Cherry on Top: Roasted Veggies!

Our family does  what it can to add as much nutrition to existing dishes as we can through an approach we like to call Cherry-on-Top. As in our previous Cherry on Top blog posts (see here and here). One of our go-tos, especially during the summer months and the CSA bounty is overflowing, is roasted vegetables. It’s easy to throw spare veggies into any recipe after roasting them. My favorite, but really my kids favorite, to add them to is Mac and Cheese

Yum yum yum!

Here’s my recipe for stove top mac and cheese. Get creative and add any roasted vegetables you’d like!

Here’s what you’ll need for the mac and cheese:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 pound macaroni, cooked

For the roasted veggies, all you need are the spare vegetables in your fridge or whatever you choose from the grocery store. This time I went with: brussels sprouts, broccoli, and red onion. 

Chop up your vegetables and add them to a baking sheet. Add your preferred oil and spices (for this one, I used avocado oil* and paprika, salt, and pepper). Roast them in the oven at 450°F for 15-20 or until brown and crispy.

Tip: When my veggies are ready, I simply turn off the oven and let them sit until the rest of dinner is ready. While sitting in the cooling oven, they soak up all the oils and spices, and they stay warm! I learned this trick from my mother-in-law. Hi, Barb!

And for the macaroni and cheese itself:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring or whisking constantly.
  2. Add the milk and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stir in the cooked macaroni and roasted vegetables
SO EASY, right? AND it’s macaroni and cheese, so kids LOVE it. Find a printable of this recipe here.
 
*I prefer avocado oil because of its high smoke point and ability to remain unchanged at high temperatures. Choose whichever oil you’d like; in my mind, olive oil is a close second.

Get creative! Add in anything you’d like. This is a very cherry-on-top-friendly meal. Other ideas might include:

  • Roasted butternut squash and thyme
  • Black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and crushed tortilla chips
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes
  • Any veggies left over in your fridge!

What else could you add to a macaroni and cheese dish?

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

How I Run Errands With My Kids Gracefully: Paired Outings

One of my own major struggles as a mother is errands! Ack! Do you remember the days you used to go grocery shopping with ease? Do you remember dropping off your library books and dry cleaning at your leisure, instead of needing to literally schedule it based on nap and snack and the tender balance of mood?

Yeah, me neither.

And it sometimes feels like your children are out to sabotage your errands from the start. For you, it’s necessary life function. For them, it’s an adventure, the goody store full of colorful boxes and food samples and DONUTS (oh, and the occasional enormous $40 stuffed bear, whyyyyy?).

I realized their sense of adventure during errands was not a character flaw. They’re supposed to be curious and bold! But in the grocery store? It’s misplaced and inconvenient, at the very least.

So, I decided to start giving them their adventures first and embracing paired errands.

When we go out, we do two things: one fun thing for them and one needed thing for me. Their fun thing is meant to get their wiggles out, their energy (somewhat) depleted, and their bladders empty (there’s always a potty break at the tail end). If there’s an adventure before what I need to get done, we can usually do our work with more grace.

Here are some examples of my paired outings:

Year-round:

  • Library with kids play area + grocery shopping
  • Story time + target
  • McDonald’s PlayPlace + post office (bonus: I get coffee!)
  • Mall park + Michael’s or other specialty store

In the summer only:

  • Playground or park + grocery shopping
  • Beach + library run
  • OR a long walk to your errands, if possible. Fresh air does a lot in and off itself!

It helps if your two locations are close to each other. My library and grocery store are right across the highway from each other. This grocery store also has a playground across the road that’s easily walkable in the summer months (I’m just waiting for that snow to melt!).

I’m cautious about doing this with big indoor play parks, however. At these places, my kids usually want to play for at least two hours (and because of the fee, I’m usually a fan of maximizing their play time). At that point (and depending on the ages of your kids), the outing is too long and everyone is tired. Your grocery run won’t be enjoyable anyway! I keep play parks for fun days and use more simply adventures for days we need to run errands.

Onward, mamas!

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

Cheer Here: The Pains of Motherhood

Young motherhood, with its challenges and difficulties, finds a lot of good company. On Pinterest, Facebook, and mom blogs, you can find plenty of people to commiserate with and advice to guide you (or frustrate you, perhaps). This all goes to show that motherhood can be painful. We don’t get a lot of sleep, we’re at someone’s beck and call 24/7, and we don’t even get paid for it! 😉 The thing I’d like to propose about motherhood and its inherent challenges, though, is that perhaps the pain of it all doesn’t necessarily need fixing.

This pain has its place, I believe. The daily challenges that are so hard teaches us things that are valuable. Pain has a way of being a teacher. I hate feeling the pain of daily motherhood, but I sure love what it has done to me.

