Momma Mel

Pregnancy Rant

April 15, 2013
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So in ten days the newest member of my family arrives- and I’m so excited to meet this little one! Having a newborn is such a crazy, stressful, exciting, thrilling, exhausting time. I’m pumped to be able to hold this kiddo in my arms instead of in my belly. I’m excited to see the baby’s little face and hands and toes and see if this one looks more like me or the hubby- I’m guessing hubby since the other two take after him already.

You know what I won’t miss? The comments. I’m not talking about the things family will say (‘you STILL havent picked a name out?’) or the well meaning things I’ve heard from friends (‘Oh, you are getting so HUGE! I wonder how long it’ll take you to look normal again?’) I’m talking about complete strangers making comments on ‘you young mothers having too many kids to take care of and depending on tax payers to take care of them’, ‘my children never acted like that, and you are adding another one?!?’ and ‘I hope you are done after this one, three is too many already’ or this little gem ‘oh, honey, when God said to be fruitful and multiply, I’m sure He didn’t mean for you to do it all yourself’. I mean, I will be 28 in May, I’ve been married since 2006, and my husband works his tail off so I can stay home with our kids. I try to ignore things people say, and thankfully for the people saying things they have yet to make a comment that my four year old hears- my momma bear would come out at that point! But seriously, World- keep your opinions to yourselves! There is no way to know by a chance meeting in the library, grocery store, park, wherever, what a person’s history is or what their life is like. So give people the benefit of the doubt, smile at that young looking pregnant mom wrestling with one kid to keep them in the cart in the line at the store while another kid is pulling on her shirt to ask why that person’s hair is sticking up so high and dyed pink, and give her a break. Because that momma is already dealing with a million things, and really doesn’t need any additional negativity, or your opinion on their life. And because someday that momma might be you.


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Pinterest Recipes

February 9, 2013
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I recently decided to actually use something I found on Pinterest instead of just sitting on my rear and drooling on my keyboard. I decided on ‘8 Can Taco Soup’- which can be found here because what’s easier than dumping eight cans into a pot and heating it up? I did switch it up a bit- I added a can of refried beans instead if the cream of whatever soup due to my dairy issues, added about a half cup of salsa, and only drained the chicken.

Everyone loved this soup! The people ok with dairy added shredded cheese to theirs, and we all added some torn pieces of tortilla in also- delicious! And the best part is it took about two minutes to toss in a pot, and about 5 minutes to get to serving temperature.

I highly recommend this recipe!



Just seeing the pics makes me want to make it again! In fact, I might just run to the store…

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The Fudge Brownie Experiment

January 22, 2013
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As many of you know, due to gallbladder issues plus pregnancy, I am on a very low fat diet. Desserts are hard to come buy that are low fat. Today, I am craving sweets- MUST HAVE SWEETS! I scrounged around the pantry looking for something, ANYTHING sweet, that wasn’t crazy high in fat and going to send me into a gallbladder attack. I found a Betty Crocker Low Fat Fudge Brownie mix and a can of pumpkin puree. So, here is my experiment to create a low fat brownie!

What you need:

Betty Crocker Low Fat Fudge Brownie Mix

1 Can of Pumpkin Puree (I used a can that was just pumpkin- no salt or anything added.)

1 Medium Banana (a mushy ripe one that no one would eat- the best kind for baking)

picture one

I stirred the baking mix and the pumpkin puree with a spoon. Then taste tested it. This concotion did NOT taste sweet. So I got out the hand mixer and mashed and blended a banana in to the mix.

picture four

Taste test? Yum!

I baked it in a 9×13 baking dish that I sprayed with Pam at 350 degrees for roughly 20 minutes, or until a knife came out clean. I let it cool, then cut it into 35 pieces- I made the pieces small since I have little people around and don’t really want them eating a big piece- the box said it made 18 squares, but these are just a perfect bite size sweet.

picture five

You ready for the best part?

