We will have…
Or two pretty barrels with dirt in them….
I kinda suck at growing stuff.
We will have…
Or two pretty barrels with dirt in them….
I kinda suck at growing stuff.
I grew up putting COOL WHIP on almost every dessert – pie, ice cream, Jell-O salad – more desserts than I can count! In fact I will not eat pumpkin pie during the holidays unless is has a nice dollop of COOL WHIP right on top. It just makes dessert that much better! In fact, when I was growing up most of the containers that held holiday leftovers were COOL WHIP containers. I’m pretty sure my grandmother kept at least a dozen COOL WHIP containers on hand for just that reason.
This is the time of year when I prefer to eat dessert. There is something about the warm months that fit so well with having a nice dessert at the end of the meal. It cools down the meal and cools down the warmer evenings. I’ve tried to make complex desserts in the past, but I always end up returning to the ones passed down by my mother because they are easy and delicious.
Seven layer dessert is one of my go-to favorites. My mother gave me this recipe years ago and it is the first dessert I’ll choose to take to a party or gathering. I’m not sure why it’s actually called Seven layer dessert or where she got the recipe, but it is definitely a family favorite. In fact, my husband took this dessert to a Christmas party one year and won the best dessert award! COOL WHIP is one of those freezer staples in our house so I can throw this easy dessert together anytime!
Seven Layer Dessert
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter melted
2/3 cup chopped pecans
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
16 ounces COOL WHIP
Feel free to share your easy desserts using COOL WHIP whipped topping!
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Check out this conversation between my daughter Amelia (8) and my husband:
Amelia: Daddy there is a girl in my class and she has brown skin. She’s African-American.
Andy: And what does it mean to be African-American?
Amelia: Well, it means she was born in Africa but moved to America.
Amelia: And, there is another girl in my class with brown skin, too.
Andy: Is she African-American, too?
Amelia: No. She’s from Florida.
Andy : *silenced…again*
One of the many things I love about Sundays is my ability to prep for the upcoming week. I didn’t use to do this, but I’ve learned over the last year or so that a little prep on Sunday makes for a much less stressful week. I tend to break my preparation into categories. I do this mainly so I can tackle any necessary preparation at the right time. For example, it is nearly impossible to prep for the week ahead during the witching hours of baths, dinner, and bedtime. So I leave that time open for complete focus on the kids and family.
Here’s how I break it down:
Busy Mama Preparation (usually after the kids go to bed)
I know this seems like an awful lot of stuff to do on a Sunday (and I didn’t even include the grocery shopping, the laundry, or church!), but I promise you that prepping ahead for the week is one of the few things that keeps my head above water. Well, that and Lexapro.
So what do you do to prep for the week?
One of the first question people ask me when they hear I’m working on my PhD is “what are you going to do when you graduate?”
It is easy to brush this question off when graduation seems far down the obstacle-filled road. It is more difficult to avoid answering this question when graduation is roughly 6 weeks away.
I can honestly answer that I don’t plan to anything with my PhD…right now.
I usually get a few shocked faces, a couple confused and questioning looks, and even some outright “why the hell not?!” demands. I always do my best to explain to those people who question my plans, but my answers never seem to sink in.
See, I didn’t go after this PhD in an attempt to better my career or to make more money. I just wanted to see if I could do it.
It’s that simple.
I wanted to challenge myself because I simply love to learn.
On one occasion I was told that this answer was downright stupid and that I was a waste of a good education.
That’s fair I suppose. Some may think that going after a degree like this without intentions of “using” it in a traditional sense is a waste. Honestly I’m fine with them thinking that. I know better though..
It’s not that I don’t have after graduation plans. I just don’t have traditional after graduation job plans.
I have writing goals, plans for the homestead, and ideas for doing more to help raise my children to be the best they can be. And none of that is a waste by any means.
But, today I had this weird moment of existential job crisis. It started with looking at freelance writing opportunities I have emailed to me everyday and ended with me looking at faculty and research positions at universities around the country. I looked a pay scales, academic publishing opportunities, PostDoc research fellowships, etc. It was overwhelming, slightly depressing, and completely nerve-wracking.
I closed the computer and asked myself “Why the hell are you even looking at jobs?!”
I suddenly had to ask myself ‘Am I looking for jobs because that is the path I want to take or am I looking for jobs because I feel like I should?’ Am I looking at tenure track positions because that is the next logical step or because I know in my heart that’s where I’m called to be?
And the answer was pretty simple…
No, it is not the path I want to take and it’s not what I’m called to do.
I felt relief in admitting this to myself (again) and sticking to my guns about not wanting to follow the path people expect of a traditional PhD holder.
See, I want to do great things. I want to embrace what I’ve learned and use it to create something…unstoppable. And I will. I want to blend mom/scholar/blogger/academic/writer/wife/dreamer into a package that is wholly me.
But at the end of the day I want to put my head on that pillow and know that I never compromised what makes me feel fulfilled for the sake of doing what others feel should be done with a PhD. I want to rest knowing that I never let the 9 to 5′s wash away my dreams.
This is one instance where traditional just doesn’t apply to me. And I’m okay with that.
Step one: buy this.
Step two: Sit here anytime you fight or “discuss” or argue or “talk loudly.”
