Tag Archives: Sisterhood

How to Create a Carpool

If you’ve got school-age kids, chances are extremely good they’re involved in sports. If you have more than one child, yeah, those practice schedules and games are NEVER going to weave together in copacetic harmony. Unless you have a chauffeur, a nanny, or a flux capacitor to split yourself in two, you’re going to need a carpool. And if you do have the luxury of a staff or a futuristic gizmo, what the hell are you doing here reading this advice? Go get yourself a nap, a merlot, and a pedicure.

In the land of youth sports, it’s the luck of the draw who you get to hang with for the season. Chances are they won’t be your dear friends, but you need to swim in the pool you paid for, so to speak. The kicker? You’re floating in a sea of strangers when you’ve never needed help more. When older brother has to get to fencing, your Pele-in-the-making needs to get to the play-offs two towns over, dad is trapped at work . . . in Dhubai, and the cat is puking out its pancreas, you need someone to have your back. A carpool takes this situation from doomed to doable by at least taking Pele to soccer. You’re on your own with the hurling feline.

The secret to the carpool is to choose wisely and develop it early.

How to Create a Carpool | Got kids in sports? You need to create a carpool! Tips to put together your own sanity saver because friends don't let friends drive both ways to practice two days in a row! | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

1. Preparation starts at home. The first practice is not the time to be rocking your best boots, manicure, and perfect blow-out. It makes you look like you don’t really need the help. If you’re self-sufficient, then rock it out, Sister, but if you do need help, you might want to dial down the mom glam for now.

But don’t let the pendulum swing too far the other way. Holey pajama pants and grungy slippers gives off the impression you feed your kids PopTarts for dinner, your entire family is sharing one towel, and most importantly, you don’t have your shizz together enough to transport someone else’s precious babies. Remember, the carpool is all about reciprocity. Aim for approachable–best yoga pants, snazzy top, and neat ponytail. We’re not suggesting being Ms. Fakety-Fake, just don’t let it all hang out until, let’s say, practice six.

2. Get to the first practice early. With carpooling, safety comes first. Watch the other parents roll up in the parking lot. If a driver doesn’t at least slow down to 5 mph before opening those minivan sliding doors to eject her spawn, then you might want to mark her off the potential chauffeur list.

3. Follow the herd. When everyone is sitting together like ducks in a row, line your chair up too. If the group decides that selling blood is the best way to pay for the team’s new warm-ups, roll up a sleeve and offer a vein. On second thought, you may want to run, but in most cases now is not the time to be the Lone Ranger. Your kid’s not the only one who joined the team. Every time you make an effort, you’re upping your carpool potential.

4. Start chatting parents up to see where they live. Carpooling only makes your life easier if it doesn’t take you a tank of gas to take the extra darlings home. Try not to be creepy scoping out addresses, though. If you feel like you can’t ask where someone lives without being awkward enough to trigger a background check, work that smartphone. Take a picture of the team and show it to your potential carpool comrade, “Look how cute they are!” If she just grunts, consider the screening process successful and move on from that dud. If she coos, say, “Hey, are you on Facebook? I could tag you in it.” If you become friends on Facebook, you are golden! You not only have access to location, you can make sure they don’t participate in demonic goat square dancing . . . or at least they’re discreet enough not to post about it.

WARNING: Do not scroll through and “Like” every one of her pictures once she friends you because you’ll be taking a hard left into Creepytown. Remember, you were trying to avoid that?

5. Work your kid. Carpooling will go a whole lot smoother if you correlate your connections with your kid’s buddies. Don’t fall into the trap of setting up a carpool with the second baseman who wipes his boogers on your son’s bat. Building friendships is not just good for crafting carpools, it’s good for your child, too. You may not want to hear it, but nothing builds friendships faster than sleepovers: buck up and send out an invite. Just make sure your bathrooms are clean and you remember to feed the kids. Passing out bananas for dinner doesn’t put you at the top of any carpool lists.

6. Be the carpool member you want to attract. Offer to help a mom you see in distress, carry that über fantastic first aid kit so you can save the day, create the hang-out spot for the kids on your snazzy waterproof picnic blanket, hand puppies out from the back of a van . . . wait, scratch that last one. Heading into Creepytown again. Just be a team player.

7. Send up a flare. If subtle action fails, don’t be afraid to beg. In fact, lay out your situation in an email or just work it into a conversation during that 3 hours on the sidelines. It’s time to tamp down that pride, put on your big girl panties, and ask for exactly what you need. The people who respond when they know your chips are down are just the type of people you want in your life anyway.

Bottom line:  Carpools are the secret of experienced moms for making all these extracurriculars possible. So hitch up your britches, get out there and make a carpool buddy today! You may not only save your sanity, but you may make some forever friends. Remember: Friends don’t let friends drive both ways to practice two days in a row!

