Single Mama Blues & How I deal with them

The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. Some things have went really well like my cookbook (thanks everyone for the support) and my social media is growing. I’ve really felt like I’ve been on my purpose which is to encourage and inspire women in some way, shape or form. However some days I have barely been making it. Baarly (say that like the lady who said she was legally blind lol). This week I was frustrated & stressed trying to get my children to school safely (it was storming and they normally walk) and ended up being late for work. Like a possible write up late. I broke down in the car. I know life has it’s peaks and valleys but it is sometimes too much when they happen in the same day. I cried real tears this week, it was a struggle.

When you are a single mother it ALL FALLS ON YOU. Now don’t get it twisted I have help which I am grateful for but at the end of the day I am the decision maker, boss, executor of tasks, ALL OF THE THINGS. I am blessed to be in the position to be several people’s mama but I am also still stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted sometimes. But I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel this way. I posted on my social media earlier this week how the first thing someones says when describing a black woman is that they are strong. And I don’t like that. Don’t get me wrong I am strong, I believe it’s an inherent trait built in ALL women (I mean we bear children and that shit hurts!) but it is not our defining characteristic. In fact the description of strength we have been given has somewhat been our downfall. As I’ve talked about before we think of ourselves as Superwoman and have thrown on this imaginary cape and all it’s really doing is choking the life out of us. I am not here for any of that. I was put on this earth to be an example of God’s love, to love my children unconditionally and live an abundant life. All this other stuff that we’re trying to live up to so we can shout about being strong to whoever is listening (nobody) doesn’t do anything but stress us out. Plus from the Bible I read it says something along the lines that our strength lies in God. Not us. And that’s what I had to remember this week when I was overwhelmed from trying to do everything on my own. Especially when I don’t always have to. I got my self help tools out and took some of my own advice to get myself together and get back on track again. I am sharing my tips below:

  • Cry – This is one of the main reasons why I don’t like this whole strong woman definition. It makes us think it’s not okay to feel. We are feminine!!! We were made to feel emotions, to be soft and vulnerable and loving and nurturing. It is therapeutic to cry. It helps us get out emotions we may not know how to put in words. It also cleanses us. It’s okay to cry. I give you permission to do it but more importantly give yourself permission to.
  • Ask for help – You knew that was coming right? I know what you’re going to say tho. If I had help I wouldn’t be in this situation. You probably have help you just haven’t asked for it. And usually it’s because we are ashamed to (trying to keep up some image), we don’t want to be disappointed, and we don’t like giving up control. We need to stop thinking we were created to be islands in this world. We all need each other at some point and it’s usually not a one time thing. When you have to ask for help look at it this way, you are giving someone the opportunity to be a blessing to you and in turn one day you can be a blessing to them. Simple as that. So stop being prideful and ask for what you need. It’s way better for someone to be able to throw you a life preserver now than try to perform CPR after you’ve already drowned.
  • Take a break – Whether it be from social media, TV, a bubble bath with the door locked, or a fast food meal in Walmart parking lot, take a few minutes or more for you. Even if you have to steal them from somewhere else. As women and especially as mothers our lives move super fast. We are always going and doing and never taking the time to slow down, hell sometimes we just can’t for whatever’s reason. However we cannot keep going if we don’t take some time to break away from the busyness of life and breathe. So even if it’s a 15 minute break before you lift the garage door and all the kids run out telling you who did what to whom, take it!!!
  • Talk to someone- I am grateful for my family and friends because I know when I need to sort the thoughts running thru my mind or just express what I’ve been feeling, I can call and do that without feeling judged or like I’m being a bother. And they can do the same to me. It is vital that we do not hold things inside. It only hurts us, not just emotionally or mentally but physically. Also there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with speaking to an objective third party, aka a therapist. Sometimes we just need to talk and let it out or get an opinion or make sure where headed in the right direction. We may not have a person we trust, so that’s where a therapist can come into play. Shoot they even have them online. Whatever you have to do tho, get those thoughts out to someone.
  • Prepare & get organized- This is something I don’t like to admit but we often cause our own stress by not being organized. By not packing a lunch the night before or figuring out what we are going to wear. We run thru rushing in the morning, hollering unnecessarily, forgetting things and just making life harder than it has to be. Do yourself a favor and when you have time use it wisely by getting prepared for what you know is coming. You know you have to go to work and school so stop looking like a deer in headlights and save some time and stress and make it easier on yourself.

