No, My Name Is NOT Martha…

I’m The Unhip Housewife, not Martha Stewart.  But thank you for the compliment!

I’m making my famous Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and it’s SUPER easy and tastes like gourmet.  It’s guaranteed to please your family as well as knock the socks off people at those holiday gatherings.  I swear people think I’m this fabulous person who makes all these homemade meals all the time.  If they only knew..!

Well now I’m going to share the recipe and let my secret out.  We moms have to stick together!  Hopefully this will be a meal your kids and hubby will love and look forward to as the weather gets cooler. We’re having highs in the 90s here in Florida, but I’m just going to crank the a/c down and make this soup anyway.  A girl can dream, right?!

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Here’s the recipe to my delicious soup:

Ingredients:

  • One rotisserie chicken
  • 3.5 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 lb bag of extra wide egg noodles
  • celery
  • baby carrots
  • salt
  • pepper

Take all the chicken meat off the rotisserie chicken. Set it aside.  Throw the bones from the rotisserie into a large pot.  Add water to cover the chicken bones and boil.  Once it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and simmer.  Let it simmer for a couple of hours and then turn off the burner and let it cool.

Hold strainer over a large bowl and strain broth from bones.  Pick remaining meat from the carcass and throw it in the pot.  Pour broth back in pot and add egg noodles.  Add a cup of water and boil on medium heat.  Chop celery and baby carrots into bite sized pieces and dump in pot.  Stir. Once noodles have softened, add chicken meat.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Once the carrots and celery are soft, it’s ready to serve.  I usually serve it with crescent rolls (my kids love making those AND eating them so it’s a win-win).

Guys…it is SO. GOOD.

NOTE: This recipe makes enough to serve a small army.  LOL.  I usually freeze half of it if I’m just serving my family, or I give some to family, neighbors, whoever!  Even the local fire station!

Bon appetit, y’all!!

Let me know if you tried it and how you liked it!

 

It’s Time For ME!

I used to work out religiously.  In high school, college, when I was a newlywed, even during my first and second pregnancies. I had a gym membership that I loved, and I went religiously.  I also have weights and a treadmill at home I would use if I couldn’t get away to the gym.

But then I turned 40…and simultaneously gave birth to my 3rd child (kids, don’t try this at home).  And then I had thyroid issues.  And then I had thyroid SURGERY.  And then I had endometriosis issues.  And then I had a full hysterectomy.  And then I had intestinal surgery.  It’s been a rough 4 years…

My body was completely out of whack hormonally.  I gained weight and couldn’t lose it.  I felt ugly.  Depressed.  I had no energy.  I didn’t want to be social.

But then things changed.

I got on some good thyroid medicine and got more energy.  I made a change in my mind and decided it was time to take care of ME.

I took the first set of pictures you’ll see below last year in May.  I weighed 199 lbs.  When I gave birth to my first child I was 194 lbs.  My second child was 191.  My third child I weighed 196.  AT BIRTH.  In May of last year and I weighed 199 POUNDS and I wasn’t pregnant.  I didn’t want to ever see the 200 pound mark.

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I  joined Weight Watchers (online only, because why would I want to go anywhere?!) and started watching my food intake. Within a few months I lost 22 pounds (these are the bottom row of pictures) and I’ve maintained that weight.

Today I got my first gym membership in 5 years.

The personal trainer who walked me around showing me the gym asked, “What areas are you wanting to focus on?” I said, “Pretty much everything between my neck and ankles.”

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This is my new “BEFORE” shot that I took today.  Not bad, but not me.  So I’m on a journey to look better and feel better! I LOVE my curves and don’t plan to lose them. I wouldn’t mind losing the jiggle and the cellulite though.

So ladies (and gentlemen), please will you stand with me and be my support on this journey?  Leave a comment if you’ve struggled with your weight and what helped the most in getting it back in control!  Let’s support each other!

Oh P.S.!! This morning before I went to the gym I was coming up with a thousand excuses NOT to go! I almost didn’t do it today.  And as I was signing up for my membership, I looked over and saw an older gentleman on the exercise bike…and he had his oxygen tank with him.  I saw that and thought, “There are no more excuses!” I mean if that guy can lug his oxygen tank and tubes in with him and work out, Lord knows I can.

Let’s do this!

