Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pet Peeves Tuesday: Week 2

Wait, a whole week has gone by since my last blog post, and now it's Tuesday...which means another Pet Peeves post! New readers might think I'm a bit of a curmudgeon, but I'm not. I promise. In fact, this weekly Peeve Post is my newly conceived chance to let it all hang out.

So here it goes: My 2nd Pet Peeve is when friends don't take the time to visit after you have a baby.

My kids are now 5 and almost 3 and yet-- and yet-- I can still remember any friend who came by our home to visit with me after having my son and daughter.

There is something about the exhaustion, elation, vulnerability-- all of it-- that makes new mothers REALLY need loyal friends when we are home with a new baby.

It is hard for me to forget those who never got around to visiting, or even calling or checking in, when they knew I was home solo with a baby. That postpartum period is one of those times in your life that can be friendship making or friendship breaking.

Is this just me? Is it because I don't have my family nearby that I so needed visitors after having a baby? Perhaps. Still, I can imagine many of us feel the same. It truly takes a village to care for little ones, and true friends will stick around to help each other out, even if it's not always 'convenient.'

We learn as we go in life, and maybe it takes having a child to really understand this one, but now, no matter how "busy" I am, I make the effort to visit with a mother and her baby (or invite them over in case she wants OUT of the house). It means so much to me, it must mean something to other moms out there, right?

Join me in my weekly vent! What about you? What's one of your peeves?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

Check out last week's Pet Peeve here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Pet Peeve Tuesday: Week 1

I'm starting a new weekly Pet Peeve post, aptly called "Pet Peeve Tuesday!" (Tuesday has always been my least favorite day of the week).

We all need to vent occasionally, right?

Here is my first peeve: Lateness.

Of course I understand being occasionally late. Things come up: unexpected road construction, a hungry baby's feeding, an unplanned work meeting. However, I cannot stand it when someone is perpetually late!

What constitutes as late in my book? Anything over 10 minutes.

Here's what I think makes chronic tardiness so annoying to me: If I can usually make it on time, why can't they? What is the other person implying about their time versus everyone else's? It especially irks me if the tardy-person doesn't really apologize or is a constant re-offender.

So let's get to places on time people!

Spill it! What is one of your Pet Peeves? How do you handle it?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

If you have a minute, check out my essay, Parenting Like a Chimpanzee, on Mamalode, and share it with friends!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's in a Name?

People often chuckle when I tell them my blog name, Frantic Mama. That's good. That's the point of the title-- to get us laughing. To acknowledge it ain't all wine and roses in parenthood, and that laughing is often the only way we can stay sane.

How did I come up with the name Frantic Mama? I knew I needed to have Mom, Mommy, or Mama in there, as the blog was to center on Motherhood. My kids call me Mama, so that was simple.

I honestly can't remember the exact moment when it dawned on me to add the Frantic part. It likely came to me in one of my random creative bursts (anyone else get those?). I thought it was funny and honest. Which, really, is the point of the whole blog.

One thing people often ask is "so are you just FRANTIC all the time?" No, not all the time. Right now, in fact, I am thoroughly enjoying some peaceful writing time (with a beer) after getting the kids in bed.

Am I frantic sometimes? Yes, of course I am! Especially those times when the kids and I are just getting home from an outing and one needs to poop, the other is peeing in her pants, they're chucking their shoes at each other, and they're both whining about being hungry/thirsty/and "not" tired. Those are the frantic moments. Transitions in general are tough on my kids and therefore tough on me. The moments when everyone needs something rightthatsecond make my heart speed up and my breath shallow and quick.

This blog is supposed to capture those moments and relate them to you. It's also about positive thoughts I have on Motherhood-- the beauty and the beast. There is certainly joy and simple, non-glamorous beauty in my daily life as a stay-at-home mother to two little ones. I hope my blog communicates that in a way you can relate to.

I want to offer a sincere thank you for reading and for sharing your own thoughts and stories along with me!

