Has it really been a year?

mama bear plus 6

I am clueless to how a year has passed since my last post here at Mama Bear Plus 6!

The kids and I left WA State and moved to Coeur d ‘Alene Idaho and what another amazing adventure that has been, we LOVE it!

1 daughter has left the nest to start her adult journey.

1 on her way out in just a few months and is heading to WSU to study business, GO COUGS!

I finished my Tamale Therapy cookbook, finally! You can find that here http://cookingtamales.com/

We are adding a new member to the family, my oldest daughter and her husband are expecting their 1st baby, a son, in April 2015 (which is weeks away folks, just weeks!)! This nanna is SO overly excited!! You can read about that journey at http://thenannachronicles.com/

mama bear plus 6

A lot of life can happen in 1 year! We have been super busy and why I have not just jumped on and posted updates or recipes or pictures… well I will not serve anyone any excuses because we all know that’s all they are. Honestly I just haven’t made time!

Hope this finds everyone amazing and all the things that have taken place in your life in the last year have been wonderful!

Mama Bear Plus 6+

Best Alfredo Sauce

When I say best, I mean it. This sauce is SO delish you could drink it, you know if you were into that sort of thing, drinking sauces and all…

The recipe is enough sauce to feed approx 8 people. You can always make more or less depending on how much you and your family love it. We usually make extra and store it in fridge since we eat it on other things like too like steamed veggies or cooked cubed potatoes or talapia, etc. We mainly serve this with fettuccine or egg noodles. Want to try it on angel hair pasta but haven’t yet. We also add shredded chicken or tiny shrimp to our bowl as well along with some steamed veggies and garlic bread on the side. Makes a great meal!

Best Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup butter
1/2 block of cream cheese
1 quart of heavy whipping cream (NO not the sweetened cream!) (You can use just regular whipping cream but the whisk process will take longer so we prefer heavy)
2 cloves or 2 tbsp garlic, crushed (add more of less depending on how garlic-y you like it)
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (if desired)
Salt & Pepper (we like lots of pepper in ours)

Note: I have used “lowfat” versions of all ingredients and it has come out just as yummy, maybe a lil thinner but still good 🙂

Melt your butter, mix in garlic, then add the cream cheese. Stir till melted together. Add your heavy whipping cream, parsley if desired (you can at this step or top your finished dish with it), salt and pepper and begin whisking. This is a tedious process, not going to lie. It takes a good 20-30 minutes to whisk this stuff to thicken it. If you want a “thinner” sauce then of course you can whisk for a few and stop but we like a thicker sauce so we whisk, at times we take turns whisking (especially if we are making more for extra people) Turn off heat and add the Parmesan, you can add all 2 cups or you can add hlaf and use the other half to top your dish, the choice is yours. Allow to cool a bit as this will help it thicken as well. Serve and enjoy! You really don’t need a lot of sauce on your pasta or dish. A little sauce goes a long way!

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P.S. I use a silicone whisk so I don’t scratch the crap outta my good pans, just an FYI 🙂

Here is 1 that I love and for a great price!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

 

 

My Tubal Ligation Journey Begins

A tubal ligation “journey”!? Yes I will call it that. I mean have you ever typed tubal ligation into Google!? Good grief! Is there anyone who loves it since having it done? Are there any satisfied customers? No really, I am having a hard time finding any “good” stories! All I can find is posts on PTLS (Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome)  and every other side effect or problem people have had. Which is great and informative if that is the info I am looking for, but it isn’t. I think in my mind I was searching more for the “You will be so glad you did this” or the “You will love it” reassurance that I did the right thing even though I feel I did. I just have to say, I am SO sorry to those of you that have had it done and it was not all good and as you expected it to be! At this time, I can only imagine your frustration.

I am a 37 (almost 38) mama of 6 and I had a tubal ligation and an ablation on Feb 3rd. I have always wanted 8-10 children so this choice didn’t come lightly. It weighed on my heart for a few years. I have spent many hours deep in thought, prayer and in my head battle over making the appointment that would ultimately change my life forever.

For a little TMI: I have always had heavy periods and horrible cramps which I controlled most of the time, between children, with the birth control pill and it worked for the most part. But as everyone knows, especially those who watch TV commercials know there are side effects that come with all drugs, period, so I already knew that I didn’t want to take the BCP forever. And not being in a relationship, married or even sexually active taking  the pill and exposing myself to “effects” wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing long term.

6 years ago when my 6th and youngest child was born and I went in for my 6 week check up my then OB/GYN suggested that I get an ablation done. He briefly explained the procedure, he may have explained it in depth but I am pretty sure I blocked him out the second he said I wouldn’t be able to carry a child again. The fact that it would cure the heavy period and cramping sounded great but never ever having the chance to have another child scared me.

