Can 30 minutes or less really be satisfying?

Do you remember the first time you felt anything that took under a half an hour just simply wasn’t going to cut it?  As if time spent truly dictated quality achieved.  Well people, I am here to tell you quality is not always preceded by quantity, you can be lusciously happy in 30, 25, or even 20 minutes.  Allow me to seduce you into a new way treating your family meal time and help you stop thinking you can’t reach dinner time bliss without blowing up your kitchen!

Being a stay at home mom and loving to cook usually spells major frustration around dinner time.  I know, I know, you would think that by staying home, you could have a smooth, fun afternoon of prepping and cooking fabulous meals and then serving your family (little white apron donned and pot holders at the ready) who would of course thank you exhaustively for all your efforts and then insist on cleaning the dishes and kitchen in gracious return.   This of course would happen while you put your feet up, cool glass of wine in your hand, basking in all the appreciation flowing from your family.  What?  You say I must be inhaling too many cleaning fumes?  Ahhh, then you have the same experience I have.  Reality:  You spend most of the day picking up everything from yesterday, doing laundry, chasing the dirty, stinky puppy with a diaper in her mouth and caring for Bubba the baby Gorilla. Then, you put a great deal of time, effort and money into creating a meal, are left with a sink full of dishes and a family that turns into vapor in the aftermath.

O.k., so enough reality.  Let’s get to my point.  After a whole week cooking dinners from Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express, I must report that my life at dinner time has become substantially more satisfying.  The food consistently exceeds my expectations for freshness, quality, edibility, time spent preparing and mess to clean up when it’s all over.  As if that weren’t enough, the ingredients are very easily interchangeable to work with what you have on hand or to fit family preferences.  On more than one occasion I switched up one or two (or a bunch) of items and they were still nummy.  I  was going to review the recipes individually, but then seriously thought, the recipes weren’t the point.  Besides, I already told you they were fab and who really wants to read a recipe blow by blow.  Drag yourself to the library and try Mr. Gourmet Express out for yourself, and then, like me, go buy it so it will be yours for evs.

FIRST STEP IN TAKING THE TROUBLE OUT OF DINNER~Plan, plan…plan

At the beginning of your week (my day is Monday, yours might be Wednesday depending on your Bubba or Hubster) go through your recipes, then go through your pantry and refrigerator (if you’re like me, throw out the mystery food in tupperware that you have no idea how long it’s been there…do not sniff it you will only gag and waste time, just toss it and chuck the dishes in the sink).  Try to see what you already have in order to save shopping time and cash you may want to save as well.

Now, plan every meal in advance and write it down somewhere obvious.  Be aware, if something comes up, your list is fluid, change it up for convenience.  This plan is about ease…not stress, if it doesn’t work that day, ditch it.  My youngest daughter, Miss Thing, got a case of the barfs last week, so Thursday didn’t work out like I planned.  Writing it down reminds you while you are hazy and bleary eyed after a night with Bubba what the plan is for the day.  I like not having to think when my brain cells are working off 3 hours of sleep and caffeine, I get cranky.  Below you can see my weekly plan, I re-purposed a cute little mirror that has no place in the house into a great little wipe board.  Dry erase markers work fab on this and I also get the added bonus of being able to actually check out how I look without leaving the kitchen so I know if there is the odd smudge of crap anywhere embarrassing.

Now, look at what you need to purchase in order to complete your list and then, try to find out what’s on sale and go to your coupons!!  Try Krazy Coupon Lady for a huge list of items, coupons and stores.  Here is where you must decide whether you will stick with the recipe or substitute items.  For example, Baked Penne with Chorizo and Taleggio Cheese sounded awesome, but possibly unreachable here in the desert.  I had a coupon from the Dream Fields website for $1.00 off Dream Fields Pasta (which was on sale so it cost me $.79 per box), but found the commissary was out of Taleggio and only had sub-par chorizo that really looked kinda sketchy and sad.  I was not up for turning this into a $40 meal.  Looking around, I realized I had:

A coupon for $1.00 off Kraft shredded cheese, so I went with the 5 Italian Cheese mix ($1.49 with coupon and sale) and picked up A container of ricotta ($1.50 on sale) as well as                                                                                                                                  Johnsonville Mile Ground Sausage ($1.02 on sale with $1.00 off coupon)

The recipe made itself, and since I could easily double it for less than $10.00, I did.

