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No Filter: The Mommy Definition of Gross

6 May

Before I had a baby, I thought it was gross to clip your toenails in the living room. I thought drinking out of the milk carton COULD be considered gross — although PoppaNut knows I sneak a swig or two out of carton from time to time. Things like chewing with your mouth open, digging in your ears and wearing dirty underwear are certainly gross, motherhood has completely changed my grossness radar.

It started with pregnancy, when my belly served as my lap tray and catch-all. My belly became a magnet for all things sticky, like ice cream, jelly and BBQ sauce — and I’d sit blissfully unaware for hours that my shirt had been stained with “insert random sticky thing” and I was proudly displaying it everywhere I walked. Yeah, gross!

My Rather Large Catch-All Belly

My Rather Large Catch-All Belly

 

Then, there was labor. Let’s just say a lot of gross things happened within those hospital walls, and everyone has been sworn to secrecy. Between the blood and the bodily fluids, I’m pretty sure PoppaNut and I are both still scarred from the experience. I mean, there was a morning when I literally had to pee with a lady two inches from my hoohaa while she used a spray bottle to clean said area — and that’s the most mildest gross part I feel comfortable sharing. Again, I’m pleading the fifth on the rest of it, but it was beyond gross.

Then, we brought baby home, and within five minutes of our big arrival, I managed to get poop on our freshly painted nursery walls. That beautiful Quicksilver hue now featured spots of Reece’s infant tar, and no amount of scrubbing seemed to diminish it. Double gross!

Fast-forward to Reece’s gastrointestinal appointment, where PoppaNut and I try to keep our little one entertained for 20 minutes while we wait for the doctor to arrive. We bounce, we tickle, we play games, he pukes … all down the side of my shirt and arm. And the crazy thing is I don’t even flinch. I don’t rush to clean it up, I don’t make a gross face, and I don’t even move like something gross has happened … because at this point, it’s happened a billion times and now I’m used to it. When the doctor walks in, I’m still casually dabbing it off with a burp rag, and without any hesitation, I go right into Reece’s symptoms. It’s like “Yeah, nothing to look at here, folks … just puke down a new mother’s favorite top … keep it moving.” But it’s still gross!

Now, for the grossest story to date … Reece was about one month old when he woke up at 3 p.m. for a nighttime feeding. Sluggishly, I threw on my pink fluffy robe and headed in to assess the situation. Reece was making some grunting noises, so I placed him on the changing table and checked his diaper. No poop. But the pushing continued. So, I took off his old diaper, put a fresh diaper right underneath him and pressed his legs up to his chest, foolishing thinking the diaper was well-positioned to catch anything that might come out. Well, I know personally now where the phrase “Shit has hit the fan” comes from. Shit hit everything BUT the fan in this case. It shot out like a Supersoaker Max D 6000 Water Blaster, minus the water. I received one hit to the chest and one to the arm. The wall and diaper genie were blown away, and I sat completely frozen for a good minute solid.

How in the heck do you clean this up? If it was in the morning hours, I would’ve hosed myself off on the side of the house … that’s how bad the destruction was. No one told me poop could fly! 300 wipes, 30 minutes and a scrubbed bath robe later, most of the remnants were gone and the poop explosion became my motherhood fodder. Nasty!

Now, there’s a whole new host of things I do that my before-baby self would gag at. I talk about poop at the dinner table. I pick crap out of Reece’s ears and nose with my bare finger. I regularly find lint hiding in my baby’s formula-collecting neck rolls. I’ve found a dirty diaper in my purse (and my mommy brain has no recollection of how it got there). I get puked on a few times a week, and sometimes, I don’t even change my clothes. And when Reece farts, I almost always laugh.

I could go on and on. In a way, I’m kinda proud of this new me. Who knew I had an iron stomach and balls of steel to deal with this motherhood crap … yes, the flying-across-the-room, hitting-mommy-in-the-chest crap. And that’s life in a nutshell.

MommaNut

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Cupcake Dreams: Reese’s Pieces Cupcake Recipe

29 May

I love to bake, and I especially love baking when I have a long weekend to enjoy the final product. So, knowing last weekend was gonna be a long one, I asked PoppaNut to pick a flavor of his choice. He picked “Reese’s Pieces,” and I went on a hunt for a new recipe.

