We know that being a mom is much more than a job. It’s a full-time-never-get-a-break-don’t-put-that-in-your-mouth-no-means-no-lifestyle filled with ups and downs, laughs and tears and memories by the minute. Sure, it can be confusing and completely overwhelming at times, but hey, that’s why we’re here.
The two Jen’s originally created this site, and now a team of moms with different views will add to this daily blog. Our goal is to make this the ultimate resource for Charlotte moms and moms-to-be on a variety of activities, events and motherhood-related topics (best deals on hip new products, navigating the school systems, kids eat free, etc). This is a place for us to share as well as our readers, and we don’t pretend to know everything here. But, we’ll try our best to provide you with plenty of info we’ve learned through research, trial and, unfortunately, error.
What’s Courtenay’s story? I want to know more about Jen. I think I know Krista from somewhere, but where? Find out everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you didn’t) about our talented and insightful bloggers who know an awful lot about kids’ stuff and the latest goings on around town. We’re moms, wives, co-workers, friends, people in the know and, best of all, your guides on this crazy little thing we call Charlotte Smarty Pants.
In high school, The Big V had a standard meaning amongst my peers. But now that my old behind is done bearing children, I had to bring up the unthinkable. I had to speak the word that must not be spoken – VASECTOMY!
And the discussion with my husband went over like a lead balloon. Unfortunately, I didn’t handle it well. I went on a tirade that was one of my best. Because I don’t think that a forty-five minute doctor’s visit with a forty-eight hour recovery is something to get all worked up about. I don’t think husbands have any room to cry, whine or bellyache about this procedure. Do they have any idea what pregnancy is like? And can they really compare a weekend of mild discomfort to nine months of torture?
My man in particular is not going to get any sympathy. I had two of the most challenging pregnancies on record. I lost the ability to urinate on my own, had gestational diabetes (twice), was hospitalized with premature labor, had two preemies, and had one birth that progressed so fast there was no time for an epidural. That’s right; I had the pleasure of experiencing a natural childbirth!! One minute I was lying in the high risk ward chatting with my mom and the next a nurse is yelling at me to not use the bathroom because she does not want me to have my baby in the toilet!
Each time the subject comes up, my man has a fantastic anecdote to share. “So and so had a vasectomy and then played eighteen holes of golf. His privates swelled up to the size of grapefruits! He was in a world of hurt!!” Great point honey, but I am pretty sure you aren’t supposed to hit the links after you have minor surgery. “Johnny Johnson did it, it didn’t take and he had to have the procedure TWICE.” Yes, I realize approximately 0.5 percent to 1 percent of all vasectomies fail, but it doesn’t change my stance on the matter.
I have to laugh; I think this procedure would be a relief. I don’t ever want to be pregnant again. I know my husband doesn’t want to live with me through another pregnancy, so let’s get the show on the road. Maybe if men talked about this stuff they way women share every gory detail of their pregnancy with each other, the subject wouldn’t be so taboo. So say it loud and say it proud – VASECTOMY!!
Well hi there. I am so excited to be starting a new series of blogs that will teach you a few of my smarty cooking secrets. This series will cover everything from dinner party ideas to healthy lunches for moms on the go. We all need a little help in the kitchen from time to time so we don’t get in the rut of Taco Tuesday/ Wednesday/Friday.
This week I made Wine and mushroom braised beef short ribs that were to die for. I used my slow cooker but the recipe can easily be adapted for the oven.
I start off by buying my short ribs at Costco. You can get either bone in or boneless. The ones from Costco are boneless and you get the most meat off of them. I am always looking for things I can cook once then freeze and use in some other recipe. Short ribs are great for this. Once cooked the meat shreds up and depending on what flavor profile you season with you can put over noodles, into tacos, lasagna or wraps. I made Asian Beef Short Ribs last year using Chinese five spice that were so different and delicious.
Please be kind and don’t make too much fun of my photos. I used my phone to take them and as good as the iPhone camera is, it is nothing compared to my Smarty friend like Anne Willette (whose photography skills I would kill for). She promised to teach me some tricks in exchange for food. I am setting that up pronto.
Here are the main ingredients you will need. You don’t need an exact recipe to become a good cook (unless you are baking). Not in the picture is the 28oz can of diced tomatoes I decided to throw in at the last minute. See, I was winging it.
You are going to need to brown the short ribs. Go ahead, season them with salt and pepper and get your pan pretty hot. A lot of flavor is hidden in the brown delicious crust that forms when meat caramelizes at high heat. Once you put the ribs in DO NOT keep moving them around the pan. Pretend they are little sleeping sextuplets. Lay those babies in the crib and walk away for a few minutes. They are ready to flip when they release from the pan on their own. If they stick, they still want to be there.
Once all the short ribs are browned, remove them from the pot onto a plate. Next go in your veggies, onions, garlic and mushrooms. I used about half the mushrooms I had on hand. Button or Cremini will do fine. Never wash your mushrooms in water before using them. They are like tiny sponges and they won’t taste as delicious. Just wipe the dirt off with a damp towel. You ate some dirt as a kid, right? That is why your immune system is so stellar.