Baked Pasta with Italian Sausage and Cheese

I prepared the recipe exactly as I would if I had the original ingredients, and it was incredible with a fresh Caesar Salad.  Half of the left over uncooked mixture went into the freezer for next week.  Two meals for about $10.00 total, plus it took me less than 30 minutes to prepare.  Stellar.

  In mommy world, this is a major score.

$4.00 For Hand soap O.o ?!

I Hate Buying Hand soap

So we’ve been low on hand soap for a while now, like down to one little bottle of it.  Out of everything we have to buy for our household, hand soap is high on my list of extreme dislikes.  For one, it is expensive for soap, two, people in this family use it like it’s some sort of magical, playtime substance, and last, I never used it until I married my husband, I always used the bar.  So, in order to avoid spending so much on this hated substance, traditionally, I water down the regular strength stuff to about 1/4 soap to 3/4 water in the foaming dispensers.  If you have yet to try this little trick, you are really missing out.  Find one of the foaming soap dispensers from a friend or relative and use it for the next five years, we have and it’s never gotten old.

So let’s go to the beginning, what got me started today was this:  I purchased this antibacterial liquid soap (below) from the Exchange years ago.  It was on sale, then half off, and then further reduced to like $.49 a bottle.  How could I resist buying it in bulk.  There I was, knee deep in soap, four children and one husband in tow.  My children and husband sat there aghast while I piled up bottle after bottle of liquid soap, there was the slight scent of embarrassment in the air, but how can you resist $.49?!??!  Anyway, three years later, this is my last bottle.  This makes me almost as sad as when I used to smoke and there was just one lonely cigarette left in the pack, rolling around all by itself.  Ahh, well, anyway…What I have always done is fill up the foaming dispensers 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with regular liquid soap, then add water and shake.  The foaming action is magical, it makes soap last almost forever.  I have literally had the same three foaming dispensers for the last 5 years.  It’s like they are part of the family.  If you have some, never get rid of them, if you don’t own some, go get them, they are golden nuggets of savings.

Here is the before picture, my last little bottle of 49 cent Antibacterial Liquid Soap

Here is the after photo, note how much soap is still left in my bottle, the foamer is magic…

So I Decided To Make My Own…

Any who, after realizing I was going to need more liquid hand soap, I went looking for a good deal.  The best I could find was $4.00 for a moderate sized jug.  Four dollars for hand soap?!  You have to be kidding me.  I began to wonder just how hard it was to make hand soap.  Admittedly, I initially just tried soaking left over bars of hand soap in water to see how it worked.  While this was o.k., it just wasn’t the consistency I needed for the almighty foamer.  So I went online and found this recipe from Savvy Housekeeping for liquid hand soap from a bar.  The only issue I had was I had no where to put over ten cups of liquid soap, so I opted to use only 5 cups of water to make a concentrate.  Feel free to add water to fit your storage space needs, just remember that if you concentrate it as I did, you will need to add boiling water at an equal rate to reconstitute it, I use 1/2 soap, 1/2 water ratio to use it. This is what I did, and if it matters at all, my kids were really impressed.  (If you want to turn this into a really cool science experiment, check out Steve Spangler Science, and Science Fair Adventure)

1. Gather the Ivory Soap Liquid Trifecta: 1 Bar of Ivory Soap ($.79 for three with a coupon), 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Glycerin ($1.78 at Target for a bottle), and 7-12 Cups of Water (Free in most places)  Overall cost for what I used, about $.49.

