Category Archives: Mommydom

Whole30 Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2-28oz cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt

 

Steps:

  1. Brown ground beef/turkey in a skillet. Add it to crockpot.
  2. Add other ingredients and seasonings to crockpot.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve in bowls. Enjoy!

Pico de Cado Omelette

This quick omelette with a Mexican twist is amazing! AND Whole30 compliant.

Ingredients:

  • Omelette
    • 1 egg
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 2 spoonfuls of pico de gallo (You can buy some from any supermarket – I used Pete’s – or make your own.)
    • Tajín seasoning
  • Pico de Gallo
    • 1 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
    • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, minced
    • 1 tbsp lime juice

Steps:
Pico de Gallo:

  1. Mix tomatoes, onion, cilantro and jalapeno pepper in large bowl.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors blend.

Omelette:

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper to preference. Beat well.
  3. Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a small frying pan on a low heat.
  4. Add the eggs and move the pan around to spread them out evenly. The omelette will begin to cook and firm up, but still have a little raw egg on top.
  5. Use a spatula to ease around the edges of the omelette and fold it over in half. When it starts to turn golden brown underneath, remove the pan from the heat and slide the omelette on to a plate.
  6. Slice the avocado and place it on top. Add the pico de gallo on top.
  7. Sprinkle with Tajín. Enjoy!

Coconut Date Balls

I was looking for a Whole30 compliant snack to hold me over between meals (and to help make sure that I was consuming enough calories) when I came across these sweet treats. They are delicious and an instant hit with T4 (and friends).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pitted dates
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Steps:

  1. Blend dates, almonds and coconut flakes in a food processor (or blender) until well mixed.
  2. Roll the mixture into small balls. (The dates are very sweet, so I personally prefer smaller balls.)
  3. Toss balls into dried coconut flakes. The mixture is very sticky, so the coconut coating makes the balls less sticky.
  4. Enjoy! Refrigerate the rest.

Truly Loved: Family Portrait Review

Spoiler alert: I love taking pictures, and thanks to Instagram, Snapchat, Marco Polo and whatever latest app comes out next week, my girls love taking photos of themselves (although TD2’s behavior said otherwise). So when I found out a friend of mine was launching her photography business, I reached out to her to get T4’s family portraits taken. 

Have you noticed those new header photos at the top of my blog? Yup, that was all her. She did an amazing job with the cold weather and an uncooperative 4.5-year-old who was in her feelings about some Cheez-Its she couldn’t have. All things considered, we had a great time and have some beautiful memories to look back on. Check out some more of her work on Truly Loved Photography.

She’s currently offering a promotional deal through the end of the year for mini photo sessions. For $50, you get a 30 minute photo shoot and printing rights for 20 images. Buy 2 to get a full hour session and 40 images. The certificates expire 12/31/2018, so you can even use them for next year’s holiday cards!

T-Talks: Hopes

Helping TD2 rehearse for her school’s holiday program:
T-Mommy: [TD2] What are your hopes for the New Year?
TD2: I hope for a cat, a dog and a baby.
T-Mommy: A cat, a dog and a baby?
TD2: Yeah because they’re all soo0o0o0o cute and I just love them and want them all the time.
T-Mommy: And um, where do you think you’re getting any of those from?
TD2: The store.
T-Mommy: So you can just buy a baby at the store?
TD2: Yup! Or we can just ask Santa.
T-Mommy: Ask Santa for a baby?
TD2: Yeah, he has a hundred and he lives at the North Pole. So all we have to do is just go to the North Pole and buy a baby and a cat and a dog.

Old Stories and New Endings

This past weekend my church started a new series, “Heroes of Christmas.” (Check it out and then check out the next sermon in the series this weekend, either in person or via the church’s site/app.) It was such a great reminder for me to have a little grace with myself, and to give a little grace to others.

My mind stays in a constant state of contemplation and awe. Reminiscing on the things of my past and wondering at where I am now. As an adult, I realize things that I never picked up on a kid – things my mom and granny shielded me from, how certain experiences shaped me in ways I never even felt coming. I look at my daughters and I see a world I never could have imagined as a child.

