Friday, September 30, 2011

From Tree to Plate

Both kids have been studying apples at school the past 2 weeks and Logan culminates his study with an apple festival today. We signed up to bring an apple pie for the festival, so I thought it would be fun to go pick the apples and then make the pie. That way he can see how they grow in the orchard and all the different kinds, etc. So on Wednesday after school we made the 40 minute drive across town and went apple picking. I was not sure what to expect, but it was perfect!! The trees were small, so each kid got a basket and picked their own apples. We came home with a plethora of apples to eat, bake with and make into applesauce. And yesterday we did just that!! We also got a tip from someone about a family farm that has pumpkins, gourds and more  for a GREAT PRICE and you just pick and pay with the honesty system (so rural Ohio)! So we stopped their on the way home...and came home with a car full of apples and pumpkins! Nothing like getting into the "fall spirit!" If you have a chance to go apple picking it really is a FUN and FAMILY FRIENDLY activity!


Apple Picking at Tuken's Orchard

Logan learned the correct way to pick and apple. Twist and pull.

Peek a Boo!

Logan was counting his apples. Meeka was dumping hers.

Checking out her apples.

Logan cut all the apples for the pie himself! (and only cut apples, not cut fingers!!)

It looked and smelled delicious! I hope his class enjoys!!

Apples for the applesauce in the pot.

Melina's project was the applesauce.

And she turned and turned and turned...

Until it bacame applesace. She was so proud!

Check out all our big pumpkins we got!

Love the fun shapes and sizes!

Happy Fall!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ideas Wanted

Michael and I both look forward to that moment when we walk downstairs after tucking everyone in for the night!! We can let out a deep breath and the weight of the day is off our shoulders. Don't get the wrong idea, its not that my kids are that bad or we don't love them to death or anything...its just nice when they are all sleeping. But then comes the second moment of realization...we have to go to bed in a bit in order to get up at 5...and then the 3rd...what do we do now?? We are in a rut. We come downstairs and sit on the couch and watch TV and usually its reruns of something or something we are not even that interested in. We look at our phones...and well, we are just bored. Yes, sometimes that is what I need at night, to just sit and be bored. But not every night. We enjoy each others company and like spending time together (as I think most couples do or should), and we do watch the same shows for the most part, but its time to move on....


So, we have decided we need a project. Something we can do together at night for the little bit of time between when the kids go to bed and when we go to bed. The problem is...we have no idea what that should be!!! The days are getting colder and it is dark by the time the kids go to bed, so something outside is not going to work. We can NOT do a 5000 piece puzzle or something like that; that would be Groundhog Day in our house. We work on it at night and in 5.2 seconds it is destroyed the next day and the cycle would continue. Anyone who knows Michael knows power tools are out. And we want to do it together, not he does his thing and I do mine. 


So HELP...what can we do???

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sheer Genuis or Just Plain Crazy!

I had a car and truck painting playdate this morning. It was supposed to be outside, but since the weather has been so fickle we had it in the basement. I am not sure what kind of IDEA this was, but the kids seemed to have a GREAT time! 

Good thing the paint was washable!!




Meeka's final masterpiece

Random Thoughts

I don't feel like I have any real thoughts lately....just random things running through my head.

The cat got sprayed by a skunk and we have to take him for a skunk bath today... and this is what Melina decided to talk about in Chapel at school yesterday.

I am planning the Dayton Mamas Halloween Party and I planned on maybe 40 families...at a month out their are 80 families...I am just praying it all comes together OK.

I need to find a good baby-sitter...they are hard to come by.

Why is it a struggle EVERY time to get Meeka in her carseat and buckled and to STAY buckled?!?!?

I really wish someone would come and dust by baseboards and lights, etc.

What decorations should I put up outside for Halloween?

I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.

I have to make an apple pie for Logan's school this week...should I make it with a crumble top or a traditional crust top? And I have to go get a disposable pie pan with a lid...but I don't want to take all the kids to the store.

I think I might try making Peanut Butter Chocolate chip granola bars

I broke a mirror this morning...does that mean bad luck?