My Ingredients Pre-experimentation

2. Unwrap your beautiful bar of Ivory and set it in a large, microwave safe bowl then microwave on high for 90 to 120 seconds.  Don’t move from the microwave because you will a. enjoy the show, and b. want to remove it when it stops growing.

The bar waiting to be nuked

3. Open the microwave and carefully pull out the new creation, admire how it has grown in size, but beware, it may still be hot.

Bar of Ivory Post Nuke

4.  Allow the foamed mass to cool completely, then set it on a stable counter and dive in with hands, rubbing the mass between your fingers until it is entirely defeated into teeny, tiny, soft flakes.

My mass waiting for crumbling

5.  Be sure to examine the crumbles for lumps.  Nobody like big chunks of crumble.

The chunks

6.  Heat up 1 cup of water to boiling in the microwave and add 1/2 cup at a time, whisking it until it is a smooth melted mass of liquid soap foam.  Boil another 6 cups of water and add it, whisking completely then let it rest and make breakfast.

It will begin to smooth out, let it rest after adding the hot water and the heat will do the job for you

7.  Make breakfast…whisk soapy mess…note that breakfast kind of looks like foamy mess…eat breakfast…whisk soapy mess and continue.

Breakfast

Big Foamy Mess After Water and Whisking

8.  Add 1 tablespoon of Glycerin and whisk then allow it to cool.  You will find a gloopy, slimy, almost gross concoction awaits.  Clean out a reasonable container and transfer gloop to container.

Add the glycerin, it seems small, but it makes the difference

Your “Cool Gloop”

The Gloop Container

All bottled and Ready

As I said, this is concentrated at 50% less water than usually needed because I only used 7 cups of water.  After some fiddling, I found that if I mix 1/4 soap concentrate and 3/4 water in a microwave safe container and heat for 30 seconds or so, it becomes so very useable in my magic foaming soap container!!!!  You will have to experiment with the ratios, it took us a few days to get them down when we were finished.  My oldest daughter, Punk, reminded me that I should do it like an experiment to actually do a good job.

*As a side note, you could cook everything, water, soap flakes, and glycerin on the stove with flames and everything, but I was looking for something I didn’t have to watch closely considering my attention span isn’t all that phenomenal these days and Bubba the Baby Gorilla isn’t always cooperative with my personal plans for the day. 

**If you want to make a really cool snot like soap product for kids to play with in the bathroom, only add 1 TEASPOON of glycerin and keep the water at 5 cups instead of 10.  When it cools down it becomes thick and stringy like mucous, we all enjoyed playing with it while we tried to figure out what the heck we did wrong!

So I was running out of D. O. for the B. O.

So really, I was running out of deodorant to stave off the body odor, and it dawned on me that I have been quietly and successfully making my own aluminum free deodorant for a while now.  This is not something I share freely with acquaintances or newly made friends.  Heck, I didn’t even let the hubster in on my little secret until recently.  There is a stigma with jumping off the deodorant bandwagon and abandoning commercial products to keep the stinks away that I would personally just like to avoid altogether given the community and people I deal with daily.   People sometimes give you the one eye half open, head tilted a bit sideways, mouth partially agape, “do you smell”  or “what kind of hippie are you really” stare when you reveal you just don’t use regular D.O.  Don’t get me wrong, up until I made it myself, I might have been guilty of the same judgmental, better than you because I use real deodorant posturing.   But really, making your own deodorant is quick, easy, cheap and effective.  Plus, you can avoid applying possibly toxic aluminum directly to your sensitive parts, bonus for bonus!

I actually used to simply use baking soda and lemon juice when I was eating only raw foods a few years ago and that seemed to work o.k., unless you decided to do any manual labor and then it smelled like you’d rubbed your under arms with hummus.  Not really the scent d’jour I was going for.  Then I found multiple sites that used coconut oil (a natural antibiotic with great moisturizing capabilities as well as a nice light scent), baking soda (my all time most used household item), and arrowroot powder or cornstarch (I actually despise touching cornstarch).  So many sites have their own way of doing this mix, that you can literally find the recipe anywhere!  I really like Little House In the Suburbs recipe for it’s simplicity, ease of use and light list of ingredients.  Here is my rendition.