I found this delicious recipe that combines Reese’s Pieces with cream-cheese frosting. Need I say more? My search was complete and I ran to the grocery to pick up everything I needed.

Ingredients:
Butter pecan cake mix (I couldn’t find this anywhere so I got Butter cake mix and added in two big spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter)
Muffin tin
Bag of Reese’s Pieces
Cream-cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
AND my special secret ingredient … applesauce to substitute for the oil called for in the cake mix

Directions:
Mix up the cake mix according to the directions, substituting oil for your cup of applesauce of course. Place the cake mix into your lined muffin tins. Place about five Reese’s Pieces right on the top and pop into the oven.

Once the cupcakes are cooled completely, put the frosting into a plastic bag. Snip the corner and easily frost each cupcake. I decorated the tops with a few more Reese’s Pieces (I’m clearly not on a diet this weekend!). Then, enjoy!

With the cupcakes complete, PoppaNut got started on the main course of hamburgers and hot dogs on our new grill! Yummy! Plus, this gave us a chance to enjoy the new rock that PoppaNut put in at the front and sides of the house. Looking good!

And that’s life in a nutshell. Let your loved one pick a favorite flavor, and then explore a few new recipes that you can create at home!

MommaNut

All Aboard: Cruising on the Yacht StarShip in Tampa

3 Apr

If you leave anywhere near the Bay area, you have probably heard about the Yacht StarShip cruises that leave out of Tampa and Clearwater. You have probably put it on your wish list of places to visit around the area, and month after month, you never take part.

I was the exact same way. Every time I would see a commercial or someone talking about Yacht StarShip, I burst out, “Oh my gosh, I want to do that so bad!” But, then I would forget about it until the next commercial aired. Well, I decided to make a change, and I purchased two tickets through LivingSocial. I mean, who can pass it up when it’s at such a discount on LivingSocial. I no longer had an excuse not to try it.

So, in honor of our two-year anniversary, PoppaNut and I boarded the Channelside yacht for an unforgettable evening. Yacht StarShip, America’s First 3-diamond rated Dining Yacht by AAA, ranks in the top 28% of all restaurants, and the food was amazing. Our exquisite dinner cruise offered tableside service with exceptional dishes. The calamari was so fresh and tasty, we ate it in about two second flat. With cocktails in hand, we chatted about everything under the sun, while watching the sun set in the distance. With our meal finished and dessert wrapped up to-go, we headed to the top floor to take in the spectacular views from the deck.

Wow! The views of some of the houses nearby were amazing. I couldn’t help but imagine what each person inside those houses were doing and what their lives were like. I could have sat up there for hours, but the dancing had begun inside. After some foot tapping and another few cocktails, PoppaNut and I deboarded the beautiful yacht to look at some of those amazing houses a bit closer.

And there, in the shadows of the night, stood Derek Jeter’s humble (or not so humble) abode. With the faint glimmer of a TV on inside, we knew the Yankee legend was just a few yards away. So, I’m just going to say we celebrated our two-year anniversary with Jeter. And for PoppaNut, that was a dream come true!

And that’s life in a nutshell … explore the amazing things this area has to offer. Make a new wish list, and make a point to actually partake in each one. You’ll lead a richer life because of it.

MommaNut

 

What a Woman Wants: Learning the Code Behind What a Woman Says Before Valentine’s Day

13 Feb

I’m a pretty direct woman. I pretty much say how I feel when I feel it. I try not to use code language when talking to anyone, but I must say, I sometimes fall victim to the passive-aggressive conversation that everyone hates. In an effort to keep all men out of the dog house this Valentine’s Day, I’m sharing this email I received from my Uncle Greg. Please share with others so we can save all the men on Valentine’s Day and the rest of the year.

(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with “nothing” usually end in “fine.”

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don’t do it!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of “nothing.”)

(6) That’s Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. “That’s okay” means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you; do not question or faint. Just say you’re welcome. (I want to add in a clause here: This is true, unless she says “Thanks a lot,” which means that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all.  DO NOT say “you’re welcome” as that will bring on a “whatever.”)

(8) Whatever: Is a woman’s way of saying …Go to Hell!

