Thursday, August 30, 2012

Read This ONLY If You Are A Mom Who Enjoys Wine!

Thank you so much for all the videos you sent in!  Now, we need your photos! 

If you have any pictures-or videos- of your children driving you crazy, throwing a fit, or even being sweet, etc. - we'd like to add those to our video montage!  Please send them by 9/7 to Thanks!!

You love to drink wine.

You are a mom.

You long for just a moment of relaxation and maybe a little fun.


Inspire other moms to kick back, pour a glass of wine and ESCAPE!

“How?” you ask.

Just get a 5 second to 30 second video (SO EASY WITH THAT iPHONE OF YOURS!) of yourself enjoying your favorite go-to after a long day. Whether it’s that tall glass of red or refreshing glass of white. Girls’ night out, book club, bunko (have all the girls in one shot smiling and having a FAB time) or just you and the hubs on the back patio (he’ll gladly take a quickie of you with his phone, Miss Hot Thang!). Just you and your snuggie and The Real Housewives of New York City? No problem! Flip your iPad around and get a snapshot of yourself caressing that glass of vino!

The team here at Must.Have.Wine. are producing a video montage (set to the Black Eyed Peas song “I Gotta Feeling”) that we are going to post on YouTubeand send to every online Mom Magazine we can reach. Obviously, our hope is that it’ll go viral and thus send millions of people to our website (it’s being redesigned as you read this) so that millions and millions will buy our book Must.Have.Wine. when it is published in mid-October.

Send your videos or snapshots to Leah at or post in on our Facebook page:

Just think, if it does go viral and they decide to show the clip on The Today Show, you can tell all your friends and family to look for you, you superstar!


p.s. Extra bonus points if you are singing along to a part of the Black Eyed Peas song in your video!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Home James Home

It's a saying my mom always used to say, "we're home James, home" to no one in particular.  As kids, we just knew it meant home.  Now, whenever I get off that plane in Seattle or drive into the likes of Ellensburg Washington, I feel it...I know it. Home James, home.

It's a weird feeling.  Loving a place so much, yet not wanting to physically live there.  I enjoyed growing up and spending my younger years as a country girl; barrel racing and camping, hiking or just mudding up in the hills in someone's truck.  There's memories that have been made there that are priceless; however, those days are over.  I've moved on with my life.  I've grown up, made a family, made a life in Colorado. Those old days will never be mine again; however...I sure do enjoy the visits!  Every small town girl looks forward to getting back to her roots...

Tomorrow we start our 17-hour trek to Ellensburg Washington for labor day weekend.  The Ellensburg Rodeo is one to be talked about, and I'm excited for my kids to get to experience that and the fair that I spent so many years enjoying myself.  Showing them the barn animals, letting them watch the roping and bull riding, eating the oh-so-yummy but super unhealthy fair food.  Riding the ferris wheel.  And of course, enjoying adult beverages behind the chutes while my children are cared for by Grandma.

Until then, I pack, I clean...I stress as I prepare for this long road-trip with two young kids and no hubby to help.  I try to look at it as an adventure, but experience has taught me otherwise.  Hey, even "the glass is half-full" girls have to be realistic sometimes!  The prize at the end of the journey is a tall glass (or bottle) of wine, some  relaxation...and great memories to be made.  I'll have finally made it home James, home. ~Trina

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Ways to Prepare Healthy Snacks - Guest Post by Barry Zagreb

Snacks are not completely off the table when trying to stick with a healthy diet. You just have to learn how to snack smart by preparing healthy snacks that both satisfy the urge to snack while providing a health benefit. Try these new ways to prepare some old favorite snacks so they can still be part of a low calorie, healthy diet.

Flavored Popcorn
Popcorn has long been recommended as a snack option for a low calorie, heart healthy diet. It is whole grain, easy to tuck an un-popped microwave bag into a backpack or purse, easy to prepare and it’s boring. Spice up microwave popcorn with of your favorite spices or toppings so the old healthy standby will taste new and different.

Pop a bag of plain popcorn, then shake in some red chili powder or paprika for a fiery and crunchy snack. Create an Indian inspired snack by heating one teaspoon of oil in a pan, then adding one-half teaspoon each of ground cumin, turmeric and red chili flakes and let sizzle for one minute. Add one-half cup of roasted peanuts to the bag of popcorn and pour hot spice mixture over popcorn. Top with juice from half a lemon if desired. If sweet is more your taste, melt a little dark chocolate and drizzle over popped corn or sprinkle the snack with ground cinnamon.

