I’m Tired: A Mommy Monologue

I’m laying in the bath, candle lit, writing this with tears in my eyes. Nothing “big” or “bad” happened today. It was a normal day of waking up early, diaper changes, bottle feedings, two baths, exploration of new foods, messy high chairs, laundry, toys scattered everywhere, new discoveries, chasing a hyper boy around, teething, falling down, laundry, cooking, cleaning… the list goes on and on.

That’s what a usual day looks like here at the Richards’ house but today I am just…. tired. I feel at my end and my limit. I feel like I have said nothing else today but “No no John,” “Don’t do that, John” “Come here baby” “Please don’t hit” “Don’t throw your food” “Don’tdrink the bath water”. So many NOs and not a lot of YAYs. As I got him ready for bed I just was so ready for him to be asleep so I can enjoy a minute of quiet.

And then overwhelming guilt hits me like a punch in the gut because I realized all day I haven’t got to enjoy John because I feel like I have had to discipline and parent. Instead of giggles and cuddles, today was a bunch of pitching fits and yelling. It doesn’t help that I was reminiscing all of his newborn pictures and videos last night either; making me miss those days of hectic quiet, coos, and soft cuddles.

Parenting is not easy. It is a never ending battle of wanting to slow time down and soak in every moment to please let this day hurry so I can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Time has moved so quickly lately. John is almost 10 months old and my heart is breaking. There really isn’t a point to my post except just to share what I’m feeling, which is raw feelings of sadness, exhaustion, immense love and joy, all at the same time.

But I think that’s what motherhood is; high elation and low valleys. Tears and laughs, smiles and frowns, yelling and praising. I know there will be more days like today; where I feel more like the principle from Matilda (bun included) than the teacher who comes in and saves the day with sunshine and giggles.

But that’s okay, because I wanted this and I love this. And its also okay to be exhausted and tired and frustrated in the midst of all that you wanted. Sometimes we feel so pressured to not seem “ungrateful” that we go along steaming up inside until we boil over.

You’re allowed to feel emotions, you’re allowed to miss the times when it was just you and you could do whatever you wanted, you’re allowed to crave solitude and maybe even a vacation where it’s just you, a beach, and a bible. When we strive to fit this perfect “mom” picture, the instagram mom, who always seems to have it together and enjoy every second of motherhood, then we find ourselves trying to fit a triangle into an oval; it’s impossible (yes, even my analogies now involve baby toys).

So, I just wanted to share with you mamas (and daddys) out there that, I am so tired. And I feel like poo for yelling today a lot. And I’m crying in the bath tub, simultaneously enjoying my quiet and fighting the urge to go wake the baby up for cuddles and kisses.

And I want to encourage you in this season, that you’re not alone. And God sees what you do for your family every day. And God sees your grateful heart thats just a little weary at the moment. And God wants to take away the shame that’s trying to tell you you’re not good enough for your family. And God wants to wrap you in His arms and tell you everything is alright and a new day starts tomorrow. And God wants to let you know He can carry you through the tough days as much as He’s present in the beautiful days. I want to encourage you to take a breath, start again, and truly try and savor these moments.

Parenting is hard. Motherhood is hard. Humaning is hard. But life is beautiful, messy, and amazing. So if you are like me, in the tub exhausted, tired, crying, and guilty. Stop it. Breath in. Pray for strength. And smile at this crazy, silly, beautiful life God has picked for us to live. Love you guys. Happy homemaking!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Yay! Christmas time is here! For me that means my husband gets to be off with us and we get to enjoy our favorite time together: mornings! We both love our coffee and a yummy breakfast. When I was pregnant we went every Sunday to Waffle House and I ate a pecan waffle, bacon, hashbrowns, and sometimes even a biscuit too… I can no longer eat so much!

Around Christmas time I like to make special breakfasts for us! This one is one of my favorites! Its packed full of veggies, protein, yumminess, AND to top everything off the colors of it look like Christmas!

This breakfast casserole is a wonderful family breakfast and a fantastic way to sneak vegetables in your kids diet (you’re welcome). So if you’re looking for some breakfast ideas for the holidays or have a brunch you need to bringing a dish to, this ones for you!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

What you will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup ham (diced) (you could use ground sausage or diced bacon too)
  • 1/2 cup of cheese (1/4 for mix, 1/4 for topping)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp siracha
  • 2 stalks green onions (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 cup diced grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 bag of frozen hashbrowns

Dry seasonings:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp creole seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large mixing bowl, crack eggs and add in milk and siracha. Whisk mixture well and set aside. Dice all of your veggies and add to the bowl. Add in ham, hashbrowns, dry seasonings, hasbrowns, garlic, and 1/4 cup of cheese.