Why does my laundry never end?

Should I start potty training next week?

Maybe I should stop writing now...my brain is hurting and I am just thinking of more and more "things."

Friday, September 23, 2011

This is what makes it all worth it!!

video

Homemade Granola Bars

I have always been a baker, well, maybe not a baker, but a person who likes to bake. And I eat healthy, most of the time. I cook at least 6 nights a week and then have 1 cheat day. So anyway, I have been trying to make more things lately, like after school snacks, instead of buying processed foods. Yes, they are more convenient and can be cheep, but with all the "added ingredients" not always very healthy. Michael printed an article yesterday about foods that can cause a stroke and of course they were all processed. Even the organic granola bars I buy have lots of "things" in them and they are NOT cheep!!

So this morning, thanks to a recipe from Jessica Ledbetter, I made homemade cinnamon raisin granola bars. They were super easy and turned out delicious...I just tried one before the kids could get their hands on them!! So, I will share the recipe with you. BTW - Jess said you can add whatever "special" ingredient you want like dried strawberries, chocolate chips, etc. I will try something different next time. Hope you enjoy these healthy treats!!

Granola Bars
2 C Rolled oats
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Wheat Germ
3/4 tsp Cinnamon (I used more, we love cinnamon!)
1 C Flour (I used whole wheat)
3/4 C Raisins
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 C Honey
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 C Vegetable Oil (I didn't have any, so I used olive oil)
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 13x9 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Mix well using your hands. Pat mixture evenly into pan.
3. Bake for 30-35 minutes. (mine only took 25 min) until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. DO NOT allow to coll completely or they will be to hard to cut.

ENJOY!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Budding Fashionista

As the girls got dressed this morning it became apparent how different their "styles" are already. Melina is all about comfy with a bit of sparkle thrown in. Meeka is more girly girly; she loves her hair bows and pretty things. Melina got dressed today based on how her clothes matched her underwear. Meeka got dressed based on her shoes...
That should say it all!

I regret not getting a picture of Melina before she left for school. She accessorized her outfit with a gold sparkle headband, pink and white socks and her black patent leather dress shoes. 
But I am sure you can use your imagination.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Domestic Goddess

Well...maybe not! 

Today Logan has the flu and this afternoon all he wanted me to do sit with him on the bed. So after I put the little kids down for naps that I just what I did. It was nice to do that, since I don't often just sit. I wish it were not under these circumstances, but I guess I'll take it. And he is starting to feel a bit better now after a very rough morning, so that is good. 


So while I sat with him I took the opportunity to sew his Boy Scout patches onto his uniform shirt. Sewing is not my forte (I'll leave that to my sis-in-law Shendy!), but I did it and I guess it looks ok....and it only took me an hour and 15 minutes! I know what you are thinking...really it took you that long to sew some patches on a shirt and they are not even straight?!?! Yes, Yes it did... so I guess I that officially disqualifies as a Domestic Goddess. We can't win em' all, right?




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall is in the Air

We did our first "official" FALL activity today! We went to a pumpkin painting playdate. How fun to feel the cool air, see the bright orange pumpkins and have a small taste of fall. The host made fresh apple cider and everyone brought a fall treat.

I had one of those "oh no" moments last night when I remembered I needed to bring a fall treat. I thought I had planned for everything in the next 2 weeks before going to the grocery store on Sunday. Oh well, I guess I am not Supermom after all (my hopes and dreams are shattered...LOL)! So, I picked up some donut holes in the drive thru on the way to drop Melina off at preschool and quickly ran home and grabbed some stuff in my pantry and here's what we came up with....Acorns!! They turned out  good and they were SUPER EASY!! I just mixed together some chocolate icing I had in the fridge and peanut butter and melted it a bit in the microwave. Then, dipped the donuts into that and then into chocolate sprinkles. Finally, I stole Logans bag of pretzels sticks from his soccer snack last week (nobody tell him!) and I stuck a half of pretzel stick on top for the stem.


See...it was that easy!! 

Edible Acorns!

Meeka LOVED painting and stickering her pumpkin!