Wrap It Up
Create a healthy snack by starting with a whole wheat wrap, add some low fat toppings and wrap it up. Great for on-the-go snacking or as a healthy dessert choice. Lay whole wrap flat and spread with a thin layer of reduced fat peanut butter, then top with banana or apple slices, raisins, strawberries or any other favorite fruit. Drizzle a little melted dark chocolate over the peanut butter and fruit mix, wrap it up and enjoy as-is or heated in microwave or on stove top.

Healthy Pizza
Pizza can be a healthy snack choice, it all depends on what sits atop the pizza dough. Start with a ready-made, individual size pizza crust and top with fresh sliced fruit or veggies. Tomato based pizza sauce contains Lycopene, an anti-oxidant compound which provides several health benefits, so start building a healthy pizza with a layer of tomato sauce and reduced fat xccheese (another healthy food when eaten in moderation), heat until cheese melts, then top with a variety of fresh vegetables. If fresh fruit pizza is more to your liking, mash some fresh berries with the back of spoon, spread on whole wheat crust, then top with slice fruit and a drizzle of melted dark chocolate. Low fat yogurt can also be used as the base spread for a healthy fresh fruit pizza.

Dark Chocolate
You can still eat chocolate and maintain a low calorie, healthy diet. The key is selecting a good quality dark chocolate (which is packed with anti-oxidants) and eat it in moderation. One to two ounces per day is considered a moderate amount. Dark chocolate can be eaten as-is or used in recipes just like milk chocolate, and it will elevate any snack when melted (in microwave) and drizzled on top.

Barry Zagreb writes about health, parenting & finding the best homeowners insurance quote.

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Groovy Ways to Keep Your Kids Entertained While Being Hunkered Down During A Hurricane

