Maybe Matilda

Monday, July 11, 2016

The (Semi-)Retirement Post

Good morning, all! I'm sure it's become obvious that I'm losing speed blogging, and fast.

I think the time has come to make it official and head into the wide green pastures of blogging retirement. I don't plan to shut anything down or even cease posting 100% . . . this site and my social media will stay up (and I'll warn you beforehand if I should ever change my mind and decide to close anything completely, in case there are crochet patterns or recipes you want to print out and save). I'll probably post occasionally from time to time, but I figured I'd use this post as a formal retirement (or at least semi-retirement) notice.

Since I've gotten a few concerned comments and emails over the past few weeks: everything's fine here at home, and nothing big or bad has happened! Blogging has just started to feel more and more like a chore instead of something I look forward to, so it seems silly to force myself to try and continue doing something that isn't much fun for me anymore. Life is busy, time is precious, and the internet isn't really a place where I want to spend much of my time.

Thank you very, very much for your involvement, comments, friendship, and support over the years! It has meant so, so much to me that you take time out of your day to read/participate here. I wish you all the best, and I'll see you around!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Peanut Butter Pancake Syrup

This post is sponsored by ConAgra Foods. #GreatAmericanCookIn

I hope you don’t mind me tooting my own horn for a second here, but I have to admit it: I’m pretty darn good at menu planning. I know a lot of people hate planning out their meals for the week, so I’ve tried to figure out what exactly makes this job (that so many people dislike) fun for me, and something I’ve done consistently for quite a few years.

I think I like menu planning because I’ve found a pretty good balance of cooking meals I know we enjoy and trying out new recipes and flavors. I get bored if I cook the same thing over and over again, so I like the variety and excitement of trying new things and discovering new favorites. But I also love returning to older recipes that I know everyone will enjoy (and will eat without complaint-- I’m looking at you, children), so I make sure we’ve got a mix every week of classics that everyone is sure to love, as well as new recipes or techniques or flavors that I know I’ll have fun cooking. It’s all about finding what works for you.

peanut butter pancake syrup recipe

I know that it can be tough to get started with menu planning, or to make a habit of it. So for the month of May, ConAgra is hosting the Great American Cook In to help you learn new cooking skills, master menu planning, and get more creative in the kitchen. Pick a week in May and challenge yourself to learn some new tips and gain confidence in the kitchen! Visit for recipe ideas and kitchen tips, and pledge to be a part of the Cook In challenge for one week!

And I’m happy to help you out by giving you a week’s worth of dinner menu ideas! You can find it at the bottom of this post, after the recipe.

Today’s recipe is a perfect blend of an old favorite with a fun new twist. My kids’ favorite dinner is always a “breakfast for dinner” spread with waffles or pancakes, fruit, and scrambled eggs. We all love it, it’s fast and easy to make, and I’ve always got the ingredients on hand. But to scratch my itch of wanting to try new ideas and flavors, I experimented with a new syrup and topping idea for our dinner waffles. And it was a huge success. If you’re a breakfast-for-dinner fan, I bet you’ll love it too.

peanut butter pancake syrup

I started with a simple whole wheat waffle recipe for a wholesome base (if you’re in a hurry, you could speed things up by using a waffle mix!). But I wanted something special to make this dinner a little more interesting. That’s where this syrup came in. It is awesome. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was eating it with a spoon while I waited for the waffles to finish cooking. It’s that yummy. If you’re a peanut butter fan, you have got to try it ASAP.

All you need to do is make a simple syrup with water and sugar on the stovetop. While you wait for it to boil and the sugar to dissolve, place your peanut butter in a bowl.

peanut butter simply ground

I love Simply Ground Peter Pan Peanut Butter, because it has the perfect blend of creamy and crunchy consistencies. It is perfect for this recipe since it’s smooth and blendable, while still having a bit of crunch.

When the syrup is ready, slowly add it to the peanut butter and stir to combine. You can use as much or as little of the syrup as you want to reach the syrup consistency you like best. I kept mine a bit thick by using about half of the syrup, but if you want it thinner, just add more syrup.

peanut butter syrup for pancakes and waffles

Absolutely perfect waffle topping.

Absolutely perfect waffle topping.

Since I kept my Peanut Butter Syrup a bit on the thick side, I wanted to add some smooth creaminess to the final dish. Time to bust out the Reddi-wip.

peanut butter pancake syrup recipe

Top with some chopped fruit, and you’re good to go! This was easily one of my favorite breakfast for dinners we’ve ever done. The syrup was awesome, and the Reddi-wip took it right over the top. Crazy good.