Fast forward thru those years of taking the pill even though I didn’t want to, moving to WA state where my periods basically said “What pill!?” and acted as if I was on none on top of the new diagnosis, high blood pressure, my days of ever taking the BCP ended. Isn’t that what I wanted all along? Isn’t that what I prayed for, a solution to not have to medicate my body? A way to not have to deal with this 2+week bleeding and contraction like cramps?

The research began, a tubal/Esure, an IUD,  a patch, a partial hysterectomy… My options appeared to be limited with the period history so my choices were narrowed down for me. It was a tubal or Esure (which is also a type of tubal where metal springs are inserted in your tubes where scar tissue grows and prevents pregnancy) and possibly a partial hysterectomy. I don’t know about you but inserting metal springs into my tubes didn’t sound very appealing along with all the lawsuits that were attached to stories of people getting this done and research that doesn’t date back very far. Is this that new? Did they just creates something to block the tubes and ask people to sign up to try it!? Yikes! And finding a doc that still does a “regular tubal” also proved to be somewhat of a challenge. Along with only doing a tubal will NOT take care of my main problem, the periods. After hearing a certain docs name come up in several conversations with people and asking my PCP I finally found a great doc that would do a regular tubal and an ablation (which they prefer to do together in some cases to further prevent a pregnancy from trying to attach itself to the wall of the uterus after ablation). He said a partial hysterectomy was not needed and if anything would be a last resort if needed down the road.

Now the tests begin. Ultrasounds, biopsies (AKA crotch saw! OUCH!) and blood work to make sure there were no underlying problems before we proceeded with the surgery. Everything is a go in just 1 weeks time! Is this real? Am I really going to go thru with this? Doc office calls to set the appointment for the surgery, GULP! Am I sure this is what I want to do? Ugh so many doubts but yet so much excitement to get this done and over with. Sleepless nights, tears here and there and LOTS of prayer! Just do it Kelly!

Here goes nothing (or everything!). So grateful to my daughter for taking me there, watching her little brother and waiting for me to bring me back home. Grateful for the kiddos at home that are prepared to help clean, cook and keep an eye on the babes for me while I recover from my 1st (and hopefully last) surgery. Several moments of question while I had my IV set up and talked to all the nurses but I was really just ready, ready to begin this new journey, ready to have 1 less thing to worry about in life, ready to put this behind me. Check in at 9am, surgery time 11am, out by 12pm and on my way home by 1:30pm. 2 incisions on my tummy, 1 in belly button 1 above pubic line. Waking up and realizing it was done and I was still alive allowed for some tears for a brief moment, even though the nurse kept saying crying after anesthesia is normal, it wasn’t from the anesthesia. It was from the realization. Had my throat not been so raw from the breathing tube I would have been able to express that to her, owell, hahaha.

Day 1, SO sore. Dizzy, brain fog, a lil nauseous, hungry, cotton mouth, shaky and so tired. 1st night I could not sleep, had the worst vivid dreams and the worst cotton mouth. Can’t take the hydrocodone their prescribed due to itchiness so ibuprofen it is.

Day 2, getting out of bed was hard, what is this shoulder and neck pain from UGH! No voice, raw throat. SO sore, felt like I would rip the stitches. I so do not do good with anyone touching my belly button much less there being stitches in it, YUCK! Thinking some of the nausea was coming from that. Stairs so NOT my friend… Sore during the day and so foggy headed but restless not able to sit still for long. Trying to gather my thoughts feeling a lil lost. But overall not too bad. Honestly expected to feel worse. Still couldn’t sleep. Insomnia… Dreams… Dizzy…

Day 3, Dear Lord… The worst day so far. Throat still raw. Felt feverish, sore, nauseated, dizzy, couldn’t move and couldn’t sit still. Ibuprofen not making any difference. No appetite. Sad and tearful. Kept thinking about all the mistakes I made in my life wondered if this was 1 of them (WTF!?) Who am I!? Drove for the 1st time today, probably wasn’t the safest thing to do… Sorry other drivers near me when I was going 20 in a 40 thinking I was speeding. Thank goodness it was just up the road.

Day 4, a busy day ahead catching up on all appointments. Feeling better, still sore but controlled by ibuprofen, thank you God! Did WAY too much and felt it by evening time felt sick to tummy and dizzy. Sleep calling my name. Frustrated, just want to feel good again and feel normal. Just want to have energy and umph! Want to be able to bend down and get the laundry out of the dryer, is that too much to ask!?

Day 5, today, Feel SO much better!  Slept so good, whew! Ate breakfast for 1st time all week. Sore, but didn’t take ibuprofen till noon. Getting some work done. Still a lil foggy brained but SO much better than the last few days. Still a lil hoarse but not as sore throat. Feel like I can actually go for a walk, a short 1, but a walk. Stairs are a little easier as well. All in all feel pretty good. (fingers crossed its all good from here!)

