Browsing Category:

Motherhood

Did You Really Just Say That ?!?!

This may be why I hate going out sometimes…

Scenario 1:

LADY: Is that a new clutch?

ME: Yes! I just bought it from ___, and love it!

LADY: Yeah, I know someone with the same clutch — she has such tacky taste!

ME: (Um…did this girl just call me tacky?)

Scenario 2:

JUDGY MOM: So you’re taking the year off of teaching, right?

ME: Yes I am!

JUDGY MOM: You must have SO much time — what do you do all day? It must be nice to just

hang out all day and do nothing…

ME: (Really? REALLY?)

Scenario 3:

JUDGY LADY: So you’re working out a lot more now right?

ME: Yes!

JUDGY LADY: Really? I couldn’t really tell…

ME: (Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has someone ever said something directly to you and you had to think to yourself, “WHAT?” Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about people having the right to express themselves and saying what they please, but does that give them the right to be completely socially inept? Does it give them the right to completely disregard your feelings…as a normal human being? Many times, when I am on the receiving end of an outlandish comment, I wonder if I’m possibly taking it the wrong way or heard it wrong. It’s completely possible that I had a moment of hyper-sensitivity and took the comment too personally. I’m not completely out of the woods here… The thing is when someone else in the room notices the comment and gives you that “wait, did she just….wait, did she just — WOAH!” The most memorable incident I’ve experienced involved my husband. I was caught in the middle of an awkward situation with another person and turned around — only to catch his high eye-brow raised glance. I felt like he expected for me to completely flip a table over it; I felt that I almost had to react just to show him that I wasn’t numb to it. I just calmly poured myself another glass of wine and went on about another conversation as if nothing happened while my insides twitched with major annoyance.

Later that night, he casually brought it up. I, of course exploded and he profoundly said, “why didn’t you just say something back?” While I wanted to gouge his eyes out for bringing up a great point — I thought, why didn’t I come up with a witty comeback? Why didn’t I somehow relieve the awkwardness by one-upping this girl and her viciousness? Why did I just take it and not stick up for myself? Of course I then turn to the usual conclusion I always do — it probably isn’t even worth it OR is it? Here’s the thing — people talk and say what they please…so I should receive what they say in the manner in which I please, right? I can try all I want to just ignore them, but is that giving them “permission” to do this repeatedly? If I speak up, then I’m all of a sudden overly-sensitive or feisty? If I don’t, I’m a pushover.

I’ve decided that there’s no winning. There’s no winning when dealing with completely socially inept people — you just need to know that you’re not the weirdo in the situation. Also…I just don’t have the mental capacity to worry about more drama than my everyday life with two crazy active children.  So to that socially inept person roaming around looking for his/her next prey…just shut-up already. No one wants your negativity and “rough around the edges” ways. No one cares if you are always right and have to have the last word. Just back off…because someday I will come up with a witty comeback that seems like a light-hearted joke and life will be good again.

Your Brainy Chick – Komi

**For some candid reads from witty women, check out our Chick Picks.

Chick Picks:

Are you there vodka? Its me, Chelea
Is everyone hanging out without me?

Ancestry.com D.N.A. “Do Not Assume” Test

Have you always wanted to find out your true heritage?  Do you think you know?  I thought I knew until I went to Ancestry.com and took their test.  The results were quite a surprise!

My Heritage…

With a last name like Svenson, blond hair and blue eyes, I have always been proud of my Swedish heritage.  When someone called me “the Swedish Bombshell”, it was my favorite nickname ever!  My father’s side of the family was Swedish.  His personality was charming, kind, and graceful.  He was like tennis player Matts Wilander, the quiet, dignified Grand Slam Champion you probably only sort of remember. 

Conversely, my mom’s side was the Irish side.  You know the loud type with a good story to tell?  Think more like John McEnroe: funny, hot tempered, the poster child for misbehavior and poor decorum on the court.  I’m not saying that was my Mom, but her family, well, I could see the feisty ancestral resemblance.

