house without complaining. They jumped happily on the trampoline together, put puzzles together, played card games together, helped me make dinner and even made a game out of pulling weeds out of the garden. I’m pretty sure there were doves with olive branches in their beaks, circling the children as they played so peacefully together.

I left my oldest daughter in charge while I drove to pick up my 9-year-old son from soccer. On the way home, we saw a random herd of 30 huge elk on the side of the highway. We took a quick detour to snap pictures of them for proof that this was the best day ever. Upon returning from home, I found my daughter had made homemade cookie dough so we could bake fresh cookies for our company who would arrive in the next couple hours. It really was the perfect day.

The only thing that would make this day more perfect was a shower and fresh clothes before our company came. I hopped in the shower and left the kids to hang out while dinner finished baking in the oven. Freshly showered, we sat down for a “perfect” meal. Over the dinner table, my oldest daughter says, “So you guys know about the hole [my 4-year-old son] dug in the carpet, right?”

Whaaaaaaa?

I left the table and ran up the stairs. Sure enough. Quarter-size hole in the carpet.

Pretty miffed, I stormed back downstairs and started questioning the culprit. “I didn’t do it, Mom! Ben did it!”

“Ben? “Ben (his neighbor friend) wasn’t here today, son! What did you use to dig that hole in the carpet?” I pressed.

“A pocket knife” says my oldest, very nonchalantly.

“Where did you find a pocket knife?”

“Harry gave it to me! He climbed up the shelves in the laundry room and gave it to me.”

“Harry?” I questioned

“Ya, Mom, Harry. He’s camouflaged so you can’t see him.” he replied very matter-of-factly, shrugging his shoulders.

I left the conversation at that. I’ve never had a child with an imaginary friend before, but his continued description of this friend with red hair and hazel eyes who climbs trees and eats fruit snacks was making me realize he was very real to my son, so I let the carpet incident go. –Until we started dinner clean up.– While my 4-year-old stood at the sink rinsing his plate, I couldn’t help but notice he had a patch of hair the same size as the hole in the carpet missing from the side of his head.

“SON! Did this Harry cut your hair, too?” I fumed.

He grabbed the side of his head as if he didn’t know there was a butchered patch there. “Ah, HARRY!” He replied, shaking his head. “You cut my hair while I was sleeping last night!”

I’m beginning to think this camouflaged friend is actually a little devil on my son’s shoulder, whispering naughty ideas into my son’s ear. I don’t like this Harry guy.

Sealing off the night as one of the most epoch unexpected endings to what could have been a perfect day, I’m pretty sure the Rumba sucked up my wedding ring. In my hurry to clean up for our company, I quickly dumped the filter in the trash before tying it up for the garbage collector to take in the morning.

To this day, I still have not found the carpet-digging pocket knife, the clump of missing blonde hair, or my wedding ring. But Harry-the-camouflaged-devil-child friend continues to make appearances, eating all the fruit snacks in the pantry while he plays in the sandbox with my son.

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Meal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

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Last week, our family made a quick trip to Phoenix and back, attended a wedding and all the festivities, put Daddy on a plane to China, played two soccer games and one volleyball game, performed in a piano recital, had a mother/daughter date, manicured the lawns, scrubbed three bathrooms, made/cleaned up 21 meals and did 11 loads of laundry. Mother’s day yesterday was the perfect way to recover from a busy, fun, yet exhausting week. Since we celebrated without our dad’s help, I wasn’t expecting anything grand, so you can imagine how my heart melted when I was wakened by the sound of my oldest daughter cutting out paper hearts for me at 5 AM. I went back to bed for three hours and was greeted with a plate of fried eggs cooked by my 9 year old son (his first time cooking them ever). My 6 and 4 year old made construction paper cards and helped set the table. They were all so proud of themselves.

Now we get back to a regular routine as much as we can without Dad this week. We will be keeping thing pretty simple in the kitchen. Here’s what’s cookin’:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Prepear App on your desktop, tablet, or phone and get the shopping list for this week’s meal plan!

