Author: Lisa

Lisa is a designer/developer, a reluctant minivan driver, and a proud IVF mama of one rambunctious little dude. She's into Montessori parenting, greenish living, and trying to find the occasional 10 minutes for herself.

Lisa and Sydney Opera House

The Girl Who Cried ‘Poop!’

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, I asked my mom to share one of her “hot mess” stories with us. It would appear that I’ve had a lifelong appreciation for poop humor…and I was obviously more fearless about shouting in public than I am now!


I am a mother of two grown children. Motherhood brings so many rewarding experiences and mishaps.  I’d say some of my “mishaps” were just part of the messy, quite normal, day-to-day routine for a first time Mom. It’s been a while – I’ve probably blocked out most of my “hot mess” stories, but I’m confident I did pretty well as you can see them both now.


Here’s one of our favorite embarrassing stories from Lisa’s childhood.

Children of a certain age – about 2 or 3 years old – take great pleasure in hearing their voice echo off the vaulted church ceiling during Mass. Our church was old, built before the time of special “cry rooms” for children.

On this particular day, little Lisa’s word of choice was “POOP!” Fortunately, our family’s unique dialect includes a number of Filipino words in place of English. So while mildly embarrassed by the shouting, we felt confident that nobody actually understood when little Lisa shouted “Taee! TAEEEE!!”

We finally got her to sit quietly, and the rest of the service was uneventful. Mass ended, and we felt like we had “gotten away with it”. Just then, a small group of nuns came up to us.

“Good morning! Filipina, ka ba? We heard your daughter!” They laughed. “What island are you from?” I told them I was from Cagayan de Oro, in Mindanao, and coincidentally several of the nuns were from the Lourdes College there.

Lisa with Mom and RVM Sisters

So that was the day we met the Filipino RVM Nuns that ran the Parochial School. They became lifelong friends to us. If Lisa hadn’t shouted “POOP!!” at the top of her lungs, we may not have met them!

Lisa and Sydney Opera House
Who, ME??

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!!

Coffee Cup

Laugh It Off

Coffee Cup

I get embarrassed easily. I get embarrassed when I catch myself muttering aloud when I’m home alone. I only dance when NO ONE is watching (or after 2.5 cocktails). I get uncomfortable when someone is standing in front of my favorite peanut butter in the grocery store. What to do? Hover behind them creepily? Come back later and hope they’re gone? Or horror of horrors, actually speak to them?

Luckily, now that I’m a mom, that self-consciousness has disappeared. Well, sort of. It’s still there. I just don’t have time to care about it now.

My first public Mom Mishap happened when my son was 5 months old. Just when I finally had my diaper bag situation in order (aka remembering to restock diapers/wipes, learning to keep a extra bottle/snack supply), I went out in public for a nice Saturday breakfast. In the 2 seconds after my husband left the table and I took my eyes off my amazing new baby, that baby reached out and dumped a full cup of ripping hot coffee on my lap. I was MORTIFIED…and completely unprepared for such disasters. I had 5 flimsy paper napkins, and wipes (not ideal for liquid spills). Coffee…everywhere…what…to…do…durrr…I think I went into shock.

I came to when another young mom approached me. “You look like you need some help!” She handed me a burp cloth and a fat stack of napkins. I sighed in relief. “Thank you so much!” Thank goodness for more experienced moms, I thought. It’s such a relief to know that I’ll get it together as he gets older.

Then I saw her tiny baby. It was younger than mine! She was a newbie too… just way more organized than I. Bummer. Maybe I’m just doomed to hot-messedness.

Last weekend, I was at the grocery store with my family. We had our usual Saturday breakfast, and I brought my coffee with me as we shopped. My son grabbed my coffee cup, but my slightly-more-experienced Mama Eagle Eye rescued the cup before disaster struck.

Or so I thought.

We headed toward the checkout lanes. I started to take a sip of my coffee, but nothing came out as I tilted it toward my mouth. By the time I realized that coffee was running down my hand, it was too late. The lid (which my son had expertly loosened just enough) popped off violently, soaking my entire front side in delicious, freshly roasted, organic/fair trade coffee.