I told myself, I’m more Swedish than Irish.  I’m more Wilander than McEnroe.  I mean, I’m not a loud hothead (despite what my husband says).    I’m like a Swede – always under control – the cool-headed assassin you never hear coming.  Those of you who know me agree with me, right?  Right?! 

On good days I like to think that I look a little like my idol, Christy Brinkley, who’s was surely a Swede like me (she’s not).   Sure I have freckles, but so does Pippy Longstocking.  That impulsive anger that bubbles up and pops out with such ease, that’s not the Irish McEnroe in me, that’s the justified, rational meting out of fair and true Scandinavian justice!  And, ok, maybe I color my hair even lighter than it was when I was a baby.  That’s just a style choice.  There are dishwater blondes in Sweden, right? Right?!  Of course there are.  Phew, dissonance gone.  I’m Swedish again. 

With Matts Wilander
With John McEnroe

Embracing my heritage…

My sister in law (who’s half Swedish) and I took Swedish language classes in Andersonville’s Swedish Village. Oh, what fun we had! Since we saw ourselves as the America’s poster children for Sweden, we just knew we’d find the language easy.  Heck, it’s our mother tongue!  Who cares if the Swedish language has nine vowels with seventeen different sounds and a pitch accent?  It should be instinctive for us.  Right?  Right?! 

Immersing into my culture…       

I shopped at the Hannah Andersson store and drank glug on the holidays.  I embraced smorgasbords and added marzipan to my homemade pastries. I even started to eat herring.  And when I had the opportunity to play tennis with Mats Wilander, I jumped at the chance!  Of course he’d fall in love with me. (He only didn’t because he’s married).  

Rocking Hannah Anderson

The DNA test…a.k.a. the “Do Not Assume” test…  

With my parents still alive, I wanted us all to enter the Ancestry.com DNA test spit marathon (yes, they test your saliva).  Tip, don’t do the test right after you have coffee like I did.  Sorry, gross!  https://www.ancestry.com/dna/.   

I wanted to see just how Swedish I really was.  I was guessing somewhere between 30-60%.  My Dad is Swedish.  My mom is Irish, Scottish, and Belgian, and since the Vikings conquered vast swathes of Britain and the Normans conquered northern France, before also invading Britain, her side would probably contribute some Scandinavian as well.  My bragging to my husband about my Swedish ancestry (he thought I acted Irish) would finally be vindicated.  The possibility that this silly little test was a risk to my entire self-identity did not cross my pretty little Swedish mind.  

The results are in…. 

I checked my email often, and after eight weeks the results finally arrived. When I opened them up….I couldn’t believe my eyes!  My first thought was, how can I hide these results from my husband?  He’ll never let me forget this.  Turns out, I am just 1% Scandinavian! Along with Western Europe, I’m mostly Irish!  Say what???    I’m Swedish dammit!  I’m the Swedish Bombshell.  Aren’t I?  Apparently not.  

 

 

 

This is not a disaster…

This was, well, not a disaster, but a mind-bending change for me. I immediately looked up Christy Brinkley on Wikipedia and, to my great relief, she’s part Irish as well!  Phew.  I knew there was a strong resemblance between us!   We’re probably cousins.   

I always knew…

However, I think, in the back of my mind, I always knew.  I just didn’t want to admit it. I mean, I kind of fit the stereotype.  I’m like my Mom’s family.  I’m a dreamer.  I love to tell exaggerated stories, laugh, sing and be merry.  Maybe I’m even a little loud and opinionated.  Sure I’ve been known to drink a pint or two of Guinness on occasion.

Coming to terms with the news…

So I was embracing the wrong heritage all along.   Come to think of it, I do love watching John McEnroe get into fights with the umpires, and he was a hell of a lot better player than Wilander ever was.  I don’t like marzipan, herring is gross, Hanna Andersson is overpriced and kitschy, glug gives me a nasty hangover, and Swedish sounds like the Muppet meatball chef.   