1. Gather your ingredients.  If you are like me and Bubba the Baby Gorilla has decided to bless you with a nap of unknown length, then you must work quickly.  My pantry currently has Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil, Argo Cornstarch and Arm & Hammer Baking Soda.  (My mother swears she is allergic to baking soda and so for her “peace of mind” I used a combination of cornstarch and arrowroot powder with some tea tree oil, she seemed pleased).  This is not rocket science people, experiment and find the best stuff for you.   Microwave about 5 tablespoons of the oil for just 30 seconds to get it squishy.  Pour 1/4 cup of the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the baking soda into a bowl and kind of fluff it with a fork or whisk until blended and lump free…nobody wants lumpy pits.

2.  Empty and clean an old deodorant container.  You will find regular commercial deodorant to be almost like a mutant slime when you try to wash it off, regular soap just kind of smears it around and the hot water makes it slick on your hands.  Don’t let this deter you, just clean it as much as possible and then wipe it out with a clean rag.  I like using a regular container, it throws people off my crunchy, natural girl no-d.o. style.

3. Mix your ingredients.  Now here is where you can do the most “personalization” of your D.O..  The last time I made this, I left it more oil than powder and ended up with a smooth, almost lotion like D.O.  However, it would occasionally get on my shirt pits and leave a small grease mark.  This did come off in the wash, but however much I liked the consistency, I wanted to change it up a bit this time.  I increased the cornstarch by a few tablespoons and added a tad more baking soda (like a tablespoon worth).   I then realized that I was out of essential oil.  Bummer.  But I did have orange extract in the pantry!  With about a teaspoon or so full I added the orange extract to the bowl and blended thoroughly.  It had the faint aroma of a creamsicle.  Yum.  I like that creamsicle smell much better than hummus on my underarms.

4.  Screw the container upward until the little doo-dad on the pole comes all the way to the top.  Fill the little plastic doo-dad that is in the bottom of the old container with new D.O. first, then keep scooping some of your mixture in, while screwing the doo-dad down, until it is completely filled.  you will have some mix left.  I store mine in the freezer for later.  It lasts for EVER.

Ta-DA! You are finished.  (Bubba’s block is in the background.  The dirty stinky puppy was chewing it so I had to confiscate it). I keep mine on the bathroom sink and it maintains it’s stability.  If you find it is too soft, you can keep it cooler in the fridge.  You do not need to use a ton of this on the pits, it should melt into skin and leave it really soft.  Please look around the net and experiment with other recipes, depending on your area, preferences and environment, you may opt to add other things to your mix.

And for my #3 trick…

I have to admit, it bothered me to think that I would be giving up cooking elaborate dinners for my family in order to save time, energy and sanity.  It was a close call between going back to school to get my masters in teaching or to train to become a chef.  But as anyone who has worked in a kitchen knows, having a family with small children makes restaurant work painful.  However, cooking is magical for me, time flows differently when I am in the kitchen, measuring, tasting…it makes your family gleam with delight when they drag in after a long school day only to breathe in the comforting aroma of home cooked delights.  Friends are welcomed around a table full of fresh cooked meals.  Everything that I love is put into my cooking.  When my life is a mess and I am reminded that I know so very little about this life, I do know that if you throw flour, fresh herbs, baking soda, salt and some milk together and deep fry it in just the right way and your taste buds dance.