Was I better prepared than I was 16 months ago? Not really. But was I mortified? Nope. It was hilarious!

But I did change my clothes when we got home.

Child Sitting on Potty

Montessori Inspired Toileting

Child Sitting on Potty

We’ve been “potty training” for about 6 months now.  I’m using quotes because a) I don’t think we’ll be at 100% toilet use for a while and b) I don’t really like that term.  He’s a person learning an essential life skill, not a cat refusing to use the litter box.

No matter how you handle it, toilet learning is a hot mess.  Sometimes literally, like when your kid poops in the potty and immediately puts his hand in it.  Or when your kid gets up and runs down the hall with poop falling out as he runs.  Thank goodness for tile floors!

My toilet learning method is heavily influenced by Montessori Toilet Learning (examples here and here), and Homemade Mothering’s Potty Training Manifesto.  Sure, it’s not for everyone, and every child is different.  You know the drill.  This is what’s working for us, and hopefully this will be helpful for other mamas out there.

I gradually began changing the diapering routine when he was about a year old.  Why?  Because he HATED lying on the changing table.  Every diaper was a wrestling match!  So I changed him standing up in the bathroom.  Then I put a potty in the bathroom, and would have him sit there for a moment before putting a new diaper on him.

The real fun began when he started walking at 14 months.  He was already used to seeing and sitting on the potty on a regular basis, so I started taking him to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, regardless of whether I thought he had a dirty diaper or not.  It was definitely hit or miss for a long time, but it became a mostly successful routine. We would go as soon as he woke up, and before/after we did anything (eating, leaving the house, naps, etc.).  If he didn’t want to sit down, I just changed him and we’d move on.  Lately, if I suspect he does need to go I’ll bribe him into sitting with a chocolate chip, but I try to keep the whole thing pressure-free.

So where are we at 20 months?  He’s recently started wearing training pants at home, and he’s learning to pull pants up and down.  He usually pees in the potty, as long as i take him there frequently.  He knows to tell me if he has to poop, but by the time we get to the bathroom its often already…out.  If we do make it in time, I distract him with books and poorly-sung songs to keep him from getting up and running off mid-poop.

A quick Pinterest search for “potty training” returns tons of advice for fast potty training: “3 days or less!” “Potty trained in 1 week!” “Potty train in 24 hours!”.  Every time I come across pins like these, I start to feel anxious.  Am I doing it all wrong?  Should I be rolling up my rugs and letting him run around naked?

And then I come back to my real life, with my un-Pinteresty house and my not-yet-2 child who actually does use the potty fairly often despite my relative laziness in “potty training” him.  And I think we’re doing just fine.  Maybe the 3-day roll-up-the-rugs method would be better/faster, and I guess that’s still an option.  But for now, the slow and steady method is working for us.

How did you handle potty training?  Let us know in the comments!

Hands on Belly

Belly Rubs: A Horror Story

Hands on Belly
Dun-nun. Dun-nun.


How to begin this story? I was pregnant. I was at work. I was in the bathroom, as usual. I’ve spent an awful lot of time in the bathroom in the last two years.

I was washing my hands after peeing for the fiftieth time that morning. A coworker came into the bathroom. She was from a different department, so while I knew her name, I’d never actually spoken to her other than passing hellos in the hallway.

“Aww, what a cute belly!” She gushed.

“Haha…thanks.” What else is there to say?

And then it happened. She walked right up, reached right in (I’m still washing my hands) and RUBBED MY BELLY.

Internally, I was blowing my imaginary rape whistle and screaming my head off. In real life, I was awkwardly laughing and backing away. “Uh, heheh, okay…Thanks…Excuse me,” I mumble. My brain was in emergency shutdown mode. GETOUTGETOUTGETOUT.

Now, I don’t have a problem with belly touching. Close friends and family? Fine. Coworkers I actually know and talk to? Ok, just ask first. Strangers? No. Bad touch. Unknown coworkers touching my belly in the office bathroom, right after I’ve peed, while I’m trying to wash my hands? Utterly horrifying.

