Monday’s Mama is Fetch AF.

This Monday I am pleased to introduce Mary Catherine Awesome. She totally made those corn muffins like forty-seven seconds before that picture was taken but her food is so delicious that it disappears like she’s baking at Hogwarts. Mary Catherine is basically June Cleaver. Except PG-13.

Mary Catherine

This actual human woman cooks an actual edible dinner for her family of five every night. She sews things. She has eternal patience with her three children. She makes sourdough bread from scratch. She is always laughing and kind to everyone. Thank heaven her house isn’t spotless, or we wouldn’t be able to be friends. Perfection can be SO annoying.

You all read that, right? SHE FREAKING SEWS.

So. We are friends IRL but Mary Catherine is also a blogging newbie. She’s a super great writer so go check her out over at bingewatchinglife.blog. Although, she’s also crazy. She started the blog to chronicle her COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS decision to stop eating sugar. And to stop drinking booze. AT THE SAME TIME. I told her not to do it but she apparently just found out sugar was bad for her. Or something.

I’m kidding. Mary Catherine is once again being a badass while I’m bribing Babystar with our new game M&M Manicure in which I give her a chocolate candy for every fingernail she lets me trim. Mom of the Year over here, y’all.

Mary Catherine was awesome enough to answer some of my questions.

1. Wait, so Regina George was named after your high school? OMG WHAT?! Why??

Totally. OK, so I heard it as a rumor and it may be an urban legend, but I did go to Regina Dominican, an all-girls high school (or as they are called now, a college preparatory school for young women) near the north shore of Chicago–and I’m proud to be a Regina girl! It was SO much fun. But apparently Tina Fey didn’t find Regina girls fun? I think she thought they were bitches. Again, that’s what I’ve heard.

2. Ok, but like for real, HOW do you make sourdough bread from a starter?*

sourdough starter

This is a boring answer. Put starter in a bowl with flour, water or milk, and some honey or sugar. Hold your breath. And set out overnight. Next morning, add some salt and baking soda. Stir down with more flour until the batter forms a dough. Pretend you are making coffee so you can knead the sticky dough without “helpers.” Stretch and fold, stretch and fold, standing on one foot, for about ten minutes. Reluctantly let three-year-old in kitchen and have him wash his hands. (Later you will learn this was a decoy for the five-year-old who was stealing them raw dough to eat.) Roll into a rectangle. (The dough, not the child.) Fold into thirds and tuck the ends under. Set in a greased loaf pan. Slash the middle, just to let it know who’s boss. Set in a warm oven to rise for about two hours. Then, without moving the loaf, turn the oven on to 350 and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes. That’s basically how I do it, and it’s different every time. I started baking bread when I was in fourth grade and my mother abandoned me– I mean, got a part-time job and I had afternoons home alone. Using the oven, of course.

3. What is your favorite family holiday tradition? What is something that everyone else does but you skip?

Gosh, my favorite family holiday tradition? That’s really hard for me– I’m very much a traditionalist, so holding on to traditions until they are way past dead is like my life’s work. I love them ALL. But, for brevity, I love having an Advent wreath on our dinner table and singing “O Come O Come Emmanuel” as we light the candle every night until Christmas Eve. Everyone else seems to be really into Elf on the Shelf right now. I don’t get that. It’s way cheaper (and more effective, I find) to remind your kids that elves are visible to grown-ups only and are watching them. And every time they start to step out of line from Thanksgiving onward you get to spin your head around super fast and yell, “Was that an elf?!!” It’s part of the reward of parenting, isn’t it?

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?

I think you know the answer to this one. I am a creature prone entirely to stupid flights of culinary heroism and terrible vanity. I will bend over backwards to make something spectacular from scratch, just to hear the chewers sing my praises. Once for a bake sale in high school I made authentic Shaker sugar cookies from an antique Shaker cookbook. But first, I made the butter.

Y’all. She MADE the butter.

*I totally slipped in this question because I was hoping she would ACTUALLY WRITE DOWN instructions for me but nope. What the hell is ‘some flour’? Is that metric??

 

Monday’s Mama is HASHTAG GOALS.