Carson pretty much just made a mess and ate some paint!

I am thankful

I am THANKFUL that even though our life is CHAOS during the week that we still have RELAXING weekends where we watch football, play soccer in the yard, visit a park and cook together. I know this won't last forever as the kids get bigger, but for now, I am thankful for the family time and the DOWN TIME we share together on Saturday and Sunday!

See...I didn't even have time to write these 3 sentences yesterday since it was soooo busy!

Melina in her first soccer game this weekend.
The only 45 minutes where we had to be doing something all weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Roller Coaster of Emotion

So following up....after Wednesday nights outburst things have been fine....until today when I answer the phone and it is the Asst. Principle of the Elementary calling. My heart sinks, my face goes white and my brain starts going 200 miles and hour before she even says anything. She tells me, "Logan is in the office because he kicked someone on the playground for no reason...no reason at all (said very condescendingly). Ok. Thought you'd want to know have a nice weekend. bye." QUICKLY, I  respond, "Wait, should I follow up with his teacher? What is going on. She tells me he was in the office earlier this week already and recess has not been a good place for him. I tell her I would like the teacher to call me after school.

So, now there is 30 minutes until Logan comes home and my emotions are ALL OVER THE PLACE!!! I thought he was doing well. Why have I not heard from the teacher? What is she going to say? Am I cut out for this? I can't take this another year. Am I a good parent? I let my emotions win. I cried and I thought until the thoughts were spilling out my brain.

Then he gets off the bus. Walks solemnly to me and holds my hand and leads me inside to the couch and he cries. He tells me that he kicked a girl because she was making fun of his friend. That he didn't use words, but he apologized. He told me the rest of his day was perfect. And then after we sit for a couple minutes he says, "Lets open my folder, there is a lot of stuff in there for you." So we open it and on top is a Warm and Fuzzy Award from the Art Teacher. It says, "Thank you for sending such a nice little boy to Art Class. He is a hard worker." And I get tears in my eyes. Who is this little boy...what is going on when I send him on that big yellow bus in the morning?

The teacher finally calls and she says that he was been "absolutely wonderful" in class. He has never had to pull a tag and is doing great; except for the two isolated incidents that I know about. She says the Asst. Principle must be mistaking him for another kid. And that she asked him why he kicked and he shrugged his shoulders and she never dug any deeper (isn't that her job?). The teacher apologized for the Asst. Principle and her phone call. I told her how awful the call was and how as a parent it is one of the worst feelings in the pit of your stomach. Seriously...my emotions can not take this!!! I feel much better since talking to his teacher. But the roller coaster of emotions takes a a toll on my body and my brain.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Losing Control

Yesterday we had an episode that we have not had for a very long time. You know the kind, where something so small sets off a major tantrum. Logan can loose all control in the blink of an eye and I really believe in those moments he doesn't even know what he is saying and thinking. He gets this look in his eyes, almost a blank stare, and he never really comprehends until you speak later when he is calm. The words and actions are just so harsh. His limbs are flailing and he has said the usual, "I hate you, " which in this case does not bother me as much as "I am going to kill you when I grow up" or "I want to kill myself." Those are words that you NEVER want to hear your child say. Later when he is calm and we talk he usually cries, holds me tight and tells me he never meant any of those words. And I believe him. It only happens when he "snaps." BUT, as he gets older what will happen when he "snaps?" These are the things that worry me.  But like I said, we have not had one of these in quite some time, so he seems to be growing out this. And I can only hope and pray that that is the case. We have worked hard for so many years to get where we are today and it is a GREAT place!!

These are the moments though that test me the most as a parent. And sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. I have learned (well, still learning really) that even when I fail, I need to apologize, deal with it, and move on, because dwelling on it will not make me a better parent. And it sure does not make me a better wife; when my mind is somewhere else and it should be with my husband. I used to obsess for days and now I don't do that, but it can still monopolize my thoughts for a while anyway. I just want my children to be the best they can be. I want to guide them through the ups and downs of life and that is a BIG job, and I don't take it lightly. There will always be a learning curve in parenting and a whole lot of emotion. I LOVE being a mom, but it sure can be a hard sometimes!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cake Pops

Today I went to a playdate where we learned to make Cake Pops! How fun!! I love the concept...bite size goodness. However my execution leaves something to be desired. I learned some tricks though and I will defiantly try again! Here's my attempt at a Strawberry.