Step three: whenever he pisses you off (and you know he will!) do this…
Step four: Grab the cheesecake and walk away knowing you are master of the universe.
*photos courtesy of http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2012/01/06/see-saw-table/*
Yes, that is my lovely puppy sitting on top of the couch while I lazily read the best trashy novel ever.
I wish I had something juicy or exciting to say tonight, but I’m too busy enjoying the weight of my dissertation being off my shoulders.
I took a nap today – a glorious nap to the sound of spring-time birds.
I ate apples dipped in peanut butter outside in the sunshine while Charlotte played nearby.
I found myself humming while I did the dishes this morning.
We even went on a frog hunt – elated when we found one inside the umbrella of our patio table.
Certainly none of this is juicy by any standard, but it’s refreshingly exciting for me.
And right now I’ll take it.
Someone once told me that working on a PhD and writing a dissertation is kind of like giving birth.
It’s true - if you think of it like double elephant gestation.
I’m nearing the end. I’m down to the last few weeks and this sucker will be born, presented to the world, and I can begin recovery. I’ve made so many lists of all the stuff I want to do when I get done with school in May. In a weird way I’ve started nesting just like I did when I was pregnant. I’m meticulously cleaning stuff, reorganizing drawers and cabinets, and seeing a thousand project just beckoning my attention. As much as I need to put these things off for a few more weeks until the dissertation is in the hands of my committee I found myself giving in this weekend.
I took the girls to the mall on Saturday to buy them each a new pair of Crocs. I don’t care how ugly anyone says those shoes are they are perfect for kids during the warmer months. We detoured to Old Navy so my oldest could spend a gift card she got for Christmas. When we got home I became a raging nut bag and had this OCD urge to do projects – all thanks to trying to put away a new pair of shoes and hang up a couple new shirts. I ended up cleaning out all the girls’ clothes and pulling out their Spring stuff. I organized and sorted all my daughter’s toys, cleaned her room from top to bottom, and bagged up several bags of clothing donations.
Then today I got this weird hair up my ass and decided not only to start boxing up all my files, folders, and notebooks from school, but also to make my own butter. I know, right?! Suzy Homemaker has invaded and her dissertation nesting will not be ignored!
I saw a link to BostonMamas about how to make butter. When I saw how easy it was I thought “I have to do it right now!” and “Didn’t we do this in 7th grade science class?!” Besides, I had some extra heavy cream in the fridge that I needed to use up anyway and dissertation avoidance doesn’t happen all on its own.
So, here’s what you need:
-small jar (I used a mason jar)
Now, here’s what you do:
That’s it. Fresh butter. I even have pictures to show how easy it is:
This will be gracing the breakfast table tomorrow morning on some kick-ass cinnamon sugar toast!
So that about sums it up. Crocs, cleaning, sorting clothes, avoiding dissertations, nesting, and making butter.
Oh, and elephant gestation. Squared.
I’m done now. Goodbye.
I’ve been going through a weird withdrawal lately. For the past couple months I’ve been so busy working on my dissertation that I haven’t spent much one-on-one time with my children – specifically my youngest.
Charlotte has always been my buddy, my partner in crime – running errands with me, spending her days helping me around the house, and always snuggling with me in the mornings. But for the last couple months we’ve been limited in our time together. She’s in school three days a week and spends the other two days hanging out with my in-laws so I can write for 8 uninterrupted hours. It’s been necessary. I don’t think I would have made the progress I’ve made if I hadn’t had that writing time.
But I’ve missed her. I’ve missed my buddy.
Today is supposed to be another dissertation work day. But I made a decision to cancel the day. I decided to keep Charlotte home with me so we can spend some much-needed time together. I don’t know if she needs it, but I sure as hell do.
So today we play.
Today we will snuggle in our pajamas over bowls of “vanilla and vagola” which is her code for yogurt topped with granola. We will sing our funny sailor songs as we play doll house and dress up in plastic jewelry. We’ll dig in the dirt and play catch with the dog in the backyard that is just beginning to be touched by spring. We’ll cuddle together at quiet time, dance in our bare feet, and hunt for magic beans as we wait for the afternoon school bus. We’ll draw the world in chalk and marker and memories. Maybe in the midst of all this I’ll cross something off my massive to-do list of deadlines. Maybe not. I doubt stopping for one day will throw the earth off its axis or send my dissertation into chaos.
I do know, though, that stopping for one day to snuggle my buddy will do wonders to renew my spirit. And possibly hers.
Sometimes it’s hard to balance the chaos of homework and dinner.
Sometimes it’s hard to explain perseverance to a 7-year-old who wants nothing more than to skip this one difficult piano piece.
Sometimes it’s hard to help a 6-year-old build a robot that looks like a dinosaur.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to shower or fix my hair or change out of my yoga pants.
Sometimes Even once it’s hard to hear your son say he’s not sure his parents love him.
Sometimes it’s overwhelming to try to understand why scary things happen to good people.
Sometimes it’s hard to help when you’re not sure if anything you do is ever enough.
Sometimes it’s hard to watch two people who are so alike crash so vehemently.
Sometimes it’s hard to hear yelling and frustrations when this is supposed to be the dream.
Sometimes it’s hard to continuously play the optimist.
Sometimes it’s hard.