Let the onions and mushrooms soften with the garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add your Tomato Paste. I used the entire small can. You don’t have to if you want yours a little less tomato-y. Stir around then add about 1-½ cups of wine and about a ½ cup of water. I had white wine opened so that is what I used. Red wine works great too. Always take a sip to make sure it is still good (he-he).
Then add a few good size dashes (very exact measurements I know) of Worchestire sauce and soy sauce. The soy sauce adds a nice earthy note that compliments the mushrooms.
Next settle those little beefy sextuplets back into all the yumminess that you have created in the pot. Just look at that sauce. Amazing. You can add a little more water or some canned tomatoes now. I like to be sure I am left with enough of the “gravy” from the short ribs so I can have plenty of leftovers.
I cooked mine in a slow cooker on high for about 5 hours. You could do it on low for 8 or in the oven covered in a heavy casserole or Dutch oven at 350 degrees for around 3 hours. Once the meat shreds easily it is finished. Not rocket science just regular science. Heat breaks down the connective tissue in the meat. This is why cheap cuts are cheap. You can’t just throw a short rib on the grill and cook it for 10 min and eat. You need some time. Time is your friend, it will also save you $$.
I always ladle off the fat towards the end of the cooking process. No one needs or wants it.
Look how pretty these look over some egg noodles and a side of sautéed spinach. Fritz was a happy man when I handed him this. Please do not notice my dirty paper napkin in the background.
If you are the type to need an exact recipe, then use this.
Namaste! To Yogi’s (yes that is the nickname of people who practice Yoga), this phrase means so much. It means peace, love, spirituality, and calm. It means light and good vibes. All these things are how I feel when I’m around our Smarty Mom of the Week, Karey Tom. She embodies the practice of yoga with her infectious personality and great energy. Karey is beautifully quirky and artistic. She speaks to you as if you are the only thing that matters in the moment. Karey Tom lives the essence of Yoga.
I met this firecracker several years ago and I loved her from start. She just brings “good things”! She is so darn cool. After years of practicing yoga, Karey decided to spread the joy to children. Her company, Charlotte Kid’s Yoga, allows children to practice yoga in a fun and safe environment. It is brilliant and currently taking Charlotte by storm.
Smarties, meet the coolest, calmest chick ever.
Mom to: Evie (3)
Married to: Ray Tom
Years lived in Charlotte: 8 years this February!
The connection of mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes this is as simple as taking a deep breath after someone cuts you off in a parking lot or sometimes it is taking a breath in a super challenging physical pose in class. It’s all about the breath!
NYC 1998 at a local gym. I had just moved to the city and knew I needed something to challenge me physically to help me stay in shape. I had no idea it would help me manage stress through relaxation.
Carol Gadams (my power yoga instructor and business partner) helped inspire me to take Charlotte Kids Yoga to the next level. Carol is one of those moms that never stops! I am so blessed to be able to share this adventure with her. Together we hope to inspire children and parents to learn more about the benefits of Yoga.
It is a beautiful lesson in letting go! We spend hours planning classes and camps. Some days the children have a very different idea of what a class should look like and we do our best to listen to what the kids need not just what we had planned. Flexibility is key to working and living with kids!
In addition to our classes and camps we offer Yoga Story Time at ImaginOn. This 30-minute class is a wonderful intro to yoga for kids and it’s FREE! Join every 1st and 3rd Friday at 11:30 am beginning February 8th.
Children benefit by having FUN! We encourage children to be free within our structured classes. Exercise, games, mindful eating and quiet time are important for a balanced healthy life. We encourage our little Yogis to crave a healthful lifestyle for years to come!
Visit our website at www.CharlotteKidsYoga.com to learn more about our concept and teachings! If we can’t help you, we will help you find a studio or class near you. The best way to learn about yoga is watch your children and pets. Let them teach you.
Deep breathing and letting go of the idea of “perfection”. Amazingly helpful friends and neighbors are key. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I have a deadline!
Sunday-Thursday we have a strict schedule of bath, books, and bed. This works for adults too! Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed and enjoy a real book or magazine with paper pages.
My beautiful daughter, Evie. When someone compliments her manners it makes my day!
No one is perfect. We are all doing our best!
Everyday! Yoga is not just physical exercise. It can be as simple as honoring a moment with mindful breathing or letting go of an annoying comment from a coworker.
There are so many ways to learn more about yoga. Most gyms offer some form of yoga class. You don’t have to start with a “101” or “Gentle Yoga” class. Instead, try intermediate and know there will be some things you can’t do. Part of Yoga is honoring your bodies limitations. It is very humbling! Check out sample classes on the Yoga Journal website. I love Stephanie Keach from the Asheville Yoga center and I highly recommend her DVD’s or a trip to her studio in Asheville.
SUV. I inherited it from my husband. I take responsibility for my super inefficient truck by walking or cycling whenever possible! I mindfully support businesses which are walking distance from my home.
Traveling around the world helping communities build strong kids yoga programs for underprivileged communities.
The weather which allows many beautiful walks along the Sugar Creek Greenway!