This is my journey with this experience. I have been asked many questions before the surgery and several questions now as to how this all came about, why I was doing it and how I am feeling now that it is done so I felt it was best to share it all in 1 place. At this point I have no regrets and feel great about my choice. Based on what my doctor has said, I am where I am suppose to be with the recovery period and maybe even doing a little more than expected at this point. Everybody is different and everyone’s body reacts different! Your doctor is your best bet for advice as he/she knows you and your history and how you should be handling your situation. Contact them right away if something doesn’t feel right.

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Here’s to a new chapter in my book of life! One that I am just beginning and looking forward to seeing how it goes.

P.S. If you have an experience with a tubal, ablation, birth control or just want to stop in and say Hi please feel free to do so!

Update Feb 20th: 2 week check up at doc, all is well. Was told I can resume all normal activities as in baths, sex, and tampons if needed. Incisions are healed. Still having “discharge”, doc explained it to be the uterine lining healing process. Can last 2-12 weeks, oh joy!

Update March 4th 2014: 1 month post-op. I feel great! Discharge done. No period yet. No weird “hormonal” issues lots of other women have talked about, like face break outs, or moodiness. Whew!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

Based on statistics 1 of my children

I am a mom of 6 VERY different kiddos and a unique son in law was added in the mix last year. My growing family fricking rocks, perfect hell NO, but awesome? hell YES! I LOVE IT and look forward to what the future holds for each 1. Seeing them all grow and change as they walk, and sometimes run thru these years is priceless. Ups and downs? Yes, of course! Adventure? Absolutely!

Now the not so pretty truth… Based on statistics chances are at least 1 of my kids will never have kids, 1 may have lots of kids, 1 may marry someone of a different race, 1 may be gay, 1 may end up a teen parent, 1 may become a drug addict, 1 may become a felon, 1 may drop out of school (high or college), 1 may get on food stamps, 1 may be fat, 1 may change their religion 5 times or choose to not believe in a higher power at all, and the list goes on, these are just a few things that some people in today’s world look down upon and choose to judge others over. I am not saying that I have never judged someone, we all have, everyone judges, period. But I have chosen to be more aware of how my comments, reactions, and the look I give people can affect how they feel about themselves. I have chosen to accept. Accept that even if I do not agree or like what someone else is doing that it is not my place to “make them feel bad about it”, especially not as a parent.

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” ― Billy Graham

When it comes to my own kids, and I speak for MYSELF here, it is my job to raise them with love, security, nurture, faith, comfort, rules, guidance, respect, focus, limits, structure, consequences, routines, traditions, expectations, and so so so much more. As a mom of many I choose to be very open minded, maybe it is easier for me than others to make that choice, I don’t know. But what I do know is that our youth are suffering and it is heart breaking! Over just the last 2 weeks I have spoke with 3 teens (and many more over months & years) that are going thru stuff  that they can’t share at home or with their families or that have tried and have been judged and called a sinner etc. How do you think they feel right now? What kinds of things are they thinking? Life is hard on adults, imagine how hard it is on our youth… I am not saying that I am a better parent then anyone else but 1 thing I am without a doubt is understanding. I understand my kids will make mistakes, and will make choices I will not approve of (but WILL love them thru it), will fall on their faces, will sneak behind my back and break rules, will be people others will judge, will judge people themselves, and will do their best to find their way in this harsh crazy world we all live in, I did these things, we all did at some point.

Lord please help me to be the mom my kids and other kids can come to and openly talk to and trust, help me be a person who can show them they are loved and important and that THEIR feelings matter if they don’t have that at home or in their circle of people, help me to try not to “understand” what they are going thru but to be the listening ear and the loving hug that they need when they have made a choice that is out of the “normal” for the world, help me help others to open their hearts to our youth and to love them unconditionally.  My heart is breaking for so many young people that don’t have love and acceptance, especially by the people they love and cherish. I know there are things that my kids have not told me and may have been more comfortable telling other people or each other (their “sister code”) but as long as they are able to talk to a person they trust about whatever it is then it puts my heart at peace, yes I want them to be able to tell me anything, of course, but I also know my teens and how it is hard for teens including mine to tell their parent(s) things when they think they may have “let them down”.

I, over time, have asked my teens, sometimes in a round about way, how they would expect me to react and/or want me to react to different situations in life as they come or how they would react if someone they love were faced with trails. Love and acceptance goes a along way… Yes folks, their opinion matters! Doesn’t mean I will do it their way but their opinion how they would come out of a situation in the most positive way matters. I have not personally dealt with all of these situations listed but know people who have and asked for their feedback as to how they did or wish they had handled it. To name a few…

If your child comes home this evening and tells you that he/she is gay, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, and be their trusted guide thru this new journey in their life! Do you have to like it!? No but they are your child and after all, God made them just the way they are 🙂 They will be bullied and judged enough during this journey, be the support they are longing for. Will it be hard for you to hear? Possibly, but imagine how hard it was for them to tell you and how scared they were but trusted their guide to talk to you shaking inside hoping that you will just pull them in and hug them tight and tell them you love them just they way they are.