Motherhood is a crucible; it refines you through fire.

I have a friend who told me her story once. It was an incredible story of a mother overcoming impossible circumstances. She had six children and was pregnant when she left her abusive husband. She was essentially homeless and depending on the goodwill of others while still growing her family and attempting to support it. I’m fairly certain living her life would have broken me. Luckily, things are better for her now.

Before I even knew this woman, or heard her story, I remember seeing her across a room and just thinking “Wow, there’s something about her.” She had that special look in her eye, and carried herself with dignity (and a little sass). I remember wanting to get to know her and being drawn to her inner magnetic strength.

The crucible of her journey through motherhood (and life) is what refined her. The pain that we so often seek to avoid and self-pity we feel for ourselves when going through trials is often the tool we need to embrace to build a better and stronger character. 

No matter how many mom hacks, pro tips, or gadgets we embrace to assist our mothering choices, there is always going to be a day-in-day-out drudgery you can’t avoid. Someday, you’ll look back and realize that you did it. You got through it. That’s the crucible. That’s what burns away all the things you don’t need: self-doubt, excessive worry, self-centeredness, despair. And when you get through a crucible, you’re left with the very core of yourself, and that’s honestly all you need in the end – YOU, unhindered.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

The 8 Things Every Working Mom Needs to Hear

I met Brianna when we were matched as roommates our freshman year of college. I won’t say it was love at first sight, but a 3-hour chat at a 50’s-style diner when we first met speaks for itself. 

I asked Brie to guest write about being a working mom because she is a joy to watch in her own life. She exudes love, she is ever-engaged with her 2 daughters, and she has valuable experience in the world of working moms. Please read this amazing piece. She won’t disappoint you, even if you’re not a working mother. 

Twenty-three months ago, I walked into Step by Step Montessori with my 12-week-old daughter and walked out 25 minutes later without her.

Twenty-three months ago, I placed heaving sobs into the shoulder of my new friend Miss Michelle in the doorway of the Infant Room. (I have since done this a second time, as well, when my Baby Number Two started there.)

Twenty-three months ago, I started pump breaks in an office at work with a window that I’d tape blinds onto, with a door I wasn’t truly convinced actually locked but which no one ever tested while I was in there.

Twenty-three months ago, I re-entered the workforce as a newly-promoted Working Mom.

(Day one for Katelyn at SBS, March 2017)

Now having done this job for almost two years, here is what I would like to share about it:

1. You’re going to be looking at your phone a lot. You know those videos your husband’s coworker told him were a waste to take because they are messing up your storage and you will never, ever watch them? Yeah. You’re going to watch them. At work. Especially if you’re pumping.

2. If you’re pumping…Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to pump a ton before you return to work. I had such high hopes of building this crazy stash before I got started at work, but I was so hands-on with my baby both times (required by both babies) that it never really worked out. If you can build up, that’s great! If not, you will still be fine. The pressure we put on ourselves is insane. Also, I started back at work both times with a great supply, which was so cool! But then it dropped. Sometimes my pump breaks were welcome distractions from my work and sometimes they are nuisances in my day, and that is just the honest truth. Here are some tips for Pumping at Work:

  • Bring extra parts! I have forgotten bottles or bags or a lunch bag in which to hide my full bottles from uncomfortable coworkers before, and some of these missing tools are easier to make do without than others. I now keep a Medela manual pump and its bottles at work at all times.
  • Invest in a pump bag if you can. I have Sarah Wells “Claire” now (see here), but I didn’t have it for my first – I highly recommend it, or something similar, for ease of travel and use. I am no longer an overwhelmed Bag Lady when I need to bring my pump anywhere with me.
  • Have entertainment. I read somewhere that you definitely are not supposed to be working when you pump, so I do not. I download movies or television shows on my phone so that I can have something to look forward to while I’m in my pump room. I have read books, as well. I used to look at pictures of the girls, but I pump anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes at a go, and I either get bored or my heart aches.
  • Give yourself grace. I have had my heart hurt by a bad day, where the ounces fall so far short of where my baby’s appetite is. You are doing your very best, Mama.

3. Getting a kid ready for daycare sucks. There are spare outfits to keep for blowouts, severe spitting up, etc. There are wipes to keep stocked, and diapers, and butt cream, and mittens, and boots, and jackets, and…the food. If you are providing breastmilk, it is kind of a nightmare. I cannot be the only one who thinks this. The amount of breastmilk that gets wasted due to the rules or laws or whathaveyou…it has made me cry before. I know it’s not daycare’s fault, but it hurt when my first daughter would drink 1.5oz out of a 4oz bottle while I was making barely enough to keep her fed without supplementing (yes, I did eventually supplement and my stress levels dropped significantly). My word of advice? Once you find bottles that work for your kid, STOCK UP. My dishwasher gets run every night, at least, but I haven’t had to hand wash a bottle with my second daughter and it is such a timesaver. She drinks 3-4 6oz bottles at daycare per day.

