Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break

This week is Spring Break for us and we decided to take a Caribbean Cruise this year….OK, so maybe that was only in my dreams…

In reality we stayed home and just chilled. Carson, Michael and Logan are battling allergies and sickness, so we have had a pretty low key week. Which means we stayed in our PJ's until mid-morning, took long baths with shaving cream and bubbles, did a lot of jumping on the trampoline, coloring and playing pretend. We did make it out yesterday to enjoy the Spring weather. We walked to the park in our neighborhood in the morning and met some friends and then we went to a local MetroPark and met Aunt Shendy and Sammy Reece in the afternoon. For not having done anything productive or super fun this week, time sure flew by. Kind of makes me excited for summer!!

Checking out the cows

Duke the horse was just coming in from the fields and the kids got a chance to pet him.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

This morning for breakfast I made a little "treat." I had accidentally picked up regular oatmeal in a rush (not the quick cooking kind) and it is just to time consuming for the morning breakfast rush, so I decided I needed to bake with it. I started with a recipe I found on pinterest for baked oatmeal and I added my own spin for a healthy breakfast treat. They were a hit with all the kiddos…and me!

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

  • 3 mashed bananas (the more ripe the better!)
  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 3 cups Old Fashion or Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A handful mini chocolate chips
  • I scoop of natural Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix all ingredients except the chocolate chips together, and let sit while you prepare the muffin pans.

Spray a muffin pan and/or liners with with non-stick spray.

Stir the chocolate chips into the oatmeal batter.

Divide batter into 15 muffin cups. They should be just about filled.

Bake 20-30 minutes for large muffins or 15-17 min for mini muffins, you’ll see the edges just starting to brown and they will be firm to the touch.

The muffins may stick when hot but are removed easily when cooled for a bit.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Personality in pictures

Less than 24 hours after their rooms had been cleaned here is what they look like. 

Can you tell their personalities by their rooms? 

I think so!


Meeka & Carson


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Judgement day

This past week has been a week of reflection for for me. There was a situation in which I always felt like I was being judged as a parent and a person. It did not make me feel good….at all! That person confirmed that yup, the way I parent was not how they do and some of the things that my kids do would never be tolerated in their house. This fact frustrated that person. And I understand that. I too have looked at other kids behavior and judged a parent. Am I proud to say that…NO! But we ALL do. Some just make their dissaproval more apparent than others. 

I am a very emotional person (a trait that will stay with me forever I believe) and sometimes I have a hard time just letting stuff roll off my sleeve. So I hem and haw and I think and analyze things to death. But I have leaned over my past 7 3/4 years of a parent that there is no right and wrong way to parent (unless a child is in danger or being neglected) and most parents are doing their best. Also (and I know this is clique) but "Never Judge a Book by its Cover!" When we encounter strangers kids we don't know their situation. Is that child acting that way because they have experienced something they don't know how to deal with and it is coming out in aggression? Does that child have ADHD or Aspergers? Does that child not get enough to eat at home? Who knows…so who are we to judge openly? 

I know I have been judged many times over. We struggled with Logan's behavior for years. But it was not something that I unaware of or ever ignored. It was something that we were working our very hardest to change and to help him with. And our efforts have paid off two fold! I am so proud of where we have come!! And I know when people would ask Meeka her name and at 2 1/2 (and she looked 3+) and she could not answer them, they judged. But again, we were doing our very best to help her with that…and again, it has paid off!!

Only two times in my life though have I dealt with someone so openly stating their disapproval and they were hard to deal with emotionally. Because like I said before, "aren't we all trying to do best for our kids?" 

So this really made me think a lot this week on how much we judge others…good and bad. Grass is always greener on the other side...or not. You don't know the struggles that person may be going through. We all do our best and we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Be happy with your life, your kids, your family, etc. Never judge yourself against others. And try your best not to judge others against you. Because that person is probably trying their very best too. And a lot of times there is no right or wrong on how to parent. That is why we live in a  country with choices. No one judges you for the shampoo you use or the type of milk you buy so why should you be judged on how you raise your kids when their are countless choices on how to do so?