If your child comes home this evening and tells you that he/she is using drugs and needs help, HELP THEM, ACCEPT THEM, LOVE THEM,  and be the trusted guide to get them thru this oh so heavy battle. God has given each of you the strength to walk this walk and get thru this and onto a path of sobriety. Easy? No Worth the struggle? YES!

If your child comes home tonight and tells you that they have been sexually abused, BELIEVE THEM, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, CHOOSE THEM, NOT the abuser (NO matter how much you “love and trust” him or her!) and be their trusted guide to healing and trusting that God has not punished by “allowing” this to happen to them but has equipped them to help others and to grow from their experience. Help them see this and truly believe it. Some of us have been there and know how easy it is to blame things that happen on our lives on our past, help them to grow away from doing that. Help them to build their happiness, security and safety higher than ever so they can reach others with their strength. Sadly a lot of times the abuser is believed and chosen over the children, the victims, this my friends will forever damage the child, their world, their hearts & souls, their trust, their bond with you as their parent and who knows what else. God trusted you to raise and love your child, choose them.

If you find drugs or cigarettes or porn in your childs room, LOVE THEM, TALK TO THEM (maybe yell a little hehe), ACCEPT THEM, try to understand that this could be an addiction and they may be silently screaming for help. God has equipped you both with a way to break this cycle and to heal from addiction and to get to a brighter path. You can do this together, but addiction alone is a harsh and scary thing. Don’t turn your back on them. Right now is when they need you the most.

If your teen comes home today and tells you she is pregnant or he got someone pregnant, LOVE THEM, TALK TO THEM, ACCEPT THEM and face what has happened together. You, at this point, can’t change what has been done. All you can do is join together and discuss what the next steps are. They will be scared and nervous and so unsure of what will happen to their future. Assure them they are not alone. Is it okay this happened? Of course not, but it did and now the should’ve would’ve could’ve crap has no meaning. God equipped you all with the patience, strength and faith to walk this path so get to stepping and have faith it is all a part of the “bigger plan”.

If your child is caught stealing and you get that dreaded call from the police or family member they stole from, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, HELP THEM, be the person that can and will teach them it is wrong and that they will have to face the consequences that come with breaking the law. God has given you the patience and strength to love them thru bad situations and when they make mistakes.

Our kids are going to f**k up folks! We all have, we all still will! We are all only human and often times we forget that our youth deserves the same 2nd, 3rd, 18th, 21973268th chance with us as parents as our maker gives us! I will say it again, NO I am not a perfect parent and NO I am not telling anyone how to parent I am simply stating how we as parents can change our future our youth with loving them thru the crap in this world. They are NOT “just kids or just teens or just children” they are people, people with REAL feelings, heart, emotions and souls who are fueled by and need love, care and support from us adults.

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Mama Bear Plus 6

A large family-How to keep it all together!

If you are like me, trying to keep track of everything without post its, scrap paper taped everywhere, an occasional pen art reminder on the back of your hand, dry erase boards full, desire for a chalk board refrigerator or wall, an overloaded smartphone calendar etc is IMPOSSIBLE! And with all those things I still miss so much, why? NO organization to the madness!!

The dreaded call from the dentist office stating that this is the 2nd time we missed an appointment and next time we will be charged and/or placed on a “walk in and wait basis” and the next time you see the smiling receptionist there she quickly loses her smile and stares at you with the “how dare you miss appointment and don’t call in so we can see someone who takes their teeth care more serious” look… Ya enough is enough! I like having friends and chatting it up with all office staff everywhere I go! It is time to fix this!

My 1st thought, create my own family calendar that has more than the usual “Calender fit for the whole family” (whose family!? NOT mine!) LIE! 1 that will fit all our 6 of us and has room for other family members that I need to remember stuff for, just because they have grown up and moved out doesn’t mean there isn’t any special dates or appointments that I need to know for them from time to time! They just moved they didn’t fall of the face of the Earth!

I get it, I need a unique calendar and so I shall make my own. Buuttt until then, which could very well be by the time my own kids need it for their families or maybe their families after that, or may always remain an idea or thought, I will have to use 1 that works best for us. 1 that can keep up with this crazy thing we call life in this house. I have searched and have found very few that I like. I get it, most families don’t have 6+ kids, but I do so I need what works for us!

I found this Amy Knapp’s Big Grid Family Wall Calendar! It is AWESOME! It is filled with monthly projects, because yes I space so much stuff and need reminders like these, it has space for dinner menus (um heck to the YES!), it has plenty of space for all my crazy crew and all their “stuff”, it has space for mom too (yes occasionally I take time to visit the doc or dentist, I know shocking!), it has space for notes and reminders (thank goodness!), the quotes on each page are an added bonus cause sometimes we need like things like positive sayings to keep us on track, and so on! I am SO digging this Amy Knapp chick, she has a clue about life chaos and I like people like that!

