cleaning · clutter · cooking · homemaking · Mommas · Uncategorized

Decision Fatigue and Moms: Management Burnout

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I recently had a long day.  A really long day. I was at the check out counter with all three of my boys and one of them was asking if he could buy candy.

By that point in the trip, I had already had to:

-Decide whether or not the 2 year old would walk or sit in the carriage
-Decide which sneakers to buy for the oldest for camp
-Decide which food to buy which would not bring us over our food budget
-Decide which popsicles didn’t have fake coloring in them
-Decide if I should let the older ones wander off to the toy section
-Decide if the little guy was ready for the next size in pull ups or not
-Decide whether I was going to buy the food for my son’s camping trip today or not

Decide, decide, decide.

CAN YOU RELATE?

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My head was spinning and I was tired of making decisions.

Moms make a lot of decisions don’t we? We are constantly thinking about that present and future and making choices based on what we feel is best.

I recently read a little cartoon about something called “mental load” and I really related to it. It actually made me angry for a little while, and I had to consciously choose to not allow it to brew discontentment in my heart.

In this enlightening article published on Huffpost, the author discusses how once she and her husband had children, the general “workload” of the house increased exponentially.  She talks about how she became the “Knower of All Things.”

Moms tends to carry a lot around in their heads.

Things like how the three year-old likes his toast, to how long the preteen has been on the computer to how many bowel movements the baby has had.

The more children you have, the more of this “stuff” there is to remember too.

So, what are the results of being the brain of the family?

Exhaustion.  You are tired. A lot.

Stress. There’s too much to remember.

Disappointment.  The kids are bound to be disappointed that something wasn’t “remembered.”

Irritation.  That’s a lot of pressure!

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So, what are moms to do?

Here are a few ideas that I have tried to reduce my mental load.

Write things down.  I am 45 years old.  I forget things.  I have taken to writing everything down.  Grocery lists, requests, things to do today, things to do this week…why do you think the “organization” industry is booming??

Delegate. So, there are some things I have to do, which cannot be outsourced.
I have to make sure the three year-old brushes his teeth.
I have to make sure the kids are eating healthy.

But, my thirteen year-old can pick up his own darn clothes off the floor and walk them to the washing machine.  My eleven year-old can clean up his own dishes, get his own drink and other chores. I think too often we think “I HAVE to do this,” when in fact “I CHOOSE to do this,” is more accurate.

Ask for help.  From the kids, but also from your partner. If you don’t have a partner, ask a girlfriend, or a cousin or a neighbor.  You don’t have to do it all by yourself.  This is hard, because it means giving up doing it “our” way and you risk being disappointed.

And most importantly…don’t be bossed around by perfection.  We all have that little voice inside our heads saying “this isn’t good enough,” “that chair is ugly,” “more throw pillows!”  Don’t allow your perceived idea of perfection to kill your joy! That’s what it does – it judges you, it judges others even.  Work on contentment and peace.  Say to yourself “It isn’t perfect, but it’s home.”

Jenny

 

cooking · gardening · homemaking

Zucchini Chocolate Bread

Zucchini!  I planted a lot of it.  A little more than I realized.

This is really a zucchini year and they are exploding!  I cannot keep up with it actually.   If I skip a couple of visits out to the garden, the zucchini that was 10 inches long exponentially grows to 25 inches long.

So, my son and I decided to put our favorite thing (chocolate) together with our over-abundance of this green squash and make CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD.

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This is a simple recipe from All Recipes.

The most labor intensive part is the grating, which my son was thrilled to do.

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And here is the final product! YUM!

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But if you’re not into chocolate, what is one to do with all that zucchini?

Here are some awesome ideas from all over the internet!

Recipes

Chicken Zucchini Poppers – with cilantro, onions and garlic.  Yum! This recipe coordinates with the Whole30 diet.

Zucchini Green Chili Corn Bread – this idea seems really interesting!  The post is very elaborate; very interes

Zucchini with Egg – this combination just sounds really yummy.

Happy cooking!

 

 

camping · cast iron · cooking · homemaking · seasoning

Cooking with Cast Iron: Part 2

Now that your cast iron pans are seasoned, it’s time to cook!

Although this is considered an “old-fashioned” was of cooking, I have to say, it is MUCH easier than I expected!

My first foray into cast iron cooking was on an open fire when we went camping as a family.

We built a healthy fire under a cooking grate. When cooking with cast iron outside it is very useful to have a grate or a trip-pod to cook with. Then I oiled the pan with olive oil.

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Cast iron oiled with olive oil

Allowing the pan to heat up for about 15 minutes, I then placed the dough balls in it.  I was making biscuits.

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Not too pretty, but we were camping right?

At this point, with this type of cast iron which is called a dutch oven, I placed the lid on and piled hot coals on top.  This creates an actual oven-type environment for the biscuits to cook.

Don’t be too impatient and keep looking like I did.  It’s a low and slow type cooking style.

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Dutch oven with top on
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Dutch oven covered with coals on top.  This really makes ALL the difference.

After about 35 minutes, the biscuits were done.  They didn’t burn, they didn’t stick to the oven – it was amazing!  And with just water and a little elbow grease (no soap), the pot was clean!

Here is my son enjoying a biscuit with cheese!

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cast iron · cooking · first time · seasoning

Cooking in Cast Iron Part One: Seasoning

Big, heavy black pans, filled with bacon or eggs or corn bread.  Doesn’t that sound rustic and heavenly?

I have wanted to use cast iron for a long time and I finally got the opportunity two weeks ago when my family went camping.  Thank to my mom-in-law (she purchased me three different pans for Christmas) I was able to jump in feet first to this fun, old-fashioned way of cooking.

Seasoned or not seasoned?

New, unseasoned, out of the box

Do you know what that means?  I didn’t.  I had no idea, until I started to learn about what it means to have a “seasoned” pan.  As my children have serious food allergies (soy, peanut, egg and legume), I am militant about new foods and whatever they eat on, off of of etc. So I had to find out more about this “seasoning.”

Good seasoning of cast iron is essential. If you’re lucky – and probably most of you can do this – you will purchase a pre-seasoned pan.  Your job is done, cook away! Pans will be black in color.  The pan will have already been treated with vegetable oil so that the iron is sealed and not prone to oxidization (rust).

But if your family is like our family, you will have to scour the Internet for the rare UNseasoned pan so that you can season it yourself  (my children’s soy allergies extends to vegetable oil.) 

We seasoned ours with olive oil. 

Seasoning Your Pan for the First Time

Once you get the pan, block out a few hours to season properly. Per pan. Yes it takes that long – you don’t want to hurry the process.

Turn your oven up to 450 degrees.  Place the newly unseasoned pan in the oven.

A waxy coating will now take about 25 minutes to melt off.  Remove carefully from the oven and wipe down with a paper towel.

Now you’re ready to oil the pan.  Put a good size amount on the pan and using a towel or paper towel cover the entire pan, including the handle and the under side.  Again be careful not to burn yourself.

Place in oven for about 40 minutes.  Pan should be blackened.

One initial coating is sufficient, but you can do this several times depending on how seasoned you want it to be.

Further Care

When you go to cook in your cast iron the first time you will be amazed at how evenly it cooks!  When you are done with it, take it to the sink, rinse it in warm water WITH NO SOAP and DO NOT USE a scratchy sponge.  A towel or your hand will do. Caution: Using soap removes the seasoning – a no-no!

I hope you try this old-fashioned way of cooking! It has been a joyful surprise to me!

Next time: cooking in your cast iron!