Nutritional Information per Serving

(I entered the ingredients into myfitnesspal)

74 Calories

16 Carbs

1 Gram of Fat

This doesn’t even take into consideration the additional vitamins and nutrients from the pumpkin and banana! One can of pumpkin has 280% of the Vitamin A you need per day! I’m not saying eat the whole baking pan, but that’s got to count for something, right?

picture six

This recipe has been kid approved – the picky eater says: I don’t like it. I LOVE it!

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Canvas Nightlight Tutorial

January 16, 2013
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So a while ago I pinned a picture of a craft I made on Pinterest. Apparently it was pretty cool, because within an hour it had been repinned almost 300 times. Wow! I also had people asking me for a tutorial. Not gonna lie, I almost didn’t do one, because my dad and I pulled it off using random things we had around the house, and while it looks all clean and neat from the front, the back is a hot mess of duct tape, cut up sponges, and some random sticky foam stuff, plus two screws with loops on them and some hanging wire. Not to mention the massive battery pack for the lights. But I’m going to put together a tutorial anyway, in the hopes that someone can learn from my craziness and maybe make it work in a less jumbled way.

To start with, I purchased an artist’s canvas on sale from Hobby Lobby. The size is up to you, depending on the amount of space you have and how long the quote is you want to put on it. I also purchased some dark blue acrylic paint and some of those letter stickers like you would use on posters. Since doing this project I’ve read that using spray paint instead of acrylic would make it easier to peel the stickers off later, but alas, I didn’t find out in time. That’s all I bought for this project, but I also used an exacto knife, sponge brush, unused kitchen sponge,duct tape, some sort of foam/squishy stuff with sticky adhesive on one side, one set of battery operated Christmas lights, two screws with loops on the end, and picture hanging wire.

After I gathered the initial supplies (canvas, stickers, brushes, and paint) I wrote out on a piece of paper the quote I was using to make sure that I had enough letters to complete the whole quote. I almost did- I had to make a lower case ‘L’ by slicing apart a ‘k’. Then I started sticking the stickers on. I just free handed it, but that’s because I can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler. I half heartedly used a piece of paper as a guide, but it turned out relatively straight.

After the whole quote was on the canvas, I rubbed each sticker to make sure I didn’t have any edges sticking up. I had done a clock using this method previously and had issues with paint leaking under to make some of the letters look off, so wanted to make sure I would be in the clear. Then I painted over everything. I put on two layers and left it to where it wasn’t all one solid color but kind of a wishy washy cloudy night look. Then I left it alone until the paint dried, which was a few hours.

After the paint dried, the next step was to remove the stickers. I use an exacto knife for this- very gently get under just the sticker and lift it up. This is the part I have the most trouble with because the adhesive on the stickers really likes the canvas. So I would get as much sticker and adhesive off as I could, then gently scratch away at the sticky leftovers. This takes a LONG time, and I will once again say the magic word- gently. I got a bit anxious and gouged a few tiny holes in the canvas (and myself) due to rushing it.

The next step is where the MacGyver part of the project comes in. I was staring at my canvas with my wonderful Harry Potter quote trying to decide how to get the effect I wanted. Enter my dad. I explained that I wanted the Christmas lights to poke through and not fall off, and I wasn’t sure how to make it happen. So we brainstormed, and this is what we came up with.

I would mark where I wanted each light to go with a pencil. He would poke a hole from the top side through to the back of the canvas with the exacto knife and we would then poke the lights through. We would attach the battery pack with a bit of duct tape. I would screw in two of the screws with loops (eye screws, maybe?), tie a piece wire with one end on each one, and hang it on a nail on the wall and be done.

Problem one: the lights wouldn’t stay in. Possible solutions: glue? No, because I wanted to be able to change the light strand if one went out. Duct tape? Nope, it made the lights sit crooked. Random adhesive foam/squishy stuff? That’ll do. We cut this stuff into squares and sliced a small opening in it, stuck the light bulb in and pushed it, sticky side down, onto the canvas. The lights stayed!

