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What motherhood has taught me

My life changed forever when I became a mom. From the moment I heard the cries of my firstborn child, I felt differently inside. I instantly became very protective. I felt fear, anxiety, happiness, sadness and so many other emotions all at once. I knew from that day that my life was never going to be the same. Of course this feeling repeated itself 2 more times. I went through days that I wondered what to do about certain changes my kids were going through. Am I doing enough? So many times I just had to figure it out, even try different techniques. I have made many mistakes along the way. At the same time I have made many strides in my mommy role. I have gained a great bond with each child. My children show me daily how much love, respect and appreciation they have for me.  They have shown me how much my hard work as a mom has paid off through their actions, personalities and more importantly through their hearts. I have learned how important unconditional love is and showing my children how important they are. I embrace how different each child is and praise them for it. I want to make sure my kids all have a memorable childhood. It took me almost the duration of my years as a mom to know that I am doing enough. I am more than enough.

The best advice I ever got about being a mother came from one of the greatest and most inspirational women that ever walked the earth, the late Mrs. Emma Stevenson. She told me that the most important thing you can ever do as a mother is to talk to you kids. Even if you are not sure they are mature enough to understand, you still talk to them. You give them all the knowledge you can about every subject. Teach them before their peers or others get to them. To this day, those words carry on in my actions as a mother. It is truly the most valuable thing I have ever learned.

I want to wish all my mom friends and family a very Happy Mother's Day. Celebrate your great contribution to the world... being a GREAT Mom! xoxo

Shelly, Mom Files

Can you lose weight without trying?

Last year around this time, I was going through something I never imagined I would have to deal with... my weight. For most of my life I have been very underweight. As a child I was so underweight that I was teased and ridiculed about it. It was very hard and I spent many nights crying myself to sleep feeling a lot of shame and pain.  Nobody knows how much I longed to gain weight. Fast forward to after having William... I weighed what would be called a healthy weight. I was the average for my height and weight for the first time in my life (without being pregnant). Then it came to a point that I was at the top of that average weight. It started to freak me out because my wedding rings no longer fit and all of my clothes were too small. I figured that maybe it was my time. I finally gained the weight I desired my entire life.

I think I came to a point when I started to break down after trying on swimwear and finding that I was no longer in Junior's sizes. Last year at this time, I became very interested in reading about health and nutrition. Although I have heard it before, I read an article about drinking diet sodas and my favorite Crystal Light. I found out how they trick your body and make you crave bad foods. I have always been a sweets freak and junk food addict since childhood.  Could this be true? I used to drink about 2-3 packets of Crystal Light everyday especially during the Summer months and exclusively purchased diet soft drinks. I figured zero calories made sense. I couldn't have been more WRONG! I stopped all of the diet beverages and replaced them with water and indulged in the occasional soda. As a matter of fact, I switched from using margarine and butter spreads to real butter. I noticed almost right away that I slowed down tremendously on eating sweets and junk food. I wasn't having as many cravings to eat bad stuff.  It's as if I was changing my naughty ways. I started to find that my pants were fitting less snug. I had to start wearing a belt with my jeans and even had to tighten it on occasion. So one year later I am finally able to put on my wedding rings and I can wear things that were too small very easily. As a matter of fact, I can't wear most of the clothing I have since they are too big. I need to buy all new stuff. I stepped on the scale at the gym last week and could not believe it. I don't weigh much more than my teenagers!  My advice to you if you are trying to lose weight is to kick the diet drinks!
Shelly, Mom Files

My newest favorite thing

If you know me personally or even through Facebook or Twitter then you know how much I love to cook. You also might know how much I love household gadgets and cookware. My latest addition to my kitchen is my dual-sided cast iron griddle/grill.
My hubby surprised me with it after I might have advertised all over Facebook how badly I wanted one. I squealed when I opened the box! I have already cooked up so many yummy dishes on it and have plans for so many more. One bad thing is that it weighs 16 pounds. It puts a lot of strain on my shoulders from cleaning it. It's worth it though. There is something so special about cooking on cast iron. I am wondering why it took me so long to learn this. I am going to the store either today or tomorrow to purchase a mini pan for cooking eggs and small things. The other evening I cooked up a couple dozen pancakes and my hubby told me they tasted like they came from a pancake restaurant!

Forget shoes and bags, bring on the cookware! Do you own any cast iron cookware? What are your favorite things to make?
Shelly, Mom Files

18 years!

