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Friday, October 28, 2011

Dathan Days

Dathan Days is now the official title of the days that Nathan and Daddy spent together by themselves. Guy time, you know.
A while ago David and I decided it would be good for the kids if each one of us spent quality time with each one of them. Like a mama/child and daddy/other child dates. Now that parents are officially outnumbered by children in this family, it's usually a date that daddy has with one child while mama and the other two children do something special at home. These days are highly anticipated by our children and they absolutely love that special time they get by themselves. I can only recommend this practice.
Usually these days involve something very fun for the child to do. This doesn't have to cost much and usually something simple does it. Nature outings are high on the list. :-) If the outing is relaxing to dad (who doesn't get much time off at all), then all the better.
For this particular Dathan Day, David took Nathan fishing. This is something they both really enjoy and David is hoping that Nathan will like this as he gets older.
Mama can't wait until she can join in the fishing fun again once all the kids are old enough to go. I can't get myself to get too far from all the kids where cell phones can't reach us. But just looking at the pictures of the scenery around them, I'm aching to go.

Proud daddy with his son. As a memory for Nathan, I printed this, framed it and put it on his night stand. He loves looking at it as he goes to sleep.


Do you find it ironic that he is fishing, wearing a "Finding Nemo" t-shirt?


Yikes, hooked it in the wrong spot. Rest assured, all fish were released and none were harmed (other than their pride).


Pretty cool bull frog.


Nathan is becoming more and more adventurous and daring. Here he wanted to fish from a rock. That's the difference between mama and dada. Daddy lets you do that and you can be a man. Have you read the book "Wild at Heart"? Good read on this subject. Every mom should read it.


Look at the little guy, growing up too fast....
What a great memory for him. I love my husband for giving those memories to our kids.


On the way back, they found a cool playground. There were geese there as well. Here Nathan is sensing that something is not quite right.


Apparently these geese were NOT friendly. Nathan is inside the van. David didn't trust the geese anymore after they started chasing Nathan.


This summer Nathan successfully tackled the monkey bars. That was a big feat for him and he's very proud.


He is pushing himself more and more. Although this made him uneasy, he pushed himself to climb all the way to the top.

The boys ended their special day with a nice meal at a family restaurant. Nathan was super excited when he got home. And daddy felt good about that special time they had together. Thank you, my love, for taking Nathan on such a great adventure. He loved every minute of it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Twinklette - My favorite marker

Ok, so I have a meal plan for the week, but it's taking more time for me to actually write it out here.
But, have you ever been in love with a marker??? I am! I got these markers from my husband years ago (when I still had time to scrapbook). And I've loved them from the first moment I pulled off the cap and made the first stroke on paper. They glitter! And the glitter as well as the paint stays for years. Especially yellow highlighters tend to fade and darken over the years. Not this one. They haven't faded a bit. I used them for bible markers as well since they don't bleed through. They are perfect. Just thought you needed to know. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Be Still

Do you have a verse that really speaks to you? Although I love (that would be capital L-O-V-E) many verses in the bible, one that seems to always come back to me is this one:

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

You need to know that sitting still is very hard for me to do. Just ask my husband. Whenever it's time for us to relax together, it takes me a few times to actually sit down for good. (Thanks for being patient, my love!) My whole being is seldom still. It's actually mostly the opposite.
A few years back my husband gave me a display statue with various bible verses to take to work. Those verses were such a great gift. I looked at them every day and they kept my head straight in a sometimes turbulent environment.
One of those verses was Psalm 46:10. It speaks to me like no other. And every time I'm still and listen to God, it's amazing to see what he does and who he is. He blows me away. Absolutely amazes me. He is God. More and more I know.

What is your verse?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Labels

I'm so excited! Another step in the blog redo! Just added a little gadget called "Labels". You can see it on the right side if you scroll down a bit. Now, if you want to read past articles, you can simply chose a category, and then scroll through all the posts assigned to that label. I still have some posts that need labels assigned to them, but most are in their categories. Also may still add one or two labels.
Got the idea after looking for a past recipe and it was too hard to scroll through all the past posts. Let's just admit it now, this gadget is more for me than for you.... :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meal Planning

For some reason and despite meal planning, I only managed to cook two of the meals for dinner that was actually on the menu! Yet we did have dinner every night. That's the nice thing about a stocked pantry, things can get whipped up quickly.

Breakfast
Muesli Parfaits - Ellie Krieger
Oatmeal cooked in milk with honey & maple syrup
Pancakes - Ellie Krieger
Waffles we made last week

Lunches
Our lunches are always platters of fruit, cheeses, veggies, yogurt, sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and the likes.