I now have a story to tell…  

Now, I truly know what was always in my heart.  I love corned beef and cabbage.  I am in great company with Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, Edmund Burke, Michael Flatley, U2, W.B. Yeats, and St. Patrick.  I think I’ll start taking Irish dancing lessons.

I’ve started writing limericks:  

“There once was a girl from Sweden,

Turns out she’s in the Irish legion.  

So she drank lots of Glug

Right out of the Jug

To drive away all of her demons”  

I’m going over to McGonagall’s to start learning more about my heritage.  Slainte forever baby!  

By Johanna Svenson Croll, Savvy Chic

Travel Friendly Beauty Products

When it comes to traveling I try to pack as minimal as possible. I mean anyone who knows me knows that I am a minimalist by nature. Too much of anything makes me nervous! This is especially true when it comes to packing my beauty products. Whether I am traveling for work, vacations or a friends wedding, I try to keep it simple.

When I’m flying with just a carry-on it’s been challenging for me to pare down my liquids to meet the requirements of TSA. This is when I decided solid makeup is my new travel companion. When I made the decision to travel with more “solid” makeup, I took a little extra time in the cosmetic department to learn, feel and work with these solids. Here are some of my favorite travel friendly products that I never leave home without.

FOUNDATION

For years I’ve sworn by Bobbi Brown’s foundation stick. I love this foundation for so many reasons. First being how compact and convenient it is. There’s no mess with this foundation! Best part? I can apply it with my fingers!  Whether I’m using it to touch up blemishes or using it as medium to full coverage foundation, this stick does the job.  It’s great in any climate too!  And for you ladies that love to take pictures….it photographs flawlessly!  I mean who doesn’t want to look flawless in a selfie, right?

CONCEALER

Cle de peau has one of the best concealer’s in the market (in my opinion). Super creamy and smooth. Less is more when it comes to this concealer.  This is a great product to brighten your eyes after a red-eye or a long day of traveling.

BLUSH AND HIGHLIGHTERS

The fabulous duo is great for obvious reasons. Two in one!  I absolutely love a great cream blush and highlighter. The advantage of cream blushes and highlighters is you have more control when applying. Whether you apply them with your fingers or a brush, the end result is a natural feel and look.

SUNSCREEN

Whether you’re final destination includes the hot scorching sun in Mexico, or the ski slopes of Colorado…protect yourself! If I’m going to be completely honest, there is not one sunscreen that I am loyal to. However, I always recommend it and I always travel with a solid one to avoid the mess. 

DRY SHAMPOO

Do you know the question “If you were ever trapped on an island what would you take with you?”  Well, ladies, this is it! Batiste, hands down, is the BEST dry shampoo around. Believe me when I say I’ve tried them all.  Yes, the full size bottle doesn’t follow TSA’s regulations but the travel size sure does.  One of the first things I do when I arrive to my final destination is spray this in my hair and immediately I forget that I was just sharing the same recycled air with 270 other people. Give it a try you won’t regret it! Chicks honor.

Happy Traveling!

Love, Your Beauty Chick-Deanna

 

 

Chick Picks:

 

Cle De Peau Concealer
Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick
Wander Blush Duo
Batiste Tavel Size Dry Shampoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Chicks and Salsa is an Amazon Associate, please support us by ordering products from the links directly from this post.**

Summer Chick Flicks

Chicks and Salsa is made up of a team of seven women from different backgrounds, ages, and circumstances.  One thing we have in common is our love of women centered story lines and comedy.  The female experience is unique and we love every minute of it!  That being said we are super stoked about a few movies this summer that explore the havoc that women can wreak when they are together.  So mark your calendars, here are the movies you simply cannot miss in order of release:

Rough Night – June 16th

Scarlett Johanssen and her passé turn it up for the girl version of Hangover in Miami.  This movie complete with all the classic setups for a comedy is a guaranteed girls night movie.
Click image to watch the Red Band trailer on YouTube.

 

Girls Trip – July 21st

There is nothing like getting out of town and kicking back with friends on vacation.  Join Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Tiffany Haddish as they zip line across Bourbon Street and flash P.Diddy.