This weekend Dwayne and I will be celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. We have big plans and are both excited to share this time together. It still amazes us both how long we have been together, 22 years in all. Regardless of whatever life has thrown our way, we hung in there. We have seen each other through the darkest of times and have celebrated the the greatest moments of our lives-- together.
I appreciate and cherish our relationship and can't wait to see what the future holds for us *ahem* I am thinking luxury cruise?! ;-)
Shelly, Mom Files

My Pinterest is now linked to my junkie corners

I have a confession. I love to clean. I really do love to clean. Clutter makes me feel nervous. My house is very plainly decorated. Actually, my house is not really decorated.. more like void of a bunch of crap everywhere. Everywhere except... I have this little problem (so my husband thinks). He says I have an obsession with having tiny, junkie corners in several places in our home. I admit, I do. I have a tiny pile next to my bed, at the foot of my bed, in the family room... you get the idea. You are probably wondering what exactly I keep in my little piles... Everything from clothing, coupons, receipts, nail files, pens... nothing is exempt except trash. I have spent the weekend ridding my house of my junkie corners. Yep, everything is in the right place. No junk anywhere in sight. I have declared (no promises) that I will make an effort to cut down on my little bits of junk. Maybe.

Since it was a 3-day weekend I took some time to chill. I did some cleaning and cooking but for the most part I sat my little self down and relaxed (I think). I have recently started getting into Pinterest. I find myself pinning for hours some days. If you are already on Pinterest then you know just what I am talking about. If you are not then what the heck are you waiting for? So this is where my smart talking husband comes in. He says that Pinterest is filling my void for my junkie corners. He says now I can have virtual junkie corners thanks to Pinterest. Sadly, he is not lying! ;-)

Shelly, Mom Files

Before we had Ipads & Pinterest

I was sitting in my office thinking yesterday morning and glanced over at this clipboard. It is not the best looking clipboard at all. As a matter of fact, it is absolutely tacky. It has paint drips, marker smudges and who knows what else on it. Well it turns out that this tacky thing is filled with memories...about 20 years to be exact. You see, this was Dwayne's clipboard in high school. He was very into his office supplies. He even carried a briefcase! During his rap days, he went to visit our local radio station and had DJ Laz from Power 96 autograph it. If you are from Miami you would know what a big deal that was! DJ Laz is still doing his thing.
You can see where I wrote all over it. So high school girl of me huh? Even Dwayne signed his old rap name "D-Smoothe" 

I guess one thing is for sure, we have been together FOREVER!
I hung the clipboard on my office wall. It is very special and will be treasured forever :-) 

Shelly, Mom Files

I just had to have it

I am not a big television watcher but on occasion I will see something that captures my attention. I confess that some of the "As seen on TV" items suck me in. About 5 or 6 years ago I saw the Pedi Paws pet nail trimmer infomercial and I knew I absolutely had to have it. After all, clipping your doggy's nails is a sometimes difficult task. This product looked like a great solution. Dwayne was against me buying it but knew that there was little he could say to stop me. I did it. I bought it. $19.95.

I tried it and it sounded like a freakin' dental drill!!! Poor Milo was scared to death of the thing and it made the task even harder. Needless to say the doggone (no pun intended) thing has been sitting in the box for years. Lesson learned. I still hear "I told you so" for that one.

Have you ever purchased anything dumb from an infomercial?
Shelly, Mom Files

The Random Question Meme

I was catching up to reading blogs and came across this post of 20 random things from my girl Kristin so I figured why not... I'm lazy anyway ;) She got the post idea from here. (Like Kristin did, a couple question were edited to make sense)

1. When showering, do you start the water and then get in, or get in then start the water? I start the water and then get in.

2. Have you ever showered with someone of the opposite sex? Um yeah!! Isn't it the green thing to do?

3. Were you ever been forced to shower with one of your siblings? Yes *evil glare*

4. Have you ever dropped your soap on your foot? Yes, I'm clumsy like that.

5. How old do people say you look? I get anywhere from 18-20 something. I don't argue with that!

6. How old do you act? My daughters tell me I act like a child most of the time. I agree. I think I act like I am in my 20's since I don't feel as old as I am. I do however know when to act my age ;)

7. What’s the last song you sang? Party Rock. I blame it on the teenagers.

8. Have you recently become a member of anything? Yes, a couple Facebook Groups.

9. What are your plans for next weekend? I am hosting a dinner party and we will see what else happens.

10. Do you kiss with your eyes open or closed? Both!

11. Whats the sexiest thing about Sarah Palin? She is pretty and that is about it. I think once she opens her mouth all sexiness goes out the door.