So if you are a nut job like myself and have a large family whether it is your own kids, grand-kids, nieces, nephews, a retirement home, a pet hotel, a zoo, etc grab yourself 1 of these calendars and organize your life this year! Do it for your sanity (and for your children’s safety!) and for your reputation at the dentists office!

 

P.S. Happy Organizing! If you have any tips or calendars or suggestions please share them with us!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Feeding a Large Family Tips

I often get asked about meals, cooking, shopping for a big family.

“How do you do it?”

“I bet that costs a fortune!”

“Is it hard to cook for so many?”

“Do you plan out your meals?”

“Will you share your recipes?”

And the list goes on…

I am not an extreme coupon-er, although I certainly wish I was! A certain level of jealously hits me when I see all these people saving butt loads of money at the store with coupons and here I am handing the check out person 3-8 coupons saving a few bucks. I have always wanted to do it but can never quite figure it out, the only coupons I ever get are for toothpaste, deodorant, all the name brand laundry stuff etc. And it is for all the stuff I don’t use so am I missing something!? Am I not looking in the right place for the right coupons!? I prefer store brand stuff on most things I but (except for fabric softener and Mac and Cheese, no just no!) And I feel I am saving a good amount of money by doing that so this my friends is how I keep the coupon jealousy down to a minimum! I do however follow the Krazy Coupon Lady’s blog and do follow some of her amazing tips and use some of her coupons etc! http://thekrazycouponlady.com/

As for our family I will share with you what works for us and what we also plan to try to see if it is a fit.

Ever heard of a fruit/veggie co-op? We have used several and really enjoy the produce and the savings! Now these may or may not be located in your city so a quick Google search should let you know. We have used Market on the Move http://the3000club.org/ and they always have an abundance of produce! Not sure if this is only located in AZ but you can always check. 1 we really love and have used for years is Bountiful Baskets! They are in many cities so chances are good you will find 1 near you, if not contact them and start 1! http://bountifulbaskets.org/. They have more than just produce that you can purchase as well, like honey, breads, combo packs etc all at a discount price! Check them out!

Menu/Meal Planning We plan out all our meals, recipes, etc and then make a list based on that for at least 2 weeks and then shop for those items. I use the sales ads to plan the meals and talk about saving time, money & headaches! It saves me from having to go to the grocery store often (which is great for me considering we live 20 min from any major grocery stores) and cooking is so much more fun when you have all you need ahead of time! Plus the kids like knowing what we are having for dinner each night of the week. http://mamabearplus6.com/meal-planning-or-go-with-the-flow/

Quality Discount Meats. We also have used a discount place for meats, chicken, fish, produce, and the best bacon, called Zaycon! https://www.zayconfoods.com/. This is where you buy meats by the case. You can buy the case if you can afford it or go in with another family member of friend to stock up. I have heard there are other places like Zaycon but I have yet to find them so if you know of any please share! Also too, we are considering buy a whole cow and/or pig and spiting it up between our family and my daughter and her hubbys households and may even add a friend on with us. It is a great way to stock the freezer and splitting the cost to make it affordable for everyone. And it supports local farmers, win win!

Grow your own! A GREAT way to feed the fam and eat healthy and what a wonderful experience it is! Seeds are cheap and with effort and love you can have a hearty garden to put food on the table! Our very 1st real garden experience this last summer and I am in LOVE with it! Looking forward to growing it bigger and better every year!

Find your local growers! We spent many days in Greenbluff, which is a local farming area that grows ALL sorts of produce! We would go and pick pounds of fruits/veggies for a great price and so so yummy too! Find a local grower in your area!

Sales! If I groceries on a good sale, I stock up! Meats, boxed sides, household goods etc. Check your store ads weekly so you know what is coming up on sale and can prepare to buy those items and stock up on them. If it is produce that is on sale, buy it, chop it, freeze it, you will be so glad you did! The stuff you cant freeze, create a weekly menu, meals and snacks based on those items that you bought while they were cheaper.

Buy bulk when it makes sense. I say this because it is not always cheaper to buy bulk! On some things yes, but not on everything. I LOVE Costco and I have certain things I will only buy there but there are some items that I can get cheaper like spaghetti sauce hahaha! Always check prices and see if it is a great deal. I love how my teens now always check labels and sue their math skills to see what is cheaper per unit etc. A few seconds of time to do this can add up a great deal of savings over time!

Bulk meals. Something we are new too and just beginning to try is bulk meals. We will be shopping with our family along with my oldest daughter and her hubby to buy bulk, make numerous ready to cook crock pot freezer meals to stock both of our freezers for the winters. I am excited to start this and will surely blog about how it goes. We will include recipes, shopping lists and how the overall experience goes. Stay tuned 🙂

P.S. These are just a few ways that we shop, cook etc and save money! What tips/tricks help you save money!? What would you add to this list!?