Problem two: the battery pack was so big, it made the bottom of the canvas stick out farther than the top, making it stick out from the wall. Solution! Super glue cut pieces of sponge around the frame to make all of it stick out enough from the wall. We did eight- two on each side, although we could have done without the two on the bottom because the battery pack stuck out. But we were thorough.

Problem three: the wires weren’t secure and were working with gravity to pull the lights away from the canvas even with the adhesive foam. Solution? Of course, duct tape. Everywhere.

Finished product?
Quote on Canvas



I’ll try and update with pics of the back side- it’s not pretty, but it works. Kind of reminds me of waterfowl- all serene and calm on the surface, but underneath paddling like crazy.

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I’m back… Again

January 7, 2013
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So I know I’m really bad about consistency. I know it’s been over a year since I’ve posted. Maybe it’s that I was trying to be too specific. Or maybe I was just ‘too busy’. I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I am back. At least for a little bit.

I’m not going to have a theme, or a plan. I’m just going to share what is on my heart or what is going on. I’m going to try this thing called being ‘transparent’. I’ll probably share lots of kid stories, and most likely some crafts I’ve made- I did get a sewing machine for Christmas, so who knows what mischief I will get into with that. I’ve also had several requests on Pinterest for a tutorial for my quote on canvas nightlight, so I may try to wrestle up on of those.

But for today, I’m just going to share some of my life. I’m currently expecting kid number three. With a four year old and a two year old already, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to handle it. I just had a breakdown when reading a blog post about ’10 things to do for a new mom’. Not because they were so sweet (even though they were fantastic ideas) but because it was the first time it had really REALLY hit me that I was going to go through that infant stage again. The up-all-nights, the inexplicable crying jags, the endless amount of diapers in addition to balancing time with my other two kids, getting Ri to her activities and preschool, and getting my boy potty trained and adjusted to not being the baby anymore.

Then I’m reminded of the good things. The sweet snuggles, the excitement of seeing the baby reach new milestones. I see Ri helping Micah learn how to color with markers, and how to make believe. I see Micah saying please and thank you and giving lots of hugs and kisses. I’m reminded everyday that my kids are a blessing to me, and God knows what he is doing. I will make mistakes. I will cry. I will get overwhelmed. But I have a support system to help me- I just have to learn to accept help. I have my God waiting to comfort and strengthen me- I just have to accept it.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phil. 4:13

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Lesson Learned

December 7, 2011
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Ok, so I should have learned this lesson a long time ago, but I’m a slow learner. It’s kind of a big deal to double check that your ingredients are, in fact, what you think they are. If not, you end up with green chocolate chip cookies. I’m not talking oh-it’s-Christmas-I-should-make-these-green, but a oh-here’s-the-vanilla-extract-holy-frog-legs-that’s-green-food-coloring-green. Yeah. Whoever decided that it was a good idea to put green food coloring in an identical bottle as the vanilla extract is on my naughty list.

Anyway, this is a recipe from my in-laws that is in my personal cookbook. These are some of the best chocolate cookies I have ever had, and my brother-in-law, Peter, used to make me a batch on a pretty regular basis in a bid for the ‘favorite brother-in-law’ title.

In-Law Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix shortening, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a mixer. Mix in baking soda and salt. Slowly, cup by cup, mix in the flour. Stir in chocolate chips.

Make balls of dough and drop onto a foil covered cookie sheet. Cook for five minute periods, checking to make sure they don’t burn. Cool for ten minutes.

Hide in your room, and eat them all. If, by some miracle, you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container with a couple slices of bread.

If you have a need or desire for green chocolate chip cookies, these still taste just as good with a teaspoon of green food coloring in them.