T-Daddy and I talk a lot about the life we want them to have, the things we want to give them. To be honest most of this is rooted in our childhood. Things we never had. Things we wished were different. We realize we can’t change the past, so we want to try to change the TDs future. How can we save them from the villains of our own stories?

Dangerous neighborhood. Broken home. Teased. Smart. Constant outcast. Misunderstood. Low self-esteem. Not the cool kid. Unreciprocated loyalty. Always searching for greener grass. Good person doing bad things. Shame. Regrets. No rhythm. Hurt person hurting people. Sometimes selfish. Sometimes giving. Book reader. Video game player. Music lover.

That’s just a part of our story. It’s not all good. I’m a girl from the southside with divorced parents and loose relationships with my siblings. I grew up in the church but blurred the lines between right and wrong to fit my agenda, to make people like me. T-Daddy is a guy from every side of the city with his own skeletons in the closet. When we got together, we were two broken people trying to not let the other person break us more. We had no real agenda or motive. There were lies and truths dressed in lies. Contradictions and everything that comes with not having a plan.

Out of that came two smart and beautiful daughters. We want them to be more confident in themselves than we ever were. We want them to love God and follow Him even when everyone around them is telling them “it’s not that bad.” We want them to move mountains and anyone who dares stand in their way. We want nothing but the best for them. I believe that’s what every parent wants for their child. And honestly, we already have some, if not most of that.

Our girls are growing up, in a two-parent, God-fearing home, surrounded by people that love and adore them. Family and friends of different backgrounds. They even have the older girls loving on them at school. (The goodbyes at pickup man….it’s a real thing). They have a genuine love for God and church…that they want to share with everyone they meet. T-Daddy and I regularly overhear them talking about Jesus’ love for everyone. TD1 and TD2 are so close, it’s beyond heart melting. They are being exposed to so many opportunities at such young ages. It’s all truly a blessing.

Who would imagine that from T-Daddy and my stories, God could create such a different ending? I definitely couldn’t. Not when so many of my friends and family have similar stories or experiences. No one could have told me that some of those themes could be foreign to my children. Yes, they will have their own stories, and they won’t be all good. But God can change that too. Just like He allowed them to have a different beginning than I had.

So often, it’s easy for me to look at my past and think there’s no coming back from that. But that’s not true. How awesome is it that God can take our stories, no matter how dark and ugly and still give us something beautiful from them?

Momfessions: Box Tops and Cookie Dough

Fact 1: I like eating raw cookie dough.
Fact 2: The TDs’ school collects box tops.

I was walking through Walmart when I found myself eye-to-eye with some sugar cookie dough. Somehow, the cookie dough ended up in my hand and I happened to notice a box top on it. It was at that moment that Fact 2 justified my indulgence in Fact 1. And as I ate the last square of raw cookie dough in the package, I was comforted knowing that my guilty pleasures are supporting a good cause.

Broken Records and Sista Friends: How to Fix a Broken Record Book Review

“You and I will discover that we never had the power to fix our broken records in the first place, but there is Someone who doesn’t just fix them; in fact, Jesus heals.” -Amena Brown, How to Fix a Broken Record

We all have them. Broken records, or experiences and thoughts that stop us from being our best and greatest selves. In her book, How to Fix a Broken Record, Amena uses her personal experiences to deliver hope to her readers.

Amena begins her introduction talking to the reader like she’s meeting them for the first time. She ends with “Let’s find some more of those little key lime pie snickers dessert things and talk about the new records you’re listening to. I can’t wait to hear all about it.”

And just like that, the tone has been set for the rest of the book. How to Fix a Broken Record reads less like a self-help or “magical fix” book and more like a conversation with a sista friend. Loaded with musical references, Amena talks natural hair, dating, marriage, church and adulting. It’s filled with anecdotal stories that both make you reflect on your current life’s soundtrack and encourage you to surrender to God to change it indefinitely.

I was first introduced to Amena Brown when I started doing spoken word for my church. My worship pastor suggested I check out some of her work. So I did. And she was phenomenal. Listening to her talk about her relationship with her younger sister gave me hope about my own relationships with my younger siblings. I was inspired to see a black woman using her gifts for the Gospel. So to say I was excited to start reading How to Fix a Broken Record* would be an understatement.