 


Mama Bear Plus 6

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Yum yum pumpkin rolls! Something this yummy should pretty much be illegal hehe They are so good yet so bad, ya know the kind of food you will literally only eat around the holidays and feel guilty about if you have more than 1 piece, which my friends, is sooo easy to do with these things!

Over the years we have making pumpkin rolls starting in October till right about New Years. We make them for our family, gifts and we actually make and donate and/or sell lots of them. Not really for profit but to share the pumpkin cream cheesy goodness with others without going broke. I mean let’s face it, not everyone likes to bake, not everyone wants to bake, not everyone has time to bake and then there are some people that should never even attempt to bake so that is where we come in to save the day, the party, the dessert for the family gathering etc.

I have to say that the very 1st year I made them I was not sure what to expect since these are so fragile and need to be handled with  a gentle hand and well… I wasn’t sure I had the gentle hand they require. Not to mention I had NO idea that  my entire kitchen would look like a powdered sugar factory just exploded in it! And didn’t know I would be working at a high speed rate of pace from all the inhaled sugar (which could have easily been mistaken for cocaine everywhere by sight and my actions! coffee+inhaled sugar=wild, but productive mama) But now I get excited to make them, I get excited to smell them, share them, eat them and well breathe in lots of the powdery substance, sugar people just sugar! Plus having a freezer full is pretty exciting too!

I started out with a recipe I got from a friend. But as with every recipe I am given, find, come across and use I change it up a bit and make it 1 of our own. I will share it with all of you. This is how I like to make it and the people that enjoy them seem to love. Please feel free to add or take out any ingredient you desire, like nuts which I do not use, etc.

 

Mama Bear Pumpkin Roll Recipe

 For the cake part of the roll

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin or 10tbsp (if you are like me and want to make several cakes in 1 day, just an FYI, (1) 30 oz can of pumpkin will make 4 pumpkin rolls)

1 tsp lemon juice (I use the Real Lemon Juice in the green bottle)

 

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice (you can find this in the little cans in the seasoning isle, it is an “all in 1” so you don’t have to use ginger, nutmeg, cloves but you can if you want to split it all up)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Approx. 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel, or more if you want to sprinkle on cake before serving, etc)

For the creamy filling

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

6 tablespoons softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F.

Grease 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan (NOT a regular size cookie sheet folks!) and set aside (I use cooking spray, generously and don’t have any problems with any of it sticking).

In a large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beating with an electric mixer until thick and light yellow color. Add pumpkin & lemon juice; beat until well mixed.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in small bowl. Add to egg/pumpkin mixture, mixing well.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, etc, if desired.

Bake cake for 13 to 15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched (this is so important, do not overcook the cake, set a timer if you have to, I do otherwise there goes 20 min and a ruined cake)

While your cake is baking, arrange a clean thin, cotton kitchen towel on counter; sprinkle with powdered sugar to cover most of the surface. Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel so when you roll up the cake it will not stick.

Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto powdered sugar covered towel.  I always sprinkle a lil powdered sugar on top of the cake and spread it around as well. Roll up cake in towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely.

Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Loosely re-roll cake trying not to “push” the cream cheese mixture out.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Or freeze them for later use. I like to refrigerate them and then when they are firm slice the cake then re-wrap and freeze. This makes them easy to pull out and serve when you have unexpected guests or just want to have a few slices to serve after dinner or with hot cocoa (http://mamabearplus6.com/hot-cocoa-mama-style/) on a chilly day. Feel free to sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving!

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All the tools you need to make your pumpkin rolls awesome and all at a GREAT price!

P.S. Have a great pumpkin recipe that you want to share!? Please do so in the comment section!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Finding life, family and work balance

Since I work from home (and currently go to online school) I always hear people say how lucky I am or how lucky my kids are to have their mom home etc. Yes I feel SO blessed to be able to work from home with them and have a flexible schedule (my wish for all parents that want flexible schedules!) I am home to make meals/dinner, to go to school things, to run them to all their appointments, to run them clothes or money when they forget it and the list goes on.

On a side note: I don’t think my teens feel very “lucky” having mom home. No messing around after school, no ditching school, no sneaking people over and any other things teens look forward to when their parents are away. Not that they would do this if I worked outside the home but there is no opportunities to find out hehe.

Working from home is HARD, it is not all fancy and fairytale-ish as some people and media make it seem! With all the things and more mentioned above it is VERY distracting when trying to get things done! There are days and weeks that fly by that I feel like I wasn’t productive at all. And as those types of days and weeks pass, the list of things to do gets longer and income coming in is affected. I make lists, print calendars and create deadlines and it still doesn’t keep the distractions down! From cell phone to laundry to dogs to cats to house phone to emails to doorbell to cooking to trying to keep the house clean to kids kids kids… There are distractions around every corner. There are days when they get the best of me, what can I say, I am only human!