I get it. Pregnancy is neat. I loved feeling those little kicks and somersaults. One of my favorite prego memories is my son kicking my brother’s hand, and my brother going “Whoaaa!”. But please. PLEASE. Ask permission first. You wouldn’t want me to touch your belly, so it’s also not ok to touch my baby belly.

And for the love of God, not when I’m in the bathroom.

Happy Friday, and thanks for reading!

Toddler Walking Outside

Mud, Coffee, Pee: A Typical Morning

It’s a normal weekday morning.  We wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and he plays with his toys while I pack his school bag.

We start to leave the house for school.  He runs around the front yard shouting “Stick!” “Tree!” “Leaf!”.  After days of rain, the sun is finally shining.  It’s one of those perfect “I love being a Mom” moments.  I bask in the adorableness of it all as I carry our bags in one hand, my coffee in the other.

That’s when it all falls apart, naturally.

I open the van door and set the bags down.  I scoop up my son (coffee still in hand, what a pro!).  He immediately flips out, squirming and kicking and “No no no no!!”.  I set my coffee on the floor of the van and use both arms to wrangle this kid into his car seat.  He pulls my hair and kicks me in the chest with his muddy shoes.  Dammit!  Oh well.  I’ll come back home and change my shirt.  He’s in the seat.  Ahhh.  I get in the car.  Off we go.  I back out of the driveway.

Wait.  What is that noise?  Glug, glug, glug….

It’s Mommy’s turn to have a tantrum.  “No no no no!!!”  Back into the driveway.  Open the van door.  Coffee ALL OVER the floor.  ALL OVER the cloth diaper bag.  “Nooooooo!” 

Run back into the house.  Do I have a clean diaper bag?  Err, not exactly.  Crap.  I empty yesterday’s dirty diaper bag into the diaper pail.  It smells faintly of pee.  It’ll have to do.  It’s going to have dirty diapers in it later anyway, right?

Back to the car.  Ignore the coffee spill for now.  We’re running late.

We get to school.  He walks right in, neatly dressed and hair brushed.  Meanwhile, I look crazy, with my ponytail askew and mud smeared all over the front of my shirt.  And I’m carrying a day-old diaper bag, so I probably smell like pee.

I walk back to the car and burst out laughing.  And then I see another parent giving me the side-eye.  Oops.  Better go home and change my shirt.


Do you have a Hot Mess story to share with our readers?  If so, we want to hear about it!  Just shoot us an email (hello [at] hotmessmamas [dot] com), or send us a message on Facebook.

Lisa & Baby C

I’m a Unicorn. No, really.

Lisa and C
The best part of waking up, is having an awesome baby that almost didn’t exist.

You don’t know me. Well, maybe you do (our readership is still small, after all). But if not, all you know about me is that I’m the natural birthing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, make-all-our-food-from scratch CRAZY LADY.

Right? So annoying. A magical mama unicorn.

I have a surprise for you. I AM a unicorn. For reals. But not in the magical, irritating, glitter-farts way. I’m a unicorn in the rare birth defect, mandatory-IVF kind of way. So that’s something you can feel smug about when I’m annoying you with my crazy-mom-ness. I’ll never have a “whoops, I’m pregnant” moment. The one big surprise in my life has dictated that there will be no surprises ever in the baby making department.

When my husband and I started talking about kids 3 years ago, we were very casual about it. We don’t have to TRY, we just won’t PREVENT, we said. I come from a family full of overly fertile Filipino mamas (remember, my grandma had 12 kids), so I was nervous. OMG, I could pretty much be pregnant tomorrow just by thinking about it! Is this the right time? Am I ready to be pregnant TOMORROW? Holy sh*t!

After a few months of not being pregnant tomorrow, I was feeling paranoid. Everything I read said “try for a year before seeing a doctor”, but I had this dark feeling that something wasn’t right. Also…I’m impatient.

Let’s back up a bit. I had my right ovary removed when I was in high school because of a tumor. At the time, the doctor assured my mom that it wouldn’t affect my fertility at all. So I never thought about it again…well, not for 13 years anyway.

