Black Bean and Salsa Soup

With winter right around the corner, my mind has already turned to soups. I love the warm, flavorful soup. No brothy vegetable soups for me. I need something hearty and creamy that won’t leave me hungry in an hour. After all, I’m a mom. I don’t have time for more than three meals a day. This soup is amazingly simple. Really. I boiled my black beans because it is much cheaper that way, but if you bought a can (or two if you want to freeze some) it would take only fifteen minutes from start to finish. Even with canned black beans (I know, I’m pinching pennies with the self-cook beans!), it is a cheap meal and one that the kids can enjoy too. Pair with Everyday Bread and you’ve got yourself a meal, or two.

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5 Ways to Encourage Conversation at the Dinner Table

Story is a chatterbox. She talks before she’s out of bed. She talks as she’s getting ready for school. She talks as she brushes her teeth. She talks as she follows me around the house. She talks as she’s falling asleep. The girl has a lot to say. Except at dinnertime.

For some reason, she becomes a teenager at the table, answering my questions with generic phrases, or worse, grunts.

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Leaf Rubbing Placemats

I’ve toyed around with the idea of buying placemats for the girls for quite some time. Dinnertime, or really any meal time, is anything but clean. It would be nice to be able to just take a plastic mat off of the table, dump it in the sink, wipe it down, and be done with it. I’m just not convinced it would work that way. So before making the plunge and getting irritated that it doesn’t work, I decided that having some fun and making them would at least make it worth it in the end. We had lots of leftover leaves from our clay project and with Thanksgiving coming up, we would need something fall-holiday themed, so we decided to make leaf rubbing placemats. Festive!

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Let It Go?

A week or so ago we were experiencing a pretty great day. The weather let up from a cold spell, and the girls were behaving wonderfully. The universe was giving the green light to make a much-needed trip to the park. We packed up and made our way to one of our favorites.

It sits close to town and has an abundance of trees, open space, and most important, a good-sized park with a fence around to keep kiddos from escaping. My favorite feature. It is also known to be the hangout of people who march to the beat of their own drummer. This town calls them hippies, and I suppose for all intents and purposes they are. But, they are certainly their own brand of hippie. It’s not unusual to see at this park someone walking across a tight rope to your left, a unicycler to your right, and a band of hula-hooping gothic-looking women before you. It’s hard not to hum “Looking out my back door” by CCR in your head as you walk to the park gate.

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Writer vs Subject: Mental Health vs Scarred for Life

By Kathy Cummins

I write this on the birthday of Bob Newhart, who said, “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.” For weeks, I have been trying to answer for myself and for this essay the question of why we blog, in particular, why mothers blog while raising their children and what effect the blog has on those children.

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