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Today I was driving through a small town with my girls, and spotted a farmer selling produce. The first thought that came to my mind was, “I wonder if they have green tomatoes yet!” I had been looking for them for since the first day of summer. I turned the car around and BINGO! There they were–beautiful green tomatoes fresh off the farm.
As far as I am concerned, there is only ONE purpose for green tomatoes. They were meant to be FRIED (yes, I am from the SOUTH where we fry almost everything). Frying green tomatoes also brought back a great memory for my family. Last summer, my mother-in-love (not LAW) came to stay with us for a few weeks for the first time ever in the 17 years my husband and I have been married. I welcomed the opportunity to learn from her cooking expertise. As a mother who cooked for her ten children, who are now all grown, she has earned her cooking credibility. I wanted to learn to cook some new things, and possibly some things that would remind my husband of fond childhood food memories from his parent’s home. When I found out she knew how to cook fried green tomatoes, it was ON! After a quick trip to our local farmers market, and a check of the pantry to make sure we had all the appropriate seasonings, she agreed to THROW DOWN in my kitchen.
Oh my goodness! Those fried green tomatoes were so good, our family ate them all before dinner. After my mother-in-love’s visit was over, we couldn’t stop craving those tomatoes. I continued making trips to the farmer’s market and buying green tomatoes and frying them until green tomatoes could no longer be found for that season.
I studied her simple recipe pretty good, and eventually learned to make fried green tomatoes that taste as good as she made them. Today I made fried green tomatoes and posted them on Facebook. After receiving a couple of requests for the recipe, I decided to blog the recipe. It was SO HARD to put this into a formula that others can follow because I pretty much eyeball everything I cook. No worries though. My kids and I were more than happy to test this formula to make sure it was just right. Furthermore, it gave us a great excuse for eating more fried green tomatoes tonight! Also, putting this recipe in writing was great practice for my upcoming cookbook that focuses on fast meals for MOMS (or anyone) on the go!
Devinely Fried Green Tomatoes
4-5 medium sized green tomatoes (make sure the tomatoes have NO RED outside or inside once you cut them. Redness makes fried tomatoes too soggy)
1 cup of cornmeal
1/4 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of kosher salt or 1 teaspoon of table salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
- Stir all the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
- Rinse the tomatoes and cut them into 1/8-1/4″ slices.
- Place the tomatoes in the dry batter and coat them evenly.
- Heat approx. 1″ of vegetable oil in a skillet on med-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, place a layer of the battered tomatoes in the skillet. Be sure not to overlap or stack any tomatoes.
- Fry the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Turn over the tomatoes and fry the other side for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Remove from the skillet and place on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. These fried green tomatoes taste great alone, with Ranch dressing, or with ketchup (so my kids say). Please share your results with me when you decide to make them. Oh yes, and create a memory with your family that involves this recipe!
What is the best thing about going away on a family vacation? It’s doing adventurous activities, discovering new things, and creating memorable moments with your family. On the other side, vacation time may pose an issue–being around your family the ENTIRE TIME. Wait, did I just say that? YES, I did. Come on, how often are you joined at the hip with everyone in your family for several days straight? You’re inseparable while trying to compromise on everything from where to eat, where to shop, where to play, etc. Without some loose guidelines, it can be stressful! Not to mention the hot sun, long lines at amusement parks (if that’s what you do on vacation), crazy sleeping and eating schedules, and being away from the comforts of home. All of those can be ingredients for major misery if not dealt with properly.Vacation should be FUN, not frustrating, right?
We just returned from our family vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC (see our vacation photos at the end of this blog). We had a really fun time. I think we have finally found what works for us. Here are our SIX SURVIVAL RULES FOR VACATION!
RULE 1. Wear whatever you want to wear. No matching, ironing, coordination needed. No judgment either. My kids love this one. I admit my husband and I are sticklers about how our kids look when they leave our house. We have had to learn to give our teenagers some room to “express themselves” while still upholding some of our no-compromise standards. And those no-compromise standards are still upheld on vacation; however, they have freedom within those guidelines!
RULE 2. Compromise is a must. In a family of five, there are not a whole lot of things we all enjoy doing together besides mini golf. Everything else we do together takes compromise. We have learned that being together on some activities and seeing someone else completely happy is most valuable.
RULE 3. Be lazy if you want to be. Sleep in all morning. Stay up late as you would like. No cooking. No washing dishes. In fact, do not do anything that resembles a chore. We only require that everyone keeps up their personal hygiene and please make the bed if housekeeping services are not available.
RULE 4. Be your own budget planner.I learned a valuable lesson on a previous vacation that led me to this rule. We give our kids their own spending money in cash to use it on whatever they want. They never have to use it towards NEEDS. It is strictly for their wants. It gives them such a sense of independence. They get to decide which purchases are really important to them. It also keeps them from constantly coming to us for every little thing they want. Our only policy is once they spend all their money, it is gone so use it wisely.