Click image to watch the Red Band trailer on YouTube.

 

Fun Mom Dinner – August 4th

As many of the chicks are moms, the concept of escaping from the kids is real! In Fun Mom Dinner, Kate Aselton and Toni Collette along with their friend turn up the fun in this hilarious comedy complete with karaoke, inappropriate flirting, and night off mom duty!

Click on the image to watch the trailer on YouTube.
These movies are sure to make getting out of the house with your friends worthwhile.
What are your favorite chick flicks of the past? Mine is The Sweetest Thing (remember that!?!?)

Your Party Chick,

 Rina

Packing The Perfect Picnic

Let’s be real, eating out is the BEST; it’s a meal that I don’t have to cook…woohoo!  When the weather gets warmer, I’m always up for finding a way to combine my love of ‘not cooking’ with the outdoors.  Wait for it…a picnic!  Yay, ok now that you love the idea, take a deep breath and accept that the planning is totally worth it.

Growing up, my mom would throw some PB&J sandwiches, potato chips, and Coca-Cola’s into a backpack with a few towels and call it a picnic and as fondly as I remember those times, I have NOT been to or had a picnic like that in years!  As a mindful eater and a mother, making EVERY meal into an opportunity to do right by my family keeps these meals a little more balanced and creative.

The essentials are still the same — something to sit on, something to eat, and something to do!  So grab a blanket, (check out these super trendy and beautiful ones by Boho Street), try out some of our favorite bites, and throw in a frisbee, kite, soccer ball, or our personal favorite, Bananagrams and head out!

One of our favorite family recipes is my mom’s semi-homemade ‘3 Bean Salad’.  With less than 10 ingredients and in just 5 minutes, you can wow your taste buds on the go!  To see more recipes like this, like us on Pinterest and check out our ‘Picnic Basket’ board for more ideas.

The baskets that we use include reusable utensils and dishes and although it may seem like you’re doing more harm than good, the utensils are also eco-friendly so you can enjoy your meal, guilt free. Be sure to pack some wipes to wipe off the dishes before you pack them and keep a couple of disposable grocery bags for garbage.

For larger potluck style picnics which may include kids, an effective tool that we have used is a Google Doc for tracking who is bringing what. Here is a peek at what that form looks like and lucky you, it’s already set up as a template!

With the summer vibes kicking don’t forget your bug spray and sunscreen, this Aromaflage perfume has a built in bug repellent that you can’t smell, its wonderful and made from aromatic essential oils made from botanical extracts.

I hope that this inspires you to get out sooner because if you are anything like me, later never comes.

Have fun!

Your Party Chicks,

Rina And Sonia

 

Chick Picks:

Picadilly Basket
Basket for 4 With Blanket
Wine Stakes for the Beach!

Who is REALLY the hero? Mom Vs. Dad

Mother’s Day — the day we give praise to all the mother’s around us…our own mother’s, our mom friends, and even those that are like mothers.  The flowers, homemade cards, and of course the school crafts all come pouring in.  This is also the perfect time to think about the ironies behind how our children view mothers.  For instance, do our children really view us as givers?  Are we just givers of endless amounts of snacks and ridiculous requests?  Let’s not mention the endless hours of sleep we are deprived of, the enormous amounts of guilt we feel,  and the thousands of unfinished cups of coffee (sadly waiting on the counter all day waiting to be enjoyed)?

I once asked my children what they thought I did all day…the answers varied.  My overly observant daughter replied (in a nice complete sentence), “I believe you clean and cook and make sure everything is perfect by the time we get back from school.”  My son, who sees the world much MUCH simpler replied, “I don’t know…what do you do?  Do you just wait by the door for us to get back home?”  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You may be wondering why I decided to title this “Mother’s Day” tribute, “The Father, The Hero…” — let me explain.  Before I continue, I would like to lay out a disclaimer…this post in NO way is putting down father’s and saying they don’t do squat (even though, let’s be real…).