Spray a casserole dish with non stick spray and add in mixture. Make sure to spread out all the veggies and get everything in an even layer.

Bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy!

This breakfast casserole is one of my favorite breakfast dishes! It’s also the recipe I use to meal plan for my husbands work meals! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Happy homemaking!

Cast Iron Skillet Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

So this year my husband and I found out that we both prefer chicken thighs over chicken breasts. Chicken thighs are the moistest, most flavorful cut of the chicken you can get! I always buy skinless and boneless because that’s how we prefer it, but to each its own.

This recipe was one of those “throw everything together and intohope it tastes good” kind of dinners that I often make at home! And now it is literally both my husband and I’s favorite dinner that I make! So I thought I would share it with you!

This cast iron honey garlic chicken is the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and delicious! I always serve mine with either mashed potatoes or oven roasted potatoes and broccoli! You could also serve it over some white or brown rice if you wanted! Either way I believe this honey garlic chicken recipe will make it on your dinner rotations! Let’s get started!

Cast Iron Honey Garlic Chicke. Thighs

What you will need:

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

Dry Seasonings:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In cast iron skillet, place chicken thighs with top side facing up. Sprinkle dry seasonings over top of chicken.

In a small bowl, mix together honey, garlic, soy sauce, olive oil, and mustard. Pour mixture over chicken and make sure to spoon sauce on any missed areas.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. When 20 minutes is up, carefully spoon sauce from the bottom of the skillet over top the chicken thighs and place back in the oven on broil for 3-5 more minutes (be sure to check for color since ovens vary).

Then you are finished! That’s how easy it is! I hope you will love this recipe as much as I do! Happy homemaking!

Marriage Hurts but Marriage Heals

Marriage is the most difficult and beautiful thing I have ever experienced. Both hard and easy at the same time. Sounds impossible right? But it’s true. I find marriage both as natural as breathing and as difficult as rock climbing rope free up a 750 foot mountain (that escalated quickly).

Marriage, how I understand it, is the unification of spirit and flesh; two spirits and flesh becoming one. That’s why in the flesh marriage hurts; and in the spirit, your marriage can heal.

My husband and I just recently went through one of those “fun” growing times together. Personal struggles and relational struggles came together to a pinpoint which led to a perfect storm of tension and conflict.

The hurts of marriage come when one flesh fights against itself, injuring the other part as if it were somehow separate. Harsh words, wrong thoughts, selfish actions, all of these come against the flesh of your marriage and attempt division and anger.

Satan is against your marriage from the start, I hope you know that. That’s not to cause fear or trepidation, but it is to cause you to be on alert and stop treating your marriage so trivially. He wants to divide and conquer; divide the marriage, conquer the family. And all we have to do is look at divorce rates to know that he is somewhat succeeding.

I believe it’s because so often we live in the hurt factor of marriage without ever touching the healing portion. We allow the fleshy part to rule over the spiritual and then wonder why our “godly” marriage pictures that of the world.

We got to the pinpoint and realized that it was time to fight back. We put the baby to bed, came together and battled in prayer. We asked for forgiveness from one another, we confessed our sins to one another, and we reminded one another of our vows and love.

And although there had been hurt, surrending the fleshy part of our marriage to God, allowed for His hand to come in and bring about the most beautiful healing my spirit has ever felt.

Tears, smiles, kisses, and redemption all met together there in complete surrender. It was a glorious moment in our marriage I know we will remember forever. All it took was surrender; surrender of pride, surrender of bitterness, surrender of expectations. All of it, tossed into the hands of the One Who carries us.

I say all of this to bring hope to the broken marriage or the single person afraid of taking that step into marriage.

Amidst a world that only highlights the brokenness of such a holy covenant, there is another side of complete restoration and redemption that is available as well.

I’m not here to say my marriage is perfect and we are doing everything right (obviously). What I am saying is after a week of trying to do it all on our own and in the flesh, we found it was so much more beautiful to hand it over to the Father.

So take that step of surrender. Confess your sins against your spouse, whether that’s bitterness, anger, unfaithfulness. Request forgiveness and make sure to forgive. Remember why you chose marriage and love and continue in it. And let God do His beautiful work in your lives.