So, last weekend when the kids and I bounced happily into the library (well, they bounced, I sort of Quasimodo dragged in with Bubba the baby gorilla glued to my hip) I was determined to find some help in my quest to accomplish my 3rd resolution, make great, healthy, delicious, and quick meals for my family.  This felt a bit daunting.  Perusing through the cooking section of any library always reminds me of sifting through used cars at the local lot.  There are a lot of lemons out there and you don’t find out until it’s too late.  Most of them require a ton of detail and almost always a small fortune in parts.  We currently live in the Mojave desert (no, I’m not kidding).  There isn’t exactly a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s within reasonable distance so if I need Kefir Limes or Teleggio Cheese last minute, I better just simply be prepared to forget the meal altogether and dig out the pasta.  Thankfully, the cooking section of our library turned out smaller than expected.  There was of course the expeced books on meat, pasta, veggies, and fish.  I quickly ran into Rachael Ray, Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and an army of Food Network mafioso.  Then, just as I began glazing over and Bubba started pulling books off shelves, an unexpected blessing slipped into my fingers.  Ainsley Harriott’s  Gourmet Express caught my attention with the word express.  This would imply quick, simple and easy.  Interest peaked, I flipped through the pages with one hand while breaking apart apple cinnamon puffs and shoving them at Bubba with the other.  His interest in the cooking aisle was waning quickly since I insisted he not gnaw on the books.  The recipes appeared simple, it had small ingredient lists with cooking times ranging from 30 to 45 minutes.  I could do this.  I snapped up the book and did something I hadn’t done in years…I planned my week of dinners out and actually felt really good about it.

I started with the recipes that included items I had the most of in the house to keep my budget intact and dove into Monday with glee.  Hot Crispy Cajun Chicken Sandwich and Roasted Tomato with Creme Fraiche, all I needed was fresh boneless chicken breast and some creme fraiche.  Skipping off to the commissary with Bubba in tow, we discovered that all the plain, boneless chicken was gone.  Of course, why would there be plain chicken??  This is a problem.  I found Foster’s Chicken had a teriyaki chicken breast hidden behind a line of wings.  Could I substitute?  Well, if I expected to eat anything close to what I planned, substitution was going to be imperative.  I found a coupon for .75 cents off the chicken (which turned the trip into a semi score, at least I wasn’t paying full price for the chicken I really didn’t want to begin with), and hurried home.  The prep time for everything took about 15 minutes.  Cooking was simple.  Fry the chicken (which was already seasoned so I could skip that step), roast the soup ingredients, blend, sandwich, serve.  My husband reported loving the food.  The kids said they would definitely want to eat it again, and only one asked if she had to finish the soup.  But to the recipes defense, she dislikes tomatoes immensely, so the mere fact that she ate half of it was a testament to it’s edibility.  I looked around when I finished and noticed we were done eating before 7pm, a new thing for us.  The dirty dish level was moderate, but only because I had to use a food processor and could not find my strainer and ended up using a steamer basket to very inefficiently strain the seeds and pulp from my soup.  This was after trying my ricer and then my fryer screen.  Cooking with Ainsley Harriott is going to make my life simpler, and regardless of my husband’s extreme dislike of Indian food, we will be eating every recipe in that book.  Bubba may even get a blended version.

The finished teriyaki chicken sandwich with “monster” cheese and the roasted veggies pre-blend

And the beat goes on…

A mountain in the Arizona desert, this photo always seems to bring me peace

Trying to find time for myself has indeed proven itself to be a challenge.  It has been quite a few days longer than I wanted since I last posted, and initially I felt like I was not giving en0ugh time to this, but really the last couple of days provided me with time to think about what I wanted to accomplish here.  If someone were to actually read my random and scattered thoughts, what did I want them to be looking at?  Who am I doing this for anyway…me, others, the voices in my head?  And then it hit me, I cannot be the only stay at home mom who has thrown herself into her family so deeply that sometimes she wonders just what happened to that really interesting, fun, smart individual who filled her skin previously.  Staying at home is a privilege and an honor, right? So why do I feel as if I work twice as hard as when I was employed full time?  Between the baby, household chores, cooking, children and husband, some days I’m not even sure I remember what life was like pre-family.  My wonderful husband and I used to discuss politics, art, music, feelings etc…and now I am lucky if I can talk about anything other than the kids, play dates and groceries.  I was only single for a brief period of time between my first and my current marriage.  Of course, I very romantically married my high school sweetheart the first time so we had been together almost 13 years when that fell apart.  Ahh, young love…the stupidity is endless and the collateral damage is never ending.