Since 2009, Megan has used her Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from Brigham Young University to help people develop healthy food relationships. She combines evidence-based science, a dash of alternative medicine, and a large dose of practical food preparation to teach individuals how to feed themselves and their families nourishing meals with common ingredients. As a busy Mom of 5, she believes food should be simple, intentional, and HEARTY!

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSaladsSides

Tropical Summer Fruit Salad

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This Tropical Fruit Salad is a delicious blend of summer seasonal fruit, and it is a great side for grilling, barbecues or weeknight dinners. After visiting my in-laws in the Dominican Republic five years ago, I have been enamored with mangoes. Unfortunately, it’s a bit tricky to find good ones here in the states. The best ones I have found are the Ataulfo Mangos shipped from Mexicao and sold at Costco between March and September. They come in packs of 6. Just make sure you tip the carton over to ensure there are no bruises on the bottoms of the mangoes. I also find pretty good pineapple at Costco. I put my nose to the bottom of the fruit to make sure it has a fresh pineapple smell, so I know it is ripe. The most successful fruit salads are ones with fruit at peak ripeness.

Tropical Summer Fruit Salad

Seasonal summer fruit salad for a healthy side at barbecues or weeknight dinners

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword healthy, summer fruit salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Cups Fresh Mangoes Ataulfo or Kent
  • 1 1/2 Cups Bananas
  • 2 Cups Fresh Pineapple
  • 2 Cups Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. Chop all fruit in large chunks and drizzle with lime juice. Stir to combine and serve immediately.

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RecipesSidesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Instant Pot Seasoned Black Beans for a Crowd

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To this day, one of our favorite meals is Black Beans and Lime Rice with my homemade Peach (or Mango) Salsa. It’s fast, easy, filling and full of fiber and nutrition. That makes it a win-win-win-win for our family dinner table. Making the beans in the Instant Pot turns this meal into a make-ahead meal that fits into our busiest nights. I also make these beans as a side dish for our Cafe Rio Salads for a Crowd (which is a recipe coming soon!).

Ever since my oldest was 6 years old, she named this dish “donuts,” because she thought the rice and beans with cheese and salsa sprinkled on top looked like chocolate sprinkle donuts. To each her own, I guess. One thing is for sure, the kids all come running when I tell them we are having donuts for dinner, and they know I’m not talking about the sweet pastries from the bakery. I hope you and your family enjoys this as much as we do!

Instant Pot Seasoned Black Beans for a Crowd

Fast, easy, healthy, and delicious Instant Pot Seasoned Black Beans served over Lime Rice

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Instant Pot Black Beans
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Pressure Release 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 32 oz Dry Black Beans rinsed and sorted
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Better than Bouillon Chicken Soup Base
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot and fill with water to the 1/2 line inside the pot.

  2. Lock the lid into place and set the pot to the [Bean/Chili] setting for 25 minutes. 

  3. Once the cooking is finished, allow the pressure to naturally release. This will take about minutes.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes 8 cups of beans which is 16 half-cup servings. Also, if you don’t love the smell of cumin and beans inside your kitchen (because who does?) I suggest setting your Instant Pot outside while it cooks and releases pressure. Of course, if the weather is poor, you will just have to enjoy this process inside.

Featured Product

(Includes Affiliate Link)

Instant Pot

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About MeMom Life

Mom-Life in May: The tale of the catastrophic soccer game

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As I have been promising, the theme for this month is simply some comic relief at my expense. I’m taking a break from nutrition and fitness education and sharing some of the crazy things that have happened to me this Spring as we are wrapping up the school year. I hope a good laugh helps you get through your busy days this month. Here is my first “Mom-Life in May” story for you:

This Spring, I will be single-parenting most of my boys’ soccer games while my husband is either traveling for work or attending the final days of class for his MBA. A very wet and windy storm rolled into Utah County a couple hours before my 9-year-old son’s game and I assumed it would be cancelled once the league reps arrived at the field and saw the wind and pouring rain. Seriously, we were getting 30 mile-an-hour wind gusts at home, so no way were we going to play in this weather. Thus, I didn’t prepare my kids very well before we left the house. (That was my first mistake.) Before we could leave for the game, I had to pick my girls up straight from dance rehearsal, so they were still in their leotards. My youngest son had no shoes, because the original plan was to drop him at home with my girls while I brought the baby with me to the game. As is usually the case, we were running late, and my only choice now was to take everyone along as they were. It was fine, because we were just going to talk to the other team and reschedule this game. Or so I thought. When we arrived at the field, the weather was quite a bit more mild than it was at home, and the game did indeed play on.