Those are some of the things I do when I start experiencing the single mama blues. But you don’t have to be a single mother to do these. It applies to all women just out here trying to live our best lives. We play so many roles as women from daughter, sister, wife, auntie, mama, caretakers, business women, teachers, lovers and on and on we have to learn to preserve our most important role – YOU.

Love Ricki

5 Slow Cooker recipes using only 5 ingredients or less – and none of them are soups!

I recently wrote a blog post on the my love for the crockpot. It is my sous chef of sorts and helps me get dinner done a few times a week. Sadly I know everyone doesn’t utilize this wonderful appliance as they should. So I began to think of ways to help you see the wonderful benefits the slow cooker has and of course recipes came for mind. Here are 5 easy but delicious slow cooker recipes that you can add to your meal plan. I made sure to use simple easy to find ingredients and give you meal ideas to use along with them. For the purposes of this post we are not counting seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc) as one of the ingredients because those are things you should have on hand already. Feel free to season according to you and your family’s taste. Also I would suggest oiling or spraying your slow cooker with oil prior to use or pop in a liner. Now let’s see what we can get cooking!

Chicken Taco Meat

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Taco Seasoning mix
  • Salsa

Add chicken breasts to slow cooker and add both packets of seasoning. Pour salsa over (you can also add a 1/2 cup of water but that’s optional) and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken.

You can add this to tortillas or hard shell tacos and serve with rice or beans. This can also be used over nachos or a filling for enchiladas or a chicken version of Mexican stuffed shells.

Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

  • Pork loin or roast
  • Can of dark soda (Dr. Pepper, root beer or cola)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Chopped or sliced onions (optional)

Add onions to slow cooker if using. Season pork to liking and add over onions. Pour over BBQ sauce and add can of soda. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred meat.

You can serve this in hamburger buns or sliders with French fries or chips on the side. Also the leftovers make great carnitas, just fry them in a sprayed pan til crispy.

Mississippi Roast

Ingredients:

  • Beef roast (about 2-3 lbs)
  • Ranch dressing mix
  • Au Jus gravy mix
  • Stick of butter
  • Pepperonis (optional)

Add roast to slow cooker. Season with both packets of seasoning. I wouldn’t suggest adding additional salt because the seasoning used is already salty enough. Add pepperoni if using. Place stick of butter on top. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

This can be served with rice or mashed potatoes and whatever veggies you like. Also can use it to make Upside Down Mississippi Roast. Recipe here.

Angel Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tenders (about 2 lbs)
  • Cream of mushroom or chicken or both (whichever you prefer)
  • 8 ounce block of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • Italian dressing mix
  • Mushrooms, fresh or canned (optional)

Season chicken to taste and add to slow cooker. Add Italian dressing mix, cream cheese, soup and mushrooms if using. You can add water if you want more sauce but this is optional as the chicken will make liquid while cooking. Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

This is great over any pasta with a salad or steamed veggies on the side. Also makes a great filling for a chicken lasagna.

Meatballs – 2 ways

Ingredients:

  • Package of frozen meatballs (usually found in the freezer section)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup Grape jelly
  • 1/4 cup water (optional)

Or

  • Package of frozen meatballs
  • Italian dressing mix
  • Jar of marinara sauce

Add meatballs to slow cooker. Warm BBQ sauce in microwave and then mix in grape jelly. Add over meatballs and pour in water if using. Cook on low for 2-3 hours

Serve as an appetizer night – I like to do this on Sundays with nachos or wings. Or add veggies and Mac and cheese.