RULE 5. Divide and conquer. My girls and I love to go shopping, but my husband and son don’t really care to do that. They would rather be driving race cars or something. We will usually agree to divide and conquer, especially if we are limited on time. This year we divided differently. My husband accompanied me on a quick run to one of my favorite stores while the kids went to the beach.
RULE 6. Space PLEASE. Somewhere along the way you may just want a little space. It’s ok to need a moment to yourself. One day my husband and I got up early and walked on the beach while our kids slept. Other times, I got up early and had some alone time with God to read the Bible and meditate. Our kids are at an age where they don’t have to share sleeping space with us. Having separate rooms from your kids (when they are at the appropriate age) can be a relief for you and them.
SUPERmom Decoded Tip: Know your family and what works for you. Create your own unique vacation experience. Do what you must to make it memorable, not miserable. Stay FLEXIBLE!
One of the most heart wrenching moments for most working moms is that day when you have to return to your job after maternity, leaving your baby at a daycare. Ugh! (insert scream here). It does not matter if it is your first baby or your fifth baby, going back to work at that moment can be downright agonizing. Besides, being home healing from the delivery process and caring for your newborn baby can provide a much needed escape from your work environment. Who could not get use to 6-8 weeks at home (hopefully WITH pay)? Nice, right? That is a BIG DEAL in itself, but the bigger deal is that you get to be THERE for your child. THERE to take them to their doctors’ appointments, THERE to feed them, THERE to rock them to sleep, THERE to watch them laugh, etc. You get my point, right?
Deciding whether or not to work outside the home is a huge decision. In fact, it’s one of the most challenging decisions you may ever have to make. I have once before gone through the difficult process of making the decision to stay at home, and have also counseled with several women as they have toiled over making the same decision. I’m not naive. I know that this is a touchy issue among women. I am not here to debate either side. As a mom, I have both stayed at home and worked outside the home full-time. I can tell you that neither is easy. I choose not to judge either woman by their decision as to whether or not they work outside their home. I know great moms that stay at home and great moms that don’t. Ok, now that we have that cleared up, here are some factors to look at when determining if you will stay home.
Choice– I heard a great quote that says, “Life is choice driven. You live and die by the choices you make.” So true! Life is full of choices. Every choice has a price that you should evaluate upfront, and determine if you are willing to pay it. What price will you pay if you work inside the home full-time? Will it cost you a lessened household income that you feel would be financially detrimental right now? If so, are you willing to pay the price to restructure your budget, cut out some two income luxuries, and set new financial priorities? Are you willing to pay the price of discipline to pay down debt? NOTE: Deciding to stay home does NOT mean you have to take an oath of poverty. Remember, YOUR thinking determines YOUR living. Who says you will have to struggle to stay afloat just because you are not working outside the home full-time? Even if someone else experienced at financial struggle when they left their job doesn’t mean that you will. Sure, challenges will come, but challenges come when you work outside the home, too! You have to trust God and walk by faith either way. Put a comprehensive financial plan in place and work the plan.
Agreement– Does your spouse agree that you being home is the right thing to do right now? If he doesn’t agree, don’t do it! Coming home without his agreement will only irritate him and put you in a position to have to constantly prove yourself to him. Agreement gives you creative power! You can accomplish more if you are on the same team than if you are fighting against each other. If your spouse does not agree right now, WAIT prayerfully and abstain from constant nagging and complaining about it. Search for creative ways to demonstrate to him how much more enhanced your lives would be if you were home.
Prepare– Make a plan for a smooth transition. Maybe the time isn’t right for you to be home right now, but it is more advantageous to do it in the near future. Create a plan that you can work towards. Will you transition into part time work before coming home full-time? Will you run a home based business? If so, what steps can you take now to get that set up so that the transition home will be easy? In most cases, coming home isn’t something you want to do suddenly. You must prepare. Preparation days are never wasted days!
Purpose– What will be your purpose for being home? Defining your purpose or compelling reason why you are home will help you stick it out for the long haul. How long will you be home? Is it until the kids get a certain age or grade? What are your spouse’s expectations of you? Have a REAL talk about this one. There are lots of myths about being at home. Read my blog on the Top 4 Myths About Stay at Home Moms. It will help you set some realistic goals and expectations.
Supermom Tip– Are you thinking about making the transition to become a stay at home mom? Don’t make an emotional decision. When the emotion wears off, you will still have to live with your decision. Pray about it. Talk about it. Research it. Decisions like this take time. Don’t rush into it.
Let me hear from YOU. What are your thoughts on this blog? I love hearing from you!
Thank you for reading my blog. If you think it is helpful, please share it with others via your social networking sites and e-mail list. Go to comments, and look for the sharing options on this blog. I appreciate you!