This month (December) (I know, crazy to do around the holidays but cant keep putting it off!)I have started a new way of making my time productive as well as meeting the needs of the house and family. I have a planner now and started literally making “appointments” for stuff that needs to get done, plus using my printed calendars I have created time slots with beginning and ending times not just jotting 6-8 things that I need to get done each day on it. I need to be more disciplined and make time for the “work” stuff and time for the kids so I am not always saying to them that I need to get this and that done before we can go for a walk or before we go on a bike ride or sledding or just laying with them watching a movie and NOT feeling guiltily about doing it and then half the time not getting to do any of it cause it took too much time to tend to 3 things at once while trying to take a call or write a page in my book or get research done for school. I am determined to balance life, work and family and will continue to look for ways to do so as I live and learn. So starting with this and will see how it goes 🙂

Want to share this awesome blog I so enjoy reading! Plus she has GREAT tools & tips for organizing your life!

http://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/

My kids are in school M-Fri, except for my son who only goes part time 3 days a week, and I pretty much have time from 8-3pm give or take to be productive so starting here and NOW! I will keep everyone posted as I go thru this new structure and system as I have had several emails asking how I balance it all, so I am admitting to the world that I don’t have all the right answers and I don’t have it all together, yes I am scattered a bit but I am a work in progress! Hmm maybe a great idea for a newsletter!

I suffer from “Guilty Mommy Syndrome”! I feel bad when I can’t give them all my time and attention. I try to live by the moto “Housework can wait, they will only be little once” Buuutt all my work is “Housework”… And this my friends is how I get SO far behind!
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When my son, who is 6, is home on his non school days he has a hard time with mommy not being able to give him all my time and attention so I have found him several workbooks that he works in while mommy works. We also LOVE ABC Mouse! I also used ABC Mouse when I ran a childcare and used it when I taught preschool. I HIGHLY recommend it! And the best part… Try it FREE for a whole month! Guaranteed you will be sold and your kids will love it, just saying 🙂


Here are some planner/organize your life products! I bought and love so far, the “Mom’s Family Desk Planner”

P.S. Do you have any time saving, balancing life/work, get stuff done tips that you can share!? Please please do! We are all opens ears/eyes here!

Mama Bear Plus 6

Secret Ingredient Family Banana Bread

Our family LOVES banana bread! And  I love to bake, win win! I have tried several recipes over the years and some we liked and some not so much, and then I found “IT”, the recipe of all recipes and the search ended with this 1. I did tweak it a little as I do with almost every recipe I come across, after all I love adding my own touch to things.

Banana bread is 1 of those things that when you go to a gathering or out to eat and it is served you take a small bite to make sure it is gobble down worthy.You may bite into a pasty/sticky bread, a too dry bread, a bread overloaded with nuts (not my personal liking at all), or a bread that is just right. Banana bread roulette I call it, hehe.

The recipe I am about to share with you is so flexible and delish! You can make bread loaves, cake size, or muffins with it! You can add stuff to it like nuts, ya know if you are into that sort of thing, cranberries (who knew!?), peppermint/choc/butterscotch chips,  something I like to occasionally add is Nutella, yes a swirl of yummy choco/hazelnut goodness! The possibilities are endless!

1 of my favorite things about baking is how much my kids love to help! I must admit I do have days that I want to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible and don’t want to deal with the extra time and clean up that kids in the kitchen bring (hey I am only human!) but for the most part I love it when they take turns helping and when they ask all sorts of fun questions like when cracking eggs, “Hey mom didn’t you say chicken lay eggs, does that mean they come from their butt area? And if so how the heck does a big hard egg come out of a little chicken, ouch!?” or like “What would happen if I take the high speed mixer out of the bowl while it is on (as batter flies all over each of us)!?” Oh the joys of parenting!

This recipe will make 2 loaf pans or 1 cake pan or approx 12-18 muffins

Banana Bread

  • 3 cups of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups ripe mashed banana (I don’t always have the patience for the ripening process and have made it with yellow and still tastes great!)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (secret ingredient! YES sour cream! Crazy right!?)
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL  1 1/2 cups of chopped pecans

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325F (165 degrees C)
  • Lightly grease and flour/cooking spray your two 8×4 loaf pans, cake pan or use muffin/cupcake liners for a muffin pan
  • In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition
  • Stir in the bananas and sour cream
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and pecans (if desired), mix
  • Combine banana mixture with flour mixture and mix just until combined
  • Pour batter into prepared pan(s)
  • Bake in a preheated over for 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean
  • Remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool
  • Serve warm or cold (just an FYI this is SO yummy served warm with a lil butter spread on it)

If you are going to add “extras” like choco chips etc you would add them to your banana mixture before combining with flour mixture. If you want to add Nutella (highly recommended hehe) then you will take a small amount of the already mixed batter before pouring it into pans, put some (about 1/4-1/2 of a cup) in a small bowl add a tablespoon or 2 of Nutella and mix it together, then after you pour your batter into desired pan(s) you will spoon small amounts of this Nutella mix and swirl it in with a butter knife.