Happy homemaking is about making your home happy and holy. And a strong marriage will do the trick! Love you guys!

Cranberry Cashew Salad

With the Holidays coming up, heavy food is definitely on the radar! Sometimes for lunch you may want to take it light in preparation, or just to give your stomach a break!

This salad is my FAVORITE salad of all time. My husband does not like salads and loved this one. I made this recipe based off of a salad I tried at a restaurant that was so expensive. So I wanted to try to make it myself, and I did so successfully!

It has yummy dried cranberries, cashews, sweet peppers, and my favorite, havarti cheese! All topped with a homemade ranch dressing that is easy and delicious!

Cranberry Cashew Salad

What you will need:

  • Greens (I love spring salad mix)
  • 1/4 cup of havarti cheese (diced)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup of cashew halves

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp ranch (any kind)
  • 1/2 milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed

Directions:

Mix in a larger bowl your greens, cheese, cranberries, cashews, and bell pepper.

In a small mason jar (or bowl) add in all of the dressing ingredients wnd shake well (or stir well).

Serve and you’re done! It’s that easy.

This is so delicious I promise! You can use another dressing if you please, however the thin ranch just gives it the flavor that it needs. So try it, I promise!

I also would serve for an appetizer the cranberries, cashews, cheese and peppers dredged in the dressing as like a cold salad! It would be so delicious and has festive colors too!

I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does! Let me know what you think! Happy homemaking!

#Momfail: They All Fall Down

Can I just be honest and vulnerable here? This week has felt like a non-stop strand of mom fails. Non-stop.

Have you ever just messed up so many times you just feel like stopping? Or running away? Or just crying? Or maybe all of the above? That’s been me this week.

So John has been accelerating in movement. I’m talking crawling, pulling up on furniture, moving from item to item, trying to LITERALLY JUMP OFF OF STUFF. I’m pretty persuaded he wants to injure himself.

It’s one thing if babies hurt themselves when you’re not watching, but to have them hurt themself everyday when you’re just two steps away is pretty frustrating.

Let me let you in on this week. He fell off the bed, he hit his eye on the dresser knob (don’t ask me how), he’s fallen from holding on to the table about 15 times, slipped in the bathtub and got water in his face, and the list goes on and on.

It has really made me question my ability as a mother this week. I am sucking it up real bad at the moming. I know all babies fall down, especially when learning to move their little bodies, but at the same time you can’t help but blame yourself when it happens and you can’t stop it!

In all honesty its just been a really hard week for me in general. As a mother and wife I’ve been going and growing through some things. I have felt like no matter how hard I try, I end up failing. I’ve been studying the fruits of the Spirit and ironically feel like I’ve done nothing but walked in the flesh this week. Impatience, anger, frustration. Just falling on my face, over and over.

And as I write this, maybe that’s the whole lesson for me this week? Maybe God is wanting me to realize, like babies, we all fall down. But scripture says the righteous man falls seven times but gets back up.

So, if you’re a mama who has failed this week? Get back up. If you’re a wife who has been naggy a little too much, get back up. If you’ve complained instead of being thankful, cursed instead of blessing, or have really done a bad job at portraying Christ, my answer is this: get back up.

Keep pursuing holiness and not perfection. Keep pursuing His strength and not your own. Keep leaning all of yourself on Him completely.

Paul says that he boasts in his weakness, because where we are weak, God is strong! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God’s grace is sufficient for you AND your clumsy little baby.

I love you guys! Happy homemaking!

The Power of a Lie: Breaking Free from Perfection

Perfectionism is not a fruit of the Spirit, but joy is.

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I don’t know if I’m the only one, but if I accidently mess up a clean piece of paper, I have to tear it up and start again. I hate that I can’t just move on with a mistake and not think about the imperfection, but sometimes my brain won’t let me. It screams out the mistake over and over until I give in and start again.

I’m the same way in my day to day; if something about myself or others isn’t just right, it screams at me and I can’t find peace. Sometimes this pressure for everything to be perfect in myself spreads out to those I love, and I try to fit them in the same “perfect” box and get disappointed and frustrated when they don’t fit.

I find myself getting irritable, aggravated and sometimes naggy when I believe this lie of Perfectionism. I told God recently that I don’t want to live this way anymore. I’m so tired of walking daily in this lie of Perfection. It’s a heavy weight to carry.

