Monday, May 16, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - May 16-22

This is going to be a super basic week.

We've decided to get absolutely insane and go on our first post-4th-baby camping trip this weekend.  That's right.  We're packing up the three big boys and our 6-month-old daughter and hitting the beach for two days.  FunDad says the waves will be good, so he can fit in a little more surfing than usual.  And what kids don't love the beach all day and all night?  And the baby is just the right age to sit on the sand and eat it.  What mom doesn't love watching that!??

We're staying pretty local.  Going to a beach about an hour away.

I'm keeping food pretty simple.  I'll make a little plan and let you know how it went.  Now for our week (the camping menu starts on Friday eve and goes through Sunday afternoon).

beans and rice (I've had this on the menu for about three weeks now and haven't made it, but today is the day!)
green salad

tacos at Grammys
corn on the cob

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic
garlic bread

Meaty Skillet Lasagna (The Best One Dish Suppers cookbook)

pigs in a blanket (cooked over the campfire)

beef and bean burritos (I think I'll cook the meat at home, that sounds easiest)


I plan to make granola, and maybe cinnamon biscuits to take camping. 

Last week I tried two new recipes from my new cookbook, The Best One-Dish Suppers.  They were phenomenal and pretty fast.  The beef taco bake was delicious, I made a 13x9 pan and there were only enough leftovers for one serving.  I had a little "flash-forward" to when all three of my boys are big.  Wow.  That's going to take a lot of food.  We'll need to up our food budget significantly.  Luckily, we have a bit of time.

Anyway, that's our week.  Here's a blank menu plan if you'd like to print it up and make your own plan:

Blank Menu-scribd Edition

I'm linking up with Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

what if...I love

These are the most important people in my life.  What if I act like it?

What if I wake up tomorrow and thank God sincerely for my husband and my children; instead of thinking about what I have to get done or how I need to teach everyone to behave or how I don't get any time to myself.

What if I spoke to my children like the treasures they are instead of the job I tend to look at them as.

What if in correcting them I spoke in patience.

What if they could always hear the love in my voice.  What if I stopped with the irritation and the condescension and the disdain.

What if i pushed my little irritations aside. Pushed my SELF down. And loved my chlldren.

What if I slow down a bit. Instead of focusing on wherewehavetogo and whatwehavetodo I take it easy. I focus on teaching them how to do what needs to be done and then let them try it instead of controling all of their little expressions of individuality.

What if I remembered that they're children. They won't get everything right the first time, or the even the eighteenth time.

What if I told my husband what I needed sweetly and asked for help instead of expecting him to read my mind.

What if I thought about what his day was like and took joy in making life easier for him when he got home. I bet it would solve a world of perceived difficulties.

What if I let myself be.

What if I skipped a day of chores and didn't stress out about when they'll get done.

What if I ate three cookies and threw myself a party instead of giving myself a guilt trip.

What if I was thankful for that half hour of running by myself instead of thinking of everything I should have gotten done or wanting more "me" time.

What if when I mess up I repent and ask forgiveness and move on instead of berating myself and wallowing in my sinfulness.

I've changed a lot over the last several years, but I want to keep changing.  I want to be better than this.  So what do I do?  Just up and change?  It's worth a shot.

What if I start tomorrow.  If I just focus on sweet words at first.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Behavior Modification, Part 2

This is Bernadette.  She's all ready for school with her reader and her three marshmallows!  Looks like someone did her reading today!!!

(Not familiar with the Three Marshmallows and a Reader philosophy?, see my half-joking post on Behavior Modification here.)  Basically, instead of focusing on what our children don't do well - we focus on what they can do. 

So instead of saying something like:  "if you don't sit up and do your reading you'll sit in your bedroom for 18 hours straight."  I say, "hey, when you have a good attitude and do your reading you will earn three marshmallows!"

This change of focus really helps me and my sanity.  It gets me thinking past the usual consequences.  It gives me some tools so I don't become angry and frustrated.  Two things I don't like to be.

I should add:  not all children respond to marshmallows.  I have been thinking of switching to stickers myself, but don't think my boys would be motivated to do their reading by a sticker.  Unless it was a pirate sticker. That said "Aaarg!"  Or a sticker that did somersaults and cartwheels.  That would be something.