So 6 months into “not trying” I went to my annual checkup. Annnnd, I fibbed to my doctor! I told her we had been trying for almost a year. Hey, I just rounded up a little! She sent me to have an HSG test. Probably just scar tissue from the old surgery, she said.

If you’ve ever had an HSG, it sucks, it’s awkward, and you stare at the ceiling and try to pretend you’re somewhere else. And then, if you’re me, the nurse says something comforting like, “That’s strange.” And then you cry in the parking lot, and go back to work and stare blankly at your computer for the next 3 hours.

So my doctor sent me to a fertility specialist. That’s how you know that “not trying” is NOT going well. And to think, my grandmother told me not to hold hands with boys because I might get pregnant (gotta love Asian grandmas). Think of all the hand holding I missed out on!

The new doctor said, it’s probably just scar tissue blockage. We’ll just clear it out. Two weeks later, I woke up from my laparoscopy. My husband didn’t have to say it. I knew when I saw his face.

IVF. Despite what your insurance says, it’s not an elective.  No one chooses IVF.  But it was the only option. Why? Because I have a unicornuate uterus. WTF is that, you ask? It’s when you only have one half of your uterus. A random, super rare birth defect. Which wouldn’t even be a huge issue, except it was on the right. Where I don’t have an ovary anymore. Not connected to my left ovary in any way. Everything was functioning normally…but they might as well have been on different planets. They were never (ever, ever) getting together. And there were pregnancy risks. Possible breech presentation. Possible premature birth. Possible miscarriage. Wait, aren’t these things possible anyway?

So, we went for it. We went from “we don’t have to TRY” to “we need to do this NOW”. We spent the money (with some help from hopeful grandparents-to-be). I did the many, many, many injections. And in the words of Lucille Bluth, our future babies were “made in a cup, like soup”. The day before the embryo transfer, we watched Babies to get psyched for what we hoped was our impending pregnancy. I might get pregnant, I thought. Like, tomorrow. And I did.

We’re so, so lucky to have our son. He stayed in the right position for my entire pregnancy. He was born 2 days past my due date, even though the doctors warned that he would probably be early. And he was over 8 pounds, so he did just fine with the limited space he had.  I know it may not be that easy next time, but I hope it will be.  Because I’m a glass-half-full person. A stubbornly optimistic person.

It’s why I don’t look back on that time with anxiety.

It’s why I’ll be excited to do it again.

It’s what gets me through the daily hot messes of motherhood.

It’s what made me the natural-birthing, cloth-diapering nutcase that I am.

It’s why I wanted a natural birth, and why I was so stubborn about nursing.

Every pregnancy I’ll have (and there will be more) will be planned. Monitored. Managed. I want to do the rest of it my way.

On paper, I may sound like a magical mama unicorn. But in real life? I’m just a regular unicorn.  Regular farts and all.

Ralphie Wiggum Unicorn


Lisa and C post nursing

It was Great!! Eventually.

Breastfeeding is how I discovered the power of embarrassing your male coworkers. I had two different run-ins with male colleagues asking where I was going (the women’s changing/pumping room was a short walk from my desk, and I carried that hideous Medela backpack). The first time it happened–“Where are you going? You know we have a meeting at 10:30, right?” I stuttered, beet-faced, that I was going to the bathroom, to uh, well… It took the poor guy a few beats before his face matched mine and he practically ran away from me. It’s like telling your male geometry teacher you’re on your period. They will never bother you again!

Overall, I had a great experience with breastfeeding. I lost the baby weight quickly. My milk supply was fine–I wasn’t filling gallon jugs, but I always had extra stored. Night feedings were sweet and cozy, and we even went through a cosleeping phase. I worked in an office so pumping was easy & (mostly!) uneventful. We nursed until he self-weaned at 1 year–when he laughed and poked my boob instead of trying to nurse, I knew we were done.

It’s easy to assume that it’s all going smoothly for someone else, isn’t it? It sounds perfect, right? Well, I can tell you that it hurt in the beginning just like it does for every other mom. I got teary and frustrated when he only went 30-45 minutes between feeds. When I had to start pumping when he was in NICU, I spilled 4 oz of milk and started sobbing and blubbering “I can’t do this. I can’t do this!” Even when he did sleep through the night at 6 weeks, I was up and pumping at 3 to build up a stockpile (and keep my pajamas dry).