Yesterday I was feeding the baby and he was getting his oatmeal everywhere! Every bite he would take, he would rub his mouth and then the rest of his face, and then the high chair. I was trying to chase after every spot of oatmeal with a wipe and getting frustrated at him. At yelled, “Gosh John can’t you just eat clean???”

And I stopped myself (or God stopped me) and thought, “He is eating like a baby eats; dirty, messy, imperfect.” And I started to cry because I realized if I don’t change myself then I can pass on this attitude to him. And I don’t want him living in the lie that everything has to be perfect all the time! So I gave him another spoonful of oatmeal and I let him spread it all around . And then I even made myself wait to clean it up for a while after he was done.

I let that basket of laundry sit in the corner of the room for a little bit while I played with John and watched his face light up at new discoveries.

I let the dishes sit in the sink after dinner so I could cuddle with my husband before bed on the couch instead of feeling pressure to get it done immediately.

You may be different, but the way I combat this lie on my mind is to fight against it. I don’t have to have it done ALL the time. And that’s okay.

I lived under this pressure that if everything wasn’t picked up, cleaned up, in its right spot, then I was failing as a wife and mother. But in reality by focusing on a false perfection I was ignoring life in the moment to finish tasks that could wait.

Laughing with my son, slow kisses with my husband, rest for my mind and body, were all passing me by as I rushed from task to task. So I have learned to stop and enjoy. Those things will be waiting, but my family is growing and living and moving so quickly.

If you live in the lie of perfectionism, you can be free of it. It takes renewing your mind and knowing your worth is in God and not in your works. It takes self control to say no to your brain when it is yelling out your daily tasks instead of enjoying the moment with your family. It takes you dropping pride and realizing you will never reach perfection. Ever.

And I’ve realized that messy life is beautiful; because it means life is being lived. When a home is too busy trying to be perfect, often it stops being what we want it to be, home.

So what if my living room has toys in it and no longer looks like a magazine cover; that’s where my family laughs, eats, grows, and lives.

So what if my bed isn’t always made or there’s bath toys strewn all over the bath tub. That means we got sleep and a little boy had a blast.

So what if there’s a sink full of dishes. That means my family was blessed with some food!

So what if my belly is a little soft from having a baby and I didn’t lose my pregnancy weight as soon as the baby came out. My husband loves me and my body and that’s all that matters.

I’m not living with pressures to be perfect anymore. Its not worth the stress, weight, or exhaustion.

Enjoy your families. Enjoy your homes. Enjoy yourself, flaws and all.

Let your family breathe, play, laugh, and make sure you are letting yourself be free too.

And when it comes down to it, perfection is not a fruit of the Spirit. It’s usually a fruit of our flesh ruling, pushing us towards a self outside of relying on the Lord. An attitude of, “I can do it all.” And we can’t do it all. You can’t do it all.

I hope this helps you break free from the lie of perfectionism and just relax! Go have fun and as always, happy homemaking.

Christmas Pot Holder Handprint Crafts

This is the best craft to do with your kids! All you need is paint, your baby’s hands and feet, patience, and cheap oven mitts or pot holders!

Although little man did not want to cooperate today with the paint, I still got some cute prints out of it! So this craft works even with the ones who don’t feel like crafting and making fun memories!

Doesn’t it feel like sometimes you are the only one who cares about making memories? I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I HAVE to capture moments with pictures, I have to make all of the cozy memories, or it won’t get done!

This probably isn’t true, but it pushes me to do the things that sometimes aren’t easy (like painting a 7 month old’s hand and trying to press it on a pot holder). But they turned out so adorable so I am happy I didn’t give up! And all little man needed was a nap.

So these were so easy and I used pan holders that I bought from the dollar store! That’s right, they were a dollar for a 2-pack of red and brown pot holders. So I got 4 for 2 dollars! So awesome! For the paint I just used acrylic paint and found different colors needed more layers (white for instance).

If you run into the problem that maybe you didn’t capture the full hand or foot print, I just go back over with a small paint brush to make it more solid! The goal should be to try and get at LEAST an outline of your baby’s print so that you can fill it in!

I painted for different types but there are so many things you can do with it! I chose to do a santa foot, a Christmas tree foot, an elf hand, and a snowman hand! You could probably try a reindeer hand, snowman foot, or really anything you can imagine!