(9) Don’t worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “What’s wrong?” For the woman’s response, refer to # 3.

And that’s life in a nutshell. I can also tell you that just by saying “Yes, dear” to anything your wife says keeps you from hearing any of these responses above. Just sayin’. J

MommaNut

Toes in the Water, Ass in the Sand: Tailgating at a Country Concert

31 Jan

I have never really tailgated much, mainly because I have never been that good at it. I’m never prepared the way I should be. Well, that all changed with the Zac Brown Band concert this past weekend. PoppaNut and I got completely prepared, and we reaped the benefits over and over again. And so, I’m sharing my tailgating wisdom for you!

1. You Must Have a Monster Vehicle: Leave the sports car at home. You need an SUV/Hummer-type vehicle for this. It’s not that you’ll get stuck in mud or something if you don’t have a big car, but there is no way in hell you can jam all the gear you need to bring in a little two-seater. Go big or go home. And so, we brought the Commander!

2.  Prepare for Disaster: While you monster vehicle may make it there, it could potentially die as you blare the finest in country music from its speakers for the four-hour tailgating festivities. And so, come prepared with some jumper cables! We sure put them to good use.

3. Bring Durable Seats: You are gonna want some place comfy to sit with a beer in hand, and the back of your vehicle is not the best spot. Bring some lounge chairs that you know are good. Our friend Sam brought an old chair with a busted leg, and just made the best of it. Ours were too low to the ground and super old … we should have upgraded before we headed to the concert. Lesson learned!

4. Find the Perfect Cooler: This is also a lesson learned for me. I went to Walmart that morning, and I picked up a cooler I thought was perfect. It would keep our food cold and it was deep. However, I failed to see the value of a locking lid and wheels at the time. Who knew those two features could make or break your tailgating day? I certainly know now.

5. You’ll Want Good Food: Yeah, you can bring your Publix subs and some chips, but you are going to want something special to put you in the mood. This is not a picnic. You need man food for a tailgate. And the meatballs I made that morning seemed to do the trick. Just throw meatballs, grape jelly and Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce in a Crock-pot on High for 2.5 hours, and then finished getting all your tailgate stuff together. When they are done, put them in a heat-safe bowl, cover and head on out!

6. Red Solo Cups Are Fun for Singing and Drinking: We listened to “Red Solo Cups” (It’s a country song for those of you who don’t know) on repeat again and again … all while drinking out of our red solo cups. They are great for holding limes, beer and whatever else you need. Plus, they are super cheap for your friends that need an extra cup.

7. You Need Protection: Protect yourself at all times. Bring a hat to keep your skin healthy all day long while you are in the sun. You probably thought I was talking about something else, but your skincare is just as important to me. Plus, your cowboy hat helps with the country-concert theme!

8. Fill that Cooler with Corona: There is nothing like a cold Corona at a country concert that just let’s you kick back and enjoy the day. I don’t even like to drink beer, but I can sip Corona until the cows come home. A cold Corona and a sliced lime is just that little piece of heaven you need to keep you going hour after hour in the hot sun!

9. Bring on the Tequila: You are gonna want to get rowdy, and tequila is the answer to that. We brought Patron and Jager to the party, and everyone was quite happy to have them there. In fact, I think some people were hoping their friend Jack Daniels had showed up as well. Bottoms up!

10. You Need Good Friends to Complete the Tailgating Package: You can have all the gear and food you could imagine … but without amazing friends, you might as well tailgate in your driveway. We had great people surrounding us, some that we met that night. We all had such a blast together!

And that’s life in a nutshell … tailgating can be an experience of a lifetime if you prepare in advance.

MommaNut

Mission Wives Relax: Cooking Dinner for Your Spouse

20 Jan

This post is dedicated to my amazing sister-in-law, Stacy. She is a woman who really does it all. She helps her dad with work, she works herself, she takes care of her husband and her three amazing children (Hi, Karissa, Kayla and Christopher) and still finds time to comment on almost every single one of my blog posts! And not only that, she keeps up with the five Facebook pages that PoppaNut and I have … and she comments on those too.

Plus, she texts us through the week and tries to schedule SKYPE calls with us too. She is just always there when we need her, and I know she generally cares about what we having going on with our lives … and I’m forever grateful for that.

