An End Of An Era

In one short week, our official last summer with babies is coming to an end. So, let me just start off by saying, I’m a bit of a basket case. There are so many emotions and thoughts running through my head like “our baby is not a baby anymore, it will be good for her, what if she’s too wild for the other kids, did we really teach her enough to get by, or even worse, did we teach her too much to get by?” (FYI this last thought is because we have discovered her new favorite pastime is loudly announcing she has tooted or screaming out “you little rat!”) But, even with so many worries and weird habits emerging, I have to admit I’m pretty excited to see what our new journey has in store for all of us.

I truly pray that school helps them discover more of their unique personalities and fills their needs to know everything. I pray that they discover love for new things  and begin friendships that will last a lifetime. I pray that with each passing day they become stronger, more independent, and find a passion for learning. I pray that they continue to learn when they fall to get right back up and that the most important thing is just to have fun.  

Most of all, I pray for all you new school Mamas out there. I hope that you find the comfort of knowing you finally made it through the baby era and the courage to welcome a new.

Catching My Breath

450… days that is…

Yes it’s true and let me first start off by saying I will not even pretend I have some amazing story to why I haven’t written a post in the last 450 days. It would be awesome to tell you that I went on a year-long journey traveling the world or spent the last 450 days focusing on a new job or life changing event, but to tell you the truth, life just happened. Kids, school, swim lessons, vacations, dance classes, wine, soccer practices, date nights, movie nights, road trips, more wine, laundry, neighborhood parties, birthday parties, home improvements, painting, reading, binge watching on Netflix, potty training, working out, etc., etc., etc. all of it… It just happened. Life just took over and like every mama finding the time or energy to stay up late or get up early to write just faded away; however, slowly but surely I’m starting to find the time to catch my breath.

Maybe it’s because in a few months our little will be turning 3 and slowly but surely baby items are making their way out of the house or packed in boxes. Maybe it’s that finally after 4 years, I feel like I’m slowly starting to get the hang of this motherhood thing and juggling it all is getting easier. Or hell maybe I’m just another year older and figured late is better than never so just start typing again because I really enjoy doing it.

Either way, here’s to a new start (again) of having you join my imperfectly perfect world!

Intuitive Painting

My entire life, I have loved art. Drawing, painting, or just simply viewing art has always made me feel at ease. I’ve been drawing since a very young age, but it wasn’t until my teenage and college years that I actually started completing pieces. Unfortunately between life choices and just not having the time, art was put to the side and for over a decade I’ve been itching to get back into picking up a paint brush and pen. It wasn’t until recently that after my best friend lent me a book called Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley that I knew maybe it was time to get back to the one thing I was meant to do.

My problem creating art has always been deciding what to paint or draw. The thoughts of “What would people really want to buy or hang in their homes?” constantly came into play and were big distractions. It was always about others and never about myself. So I finally I decided to go for it, took Flora’s advice, and got out of my head. I turned on some music, mediated a little, and started painting. I painted with my hands, with brushes, with cardboard, water, and rags. I danced around and painted through every song I loved. This was my first attempt and as you can see even intuitively I’m drawn to trees.

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From here, I knew at some point I wanted to incorporate pen into my painting, so I needed to get a background that was suitable to draw on. This is where a big palette knife came into play and has become one of my favorite tools to use. By adding white and a little color, I was able to help give texture to the painting, as well as, add a nice smooth layer to draw on.

Breath 3

Even though I started getting an idea of where I wanted the painting to go, I still wanted to stick with my initial purpose of creating intuitively. At this point, like most of my paintings in life, I was stuck listening to the same song over and over again until the painting was complete. Here I just let the song take over and let it guide me on where to place the trees. Each tree started from just a ball point pen drawing (as seen by the tree to the far left), and then paint, more pen, and a razor was used to give the tree life and texture.

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Here is the final piece called Breath. It is an 18×24 acrylic and pen on canvas. I can’t believe it has taken me over a decade to complete an original piece, but I am so happy I have found art again. I have already started on my second piece and can’t wait to create more to share.

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All photos and painting ©Christine Frances

Stuffed Peppers

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Being from the south, I grew up around my Grandma making her famous stuffed peppers. They were always filled with the most amazing shrimp and rice stuffing that I can still smell her cooking to this day. Unfortunately since this is a southern dish, healthy is not a word I would use to describe it. This is why I set out to find a healthier alternative that my family and I could enjoy all the time. After trying a few different recipes and never coming across one I absolutely loved, I decided to make my own. This is a mixture of all the different recipes I have used in the past, and the one I find my kids really love. Feel free to try it like it is or add your own ingredients to make it your own!

Goodnight Mama Stuffed Peppers
8 medium peppers (They can be green, red, or yellow. I have tried them all and love them all!)
4 steamed carrots chopped finely
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 medium onion chopped finely
1 can pre-rinsed black beans
1/2 pack of ground turkey or shrimp cooked and chopped
1/2 pack of freshly steamed or frozen spinach
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro chopped
Salt, pepper, and cumin to taste (Sorry I never measure these out)
Drizzle of olive oil
Sprinkle of breadcrumbs (optional: this is really is just a throw back to my Grandma’s recipe)

 

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350. Begin by cutting peppers in half and removing all seeds. Place halved peppers face up into a baking dish. Next, add the cooked quinoa, chopped onion and carrots, black beans, pre-cooked turkey or shrimp, steamed spinach, and cilantro into a bowl and mix well. Season to taste. Stuff all halved peppers with mixture than drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle each with breadcrumbs. Next, add enough water to the baking dish to cover the bottom of the dish. This will help steam the peppers and keep the stuffing moist. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30-45 minutes.  Remove from oven when peppers are tender.

Mommy Mode

For the last six weeks, I’ve been in a little thing I like to call Mommy Mode. For most of you that know what I’m talking about, I can already see you cringing; however, for those of you that haven’t experienced this recurring phenomenon that most mama’s hate, I’ll let you in on the secret.

Mommy Mode

(Also known as survival mode, seriously not again mode, no sleep mode, stir crazy mode, and for all you stay at home moms the I wish I still worked to get a sick day mode) Mommy Mode is the time period in a household where one little person brings home a sickness and magically transfers it to everyone in the house. It usually occurs every couple of months and can last up to 6-8 weeks. Your main priority for the entire duration is to be a mommy (even when sick) for 24 hours 7 days a week until all is well. Side effects are losing the ability to get anything done, sleepless nights, and avoidance with the outside world.

My Mommy Mode started a month and a half ago, when our soon to be three-year old came home with a little cold. From the first sneeze and cough, I knew what was in store for us and cringed at the thought. Especially since her birthday party and our trip home to New Orleans for Easter was coming up. Six weeks, three colds, two sinus infections, two ear infections, three doctors visits, and a lot of antibiotics later, I can safely say the girls and I are in the clear.

Needless to say, throughout this whole ordeal a few things were put on hold (as you can see from my last post dating over a month ago), but I am hoping now that we are all on the road to recovery, we can get back to normal life and start getting ready for summer. If there is one thing I have learned from Mommy Mode it’s that sometimes you just have to accept you can’t do everything and that’s ok.

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