These tips are versatile.  That’s what makes them great!  This fun will fit almost any situation that keeps you stranded in your own home for an insane amount of time.  Whether it be a hurricane, extreme heat or being snowed in during a Winter Wallop.  (You must know I’m addicted to The Weather Channel and totally dig the names they give to weather monstrosities).  When they don’t want to play with their basketball or race their Matchbox cars anymore.  When even Go, Diego, Go is getting old, when they’ve started eating their play-doh and have bored of coloring or painting.  With nowhere to go.  No park to let them run free.  No Target to explore in effort to pass the time.  When you’re stuck, you are forced to get creative with what you have on hand.
Disclaimer: The following activities entertained two wildly energetic toddler boys (age 19 mos and almost 3 yrs) during these last couple of months as we retreated from the record heat of this Charleston summer.  Though I reference “boy” or “him” as I illustrate the activities, I’m sure many girls would delight from this fun!   
1.      The Tunnel
a.       Supplies:  a crib/toddler bed mattress, 2 couches (or 1 couch and a love seat; 2 love seats may work, as well), blanket (see extra credit)
b.      How it works:  Strategically rearrange your living room so that the 2 couches are facing each other (seating area to seating area) with about a 2’ space.  Ever so gently-as to not crush your dog who refuses to get off the couch-balance the mattress over the 2’ space so that equal part of the mattress are touching each couch.
c.       Call the kiddos in and voila, the can crawl under the mattress (i.e. through the tunnel) as well as climb on the couches and walk across the make-shift bridge of a mattress. 
d.      Extra credit:  Throw a blanket over the two openings of the tunnel and they’ve got a cool little fort. 
2.      Iron Chef
a.       Supplies: 5-6 small child-safe (plastic) bowls.  Measuring spoons and cups.  A spoon.  A fork.  A whisk.  A potato masher.  Water.  Random ingredients from your cupboard…do we even use the word cupboard anymore?... that won’t harm your child.  Please no hot sauce, airway obstructing chocolate Whopper’s, or anything that tastes horrible because ultimately they will put it all in their mouths at some point.  I used the following: flour, sugar, rice, marshmallows, a cup of water, pasta spirals, bread crumbs and a banana.
b.      How it works: Have your child sit at the table.  Sure, naked is fine…especially if you plan on following this activity with the next on this list. Fill each bowl with an individual ingredient.  Place the measuring cups and utensils within his reach, including the cup of water in the measuring cup. I know you’re freaking out about your carpet or floors, right now.  And yes, it will get messy so while your kiddo is having all sorts of fun mixing, stirring, mashing, tasting….spilling; grab your vacuum and carpet cleaner/mop and standby. 
c.       Why this is educational:  Take a break and sit down with your precious one and talk to him about what each ingredient is, what happens when you combine certain elements (science), what the different numbers are on the spoons and cups (math!  And if your child is a bit older and already knows his numbers, figure out a way to teach him how to add or subtract or do fractions…I don’t know, you know how advanced your child is.)  If you want to get really educational, bring out the packages each ingredient was in and you can talk about the alphabet or teach him how to read.
3.      Tropical Oasis
a.       Supplies:  a bathtub, bubble bath, some bath toys, a coconut mango candle, lighter, a couple of tropical plants (if you already have some in your home…we do because my husband loves him some plants) and Jimmy Buffet or some reggae on your playlist. Pineapple, strawberries, cream cheese, marshmallow cream (see extra credit).
b.      How it works:  Light your Tommy Bahama coconut mango candle (no, I’m not getting paid for that mention).  Set your iPod or iPhone up high so your child won’t grab it and throw it in the toilet and thus change the tone for the rest of the day in confinement.  Prop it up high and crank it up.  Pour a nice warm bath filled with bubbles.  Make it different than boring old bathtime by having your kiddo wear his trunks.  Have him hop in the tub (not recommended literally, you should help him climb in) and toss in the toys. 
c.       Extra credit:  Slice up some fresh pineapple, strawberries and whip up some of that yummy fruit dip-a delectable blend of cream cheese and marshmallow cream.  Deliver on a tray to your little cabana boy.
4.      Bear Hunt
a.       Supplies:  a floor, imagination
b.      How it works:  I was just taught this by a friend of mine and it blew my mind that I hadn’t either (a.)  thought of it before and (b.) read or heard about it in my son’s almost 3 years of life.  So you sit on the floor with your child and you tell him you are going on a bear hunt.  You can use this time to explain in detail that you’re going to use your imagination and then describe the setting.  Are you at a campsite?  Adventurous hikers in the middle of the mountains?   The Bronx Zoo where there has been a bear escape?  Once that’s decided, you’re ready to act out the hunt.
c.       “Dress” for the occasion:  Explain step-by-step how you are going to get ready for your hunt.  Are you going to put your hat on first?  Then act that out.  A jacket, boots, and sunglasses are usually our accessories of choice.  I’m not really sure why we always go on this hunt without pants.  Curious.  I’ll have to remember that one next time. 
d.      Go hunt that bear!:  Okay, so then you finally open the door.  This is when it gets fun.  You look both ways and tell him you’re walking now.  You begin to slap your each thigh with your hands, alternating slaps.  Clip, clop.  Clip, clop.  Clip, clop.  “Oh no!” You exclaim, “there's the bear!”  Then your slaps get faster as if you are running, still alternating, but doing it so fast.  This is always when my boys get really excited and into the game.  Now it’s up to you, mom or dad.  Do you want to climb up a tree?  Swim across a lake?  Outrun the bear and have s’mores by a campfire?  The sky’s the limit.  And you’re an adult, so you know how to mime and act things out according to your life experiences.  We always end our hunt by returning home and taking off the items we had put on in the beginning.  Then a “high-five” concludes the game. 
e.       Why this is so great:  This game can go on as long or short as you need it to.
5.      80s Carpet Picnic
a.       Supplies: A picnic basket, a blanket, paper plates, sun hat, sunglasses.  The food is sort of subjective, but I like to make peanut butter and jelly sandwich squares (cut into bite size pieces, no crust – that’s how I roll!),  cheese and crackers, zucchini sticks (literally just peel the zucchini and cut into sticks), sliced apples and strawberries, Capri Suns, and a handful M&Ms to make it even more special.  Pack it all in your basket.  Cards or a game (see extra credit).
b.      How it works:  Basically, for me, if you throw the term 80s into any sentence, it makes it super rad!  So turn on your 80s music for this type of fun in the “sun.”  Talk it up all morning.  Have everyone wear their sun hats/sunglasses.  Lay the blanket out on the living room floor and have everyone chill.  Unpack your picnic basket so it’s a nice spread all across the blanket.  Let everyone take as much as they want, when they want.  No typical table rules apply.  Just have fun eating yummy morsels in between singing, dancing and enjoying one another’s company.
c.       Extra credit:  Pack a game or some cards and have fun playing after you’re done munching.  Delightful!
I hope being stuck inside during this hurricane weekend is now more enjoyable and depending on how close Isaac come to us here in Florida, it's more tolerable.
Our prayers go out to everyone seriously in the path of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac.  
This post was originally written last summer during Hurricane Irene threatening the South Carolina coast.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Beef & Bean Taco Casserole

Wow.  This one was a winner, both for dinner, and lunch leftovers.  This will definitely be made again in the Epp household!