Katherine blogs at Welcome to the Nursery and she is every woman. Well, she is every woman who has an engineering background but now stays home to care for two hilarious energetic small children. So, maybe she is you, but she is a hell of a lot more awesome than me.

Katherine is the mom who runs the Puff (1.5yo) and Squish (4yo) nursery. She hung up her engineering hat four years ago to start the mom gig; it turns out her skills of tank driving and bullet design didn’t transfer well to child care, but at least with parenthood you can learn on the job (right?!). Katherine shares her amusements and frustrations along this journey. When the kids are asleep, she nurses a fledgling writing career, obsessively reads English historical fiction, and dabbles in painting and sewing.

img_6226

Welcome to the Nursery is full of funny yet thoughtful things her incredibly astute four-yer-old says and some really genius parenting ideas. Katherine is a superwoman, super mom, and probably super fun to hang out with on a mom’s night out. Like, for real, she has so many ideas and they are all so good. How does she have so many good ideas?! When does she sleep?? When does she THINK!? I want to be like Katherine when I grow up.

Katherine answered a few questions and showed that she is COOLER THAN I EVEN KNEW. I mean, Guns N’ Roses? Come on.

1. What is your most favorite grown-up book? Kid’s book?

My blog readers probably know by now that I A) LOVE to read, and B) absolutely adore Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. There are many series I love (by Ted Bell, Daniel Silva, Conn Iggulden, Vince Flynn), but as a standalone book you really can’t top P&P. My favorite kid’s book was Roald Dahl’s The BFG. 
2. Where did your girl’s nicknames ‘Puff’ and ‘Squish’ originate? Are there stories behind those names? Speaking of names, is your blog name a wink to ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ or not? I’ve been wondering.

I think my husband came up with both of them, actually. My 4yo’s full nickname is “Squisher Pants,” because as a baby she was such a squishy thing to hug and cuddle. Adding “Pants” to the end of any nickname – or even a full name – is just silly and fun. We sometimes call our 18mo “Puffer Pants,” although mostly it’s just “Puff” or “Puff-Puff.” She is – you guessed it – so puffy! She’s not a really chubby baby, but she’s just so soft! She also likes to “puff” her stuffed animals. It’s so freaking adorable…. 

As for the blog name, I actually named it after the Guns N’ Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle.” Squish was a few months old, and I could already tell that our house was destined to become a madhouse – and I pictured a wild, loud, messy place … the “jungle” with that song blaring in the background. P.S. I have no idea what the lyrics are actually about!

3. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

Oh, homemade for sure! I have a decent reputation for baking yummy things – from homemade soft pretzels to Italian seven-layer rainbow cookies. My mom passed down those handy skills … thanks, ma!

Katherine is basically Pinterest personified. You should bookmark her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Monday’s Mama is Crunchy AF.

Introducing Rachel Barry from Pretty in Baby Food. You may already know her, as she is an AMAZING resource for all things Natural Parenting on both her own blog, Pretty in Baby Food, and the soon-to-be-released Guidance Guide website. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. She is full of knowledge AND often hosts giveaways. She is definitely worth your follow!

Seriously, you guys, if you wonder about anything baby wearing, cloth diapering, baby feeding, traveling with baby, or basically any 2017 mama concerns, Rachel Barry is YOUR GIRL. Don’t let her cute name fool you — Rachel Barry is not actually an anthropomorphic strawberry. Nor is she a character from Glee.

20160511_194540

But she probably DOES spontaneously sing throughout her daily life because Rachel is mom to one beautiful and rambunctious toddler (and toddlers love songs). She is also currently pregnant with her second child. Rachel is a natural parenting and cloth diaper advocate. Her hobbies include dreaming of long walks on the beach while drinking her cold coffee during the day, writing while her daughter naps, and cruising. Her dislikes in life are doing the dishes, cleaning, and laundry. (Except diaper laundry. That’s her favorite. 😊)

Rachel answered a few questions for me here and OF COURSE she took the opportunity to school us some more. Thank you, Rachel!