A friend of mine said, "We all judge, and we are all judged by others. You just hope that others are as courteous about not making us know it as we are to others." And this statement could not be more true! It is impossible to NEVER judge, but if you do,just know that they may still think about that situation years later!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lets Play Pretend!

            My kids LOVE to play pretend!           
They LOVE to dress up!

And I LOVE that they LOVE to use their imagainations! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My baby boy...

No longer looks like a baby! 

Today he got his first haircut. 

Before the chopping began.

During the haircut he sat very still.
He loves to get his hair brushed, so I guess this had the same sensation for him!

Mohawk with the hair before cutting it!

My Big Boy!

What a BIG CHANGE a little haircut makes!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Healthy White Chicken Chili

Finally after a week of dinner fails (minus a tasty piece of salmon) we have a winner! On Saturday I threw this in the crock pot before we headed out t0 the Jamboree. I had been meaning to try this recipe for a couple of weeks now and I am glad I got around to it before the weather turned yesterday (I prefer soup on cooler days). It was easy and everyone loved it! I think Michael had like 8 bowls! The original recipe can be found here. I adapted mine a bit; my version is below. If you have a smaller family I might cut my recipe in half. I served it with a salad and some bake and eat bread. I also think it would be tasty with some tortilla chips. 


Healthy White Chicken Chili
2 cans black beans
2 cans corn, undrained
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained (I used 1 with onion and 1 with oregano and basil)
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 8 oz packages light cream cheese
4 large chicken breasts

Drain and rinse black beans. Place chicken at bottom of pot, then pour out whole can of corn (undrained), tomatoes, and black beans. Top with seasonings and ranch mix. Stir together. Place cream cheese on top. Cover with lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir cream cheese into chili. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. Stir together and serve.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Solution?

For those of you who have read my dinner time stories, you know that it can be rough in our house. So, we decided to take action. Not sure this will be the perfect solution because we still have a loud 19 month old and an almost 3 year old who doesn't completely "get it," but it is worth a try. At least hopefully it will work on the bigger ones and then trickle down…one can hope right? 

So what we did was make a jar for each of the 3 oldest. If they behave at dinner (no getting out of their seat, talking rude, blowing bubbles in their water, etc. etc…) AND eat all their dinner, then they get a marble for their jar. On the other hand if they misbehave they have to take a marble out. If they just don't finish their dinner, but are good at dinner, then they don't get a marble but they don't loose one either.

When they get 10 marbles they get to go out for ice cream, just them and a parent. This is a pretty big deal for 2 reasons; 1 they LOVE going out for ice cream and 2 they don't get to many treats in our house. We only have treats on weekends and only if everyone's behavior is in check.

So far Logan has 2 marbles, Melina has 1 and Meeka has none. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Our Marble Jars

PS - On a side note about food, those of you who know Melina may find this funny. Yesterday at school they had a food tasting because they were talking about senses all week. She told me after school that she did not try the fried chicken because she knew it was unhealthy and she did not try the carrot because she knew it would take her to long to chew and swallow (this coming from the girl who took over 6 minutes to chew one bite of PASTA last night!!!). This statement cracked me up…mind you she did not hesitate to try the chocolate chips though! :)

Baking Adventures

I have been baking a lot this week….

We had the Boy Scout ceremony last Saturday where I made these Ultimate Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Cookie Candy Brownie Bars to take for dessert. I think they were a hit since I didn't come home with any…but then again Boys will eat anything! ;)  They were pretty simple and very delectable…in Michael opinion these would be best with Ice Cream!

On Sunday I made lemon bar just for us! They are Michael's favorite and Sunday is CHEAT DAY! This recipe  by Ina Garten was fantastic!  

This weekend is the Elementary School Jamboree (carnival) so I made several dozen cupcakes for the cupcake walk.

I also made lots and lots of Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats for the Bake Sale.

Very Easy and Very Yummy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Random Photos from the Past Week

This has been a busy week…well really what week is not busy in this household? 

These are just some random pictures from things we have been up to this week.
Melina spent some time playing with a camera app one day
while Logan and I were doing homework.
She took over 40 pictures like this! :)

We finished up our basketball season with a trophy ceremony.
I had such a fun time coaching the girls! And basketball
is now Logan's favorite sport (for this minute anyway).