Then mastitis happened. Somehow my over-informed self took a breastfeeding class and read the BEST breastfeeding book and still managed to ignore any mention of mastitis. So it figures that it would happen to me. Basically it’s a plugged duct that turns into an abscess (yep, gross) if it gets infected. It had to be opened and drained. Three times. Two of those times with only a “numbing wipe” for the pain–which was completely ineffective. They probably put me under the third time because of all the screaming.

So perfect, right? Yeah, super perfect. Nursing and pumping around an open wound is certainly an ideal we should all strive for.

I suppose I could have given up then. But I’m stubborn, remember? I decided that if my grandmother could birth and nurse 12 kids in the absolute middle of nowhere with only a village midwife for support, then I could f%$king DO THIS. The birthing and nursing, that is. Probably not the 12 kids part.

So finally, after those difficult first 2 months, everything was great. I healed, his feedings spread out, and my milk production calmed the eff down.  I’m glad I stuck with it, because I loved it and it worked well for us. Sure, pumping isn’t fun or convenient. And the nursing clothes on the market are total crap (Don’t waste your money! I just wore non-nursing blouses that buttoned). But those little inconveniences don’t matter. This is such a short, short phase, no matter how long (or briefly) you’re able to nurse. I wouldn’t trade those sweet nursing moments for anything and I absolutely believe every mom deserves that experience.

Oh, and guess what? I did use formula occasionally. He had some when he was in NICU, and we used it here and there if I didn’t have enough stored milk ready. And he was fine. So if you can’t nurse, stop worrying. Your kid will move on to cheerios and goldfish soon enough.

Keep Calm & Feed Your Baby poster

Cloth Diapering is Not a Big Deal

Cloth Diapering: It’s Not a Big Deal (I Swear!)

Cloth Diapering is Not a Big Deal

If you’ve ever been to any pregnancy/parenting online forum, you’ve probably seen signature lines like this: “Home-birthing, cloth-diapering, BF-ing, Baby-wearing Mama of 7.” (Whoa!)  You’ll probably never see “Disposable-diapering, formula-feeding, stay-at-home mama of one with a full time nanny.” Can you imagine all the shaming that poor mama would get?

Certain parenting methods are worn proudly like Girl Scout merit badges, and cloth diapering is one of them. It’s better for the environment, it’s cheaper, it’s better for toilet learning, blah blah blah.  You already know the reasons.

Yes.  I DO cloth diaper. But I’m not here to tell you that you HAVE to do it. If you don’t want to, that’s fine with me.  Because I get it! It seems like a lot of work, right? And what do you do with all the poop??

But here’s the thing: it’s really NOT a big deal!  So IF you’ve ever considered it, I say GO FOR IT!  If I can do it, You can.  Because I already know I’m more of a Hot Mess than You.

Here’s a peek into our cloth diapering process.