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Experiments in the kitchen

October 14, 2011
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Experiments in the kitchen usually end in one of three ways: a pleasant surprise, a grin-and-bear-it dinner where everyone eats the bare minimum, or a pizza delivered straight to the door within 30-45 minutes.  There is one exception to this, and that is when it comes to dessert. I have yet to screw up dessert so bad that it won’t be eaten at all. So today when I decided I needed something sweet, and realized we had no eggs, I decided to experiment. I had a chocolate cake mix, water, and oil, but no eggs.

‘Hmm.’ I thought. ‘Eggs are kind of runny and gooey. What else is runny and gooey? Sweetened condensed milk.’

This doesn’t really work if you are trying for a thick cupcake-in-an-ice-cream-cone. It does, however work with a thin, cookie thickness cake thing, but not the cupcakes. The cupcakes were a tasty, but ooey, gooey mess!

 Here is what I had in mind:

Here is what happened:

Pretty much a fail, right?

Wrong! We decided to turn them into…

Frankenstein’s Monster!

I guess the moral of the story is, when life gives you VERY messed up cupcakes, melt some chocolate and eat them anyway!

Until next time!

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Double Trouble…

October 9, 2011
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So since life has been crazy (sick momma, sick kids, sick momma again, State cheerleading competition, homecoming, etc.) it has been a while since I’ve posted. So you get TWO recipes today! Woohoo!

The first I did was a chicken enchilada recipe from the Miller Marley Schools of Dance cookbook. Nana bought this from our old pastor’s wife as a fundraiser for her son, who was a dancer at Miller Marley. The people who made the cookbook used cool/cheesy lines for the sections- such as ‘Souper Warm Ups and Jazzed Up Salads’ for the soup and salad section. I do love some good cheesiness!

Chicken Enchiladas by Chris Waring

4 split chicken breast

1 Cup chopped onion

2 (4 0z) cans green chilies, chopped

12 tortillas

1 cup sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 pound shredded Cheddar

1/2 pound shredded Monterey Jack

Cook, debone, and cube chicken. Saute onion lightly. Add chicken, chilies and 2/3 of each cheese. Roll tortillas with chicken mixture and place, seam down, in a 9×13 inch greased baking dish.

Combine soup and sour cream. Pour over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

I kind of followed the recipe, as I like my enchiladas with shredded chicken instead of cubed chicken. So I put four boneless, skinless chicken breast in the crockpot with some mild salsa for about four hours, then I shredded it with two forks, which takes a whole lot longer than I expected it to take, but in my opinion, it was worth it. I also bought enchilada sauce in a can at the store and did six with the sauce from the recipe and six with the sauce from the can. Nana prefered the recipe sauce, Hubster prefered the can sauce, I liked them both. There were only leftovers until lunch the next day, when they very quickly disappeared. Overall, it was a yummy dinner- my picky two and a half year old even ate some!

Ok, so recipe number two is one of our family’s new favorites: Chocolate Butterscotch Cereal Bars. Yummy. This is from the Nestle Toll House Best Loved Cookies cookbook, which Nana has no idea where she got this book. (I have a feeling this is going to happen more and more often as I ask her where she got them). So from this cookbook that magically appeared in the house, we get this delicious recipe that tastes like a rice crispy treat mixed with a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Oh. My. Goodness. These didn’t even last a day.

Chocolate Butterscotch Cereal Bars

1 Cup granulated sugar

1 Cup light corn syrup

1 Cup creamy peanut butter

6 Cups crisp  rice cereal

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup Butterscotch chips

Combine sugar and corn syrup in large saucepan, bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in peanut butter. Stir in cereal. Press into greased 13×9 inch baking pan.

Microwave chocolate and butterscotch morsels in medium, microwave safe bowl on high power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10-20 second intervals, stirring until smooth spread over cereal mixture. Chill in pan for 20 minutes or until firm. Cut into bars.

The first time I made these, I followed the instructions exactly- and it was amazing. The second time, I didn’t have any butterscotch or chocolate chips, just a little bit of baking chocolate. So I made it as instructed, put about half of the mixture in a small baking pan and drizzled some melted chocolate over the top. The other half I rolled into balls (Riley calls them Christmas balls instead of Rice Crispy balls). They are/were delicious, and were gone by the end of the day. I will be making these again!