Anyway, I have digressed as usual.  This blog is meant to accomplish a few things in my life.  It is supposed to force me into spending time with my own thoughts, away from the other people who share my domain and constantly deserve love and affection.  Alone time is so precious and yet so easy to give away these days.  Blogging will also help me gather my scattered ideas, establish goals and become accountable for achieving them.  So I have decided to list my 2012 resolutions here.

1. Become an employed teacher by the end of this year-I earned my Master’s in the Art of Teaching from St. Mary’s College of Maryland last year.  This was done all while raising 4 children, being pregnant and giving birth and trying to keep my sanity.  I managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA but am afraid I lost some of the sanity.  I will have to get certified to teach in my new state since we moved across country when I graduated (Maryland already felt I was decent enough to teach there), apply for positions and size the carp once I find a great job. 

2.  Edit my wardrobe to fit a “333” challenge-I purchased new clothes when I decided to return to school and earn my degree as a teacher, when I began, I was a size 6.  Two months into the program I got knocked up (this is not to say we didn’t try to not get pregnant, I had an IUD and still managed to have my last little blessing but that is another post), and had to but MORE clothes.  Of course, I wasn’t pregnant forever and had to buy even more clothing to finish my year.  I shop at thrift stores mostly but my closet has become a monster.  Time to edit and live life more minimally.  I will have 33 pieces of clothing that a. fit, b. look good and c. make me feel great.  Everything else will be donated, upcycled or turned into hand towels.

3. Cook gourmet meals that do not strain my time or my budget-It was a close call between becoming a teacher or a chef.  I love to cook, bake and make stuff, so it’s become almost expected that dinners (and any other meal that the family is home) will be elaborate and delicious.  My wonderful husband suggested I use more “convenience” items to cook in order to save my sanity and time.  I hate pre-prepared foods, anything with words I cannot pronounce and ingredients that come from things I wouldn’t eat if it weren’t ground up and dyed bright colors shouldn’t go into my family’s mouths.  So I have decided to find new recipes from great chefs that will help keep healthy whole foods in my house and yet not take 3 days to prepare. 

4. Make many household items myself to save money and the environment-Laundry soap, liquid hand soap, dish detergent, facial cleanser, cleaners, deodorant etc…I have made all of it at some point or another and it works just as well if not better than the commercial kind.  Giant corporations make billions of dollars off the American people for products that cost a fraction of what they charge.  I’m sick and tired to forking my money over for things that hurt my body, the environment and my wallet.  Time to take charge of my household!

5.  Coupon, Coupon, Coupon-While I may not ever be on that ultimate couponer show, I want to save cash when I buy anything.  It may take extra time, attention and thought, but saving 50%-80% on food and household goods is worth every moment I can give.  Is it really necessary to charge $3.00-$5.00 for a box of friggin’ cereal?  Why does one pair of underwear cost $15.00?  And why in hell are we o.k. with spending astronomical amounts for healthy food? 

6.  Actually put money into my savings account every month-Pay yourself first.  I had a wonderful friend who always knew what kind of financial advice to give.  At 70 years old, he had retired a millionaire having grown up a poor coal minors son in rural West Virginia.  I can safely say, I listened, took notes and hoped to apply his knowledge some day.  Well, some day is here and I am ready to start saving and earning money.