Boys are from the Galaxey and Girls are from Neverland

Somewhere in a Galaxy far far away where ships fly and guns are blasting it collides with Neverland, where pixies fly and fairy dust is used generously....at least in our house it does.

I was watching Logan and Melina set up and play their game yesterday and I was thinking about how cool it is that their two separate words mesh so easily! They can adapt and play together and make anything work and it is a really is pretty cool! Lately their games have been Star Wars vs. Little People and Little Einsteins (who all reside in Neverland). I love their creativity!!!


This made me think about how much I love having a mixture of boys and girls and I love seeing how nature vs nurture works. Still can't decided which is dominant, but it is fun to watch. Melina started dance class yesterday and she wore her leotard all day and twirled around the house. And Logan was interested in seeing what she learned and told her, "Good Job." And yet in her pretty leotard and tights, there she is blasting droids from ships.


I really just love watching them all play together; makes me PROUD (and more than not all 4 play together well)! They all love soccer and dollhouses; baking and rock bands, puzzles and games and just plain FUN!! It is just too cool for words.


Yes, there are major differences in boys and girls, but yet they are all alike in a certain way too. And it really creates for some totally awesome games in our house!

The Star Wars Side

Versus the Little People and Little Einsteins


Melina right before her first dance class! Isn't she adorable!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Relaxation... and a recipe

After a week of madness we basically did nothing this weekend. My parents came to visit last minute which was a nice surprise. We went to Logan's soccer game (they lost with a score of something like 15 to 1), watched some football and played games and did puzzles with the kids. 


On Saturday we went to Dorthy lane Market to get something for dinner and we ended up with a nice fresh salmon which they had just gotten in that day. We also got a variety of salads to go with it and it made for a  light, easy and delicious meal! Michael and I have never had much success with cooking fish on the grill, but my mom introduced to us non-stick foil and it worked like a charm! The salmon was perfect!! I will share with you my simple marinade. I have made it twice now and it was yummy both times! Enjoy!

Asian Salmon
4 Salmon Fillets, skinned and deboned
1 T Dijon mustard
3 T soy sauce
6 T Olive Oil
1 clove garlic ( used more)
1 stalk green onion, sliced for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 or grill. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a stone.

Whisk together all ingredients, except green onion and drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Place fish on baking sheet or stone or on non-stick foil on the grill and bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove and drizzle rest of marinade on fish and allow to sit for 2-5 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

TGIF

WOW! What a week this has been! We are now into the full swing of things. Logan is in school from 7-2, Melina started preschool 4 days a week from 9-12 and Meeka is in speech therapy and I being the CRAZY person I am have decided to take on the role as organizer for the Dayton Mamas meetup group (a group of 143 moms and growing)! All of this plus soccer for 2 kids and dance and cub scouts. We are one busy family! And I know as the kids grow it is only going to get crazier! (And I will probably gets crazier too!) So one of my most asked questions after people say, "Wow, you are busy," is "How do you do it all?" Really, the answer is I don't. But how is TRY is by staying organized and making sure everyone pitches in. We are a team and we must work as a team to be successful. So here are some of the ways I stay organized. And yes, before you comment, I know I am type A and completely insane!

We have our master kitchen calender where everything is color coded and of course I have our calender on the computer and in my phone too! Gotta love technology!!

My kids are grazers for lunch, not the sandwich, chips and apple types. This bento box is one of the greatest inventions. Makes packing lunch so much easier!


Everyone has daily chores which are listed in the whiteboard and changed daily. And once a week they all clean their rooms and pledge their rooms, baseboards and all! And no playing with friends until the chores are done.
I love charts! These are Melina's mornings chores.

These are Logan's routines.

And each kids has all their clothes for the week planned out on Sunday.

And I keep my desk organized so I can find things quickly...at least that is the goal.


