Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Last Post on Mamma Vintage and the Beginning of Real Mama Joy


Yesterday was my five year anniversary of being a blogger at Mamma Vintage. While it has been wonderful, I have been working hard on a new endeavor.

This will be my last post on this blog. From now on, my blogging will occur on my newly launched website . . .


Yay!!!

I have worked hard on this website and am excited to see where it goes. It is still a work in progress, but it is ready for you to head on over there and look around. I hope that you do!

And while you're there, make sure to follow me on the new Real Mama Joy Facebook page, Twitter Page and Pinterest Page.

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. So many of you have given me positive feedback about Mamma Vintage and my writing, and it is because of your kind words that I have had the courage and the drive to move on to something bigger.

Thank you!

And with that, Mamma Vintage bids you, "Arrivederci!"

Friday, August 15, 2014

Real Mama Joy!

COMING SOON . . .

So tonight I got to do something I've been hoping to do for a long time.

On September 5th of this year, I will officially have been a blogger for five years. I have had over 25,000 pageviews on my blog. Nothing amazing, I know, but not too shabby either. When I began my blog, it was just basically going to be an online journal. Now, I have a bigger vision.

As a writer and as a mother, my blog is where I share my experience.

So, tonight, we purchased my own domain!

My hope is that on September 5th, I will be able to publish and release my new blog, www.realmamajoy.com !!!

As of now, if you head on over there, there's nothing to see. I am working hard on learning how to use WordPress and putting new material together to publish. There is definitely a learning curve, so whether or not all of this is released on September 5th remains to be seen. I would rather try to do it well than pressure myself to do it quickly in order to meet that deadline.

Once I have transferred my blog over, Mamma Vintage will be a thing of the past.

For now, just know that while you may not be seeing very much new material here at Mamma Vintage, it is only because Real Mama Joy is coming SOON!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Camping 2014 - Lake Mayfield!

Well, some of my summer cravings are beginning to be satisfied. We made it through our ten day camping trip, and what's more, we enjoyed it! A lot! Furthermore, I have completed the laundry. I am not exaggerating when I say that we had a mountain of laundry when we got home that you could literally climb up. Our washing machine was constantly running for four days straight as long as someone was awake to start the next load.

Back to our trip - we began at Ike Kinswa State Park on Lake Mayfield down by Mossyrock. If you are considering camping in Western Washington, I would highly recommend this campground. The camp sites are spacious, it is beautifully wooded and the lake is warm. We have camped there several times now and have always had a great experience. The weather during this week was absolutely gorgeous and in the 80's almost the whole time. I definitely packed way too many coats and sweatshirts!

We arrived at Lake Mayfield on Thursday. A lot of my family was with us for the first few days of our trip - my parents, by brother Damian and his family, my aunt Joanna, my Uncle Joe and Aunt Judy and my cousin Alicia and her husband, Seth. Most of them arrived on Friday or Saturday and left on Sunday or Monday. The exception would be my dad who was able to stay with us for the entire trip, which was such a treat.

We spent time at the beach, on my parents' boat, talking around the campfire and eating yummy food. Both Joshua and Noah tried kneeboarding and got up, which was so fun to watch. I intertubed, water skied and enjoyed swimming in the lake.
My cousin Alicia enjoying a s'more.
My aunt Joanna and I on the intertube behind the boat on beautiful Lake Mayfield. 
Soaking up the sun at the beach with my girls.
Teresa LOVED the lake. Jason took her swimming in it and she was so happy, as long as the water didn't get much deeper than her waist. 
Joshua behind the boat kneeboarding. He had been working up tho that for the past couple of years, so I'm so proud that he conquered it this summer. 
I was so pleased to find out after we arrived that camping in the next site was an old school friend of mine, Sharon Gadbois, camping with her family. Sharon has been such an encouraging supporter of my blog and we went to school together kindergarten through eighth grade. It was so nice to catch up again and to meet her son, Noah. We have been in touch since we got home and they get to come over for dinner at the end of the month. I love getting back in touch with old friends!

Teresa did so well while we were camping. Everyone always says, "She's such a happy baby." And she is! She slept well for the most part and spent hours hanging out in her pac n play around the campfire with us. The most difficult part was that she is a crawler and puts everything in her mouth, so letting her explore on the ground wasn't really an option. But since she was so content in her pac n play most of the time, it wasn't really a problem. This is our second camping trip under our belts with a baby in tow, and the babies did well on both trips. What a blessing!

Our dear friends, Mike and Jenny, arrived at Lake Mayfield with their family on Sunday and stayed with us until we left on Thursday. All of our children have become good friends, making it a lot of fun to be able to camp together.

I was happily surprised that Jenny went intertubing with me, because in the past she has not been a fan of it. Her boys tried kneeboarding too and were able to get up. Jenny really surprised me then, and inspired by her sons, tried kneeboarding too! After watching her, I felt inspired. I water skied, something that I've done since I was 12, but I kept trying to be more daring on the wake. I wiped out several times, which I haven't done in years. Watching the boys and Jenny try so hard at something new was so fun to watch and makes me want to expand my horizons as well. Maybe next summer I will try to learn how to steer the wakeboard so that I don't involuntarily drift off to the side and crash :)
The boys loving on our dog, Kahlua
The girls, Veronica and Kayli, loving on each other. 
My dear Jenny and I.
Those logs provided hours of entertainment. Remind me - why do we buy toys???
The boys right before we said goodbye on Thursday.
All of the clan kiddos! I love this picture!
After a week at Lake Mayfield, we headed over to Dash Point State Park for the end of our trip, and I will share about that soon. Lake Mayfield was wonderful and we will definitely be back!
Big brother Joshua holding Teresa, something he still asks to do daily :)
Ms. Veronica in all her camping glory. I don't know if I've ever seen a child get so dirty! 
Teresa in the pac n play.
Thank goodness we had this small inflatable pool, as a blowout diaper made an immediate bath necessary. It didn't seem to bother her!











Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Speed of Summer - Making it Slow Down with Summer Cravings

Is it really the second half of July??? Teresa is now ten months old! I feel like it was just a few days ago that I wrote she was nine months old.

Isn't summer whizzing by at record speed? I have a bittersweet relationship with the second half of summer. While I enjoy it so much, I am simultaneously sad that it is passing so quickly. It is an annual joke between Jason and I that once our Forth of July trip to Lake Chelan is over, we can begin planning for Christmas. It really does feel like that each year.

At this point in the summer, it becomes more difficult to relax for reasons twofold. As I'm sure you've noticed, in every store you walk into, school supplies are on display for the "Back to School" sales. I realize this is simply marketing, but it bugs me so much.

These displays remind me of the cornucopia of organizational projects and lesson planning I would like to complete before the new school year begins. I have made a good dent, but the reality is that I will never complete everything before September. I had been making good progress, but that has been put on hold as I prepare our family for a 10 day camping trip that we will be taking soon. This is our longest camping trip yet and it takes quite a bit of organization. The necessary preparations for September are complete, but there is always more that I want to do.

Summer Rolling By
Secondly, the site of the in-my-face, mocking school supplies just stresses me out and makes me panic--Hurry up! Have fun! Enjoy the summer NOW, because it's almost over. It's slipping away. This summer and your children's childhoods are slipping away! Make some happy childhood memories for them NOW! Everyone have fun NOW, damn it!

For some reason, that thought process doesn't really foster relaxation and fun.

The boys and I have been spending many evenings in our back yard after dinner, reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. What a delight! Last week we took them spontaneously to get a fro-yo and then we all played tag at the park.

I crave more times like these. I want to roll in the grass with my kids, find constellations, feel the lake's water up to our ankles, our knees, our waists, our chests, our necks and whoops! - slip underwater and swim and splash and scream with delight. I want to fly a kite and watch the boisterous clouds change shape before our eyes and blow fluffy dandelion seeds all over and not care about the future dandelions sure to crop up later. I want to snuggle around the campfire, sing songs, tell stories and get our hands sticky with chocolate and warm marshmallows. I want to go play on the swings with them and pump and pump and pump our legs until we reach the sky and the swings jump a little as we make our way down, causing my stomach to turn.

I want to hold them and squeeze them and take them in and love them and smother them with kisses and hugs!

Thankfully, our camping trip will give us a lot of opportunity to live out this sentiment. It is a lot of work to prepare for and a lot of work to set up. But once we're there, life slows down. We share the meal preparation and dishes with the friends and family who will be with us. So most of our time is filled with going on small hikes, fishing, enjoying the beach, swimming, boating, reading, playing games and sitting around the campfire.

It's the perfect pleasure to satisfy my cravings.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Vegetables and Feta (S or Fuel Pull Meal)



Mmmmmmm . . .

I am writing this as I enjoy this delightful lunch so that I don't forget what I did. It is SOOO good! The protein in the meal is provided with the cottage cheese. I enjoyed this as an S meal, but with a few very minor modifications, it could easily be a Fuel Pull meal.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 Servings

Spaghetti Squash (You will only use half in this recipe.)
3 T Butter
2-3 Garlic Cloves, Pressed
8 Button Mushrooms, Sliced
1/2 Tomato
1/2 - 1 C Cottage Cheese
1 Cup Spinach Leaves, Chopped
Chopped Green Onions, to taste
Chopped Fresh Basil, to taste
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea Salt and Pepper (All of that spaghetti squash will need a lot of seasoning. Don't be skimpy with the sea salt!)
Crumbled Feta

First, cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pierce the flesh with a knife several times. Lay the halves down on a greased baking sheet with the inside lying down. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your squash.

You will know when it is done when you can easily pierce the squash with a fork or knife. Once it is done, take it out and turn the squash halves over to cool. After about five minutes, fluff the "noodles" up with a fork. You will only need one half for this recipe, so save the other for another meal. Or you might just want to make this again!

Melt the butter on medium in a skillet. Add the pressed garlic. Add the mushrooms. Let them saute for a few minutes. Once they turn a little golden, add the chopped tomato and mix it in. Let everything cook a little until the tomato juice has steamed off.

Stir in the cottage cheese, spinach, green onions and basil. Warm through, but not too much or the spinach will wilt too much. Splash on a little balsamic vinegar. Season well with sea salt and pepper.

Mix in one of the cooked spaghetti squash halves. Season again with sea salt and pepper.

Serve on a plate with crumbled feta on top. YUM!

The butter makes this an S meal. I love mushrooms sauteed in butter :) Also, my cottage cheese wasn't nonfat. But, you can saute the garlic and mushrooms in a little low-fat chicken stock, use nonfat cottage cheese and nonfat feta and you've got a Fuel Pull.

Bon appetit!