7. Resume working out-After a long and stressful pregnancy that included many bouts of bed rest, I found my body had not really bounced back to it’s original shape.  Yes, I’ve lost almost all the baby weight, but stuff just isn’t as “high” as it used to be.  At one point in time I trained to join the FBI, it never happened, but I was in excellent physical shape after having lost over 100 pounds.  I want to feel good about my fitness and health again.  Time to bust out the P90X and the running stroller…

8.  Give my children individual attention that they deserve-It wasn’t that long ago my oldest daughter was a baby, now she is almost 13.  I want to remember their growing up and not take the time I have with them for granted.  Every week I will make it a point to spend time with them as a family as well as alone.  You only have one chance to be with and influence your children before they leave the nest and I am determined to make this happen.

9.  Travel-We have been blessed to be a military family.  This gives us so many opportunities to see and experience things many other people miss out on.  Our current duty station may not have much to offer in the way of immediate excitement, but there is so much to do just within driving distance that I will kick myself if I don’t take advantage of it while we are here.  I will travel at least once a month to a new place.

10.  Give just as much time to myself as I do to my family-I love and adore my husband.  There is no other man, (besides my grandfather) that I respect and admire than him.  He is my rock, my best friend, my most honest critic and biggest supporter.  We are together simply because we want to be, and I hope my children find a partner just as I have found who fills their life with joy.  My 5 children give me reason to be excited about life.  They challenge me daily to be my best, love fully and remember what it is like to be a child.  I want to give these people my best everyday, but to do that I must remember to give to myself just as often.  You have to fill your own tank if you expect to bring anyone else along for the long haul, and my tank has been running on fumes for a while.   

11. Use my NICE THINGS-When I die, I don’t want to have full bottles of expensive perfume, perfect, chip free china, unused tea sets, sparkling unworn jewelry.  I want to use it now, while I can really enjoy it and pass on the live for today attitude to my children. 

And there it is, my year list.  I’m sure I will have a bucket list someday as well, but for now, one day and one item at a time.

Of course it’s 1am…

When the sun goes down everyone should be sleeping…

What else would I be doing but blogging at 1 am?! Well really I meant to start at the new year, but we can see how that turned out. Actually, if I were honest, I would admit that I wanted to begin when I went back to school last year, but alas, another project put aside for a time that would not interfere with my family. Apparently 1 am is ideal for not interrupting everyone else’s day, not so perfect for my sagging under eyes but hey, I’m making me time here right, and that was number one on my New Year’s Resolution list.

Ahhhhh, precious me time, my last bastion of personal sanctitude. It’s hard to say exactly when it started slipping slowly from my open hand. It was probably initiated by the birth of my oldest child and unraveled then blew away like a rogue kite very quickly after that. Picture a small child desperately chasing their precious lost kite string as the wind carries it further and further out of reach and you might have the idea. If some were to have explained to the high school version of myself that in less than 10 years I would be married, divorced, remarried, pregnant, going through a master’s program and raising five (yes, gasp, five) children, I think I may have just started a Prozac drip then, either that or I would have changed my DARE policy of “be alcohol and drug free” a whole lot sooner. Please don’t be mistaken, I would not trade the life I have now, but I might be willing to bargain for just a smudge more of those sanity saving moments that have fallen by the wayside. If only the members of my family unit had a little more perspective, like, a walk in the shoes kinda deal, they might be able to ward of my seemingly brief insane bursts of hostility.

The other people sharing my living space simply do not comprehend the mom position like they should. Let me briefly elaborate. My husband, (who I love and respect more than almost anyone else)decided that tonight, when the baby awoke for the third time in less than 3 hours since we’d both adjourned for the evening, he would turn off the baby monitor in the bedroom. He then proceeded to fall quickly back to sleep and failed to let me know the monitor was off. His common sensical explanation…..the baby crying (because of gas) was keeping him up. Really? How do you make that point to a sleep deprived individual and not end up with some sort of sharp object being waved at you?

So anyway, 1 am, you and I will be compadres for now. I will steal back my me time when there is no one clamoring for food, begging for attention and just generally sucking at various parts of me. Tomorrow has already arrived, and I will be carping the diem in just a few hours.