See Behavior Modification, Part 1.

Special thanks to FunMom Kelli for the photo!!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

How To Get Children Excited About Chores!

in the cart at Walmart
Buy them a new vacuum!

I fully anticipate my life getting soooo much easier.

My 7 and 5-year-olds are often clamoring to do the sweeping up in the mornings. I never let them. I'm terribly mean. Or I'm just interested in the floor actually getting clean.  Either one.

I don't know about you, but my little ones aren't super proficient when it comes to brooms and dustpans.   Enter my new Bissell 3-in-1.   I'm pretty sure it will change my life.

Instead of two little boys waiting listlessly for me to get breakfast dishes done and the "school" area ready (by sweeping) I can have two little boys gainfully eployed VACUUMING the dining/school area!!!!

Yes!  My life is now complete.

This is like a glorified dust-buster.  There's a detachable handle and two detachable "sucker-things" (for lack of a better word).  It's lightweight and the boys can easily manage it.  What's more, they love to vacuum now!  They can even vacuum the stairs. 

a fun new chore!
How 'bout them cowboy boots? They've been a staple for a park day this week and a field trip. Why fight it? that's what I say.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Going With The Crowd

I've done a lot of pondering today on that subject:  Going With The Crowd.

I resist.  I drag my heels.  I don't wanna do it.

Mostly in respects to Twitter.  It makes no sense at this time in my life.  What's all the fuss? 

I read tutorials yesterday.  I googled "Twitter new user" and found that even Twitter for beginners was confusing.  Help me.  Am I so old as that?

Go ahead, I dare you, try to explain something like hashtags and @ signs and all the rest.  Just see if I understand.

So I'm going to go ahead and just do it.  Hopefully nobody laughs at me.  (or that they at least laugh where I can't hear them).

Other heel-draggers for me:
The Cupcake Craze
Ann Voskamp
The Pioneer Woman
Dave Ramsey

And yet, I find that often, when I finally join the crowd, I think - "what took me so long?"  There's a reason The Crowd loves it.

Naturally, there are reasons we teach our children about peer pressure, because there are Crowds that make terrible choices.  But I'm not talking about those Crowds.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Every Monday I think, "I should do this Sunday night."  Every Monday.   So, I really should do this Sunday night, but I don't, I do it Monday morning.  Maybe next week.

I have a confession:  I have a bit of a cookbook fetish.  I love cookbooks.   They are one of my favorite things.  And I especially love anything to do with Cook's Illustrated.  Ooooh yeah.  So when we were at Costco and I saw Cook's Illustrated's The Best One-Dish Suppers, well, I was all over that.  This week we'll have at least one meal from my new-found cooking friend.

Last week:  made Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches and they were delicious.  A wonderful crockpot meal, to be sure.  Also made S'more muffins - but I forgot to add the oil/applesauce.   It was early.  So I can't give an accurate review of those.  I can give an accurate review of Lemon Ricotta Biscuits, which were delicious.  Even if you don't have ricotta and have to use plain yogurt.  Still super yummy.

This week:
Monday:  Bowtie Lasagna
Tuesday:  Beans and Rice
Wednesday: *Beef Taco Bake
Thursday:  *Baked Ziti with Sausage & Peppers
Friday:  Leftovers
Saturday: grilled chicken
Sunday:  always popcorn

Menu Plan May 9-15

Recipes with a * are from my new cookbook - The Best One-Dish Suppers! This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Publicity

 Grace and I made the front page of our local paper!!!

Me with all the kids...Mother's Day feature.

We got to do a little Mother's Day photo shoot a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't sure how it would all turn out. (what do I look like when I go out in public?, it's not like I spend hours primping). 

But it turned out very fun!!!!!!

Here's a link to the feature here. top it all off, my 7-year-old brought me the first strawberry from his garden this morning.

Let me tell you, it's not easy to grow anything when there's a two-year-old brother with a penchant for hoses on the loose.  Charles has had quite a time keeping any strawberries around long enough for them to ripen, and the fact that he gave the first one to me is pret-ty special.

Here's to all the mamas out there.  May your day be filled with sweet love from your babies, a bit'o'sleep (this coming from a mom with a 6month old), and all your favorite things.
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