  • THE DIAPERS  We use Best Bottom Diapers. I love them! It’s a system of shells with snap-in liners. I only have 8 shells, and I think around 18-20 liners which includes a couple of doublers (extra layers to snap in for nighttime or naps). They’re great because as long as it’s not a messy poop, you only need to change the liner.
  • MORE REUSABLE STUFF!  Cloth diapering has a domino effect on your diapering process. Disposable wipes are a pain because you have to throw them out separately (ew). Plastic pail liners are annoying because you end up replacing tons of empty trash bags.  So we use cloth wipes (and a spray bottle of water & witch hazel) and Planet Wise washable diaper pail liners and wet/dry bags.  Nothing to throw away!  The nice thing about cloth wipes too is that you don’t use as many.  The fabric grabs more “stuff” in one go.  I always keep a few disposable diapers (gasp!) in my diaper bag, but if we’re not out for long I’ll bring an extra liner and one of my wet/dry bags.
  • POO MANAGEMENT  Ah yes, poop. When I told my husband I wanted to try cloth, he asked The Question. What do you do with the poop? I told him about diaper sprayers, and he immediately envisioned me standing over the toilet, spraying a poopy diaper and getting it all over the walls. After we laughed our asses off, I did a little research and found THIS sanity-preserving item, the SprayPal. Contains all those ornery poo particles.  You won’t need this as often once your kid grows older and produces more solid…uh, specimens.
  • LAUNDRY  I wash diapers every other day. (When I first started, I didn’t have enough liners and was doing laundry every stinkin’ day. Don’t do this to yourself!) I’m a huge fan of Charlie’s Soap. We initially bought it just for the diapers, but now we all use it. It’s eco-friendly, awesome for people with sensitive skin, and smells like NOTHING, which I love.  I hang diapers to dry overnight and then in the morning I throw them in the dryer for 15-20 minutes to soften them. I use these wool dryer balls instead of softening sheets–again, no perfumes (you don’t want to use anything that might irritate baby skin) and they’re reusable!
  • DISPOSABLES  Wha?? I still use disposable diapers? What a cheater, right? Whatever. I tried using the overnight double liners, but my son couldn’t sleep comfortably in them. They were HUGE, and he’s mostly a side sleeper so it was like he was lying on his side while wearing a floatie tube. I have a lot of Mama ideals I try to hold myself up to, but my child’s comfort wins this one. We also use them when traveling, because I don’t think anyone wants to be around a woman with a bag full of dirty diapers. Myself included.


OK, so it is a little more work compared to disposables.  Of course it is.  But not THAT much work, I swear.  It sounds way more complicated than it is.  It becomes habit and I really don’t even think about it.  It’s like washing bedsheets and towels, really.

The best part?  I hardly ever buy diapers.  A giant box from Sam’s Club lasts for months, and even the smallest packages get us through 3-4 weeks.  Same goes for disposable wipes.  Yeah, I’m reducing my footprint or whatever, and it’s great to be less wasteful where you can.  But my real reason?

I’m a cheapskate.  How’s that for a Merit Badge?

P.S.  I’ve found cloth swim diapers to be WAY more reliable than the disposable version.  Even if you aren’t into cloth, you should at least try those!

Stitch Fix Style Cards

Stitch Fix Review #1 and my Mama Style Rules

Stitch Fix Style Cards

This week, I’m here to talk about my first Stitch Fix, and to share some guidelines I’ve created for myself as I rebuild my wardrobe from scratch.  Since this was my first Fix, I didn’t really know how it would work out.  I loved getting a box of goodies (who doesn’t), and I LOVED not going to the mall.  But I was a little bummed that I didn’t like everything.

Here’s what I got:

  • 2 jersey knit tops–one with a cowl neckline, and one patterned dolman sleeve top
  • 1 patterned knit skirt
  • 1 burgundy “fit & flare” dress (Winner!)
  • 1 gold bracelet


The dress was adorable.  Everything else was just…meh.  But I had a realization:  In my Style Profile, I never mentioned that I don’t like knits!  Its something I don’t think about when I shop for myself, because I don’t LOOK for knits (unless they’re chunky sweaters, then I’m all over it).  So after returning my items, I updated my profile.

In the end, I liked and kept only one item.  I know, whomp whomp, right?  But I’m going to stick with it!  Here’s why:  It’s like meeting a new friend, and then asking her to go shopping for you.  My Stitch Fix stylist doesn’t know me yet!  Sure, she has a basic idea of my general style, but as she gets to know my likes/dislikes, each Fix will get better.  And if we become besties, I may never have to enter a shopping mall again. (Fingers crossed.)

In the meantime, I still need to rebuild my wardrobe.  I’ve been thinking a lot about style and function.  I want to get dressed without having to think too much about it.  I don’t want to “do” my hair.  But I still care about my appearance.  I’m not ready to embrace yoga pants (although let’s be real, I wear them all the time).

