Thursday, April 21, 2016

What's Your Second Act?

The Headlines:

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" 

My Husband asked me this question the other day.

So what's my answer?

There are many stages to being a Stay At Home Mom.

This is one of them.

What's Your Second Act/ What do you want to be when you grow up?

It comes after...

Stage 1 - dreaming about quitting your job when the baby is born.

Stage 2 - quitting your job once your baby is born.

Stage 3 - wishing you never quit your job so you can go to work and rest.

Stage 4 - fully enjoying play dates and the Moms you meet during them.

Stage 5 - sending them off to pre-school and celebrating those couple hours free!

Stage 6 - trying to decide if you should hold them back from kinder (because maybe they're"not ready").

Stage 7 - realizing they're ready and you're going to be home without them from 8-3 everyday.

Stage 8 - cherishing every last moment you get with them during the next few months.

Stage 9 - asking yourself: what do I want my 2nd (third) Act to be?  Because it almost feels like you get a chance to enter the real world again.  Almost.

That's exactly the stage myself and many of my friends have been hovering over for a while now.
We talk about it constantly.  Everyone's trying to figure out what they're going to do.  I have a friend who is thinking about going back to school and becoming a professor in the broadcast field.  Another considering sales.  I'm sure one of us will get her real estate license (wait, that's me, I have my real estate license).  I even have a friend who will start a children's music class in her house.  Oh and of course one friend will teach pre-school.  The list goes on and on.  The pressure is mounting.

Though, I'm not sure it should.  Our kids still desperately need us when they go to school.  I wrote about my theory a little while back, basically talking about why it may be better to work when they're babies and stay at home when they get older.  Read the full story HERE.  But now that the time is officially nipping at my heels, I feel the itch.  Perhaps not because of me as much as the societal pressures that follow Stay At Home Moms.  What ARE THEY DOING ALL DAY?  No one really knows... not even the Stay At Home Moms truthfully.

But with that societal pressure perhaps also comes the potential for opportunity.  The possibility that us Moms could do something great while we raise our kids well into the college years.  It's a fine balance.  A tough one to master.  But it's one that many of us yearn to try.

The problem is... what do we do?

Many stay at home Moms get the opportunity to do so because their husbands work very hard doing their job.  In many of those jobs there is little wiggle room.  So the potential for help from them is probably un-likely.  My husband works a lot and travels or goes to dinners and early meetings frequently.  So Moms who want a second chance have to come up with something to do during the hours of 8-3.  Only.  Weekends are often off the table due to soccer, dance, baseball, travel, church, etc.  Same with week nights.  Then don't forget about all those Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring breaks.  Not to mention half days galore.  A Second Act is fun to dream about but perhaps more difficult to realize.  What job will put up with those hours?

There are those women who find their answer in direct sales jobs.  We all know a gal selling Beach Body or Rodan and Fields.  It's a great option.  For some.  Perhaps not others.  Probably not me.

What then?  I certainly don't have the answer, I'm simply presenting the question.  Here's what my ideal job would look like, written in a Help Wanted Ad:

Sound familiar?  I'd get that job. Sigh.

Yea, a 2nd Act for a MOM is hard to find.  I think we all know that.  But I'll keep searching. Maybe someday I'll find it.  It's then I would probably enter the last stage that a Stay At Home Mom faces:

Stage 10 - feeling like a Working Mom, who just wants to stay home again.

Forward this post to your husband.  And then... tell him Thank You.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Riced Cauliflower Crust Pizza

The Headlines:

Looks like a pizza. 

Not a pizza.

Well, not really. 

A few weeks ago I published one of my popular blogs ever.  It was on this stuff.

Riced Cauliflower... took me minutes to whip up the post and everyone loved it.  You can read it HERE.  In it, I tell people where to buy it (Trader Joe's) and what to make with it (fried rice - better than the real stuff, no joke).  After that, someone mentioned that I could also make a pizza with it too.  Are you kidding me?  The heavens opened up and sent us this cauliflower pizza directly.  I mean, really.    

The recipe has been a little adjusted from the great Paula Deen.  She clearly came up with the concept, it's not mine.  Kinda like I didn't make the riced cauliflower either (thanks to TJ's) but I am compelled to tell you about it and now this...

Lay your eyes on this beauty:

It looks just as good as it tastes.  It may actually taste better.  And, as always, so easy to do.  My style.  

Here's What You Need:
parchment paper
EVOO spray
1/2 cup pasta sauce
1 egg
2 tablespoons grated parm cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded mozarella
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (or use another 1/4 cup of mozzarella)
fresh grape tomatoes, sliced
4-5 cloves chopped fresh garlic (not needed but highly recommended)
salt & pepper
salami (or pepperoni) (optional)
shredded fresh basil  (optional)

Here's What You Do:
Heat over to 425.  Line parchment paper on baking sheet.  Warm riced cauliflower (if frozen)... then let it cool.  In a medium-large bowl mix egg, 1 cup of mozzarella, parm cheese, add riced cauli then a little salt and pepper.  Spray parchment paper with EVOO.  Then, pat into a round "pizza crust" on the parchment paper and stick in the oven for about 15 minutes.  It should be a little brown on the edges.  

Once finished, top with your pasta sauce (or you can make your own fresh tomato sauce - I like short cuts), remaining cheese, fresh garlic, tomatoes and salami if you choose.  Bake for another 12 minutes.  Top with basil before serving... or not.  The salami and basil obviously makes the pizza look a lot more "pizza-ey!"

This recipe is FABULOUS.  The fresh garlic makes it, it is a MUST.  And in case you're wondering, no the "crust" does not fall a part when you cut it.  

I mean, really run don't walk to make this recipe.  It is one you can NOT miss.  And I'm, you know, picky. 

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Monday, April 11, 2016

DIY Cardboard Initial (Letter)

The Headlines:

I can't believe I'm doing a blog on something so simple.

But then again, why not?

Huge, cool looking initials have been all the rage for a while now.  Especially in kid bedrooms.  But they can get really pricey... for the BIG suckers.  And of course, those are the ones that look the best.  So I made one.  And you can too.  Promise.

For my daughter's last birthday I planned a special party for her.  You can see all the details HERE - it was adorbs.... I'm just sayin'!  But out of that party I got a (2)"two-fer(s)".  We made a special "S" as a center decorative piece:

I was especially glad to do it because I knew I could use it later.  In her room.  We hung it above her picket fence headboard which I wrote about HERE...  and it got me thinking - why not blog about the the BIG cardboard initial?  It truly was so easy I just had to share... please try not to laugh at the instructions below!

DIY Cardboard Initial:
Get a big cardboard box (we got our from Home Depot - free)
Draw a block letter
Cut it out (with an exacto knife - not scissors)

Use primer spray paint
Lightly add spray paint of choice (we chose a sparkly pink) - or add a lot - up to you
Dangle battery powered lights around it
Hang with a 3M strip

In my case I added paper flowers to the display (purchased, not made, from Michael's) which were also used at her party.  See above "two-fer" photo.

They kind of hide the battery packs to the lights and, well, they just look cool too!

I'll say this... the letter was well worth the pennies it cost to make.  It took center stage during one special occasion and another special place.  Talk about bang for your buck! SSSSSSSSSSSweet.
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