Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Irony of the Stay at Home Mom

I had all these myths about being a stay-at-home mom until I became one.  Before I had a child I worked a professional job and thought stay-at-home moms were so lucky because they got to stay home with their children and had less stress and more time to do things they enjoyed.  Boy was I wrong!  

My son will be two in a few months.  I remember after coming home from the hospital so excited but more exhausted than I have ever been.  That was until I went a few months without getting a full nights rest. and finally got so sick I literally crashed and could not get out of bed for 24 hours  People would tell me, be thankful you don't have a "job" to go to.  Sleep when your baby naps.  The problem is, I am not a napper.  I think I took a nap one time the whole infancy period of my child's life.  As far as time goes my life typically revolves around my son's schedule.  I have discovered, for example, if I go to the grocery store when my son is hungry or tired I am in for a real treat.  The treat of a screaming, crying, fussy kid.  Already it takes me more than twice as long to go places but when I push his buttons it only comes back to frustrate me.

Secondly, my house always seemed to be a wreck and the 30 minutes to 2 hour naps my son takes are my only chance to get something done because I am too tired to even think once the day is done.  I used to think when I have children and stay home with them my house will be spotless!  I thought I would have so much time to clean.  Ha!  The other day I realized I am constantly cleaning my house but sadly I am mainly just picking up the same things over and over again - toys, cleaning the floor, dishes, etc. Just when I think I'm finally going to catch up on all the laundry my son's diaper leaks and I have to change his sheets for the tenth time this month.  Which means another load of laundry.  Normally you wouldn't think it's a problem but my laundry room is in my basement which is three flights of stairs from our bedrooms.  It takes almost an hour to wash a load of clothes and another 2-3 hours to dry them.   
I sometimes get jealous of my working mom friends.  I miss dressing up for work, going to an office, eating lunch with friends (with no one to feed), and making money.  Instead I stay home, try and snack on something when I can, play games and read to my child, wear something I don't mind getting thrown up on, and miss out on many adult conversations. 

On the other hand, I do know some moms would love to stay home with their children but are unable to.  So even though I don't have the time I thought I would, my schedule is not that flexible, my house seems to constantly be in disarray, I no longer dress up to go to an office, and I sacrifice doing things because we don't have two incomes, I am blessed to be with my child.  Somethings that make it all worth it are my son's smiles, hearing him talk, watching him take his first steps, seeing his face light up when he discovers something new, and him running to me saying, "Mama" and giving me a big hug after we've been a apart for a couple of hours.  So while sometimes I miss my old life as my new life is not all that I expected it would be, I would not trade my child and my role as his mom for anything.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Easy Spinach Lasagna

I am constantly looking for quick, easy, and good vegetarian recipes.  I got this recipe from Campbell's Kitchen.  Assembling this lasagna is quick and easy.  The original recipe uses regular lasagna noodles, I use whole wheat.  When cooking whole wheat pasta or noodles, you may want to add a few more minutes to the cooking time.  I did not precook the whole wheat lasagna noodles and they turned out great.  Here is the easy spinach lasagna recipe with my changes.

Spinach Lasagna


1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
1 jar (24 ounces) Prego® Fresh Mushroom Italian Sauce
6 uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles
1/4 cup water 


1) Stir the ricotta cheese, spinach and 1 cup mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl.
2) Spread 1 cup sauce in a 2-quart shallow baking dish. 
3) Top with 3 lasagna noodles and half the spinach mixture. 
4) Repeat the layers. 
5) Top with the remaining sauce. 
6) Slowly pour water around the inside edges of the baking dish. Cover with foil.
7) Bake at 400°F. for 40-50 minutes (50 minutes if using whole wheat noodles). 
8) Uncover the dish. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese. 
9) Bake for 10 minutes or until it's hot and bubbling. 
10) Let stand for 10 minutes.

Toddler Approved!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Flexitarian....a what?

My quest for eating less meat continues.  I have actually done a pretty good job this past week.  We finished what little meat we did have and are not buying anymore.  While I would love to be a vegetarian, I find that personally a vegetarian lifestyle might be too challenging for me right now.  So I have decided to be a flexitarian, also known as a semi-vegetarian.

Basically a flexitarian is someone who mostly eats a vegetarian diet but occasionally will eat some meat.  Flexitarians eat less meat than most people.  For me personally this is a great diet plan.  As I can continue to strive to eat mostly vegetarian at home, on occasion if I'm eating out or at someones house, eat meat. if I want.  Also if I want more than a salad at a restaurant and they don't have a very good selection of vegetarian meals, it would be okay for me to order something with meat.

What is the point of having a name for this kind of diet and lifestyle?  Well, I think there are lots of reasons for becoming a flexitarian.  One, you are consuming less meat.  If most people truly knew what chemicals our livestock were eating and what went on on the "farms" that raise the animals we eat I think you'd consider eating less meat too.  I don't think there is anything wrong with eating meat.  However, I personally think eating less meat is healthier.  And if I am going to buy meat to cook I only want to buy organic which is more expensive and also more difficult to find where I live in Germany.  Since most of the produce I buy are organic, my grocery bill is already higher than most.  By eliminiating meat from the list, especially since finding organic meat is difficult, I save money.

How does a vegetarian or flexitarian get enough protein?  There are so many foods with protein, dairy (which vegetarians can eat), yogurt, nuts, seeds, meat substitutes and more.  Also I don't think we need as much protein as some people believe.  

I am also reading several books about Raw Food Diets.  A raw food diet is eating food raw, not cooked.  While it sounds interesting and healthy, I know I would not stick to that.  However, I have been encouraged to include more raw foods into my everyday meals.  For instance, I cooked my first vegetarian stir-fry today and included tofu.  It was delicious.  As an appetizer I cut up some peppers and tomatoes and ate it with humus.  Many people on the raw food diet suggest eating a salad before their meal.  Yet there are so many more food combinations than salads that you can eat raw, such as humus. 

Do you have any vegetarian meals you like to cook?  Are you a vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or eating a raw food diet?  If so, how has your health changed since changing your lifestyle?
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