12. Who’s the sexiest famous woman alive? Halle Berry.

13. Who’s the sexiest famous man alive? George Clooney

14. Does your family have a crazy uncle? Of course! Don't we all?

15. Have you ever smuggled something into another country? No.

16. Do you live in a city with a good sports team? According to the local people, Yes. I personally don't care.

17. What is the most unusual thing you are obsessed with? I can't stand dirty car windows or any dirty glass surfaces. I have cleaned other people's car windows because it bothered me that much.

18. How do feel about the Goth people? They are people and are entitled to being who they are!

19. Can you fix or your significant other your own car? Hell no.

20. Would you want to kill Casey Anthony yourself if you were guaranteed to get away with it? No way. Not my style...I'm way too pretty to be violent. Now you mess with my kids....

Feel free to participate and let me know if you do :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Flashback Friday | 1991

This was me back in high school when I was just 17. In those days I wore a size zero and I loved to dress up for school. This shot does not show you how big my hair was in the front! Dwayne took this photo when he decided he would just waltz into my class during the middle of the school day. As you can see I was not exactly happy about it since he popped up and surprised me. Hey, he could have at least given me a heads up so I could be ready. I remember everyone thinking it was so cute of him to take a random picture of his girl. Senior year was amazing! :)

Hmm, I wonder why was I holding my folder while everyone in the background was doing school work?
Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday | 1974

This was taken on my first birthday.
Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday | Aging

Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday

This was me back when I was 17! I was at Disney and in those days I wore a size ZERO! Check out my tacky cut-off Guess jeans. Believe it or not this was stylish in those days. Dang I feel aged right about now! ;)

Shelly, Mom Files

Anniversary weekend | 17 years

I am so excited about celebrating my 17th Wedding Anniversary with my favorite husband in all of the land ♥

Shelly, Mom Files

Re-post | Things that have kept us in love

*Sorry, long post*

I often have people ask what has kept Dwayne and I together for so long and how can we still love each other? 20 years is not long for some of you veterans, but it is for those that could not fathom even 5 years. There are no secrets that will work for every marriage but I will share some things that have worked for us.

  • Respect each other. Hateful words or actions are not allowed in our relationship.
  • Communication is key. Dwayne and I have an agreement that we discuss things and if an agreement can't be met then is it a "No". Chances are we either agree or I get my way so it works out :)
  • Sense of humor is very important especially when your husband is part Bernie Mac meets Jay Leno (funny and lame at the same time). There is NEVER a shortage of laughter in the Ismail house. I also think it is important to know how to laugh at yourself. Everything does not have to be that serious!

  • Understanding and Forgiveness. This has to be one of the hardest things of all. Nobody is perfect and things happen. Almost anything can be worked out or worked on.

  • Appreciation is very important. Taking time to say "thank you" between a man and wife is something that should never be overlooked. I thank Dwayne all the time for providing for our family and never making me feel guilty about my choice to stay at home to raise our children. Dwayne thanks me for even the tiniest things that I don't even think matters. Everything from ironing a shirt, sweetening his coffee or telling him not to worry that everything will work out.

  • Encouragement is HUGE. We encourage each other to become even better. I love Dwayne so much because he never allows me to doubt myself or not give myself enough credit. It's a great boost for both sides!

  • Unconditional Love I even have to explain this one? I love Dwayne for the good, bad, sneaky, naughty, sincere, strong, arrogant, hardcore, sweet, smart and 'Dwayne' things that makes him who he is...The man I married and will eternally love.

Dwayne and I are from 2 totally backgrounds, worlds, planets, and everything in between, but there is this magic that can't be explained. We just mesh together well. If he is out and I am expecting him home I will stand by the window like a school girl and wait. Of course as soon as he drives up, I race to couch and when the door opens I will say "Oh, I didn't even hear you drive up". I think the fact that we have stayed the same people we have always been but have matured together it really keeps the bond going strong. We always have each other's back. If you have a 50/50 relationship, then you have a great chance at a lasting and loving relationship.