4. If your kid goes to daycare, there will be sickness. It’s just the truth. My daughters both had a cold for about a month as soon as they started. When my toddler started in the Toddler Room at our same center, there was a Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease outbreak and we ended up keeping her home for a week. It is unavoidable. A great immune system is on its way!

5. Make sure you trust your caregiver. Before we started at the daycare center we have been at for nearly two years, we were signed up with an alternate caregiver. For various reasons, we did not end up going with that daycare, and I am endlessly grateful for that. Had we not trusted our instincts, we never would have looked around again and found our current daycare, with its long-tenured teachers and aides, who love and are loved by my girls (and me!). If I did not trust these amazing women to care for my girls, my already-long work days would be truly unbearable.

6. Be realistic. You are a badass. You are a full-time parent and a full-time employee. You know what your Number One is, though. Don’t expect to be at full throttle all the time, and expect that sometimes you will get phone calls from that number you have memorized: Daycare. There will be dumb rules to adhere to (in your opinion) regarding sickness, etc., and you will be called out of work at sometimes very inopportune times. Guess what? People get it. Your coworkers get it, your clients get it. Also! You will get sick, too. Sorry.

7. No matter what, your child will never forget who you are, or that you love him/her/them. I cannot stress this enough. My daughters are both overjoyed when I come to pick them up in the evening. My toddler races to me from across the room/playground/her friend’s embrace (d’awww). My infant giggles and stares, then squeezes me tightly to her tiny body. Never, not ever, has this been a problem for us. Honestly, right now, I don’t have a problem with dropping off either child, though sometimes my toddler wants to stay after I get there to pick her up, to help her friends clean, or splash her hand in the water fountain. I think it’s pretty cool that they love it so much.

8. You are awesome. You and your family have decided that this is the best decision for you. Whatever reasons you have for making this decision are your business and yours alone. Just know that you are equally as awesome as Stay At Home Parents, and you will be just as connected to your child/ren. Coming from a much-loved, grown-up Daycare Child, know that your child will never feel deprived because of this decision you have made.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.

Mom Muffins!

Baking is love. And one of the things I enjoyed most during the postpartum phase was baked goods! Oh man. They’re comforting. They nourish you. And they’re easy. No preparation; just a quick pop (read: shovel) into my mouth. When I’m preparing for postpartum, trust me, there are a lot of muffins going into my freezer. 

This is why I make these whenever I plan to visit a postpartum mother. This recipe is great – no refined sugar (depending on which chocolate chips you choose), just bananas and honey. I call these Mom Muffins. But really: they’re Everyone Muffins.

Here’s how you make them!

You will need:

  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375°. Fill a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
 
Mix together bananas, eggs, honey, zucchini, and olive oil. Whisk together all the dry ingredients and add them to the zucchini mixture. Add the chocolate chips. Fill your muffin tins 2/3 full and bake 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
 
That is IT! Easiest thing, right? Oh, they’re so good and I love them so much. Enjoy, y’all. And click here for the printable.

How does Marabou support women?

Moms who used to “lie-in” for forty days now have to pick themselves up within a week to get back to work. Grandmas, sisters and best friends who otherwise would have been there to help a woman transition into motherhood now live too far away and often can’t take time away from their full time job. Household chores and caring for older children fall on the woman who just delivered a new life and whose body needs rest. But we live in a sprawled world and helping hands are plentiful but often too far to be of benefit. 

Marabou Services is a unique gift registry which provides services instead of stuff. Most mom’s get too many onesies, too many baby blankets and not enough helping hands. How can you give you daughter living in Japan married to a Navy sailor a helping hand? How can you lend a hand to your best friend who moved to California? How do you ask for help when none of your family lives near you anymore?

Start a Marabou Gift Registry!

With a Marabou gift registry you can ask for any service you know will be of benefit during postpartum recovery.

Postpartum doulas for a first time mom

House cleanings for moms of multiples

Childcare for moms with older children!

Once your registry is created, add it to any other registry or post it to your Facebook and ask that your friends and family contribute to your postpartum service, rather than buying you more stuff.

More and more moms find they have to figure out postpartum alone. Women don't have the same support like they used to. Is it any wonder why PMDs are on the rise? Women are embittered by the journey through motherhood simply because no one was there to lend a hand.