Welcome to Man-Cub Mamas! We hope you’ll join us on our journey in parenting man-cubs. Our site has three mama authors: Mama R, Mama M, and Mama T. Together we span the length of the US, living on the East Coast, Mid United States, and West Coast respectively. We look forward to sharing advice, DIY crafts, and book reviews with you.
These cookies are a fall tradition in my family! They are sweet, fluffy, moist, and just make this cozy season feel more complete!
Carrot Orange Cookies
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mashed, cooked carrots
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- Frozen orange juice concentrate
- At least one stick of butter (softened)
- At least 2 cups powdered sugar
- Cream shortening and butter together until fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add carrots (beat well), then add vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients to carrot mixture. Mix well and chill (1 hour in the fridge is usually long enough, or the freezer for a quick 20 minutes)
- Drop dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes at 350. (It’s hard to burn these cookies. Edges should be getting slightly browned.)
- To make frosting (it isn’t exact- my measurements aren’t exactly the same each time I make it): Combine a large spoonful of frozen concentrate, 2 tablespoons of softened butter, and ½-1 cup powdered sugar, with a hand mixer. Consistency should be more like frosting and less like icing. Adjust accordingly. I usually start with this amount of frosting (frosts about 12 cookies), then make another batch with the same measurements.
- Let cookies cool a bit before frosting. Frost and enjoy!
Makes about 24 cookies
Board books don’t provide space for a dedication, but if they did, this book would be dedicated to Man-cub D. I wrote it when he was two years old. At the time we were reading a lot of “primer” board books. I wanted to find books about the Bible that also taught basic learning principles like opposites, shapes, or colors. Since I couldn’t find many in that category, I decided to write my own! A Book of Bible Opposites was released earlier this year on February 12.
For the past two years, I have been living in a world of imagination. Specifically, the imagination of my now four-year-old son. Each day when he wakes up, the first item of business is: what are we going to be? We obviously cannot be ourselves–that would be boring. Instead, we choose roles to play throughout the day. Sometimes these are characters from a movie our son recently saw. Other times they may come from a book we read. Or they may be a cross of two different characters. Either way, we cannot start the day without choosing our roles.
It is a great debate. At least, our son would like it to be. I honestly don’t care to spend too much time picking a role for the day. I’d rather be myself than try to remember to answer to a different name. But to him, this is a decision of the utmost importance. It must be carefully considered. What could the options be? What is he in the mood for that day? Often we will try to plan the characters for the next day when we are putting him to bed at night. But then he wakes up in the morning and decides he doesn’t want to be a dinosaur. What would he like to be? It’s hard to say. Maybe if he hears a few options he will know what role is suitable for today. Would he like to be characters from a Disney movie? Or perhaps a TV show he likes to watch? How about from the new book we read yesterday? Usually our ideas get shot down, and he eventually tells us what he may have had in mind all along.
Once our roles have been established, we are required to answer by our new name for the duration of the imaginary play. My son holds us to this rule–he WILL correct you if you don’t call him by the correct name. This lasts until my son tires of the characters he chose and moves on to new ones. When he was younger, this could be as soon as five minutes later. However, although I try to support my son in his imaginary play, I have to have boundaries. 1- My son has to commit to his first character for at least an hour. 2- We can only have two different roles per day. With a family of four, this means that we have to remember a total of eight roles, which could switch on a whim. 3- We can’t pretend to be other family members. I already swap my two son’s names on a regular basis, I don’t need them pretending to be each other and mixing me up even more.
While I admire my son’s commitment to his role, it can be embarrassing when he gets mad at strangers or friends who do not know that he is “in character.” When he was younger, I made a bunch of different animal ears he could wear so people could be tipped off as to what character he was that day. In fact, for picture day at preschool one year, he got his picture taken with pig ears on.
However, we have phased out from the ears (they were getting broken or lost from constant use, and he kept wanting me to make more and more to match each new role). This has allowed my son greater flexibility in deciding what characters we each can be. Usually, he tries to ensure that our characters come from the same “world.” For example, we may all be characters from the movie Cinderella. Perhaps we are all animals found at the zoo. This is done to ensure that we can properly play together in our respective roles.
Although this constant imaginative play has it’s drawbacks, it also has some unexpected benefits. We have been able to subtlety change his behavior depending on his character. For example, when he is a rabbit, we remind him that rabbits LOVE to eat their vegetables. Or if he is a cat, we tell him that they are very good at taking naps. Because he is committed to his character, he usually will comply with these stereotypes.
Role playing has become an integral part of our lives. This phase has lasted much longer than expected (over 2 years) and I have no idea when it will end. Part of me wishes it will be over now, so I can go back to being myself on a daily basis. But I know that when the time comes, I will wish I was back in a world of imagination.