 

 

Senioritis

Senioritis. I’ve got it.

I am over 40, but that’s not the kind of “senioritis” I’m talking about. I have a child who will be graduating next year.  A senior in high school.

You young mommies and daddies out there with babies, preschoolers, even elementary school kids won’t get it yet, but I hope what I post here will sink into your brain as your days run together into weeksmonthsyearsssss. Older moms always told me, “savor every moment…they grow up so fast!” and I would nod as if I really got it.  I didn’t.  Not until now.

Somehow, without me realizing it, time has slipped away.  My sweet toddling baby learned to read and ride a bike and got student of the month and started middle school and took driver’s ed… and we just blinked…and she’s in 12th grade.

All those “mundane” afternoons of car line, going to the park, doing a little bit of homework, eating dinner together.  Gone.  She drives herself to and from school. She’s got a job.  She’s got things to do.  On her own.  Important things.

This summer my girl swore in to the United States Marine Corps. She’s only 17, and you might think we are crazy to have signed for her to join so early.  But she’s been wanting to do this for 3 years now, and it became apparent to us that she would have done it the day she turned 18 (5 months from now), and by signing early, she has a better chance at getting a big scholarship the Marine Corps offers. So she’s now a Marine Poolee, and will either go to college and come out an officer in the USMC, or go to boot camp and get a job in the USMC.  Either way, she’s officially in.

And either way, she’s leaving us.

It’s funny how last year we just went on about our days, not thinking about the fact that she would be leaving.  I guess you just don’t think about it until you have to.  And now, here we are, 8.5 months away from her high school graduation, and every event, every “first,” is now a “last”.

I want her to attend every football game, every dance, go to every birthday party, movie, and gathering she can. I want all her friends to come over and I want them to post videos of themselves laughing, swimming, goofing off…being carefree kids.

In just a few months her world as she’s know it will turn upside down. She will, in a sense, become an adult.  But I mean, it’s what we become parents for, right? To take these precious gifts from God and raise them to the best of our ability, pour everything we have into them.  Seems like a daunting task to take on for 18 years straight.  That’s the hard part, right?

Nope.

Letting go is the hard part.  The rest of it was a piece of cake.

So for now, I’m going to try to celebrate every moment, cherish every “last,” remember exactly who my girl is right at this moment.

She loves to fish.  She likes big trucks. She loves animals.  She loves to draw.  She’s quiet, but when she laughs, it’s infectious. She is crazy about her country.  And she’s a future Marine.

I can’t wait to see what she will become as she ventures out into this big world, but for now I’m just going to soak in all the nows. 

So my advice to you parents of younger kids is this: Cherish every second.  Even the bad ones.  Even the boring ones.  Even when they are disobeying and talking back and being horrible and driving you nuts.  Because even in those moments, they are yours. Teach them.  Even if you feel like you’ve said the same thing a thousand times. Hug them.  Take pictures of them at every stage.  DO things with them.  Go places. Make memories.  Enjoy all the “firsts” before they become the “lasts.”

Because it happens so fast.  They grow up so fast.

 

Cheap SHOES??

I love getting deals.  And I love shoes. One thing we all have to have is shoes.  And as any of you parents out there know, kids will outgrow shoes a few times throughout the school year, and shoes aren’t cheap (my preschooler’s shoes at Target are now creeping into the over $20 range now!)  This year I figured out how to get shoes at a really inexpensive price that has saved my family beaucoup moolah.

For back-to-school shoe shopping, I went to Shoe Carnival. They have a pretty good selection of athletic shoes, sandals, slides, whatever we need for school and beyond.

Here’s what I did: I signed up for their Shoe Perks membership.  With that, I get 1 point for every $1 I spend (points never expire). When I earn 200 points, they send me a $10 certificate! Well…did I mention we did back-to-school shoe shopping there? With 3 kids, we pretty much needed to get 2 pair of shoes per kid, and then my husband and I got a pair each.  They usually do a BOGO 1/2 OFF sale before school starts back, so we went there for that sale.  And much to our surprise, the “buy one” shoes are usually on a special sale as well!

SO we bought 4 shoes (all of which happened to be on sale) and got the other 4 shoes for half-price. While in the store, I checked the internet to see if we were getting the best deals, and we certainly were, so off to the register we went.  I told them we were a Shoe Perks member, then they sent us over to spin this big wheel full of discounts.  We spun and got $4 off our purchase (woohoo!  Bonus!).

