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Beat the heat with this blueberry “ice cream!” 

On any given night at my house during the hot summer months, there is one refrain that echoes through the kitchen after dinner.

“Ice cream!”

We are a house of ice cream lovers.

And embarrassing as it may be, my husband and I are often just as guilty instigators of some late-night trips to the ice-cream parlor as our three children.

But because I also happen to be battling with a seemingly never-ending battle to lose the lingering baby weight, sadly, I have come to admit that perhaps indulging in ice cream every night is not the best way to do it.

Enter my new favorite after-dinner frozen sweet treat, a little sumthin`-sumthin` I like to call a Frozen Blueberry Blast:

Ingredients:

*Frozen blueberries

*Sugar (optional)

*Milk of your choice (regular, almond, soy—feel free to get crazy!)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, heap as many frozen blueberries as your heart desires (hey, you can’t have too many blueberries, right?).
  2. If you so choose, top with a sprinkling of sugar (don’t worry if you skip this part, it’s still delicious!).
  3. Top with a splash of milk.
  4. Enjoy!

As you eat the Frozen Blueberry Blast, the sugar and milk will combine with the frozen blueberries to “melt” together into a delicious, cool and frosty treat. Satisfies my sweet tooth every time!

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Not too long ago, I read an article in a parenting magazine that extolled the virtues of learning to get down on the floor and play with your kids more.

And while that’s all well and good, I have to confess something to you:

I don’t like playing with my kids.

Sure, I enjoy reading them books (bonus points for snuggles!) and I genuinely enjoy baking cookies with them or talking walks, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, down-`n-dirty playing in the sandbox or drinking endless cups of imaginary tea?

Sometimes, I feel like I am suffering a slow form of torture.

I used to feel guilty about my aversion to playing with my children and honestly, I do struggle with it still, especially because it would appear that my husband is much better at it than me, but I’ve come to realize that my feelings stem from two main causes:

1. I’m a work-at-home mom. As a work-at-home mother, I am with my kids 24/7. And let’s be honest, people, sometimes, there is just a limit to how much kid activity you can have in a day. And mine, apparently, has maxed out before playtime even hits.

2. I’m a grown-up. Sure, this might sound like a duh! statement, but from the Facebook posts, Twitter blasts, and news articles I read, it seems like every other parent is happily playing with their kids at every chance they get, while I’m running away to let them play alone.

It’s taken me quite some time to realize that as a grown-up, if I am spending all day catering to my children, constantly playing with them, I am quickly spent. Put simply, it doesn’t make me a good parent if I spend all of my patience and “mom reserves,” if you will, playing with my kids.

I’ve found that to be the best parent I can be, I need to feel productive.

And even though staying home all day with small children and playing feels like work, it doesn’t feel productive. And there is something to be said about how the good a busy, productive workday can do to your psyche. Whether I am writing an article or just cleaning the bathroom, I have learned to get go of my guilt about not being my children’s 24/7 entertainment director.

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Photo credit

As we cooked dinner together the other night, my husband closed our refrigerator door and paused, looking over the mess of preschool papers, crumbling crafts, and endless family portraits penned by our four-year-old.

“You know,” he said. “I love our kids and everything, but I think I would be a lot happier if our fridge wasn’t such a mess.”

I nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. It is kind of annoying to knock papers off every time I open the door,” I said with a chuckle, shaking my head slightly.

But the truth is, I love everything about our refrigerator and the jumbled junk that adorns its doors.

Because it’s more than a fridge; it’s our life.

I love the dry erase calendar that I doodle ridiculous drawings on every month. I love that every spare inch is covered in our girls’ drawings. I love that I have approximately 4,531 portraits of myself with giant ears and a uni-brow from my preschooler. I love that our weekly menu, a Pinterest-inspired creation, sits perched haphazardly on the side, usually forgotten and bypassed in the lure of B.L.T. pizza. I love that there are messy fingerprints and a letter magnet set missing half its letters and to-do lists that are always buried and never “to-do’ed.”

There are forgotten family portraits, clippings of newspaper remembrances of loved ones lost, and flyers for upcoming kindergarten meetings to mark the entrance of our first daughter in the fall. (Sob.)

All of the “stuff” that makes up our life as a family.

In becoming a mother rather unexpectedly, I’ve had to learn a few things about parenting in what has sometimes felt like fast forward time.  With three kids aged four and under and two jobs, I feel a bit some days like I’m stumbling through, ad-libbing the whole thing, rushing through on survival mode.

So in the middle of the day, in meeting deadlines, changing 50 dirty diapers, (no, really, the baby eat a lot of blueberries) trying but always forgetting to take the laundry out of the dryer when it’s done, sometimes it’s nice to be forced, in the midst of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to be reminded about the most important lesson that motherhood has given me.

That happiness?

Is all in the little things.

In the little things that make up our life—in the preschool graduations and family weddings and baby showers, in exclaiming over each and every drawing penned by the kids, no matter how many they’ve already given you in the last hour, in a hastily scribbled in date night.

So I will risk knocking off a few papers in the hunt for a midnight snack or overlook a few smudged handprints on my faux stainless steel refrigerator doors.

And keep it just the way it is.