Peanut Butter Syrup
Slightly adapted from

1 cup water
½ cup white sugar
¾ cup Simply Ground Peter Pan Peanut Butter

Combine water and sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Place peanut butter in a medium bowl. Slowly add the water-and-sugar mixture, stirring to combine. Add as much or as little of the water-and-sugar mixture to create your desired syrup consistency. Pour over waffles and enjoy!

Now, as promised, here’s one week’s worth of dinner menus, planned out for you so all you have to do is the shopping and the cooking (that’s the fun part, right?).

Monday: Whole-Wheat Waffles with Peanut Butter Syrup, scrambled eggs, and fruit salad

Tuesday: Cashew Chicken served over brown rice with green beans and grapes

Wednesday: Italian Meatball Subs with salad and steamed broccoli

Thursday: Chicken Ranch Burgers with corn on the cob and watermelon

Friday: Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup with salad and garlic bread

Find more tools for success at, including a guide to planning meals ahead of time, grocery shopping tips, recipes, and more. Don’t forget to pledge to participate in this one-week challenge by using hashtag #GreatAmericanCookIn on Twitter or Instagram!

Visit for your guide to the #GreatAmericanCookIn, including tips, tricks, and delicious new recipes.

Friday, April 22, 2016

For the Love of Screen Time

This post is sponsored by Hulu.

I’ve met some moms in my day who are totally anti-screen time. Maybe you’ve met them, too. Maybe you are one of them!

My theory on motherhood goes something like, “If that works for you, great.” This applies nicely to a lot of mothering topics, and applies well to the families I’ve known who don’t allow much or any TV watching, movie nights, tablet time, etc. If that works for you, great.

But in our house, the kids love their screen time. I think I might love their screen time even more. And here are a few reasons why.

screen time love

The quiet. I am sorry to say that these sweet angels don’t have the most angelic behavior. It’s a rare day when I don’t have to break up multiple fights, negotiate toy swaps, and convince them that they ought to still be friends after one has wounded the other (whether physically or emotionally). But when these two are placed in front of one of their favorite shows? It is so peaceful. So quiet. I bask in the absence of whining and crying and arguing and feel rejuvenated to handle another round of parenting when their show ends.

The influence of great shows. Sometimes I turn on the TV and feel bleak about the world. There’s so much garbage out there. But at the other end of the spectrum, there are shows that I love to let my kids watch, because they inspire their curiosity, or teach them kindness, or expose them to new ideas or places or people. I’m selective with the shows my kids are allowed to watch, and our favorite for years has been Curious George. I love that after watching George, my kids have exciting new thoughts and ideas, and they’ve learned new things. I can’t tell you how many times Forrest has told me something interesting he’s learned, and when I ask him where he heard it, the answer is Curious George. My kids are obsessed with that little monkey, which is fine by me, since it’s a show I’m happy to let them watch!
Curious George is now streaming only on Hulu, so you can easily watch all 9 seasons (that’s more than 100 episodes!) as well as the animated film Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, exclusively on Hulu. We have had a Hulu subscription for quite a while, so I love the convenience and easy accessibility.

curious george on hulu

Screen time as a reward. I’m not above using a little bribery to squeeze good behavior out of my kids, and offering screen time is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to reward the kids. Their all-time favorite treat for good behavior is being allowed to stay up 15 minutes past bedtime to watch a show, and knowing that this reward is waiting for them has helped us survive many grocery trips and boring errands.

how i handle screen time

Getting stuff done time. Every day when Jeff gets home from work, he’ll list off all the things he accomplished that day, then asks me what I did. And I reply with an embarrassing average of 3 tasks I’ve completed (and sometimes those tasks are as simple as “I fed the kids lunch”), because it’s nearly impossible to get anything done when I’m constantly being interrupted to fetch snacks or referee arguments or change diapers. I’m amazed at how much stuff I can get done when the kids stay put on the couch for a few episodes of a show. I love being able to complete a chore uninterrupted, or work on dinner without having to stop every few seconds to help someone. I feel better about my day when I’ve ticked a few items off the to-do list, and the kids’ screen time helps me get important things done.

curious george

All 9 seasons of Curious George, as well as the animated film Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, are now streaming only on Hulu. As with all kids programming on Hulu, Curious George streams commercial-free.
How do you handle screen time in your house? Do you have Curious George fans, too?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mother's Day Truths