Warning: Once you make and eat this banana bread there will be no other banana bread that can compare, so when taking a bite of banana bread someone else has made make sure you take small bites and be prepared to fake it!

P.S. If you make this and love it or if you are from another planet and make it and hate it please share your thoughts and comments with us! We also love recipe shares so feel free to post a link to your recipes in the comment section as well!

My kids LOVE to play like they own their own bakery/kitchen when they cook with me and have their own aprons, bake-ware etc. Here is a link of just some of the stuff they use and love, and as always such a great deal, most with free shipping!

 Happy Baking!

Mama Bear Plus 6

 

 

Dreams can become reality

I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. I lived there for 36 years, till July 17th of 2012 when I packed up 5 of my 6 kiddos (my oldest daughter would soon learn she too had outgrown Tucson and join her mama along with her then fiancé just 2 short months later) & my 2 labs in my suburban and left behind all I ever known following the moving truck with all we owned in it!

 Tucson, when you get burned out on a place you just know it is time to go & I was burned the heck out. On top of the fact it is not voted to greatest place to raise kids, and I have plenty of those! As for us, we had seen and done it all! Is it a bad place to live? No not really. There are actually people who love it there and will never leave. There are people who have it on their list of places to move when they retire, which is a great idea for those who love the heat and desert!  And even weirder, people vacation there in the summer & never leave the hotel pool!

I was ready for a change! Ready to leave behind the negative memories. Ready to create a new life in a new place with new people. Ready for a peaceful place. Ready for water, lots of water and trees lots of trees! A new beginning!? YES please!

I had been burned out of Tucson for several years but as time went on the urge to go got stronger. Even when I tried to convince myself that I should stay I couldn’t and let’s face it I am good at talking myself into stuff & could not get past the desire to GO! I had spent many hours researching places to move to  over the years that was very family friendly, places that had water, green and trees. Places that had stuff to do, places that had nightlife but not overcrowded with clubs, places that had good schools and affordable living. Places that had NO natural disasters, that it is important you know!

After having a list of 10 I narrowed it down to 5 then to 2. My finals- Colorado Springs & Spokane. How do I choose!? Write them on paper, put them in a hat and draw!? Eeney Meeny Moe!? Look  for jobs in both places and see what happens!? Geez this is hard! As I am praying, contemplating, and struggling with this I decide to start looking for a house. Do you know how scary Craigslist can be!? SCAM City! Found so many nice houses that were attached to scam after scam… Then it hits me! Place my own “searching for house” in both places and see what happens! As I pray God please bring the house that is meant for us in the place you want us to be!  Yes I am a big dreamer aren’t I!? But I can never dream bigger than my God can make happen!

 We received many emails about houses, some scams yes but some real people with real houses in both places. Most not for us but a few that would work.  We got excited over a few and even placed deposits on 2 that fell thru, both in Spokane. Frustration sets in… Maybe He wants me in Tucson. Why would He want to punish me like that!? He taught me patience during those trying months no doubt! Then the email that changed my life came in the early months of 2012! An email from a couple that live in a house and had another house that they wanted to rent out/sell  in a little place right outside of Spokane, Nine Mile Falls. Isn’t the name enough to put a smile on your face!? It just sounds beautiful! After many emails and phone calls back and forth I knew this was it! SO much so I sent my daughter & future son in law to WA to see it & take lots of pictures for me since I couldn’t go due to work (well just being honest, to make sure it wasn’t another scam hehe)

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The week they were there they fell in love with the area, the house, all was a go 110%! My daughter kept saying “Mom this house and area is so you, it is so beautiful, everyone here owns labs, it is somewhere  you will love to no end, you must go! And the kitchen mom, it IS the kitchen of your dreams!” (she wasn’t kidding!) That girl knows me all too well! Spouse at the time lined up a great job offer while I would spend my time working on the business we planned to open there, schools checked out to be beyond excellent, all seemed to just fall into place…

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Fast forward past the crappy next few months of my marriage ending, closing businesses, almost backing out of move (after all what crazy lady would pick up 5 kids and 2 dog and move with no spouse, no job, no plan to a place I had never even visited!), SO many life changes and we are right back to where dreams really do come true! July 17th 2012 we leave “all we ever knew” to a new “all we could ever dream of”!

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P.S. If you could move anywhere, where would you go!? If it is somewhere other then where you live now, what is holding you back!?

Mama Bear Plus 6