Spring Break — I was told to take it easy (by my very kind Doctor).  My husband had already planned to take a couple days off to hang out and hopefully play some golf.  Luck would have it that I’m down and the weather wasn’t golf-appropriate.  He stepped up and came to the rescue (I inserted that for those about to go all “at least your husband helps…blah blah blah” on me).  

What does a crazy mom do when she hears she’ll be “down” for a few days?  Plan.  I made sure we were stocked up on groceries (end-less snacks) for him.  I made some meals — easy heat-up meals, ready to go in the refrigerator for him.  I made sure all the laundry was done and folded (and EVEN put away) for him.  I did all this to not only help him take over, but also to ease my own stresses on being “down.”  

During my stages of bed-ridden bliss, my darling children would visit me in bed.  They would bring me sweet cards, sneak me treats, and even serenade me with a song and nicely demand a TV show.  During their visits, they would also go on about how “daddy was doing.”  

“Daddy made us lunch mommy — JUST like you!” — so he just heated up the food I prepped and then served it?  Nice.

“Daddy gave us ice cream with sprinkles AND chocolate syrup!”  — so he simply scooped out ice cream and gave into the kids’ whining for more sugar?  Wuss!

“Daddy laid out my pajamas for me!”  — so he opened a drawer AND took the nicely folded PJs out?  What a man!

Oh and my all-time favorite…

“Daddy READ us a book!”  — he can read??  Get out!

Here’s my take on it…kids don’t expect their fathers to perform and execute tasks the way us moms do.  They expect the whole “your mommy is better at this than I am so just bear with me” spiel.  They naturally expect their mothers to complete tasks effortlessly.  I asked a male friend about this and he simply replied, “you ladies are just naturally better than we are.”  

And with that — the end.

There’s a reason my children were incredibly happy when I was back — their routines were back in place.  They were happy that lunch was prepared for them by ME, they were actually content with MY dessert portions, they appreciated the way I kept their lives in order (including their never-ending laundry), and they really enjoyed MY story-times with them.  Even though my husband tried his best, there’s nothing that could replace a mother’s touch.  That unique blend of love, care, and sometimes over compulsive behavior!  A mother knows how it should be done and even when things blow up, she can effortlessly fix it without a second thought.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies…you may have a crummy day today or hopefully not.  Just know, you’ve got this — you don’t need to try to be the BEST because in your childrens’ eyes, you already are.  Simple.

Cheers to that!

Your brainy chick,

Komi

 

 

Shared Birthday Parties

Kid’s birthday parties: What they are … and where they’re headed.
When I was growing up and that special time came around, my mom would throw a heartfelt birthday party for me in my backyard. There were hot dogs, games like pin the tail on the donkey, a homemade cake, and presents that were actually opened in front of the guests. That’s all changed.


Elaborate parties……
When my eldest child turned one, I celebrated by throwing her a magnificent birthday party that she would never forget (or at least I wouldn’t). The fact that her birthday lands on St. Patrick’s Day made it even more fun! I hired the local children’s Irish dance troupe to perform. A traditional corned beef and cabbage feast was served to the adults, and there was an amazing spread for the children, which, since it was all over their faces, was mostly lost on them. For the pièce de résistance, there was a huge Shamrock cake. All of our friends in the neighborhood were invited. It was a celebration to remember!
The days of elaborate parties are over……
Fast forward 8 years, and the days of elaborate kids birthday parties are over, for the most part, at our house. I’ve changed my ways and become more “practical”. In fact, with my friends, we have started throwing “shared” birthday parties.
Even my hubby is on board……
It all started when my husband started to realize the number of birthday parties filling our weekend. He would ask (because he’s usually clueless about our weekend plans), “What are we doing this weekend?” My reply seemed to always be, “We’re going to a birthday party.” He’d reply, “Another one? I just saw those people last week. Don’t we have any other friends? We’ve got to get a life.”  You see, we have three children, and each one has around 20 kids in their class. Do the multiplication, and you’re looking at something like 60 parties per year, more than one per week every week of the year.