This post is sponsored by the theatrical release of Mother’s Day, in theaters April 29. #MothersDayMovie

Motherhood is the greatest gift, the biggest challenge, just the MOST of every emotion you can possibly fathom. And no matter how well prepared you may feel as you wait for your little one’s 
arrival, no matter how many books you’ve read or mom friends you’ve chatted with or viral Facebook articles you’ve shared on your wall, you simply cannot imagine the reality of daily motherhood until you experience it yourself. You will be endlessly surprised and frustrated by the things you’ll learn and experience.

mothers day

No one else’s kids will ever be half as cute as your kids. Or even a third as cute. Or a quarter as cute. Your kids’ cuteness will absolutely demolish the cuteness of every other child you will ever behold. And every mother will think this about every child she has, whether they are actually beautiful or entirely average looking or even kinda goofy. 

Somehow, motherhood will simultaneously be the best and the very worst part of your life. You will understand deep in your soul that being a mother is the best, most meaningful, most beautiful thing you will ever experience in life. And I guarantee that less than five minutes after this realization hits your core, you will be at your wit’s end, fully prepared to set your children in a box on the side of the road with “free, no returns” scribbled on the side. And you will spend the next 18 years with these two extremes somehow co-existing in your heart. The good outweighs the bad—of course it does—but nothing else in your life will drive you to the brink of insanity with such merciless efficiency.


You’ll never feel like you’re doing a good job. You might feel like you’re doing an okay job, if you’re lucky. My oldest is only five, so perhaps the confidence comes later (I can only hope!). But so far, I’ve spent five years second-guessing my every decision, weighing myself up against other mothers (and consistently coming up short), and ending most days with a miles-long mental list of parenting regrets.

But they’ll let it go and love you anyway. I’m always amazed by how quick my kids are to forgive me 100% when I’ve screwed up and shouted at them for the fiftieth time in the span of an hour. They may sulk for a few minutes or use your mom guilt to manipulate you into buying them a donut at the grocery store (and it will work, every time), but they will always be ready with a hug and a sticky kiss. You’ll remember the mistakes you made today far longer than your kids will.

You’ll freak out as they grow up. And they’ll grow up so fast, just like everyone warned you they would. I do not consider myself a “baby person.” I always say that if I could just give birth to a 3-year old, I’d happily skip the baby stage entirely. And even so, I cry when I look at the pictures I took 3 or 6 or 12 months ago, wondering how is it possible that they’ve gotten so big?! 

But they’ll get better with age. This has been true so far. And I hope and pray with all my little heart that this continues for their whole lives. I am scared silly by the thought of my sweet babies growing into lumbering, sulky, emotional teenagers, but am comforted (slightly!) by the knowledge that each new stage my kids enter is my new favorite, and they just keep getting sweeter and cuter and more fun the older they get.

With Mother’s Day coming up, I can’t wait to see Mother’s Day in theaters April 29th. Three women. Three stories. This Mother’s Day, let go of your fears. Embrace the ones you love.

COME CELEBRATE THE MOTHER OF ALL HOLIDAYS. See #MothersDayMovie in theaters on April 29, starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, and Jason Sudeikis!

This is the day that connects us all, and I’m so excited to watch this movie with my own mom! It’s a big-hearted comedy with a star-studded ensemble cast, and I bet it’s going to be the perfect way to celebrate.

mothers day

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Kitchen for the One Room Spring Tour

I'm excited to be a part of the One Room Spring Tour blog hop today with Lindsay Hill Interiors! Every day this week, 5 bloggers are sharing one room in their homes, and how they've decorated for spring.

one room spring tour

Today's featured room is kitchens -- if you're hopping over from Kelley Nan, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

On to my kitchen, which I think makes a great backdrop for spring decor in all its bright white glory.

white kitchen cabinets spring decor

Tulips are the ultimate spring flower to me -- they are just so peppy and inviting. I love this big planter box filled with yellow tulips. If only they'd last year round.

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

My kitchen hutch is fun to decorate for different holidays and seasons. For spring, I added a few pink plates to the white dishes and plants I always have on display. I love the splash of color.

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

spring kitchen tour

Do you like how I dressed up all stylish and fancy for these photos? This can double as a home decor and a fashion post. This is my very nicest sweatshirt. For my fashion-forward readers, you can find it at a local boutique called Walmart.

spring kitchen tour

Thanks for swinging by for my spring kitchen tour! Make sure to head over to Driven by Decor tomorrow morning as she kicks off the final day of the blog hop with her spring dining room!
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