Category Archives: just life

Why should I continue blogging?

When I started blogging 4 years ago, it was on a whim.  I knew I liked to write and my friend Patty was participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I was absolutely positive I did NOT want to write a novel, however, that month is also NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  Now that was something I felt I could handle.  So I created a Blog called Glass Half Full, and started writing.  Looking back at those posts always brings a smile to my face.  They were so rough, and the writing was not at all the way I write now.

I suppose practice does create improvements because the more I have blogged, the better my writing has become.  Not that I am a brilliant writer now, or ever, but it is better now than it was then.

About a year after I started blogging I was approached by an acquaintance to ask if I wanted to blog together with her.  I said sure, and a wonderful friendship grew from our collaboration.  We blogged together for a couple of years, and we had a lot of fun.  Blogging with another person has its good points and bad points.  The good is that there is someone to share the work.  The posting, designing, etc.  My partner was awesome at finding cute backgrounds and would spend hours designing the look of the blog.  The bad part about blogging with someone is that you have to compromise.  You don’t have complete control of all the elements of the blog or the content.  I am a control freak, and that was a difficult piece of the partnership for me.  For a variety of reasons that partnership dissolved, and I was back to blogging on my own.

Now I am at a crossroad.  Not sure if I want to continue blogging or not.  I have had some successes blogging.  I have had a couple of blogs syndicated (meaning I was paid for them).  I have run some successful advertising blog campaigns with BlogHer (meaning I was paid for them), but I haven’t had the crazy success blogging that I dreamed about.  I dreamed about being the next “Pioneer Woman” or “Bloggess”.  Hell, even a small fraction of their success would have been a dream come true.

But dreams are a funny thing.  They are just dreams.  Hopes.  Wishes.  These dreams have not come true for me, and I wonder why I should even continue blogging?

I haven’t written in months.  There are times when I think of something and then think, “I should write about that”, but so many other things in my life require my attention, that it doesn’t get done.  I have an “idea” board next to my desk in my office, and even that has been blank recently.

My mother has criticized my blogging and I will admit that those criticisms have affected my desire to write.  A part of me says, “She doesn’t have to read the blog, if it bothers her”  and the other part of me wants my mother to be happy.

So I am trying to decide if it is really worth it to keep writing.  I don’t receive a lot of monetary compensation, or followers, or notoriety, but on the other hand, it makes me feel good, and there is this very small piece of me that has faith that SOMEONE out there enjoys reading what I write.

Time will tell.

puterblog

 

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole!!

There are many things in life that bring me comfort. The warm sun on my face, hugs from my children and a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, to name a few. However, as these nights get cooler, nothing says comfort like a hot homemade casserole for dinner. Not only is a casserole the quintessential comfort food, it stretches my food dollars for my family of 6 and provides easy and delicious leftovers on nights when we are going in four different directions. There are many nights I look in the refrigerator and am stumped about what to do for dinner. I do try to have a menu and plan for the week, but there are days that my schedule changes, or something else comes up. In our busy family, no matter how well I plan, often the plans fall through! So just in case this happens, one of the staples I keep in my pantry is Campbell’s cooking soups. Having a variety of these soups on hand can help me take a bunch of random ingredients and throw together a casserole that my family will love and is good for them! Campbell’s has a variety of soups that are great to use for cooking. They can be just the thing to pull together a fast, healthy meal. Some of them are: Broccoli cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Beef broth, Cream of Celery, Cream of Chicken, Cream of Asparagus and many others. So many of us grew up with our mothers making holiday dinners using Campbell’s Cream of Chicken or Cream of Celery soup. Green bean casserole at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner is one I remember fondly. My mother passed these traditions down to me, and these family favorites will be on my holiday dinner table as well. For my hectic life, having a few cans of these soups in the pantry can turn a fridge full of leftovers or random ingredients into yummy dishes! For more inspiration, Campbell’s has teamed up with The Wisest Kid in the Whole World™ to bring you fun, quick, delicious recipes everyone in the family will love! Check them out here.This week I am single mom’ing it as my partner is away on business. On a particularly busy evening where we had swim practice, orthodontist appointments and homework to do, I decided to throw together some ingredients I had on hand with a can of Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup. This is one of my favorite casseroles! Since we have recently switched to whole grains I just changed a few of the ingredients and made this amazing Broccoli Cheese Chicken Rice casserole a wee bit healthier. So here is my version of this casserole:Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole

Ingredients: 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen broccoli (I prefer fresh)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 2 cups cooked brown rice (I prefer short grain)

2 cups cooked chopped chicken breast

1 1/4 cup 1% milk

1 can Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. After mixing pour into a 9×13 baking pan. I always reserve a little of the shredded cheese and sprinkle it on top. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Take it out of the oven and watch your family devour this delicious casserole.

Campbell's Broccoli Cheese soup

Campbell’s Broccoli Cheese soup

All of the ingredients ready to be mixed together.

All of the ingredients ready to be mixed together.

Mixed and put into baking pan

Mixed and put into baking pan

I reserve a small amount of cheese and sprinkle on top before baking.

I reserve a small amount of cheese and sprinkle on top before baking.

Out of the oven, hot and ready to eat!

Out of the oven, hot and ready to eat!

YUM!!

YUM!!

This casserole is a hit in my house, I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

 

These days being a mom means being a detective too.