I soon got an email saying I had earned a $10 rewards certificate from my Shoe Perks points!   I waited and watched the emails that kept coming in from Shoe Carnival, and I saw one that said they would give an extra 30% off my purchase.  My daughter’s Nike slides had started to rip a little, so I went online to their website, clicked my Ebates button to get 3% back off my purchase, ordered the slides, applied my $10 reward, got free shipping because I’m a Shoe Perks member, and my grand total for the shoes was $8.00! Voila! Cheap shoes!  Plus I’ll get $0.25 back through my Ebates (more on Ebates another day)!

I have another $10 reward sitting in my account waiting for the next child who says, “Mama, my shoes are getting tight…”

A685AFCC-A972-41AC-807B-D0ABFB2ACF6EFollow this link to join Ebates and start saving money on all kinds of things! https://www.ebates.com/r/ATFRED3?type=button&eeid=37350

Hot Mess Mama

My son Chase is in preschool, and is there for 3 glorious hours a day. Glorious for him, even more glorious for me. We get a weekly newsletter from his teacher, and last week we got one that had the upcoming events calendar, and on August 31 it said “VPK no dropoff.” I just assumed they were telling parents they had to drop the kids off in the car line and not walk them into the classroom anymore (you know, to sort of cut the cord for those mommies and daddies who don’t want to leave). Look, this is my third child and I’m 44 years old.  Ya ain’t gotta tell me twice.  I pretty much slow to a roll before booting him out the sliding passenger door of my van to the waiting car line attendant. (I kid.  I kid.)

So August 31 came and we did our usual morning routine.  I was going to stay home and work on cleaning, so I didn’t bother getting ready.  We got in the car, drove to the preschool, and I thought it was strange to not see the big long line of cars waiting to drop off kids.  As a matter of fact, the parking lot was quite full.

And then I see it.

There was a sign saying, “NO DROP OFF FOR VPK. PLEASE GO INSIDE AND SIGN YOUR CHILD’S VPK ATTENDANCE RECORD.” No.  NO!!!  I was in my pajamas.  My old grey t-shirt and waaaay too short knit grey shorts (that believe it or not in NO way matched the grey t-shirt). My hair was like when you go 2 days too long without washing it, wear it in a ponytail, and it gets that bump from the elastic band? Yeah, that. I didn’t brush my teeth. I had no makeup on (and had just had a massive breakout all over my face). But the worst thing of all…NO BRA.

I slapped on some foundation that I keep in a little emergency makeup kit in my console. I grabbed the spare hairbrush from the pocket behind the passenger seat and brushed like a maniac.  Now, it’s a Christian preschool, and I’m pretty sure if I had bent over in the shorts I had on, they’d have been able to see clear up into my soul.  So I gingerly got out of the car, discretely pulling down the pj shorts so at least my upper thighs weren’t out and waving hello to everyone.  I ran around to the back of the minivan, looking frantically for the jacket I keep in the there for cold restaurants.  Maybe that would hide most of what was going on.  Well I found the jacket…I had placed it over a box of toys I was donating to hide them from Chase. I had two choices: 1) Yank the jacket off the box, exposing my evil secret to my son, who was standing right by me, or 2) Leave it and walk into that preschool proudly, owning the abomination that was me.

I chose #2.

I used my (thankfully) large purse to hide one boob, while grabbing my purse handle with the other arm across my chest to hide the other boob.  I grabbed Chase’s hand and speed-walked inside.

“Mommy, you’re pulling me too hard! You’re walking too fast!”

Gah.  I slowed my pace. His classroom is at the end of the ridiculously long hallway.

I went into the classroom…thankfully I only kind of know one mom and she wasn’t there yet. Chase ran to his seat, I signed the paper, kissed my sweet boy and ran for the door.  Luckily his teacher was deep in conversation with another teacher and didn’t even acknowledge me.

Long hallway.  His teachers from last year’s class. Parents coming down the hall toward me in droves.  I kept my head down, boobs still, thighs slightly concealed and practically ran to my van.

I made it.  I didn’t see one. Single. Person. I. Knew.

Praise the LORD.

And now I know what “VPK no dropoff” means.