The goody bags……
No offense, but most of the parties were essentially the same. They were held at huge venues, gifts were collected in a box and never opened in front of the guests, and a pre-written thank you card was handed out in the goody bag as we left. Isn’t being invited to a party gift enough? And, do we have to hand out candy in a gift bag after giving the kids high fructose corn syrup fake juice (sorry), cake and ice cream to say, “Thanks for coming!” More like here’s your fattened, hyper, overtired youngster to deal with for the next two hours. He’s your problem now (thank God). I’m like thanks a lot! See you next week!  Once my child even received a basketball as part of an elaborate gift bag! A really nice one too! Actually, that was a score (no pun intended) but my kids have also received gift cards. Am I the only one who thinks this is too much? My Mom wouldn’t believe the extravagance that goes on nowadays.
What to give?……
For gifts, I either go to Amazon to buy another $40 birthday gift for a child who already has everything, or (don’t tell) I, sometimes, go to the attic where I hide away the presents my children have received that were duplicates of ones we already had, and find one to re-gift. Come on, you’ve all done it! They’re perfectly good toys! Right? Moving on . . .
A lightbulb moment……
One day, the other savvy chick and I were discussing birthday party ideas for our soon-to-be 5 year old boys. We analyzed all the possibilities and dates to have these parties when, at the same time, a light bulb went off in our heads!
Let’s throw a “joint” birthday party!……
Not the adult kind some parents need after one of these triple birthday party weekends, but one that celebrates our sons birthdays together! Since our sons were born only 4 days apart, it made total sense! We figured we were saving the rest of the class the rigmarole of another weekend dominated by another lame kid’s birthday party (the party, not the kid)!
Ok, do the math!……
On average, I shell out around $500 for each child each year. The first birthday parties were more. Hmmm……3 kids X $500 = $1,500 per year on birthday parties! Now let’s really get into tricky math and base this on 8 years of birthday celebrations! $1,500 X 8 = $12,000. Now that’s some serious cake!
I know what you’re thinking……
Before you start thinking, “Oh, I get it, they spend half the amount and receive 100% of the gifts!” WRONG. We make it clear on the invitations, “No Gifts Please”! We find most people adhere to that request.
An end to popularity contests……
Sometimes parents aren’t sure if the people they invite will come. They don’t want their child to be hurt and embarrassed so they decide not to throw a party at all. By including all the moms in the class in this planning, every kid will have a birthday and no one will feel left out.
Benefits to Shared Birthday Parties……
1) Cost savings! You can spend half the amount! Or share with a couple of people in the class and save 2/3rds on your birthday budget!
2) You get your time back on the weekends!
3) You don’t have to rush around and spend another $40 on a generic gift! (Or search through your cob webbed attic!)
4) Every kid gets a birthday party.
5) The best benefit of all is the relationships you form while planning the parties. You make friends and get to know the parents and kids better!
6) Finally, less sugar….less sugar….less sugar….. If you are a mom like me that watches your children’s sugar intake, you have just reduced the amount of cake and harmful food dyes they are going to consume this year.
The idea has caught on……..
These 2 savvy chicks were thrilled with the success of their idea. And this might shock you. Neither child complained or felt cheated! My son loved his party! So much so that we are having it again this year with 4 other kids who’s birthdays are also in the Spring; including our brainy chick’s son! My son actually shares the same birthday with a boy in his class. (May the 4th be with you!) Now two other moms with children in that class are hosting a shared birthday next month!  Don’t forget that each child still gets their own family party. That’s important. It’s when our kids can open presents and get attention from those closest to them.
In conclusion……
We haven’t done this every year for every child. Some years we still want to throw a party just for our little darling. Other times we allow our child to have a party that brings only a few friends together for a special experience, either because it’s an expensive activity, a long drive away, or it’s an all-day experience. Those are great and memorable too.
Key to Successful Shared Birthdays……
1) In order for this to work well, you need to include all the moms who’s children have birthdays the same time of the year. Depending on the class size, maybe 3-5 shared parties a year. Inclusion is the key. Offer it up so everyone has the opportunity to participate if he/she would like.
2) Be flexible! Work with the group of women on finding the venue, time and date.
3) Divide up the responsibilities! You need one person to “coordinate” the master list and start assigning responsibilities! This is best handled by the “spreadsheet” mom. You know who I’m talking about!
4) Make sure each child’s name gets into the Happy Birthday song. It’s funnier the more kids you have sharing a birthday.

