Hot Mess Mom

Happy New Year! Yep, I’m late in saying that again!

The holidays came and went and now here I am in the upside-down, the limbo time where work has not yet begun and my days are blending in to each other so I say things like, “man, TGIF, amiright?” on Tuesday afternoons. I’m still finding plenty of things to be busy about (hello, top knot YouTube tutorials and Marie Kondo!) and the hours get away from me, but I’m going to vow for the millionth time to update this blog more.  Hold me to it.

Sometimes in my pissing away of hours, I drift onto other mommy blogs to see what they’re up to and I read about intricate craft projects and spirulina smoothie recipes and DIY organic honey garlic spice rubs in homemade jars, and I feel like a bit of a lump.  Because man, do they make it look easy when they’re assembling 25 goodie bags full of personalized stickers and decorating their porches with all of those pumpkins (so many pumpkins!).  Also can we talk about the pictures they post with the pro lighting and fancy white kitchens with the brass hardware I want and how  a lot of them are wearing WHITE while they’re baking with their children?  I cannot help but be fascinated by this parallel universe.  Because surely these moms have disorganized crazy mornings like we do where they put dry shampoo in their kids’ hair so it looks like they’ve seen a bathtub in the past 48 hours.  And surely they’re also hiding PJs under their coats at school drop off.  Surely they have nights where they throw screen time rules out the window and feed their children fries from the frozen food section just to have life be easy for a quick second.  We’re all in the same boat and fighting pretty much the same battles, aren’t we?  Maybe I just need a better photographer.

Because of this deep and nagging need to be a fancy crafty mom just this once, in my holiday-induced fog of love (and probably wine) I agreed to serve hot lunch at my son’s school. And lo and behold, they actually held me to the deal. They gave me a sample list of “things kids like” that included hot dogs, pizza, “nuggets”, and mac and cheese.  Of course me being a show off and dying to look like an overachieving expert mom, I couldn’t fathom the idea of serving plain ol hot dogs or frozen nuggets (there is a lesson here).  So I decided to make macaroni and cheese from scratch.  Because that’s what those Instagram influencer moms would do.

Except here’s the real truth. Being knee deep in mac and cheese that day with all the pots I own sharing space on the stove and cheese in my hair and my phone pinging with texts from the other moms at the school letting me know at the LAST MINUTE that some of the kids were gluten free and even VEGAN did nothing for my mom status but stress me the hell out.  No kid at the school cared about my 3 year aged cheddar, Ina Garten-inspired recipe or my must-have addition of breadcrumbs and olive oil on the top to give it the best crust ever.  All those little gremlins wanted were plain noodles with butter (or gluten free noodles with soy substitute?) and I had proved nothing to no one, except to my husband that I had gone even further insane.

So I’m vowing to stick to my strengths.  No need to prove anything more. If I get the whim to volunteer to provide a giant meal again, I will do the rational thing and make my way to Costco for something pre-cooked, and preserve my precious energy.  Because lord knows these little cajun spice jars aren’t going to fill themselves.

I’m including my favourite homemade macaroni and cheese recipe here because it is indeed incredibly delicious and not at all fat-free, mildly photogenic in the right lighting and satisfying as heck. Plus, my kid eats it. (With loads of ketchup and bribery that I will let him watch more Paw Patrol but WHATEVER, he’s eating it.)

My hats are off to you moms with your beautiful inspirational blogs that I will continue to devour and enjoy.  Thank you for giving me something to gaze at and aspire to. You’re amazing.

And to the ones who just got out of bed this morning and don’t have it in them to do much else, you’re amazing, too.  We’re all really quite awesome just the way we are.

PS yes, Dads, I mean you too.  I need more dad blogs in my life.



Better Than Costco Mac and Cheese


1 lb of macaroni

4 cups of whole milk

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 cup of all purpose flour

2 cups of aged white cheddar cheese, grated

2 cups of havarti cheese, grated

2 cups of parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup of fine breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

salt and pepper

olive oil for drizzling



Preheat the oven to 375F

Bring water in a big pot to boil over high heat. Salt the water generously and boil the macaroni noodles for about 8 minutes until just al dente.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat in another large pot. Whisk in the flour, cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring up to a simmer and let it go for a few minutes until it coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and a little more generously with pepper. Add the nutmeg. Take it off the heat and stir in the cheddar and havarti.