How to Create a Carpool | Got kids in sports? You need to create a carpool! Tips to put together your own sanity saver because friends don't let friends drive both ways to practice two days in a row! | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

-Ellen and Erin

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5 Things To DO to Help a Grieving Friend

It is so overwhelming and painful and devastating and heart-wrenching to grieve over a loved one. When my mother was killed in a car accident a little over two years ago I learned this lesson all over again. But it is also hard to watch someone go through this heartache, and you just want to DO something to lessen the pain.

The key to comforting is acknowledging grief lasts beyond the funeral. Company abounds at the time of the funeral, but it doesn’t take long for a mourner to suddenly be alone. Fast forward several months, and while your friend may be going through the normal motions of school, work, and church, grief is still a sodden blanket tangled around her legs making each step just that much more difficult.

But at say, seven months out, it can be daunting to find the right moment to ask your friend how she is doing. Do you snag her in car line? Call her during her son’s basketball practice? Grind book club discussion to a halt with a “How are you doing with your grieving process?” One thing to remember, though, is you’re not in danger of “reminding” her of her grief. It is always there.

So what do you do?

The key to action is good intentions that are simple enough for you to carry out. Suggestions such as “go clean their bathroom” are all well and good, but let’s be honest. This is awkward except with your best of friends or your family. Even during the worst depths of my grief, I didn’t expect the woman whom I chat with regularly in Pilates to show up at my door with Comet and a toilet brush. The group of friends I would feel comfortable doing intimate chores for is small, but the circle of people I care about who I would want to do something for is wide.

And let’s not forget we are a far-flung society. What if you friend is across the state or even across the globe?  You want to comfort in some way especially since you can’t put your arms around her.

With a loving heart, a little time, and these five suggestions, you can show you care in very doable ways.

5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

1. Food

This one is nothing new, but I charge you to put some extra thought into it.

Timing. Food tends to be overflowing in the first couple of days after a funeral. There are always those casseroles from efficient “first responders,” sandwiches left over from the service, and things that were already in the fridge. Takeout pizza hasn’t lost its charm yet. But in a month, when the autopilot wears off, feeding everyone is just as hard, if not harder. Remember, when you take food, you not only spare the family from cooking, but from shopping, putting away groceries and cleaning up, too.

Even if you brought food around the time of her loss, schedule to bring a meal around the four to six week mark. It is about this time that all of the turmoil of activity has leveled out, people have stopped calling, and people even start to avoid her because they feel uncomfortable. This is the perfect time to come bearing food and offering a listening ear.

Menu. There is some shared characteristic among “first responders” that compels them to bring pasta dishes. And who can blame them? They’re easy, freeze well, and most people like them. And those first five lasagnas are delicious, but pasta/red sauce/meat every night becomes a little tiresome. Break convention and bring something different; you’ll be promoted from hero to superhero. We have a menu all worked out for you.

Meal Idea for a Friend in Need: Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburger Sliders, Mom's Best Macaroni and Cheese, Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette Pasta Salad, Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

 

Scheduling. This little act can be such a gift to someone who is grieving because even simple tasks can be overwhelming, like finding space in the freezer when four meals show up at once. Using tools on the free Meal Train website, you can invite friends via email and Facebook to schedule a day to bring a meal. What’s great is favorites, dislikes, and special dietary needs can be listed, and everyone can see what food is scheduled. With minimal effort on your part, you can make a huge difference in the burden on your friend.

5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

2. A Year of Cards

One of the kindest things a friend did for me after my mother’s death was send me random cards every month for about a year. Sometimes they were sweet, sometimes they were funny, sometimes they were St. Patrick’s Day cards in November. It’s that acknowledgement thing again. She let me know she knew I was grieving.

Buy the cards all at once and address them immediately. I send them on random dates so it is more of a surprise and not something to be expected like “Ellen always sends me a card on the first of the month.” The cards have to stop sometime, so if they are not scheduled on specific dates, they will leave less of a void when they are no longer coming.

5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

3. A Box of Comfort

I have a hard time sending flowers to a grieving person. Having gone through the deaths of both of my parents, each time the flowers overwhelmed me. I had no place to put them and the cloying smell reminded me of standing in the receiving line at the viewing . . . that is until they started to die and the stink of decay and moldy water took over. I had dead petals and pollen everywhere. Throwing away a bouquet took up an entire trash bag and triggered a vacuuming session.

I opt instead to send a box of comfort: chocolates, tea, and cozy socks or a scarf. And as you would guess, I don’t send it immediately. I wait at least a month or more to acknowledge grief doesn’t have an expiration date.