Stacy and Chris

So, when Stacy emailed me an idea for my blog, I was all over it. It’s called “Mission Wives Relax” because wives certainly need a break from time to time. I mean, look at all the things I listed that Stacy does … this woman needs a tall glass of wine STAT!

Stacy and I are both lucky enough to have amazing hubbies that love to cook and will cook for us all the time. My dinner pick is always homemade sauce, and PoppaNut is always happy to make up a batch from scratch. It’s just a wonderful thing that PoppaNut does that reminds me how much he loves me. And Stacy is married to Chris, a chef who makes the most amazing food for his family and friends.

PoppaNut and I were lucky enough to try Chris’ homemade watermelon salsa when we visited Stacy and Chris last summer. Boy, was that yummy! And Stacy recently shared with me photos from a dinner Chris made for her, and I want to share them with you.

Chris made roasted pork with a raspberry sauce, sautéed corn with onions, broccoli with olive oil in garlic, and cous cous with sunflower seed and red peppers. If your mouth is not watering, you must have just ate lunch! I’ve requested a recipe to share with you guys, so look for that in the comments! I’ll share it as soon as I have it.

The point of this post is not to make you hungry … even though my tummy is talking to me at this very minute. It is to remind the men out there to pick up a spatula and get to work in the kitchen every now and then. My hubby certainly pulls his weight in the kitchen and he knows how much I appreciate that (and how much my tastebuds appreciate it too).

With Valentine’s Day coming up, this might be a good idea for you men to try. Cook up a specialty meal for your sweetie. Then, take pictures and send them to me so I can share them as well!

And that’s life in a nutshell … making dinner for the one you love works up quite an appetite for dessert!

MommaNut

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay: Tarpon Springs’ Sponge Docks

28 Nov

Have you ever just woke up in the morning and decided to do something completely different with the day? Well, that happened to me over the weekend. PoppaNut and I woke up and we decided to just spend the day doing something completely different.

We picked the Tarpon Springs’ Sponge Docks as our final destination. I have never spent time down there, but it has always been a spot on my list. With the warm weather outside, we hopped in the Jeep and took off.

When we got there, I realized I forgot to bring my camera. Dang it! What kind of blogger leaves her camera at home when she visits a perfect blogging destination. This one I guess! Luckily, PoppaNut brought his camera, so I was able to still get these great photos to share!

We headed to a great little restaurant that had a bakery attached right to it! If I hadn’t been eating leftover apple pie for two days, this would have been heaven. But I managed to just stick to lunch on this trip. With the sangria and Greek food flowing, we ate until we were stuffed … and then we even ate some more. It was delicious!

Next up: visiting some of the little shops along the Sponge Docks. We didn’t find anything we wanted to buy, but it was nice spending the afternoon along the water with PoppaNut. We even enjoyed the Christmas decorations that they had up!

And that’s life in a nutshell … sometimes you just have to wake up and do something different. Help support your local businesses by visiting a little treasure near your home. And be sure to tell me where your favorite local find is! I would love to review it for a future blog.

MommaNut

Sundays Are for Sauce

28 Oct

PoppaNut often tells me stories about his childhood. And one of his favorite memories is Sundays at his mom’s house. His mom would make sauce all day long, while Anthony watched football.

For those of you who are not Italian, let me explain this sauce concept. Before I met PoppaNut, I bought my marinara sauce in a bottle on the grocery-store shelf. And honestly, I never considered another option.

Well, that changed when I attended my first Christmas party at PoppaNut’s father’s home. My father-in-law made the most amazing marinara sauce (just called “sauce” by Italians) I had ever tasted. And still now, his vodka sauce haunts my dreams! I literally count down until I can have another bowl! So, that is when I first learned about “sauce.”

 This homemade marinara requires a skilled chef to execute. There are secret recipes and hidden ingredients, and I certainly haven’t mastered this art. I have tried, but I know I just don’t make sauce like my in-laws.

 

When my mother-in-law was in town last, I tried to spy on her and watch how she made it. She slowly stirs the sauce all day, carefully tasting it along the way. But try as I may, I still can’t master it when she leaves.