Josie Croll, Savvy Chick
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

Costco Haul

 

I get asked ALL the time what I buy from Costco because I’m there at a MINIMUM once a week.  It’s the food version of Target for me.  Everyone is at peace; I stock up on the essentials we need and the kids know the food court is part of the rotation – a win-win.  I was a Costco-lover even before we had children because I found great pleasure in having a stockpile of toiletries and paper towels.   I still have PTSD from running out of toilet paper in my house when I was growing up.  I vowed that would never happen to me as an adult.

Costco also has a pretty strong selection of organic produce, meats and dairy.  I’ve found that their produce lasts longer than the local grocers’.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 items I purchase from Costco:  Even if you don’t have a need for these items, it’s helpful to know that Costco carries them, and typically at a much better price than its competitors.

Pesto – delicious imported Italian basil pesto to put on pasta, wraps, chicken and quesadillas! This is the #1 preferred pasta topping in our home.  It’s phenomenally quick and far from tastes like a two-ingredient meal.  The kids devour and ask for seconds, without fail.

Kodiak Pancake mix – if you like to make pancakes or waffles, this mix is sent from the griddle gods themselves.  It’s foolproof with its 1:1 water to mix ratio and it promises to deliver consistently fluffy results every time.  And if that weren’t enough, this mix is packed with 14g of protein per serving and only contains the most natural of ingredients!  (a gluten-free version is available on amazon).  You can get creative with the mix, which if you ask me, is always the best part of making batter.  And with this mix, you can get straight to the best part of mixing.  I’ve added shredded coconut, sometimes chocolate chips and have even used buttermilk versus water when feeling especially deserving.

Sweet Kale salad – You never knew you liked brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and broccoli all in the same RAW salad until you’ve tried this prepared sweet kale salad.  It comes with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and a poppyseed dressing, which I could eat by the spoonful.  You can also make your own salad dressing and customize your toppings if you prefer, but for all of the shredding, dicing and chopping that goes into it, it can be an excellent base to your “homemade” salad.

Roti – These were an accidental discovery while trying to find uncooked tortillas.  Amazingly fresh tasting, these bake in minutes if making large quantities or puff up in a frying pan (no oil needed).  They are incredibly soft and can be used in lieu of tortillas.  Try them with burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, wraps – their uses are endless and they taste fresh because they are!

Contigo Water Bottles – Costco carries a rotation of seasonal Contigo water bottles.  Whether a 3-pack of BPA-free adult-sized water bottles, a double-pack of stainless steel water bottles, kid-sized bottles or thermal mugs, be sure to check your Costco’s inventory before purchasing online or from another retailer.  I’ve found them to be significantly less expensive at Costco.

PT’s (Organic) Coffee – beautiful, robust coffee free of pesticides.  Just grind up the beans before you leave (yes, Costco has a coffee grinder for our use) and you have an aromatic bag of caffeinated deliciousness ready for your machine or bullet-proof coffee!

Frozen Mango…. frozen cherries, frozen berries, frozen pineapples….Their frozen fruit selection is beyond amazing and super convenient if you like to make smoothies and yogurt parfaits, bake with fruit, or simply have fruit on hand.  Do you want to peel mangos, work around the pit and chop them up into perfectly cubed pieces?  One prophetic quote comes to mind: “ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!”.

Maple Syrup – Costco carries 1L of 100% pure Grade A maple syrup at a cost you can’t beat.  If you know how maple syrup is sourced, you’ll have great appreciation for the value offered.  We sweeten oatmeal, pancakes, even coffee with this delicious elixir.