If you have ever been a stay-at-home mom, chances are you have had a lot to deal with. Kids, schedules, duties, errands, etc. can seem never ending. It’s not like you need anything else to deal with, but you have probably had to deal with one more thing– the myths people have about what a Stay-at-home mom does. In fact, you may have had your own myths before taking on this new role. Read these top 4 myths about stay-at-home moms, and see if any of these sound familiar.
Myth #1: You Don’t Work or Hold a REAL Job—This is so offensive it’s almost funny. A REAL job??? Hmm…maybe you’re right. It’s really more of an UNREAListic job at times. Most “real jobs” give you a paycheck for your time, offer insurance and investment benefits, provide scheduled lunch breaks, give time off for vacation, afford you paid sick days, and here’s the best one—they have hours of operation so you get a start time and an end time to your day. Stay-at-home moms get NONE of that, and most are not sad about it. The benefit of time with their children far outweighs the benefits of a “real job”.
Myth #2: You Don’t Have a College Degree— Sure, you may have graduated from high school, but surely you don’t have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. I mean, if you did, you would be out earning a living at some top paying job, right? WRONG. Many stay-at-home moms have college degrees. The choice to stay home with their kids is just that—a choice. That choice usually has more to do with their beliefs about family, what’s beneficial for their family right now, or maybe even their religious beliefs. They don’t believe staying at home with their kids is a waste of a degree, but an investment into their family.
Myth #3: You Have Unlimited Free Time—Oh yes, 24 hours of nothing to do. How dreamy! This misconception is often adopted by the new stay-at-home mom, too. The new stay-at-home mom tends to think she will have tons of time to pray and read her Bible (if it was not a priority before, it won’t automatically become one now that you’re home), go to lunch with friends (most of your friends will probably be at work), sleep in when needed (NOT), and catch up on television shows and other leisurely things (TV? What’s that?). And let’s not forget the plans that your well-meaning family members have made for you now that you have all this free time. You can run their errands and handle business matters for them while they work. Friends may think they can call you daily and talk for hours since you’re home all day. Neighbors believe they can drop by unannounced or count on you to catch the delivery truck scheduled to drop off an important package at their home. After all, you have so much free time on your hands. Your spouse may be surprised and maybe even a little upset to learn that you haven’t accomplished a (un)reasonable amount of tasks during the day. He may ask, “ What have you been doing with all your free time?” Whoa, TIME OUT! (Insert a blow of the whistle right here). Here’s the truth. Time switches to warp speed when you’re at home. If you are not up and dressed by at least 10 am, your day will be gone before you know it. Also, kids can keep you very, very, very busy. If they are home they keep you busy. If they are at school, you still have tons of things to do around the house. If you volunteer some of your time, that makes your schedule even tighter. If you are running a business out of your home, that makes you busy, too! Help your spouse, family, friends, and neighbors out by re-defining what “at home” really means. Lovingly establish boundaries with them. Help them understand that you are not on an extended vacation. You still do work, just at different address.
Myth #4: You Have No Money or You Have Excessive Money— They think, “You poor thing you. You must be barely making it if you’re not holding down a steady job these days. After all, who can support a family in this economy without both spouses working? Or here’s the other extreme—They ask, “What line of work does your husband do that makes it affordable for you to stay home? He must make a lot of money. “ While those two scenarios may be the case for some moms that stay home, it’s certainly not the case for all. Many moms that stay home just make choices that financially support their decision. They also learn how to be creative and how to be content. They believe that life isn’t always about them having the most, but simply about them making the most of what they have.
Supermom Tip– Know your value. Don’t allow anyone else define you or determine your value. Whether you work as a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home, YOU MATTER to God, your family, and your community.
Ok, so do you have any myths to add to this list? If you are a stay-at-home mom, have you had to deal with family or friends that held these types of beliefs about you? If you’re a mom that works outside the home, did you ever think any of these myths about stay-at-home moms? I value your feedback and love reading your comments!
Thank you for reading my blog. If you think it is helpful, please share it with others via your social networking sites and e-mail list. Go to comments, and look for the sharing options on this blog. I appreciate you!
If you are like me, you have meaningful relationships in your life that need to be cultivated besides the relationship you have with your kids. You may be a wife needing to spend time away from home with your husband or a single mom wanting time with your friends. Regardless of your situation, spending time cultivating relationships with other adults is vital to your mental well-being! Finding that time is not always easy; especially when your kids are not old enough to be home alone. Sure, you could pay to hire a sitter or you could take advantage of these five ways to get a sitter for FREE!
Be Eventful – Taxiing your kids to birthday parties and sporting events can crowd out your personal time on the weekends. Maximize those moments! Check with the party host or another responsible adult at the event to see if you can leave your kids there under their watchful eye. Use that time to catch a movie and go to dinner if time permits.
Be Creative– Who says a date or alone time has to be relegated to Friday or Saturday nights? Try day time dates. Use those valuable hours while your kids are at school to plan a day out! Take advantage of the smaller crowds and inexpensive pricing of movies and lunch menus that are offered through the daytime only.
Be Giving– Who understands your need for a date or alone time more than anyone? Another mom does. Work out days and times where you can keep each other’s kids at no cost. Perhaps every 4th Friday night she can drop her kids off at your house, and you can drop your kids at her house every 2nd Friday night. Each of you stands to benefit from giving free time to each other. You can never lose when you give!
Be Relative– Family matters, especially when it comes to needing a sitter. Grandparents, mature teen nieces, younger siblings, and other trusted family members should be at the top of the list when it comes to needing someone to keep the kids. Their familiarity with your kids and loving family bond can make them an easy choice when you need to get away.
Be Community-Minded– Your local community churches or fitness centers may offer FREE Parent’s Night Out services on a monthly basis. A gym in my local area offers it to those with gym memberships. Look out for free babysitting services like this in your community. Check your local newspaper, or ask around. What you need could be right there in your neighborhood!
Supermom Tip– Do not compromise cultivating other meaningful relationships in your life because you don’t want the hassle or expense of getting a sitter. Your other relationships matter, too! Occasionally dedicating some time to those relationships will help you achieve an overall balance to your life.
Do you know anyone who could benefit from these ideas? Please share this with others via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc.
Let’s face it– moms are busy. Managing our personal universe in 24 hour increments is no small job! The day to day activities can take a toll on even the most organized mom. Sure, the family vacation is scheduled for this year, but what do you do when you need a break NOW and the annual family vacation is months away? You look in the mirror and unashamedly sing that old McDonalds jingle to yourself, “You deserve a break today!” I have learned by experience that taking mini breaks along the way help me maintain a sense of balance in my life. My motto is: Take MINI breaks to help prevent MAJOR breakdowns. Regardless of your income, you can have the break you deserve! Here are my 7 Budget Friendly Breaks for Moms.
- Get Grounded– A coffee shop like Starbucks is a great place to chill out for a bit, get caught up on a book, or even do some light work on your laptop. Perhaps you can also enjoy your favorite coffee beverage while you’re there. The great thing about Starbucks is that it’s a huge chain, with locations everywhere. Chances are there is one near your house. That way, you don’t have to go very far to get away.
- Heavenly Hands & Feet– Smart nail shop owners are answering the relaxation needs of their clients by adding a spa-like feel to their nail shops. To help clients relax, they have thrown out the blaring volume flat screen televisions, and traded them for mellow music and spa like décor in a kid-free environment. Forget about scheduling pricey spa treatments weeks in advance. The easy walk in policy has made it effortless for you to just drop in on the fly and get a manicure and/or pedicure for a decent price.
- Walk It Out– Break out your gym shoes and take a stroll around your neighborhood or a nearby park alone. The fresh air and change of scenery can do wonders for clearing your mind. Take your iPod and listen to something inspiring, or simply enjoy the nature scene while walking or running in total peace and quiet.
- Road Runner– Do you live near a scenic highway or country road? Get in the car and drive on it. Don’t cloud your mind with a specific destination or time to get there. You’re not playing taxi, you’re just driving off into the sunset (haven’t you always wanted to say you did that anyway?).Enjoy the ride.
- Hotel California– Ok, so maybe you don’t live in California, but you can still go to a hotel. Staying 1-2 nights in a nearby hotel can provide relaxation wonders. Let the housekeeper clean your room, and be sure to take advantage of room service at least once. Consider using online bidding services like Hotwire or last minute deals at Hotels.com to find and book your room at an inexpensive price. It does not have to cost a fortune to live in luxury for a couple of nights. Sweet dreams!
- Staycation– If you were headed to an event or had to travel out of town, you wouldn’t hesitate to locate a sitter for your kids. Have you ever considered getting a sitter just so you can stay home? Consider doing it, especially if you can sit at home without thinking of all the work you want to do to your home. Take that uninterrupted bubble bath, sleep in, work on your hobby, etc. It’s YOUR time. Use it on YOU.
- Retail Therapy– No worries! I am not talking about going out and splurging, although that would be nice from time to time if it doesn’t set you back financially. If you love to shop like I do, set yourself a budget and buy yourself something. The only rule is that you have to spend the money on YOU! Even if you set aside $20 to spend, you can buy a new MAC lipstick, a fabulous pair of earrings, or maybe you catch an unbelievable clearance sale at your favorite store. It’s not really about what you get; it’s about putting YOU your mind. YOU MATTER!
These are just some of my favorite ideas. I hope you will be proactive about setting aside time to take a mini-break . Make these breaks happen for yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.