Plan B was to now have my 10.5 year old daughter, babysit her younger siblings in the van parked close to the field while I endured the 60-minute soccer game in the drizzling rain. A few minutes after I left them in the van, the baby had a blow-out diaper which required my daughter to remove his messy onesie and give him a change of clothes to a pair of sweats and his jacket, you know, whatever we had in the diaper bag… Then, my four year old needed to go to the bathroom. He was shoe-less (remember how we originally weren’t even going to bring him along to the game?), but needed to go badly enough that he started towards the school. Realizing all the doors were locked, he came back to the van where my daughter told him to go find a bush like she saw another boy doing. Instead of finding a bush, he just dropped his drawers and peed on the sidewalk in front of the car where everyone could see. (Because, that’s what you do when you are a little boy, right?)

Meanwhile, the rain was starting to pick up, and I was on the sidelines, under my umbrella, jogging in place trying to keep warm as I cheered my son on in his game. It was getting bad enough that the team started to huddle under MY umbrella when they substituted out of the game. There were literally no other moms on the sideline. They all sent their husbands to endure THIS game. Lucky. I went back to the van to get more umbrellas to share with the other parents on the sidelines (because they’re dads, and I don’t mean to sound demeaning here, but, naturally they didn’t think to bring umbrellas). This is where I learned of the messy diaper issue, but my daughter assured me she could still handle the three kids. I returned to the field for the last half of the game, but after about 10 minutes, I saw all three kids trudging out to the field looking for me.

The baby needed me to nurse him, and my daughter couldn’t console him alone. So now we have my eldest in her leotard and hoodie, barefoot, carrying my baby who is wearing undersized sweats and a jacket, shielding him from the now TORRENTIAL rain with just a blanket. My 6-year-old is marching behind her wearing her leotard and her sister’s sandals, with just a jacket to shield her from the pouring rain. Barefooted with no coat at all, my 4-year old son came skipping behind her, having the time of his life dancing in the muddy puddles. In sheer horror, I immediately dropped my umbrella in the hands of the teammates on the sidelines and ran to shoo everyone back in the van. Needless to say, that’s where we sat out the remainder of the game.

I (SO) wish I could have captured this moment with a great photo. It would be printed on a canvas and neatly hung over my fireplace mantle as a representation of what motherhood has looked like for me this Spring.

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Meal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

heartysmarty

I’ll let you in on a little secret: we aren’t actually following this week’s meal plan. There, I said it! It’s wedding week and we are eating out Monday through Wednesday during the festivities. But, I like you all so much that I wrote a meal plan for you this week anyways. Hopefully this will help you tackle another crazy week in May.

Speaking of the craziness of May–I am doing a giveaway to help you get through it! Have you entered yet? I am giving away 14 days of CUSTOM, make-ahead meal plans and grocery lists. I am going to personally consult with you to plan meals that fit your family’s dietary needs and preferences. As I bonus, I am throwing in 14 days of school lunch ideas with grocery lists so we can finish out the school year strong. Go to my Instagram Page to enter on the post that looks like this:

Now, here is what’s on tap for dinners this week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Have a great week, friends!

Since 2009, Megan has used her Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from Brigham Young University to help people develop healthy food relationships. She combines evidence-based science, a dash of alternative medicine, and a large dose of practical food preparation to teach individuals how to feed themselves and their families nourishing meals with common ingredients. As a busy Mom of 5, she believes food should be simple, intentional, and HEARTY!

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