And if you have just a few more seconds, please check out and "like" my recent essay, Parenting Like a Chimpanzee, up on Mamalode, right here!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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 me right now!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How to Survive a Family Photo Shoot

You know those impeccable images that arrive in your mailbox each holiday season? The ones where everyone in the family is looking out from the card smiling, laughing, hugging? They must be perfect families with clean kitchens, fancy jobs, and 2.5 consistently well-behaved, well-groomed children, right?

Wrong. So very, very wrong.

A family photo shoot with young children finds itself on my Stress-inducing Short List (of 1st world problems, that is). The time of day, the meal situation, whether the baby has pooped, whether your shirt is stained, if the weather will hold out, if your toddler will behave, if you will have the time and energy to get everyone dressed up... the list of needs and planning involved goes on and on.

Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment, because despite the teeth-gritting stress involved in having a professional take photos of our family, doing so remains a priority for me. It's one of those commitments I make every couple of years.


Because it has always been worth it. Somehow, some way, the photographer has been able to capture many-- not just one!-- photos of our family in a particular stage of life, whether we are documenting a new baby coming home, a toddler chasing after her big brother, or our whole family just playing around our yard.

I've learned a few tricks to improve our chances of a good shoot.

Feeling like taking the plunge? Here are my hard-earned survival tips:

1. Provide snacks with real, actual sugar in them for you and the children. Eat them before and during the shoot whenever the kids need a quick breather.

2. Pick out clothing in advance. Talk to your kids about the clothes, let them help choose, etc. so that everyone is well aware and on board ahead of time.

3. Pick a photographer you feel comfortable with *(if you live in Minnesota, we love Michele at mQn!). If your kids are like mine (or really, like any other children in history), you'll need someone who understands active, sensitive, inquisitive, persistent, impulsive, competitive, silly children... in other words, someone who can roll with the punches and laugh if your kid throws a stick at the camera (I'm looking at you, Michele!).

4.  Bribes Rewards. You may feel guilty promising a new Hot Wheel if your son will cooperate for the next 20 minutes, or enticing your toddler with ice cream if she'll take her finger out of her nose and smile, but again, the photos are worth a bribe or two. You're paying good money, so do whatever needs to be done to get your kids smiling!

5. Have the photos are taken at your house and yard, or somewhere your kids are used to. This has been a huge help for our family. Plus, we like preserving our life as it is right now, and our environment plays a big part of that.

What about you? What tactics have (or haven't) worked for your family photos in the past?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mini Cherry Cobbler Recipe

My husband knows I like cherries, so he brought home a 3 pound bag of them. Three pounds! Pitting all of those is no easy feat, even with the overpriced cherry pitter tool I bought at Target, and as much as I like cherries, I wasn't so sure we could finish all 3 pounds of them before they went bad.

Pinterest to the rescue! 

Below is a recipe I found on Pinterest (originally published by Zerrin at Give Recipe).  I put asterisks next to my additions and changes-- I like to personalize a recipe for taste and health.

These turned out delicious!

Cherry mixture:

  • 1 and ½ cups cherries, pitted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Dash of Almond Extract*

Crisp topping:

  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour*
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • A pinch of brown sugar, for the topping of each*

Let's Make it!
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.*
  2. For the topping: mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, butter
  3. Mix cherries, sugar, almond extract* and cornstarch in a separate bowl until combined.
  4. Put a little crumble mixture in ramekins to make a bottom layer for your crisp.
  5. Spoon the cherry mixture into 4 ramekins and sprinkle the topping mixture evenly on cherries.
  6. Sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar on each.*
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is slightly golden and the cherry layer is bubbling.
  8. Devour!* (Makes 4 ramekins/servings)

Baking is a hobby I used to enjoy frequently before having young wildebeasts children. Now it's more of a special event. Still, I'm excited to be back in it again a bit, if even just for the summer. What hobbies are you currently or do you hope to reconnect with when you are able?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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