Add meatballs to slow cooker. Add Italian dressing mix and marina sauce. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Serve over pasta with a salad and garlic bread for dinner. Or add to hoagie rolls and top with cheese and put under the broiler for a minute or two for meatballs subs. Also cut them up and add a pizza topping to tortilla pizzas.

I hope these recipes I shared make you reach for and use your slow cooker more. It works while you are busy with life and and produces yummy recipes that can be used in various meals with a little imagination. Tell me in the comments which one you plan on trying! Also make sure you’re following me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and tag me if you try any!

Love Ricki

Looking for more recipes? Purchase my cookbook here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

I wrote a cookbook & here’s a recipe from it!

Yaassssssssssssss!!! Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you already know I wrote a cookbook! I want to share that of course and a recipe from my book but more importantly I want to share that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT IN LIFE!!! No matter what! It was not easy accomplishing this but I set a goal and met it and I have to say I’m proud of myself. I work a full time job, raise 4 people, write for this blog, make videos for YouTube, manage all my social media and did I mention I’m single. Whew Chillay! Yeah this was hard, but not impossible. What kept me going was the words of Myleik Teele saying “Done is better than Perfect” I have told y’all many times that technology and me are not friends so when it comes to creating things on the computer I AM LOST! But I can say I googled & Youtubed everything whenever I had a question. I was determined to get this done because the uncomfortable feeling I’ve been having lately wouldn’t let me stop. All I can say if you’ve been feeling something inside you telling you to make a move or a change DO IT!!! Don’t think about it, just do it. There is no failure only lessons!

Well I am very happy to present my cookbook Cook Yo Meals Volume One. It includes over 20 recipes to inspire you to make dinner for your family. The recipes are easy, delicious and use simple ingredients. Almost nothing makes me happier than when people enjoy my recipes. All I ever want to do is make cooking enjoyable again and I hope my cookbook does that. My cookbook is available for purchase below:

https://payhip.com/b/WN19

As a thank you for following me I wanted to share one of my newest family favorite recipes, Upside Down Mississippi Roast! And I also recorded a Cook with Me video to go along with it. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

Boneless beef roast

1 pack of Au Jus gravy mix

1 pack of Ranch Dressing Mix

½ cup of water

2 sticks of butter

¼ cup of onions (I use frozen)

1 package of frozen green beans or can use 1 can of green

beans

½ cup of sliced mushrooms (optional)

4-5 Russet Potatoes

1 block of cream cheese

Seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder & onion powder

¼ cup of Heavy Whipping Cream

1-2 cups of shredded cheese, I used Colby Jack but feel free

to use whatever you like or have

Directions: Spray or oil crockpot so roast won’t stick.Place roast inside and sprinkle half the pack of gravy and ranch mix. Turn roast over and season other side. Place stick of butter on top and add the ½ cup of water to the bottom of the crockpot. Place lid and cook on low from 4-6 hours depending on how fast your crockpot cooks and how big your roast is. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When roast is done cooking shred with fork and add the frozen onions and green beans to the crockpot and let warm while you prepare the potatoes. I prepare my potatoes in the instant pot but can also boil on the stove until tender. Here are my instructions for the instant pot: Add potatoes to the instant pot and fill with enough water to cover. Set on manual for 12 minutes and don’t forget to set vent to sealing. Once done perform quick release (set vent to venting to release steam). Open instant pot and drain water from potatoes. Can place back in Instant Pot and then add cream cheese, butter, seasonings and mash. Add heavy whipping cream. You want it to be somewhat thick in order to spread. Place shredded roast with green beans and onions in a casserole dish or 9×13 pan. If you are adding mushrooms, add them now. You can add a layer of cheese now if you would like. Spread mashed potatoes to cover roast. Add cheeses on top and place in oven for 15-20 minutes just until cheese melts. This dish contains the meat, potatoes and veggies so it is a complete dish. Add the bread and you’re done!!!