Dinners
Lasagna (already made this on Sunday evening)
Tacos (one night only as I have taco shells leftover from last week)
White Chicken Chili
Pasta with Alfredo sauce and Sauteed Shrimp
Chicken Cacchiatore (Ellie Krieger - I use my immersion blender to make the sauce smooth for the kids) with Mashed Potatoes

Snacks/Preps
Ritz crackers with peanut butter (and honey for Nathan)
Carrots from the garden for Abigail
Fruits and veggies
Rice Krispies

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finding my Rhythm

After this third baby of mine, it has taken me a looonnnngggg time to find my rhythm again.
She is about 4 1/2 months old now and it's finally happening. For a while there, I was wondering if I'd ever get my act back together. :-)
I found myself working hard all day and not really accomplishing anything. This resulted in me always being exhausted and nothing getting done. How could this happen? Unfocused efforts were simply in vain. A plan had to be put into place. Along the way, I learned a few things.

Go back to basics
When what you used to do doesn't work anymore, go back to the basics. In my case, I went back to expecting to only take care of the kids and put food on the table. Basic. Everything else accomplished in a day's work was a bonus. What is it that really needs to be taken care of today? And be honest. Does that load of laundry really need to be washed today? Do you really have to bake that cake? Do you really have to make pancakes from scratch?

Find new ways to combine tasks
When Isabelle is awake, I like to snuggle with her. Since I don't have all day to just snuggle with her, I have her sit in my lap while I do homework with Nathan and do a craft with Abigail. We all spent quality time together, each child gets my focused attention and the kids are really enjoying this time together.
Or, I use my nifty Moby Wrap or Baby Bjorn to carry Isabelle while I vacuum. Bathroom cleaning is usually done when she is sleeping as it's almost impossible to do it with her one me. I'm finding these new combinations much more fulfilling and am actually spending more time with all of my kids than before.

Take a break
It's hard for me to consciously take breaks. There is always so much to do. However, taking a break actually results in more energy and getting more done. Some ways to take a break are also fun for everyone. For example, I love to read books to the kids while we all relax on the couch.

Good Nutrition and Adequate Sleep
This should be a no-brainer. Sleep when you can and don't waste that sleeping time. Don't spend valuable time on the computer (which always turns out to be a lot more time than you intended). With multiple kids, someone is always bound to wake you up. Expect it and plan accordingly.
As far as food goes, so often I take to sweet and not-so-healthy (ok, let's be real - utterly unhealthy) foods and snacks. A big part of that is not planning ahead. Implementing a meal plan is a big step in the right directions here. The other part is having healthy snacks readily available and getting rid of the junk.
A few examples that need no preparation and are good for you:
Fresh fruit
Already shelled nuts
Dried fruit
Yogurt
Granola bars
Ready to eat veggies (think carrots)

Use your helpers
Those sweet little babes in your home are actually very eager little helpers! You can even make it a game. Nathan is really into superheros. So we come up with all kinds of missions that need to be accomplished. For example, the socks laying on the floor are a bomb that can only be diffused when properly put into the laundry basket. Not every chore is an adventure, but I've noticed that they eagerly do what mama asks them to do (well, most days anyway). It's been a great help, especially when it comes to their toys which really make the biggest mess in the house. We take time and they need to bring all their toys into their rooms and put them in the right places. Once they are done, they come and get me to make sure they did the task correctly. It's so nice to not trip over toys. You may have to invest a few days of showing them where everything goes and littler ones need to be focused on one toy set at a time. Abigail gets overwhelmed with her whole room so I first have her put Strawberry Shortcake set away, then stuffed animals, then baby doll things, etc.

Don't Overcommit
If it's not basic or absolutely important (such as doctor appointments), don't schedule it in until you have time again. Period.

Be Purposeful
Instead of hitting the floor running, I decide every morning which tasks need to be done. Always plan on keeping your schedule light to allow for all kinds of child-related distractions from the plan. That gives you time to read a book instead of chasing the "plan."

Enjoy your Children
Most importantly, enjoy your little ones. They will be grown up and gone tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meal Planning

Things are going really well since I've started meal planning again. Everything that was planned was made (except for the bread once again).
Last week's new dessert recipe was the blueberry cobbler. It was ok. In my opinion it was way to sweet. Even Nathan didn't finish his portion.

Breakfast
Muesli Parfaits (Nathan adores these. So do I.) - Ellie Krieger
Oatmeal cooked in milk with brown sugar & maple syrup
Vanilla Granola - Allrecipes
Pancakes - Ellie Krieger
Regular oatmeal with milk, maple syrup and/or honey

Lunches
Our lunches are always platters of fruit, cheeses, veggies, yogurt, sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and the likes.

Dinners
Roast chicken with veggies
Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole - Paula Dean
Having a back-up dinner this week too as the kids are eating more these days:

Dessert
will try cake pops!