When I decided to become a mother it was no light decision for me. I had always said I didn’t want children, and to be honest, I meant it.  I had many men come and go in my life, and never wanted to have children.  Then the day finally came and I met a certain man and decided maybe being a mom wasn’t such a bad idea.

A few years later along came my “Joe Cool”.  I was so excited, and scared all at the same time.  I was also full of hormones and went through a short period of “postpartum blues”.   It probably didn’t help matters that I transferred from San Diego to Pensacola Florida when Joe Cool was only 6 weeks old.  That was a bit crazy.  Trying to schedule a military move, and handle being a new mom was quite a doozy!!  Not to mention I had a C-section and had to recover from that as well.    But we managed, and life went on.

Then a couple of years later we were handed a surprise baby, “The Genius”.  He was so different from Joe Cool.  He was wiggly, and wouldn’t lay still, and full of energy.  Energizer bunny baby for sure!

We definitely had our hands full.  Their father was a stay at home dad and went to college in the evenings.  I was in the Navy working a full time job, and taking care of the kids in the evening while hubby went to school.  It was a busy time.  I thought It was demanding. I thought it was difficult.  Joe Cool is currently 16, and The Genus is 14.  Looking back on those times when they were little and required so much attention, I now realize that those were the easy times of being a parent.

Now don’t get me wrong, those days had their challenges:  Learning to poop and pee in the potty.  Learning how to do things for themselves. Letting them “cry it out” at night as I sat outside their bedroom doors listening to them cry and call for me, and crying myself. But even with all of that, those years were wonderful years. My boys adored me. I reigned supreme as “The Mommy”.  What I said went, and there was no arguing.  Just a little time out could work wonders.  I always knew where they were, who they were with and what they were doing.  (Yes, I know I am a control freak.)

Joe Cool and The Genius when they were 6 and 4

Joe Cool and The Genius when they were 6 and 4

Now that they are teenagers things are so much more complicated.  They have internet access, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter accounts.  They have phones (as long as they can pay their phone bill), with internet access.  So I learned about Facbook and Instagram and Twitter etc, so I would understand their world.  I put programs on the house computer to monitor screen shots and keystrokes, etc, so I could see what they were up too.  I set parental controls on their phones so they can’t text during school, or after 10:00 when they should be in bed on school nights. All of it exhausting work.

Then I had to become a detective.  Asking, “Who are you going to be with?”  “What are you doing?”  “Where are you going?” “When will you be home?” “Who is driving?”  “Will there be adults present at this event?”  “Will there be girls there also?”  “Do you like any of them?”  “Will there be adults present?” Around and around I go.

Then just to be even more sure I was getting the straight story I put a “Locator” service on our phone account where I can see where they are based on where their phone is.  Anyone who has a teenager or young adult knows that they are NEVER very far from their phones!!

I was proud of myself, and thought I was on top of things.  Boy, was I wrong.  Because THEN I found out about Kik.

Kik is an app they can download onto their phones for free so they can text other people that have the app, and it doesn’t go through the phone account.  So they can text all night long, and I would never see anything on the phone bill, and although I can “lock” their phones at a certain hour, I can’t make the data stop at a certain time, so they can still have access to the internet and their apps.

And THEN I found out about Snapchat.  Snapchat is an app where they can send pictures, which can be viewed for just a few seconds, and then never viewed again.  What a great way to send “taboo” photos that don’t stay in your gallery so your parent can see them if they scroll through your phone.  So sexting via Snapchat has become the new rage.  GREAT!!  And of course as an adult I know that once something is on the internet it is there forever, but try convincing a teenager of that!

teen talk

Luckily for me I love in a community where I know many of the parents of my kids friends.  I have met them at swim meets, or soccer games, or school events.  If I don;t know them personally I probably know someone who knows them.  I call this group of parents my “mom posse”, and have used the posse many times over the years.

As a matter of fact I utilized it just the other night.  Joe Cool was at work and Karol and I decided to go to the movies.  Towards the end of the movie Joe Cool called me three times.  I guess he forgot that you shouldn’t talk on your cell phone during a movie (note my sarcasm).  When the movie was over I called him and asked what he needed.  He said, “Hey, M. and A. want to go to the baseball field and watch the meteor shower tonight and they want me to go with them.”

Now even though Joe Cool is usually honest with me, I was like , “Sure, of course three teenaged boys want to go to a dark, empty field and watch a meteor shower…….right……”  So I immediately texted both of the other boys’ moms to check if the meteor shower story was “legit”.  I received a response form M’s mom that went something like this: “LOL, yes it is legit.  I am on my way to pick up Joe Cool now.”

When they pulled up, I went outside and M’s mom and I had a good laugh about the “mom Posse” and how these teens won’t be able to get away with much of the stuff we did.  The boys didn’t seem to think it was as amusing as we did.  Oh well!!

That says it all.

That says it all.

I will say that it is a different world then when I grew up in the 80′s.  There is more available for kids these days to lure them into trouble.  Sure the drinking and experimentation is the same, but there seems to be more opportunities for those things to happen now than when I was a teenager.

So being a detective is as important as being a mom, and unfortunately for my boys, I will always be in their business and trying to keep up with what is going on in their lives.  I am not their friend, I am their mom. I can be their friend later, when they have graduated college and they are living on their own.  For now I need to parent them and keep guiding them in the way they need to go so they CAN get to college, graduate and be out there on their own living their lives!