Stir the cheese sauce into the drained macaroni.

Grease the bottom of a casserole pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the macaroni and sauce. Sprinkle the parmesan all over the top. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and another drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes uncovered until the top is golden brown.  Enjoy this plus leftovers while watching the Bachelor when your children are finally in bed.  Pairs nicely with “leftover” wine.  HAHAHA  that’s not a thing.

Serves 6





18 Comments Add yours

  1. Captain Andrew Ferreira says:

    I never thought of using nutmeg in mac and cheese from scratch! This is either super innovative or I need to broaden my horizons a bit. Anyway, having been trapped in the” make lunch for school” trap, I smiled knowingly (at my own folly) through this edition of your blog.

    Well done and happy belated New Year!

  2. Laina says:

    AMEN. To all of the above.

    Also, you got me feeling fancy so I’m having slices of Kerrygold’s extra sharp aged cheese (that I’ve been hiding in the bottom drawer of the fridge) with wheat thins while I debate whether I should shower, or watch Marie Kondo while folding an enormous pile of clothes. (WHY NOT BOTH, they ask? Because toddlers, that’s why.)

  3. Axel Pawlik says:

    Oh Jewel, I can imagine.. I’m regularly freaking out with two guests already… The upside is – if I ask nicely, son no 1 will go ahead and make chili con chocolate. Or Bolognese… Before tou know it, you’ll be there :-p

    thanks for the recipe, will try!

    Axel, Amsterdam

  4. PD Stewart says:

    This is why I never volunteered to do hot lunches when my kids were little. If Paw Patrol gets too much, you could switch to Dora. She’s always yelling, and Towel is annoying AF, but it’s different! HA

  5. Mikel King says:

    Hmmm never used havarti before… I shall have to give that a go…

    I am so glad that when my kids were small the whole gluten free/vegan thing hadn’t penetrated their childhood yet… But there was the whole peanut allergy fiasco… and I always found it utterly annoying that kids who brought PB&J were relegated to a special table… but the minuscule number of kids whole had the allergies were not… because the school didn’t want those latter kids to feel left out…

  6. Sheli Lopshire says:

    Jewel, I feel such a kinship with you! The other day I was telling someone about on of your tweets and said, “My friend tweeted…” LOL! I love that you are real about motherhood and life in general and that you built other moms up in this blog! Thank you!

  7. Love this. Leftover wine! Rofl

  8. Karen Martinez says:

    I, too was flummoxed with the perfect moms. They would craft intricate cookies, everything was from scratch, all the time and everything was clean. Well, enter me, a working mom, who enjoyed hanging with my kids and letting them get dirty. Then I looked around and saw that the perfect moms frequently had strange neurosis and their kids were odd.

    I let them watch TV and I popped in videos from time to time to maintain my sanity. I bought birthday party stuff rather than made it. Cakes were from a box. I tried to be creative and fun, but you don’t have to manufacture everything to make that happen. Just being a parent, being there was usually enough.

    And guess what? They lived! We like each other! They are even happy (most of the time, they are teenagers). I have come to find that perfect moms are like pretty pink frosting on a rock. I’d rather go with uglier frosting on a really good cookie.

  9. Stephen Potter says:

    These blogs always make me smile – you have such a way of bringing humor into everything. I never had children, but I am parenting my mom now. I don’t have to cook for a class, but I have to do all the cooking here. My biggest frustration is spending all that effort in the kitchen and then she decides she doesn’t want what I’ve prepared (the typical excuse is “that’ll put weight on you!”). However, if I prepare fried chicken or bacon, she’s all about it. In fact, if I’m not paying attention, there won’t be any left for me. I baked butterscotch pound cake and a brandy fruit cake over the holidays. She ate both. I was able to get one slice of each. Obviously, they don’t “put weight on you.”