Snacks/Preps
Waffles
Pancakes - see breakfast
Yogurt with breakfast granola
Ritz crackers with peanut butter (and honey for Nathan)
Carrots from the garden for Abigail (She'll turn into a carrot one of these days... And you thought her hair was genetically orange....)


Friday, October 7, 2011

Pardon the dust...

Making the blog look a little different. Mostly, you can now subscribe via e-mail!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Meal Plan

Got most of last week's meal plan done! I didn't get the zucchini-carrot cake done or the bread (since we still had too much other bread). All of the dinner dishes were really yummy and all of them have been incorporated into our regular dinner binder.
This week I'm working on using my pantry stashes. Here we go for this week:

Breakfast
Muesli Parfaits - Ellie Krieger
Oatmeal cooked in milk with brown sugar & maple syrup
Vanilla Granola - Allrecipes
Easy Breakfast Casserole - Heavenly Homemaker (We make ours with deli ham and onions and bell peppers. So easy, so good.)
Scrambled eggs with cheese and salsa wrapped in tortilla

Lunches
This week we'll also incorporate some wraps as David has requested those. We'll fill it with cream cheese, deli meat, spinach and sometimes other sliced veggies. Mine is usually cheese with sliced veggies and a little salad dressing or avocado.

Dinners
Three Bean and Beef Chili - Ellie Krieger (I'll use leftover chicken from the freezer instead of beef)
Pizza Casserole - a friend of mine e-mailed this to me. I'm using my sauce from this post. See bottom of post
Tacos - no particular recipe.

Dessert
Blueberry Cobbler (first try) - cooks.com

Snacks/Preps
Peanut Butter Puffs (Healthy rice crispy treats) - Lisa Atwood's Cookbook for Kids
Oatmeal Whole Wheat Quick Bread (first try) - Allrecipes
Whole Wheat Carrot Zucchini Cake (first try) - Finding Joy in my Kitchen (will make this as muffins and freeze
More Vanilla Granola (see breakfast) (It is really tasty.)
Mini Banana Muffins (Have some overripe bananas. These freeze really well. I got the recipe from a friend but no reference as to where it is from. Therefore I won't post it. )


Pizza Casserole

You need:
Pasta
Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Meat - cooked
Other toppings such as onions, olives, peppers (chopped or sliced)
Italian cheese

Boil pasta and toss it together with sauce. Combine meat with pasta/sauce and other toppings. Put into buttered casserole dish. Top with cheese(s) and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

This is not my recipe. It was e-mailed to me who got it from a friend, from a friend....


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Funnies

Nathan: "The whole bunch of me fell down."

Mama: "We'll meal-plan tonight. You guys tell me what you really like for dinner."
Abigail: "Happy Meals!"

Abigail: "I win!"
Mama: "You do?"
Abigail: "Indeed I do"

Talking about bees, Nathan asking: "Do the queen bees wear tiny little crowns?"

Superheros are quite the rage these days. Nathan delights in telling us all about them.
Nathan: "Captain America's superpower is that he is aquabatic." (acrobatic)
Nathan: "Captain America is so smart, he smarts the bad guys out!" (Sounds painful.)

Nathan referring to the doorbell: "Is that the dingbell?"

Mama: "Don't walk by the iron so closely, it could fall on you."
Nathan: "What would happen?"
Mama: "You could get badly burned."
Nathan: "Would I be cooked?"

Repeat offender Abigail in trouble again.
Abby: "I'm sorry."
Mama: "I don't believe you since you keep doing it. I think you are just telling me what I want to hear."
Abigail: "Yeah, I'm just telling you what I want to hear."

Abby rhyming: "Pooh and glue rhyme!" Disclaimer: "But not poo that comes out of your buttsky but Pooh who is a bear."

Abby referring to the garbage disposal: "Mama, you put noodles in the garbage exploder!"

Nathan: "50 plus 50 equals 100. Want to know how I figured it out? 50 is a bunch and 50 is a bunch, so it must be 100." (Mensa, here we come..)

Speaking of Mensa:
Abigail: "They are playing smashing the chickie."
Nathan: "What do they do in 'smashing the chickie'?"

Nathan to Grampy: "Who is someone you don't know?"

Abigail: "I'll go with Matze and Mandy."
Mama: "What about me."
Abigail: "You just spent time with Isabelle."

Nathan while looking at superhero toys at the store, sees a disfigured looking villain. "That's disgusting! I don't want to see it anymore!"

He was very disturbed by the above mentioned villain. When he came home he came to me:
"Mom, I don't know if I should tell you. It's really disgusting. I just don't know if I should tell you."

Abigail: "Actually, as a matter of fact, I will."