Carson is a WILD man! He loved riding the bikes
down the driveway. Scared me half to death though!

Meeka trying out her new Pinkalicious skateboard!

I conjunction with a local roller rink I started
a preschool Skate and Bounce which premiered
last week. It was a GREAT success! We all had so much FUN!!
And because of the success they are going to continue to do it monthly!!

Seriously, how cute is this?

On Saturday we attended the Blue and Gold banquet for Cub 
Scouts. Logan officially became a Tiger Cub that evening.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Challenge

Last week we wrote down our house rules and we have been talking about them every since. But before we wrote those down earlier last week I implemented a "Challenge" that I made up to Logan and Melina which call,

"Compliment, Don't Comment!"

I don't remember how we started on the conversation, but at breakfast one day we were talking about the difference between the two words. I decided, I liked this topic and I have been reminding them for the past week to give compliments to people, and not just say something to say something. I am reminding them how compliments make people feel and how they can change others attitudes and their own through kind words and actions. 

I have been putting notes in Logan's lunchbox to this effect, so that he remembers in the middle of the day. And I remind the kids before they head out for school in the morning and throughout the day. Kids will be kids, and they will always fight between siblings and say things you just have to roll your eyes at…or discipline them for, but I figure the more I can put this into their heads the more natural it will become and some day it will all "click."

I am thinking of starting a kindness or compliment journal, but I still have to think of how I want to do it to be effective and easy. Any suggestions?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Catch 22

I am a VERY emotional person. I cry at the drop of a hat (even when not pregnant) and today has been a roller coaster of anxiety and emotion!

Today Meeka had her final evaluation to be accepted into the school districts preschool program on an IEP (Individual Education Plan). The process started back in December, and then she could not even say her name (or anyone else's), count, say colors, or even put two words together. They pretty much guaranteed me that she would qualify.

The past couple of months since we started this process her language has EXPLODED! She now says her name and everyone in the families, can tell you colors, shaped and count to 10. She is a smart cookie! And she puts many words together now. The problem is when she tries to tell you something in sentences it is still pretty much lost in translation, especially without the context being right in front of your nose. So, I was already stressing knowing how much she has progressed before this evaluation. But I took their word for it, and did not enroll her in a another preschool for the fall.

So today at her evaluation it was a standarized test given by the speech therapist at the school. She showed her pictures and would say something like, "I call this a house. Can you say house?" or "I would say they are swimming. Can you say swimming?" Well when she concentrates she can say the word (which is great, because a couple months ago she would have never have triode to say it if she couldn't). The syllables are very pronounced and not together, but she gets most of them in. If you asked her to tell you "I like to go swimming in Grammie's pool." You would get, "Blah, Blah Blah Mimi Pool!"

BUT this is a STANDARIZED test…so there is no room for translation. It is what it is and because she could say a good deal of singing words when given verbal cues, she does not qualify for the program. Hence the Catch 22. She is doing SO WELL and has come SO FAR…but there is still work to be done. And now, in April, when she turns 3 all services stop and we are on our own. So now we will send her to the preschool where Melina hopes now, and I am HAPPY with that decision. She will do well and we LOVE it there. BUT when about from April until September? She has been going to "school" for 2 mornings a week all year and that is going to abruptly stop…she is going to be devistated (and yes, so am I a little)! And our insurance will not cover therapy for her because she does not have a physical deformity that is causing it. So now lies the decision…what to do now??? I am one to plan and think and overanalyze… my brain is going a bajillion miles a minute thinking what will be the next step? What will be best for her and the whole family? Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

House Rules!

Michael and I looked at each other this morning and said, "Where is this coming from?" Our kids are becoming rude and cheeky. And we need to nip it in the bud RIGHT NOW!!

So the kids and I had a chat this afternoon and we came up with some HOUSE RULES. I wrote them down, threw em' in a frame and hung it in the kitchen.

We talked about why these are important and what the consequences would be for not following them. We also talked about the kind of person they want to be now and later on. And I told them what my hopes are for them. 

Do I expect that these rules will change everything? NO. But I know the more we talk about it and live it, the better it will become and they will grow up with these values (at least I hope they will!)