  • Ingredients
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 can 10 oz black or regular lowfat refried beans
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups broken tortilla chips (I use whole grain or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper chopped (I used yellow because it's what I had handy)
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oven to 350.  Cook ground beef, until thoroughly cooked through.  Add refried beans, salsa and taco seasoning.  Reduce heat to medium, heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
In ungreased 2 qt casserole dish, place 2 cups of the tortilla chips. Top evenly with beef mixture.  Sprinkle with bell pepper, onions and 1 cup of tomato, and the cheese.
Bake uncovered 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Top with remaining tomato and tortilla chips.  

I served with diced avocado.  Happy Eating Friends! ~ Trina

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And Then There Was Kindergarten...

The majority of us strive to be great parents.  We do our best to prepare our children for life, for failure and success, for love and heartache, for the ups and down they will inevitably face as time goes on.  Each stepping stone is one to be proud of; each new tooth, or smile...each word or sentence said with glee.  We think these days will last forever...even though we're told time and time again they won't.

The first day of Kindergarten was one I knew would be emotional and exciting.  I prepared mentally for it at preschool graduation, as trivial as that may sound to some.  In anticipation of the big day, we prepared the backback, the outfit.  We painted nails and discussed hairstyles.  We planned on the a.m. photo-ops, for there would be pictures to remember this moment.  The only thing I hadn't planned on was the gigantic, black eye Callie got falling down at Walmart the Saturday before...however that was a small speck in the horizon compared to the huge changes that awaited us.

I made pancakes, and we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to get in our new routine.  Clayton was tired and didn't want to get up; Shannon was hustling after me and instructing me constantly we will be late if you don't hurry, as if he was used to getting up and getting the kids ready everyday.  Callie walked out the door with a belly full of her favorite breakfast, her hair curled perfectly, and a different outfit than I'd picked out...a much plainer one than I preferred, but a cute one all the same.  We were ready.

We walked our five-year-old up to the school along with hundreds of other parents, ready to confront this new phase in life.  Clayton didn't have pants on, and I had wild hair and smudged mascara.  We may have looked like the trashy, crazy parents we all eye with their children in Walmart and wonder if we should call CPS...but we didn't care.  This was our day.  My baby's day.  I heard all the thoughts running through my brain-Have you succeeded mom? Have you truly prepared her for everything she will face? Is she ready for the trials and tribulations school is sure to bring?

I kissed Callie goodbye, and Callie being Callie, barely noticed.  She was already ready to have fun and play...make new friends and enjoy the newness of school.  I didn't blink a tear.  I'd cried the night before a little when I thought about dropping her off, a little sniffle...sniffle...and then it was over.  I did cry on the ride home though when Clayton kept asking for his sister.  Sissy!  Sissy!  And of course I welted up again when he ran first thing into her room after we got home and crawled under her covers in her pink bed.  How could I help it?

We are only on day two, and I'll have you know, I'm not crying.  I'm preparing a schedule and getting ready to plan some great things for Clayton and I to enjoy together...just the two of us. I'm excited for Callie to start bringing home school work and other things that will keep her brain going; keep her busy.  I'm ready to help assist in the classroom and PTA as needed, even though I never really pictured myself a PTA mom...I want to be involved.

I'm realizing and accepting; I am so that mom.  I'm the crying, sniffling, bumbling idiot I always made fun of before I had kids.  Why is she crying?  They are in preschool!  They still have naps!  Good lord. What will she do when they graduate from highschool or get married?  Have a heart attack?  Well, I may just have a heart attack, thank you very much!   ~Trina

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Stir Fry in a Tortilla

This was the perfect meal for a Friday night.  Cheap, easy...and quick.  As you know, I'm very into health-friendly foods.  I like to find amazing recipes that are lower in bad fats and high in protein and healthy carbs.  Anytime you can sneak in a ton of veggies into a great meal, it's going to be a winner all the way around.  This will be one I make again, for sure! Enjoy!