Check out the YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/dJ_Y8116Bts

I hope you make this! Tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama (make sure to follow) and show me what you’re cooking! And also follow me on Pinterest under the same name!Pin the recipe here:

Love Ricki

Cleaning Tips for the Single Mama

I titled this post Cleaning Tips for the Single Mama because that is what I am for and it is the viewpoint I speak from for this blog. Please don’t side eye me though because the tips I share can be applied to any mother married or single. Now that we have that out of the way let me start by saying, CLEANING IS NOT LIFE!!! I love to have a clean house, candles burning and everything in order just like the next mama but that is not reality. And if I try to make it a reality everyday I will only drive myself crazy. And crazy me is not cute. So I have learned not to obsess over having a clean house. I also think a lot of people live this way to or else Clean with Me videos on Youtube (see mine linked below) would not be so popular. I truly come from a place of you can only do what you can. Also just because your home isn’t sparkling doesn’t make you a nasty or bad person. It makes you human. Again, I clean and enjoy a clean house but I also enjoy living and sometimes that can get a little messy especially with a family. FYI: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is not in the Bible *shrugs shoulders*

  • Tip #1: Establish a routine – I’m old school so my cleaning routine usually is on Saturday morning and consists of Pine Sol and Comet and music blaring on the speakers lol. Saturday mornings I usually take the time to give the kitchen a deep cleaning and clean out the refrigerator since it is trash day. This also helps me take inventory of what we have on hand or may need because I also usually “make groceries” that day to. Assign a day and commit a few hours to get important cleaning done such as the kitchen and bathrooms – the most used spaces in a home.
  • Tip #2: Everyone gets a job – even the little kids. If he or she is 18 months and above they can pick something up and put it away. Lil Diva has a job and even though she despises cleaning (she took a “vacation” for almost a month at her granny’s house to avoid cleaning – that’s how much she dislikes it!) she knows what she is expected to do. We are a team and even though kids least favorite thing to do is clean they do enjoy a clean, fresh smelling space. I also do not give my kids an allowance for cleaning. To each his own and no judgement if you do but cleaning is a necessary skill of adulthood and since I’m raising several people it is understood you need to learn how to clean as a life skill, not an extracurricular activity.
  • Tip #3: Make a system – I have a way of doing things. It helps the process flow and ensures I get everything completed. I started off going from one place to another and truth be told I am not a great multitasker. It is not my strongpoint – if too much is going on I get overwhelmed and frustrated and nothing gets done. I learned I have to have a system. You’ll hear me say in the video I wipe everything down first and onto the floor and then I sweep and mop last. Do things in a particular order that works for you.
  • Tip #4: Stop trying to do everything – I used to try to have EVERYTHING done in one day and then want to cry when a few hours later things started getting a little messy again. Plus I took up my whole off day! We actually live in these spaces. Which means things will get left out of place, spills will happen and dust will collect. You will frustrate yourself trying for perfection. Saturday mornings are for my kitchen and bathrooms. Sundays are laundry and straightening the bedrooms. During the week we make sure the kitchen is clean Saturday thru Thursday and I make sure kids put backpacks and shoes away etc. Fridays I usually give myself and the kids a break from cleaning anything. We just don’t try to fit it all in one day because in my opinion ultimately it’s wasted energy. I wouldn’t suggest you do it either.
  • Tip #5: Give yourself a reward – I learned this from @farahjmerhi. She lights a candle when she finishes a room. I pretty much do the same but mostly because I love the smell. Reward yourself with fresh flowers or a satisfying cup of coffee or tea or 15 minutes of Youtube or an audiobook. This will motivate you to keep the routine going. It really works.

Those are my tips for maintaining a clean space. Nothing fancy just get the basics done and don’t worry about trying to have everything perfect. It’s just gonna get messy again anyway lol.

Check out my very first Clean with Me video below! Also in the comments let me know what your cleaning routine is!

Love Ricki