Comfort Box for the Grieving: 5 Things TO DO to Help a Grieving Friend - Just don't mean well, do well. It is such a gift to acknowledge that mourning lasts far beyond the funeral. These suggestions are easy enough, but mean so much. | Friendship and loss | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

4. Remember the Anniversary

Immediately, if not sooner, add the anniversary of the death to the calendar on your phone and set an alert for a week before. Check in with a call or text in the days leading up to and on the actual date to empathize that this is a hard time. If you need help understanding why this is so important, I wrote about what the tsunami of anniversary grief was like for me. My friend, Kathy at Kissing the Frog, uses the term “crapiversary” to describe the day because it doesn’t deserve a word that even hits at celebration. She also makes a good point that it is such a comfort when people remember beyond the first year.

5. Pray

The old standby. It may not seem like the grandest action because it is so easy to do, but it will have the biggest effect.

In all, if you approach your friend with thoughtfulness and an open heart, you can’t go wrong. Never leave them alone because you’re afraid to bother them. Assume your friend is smart enough to let your call go to voicemail if it isn’t a good time. I always include in a text or message “don’t worry if you don’t have time to get back to me, I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you.” If you do make contact, never pass judgement on a grief journey or timeline. It is different for everyone.

Finally, never let fear of reminding her about her grief stop you from reaching out. It is always with her. Doing something wins out every time over doing nothing.

Books about Grief and Loss and Hope---Sisterhood of the Sensible MomsSome books you may find helpful.

-Ellen 

You can follow us on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

 

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Meal Idea for a Friend in Need

It’s really weird when you think about it. Being in need doesn’t have to mean a disaster has befallen you. A helping hand is just as needed when your world is spilling over with joy, like when you have a new baby or move into a new house, as when your life is contracting, like during a death in your family or surgery.

Even though these events represent two sides of the coin of life, they all are times when grocery shopping and meal prep can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. That’s when friends can swoop in to the rescue.

Nothing says “I love you” like a home cooked meal. Most people default to lasagna or baked ziti when taking a meal to someone, but why not ditch the red sauce and really wow them? A well planned meal shows you’re a lover and a thinker.

Meal Idea for a Friend in Need | Nothing says love like food, and in desperate times and overwhelmingly joyful times these easy and yummy recipes will be welcomed.| Meal Plan |  Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

You can pick and choose between the following recipes or be a rockstar and make them all. I personally like to provide enough food for lunches and leftovers. I also always like to supplement with a salad kit and cut-up fruit. It’s a luxury to have that healthy freshness without any of the chopping.

And this isn’t all about giving, if you double the recipes you’ll have your own meal preparation done for days. Give a little, get a little.

Main Meal

If you want to really floor them with some some real comfort food they would never be expecting, these Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburger Sliders are just the ticket. The emphasis here is on the “easy.”

Crave some tavern goodness without the drive? Make Easy Oven-Baked Cheeseburger Sliders! Perfect for a party OR a busy weeknight! This recipe is the best. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Another option is this Zucchini and Ground Turkey Cheesy Casserole. It’s filling, but with a healthy freshness you don’t often find in casseroles. This is also a great one if you think they might have to stick it in the freezer.

Zucchini and Ground Turkey Cheesy Casserole | This a healthy, yet hearty, casserole recipe using zucchini and ground turkey. It's delicious, easy, and freezes well. What more could you want? | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 

Main Meal for Picky Eaters/Side Dish/Lunch

Forget politics, here’s the real eternal debate: is mac and cheese a main dish or a side dish? The world may never know, but many picky eaters sure do love it. If a household has kids, I like to include some helpings of Mom’s Best Macaroni and Cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese FB

 

Side Dish

Think pasta salad is only for summer? Try Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette Pasta Salad and think again! The mustard and olives in the dressing provide a tang and depth of flavor that makes it perfect for any season. It also makes a perfect lunch. Your friend will enjoy snacking on this rather than a bag of chips or cookies.

Looking for a side dish with a remarkable depth of flavor? Balsamic-Mustard Vinaigrette Pasta Salad is it! The mustard and olives provide the unique tang that gets this recipe rave reviews. This is a pasta salad that can be served all year round. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The Sweet Stuff

Be it good times or bad times, there’s always room for brownies and these Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Bites more than fit the bill. Don’t fret about having time for these though; they’re easy to make too. Being a champion isn’t always hard work.

Yummy Oreo and Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

 

I can’t name the number of times my friends have taken care of me, so I jump at every chance to pay it forward. If this helps you spread the love, then my work on the internet is done for today.

What is your go-to dish to take to someone?

-Ellen 

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Mary’s Story: I Did Not Wait for Breast Cancer to Strike

"I Did Not Wait for Breast Cancer to Strike." Mary's mother died from breast cancer, and she subsequently tested positive for the BRCA gene. By getting a prophylactic mastectomies she did not wait for breast cancer to strike. This is an important story of health, wellness, and breast cancer awareness. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

More than once, people have misunderstood the title of our blog. They think “Sisterhood” means we’re sisters. We are not . . . in the biological sense. Erin actually has a lovely younger sister and Ellen is an only child (we know, it explains a lot). We are firm believers in the cross stitch sampler sentiment “friends are family you choose.” That’s our Sisterhood: all of the women who are integral to the beauty and richness of our lives.