I’ve been trying to write this post for months. While I was going through the difficult time I want to write about, I had feelings, thoughts, ideas flowing out of me! But since things have calmed down, I find myself at a loss of what to say. There’s just so much to say.
This week I was reading someone else’s ideas about hope and waiting. Light bulbs went off for me. I can finally put into words some things I’ve been thinking for months.
I hate waiting.
Who doesn’t, really? The year 2018 was a whole lot of waiting for me and for my family. The “event” that I’ve been wanting to write about is my husband’s job loss, unemployment, and job search. And our process through it all. But every time I’ve sat down to write about what happened, the actual happenings and timetable just don’t seem to matter anymore. But as I’ve been thinking about what I learned during that difficult journey, and the concept of “waiting”, I feel like I can put my feelings into words that actually matter (at least they finally matter to me).
I was not prepared for my husband’s job search to take 12+ months. It was brutal. And I was pregnant with our 3rd baby during most of that; our baby was about 3 months old when my husband finally landed the job. Our lives for all of 2018 was waiting, waiting, and more waiting. And then finally, when the waiting was over, we weren’t hanging in limbo anymore. And just as my husband predicted, the difficult emotions from the last year didn’t seem like a big deal anymore. We finally got what we were waiting and hoping and praying for!
But it isn’t like life became perfect because my husband got a good job. The unemployment/job search struggles do help give me perspective, to be grateful for where we’re at now because it’s much better than where we were. But I just realized something today: Life is one big waiting game.
It feels like a revelation for me because I’ve never thought of life in this way: holding our breath for something we’re waiting for (good or bad) until we can relax for a bit then hold our breath again while we’re waiting for the next thing.
I don’t think this is a bad thing, to be waiting for something- as long as we aren’t wishing away the present so much that we forget to live. But if there’s one thing I can say my trial from 2018 taught me, it is that it is essential to find grace during the waiting.
I love this word: grace. Technically, it has several meanings, depending on the context. The way I’m thinking about grace right now is a sort of calmness, stillness, trusting. While things around me are predictably unpredictable, the idea that I could be calm and even happy in the midst of the storm was foreign to me not long ago. I think I was in the habit of clenching my fists and gritting my teeth (and kicking and screaming) when something hard was happening… And then when it was finally over, I’d think, “okay now I can move on with my life!” But I’ve realized that this isn’t going to help me grow into the person I’m supposed to become.
Life is one big waiting game. Things rarely happen the way we plan, and that’s the beauty of all of us: we are doing our best and growing and learning and loving despite the storms around us. We can completely choose how we will emerge from a trial. Will we become burned, bitter, and fearful? Or will we let life teach us how to be better, more kind, and more trusting?
Seriously, this all was so foreign to me until recently! I know I have so much more to learn, but I’m glad that I can say I understand a little bit more about choosing grace while waiting. (Ask my husband- most of those days and months waiting for his job were NOT graceful for me!)
I’m not waiting anymore for my husband’s job, but I am waiting for other things. I hope that through all the waiting- happy or scary, good or bad- I can find and choose grace through it all.
Know that whatever you are waiting for, life will always get better. There is always a reason to enjoy life, even when it seems like everything is falling apart. We can’t see what the future will hold, but I believe that it has good things if we choose to find the good in the everyday.
This post series is inspired by the book, First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo. The book is about 11 mothers of presidents, all of whom lived in the 20th century. While Angelo presents a much more rounded version of the President’s mothers, my goal in these posts is to share only the positive things each mother did. So without further ado, here are some anecdotes about Virginia Cassidy:
- In high school, she was in plays, worked on the school newspaper, was elected class secretary, and was in the National Honor Society. The quote under her class picture was, “I’d like to be serious but everything is so funny.”
- She lost her first husband while she was 6 months pregnant with Bill. She had already gotten her RN degree. But because she was now a single mother, she went back to school to be a nurse-anesthetist. Bill stayed with her parents while she pursued an education that would later support them both.
- She later married Roger Clinton, and had another son. Bill would legally change his last name to his step-father’s last name for family unity.
- She enthusiastically helped out with her son’s campaign for president. She set an example of “unwavering competitiveness, unbeatable optimism, and maximizing luck” for her son as he entered the political arena.
- She cared deeply about social justice, as she often saw people being treated unfairly in the medical field because of their social status or lack of money. Bill said of her: “she taught me to never give up, never give in, never stop smiling.”
- She battled breast cancer for four years and would wear a wig designed to imitate her iconic “skunk stripe” hairstyle.
If you want to learn more about the first mothers, read the whole book!