And last but certainly not least, LISTS! I live off of lists. Without them NOTHING would get done!!

So now off start my crazy day....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

As If they needed more energy

This week we tried another new recipe for after school snacks. They were a big hit and very easy, so I will share the recipe. I know we are all always looking for new snacks.

NO BAKE ENERGY BALLS
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together and chill in refrigerator for at least and hour. Roll into balls and enjoy!
Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Another one bites the dust...


My sweet little girl is sooooo ready to go off to school. She has been ready for years I think. But these days, especially since Logan started back, she asks every day, multiple times a day, when she gets to go to school.


And the day finally here.

An example of her art work from this week.
This is her and the word LOVE she made for
Daddy.
She has been with me every day, all day, for 4 years and 3 months. (Not that I have never left her, of course I have, its just she has never been to school.) And I have to say I am going to miss my little buddy in the mornings. She is growing up quickly, too quickly!!

She is enthusiastic about life and everything she does she puts her all into it. She is so happy (most of the time) and it is a joy to be with her. She is my shopping buddy; that has been our special time together. She walks around Kroger with her little cart, exclaiming, "Garlic, I just love garlic." and puts it into her cart. She does that with every item!! And she NEVER complains when I say we are not getting something. She just says, "maybe next time" and moves on! I sure hope she carries her enthusiasm and zest for life with her forever!

She has been doing "homework" since Logan started with homework last year in Kindergarten. She asks every day to do her homework. She colors and cuts and pastes and writes and Loves to do it!  And I Love to watch her and watch how happy and proud she is with every project she does!

She got up at 5:15 this morning, ready to go! And when she put on her clothes this morning for school, I had tears in my eyes as I watched her bounce up and down (literally!) with excitement. I am so happy for her and I know she will have a great time in preschool and make fabulous friends!!

I love you Melina Jo!!  

Monday, September 5, 2011

1st homework project

Logan came home with his first homework project ever...and I have to say I might have been more excited than he was! Is it crazy that I like to do homework with my kids? After he figured out what it really was and what he got to do (he loves art!) he was very excited and he spent an hour creating this book box. 


I was SO PROUD!! I think it looks GREAT and will be the BEST in the class...but I am biased! Take a look...GOOD, right?



Side 1: drawling and glitter

Front: The only requirement of the box was to have his name visible. Mission Accomplished.

I thought this was creative! See the caption coming from his mouth.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Progress!!!

Meeka has progressed leaps and bounds since entering the Help Me Grow Program and starting her group therapy sessions. Really, it is amazing. I am very happy with her progress!!

And tonight for the first time she said more than 2 words together that I was able to understand ... and guess what said?!?! "Buddy hit me!" She has speaking of Carson accidentally bumping her on the head. So her first sentence and it is a tattle...GREAT!!!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

This That and The Other

This has been a mixed up week. Michael is working the 3-11 shift and in some ways it is nice to have him here in the am, but then again, it screws with my whole schedule and life as I know it (and the kids)! Oh well....gotta go with the flow, right? I don't feel like I am getting to much accomplished this week though. Again, oh well....

Today I hosted a playdate for Dayton Mamas at Hills and Dales Park. We had 15 moms and their kids come! What fun! Melina and Meeka especially liked playing in the nature play area in the woods. We worked on building a fort with Ethan and Jocelyn.

Here are some pictures of the playdate and just some other random things from today. 
Just a little of this, that and the other...
My little climber

This was their house! (Melina is into playing house these days...she likes to be the mom)

hiking through the woods

Throwing sticks and things into the small creek was a big hit!

I made Sushi for Logan's lunch today....PB & J sushi that is.

And what would a day be without a little excitement? Can you guess?

Yes, she decided to cut her own hair.

And this afternoon I slow roasted a pan full of cherry tomatoes. The house smelled delicious!!
This is the before picture.

And this is the after! Can't wait to eat these!

And then tonight we went and signed Logan up for Cub Scouts...He is so excited and this stuff is right up his alley....not so sure it it up mine or Michael's though. He is already asking to go camping in a tent.......