And one of those women, our dear friend, Mary, has a gripping story to tell. Her mother died from breast cancer when she was a freshman in college. She subsequently tested positive for the “breast cancer gene” BRCA, which means she had a 80% risk of developing breast cancer. We have always wanted to write her story of prophylactic treatment, but never wanted to put words in her mouth. With this podcast, you get to hear the words (and laughter and wit) right out of her mouth. Please, click the player at the bottom to.

Mary's Story: "I Did Not Wait for Breast Cancer to Strike." Mary's mother died from breast cancer, and she subsequently tested positive for the BRCA gene. By getting a prophylactic mastectomies she did not wait for breast cancer to strike. This is an important story of health, wellness, and breast cancer awareness. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Some information to remember and links from the podcast:

  • About 10% of all breast cancers are hereditary. Mary was at high risk for hereditary breast cancer because she tested positive for the BRCA gene.
  • For those who test positive for the BRCA gene, Mary recommended this resource: FORCE–Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered.
  • Mammogram guidelines mentioned are those from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist. You can read more about them here.
  • Ellen strongly believes that where you get your mammogram is very crucial. Read her post How to Pick Where to Go for a Mammogram.

An additional resource:

  • You can download an app to help you make an early detection plan with reminders for mammograms. Read more about it here.

Please share this important story and remember to schedule your own mammogram.

Bracelet of Hope - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - "I Did Not Wait for Breast Cancer to Strike." Mary's mother died from breast cancer, and she subsequently tested positive for the BRCA gene. By getting a prophylactic mastectomies she did not wait for breast cancer to strike. This is an important story of health, wellness, and breast cancer awareness. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

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-Ellen and Erin . . . and Mary

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How A Concussion, A Tree, and A Trip to NYC Saved My Holiday Sanity

I struggled with that title a bit because we try to keep it PG around here, you know, for the children. Let’s just say this has been the season of “effits” for me. And it has saved my sanity this Christmas.

How A Concussion, A Tree, and A Trip to NYC Saved My Holiday Sanity -- A procrastinator is forced into reform! -- Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

It all started with the tree.  Wait, that’s not right. It all started right before Thanksgiving with the concussion my youngest daughter was gifted from an accidental punch to the head during handball in gym class. It was worse than at first perceived, and she had to be on complete stimulation lockdown: no music, no texting, NO SCREENS, no reading, no games, no puzzles, no nothing–except talking to her mother in a darkened room . . . and coloring. It was like the worst grounding ever for any thirteen-year-old, except my thirteen-year-old was about to turn fourteen. We had to reschedule her birthday party, too. The sadness was palpable.

This is how I entered Thanksgiving where I also had to make the entire dinner from soup to nuts, as Erin likes to say. Hallmark did not have a card to express my Grinch-esque holiday spirit because they apparently like to keep it PG, too.

But I wasn’t just feeling overwhelmed by worry for my injured daughter and the responsibility of orchestrating a glutinous meal; this was my second year without my mother. I look back on last year and marvel at the way I soldiered through the holidays. I must have been functioning on muscle memory because I was numb. Whereas last year I was wrapped in a muffling quilt of grief, this year I was acutely aware of every moment and nuance of her absence.

So with this curmudgeon essence coursing through my veins, I launched into the first of my effits: “It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving and we’re getting the tree.”

I know this does not seem like much of a stand. Many people decorate their trees that weekend–their ARTIFICIAL trees. But we get a real tree, and we like to keep it up until New Year’s . . . and we can’t be trusted to take it down on New Year’s. In a totally related side note, I have a history of scooping pine needles out of my family room with a snow shovel.

But my baby needed something to distract her from her canceled party, and picking out a Christmas tree at dusk seemed within the realms of non-stimulating activities.

How A Concussion, A Tree, and A Trip to NYC Saved My Holiday Sanity -- A procrastinator is forced into reform! -- Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

After that baby step of an effit, they continued to flow! I didn’t care what tree we picked out. We were together. Without my guidance it took forever. But whatever, we were grabbing some joy. When my oldest pointed out that half of our family unit was settling on a crooked tree with a bubble butt, I did not enter the fray. I mean, the thing only tipped over once while we were decorating it, but who cares because I was there to break the fall.  So behold our tree anchored to the wall with a “ledge” so large we nestled a papier-mâché cat on it to detract from it.  It really is the Kim Kardashian of trees.

How A Concussion, A Tree, and A Trip to NYC Saved My Holiday Sanity -- A procrastinator is forced into reform! -- Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

I really did miss an opportunity to set up a champagne fountain. At least the star is slowly sliding down to earth.

But besides pine needles embedded into my eardrum, I got this takeaway:

Sanity Saver #1: It doesn’t matter what the dead tree we are destined to mulch in four (or six) weeks looks like! Martha Stewart has always ignored declined my invitations to date anyway.

I took this calendar-defying decorating miracle one step further and decked the whole house! My first realization of how other (organized) people live hit me on the head like chestnuts flung by a mischievous Elf on the Shelf.

Sanity Saver #2: Decorating the house before December opens up that whole month to be jammed packed with all of the concerts, parties, baking, and fa la la-ing.

In the past, I had always wanted to have my youngest’s birthday party before decorating, because kids are destructive, yo. This led to me squeezing in the decorating when I could and sometimes left us tree-less into the third week. But she is now a teen, and all they do is hole up in the basement. From now on, decorating is taking place in November and partying is getting pushed into December. Thank you concussion for foiling my procrastination?

Then in true Christmas miracle fashion, a second procrastination buster entered my life in the form of a simple dinner invitation. A friend was flying in to visit family in New York City, and sent out a message asking if any locals could meet for dinner. I raised my hand! I am not local. I am three hours away from NYC. I said effit I am going anyway.

I could not turn my back on this happenstance because the invitation was for December 22nd, the time my mother would have come up to join in all of our Christmas preparations.

Sanity Saver #3: I have found the best way to grab joy over grief is to shake myself out of the groove that highlights Mom’s absence and surround myself with people who feed my soul. Friends are the family you choose.

One of my dear friends, who actually was local, offered to have me spend the night, and I had one of the loveliest evenings filled with good food, and even better laughter. Breaking bread with intelligent, interesting women is a gift.

How A Concussion, A Tree, and A Trip to NYC Saved My Holiday Sanity -- A procrastinator is forced into reform! -- Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Ah, but I had labeled this invitation as a procrastination buster too. In order for me to enjoy myself, I needed to have Christmas ready to go. In an unprecedented move, I had all of my shopping done and all of the gifts wrapped by December 21st.

Sanity Saver #4: Not leaving the wrapping until 10 pm on December 24th allows you to actually enjoy Christmas Eve and prevents zombie eyes in the Christmas morning pictures.

It’s not that I always wanted to wrap on Christmas Eve, it’s just that wrapping seemed like the task that could be pushed off until the end.

If this were a Christmas special, a Claymation snowman would come out to tie this up in a shiny bow, but I have to admit my ribbon is a little crumpled. I may have still had to stay up until 1:30 am on Christmas Eve because I was a little too cocky about having the wrapping done, and failed to gauge the time it would take to make the awesome Pumpkin French Toast Casserole I found on Pinterest.

However, I still don’t regret the time I spent snuggling with my family watching A Charlie Brown Christmas instead of clanking around in the kitchen. But I have seen the light because I now realize why organized people are so self-congratulatory. It feels good! God willing, I will rock the holidays even better next year. My family deserves a Stress-Diminished Ellen for Christmas.

-Ellen

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10 Great Podcasts for Moms

Speaking from our own experiences, motherhood sometimes, occasionally, every once in awhile makes us feel like we are losing our minds. In the beginning, it might have been the long hours without proper sleep, the hard work of caretaking the need monsters, or the long stretches of time without talking to anyone who could talk back. Now, it’s the endless laundry, the carpool schedules, and the daily balancing of school, activities, family time, and us time that sometimes brings out the crazy in the everyday.

So how to tether ourselves back to the world of the sane and savvy?  Music, exercise, chocolate and Sour Patch Kids are viable options for sure, and of course, blogs aren’t too shabby for finding a community of hands to hold. But sensible moms know that podcasts are a great way to regain some semblance of connection and balance by letting us know we are not alone . . . and by entertaining us too.

With that in mind, here are ten podcasts we really, really like and we hope you will too.

Need some inspiration, entertainment, and laughs? Add these great podcasts for moms to your playlist.---Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

1. Manic Mommies

Length: About an hour

Erin Kane and Kristin Brandt are all kinds of fun, and we feel like they would have totally been our BFFs on the playground. Luckily for all of us, these working moms and best buddies have taken their friendship online and we can all check in on what these two witty, wonderful gals are talking about. What they are usually talking about with honesty and candor isn’t just modern motherhood or balancing work and life, but they dose their podcasts heavily with pop culture stuff too which we absolutely love.

We know you’ll love their banter as much as we do. Their latest post about Irreverent Parenting made us laugh out loud. Their podcast has been downloaded over 2 million times and if you decide to add them to your week, you’ll see why.

2. Mom and Dad Are Fighting

Length: 45 minutes to an hour

Slade has tons of great content so it’s no big surprise that this parenting podcast is produced with such style and humor. We love the great conversations that Alison Benedikt and Dan Kois create. Debating everything from peewee football to the merits of the family dinner, their chemistry and smart talk keep the podcast rolling. You’ll have lots to think about as they are usually able to pack in three or four topics per hour.

3. Power Down Podcast by SITS Girls

Length: An hour

Looking for balance? Some quiet in the midst of all the social media and life noise? Us too. The SITS Girls responded to this universal need for some moments of grace in the midst of the daily grind with this great podcast. The SITS Girls themselves — Tiffany Romero and Francesca Banducci, as well as Heather King of The Extraordinary Ordinary and Amy Whitley of Never-True Tales and Pit Stops for Kids lead these great weekly conversations. Usually you can tune in to the podcasts every other Wednesday at 2:00pm ET but the podcast is currently being revamped. Use this time to catch up on older podcasts as you wait for the great talks to start again.

4. Longest Shortest Time

Length: About a Half Hour

Created by a professional, this one is well-edited, paced, and perfect for new and nearly new parents. This is the voice we would have loved to find soothing us in the middle of the night. At the end of every episode, the host asks the listener to share their own struggles in parenthood. You will appreciate the hand to hold as well as the rock solid advice. Your pediatrician will appreciate you having somebody you can turn to with all of those middle-of-the-night questions.

5. Stuff You Should Know

Length: A little less than an hour

Josh and Chuck are the likeable hosts of this very likeable show. Feel like motherhood has taken some brain cells?  Let them give you some fun and interesting things to mull over. From discussing the ins and outs of the paleo diet to how blimps work to the mechanics of rogue waves, there seems to be nothing these two won’t look at a little closer. The big bonus for you is learning things you didn’t even know you were dying to know.

6. NPR TED Talks

Length: About an hour

Co-produced by NPR and TED talks, this show has the best of both worlds. Want to learn about some interesting new technology, mull over some ground-breaking ideas, or need some inspirational words to color your world? This podcast is for you. Centered around a unifying theme, each podcast culls the best of the TED talks and packages them together in one delightful little hour of great talks. Your mom brain will thank you.

7. Making It with Riki Lindhome

Length: An hour

Full disclosure: Erin is a huge Gilmore Girls fan and remembers the host from her time as an extra on the show. This MAY have influenced her decision to start listening to this podcast, but not her decision to keep listening to it. In any case, Riki interviews a different guest each week about how they “made it.” The stories of how these familiar faces in the entertainment industry became SO familiar is fascinating every time. The overall charm of the show and the power of the stories ultimately win over Riki’s sometimes distracting habit of saying “yeah” a lot.

8. The Broad Experience

Length: 20 minutes

We love the nearly bite-sized feel of this one. The good news is that it means that you can probably fit it into your busy schedule. Trust us, you’ll want to carve out a few minutes for the great storytelling and smart dialogue in every episode. Picked by The Guardian as one of the year’s “10 Best Lesser-Known Podcasts” and Gawker as one of the “8 Smart Podcasts You Should Hear”, there is a good reason why you should start downloading these podcasts as soon as you finish reading this. They describe it as a show that talks about “the things we think about, but don’t necessarily talk about”. We love the uplifting, woman-centered focus. Sometimes you just want to talk about what it feels like for a girl or, in this case, a woman in the world today. This is that space and these are the conversations you have been missing.

9. Everything Stay At Home Mom

Length: About a half hour

Marisela Morales and her friend Claudia describe themselves as “two sassy moms who are recovering corporate professionals and now rocking the mom profession.” We couldn’t agree more. From tips for traveling with young kids to finding your hidden mom superpower, their podcasts alternate between practical advice and interesting conversations about the nature of motherhood itself. You’ll enjoy every minute you spend with these two.

10. The Sarah Bagley Podcast

Length: Half hour to an hour

We were lucky enough to meet Sarah when we were part of the Baltimore cast of Listen To Your Mother. In person, she is warm, funny, smart, and a total sweetheart. All of that comes through in her podcasts too which is why we had no reservations about letting her interview us.  We were pretty excited that she wanted to include us in one of her weekly podcasts which are all about people embracing their best lives and moving beyond fear to their best selves. A self-described recovering perfectionist, Sarah likes to talk with her guests about how they embrace their imperfections and live their lives with meaning.  We were more than happy to share our stories of our good, bad, and B+ moments. You can listen to our interview with Sarah here.

We love all of these podcasts and more we didn’t mention (Hello, Stars Wars Minute! Sometimes a girl just has to let her geek flag fly!).  Each of them share comfortable, chatty hosts who create instant chemistry with their audiences and a loose, friendly, hanging-out-with-my-buds-next-door vibe. We hope these ten podcasts for moms do for you what they did for us: help you find your way back to you.

Hey, come to think of it, each and every one of these hosts sounds like they are having a great time. Maybe we’ll have to get into this too. Hmmmmm.

 

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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

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7 Delicious Summer Recipes to Be Excited About

We’re summer girls, so we are super-excited to say this: Summer is here! Even if our kids are a little confused, we know exactly what this means: food, fun, and lots of free time!

summer collage

We need good eats to power us through all this fun!

In addition to pulling out the flip-flops and trading in our jam-packed schedules for some lazy-hazy days, we are also psyched to get our summer eats on! These recipes are perfect for any day of the season. So whether we are chilling out after any of our adventures in surf and sand, catching up with old friends, or just enjoying a lovely evening at home, these 7 delicious summer recipes showcase the best of the season and are a surefire hit every time.

Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms - 7 Delicious Summer Recipes To Be Excited About - Tomatoes and Crabs and Sangria, Oh My! Easy appetizers and more.

 

1. Caprese Salad-on-a-Stick

caprese salad

This is one of Erin’s favorite summer potluck dishes. She takes it to nearly every party and it gets gobbled up in no time flat. These are super-easy to assemble and deliver big on flavor, but they are best with fresh in-season tomatoes and basil. So pull up a chair, put on your favorite tunes, and get toothpicking.

 

2. Red Sangria

Red-Sangria-By-Ellen

Ellen dreamed up this lovely cocktail to complement all of the yummy eats she serves at her annual Labor Day party. It is so good you’ll want to make it for special occasions all year long, but this IS summer’s drink with all of the fresh fruit and its reputation as the most perfect chilled cocktail ever.  So grab this recipe for your own summer shindig.

 

3. Watermelon Salsa

Sisterhood Watermelon Salsa

This salsa tastes like summer in a bowl which means that when you make it out of season, it tastes like . . . well, a refrigerated truck from Sausalito. Fresh watermelon is one of the keys to this nearly perfect recipe for salsa. So vow to make some this summer. It’s a promise you’ll be glad you kept.

 

4. Whiskey Sour Slush

whiskey sour slush

Erin’s family keeps a batch in the freezer all summer long. It’s the perfect frozen drink and our friends request big batches for all summer parties. Now we are sharing her dad Ed’s recipe for all the world to see. Just make sure that you thank him next time you see him around. We actually DO make this drink year round, but it just tastes the best on a hot day in the summer. Go figure.

whiske slush

 

5. Eastern Shore Crab Cakes with a Twist

Sisterhood-Maryland-Crab-Cakes-With-A-Twist

We’re both Maryland girls, so we grew up eating the blue crabs every summer, but Ellen is a legit Eastern Shore chick. This recipe might cause a minor uproar as she deviates from the traditional much-beloved recipe, but it’s such a delicious variation that we think you’ll agree that she is more than forgiven for taking her liberties.

6. Steamed Crabs

But we like our crabs straight up too. Whether you flavor them with a little Old Bay or a little Kosher Salt and Cayenne Pepper, a crab feast is the epitome of a Maryland summer. . . just make sure they’re steamed. Boiling? ::shudder::

crab collage

And if you are old enough to hold a crayon, you are going learn how to pick your own crabs. Even if your Mom and Dad moved you to Pittsburgh.

youn one with crab

7. Gazpacho

Tomato

We are just gonna say it out loud: Tomatoes have got one season and this is it. When they have to travel from afar to get to your table, they get all petulant and put out and don’t taste anything like their wonderful, flavorful cousins who ripened on your vine this summer. If your garden is overflowing with these gems, then we can help you spin your gold into something really useful . . . like gazpacho.

 

bye bye summer

Make sure you make some of these before it’s too late!

-Erin and Ellen

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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

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Ten Hats We Wear Besides Mom

Our post last week prompted some interesting conversation. Apparently, when you give people a peek behind the old blog curtain, they get a little greedy for more. People don’t just want a little taste of this glamorous life we are leading, they want the full enchilada. However, since Ellen is spending the majority of the week on a much deserved ski vacation with her family, our Behind The Music is gonna have to wait a little longer. But to keep you all happy and let you learn a little more about us, I thought I would rerun part of a post we wrote last year.

Every mom knows you are never just a mom. The same is true for bloggers. Here are . . .

10 Hats

 

1. Park Rangers

Don’t worry, they didn’t give us guns.

 

2. Taste Testers

If you’re going to dabble in Pinterest occasionally you’ll get a mouth full of Pintershizz.

 

3. Cowgirl

Erin mourns the loss of this hat. Should she??

 

4. SAHM Cheer Squad

Give me a “S” Give me an “A” Give me an “H” Give me a “M” What’s that spell? Chronically tired and under-appreciated!

5. Milkmaid

You really never plan on being a Milkmaid, however . . .

 

6. Unibomber Posse

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

 

7. Zombie Wedding Planner

At least they weren’t picky about the freshness of the flowers or the cake. And we did win a trophy.

 

8. Swingers

What did you think we meant?

 

9. Synchronized Swimmers

Don’t try this at home. Years of practice.

 

10. Synchronized Divers

Don’t try this at home either.

 Hope this whets your whistle for now. We promise to get right on that epic blog biopic as soon as Ellen gets home, all the laundry is finished, all the kids are fed and happy, and all the stars are aligned.

 Thank you for reading and wanting to know more about us!

Feel free to tell us something about YOU in the comments!

-Erin and Ellen

 

 

 

 

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We Get Along Like Cats and Dogs

The world loves a dynamic duo—think Lucy and Ethel, Laverne and Shirley, Thelma and Louise—but we are a bit unique in the blogosphere being a writing duo and all. Our work divisions, our idea generation, our everything seems to flow organically from our actual friendship. In other words, there is not a concrete division of labor, but things seem to kind of naturally flow from our real-life conversations and adventures.

We say to people who ask “how we do it” that we could never blog with anyone else. Our advice would be to pick your best, most honest, generous friend and hope with all your might that she is also a great writer. It’s lightning in a bottle over here, although we do have a mission statement. The truth of the matter is that while we share many similar interests and always have a good time together, we are definitely coming at life and blogging from different perspectives.

Erin: But we did write that one piece where we described our writing process like it was a volleyball game. We may have been overdosing on the Olympics a little at the time, but overall,  it felt pretty accurate.

Ellen: If, by accurate, you mean we were delusional when we compared ourselves to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings, then I agree.

Erin: We weren’t claiming their abs, just their teamwork.

Ellen: But the truth is that we are probably a little more Garfield and Odie than May-Trainer and Jennings.

That’s why we can honestly say that  . . .

We Get Along Like Cats and Dogs How A Blog Partnership Works

Point #1: Stroking

Erin: Ellen is the quintessential cat. Independent, intelligent, and not easy to pin down,  Ellen has integrity. You have to earn her trust and respect and there is no way she could be bribed for a treat or even, say, a tweet.

Last week Ellen got retweeted by P!nk. THE P!nk. As in that exclamation point is not a typo because we are talking about the freakin’ for real P!NK! which is a pretty big deal. She was excited for sure, but if it had been me, I would have thrown a ticker tape parade and bought some balloons.

Pink Retweet

O.M.GEEEEEEEE! This even impressed my 15 year old, not my 13 year old, but 1 out of 2 ain’t bad.

Ellen: Oh, really. I do believe you greeted me by saying, “Hey, I saw your Twitter thing.” Meanwhile, yesterday, you got retweeted by two regular citizens and you called me up, “I’m so proud of myself!! I’ve gotten back in the Twitter game and I got two, TWO, of my quips retweeted! How cool is that!?” My tweet is still going round and round Twitterland thanks to P!nk’s 21 MILLION rabid followers and you want a bacon treat for being broadcast to 80 extra people.

Erin: Down, girl. I feel like I should throw you some catnip.

Ellen: On the other hand, you are, without a doubt, the dog. Loyal, friendly, and playful, you are every bit a girl’s best friend as long as I make sure to stick to a stroking schedule. I collect things to say like “Good Erin,” “That’s a great job,” and “Aren’t you the best little blogger in the world for not breaking the site when you added that plug-in?” to toss out twenty times a day.

Erin:  When have I ever added a plug-in?

Ellen: All I am saying is that you like a good ham bone and to have your belly scratched.

Point #2: Enthusiasm

Ellen: One of your frequent mannerisms is begging like a dog when you get excited. You literally (yes, I AM using this word 100% accurately) say “Paws up!”  when you get excited about something. I practically have to carry around Scooby snacks for you.

erin puppy

Photo not staged. AT. ALL.

Erin:  That’s really okay, Team Cat. I’ve gotten used to the classic Ellen  “I know it was awesome, I don’t need your congratulations.”

Ellen: I’m going to give you a slow blink on that one and a flick of my . . . tail and move on.

Point #3: We Gave Birth to Our Own Kind

Erin: You know how people say having a puppy is like having a baby? Well, in my case, the reverse is true too. My kids are constantly tugging on me, bumping up against me, and hanging off me—and that is just the teens.  My litter may all technically be housebroken, but you cannot leave them unattended for too long or the whole place goes to the dogs if you get my not-too-subtle drift.  As the proverbial Queen of this Puppy Pound, I feel like I am stockpiling balls and treats just to keep these puppies happy.

Ellen: And my girls are just like me. Basically, they come around for me to feed them, then they go about their business. They’re purrr-fect. The example that proves the rule: My 15 year old just made All County Orchestra.  I had to specifically ask her if she had heard any results. Her reply?

“Yeah, I found out last week. I made it.” Then she sauntered away. Tail flick explicitly implied.

Ultimately, our particular brand of blog magic comes because we complement each other. We were never yin and yang or Oscar and Felix, but were, and still remain, a Tom and Jerry for the new millennium. Erin brings an energy and enthusiasm that is hard to deny or contain (it’s better to just ride that wave, honestly) while Ellen keeps it real and keeps us on track (you really do want her in your getaway car, the girl has mad skills).

And then there’s that other special ingredient that makes it extra fun AND extra special: the fact that we are great friends who love and care for our kids, our friends, our little ole blog, and each other.

Erin: Woof.

Ellen: Meow back at ya.

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