  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper sliced
  • 1 box 0 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion 
  • 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut up into bite-sized peices
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup whipped light or fat free cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice
Warm oil in large, nonstick skillet.  Add the bell peppers, mushrooms, and red onion and cook, stirring frequently for five minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium and cover, cooking five minutes longer.
Add chicken, chili powder, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste, tossing to mix well.  Cook and stir until heated through well.
Meanwhile, warm tortillas in oven.  Spread each tortilla with cream cheese, then top with chicken & veggie mixture, then with cheese.  Roll up tortillas, and enjoy. 

We just ate these alone, no sides.  Like I said, easy for a Friday night!  Happy Eating Friends! ~Trina

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement - Salmon with Lemon and Dill



You're Welcome!

Salmon with Lemon and Dill

1 pound salmon fillets
1/4 cup butter, melted5 tablespoons lemon juice1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powdersea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
2.Place salmon in the baking dish. Mix the butter and lemon juice in a small bowl, and drizzle over the salmon. Season with dill, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.
3.Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until salmon is easily flaked with a fork.

Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why I Left Preschool Crying...

This was going to be my “oh how sweet it is-my son just started preschool" post. That’s exactly what it would’ve read like if I had posted yesterday…like I had planned. During a very relaxing birthday lunch with my youngest son, Zealand, I decided I would ask Trina to switch days with me – and she did!  After picking up my Luke today, however, I have a different experience to write about.
Trina wrote about the grandiose visions of our children that we have in our minds in her post Unreasonable Expectations. Our kid will be the perfect one…they are the best, after all. On Monday night, I was filling out his preschool information sheet.  One of the questions asked “What do you feel your child does really well at?” Why, everything, of course. I mean, he’s outgoing, smart, compassionate, helpful, etc. I even mentioned they could pair up a shy student with him because he has leadership potential and his kind heart will let that other child know he really cares.
When I dropped him off that very first morning, he practically escorted me out of the room.  I promised I’d be back after quiet time to pick him up and he just waved “bye” with a excited smile on his face. When I came back to pick him up, right at two, he ran to my arms beaming. The teacher’s assistant came up to me and exclaimed how much fun Luke was and how sweet.  His daily sheet even said - and I quote - "MY OVERALL DAY WAS - with the following handwritten WONDERFUL!"  I was so proud!  We went out to celebrate his great behavior with some ice cream.
This morning when he found out he was going back to school, he threw his clothes on and was ready to walk out the door an hour before we had to leave.  Again, I kissed him good-bye and he scampered off to play with his classmates. 
At 2pm, I walked into his classroom.  His teacher smiled a soft smile and tired eyes.
I asked with a smile, “how was Luke today?” I knew the answer would be pretty much the same as yesterday. But, to my shock and dismay, she said, “he did better today.”  Better than fun and sweet and wonderful??
“What?” I asked. “I thought he did well yesterday.”
“Well, he had problems at naptime. He didn’t want to sleep and he wouldn’t sit still. He screams for you so loud he was disturbing the other classes.”
What??!!! My Luke?!
Seeing the tears form in my eyes, my face flushed, she reassured, “This is just the second day!  Don’t worry! We’ll get there!” She placed her hand on my shoulder.
I took my boys home, crying the whole way and wondering where I went wrong as a mom. Clueless as to how I could fix it.
Thank goodness for friends with older kids who have been through these experiences and witnessed their children growing up just fine. I’ve calmed down a bit and I’m ready to take this challenge for my boy who is a good boy! Just like all of us, he’s got some lessons to learn…and so do I!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The End to an Epic Summer

I've always wondered what it would be like to spend a summer at home with my children.  To not have to bash heads and battle to the end over a week off when all the other mom's children were also out of school. To know that spring breaks, fall breaks, Christmas break...they are all mine with my kiddos.  What a fabulous feeling.  No trying to get it on the calender first, or hoping there's enough coverage at the office.  Just making plans and looking forward to time with my family.  I'm almost still not sure it's really real.

By the time I figured out I should enjoy myself, I truly to not have to go back to the hustle and bustle of my previous life, summer was fading away. We finally have figured out somewhat of a schedule (schedule, ha! we hang out in our pj's somedays till noon!), and it's time to change again.  Going to bed early, getting up earlier, taking Callie to school.  Getting Clayton in a schedule of being home without his sister.  Gymnastics. Sports.  Life.  And I'm sure just as I figure out how to handle that, it will be winter break, or summer again before we know it.  Life flies by, and if you aren't paying won't catch all the unforgettable moments.