 

1. What would you do with thirty whole minutes all to yourself IN A ROW every day?

Oh man! This is like the holy grail of alone time. I would probably make myself a cup of coffee, and read or write. (Sometimes I might use it to use the bathroom alone while also reading or writing. Ya know. TO see how my husband feels when he get’s to go to the bathroom. Haha!)

2. I love that you use cloth diapers. Why do YOU cloth diaper and what is your most favorite brand out there? (I know. That is two questions. I cheated.)

Haha! I cloth diaper because it saves my family money. In the first year alone of cloth diapering I have saved my family almost $1,000.00. The second reason I cloth diaper is to reduce trash. I was tired of lugging 4 bags of trash to the curb every trash day. By switching to cloth diapering I have been able to get it down to 2 bags of trash on trash day. Many people don’t know but disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to degrade in a landfill where as a cloth diaper when thrown out can take 6 months to a year depending on what fabric it is made out of.

As for my favorite brand that is a tough question to answer. As a blogger who reviews cloth diapers I have a lot of different brands of cloth diapers in my stash. I have specific cloth diapers for day time, nap time, and night time. I also have specific colors for when my football team plays, and certain holidays. I can say I prefer cloth diapers that are made of natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, or bamboo. 😉

3. It’s the PTA Bakesale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE? 

I am not quite there yet, but I am more inclined to lean towards NOPE. (This might change depending on how involved my children want me to be.) Right now I would rather just donate money then bake something. With food allergies I would not want to leave anyone out or accidentally make something that someone was allergic too. If they wanted me to sell cloth diapers door to door to help raise money I would probably do that in a heart beat. Hahaha! 

20170315_210811

Rachel is super smart and very generous with her knowledge. Pop on over to Pretty in Baby Food and soak up her wisdom.

Monday’s Mama is Two-Dimensional AF.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in James’s Giant Peach? Or maybe Toontown? Or a Cool World?

Screenshot 2017-08-30 at 2.22.41 PM

Erika from Dorky Mom Doodles totally lives in that world with her family. At least, she lives there on the internet (where you can be anything you want to be especially if you want to be mean in the comment section which Erika is decidedly NOT).

Screenshot 2017-08-30 at 2.21.48 PM

Erika is SUPER nice. A super nice cartoon mom that shares all of the hilarious things her cartoon family does with all of  us three dimensional people. She’s basically the Matt Groenig of Mommy Blogs and EVERYONE loves the Simpsons.

If you haven’t seen Dorky Mom Doodles, go check her out now. I’ll wait.

You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. She isn’t on Instagram anymore but she TOTALLY belongs there. Doodles belong in squares!! We can try to convince her if we work together. Let’s start by signing this petition! (<–you can click there or you can TOTALLY CLICK THE PICTURE BELOW because I figured out how to turn a picture into a link!!)

Screen Shot 2017-10-01 at 3.43.40 PM

Dorky Mom Doodles creator Erika is a SAHM to two kids. When she isn’t busy with the typical mom stuff (soccer, changing diapers, and refereeing shouting matches), she enjoys Netflix binges, reading, and creating bad AWESOME doodles for her blog. (She said bad. I said awesome. I am correct.)
She answered a few questions for me and it turns out she is even cooler than I knew.

1. Do you have any training in art or are you just naturally amazing?

I haven’t taken an art class since middle school, so no, I have no training whatsoever. This is probably painfully obvious at time considering how badly drawn the arms on my people are!

2. If you could be any superhero, with both their powers and weaknesses, which would you choose?

 
Wonder Woman. She is nothing short of amazing, and having that lasso of truth would certainly come in handy at times — especially when I’m trying to get to the bottom of some kid drama.

3. It’s the PTA Bake Sale: homemade, store bought, or NOPE?

Homemade. I usually hate functions like this, but I can bake the hell out of some cookies, cakes, and pies. I’ll take one for the team just so I can show off.
Erika rocks. Plus she once made my dreams come true by Doodling Babystar and I and she even made my hair purple. Thank you, Erika!!
DorkyMomDoodlesME
(Look! I hyperlinked the picture again!! I am basically a computer nerd now.)
(I wish.)