So here are my new Wardrobe Rebuild Rules:

  • Affordable:  most items must cost less than $100.  I would say “all”, but I’m willing to cross (slightly) into 3 digits for quality staple items like a handbag, a wool coat, or maybe a basic cashmere sweater.
  • Adaptable: can be dressed up or down, and suitable for at least 2/3 of these scenarios: Work, Play, or Night Out.
  • Reasonable: No skyscraper heels.  No skirts that threaten to flash panty.  I mean…was that ever ok?
  • Presentable: Even if I only have time to roll out of bed and throw something on, that should not be apparent to anyone else.  Why?  Because the day that I go to Target in rumpled clothes and no makeup, is inevitably the day I’ll run into someone I know.
  • Stylish:  As a seamstress, designer, and vintage enthusiast, I want my new wardrobe to still reflect my eclectic style.  Minimal Eclectic?  Let’s make that a thing.


I’ll receive my next Fix next month.  Until then, I’m checking out the Everlane Home Try-On (I’m in love with their affordable, quality basics), and I’m thinking about snagging one of these Strawberry blouses from PopBasic.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

Love Your Leftovers

Look how fancy! And it’s cheaper than Tupperware.

Confession time: I’m one of those moms. I’m forever trying to make every little thing myself. I make my kid’s lunches from scratch and package them in mason jars (so Pinteresty). I love green smoothies. I soak all the beans and roast all the beets. We eat quinoa. My kid likes chia pudding.

I love to cook from scratch. In a perfect world I would make every food item, raise my own chickens, compost, and grow all of our produce. But if motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that I’m not a superhero. I WANT to do it all. I CAN’T. And I struggle with that daily.

Sadly, while my husband Craig loves whatever I cook, he doesn’t love dealing with the aftermath. In fact, when I told him I was writing this post, the first thing he said was “I regret the you-cook, I-clean arrangement!” He also does not enjoy trying to corral our son who desperately wants to be underfoot while I try to cook gourmet meals at 5:30pm. Lindsey’s right–it’s the witching hour.

Making a mess.  Just like Mama.
Making a mess. Just like Mama.

So, time for a compromise. How do I keep my family healthily fed in a timely manner, without “using every dish and utensil in the house to make a dinner for 2.5 people”? (Craig’s words.)

Enter my new friends: Crockpot, Pressure Cooker, and Icebox.

As a clean eating enthusiast, I was slow to embrace my crockpot. So many recipes seemed to involve Cream of Something, or Dr. Pepper, or an entire bottle of barbecue sauce. I was terrified of the pressure cooker as a child. And until I discovered freezer meals, my icebox was for my stockpile of frozen bananas and other smoothie mixins.

But thank goodness for Pinterest and its endless supply of recipes! I’ve found so many good “slow food fast” dinner recipes there. I also found Once a Month Meals through Pinterest, which is now one of my favorite recipe resources.

So now, instead of scrambling to make dinner every night, I like to cook in batches. I make a big batch of something in the crockpot at the beginning of the week–this Turkey Chili, or Tortilla Soup for example–and BOOM! That’s three weeknight meals taken care of.

Then it’s casserole time. Right now we really love these Avocado Enchiladas. I use corn tortillas and just layer everything like a lasagna. And speaking of lasagna, I’m a huge fan of the Engine 2 version. You don’t have to be vegan to love it, and you’ll be packing your sweet mouth full of vegetable goodness.

If I’m feeling super organized, I’ll prep TWO batches of something and freeze one. Works for smoothies too. This is how freezer meal hoarding begins.

If those don’t get us through the week, a pot roast in the pressure cooker can be done in 30 minutes. And if all else fails, it’s time to dig something out of the icebox. Maybe a freezer meal from the previous week…or maybe frozen fish that can be dressed up with miso and thrown together with rice & a quick broccoli or kale/avocado salad. But it’s just as likely to be a frozen pizza.

This all sounds so organized, right? Oh, it is so Not. Even. Close. I’m incapable of remembering to make school lunches before 9pm. I sometimes forget dinner altogether and have Craig pick something up on the way home. I made a meatloaf last week and forgot about the leftovers…until the odor in my fridge demanded my attention. And I could write a whole other post of Pinterest recipe fails!

But for the most part, this system is working for now. The chickens and composting and making-my-own-ketchup will have to wait the little dude is older, or until I’m more organized. Which could be never!