Stuffed chicken breast recipe

I am posting this recipe per Tanyetta's request. I don't generally cook anything with by an organized recipe, I just sort of add stuff and see what happens. I purchased 3 pounds of bone-in and skin-on chicken breast on sale for 89 cents a pound. I don't really like chicken breast all that much but it was such a great deal that I decided to pick up a pack anyway. What I did was debone the chicken breast but leave the skin on. Next I took a sharp knife and butterflied the breast being certain not to cut all the way through. You should be able to open the breast and lay it out flat. I seasoned the chicken lightly with my favorite spices on the inside but only with a little cracked pepper and kosher salt on the outer part (where the skin is). The reason for that is I did not want my spices to burn when I seared my chicken on high heat. Next step was my filling. Although I wanted spinach, garlic, shallots and feta cheese I did not have those ingredients. I did have a half box of seasoned stuffing mix. I prepared it with a little minced onion, garlic and cilantro as well as some chicken stock. I then spread maybe two heaping tablespoons of the stuffing onto the inside of the chicken breast (skin side should be down). I then folded the breast over and stuck a couple toothpicks through the side to securely keep the breast closed. I heated some pure butter and a little canola oil in a large skillet on high heat. You could use olive oil but I don't always care for the flavor of it on everything. Once your oil and butter are really hot you want to place each chicken breast skin side down and sear for about 5-6 minutes until really brown and then flip them over carefully and brown the other side. I finally transferred them onto a baking pan and baked them on 390 degrees for about 15 minutes to finish the cooking process. I served them up with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. I was not sure if my family would like it but they all asked me the same question: "When are you making this again?!" It was a thumbs up from my crew. The entire meal cost me about $7.50. Not bad for a frugal dinner huh?

Shelly, Mom Files

Flashback Friday

This was about 3 years ago when I was in early pregnancy with Will. I used to drink strawberry milk out of a wine glass to make it taste better. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Shelly, Mom Files

Things that make Shelly... Shelly

  • I LOVE being a housewife and stay-at-home mom. It's my dream job although the pay sucks ;) Love it.
  • Promptness makes me very happy. Lateness troubles me greatly.
  • I don't like and never will like boiled peanuts. Even the smell makes me ill.
  • I love coupon shopping. I can't pass up a great deal!
  • I would love to lose 2 pounds.
  • I can't control my laughter when I need to the most. It has gotten really bad.
  • I love watching television with the husband but do not like when he has the remote (he's a compulsive channel flipper)
  • I have multiple junky corners in my home. My husband can tell you all about them.
  • I am very loyal. I get hurt easily when people don't show me the same.
  • Cold weather puts me in a great mood.
  • I don't feel my age at all.
  • I love foot and neck massages.
  • I don't like wearing socks even though I love crazy socks.
  • I don't ever write "LOL". It is grossly overused.
  • I am a snackoholic. Yep, I am a junk food junkie but I tend to be decadent on the weekends and I work it off during the week.
  • I have been watching One Life to Live and General Hospital for over 30 years.
  • I am writing this post to avoid cleaning my desk! haha :)
Shelly, Mom Files

I let my cape air out some days

I mentioned about a month ago right after school started that I was going to do my best to not get overwhelmed being a busy mom and wife. I sometimes say these things and do not always follow through. Well I am proud to report that I have stuck with my decision and couldn't be happier! There are days that I leave some dishes in the sink until the next day. I might give myself a break by not cooking a made from scratch meal and throw something prepackaged on the stove (shocking for me). I have even taken a break from always saying "yes" to everyone. It's been good. I feel so healthy and mentally happy. I know I can't do it all and I make sure I let my cape air out from time to time. Overwhelmed woman does not live here anymore :)

Shelly, Mom Files

Random bits

I have not been posting very much lately so I thought I would share a couple random photos I have taken over the past several days. This one would have been cuter if the kid had his eyes open and his feet on the ground. The moment he sees the camera coming he takes it as his cue to act a fool.
I started some hot pepper seeds in an egg carton and transferred them into my makeshift plant pots made from milk bottles (see I can be green sometimes). I am not sure how big I should let them get before planting them into big containers. Advice anyone? Kristin will probably know :)

We have been doing a whole lot of this. William has a new song called "read". I consists of only the word read and it goes to the tune of "Happy Birthday to you".... read read read, read read read... read read read, read read read (you get the idea)

So how's that for random bits? Please share something random with me...
Shelly, Mom Files

Taking my sweet time

Ever since the kids went back to school I came to a realization and made a decision. I am going to take my time to do things. Moms tend to get overwhelmed very quickly and this can lead to making careless mistakes. I have realized that I do a lot, probably too much on a daily basis. I watched a video clip the other day about overwhelmed moms and they talked candidly about the things they did unintentionally due to be overburdened with life. I really don't want to go there. I have has close-calls in the past and really don't ever want that to happen again. So this school year I am taking time to take care of myself and take breaks throughout the day. I do enough and I am enough. If clothes don't get put away today, life will go on. If there are toys on the floor, life will go on. If I say "no" to a volunteer job, life will go on. I like the feeling of being well rested and organized and it makes me a way better mom and wife. Remember moms, we can't do it all!
Shelly, Mom Files
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