As we school shop and prepare for this next phase, everyone is excited.  Callie is happy about meeting new friends and just school in general.  I'm excited about having time with Clayton by myself; just mommy and son time, and seeing Callie in her element - a social setting..  Shannon's excited to see Callie learn and thrive as we're sure she'll do in school.  However, intertwined with this excitement is a bit of sadness.  I'm a bit reluctant to let go of this summer.  Of the first phase of this new life I've begun.  The excitement and dreams about a new future for me.  The endless moments with my kids swimming, hiking, fishing, or just hanging out. Spending time with the best of friends and neighbors.  The end of our new beginning.  I know beautiful and amazing times are in our future, but this is one epic summer I'm going to hold on to, forever.  I thank God I had the opportunity! ~Trina

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Grilled Flank Steak with Tomatoes, Red Onion & Basalmic

Now, after my grilled flank steak fajitas last week, I decided I love flank steak.  Yes, it's a little pricey.  But, it's well worth the money because it's amazing and it's pretty large; they normally come in a 2lb package.  This steak was delicious!  

  • 2 lb flank steak, fat trimmed
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp fresh herbs such as oregano, basil or parsley
  • Veggies or side dish desired, I used zucchini, yellow pepper & squash

Pierce steak all over with a fork. Season generously with salt, pepper and garlic powder and set aside about 10 minutes at room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine onions, olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Let onions sit a few minutes with the salt and balsamic to mellow a bit. Combine with tomatoes and fresh herbs and adjust seasoning if needed.

Heat grill or broiler on high heat. Cook steak about 7 minutes on each side for medium rare or longer to taste. Remove from grill and let it rest on a plate for about 5 minutes before slicing. 

Slice steak think on the diagonal; top with tomatoes and serve with your choice of grilled veggies or potatoes.

Happy Eating Friends! ~Trina

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why Mommies Can't Get Sick

I don’t care what anyone says, modern day mommies are the head of households.  They make schedules happen, meal plans happen, often times do the grocery shopping, take care of the bills, make sure everyone has clean underwear, clean teeth and so forth.  And some work full-time jobs too.

Men are so important, of course I have to say that.  Often times they do help with household chores, the outdoor work, the car oil and so forth.  They make important decisions and are the mainstay behind discipline.  If I have car trouble or any mechanical issues I automatically start freaking out…because I know nothing.  I call my husband and he’s calm, cool and collected and can normally fix any issue with me over the phone.  He comes up with great problem solving ideas, and altogether is a great partner for me.  I fly by the seat of my pants when needed; he plans everything with the utmost thought and care (even if it is last minute).  But when it comes to the glue that holds the family together? That’s mommy, and I’m sure all men would agree with me.

So that’s why as mommies we can’t get sick.  We have this maternal instinct when our children are sick to care for and baby them.  Men don’t have a maternal instinct.  So when we get sick, we are wasting our time beating our (hurting) heads against a wall wondering why they won’t take care of us like our moms did.  They are asking us when dinner will be done, or should they just go pick something up (hint, hint, will you cook)?  Rather than shoot invisible darts at them with your eyes, remember they have never been moms.  That’s why when they are sick, they act like babies.  They had their mommies to care for them!  We did too, but now…our mommies are gone.  We are the moms. 

There are a few women who are reading this thinking my husband is so great, he waits on me hand and foot when I’m sick.  Well if you aren’t newly wedded and you have children – you are lucky.  The rest of you are reading this laughing or nodding because we’re all in the same boat.

On Monday I started having severe pain with my menstrual cycle.  Since this happened with my last cycle, I was concerned.  It wasn’t until I doubled over in pain and nearly threw up, my husband took me seriously.  While he was being helpful, I could tell he truly didn’t understand my need to lie in bed all day.  While that pain eventually subsided with pain medication; a severe throat and vomiting came on later.  I heard him at one point hollering at the children to watch their movie while he watched his hunting show.  I came unglued…

“You seriously want them to watch another minute of TV when you are going to go to work tomorrow with me feeling like crap and that’s all they are going to do?  You are really going to watch hunting shows while the dishes are piled up in the sink and the kids made messes around you – knowing I will have to clean it all up later?  Seriously?” I screamed at him, while I went in to get both our kids to play a learning card game.  I was furious.  He looked at me in dismay, then got up and did the dishes, and helped pick up.  Later, he took the kids outside to play.