    There are other fun times as well. I won’t even begin the stories about the Depends. She will never tell me when she is running out. For some reason, she apparently believes that the trunk of the car magically creates Depends, Seagram’s VO, and Sprite Zero. When she needs those items – and why is it always at 10:00 PM? – she tells me to “go to the car and bring it in.”

    However, for all the times that she frustrates me because she ran out of Depends and put a doggie training pad down her pants, or she asks me the same question for the fourth time in fifteen minutes, I’m still so thankful she is here. We have good nights when she can remember quite well, and other nights that she seems in a complete fog. Yet, she is still my mom. I’m all she has now, and she always tells me how much she appreciates me. Just as I do her. My only regret is that she didn’t come to live with me sooner before the dementia came to call.

    So, I will keep trying to find the humor in all these situations. You make that point so well in your posts!

    Oh, and yes I will hold you to posting more often!!!

  10. Michael S says:

    Always a big fan of your work and your blog. Ever the artist and by so many forms and fashions.

    If you are ever looking for a vehicle or script, please find me. Info on my site which I have attached per this communique.

    A solid catalogue of award winning products.

    Otherwise, be well. And happy writing. You have a way with words, from one writer to the other.

  11. Mark Novak says:

    I’m just gonna say it: those Instagram Moms (and Dads) have full-time nannies and insecurity issues.

    Just sayin.

  12. Tammy DeBord says:

    Hahaha all those Instagram mom-stars are faking a lot more than they let on! Don’t hold yourself to their fake standards. You are perfect just the way you are.

  13. Tony Fabris says:

    You’re amazing. It sounds like you’re doing parenting right.

    As far as those Instagram moms who wear white while cooking from-scratch meals… well you know how movie magic works. Those photos were taken in the spare seconds betwen the upended pan of spaghetti sauce and their kid projectile vomiting all over the kitchen. It’s all about keeping just the good takes.

    If you need a pick-me-up, here’s a song for you. Literally for you: my friends and I made a Kaylee song a while back; I don’t if you’ve heard it yet. Streaming here, but ping me if you want a download code:

    Thanks for being an inspiration for so many people.

  14. Don Getschman says:

    Dad blog: Once after consuming a particularly delicious batch of Mac and Cheese , made by my wife, I settled in on the living room couch for a quick nap. Soon my happy slumber was interrupted by a mild pang of abdominal discomfort. Instinctively, I did what all Dads do when alone in a room and faced with similar circumstances. I fouled the atmosphere in this small room. Situation remedied. A few seconds later, my toddler entered the room and sat down to play. Suddenly she sat bolt upright. “Uh oh!” She exclaimed and quickly scampered back out of the room. A few minutes later she returned, looking puzzled and confused. “What’s wrong” I asked her. “Well” she replied “I thought I messed myself, but my underpants were clean”
    Keep your blogs coming Jewel. Thanks for the smiles!

  15. Jeana says:

    From one hot mess kinda mom to another – new writing!! I need posts like this in my day and more dad blogs.

  16. Martin says:

    Keep on, Jewel… parenting is hard, and you never know when it’s going to go sideways… but when your child becomes an adult, it’s an amazing and wonderful thing, if you’ve done your job.

    I really like you, and wish you have appeared in more shows here in the states.

    Best Wishes, Kind Regards and I Know What You’re Going Through!

  17. Alexa says:

    Perfect Moms confuse me.. when do they have the time to learn all those superhero skills like keeping the kitchen tidy WHILST cooking with toddlers.? Keeping an eye on both toddlers, the oven timer, watching out for returning children, dinner for their family and perfectly frost the cookies, so not a drop goes on the counter top.? There’s some alien DNA in there somewhere.. I guarantee it.! 🙂

  18. Chris Lewis says:

    For some added decadence use 1c/3c heavy cream/milk. 2c/2c is a little much :-). And we’re fans of using aged gouda instead of the parmesan. And I’m a fan of this with a nice winter stout to cut the richness.

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