1. Santa foot craft

So I loved doing this one! I just painted little man’s foot with white paint and pressed it on the mitt! Then I mixed up a peach color for Santa’s face, used the round end of the brush with some pink for his rosy cheeks, used the end and dipped it in black for his eyes, and red for his nose! Then I painted a Santa’s hat on top! What I love about crafts like this is it really can be tweaked and crafted to your liking! Look at his little toes! I love them 🙂

2. elf hand POT HOLDER CRAFT

Look at his little pinky! I love this one too. I can’t choose my favorite! What I did was actually make a hand print with white paint first. With it being a dark colored fabric I wanted to make sure the color showed up well! Then I painted with peach for his face, green on the three fingers for the elf’s hat, and used the end of the brush to make the pink cheeks, eyes, and nose. It says ‘Santa’s Little Helper’ in dot prints! With some little Christmas lights on the sides for decoration! Just have fun with it! If your baby is big enough, they can decorate them themselves for their Mimi’s and Pawpaw’s!

3. Christmas Tree Foot Mitt Craft

“Oh Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, How lovely are your tosies”. I love his little toes so much! I may be obsessed. This one is really adorable and can be extra crafty by adding glitter and other stuff! We went simple with a star on top and some little ornaments! But what I love about this craft is because it’s so easy on your money, you can buy extra and do different variations!

4. Snowman hand print craft

This one turned out so well! I just used some white paint to print it, drew on a hat, scarf, and carrot nose and a snowman it turned to be! “Snow Cute” was so cheesy but necessary! I had to use about three layers of white for it to be clear but it wasn’t too bad.

I truly love these so much! They were so cheap, so easy to do, and I have them forever! The thought of pulling these out every Christmas, even when his hand is too big to fit, just melts my heart and brings a tear to my eye. It really isn’t about perfection with homemade crafts, it’s about memories, and creating something that can stay in your homes forever.

I can’t wait to see what you do with your little ones! Please share with me so I can smile alongside with you! Happy homemaking!

Homemade Fresh Pineapple Salsa (Gluten Free)

For football and holiday parties season, I am always looking for delicious recipes that are easy to make, loving to my budget, and most importantly, DELICIOUS. I finally found my perfect fresh salsa that is a game changer!

pineapple salsa

One thing you will learn about me is I love sweet and spicy foods! I stumbled upon this recipe from a usual happenstance; a family party, needing to bring a food item, struggling in the bank, and going to my kitchen to piece together something that’s cheap, easy, and most importantly, delicious!

This fresh pineapple salsa recipe is now a staple in my kitchen, my family parties, and my life! I no longer even can tolerate the thought of buying store bought salsa when I have this recipe at my fingertips!

My husband is obsessed, my sister steals the leftovers, and I can’t get enough! What’s also great about this salsa recipe is that like so many other fine things in life, it gets better with age! I love to have this salsa as a healthy snack (with some delicious tortilla chips), paired alongside some homemade quesadillas, or with my easy burrito casserole (which I will be posting soon so stay posted!)

Enough talk about this salsa, it’s time to hurry and try it so you can truly begin living!

Fresh Pineapple Salsa Recipe

What you will need:

  •  20 oz can of pineapples (chunk or whole it doesn’t matter)
  •  4 oz can of diced green chilis
  •  14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
  •  1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp diced pickled jalapenos
  • 1 tbsp red chili paste
  • 1/2 orange bell peppers
  • 1/2 red onion
  •  1/4 cup cilantro (fresh)

Dry Seasonings for salsa:

  •  3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (dried)

Directions for Salsa Recipe:

For this recipe I use my countertop sized food processor that makes cooking so much easier! It’s quickly put together, you just press the lid to pulse, and it’s easy cleanup!

Drain the can of pineapples and tomatoes and pulse together in the food processor. When desired consistency is met (I like my salsa very smooth), then remove mixture and place in a bowl and set aside.

Roughly chop bell peppers, onion, and cilantro and place in food processor. Add minced garlic, red chili paste, jalapenos, and green chilis. Pulse together until smooth and then add to tomato and pineapple mixture!

Stir well, add in all of the dry seasonings, and serve!

You can eat right away (if you can’t wait) or it tastes best when refridgerated for about 24 hours! The longer it sits, the more delicious it gets!

I hope you find this fresh pineapple salsa recipe easy, delicious, and a new staple in your homes as well! Let me know what you think, and as usual, Happy Homemaking!!!

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