With each paragraph, every sentence, I felt a connection being made and strengthened. Through her words, Amena gave life to experiences, thoughts and internal struggles I could never find the words for. She offered me hope when I felt defeated, comfort when I was weary, reassurance when I was insecure and laughter when I just needed it. We danced to songs of our younger years and bonded over memories of cultural staples. In 36 chapters, Amena, who is a few years older than me, became the older sister I never had and the friend I always wanted.

So yes, Amena. We can most definitely grab dessert and talk about the new records I’m listening to the next time you’re in Chicago.

How to Fix a Broken Record is available now at AmenaBrown.com. Check out Amena’s podcast, How to Fix a Broken Record on iTunes and Google Play.

*Full disclosure: I am a member of Amena’s launch team for her book, but the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Orbital Fears

Last Friday, TD1 had a Cosmic Skating Girl Scout outing. Originally, we planned to go as a foursome since one T-Parent is a GS Mom and the other T-Parent is a skater. Divide and conquer.

Life happened and it ended up being just me and TD1 going. I was a little disappointed – this would have been perfect bonding time for TD1 and T-Daddy, but I had this. TD1 would skate and I’d walk beside her with one of those parent helper things to make sure she didn’t fall. We got there, saw some of our friends and walked in. All good so far.

We got TD1’s skates, laced her up and she was ready to go. Except she wasn’t.

She could barely stand without going down. I thought T-Daddy taught her how to skate. This is going to be interesting. And, she refused to use a walker.*

T-Mommy: Excuse me, can I go out there with my shoes on?
Skate Center Employee: No, only skates are allowed in the rink.

This is going to be a loooooong night. What happened to being able to walk on the floor? I thought parents could walk beside their kids?** Why didn’t I tell T-Daddy to go and I just stay home? What am I gonna do now? *fights back tears* Is it too late to leave and just sit this out?

I must have recited my answer a dozen times: No, I’m not skating. I haven’t skated in like 15-20 years, cringing each time the words came out. One of TD1’s fellow older Girl Scouts offered to go out on the floor with her. I hesitantly agreed. Three seconds later, I regretted it. TD1 was going to bring her down. I watched in horror for the next 10 minutes or so as adults and Girl Scouts – same age and older – offered to help TD1 skate around the rink. Each time, she took off like cannon, arms flailing and legs buckling. I finally decided that I couldn’t expect others to carry this burden. I slowly walked up to the counter.

T-Mommy: Do you have some rollerblades with brakes?

After a few misunderstandings, I finally got a pair of rollerblades in my size that had a brake. I slowly laced them up, bracing myself for the humiliation that awaited me. What if I fall…in front of everyone? They’re all going to be laughing and think I’m just the lamest, saddest person ever. Who agrees to take their daughter on a skating outing when THEY CAN’T SKATE!!!???

I asked for a walker and nervously made my way onto the floor. Not so bad. I went around a few times watching people still struggle to help TD1 without going down themselves. As I got more comfortable, I was able to convince TD1 to use a walker herself, and we spent the night skating around together. “I’m okay!!”, she shouted each time she went down. Then she got up and took off faster than the last time. At some point, she left me with her walker and one of her friends to skate by themselves.

Fearless. Fast. Relentless. Determined. Those were the words being used to describe this little six-year-old who didn’t let the fact that she apparently had never learned to skate stop her from having fun with her friends. She had one goal in sight: being able to keep up with her friends. And, she didn’t care how many times she had to fall or run into the sides to make it happen.

Here I was with my fears of falling and looking clumsy in front of other people orbiting around my mind to the point that I was ready to call it a night. Meanwhile, my daughter was living her life…unapologetically might I add. Talk about children leading the way. TD1 definitely led me all the way around the skating rink that night. And I’m grateful for it. I ended up having a blast and can’t wait to go back. Maybe even tonight.

*Apparently, it’s not a walker, it’s a skate trainer. I think walker sounds cooler.
**I later found out that I wasn’t crazy. The skating rink hosts a Super Tot Play n’ Skate session on Saturdays and parents are allowed to go on the floor with their gym shoes on. This does not apply to Cosmic Skating.