Luckily, PoppaNut has taken mercy on me, and taken his hand at making the sauce. And it is unbelievable! He tends to it the same way his mother does, so carefully and skillfully. He takes such pride in every pot he makes, and he loves to see me light up when I take the first bite.

 

So, every Sunday, PoppaNut carries on his family’s tradition of serving pasta with homemade sauce. It’s a wonderful tradition that we can incorporate into our home, and it makes us feel closer to his family as well. Plus, it allows me to stick with what I do best … making dessert!

And that’s life in a nutshell … while your extended family might not live right down the street, you can find ways to incorporate their traditions into your family.

MommaNut

Meeting Thompson Square

10 Oct

So, it appears that PoppaNut and I have turned into celebrity followers. Now, this is not our doing … they seem to be attracted to us! Maybe it’s our funny personality or perhaps it’s our goodwill nature or maybe we are just in the right place at the right time. I tend to prefer the first two options, but whatever. Whatever it is, it is working for us, because we had the pleasure of meeting Thompson Square two weeks ago.

Thompson Square is a country band, singing the song “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” among others. We love their music, and it just so happens that they were performing at the Round Up. Well, PoppaNut’s gym is just a block up the road and Thompson Square called to see if they could work out there. Of course, PoppaNut said yes … FREE OF CHARGE.

Well, the band was so grateful to be able to work out at the gym, that they gave us free tickets to the concert with an invite to see the bus after the show! I couldn’t believe it. First, I have tried to get PoppaNut to go to the Round Up for a long time … and now HE was the one asking me to go! How could this get any better!

I got my cutest pair of heels on (that I could line-dance in), and we headed up. A few beers and a couple Root-Beer shooters later, it was time to meet the band. You’ll see from the photos that we met a few characters along the way as well.

Once we got on the bus, I asked the lead singers (a husband-and-wife duo) what happens if they fight and have to get up on stage to perform. All I got was blank stares and silence. Ok, strike 1 for me … apparently that wasn’t the ice-breaker that I was looking for. Let me try this again. Somehow … and don’t even ask me specifics … I got on the topic of tequila.

Well, now we are talking. I shoot out my tequila recipe … graciously given to me by Melissa and Matt (THANK YOU!!), and I tell Thompson Square that taking their tequila with hot sauce and an orange slice will change their life. They seem intrigued and promised they would try it. A few minutes later, we were off the bus … left to think about our time with Thompson Square.

I was certainly grateful that they allowed us to see the bus, and I was amazed at how kind they were. The next day, PoppaNut wrote on their Facebook page that we hoped they enjoyed the orange slice with their tequila and they LIKED the post!!! How crazy is that!!

So, that’s life in a nutshell. Sometimes, you have no idea where a night will take you … but that’s the fun of it!  You might just end up on a tour bus sharing tequila recipes!

MommaNut

Kraft Beef Enchiladas

19 Aug

When I got back from my trip, I decided to whip up a homemade recipe for dinner. I ate out enough in San Jose, and I was ready for a homecooked meal.

After a quick trip to the grocery store, I was ready to create! I picked an easy recipe I found on KraftFoods.com. Beef enchiladas is a recipe I have started making … and PoppaNut seems to love it too. I’ve included the recipe you can try it at home too!

What You Need

Kraft Beef Enchiladas Just Out of the Oven

1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1/2 cup  chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red peppers
1-1/2 cups  TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick ‘N Chunky Salsa, divided
1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp.  KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Dressing
8 corn tortillas (6 inch)
2 Tbsp.  chopped fresh cilantro

Make It

HEAT oven to 400°F.

BROWN meat with peppers in large nonstick skillet. Stir in 1 cup salsa; simmer 5 min., stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup cheese.

PoppaNut Helping Me in the Kitchen

SPREAD 1/4 cup of the remaining salsa onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish. Brush dressing lightly over both sides of tortillas. Stack 4 tortillas; wrap in waxed paper. Microwave on HIGH 20 sec. or just until warmed. Spoon 1/3 cup meat mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place, seam-sides down, over salsa in dish. Repeat. Top with remaining salsa; cover.

BAKE 20 min. or until heated through. Top with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 2 to 3 min. or until melted. Top with cilantro.

And that’s life in a nutshell … find an easy recipe that will make you a star in the kitchen and make it for the one you love.
 
MommaNut
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