La Croix – the Costco I frequent carries a 24ct. variety-pack of LaCroix.  They also carry a solely lime flavored case.  If you want to increase your water intake in a novel way, or if you’re trying to break your diet coke/coke habit, try La Croix.  The can and tab opening mimics the cracking open of a carbonated sugary drink without all of the bad stuff.

Individual Hummus packs – these are amazing on-the-go snack items and a great source of protein for your kids’ school lunches.  Pair with fresh vegetables, pretzel snaps or chips (all sold at Costco )

All this and I didn’t even touch on their selection of cheeses, but you have to go in person to be a believer. Whether shredded, sliced, hard, soft, in stick form, wheel form, or wedge form, keep Costco in mind when planning your next cheese board crowd pleaser.

Hope to see you in the Costco aisles soon!

Yours truly,

Brainy Chick Serene

Chicks Picks:

“Gee, it must be nice…”

A random Thursday night and I’m surrounded by a handful of talented, educated, intelligent women at the nearest Mexican restaurant, and I pause.  What did each of us go through to get here tonight?

Each of us rushed out of the house at 8:30 — after putting the kids down to bed, of course.  Each of us rushed out in a frenzy, feeling overwhelmed by the constant to-do list running through our minds.  Each of us made sure that the kids’ lunch, backpack, and outfit for the next day were prepped and ready before heading out.  Each of us parked our cars and immediately touched up our makeup — because we just didn’t have a moment to stop and take care of it before leaving the house as were already running late.  Each of us dashed into the restaurant and collapsed into the others’ arms with a sigh of relief thinking “I’m finally here!”

Motherhood is our bond — but the need for surrounding ourselves with support is the bigger quest.  You see, more often than not, we assume the person sitting across from us has it so much better OR doesn’t know what our day has been like OR has no idea what we have gone through to get here.  We just assume that no one knows what our frustrations feel like.  You know what they say about people that assume, right?

We each have a story and may not always go around showcasing it for the world to see.  We all have the same level of stresses and drama — but they come in different forms.  Oftentimes I’m told that I carry my anxiety, frenzy, drama very well; truth is, I don’t feel like airing my dirty laundry when I’m trying to have a great time.  I choose not to rain on my own magical parade of enjoying a night out.  I choose not to think about the craziness and drama when I’m out.  

Our stories stem from who we are and what we do; we tend to label ourselves.  The stay-at-home-mom, the part-time working mom, the full-time working mom.  Why can’t we just be a “mom”?  Society has us labeled and these labels come with some pretty nasty stereotypes.  I know first hand, that as much as I would like to stay away from these stereotypes, they’ve crept up on me from time to time.  The nasty stereotypes we’ve all heard like “it must be fun sitting around eating bon-bons all day” OR “the nanny mothers my kids better than my wife” OR “the mom, otherwise known as the maid.”  

So many times I hear “gee, it must be nice…” — and I cringe waiting for what is to come after.  Maybe what is to come will most likely sound like a back-handed compliment.  Why do we naturally assume the woman sitting across from us has it so much better?  It’s a societal view…what you see is what you get, right?  Truth is, if I showed up looking like how I really feel, I would be a “hot mess.”  I would be disheveled, sobbing with mascara running down my face, and most likely in my yoga pants from the day before.  

So here I am, surrounded by these amazing group of ladies, taking in the funny stories of what little “Johnny” did at school, the stupid husband anecdotes, recipe exchanges, and book reviews.  Did it matter that I folded laundry while watching Gilmore Girls reruns at 1:00 in the afternoon while the woman across from me was in a tense board meeting?  

Who cares how she got here?  Who cares if my day was worse than hers?  Does it matter if I worked harder than anyone?  NO.  Let’s just be and diminish the societal views and focus on the fact that we are here in this moment.  Who knows what each of us will have to deal with once we leave this restaurant?  All we can do is enjoy this moment and take it in, one sip at a time.

 

Cheers to that!

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi