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Wonton Noodle Soup

It has been a crazy summer.  Selling and buying a house is not fun. I felt like I had no kitchen for a long time. Always worried about the smells that will be left behind if by chance you got a call for a showing.  So I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus.  Finally our 2 bedroom condo sold and we found our dream home to raise our son (and son on the way) in. Now that we are finally mostly unpacked…I say mostly because there are still those boxes from over a year and a half ago that we have to unpack (I say if we don’t miss it it goes to good will), I am now cooking again. YEAH! Trying to get back into a rhythm of taking pictures though, I’ve been horrible about that.  Also trying to find easy meals that I can prep or quickly make during the week.  So for my coming back recipe I have attempted wonton noodle soup.  There’s this little food place near my job…oh yeah I started a new job too…they do basically asian style soups.  I have become obsessed with their wonton noodle soup, so of course I had to try to make it for myself.  One thing I learned again, I make this mistake repeatedly, I suck at steaming wontons (I use the same methods to make ravioli).  Well it’s a good thing the flavor is there because it taste delicious.  The pork fell out of the wontons, but E says that my meatballs taste good! I would suggest to all of you to buy already made wontons, but I will include the recipe that I used to make them.  If you use already made wontons this will all come together for a quick meal.

wonton soup

Wonton Ingredients:
16oz package ground pork
1/2 tsp corn starch
1 TBSP rice wine
2 TBSP chopped green onions
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 Package wontons
1 egg beaten

Directions Wontons:
Combine all ingredients through sugar. Fill wontons with 1 TBSP filling, brush edges with egg and seal.  Place wontons in a steam pan.  Steam for 10 minutes.

Or just buy some already made :-)

Wonton Soup Ingredients:
1 32oz container low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 carrots peeled and sliced at an angle
1 cup sugar snap peas, cleaned and cut in half
1 large head of bok choy, roughly chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
4 green onions, chopped
1 small package low mein noodles
Salt to taste
Wonton Soup Directions:
Combine ingredients through ginger in large stock pot. Heat till green parts of bok choy are wilted.  Cook low mein according to package directions.

Serving:
Place wontons and low mein in bottom of a soup bowl, spoon broth and vegetables over top.  Garnish with green onions and more chopped ginger if desired. Salt to taste.
Joyce_sample_3

My October

October is always a very difficult month for me. I tend to be more somber and reflective during these four weeks than the rest of the year. There are a couple reasons for that but they are all linked together. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Eleven years ago today my mom went in for surgery to remove a tumor from her breast. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.

tree

Today is my birthday; I turned 25 that day. What followed was chemotherapy (she chose not to remove the breast nor was she tested for the BRCA gene – which I don’t believe was standard operating procedure in Canada back then. Am I even old enough to say ‘back then’ now?) and then radiation. She lost her hair; she had burns on her skin, chemotherapy made her sick. She looked forward to my brother’s wedding; it gave her something to be excited about. I remember her shopping for her mother of the groom dress; it needed to be soft to not irritate the radiation burns on her skin, but also had to hide those burns.

TEOM - Oct 20 - photo 1
She went into remission. Thus began four years of peace, of idyllic naiveté. As we neared that five year mark, we grew celebratory. I had gotten married; she helped me plan my wedding, and she felt wonderful. She was excited to have her real hair for my wedding photos.

TEOM - Oct 20 - photo 2
I moved away. That Christmas, the cancer came back. It was in her lungs and liver now. This was a whole new beast; more chemo, more radiation. More fight. Remission again, however there was a ‘but’ in there. “We’ll keep you in remission as long as we can, but…”

It would come back.

Six months later it did. Chemo was an option again but with less than a 20% success chance, she chose not to go through that pain again. She tried to move forward, to live life normally. She and dad came to Georgia to visit Josh and me, and baby JJ. She was so tired. I didn’t know how badly she felt. She never told us. I was so happy to have her visiting with us, I wanted so badly to believe that she would be there forever.

TEOM - Oct 20 photo 3

January 2009, I went home to visit my family. I knew it was bad. I knew she was dying. I stayed for 2 weeks with my dad and my mom was in the hospital the entire time. Shortly after arriving in Canada, my dad, JJ (who was seven months old then) and I got sick. We couldn’t go to the hospital to see her for a few days. I didn’t even recognize my mom. She could barely talk. We believe the cancer was in her brain at this point and talking hurt her, she said her voice reverberated in her head. So we talked to her, she was too weak to hold her grandson, but she watched him on her hospital bed.

I returned to my husband in Georgia on February 4, 2009.

On February 16, 2009, my mom passed away. You don’t get through grief. You learn to cope, to move forward. You learn to put one foot in front of the other and you learn to laugh and smile and remember. You cry sad tears and you cry happy tears. But it never goes away. It pulls itself out every now and then, and you will grieve again. During our cross country move to Washington this past summer, I received a phone call from a friend. I was sitting in a hotel bathroom and he told me his mom passed away that night from cancer. I sat on the edge of the bathtub in Spokane, WA and sobbed. I cried most of that night and most of the next day as we drove through the mountains of Washington. His mother and I had been close. She had been like a mom to me during high school and University. I love his family like my own.

I know many others who have lost loved ones in the past couple years to cancer. To you I say this; don’t try to be over it. This hurt doesn’t go away overnight, really it never fully goes away. It will diminish with time. Grief is intensely personal. Everyone travels the road differently. I know many think I’m done with mine but I’m not. Every loss renews the original grief. My mom passed away just over five years ago. I miss her every single day. I grieve that she never met Elliott. She barely knew JJ. I grieve the grandmother she would have been because I know she would have been awesome. I don’t remember her voice anymore. I remember her smile and the look of her hands, but I don’t remember what she sounded like or what her touch felt like. I dream about her occasionally. I dreamed about her the other night but woke up immediately after hugging her in my dream. I hate those dreams. They always throw off my day because it feels like a taunt. A reminder of what is gone.

I still miss her, but we have moved forward. She would be proud of us. We all struggle (my dad, brother and myself) but every day we keep putting one foot in front of the other and we keep moving forward. I have pictures all over the house of my mom during the various stages of life after her original diagnosis, I try to talk about her with my boys (they are still a little young to understand why she is “grandma Mc” but they have never known her) and I will continue to tell them about their grandma Mc, who would love them to pieces if she knew them now. I am grateful for the women in my life who have stepped into various “mom” roles; my Grandma, Aunts, Birth mom (who stepped into grandma mode and rocks at it), and many others. Don’t try to be over your grief. Embrace it. Feel your pain and allow yourself the relief of being honest about how much it hurts, how much it sucks. Grief can make you feel crazy. It can make you question everything. I think that is part of the process. Allow yourself the grace to feel through this journey. Know that eventually you will laugh again. You’ll remember the funny things –two favorites of mine are when my mom called our 1984 Cutlass Ciera a piece of shit – the woman never swore. The other was relayed to me by my birth mom. She and my mom were talking at my baby shower (mom was in chemo at the time) and she told Lorna that “cancer is the shits”.

Truer words were never spoken mom.

“Cancer is the shits”.

Kristin

Candy Corn Pumpkin DIY

I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again, Halloween in my FAVORITE holiday. I love seeing all the kiddos dressed up in their cute little costumes and I love the decorations. So when this lonely little pumpkin was given to me, I had to spruce him up. This was an easy project and is definitely one that the kiddos can help with. Like I told you in my last pumpkin re-do, this one is great because you can keep it year after year. Those are the kinds of projects I like.

Candy Corn PUmpkin DIYI must confess though. I stole. And it wasn’t just one thing. It was several.  My problem is that I get these ideas in my head and I have to complete them right away. This was one of those projects. So in order to get it done, I had to steal….from my daughter’s acrylic paint collection and let me tell you, it’s a big collection.  It was either that or head to the craft store and stand in front of the giant racks of paint, trying to choose colors.  Who has time for that?!  My candy corn pumpkin was begging to be created!

 What you’ll need:

Pumpkin (foam or plastic)

Various acrylic paints

Paint brush(es)

Sponge

Cheap-o clear spray paint (I used glossy)

Here’s what I did.

  1. Wipe down your pumpkin with a wet rag and let it dry.
  2. Get out your acrylic paints (or borrow them from your child if that’s an option). I first started painting the bottom of the pumpkin yellow. I wasn’t very precise. I just eye-balled it, to about 1/3 of the way up. I let it dry for a few minutes and added another coat.  You’ll want to make sure you have good coverage on it so it may take a few coats of paint.
  3. I repeated the process with white paint for the top of the pumpkin. Again, I wasn’t precise. I just eye-balled it. You have two options here though. If you have a stem, you can paint it white or you can paint it brown or green. It’s a personal preference.
  4. Finally, I painted the middle of the pumpkin orange.  Candy corn collage final
  5. In order to make a smooth transition between either the orange and yellow or the orange and white, I mixed a little of each color on my brush. For instance, I put orange on one side of my sponge and yellow on the other side of my sponge and gently blended the two colors.
  6. I painted the stem light green and added a tiny bit of dark green for contrast.
  7. I splattered a little bit of orange, yellow and black paint on it. My daughter says it looks like fly poop, but I think it looks great.
  8. Let it dry completely.
  9. Spray with the clear spray and dry.

If you’re super motivated, you can add a bow to the top or embellish it however you’d like.  Voila! Done!

 

Jen Graphic