So that’s the recipes for now. Until next time, keep cooking!

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I have trouble passing up a dare…

September 16, 2011
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So when I saw ‘Impossible Pie’ as a recipe in the ‘Albany Young Farm Wives’ cookbook, I couldn’t resist. Printed in 2000, Nana got this as a gift from my Grandma (Pappy’s momma) who still lives in Albany, Missouri where Pappy grew up. It is a small town almost to the Iowa border that holds a special place in my heart. No trip is complete without eating something my Grandma has made, and I LOVE the family reunions with all the yummy home style food!

Anyway- the Impossible Pie. At first glance, it looks pretty simple, and in all honesty isn’t difficult at all. In fact, Riley Bug helped me with every step of it (but refused to try even a single bite!)

This recipe was turned in by Denise McConkey, even though the credit goes to her mother, Harriet McConkey. (Side note: Pappy just informed me he and Denise went to school together. I love small towns!)

Impossible Pie

4 Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup melted oleo (I used unsalted butter, since that’s what I had in the fridge)

1 Cup Coconut

1/2 Cup Flour

2 Cups Milk

2 teaspoons Vanilla

Blend all ingredients well. Pour into greased 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 340 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Pretty straight forward, right? Nothing impossible here. But wait! It makes its own crust! It really does!


It has a nice taste (if you like coconut), almost like a coconut cream pie, but not. Which doesn’t really help you know what it tastes like, does it? Its super easy, and pretty tasty, so if you have the ingredients and a toddler or young kid who likes to stir and pour, this is a pretty good one to make.  

Unfortunately for my waistline (and Pappy’s), we are the only two in the house who will eat coconut. Micah took one bite, glared at me and spit it out. Riley wouldn’t even try it, and The Hubster respectfully declined. Nana took a bite, then had to ‘eat something else to get the taste out’ and asked me why I didn’t warn her it had coconut. I figured the coconut plainly visible all over the pie would give it away, but apparently not.

 We have also been crafting lately. In the past week we have made t-shirt scarves, necklaces, bracelets, and a headband out of one of The Hubster’s old shirts. We made melted crayon art, button magnets, heart magnets, and special handouts for the cheerleaders to decorate and hand out to the football team for the football game tonight. It’s been a busy week. Today’s craft attempt? Decorating bobby pins with buttons. Maybe I won’t lose them if they have something on them.


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Conversations With a Two Year Old

September 7, 2011
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Sometimes when I’m talking to the Bug I feel like I’m talking to an inanimate object. I might as well be speaking to the couch for all the good it does me. Other times I feel like I’m speaking to a very wise adult, such as the times she looks at me when I’m stressing about unimportant things and says ‘Relax, Mommy. It’s going to be okay.’ And then there are the times when she reminds me with her words and logic that she is, in fact, only two and a half. The following conversation is one of those times.
Her: Is that 7up or 3-in-up?
Me: It’s 7up.
Her: Oh, Good.
(takes a drink)
Her: This is familiar to me!
Me: It is?
Her: Yep. It’s different.
Me: Familiar means you’ve had it before and know it. So you would say “I’ve had this before. It’s familiar to me”
Her: I’ve had this before. It’s familiar to me.
Me: If you haven’t had it before, and don’t know the taste, you say “I haven’t had this before. It’s different”
Her: I haven’t had this before. It’s different.
Me: So if I say “I’ve had this before”, you say it’s….
Her: 7up.

Toddler logic. Undeniable.

By the way, I made the pumpkin bars again, with the frosting. I have now been told I am NOT to make them again, as they are too good and are addictive. Maybe I’ll have to just turn it into a special occasion thing. Like only on Fridays.

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About author

A little bit about me- I am a Mom and a Wife as my full time job. We are a homeschooling family with four kids. I love Jesus, reading, crafting, tea, and nerdy stuff.