I think men just don’t get it in general.  I do more around the house sick with kids in a day then he does if he’s watching them for a day perfectly healthy. He doesn’t cook or clean.  He doesn’t remember to brush their teeth, and if he puts them to bed, usually only one of them gets a book.  I come home to a disaster and he’s looking at me like, hello, I just had both kids!  They just aren’t programmed to do what we do. 
So rather than throw myself a little pity party knowing I’m destined to never be sick and pampered again (you’d think I’d know this after over  7 years of marriage), I have to come to grips with the fact that men aren’t women.  They aren’t moms.  Shannon, if he was nurturing like a woman, would fail in many other areas I need him to be manly in.  I would plain not be attracted to someone who would rather run around the house and clean and cook than be outside shooting his bow or be in the outdoors in general.  I also know many friend’s husbands who go out to guys night when their wives are sick.  So if he’s home watching the hunting channel, that’s better than being out drinking beer somewhere – although I feel the need to say I wouldn’t be with someone who left me when I was sick to go out drinking beer…just sayin.

So I’ve decided to do as I always do, write to my other mommy friends and whine like we often do over a glass of wine together - why is it that mommies aren’t allowed to be sick?  It’s not fair! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Mommy’s School Bus Jitters

If you're a mom about to bid adieu to your little one as they climb aboard that big yellow heartbreaker for the very first time, I wish you well.  I have no idea what it’s actually going to be like watching my son get on the bus to head to Kindergarten for the first time, but I do know it’s not going to be easy if I’m crying about it now and he’s only 21 months old. 
We read a few books every night at bedtime, and lately, our favorite book has been “Best Baby Ever” by David Milgrim.  In it, the parents are mesmerized as their baby grows from his first smile until ultimately, they watch him get on the school bus for the very first time with tears in their eyes.  I’m telling you, I’ve read this book probably every night at least once, for the last couple of months.  Yet, tonight, I couldn’t hold it back.  It seems like just yesterday when I had my little 7 lb 7 oz newborn baby boy.  He’s already grown so fast and if time continues to fly like this, I’ll soon be watching a five-year-old get on the bus.
My voice starts to shake as I continue to read this particular night; but I toughen up and tell the story until the end without my son noticing my voice choking up.  I conclude as I wipe the tears from my face that Kindergarten is a long way off, and I’m going to enjoy every single minute with my baby until then.  But, really, I know it's just right around the corner...on the corner some of you'll be standing on this month. 
In so many ways we can't wait to see our children grow into the people they are going to be; yet we want to keep them little.  Hug your little Kindergartner before they get on that bus and enjoy that moment for what it is.  A milestone.  A treasured memory.  And if you find yourself lost in a quiet house, go treat yourself to a hot stone massage!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Grilled Steak Fajitas with Flank Steak

This is a new recipe I tried with flank steak.  I have discovered, I love flank steak!  It's delicious cooked on the grill, nice and tender.  The key is heating the grill on high, getting it over 400 degrees, then before putting the steak on, reducing the heat to low to cook slowly.  You don't want to overcook fajita meat, so it will be red.  This will be my new go-to for fajita cooking.  Delicious, healthy and light.


For the Steak
  • 2 lbs flank steak, trimmed of fat
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp cumin (or to taste)
  • 2 scallions, sliced (optional)
  • salt + fresh pepper to taste
 For the Onions and Peppers 
  • 3 medium onions, sliced into long strips
  • 3 bell peppers (I used multi-colors), sliced into strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt + fresh pepper to taste
Don't forget avocados, light sour cream, or anything else you like to serve with fajitas normally!

I season the steak a few hours ahead. Pierce steak with a fork all over to tenderize. Season steak with cumin, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper. Allow steak to sit at room tempurature at least 10 minutes before grilling. 

In a large grill-safe pan combine onions, peppers, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Place on the BBQ and cook on medium-low heat, tossing occasionally until onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes. This could also be cooked inside on the stove as well.

When the onions and peppers are done, set aside to keep warm on the top rack of your grill; raise the flame of the grill to high flame. Discard scallion and sear steak 4-6 minutes without moving, turn the steak over and cook a few more minutes until rare or medium rare (well done will be too tough). Remove from grill and let it rest a few minutes before cutting.  

Cut meat into small cubes and combine with the cooked onions and peppers and serve with tortillas, cheese, guacamole and sour cream.

Happy Healthy Eating Friends! ~Trina