March 31, 2011

See it in her eyes?

This kid I tell ya.
She's got her mom's troublesome nature and her grandpa's mischievousness.

At dinner the other evening, I looked at Spunky and she had the little twinkle in her eye. The little twinkle that said "I'm going to keep you on your toes mom and dad!" and "look out world, nothing can prepare you for ME!" There's a reason I call her Spunky!

Upon seeing said twinkle, I told her "I can see it in your eyes!" Little rodent promptly closed her eyes tightly, smiled her smug smile and turned her nose up at me!

I sure love my Spunky little girl!

March 23, 2011

Get drowned in pink?

I don't know when or how it happened, but sure enough, it did.
As I had both kids in my lap nursing before nap over the weekend, I counted no less than 13 distinct shades of pink in my line of sight. How in the heck???

I'm not a fan of pink and pretty much only tolerate it in my life because it was Sparky's favorite color for a long time and is a reasonably flattering color on me. It might still be Sparky's favorite color but it's hard to tell this week.

We also busted out some of the Christmas gifts that we had put away this weekend. Wouldn't you know, more pink. Big pink piles of pink. And tulle. Piles of pink tulle. How did I get drowned in pink?

March 22, 2011

Feel the weight of complete trust?

It happens the same way each night.
Sparky brushes her teeth, reads a book and then nurses. When she's all done, she uses the potty, goes to bed, has 1 song and some snuggles and then goes to sleep.

A couple hours later, I get her from her bed to use the potty before I go to sleep myself. She might be able to make it through the night without that potty time, but we're setting her up for success and knowing that she has a lot of milk right before bed, we choose to help her with the potty in her sleep. She doesn't wake to use the potty (or for anything else either really), instead, she trusts us to help her.

It's that middle of the night potty time that tells me she trusts me completely. I open her bedroom door and try to figure out where she's laying and how she's turned in the dark. Then I pick her up and can feel the full weight of her resting against me. She just snuggles against me while we go to the potty and I set her feet down. When we're done with the potty, she just stands there and waits for me to pick her back up to go back to her bed. She doesn't normally wake up at any point in this, but she is always sound asleep before we get back to her bed and she's tucked back in.

Sparky is also a kid who wants to be picked up, held upside down, danced with, helped with handstands and flung around like a swing dancer! There's never any fear of being dropped by Hubs or I as she is dangling upside down by the ankles, flipped over and in perpetual motion with parental assistance.

So if you were to ask me today what it feels like to be completely trusted, I would tell you it feels like 35 pounds of warm snuggly kid loving their mama. That's what it feels like knowing that Sparky trusts me completely.

March 21, 2011

Shift perspective?

As a kid, I had lots of kids that I lived by and who's parents each had different ideas about how to raise their kids. From what I know about all of us kids, we've all grown up to be reasonable adults that our parents aren't ashamed of. I used to think that one particular friend's parents were overly rigid and way too overprotective.

As an adult and parent, I'm eating humble pie and feeling like I need to appologize. So, here we go.

Kathy, Charles and Heather~
I am so sorry for making fun of your family and your rules. As a parent myself now, I recognize that you were setting limits for your kids and family and trying to raise your kids to be healthy and happy. From everything I know, job well done. I now find myself raising my kids with many of the same principles that I saw in action in your home. Thank you for showing me a different type of parenting than I saw in my own home.

March 17, 2011

Bathe in leprechaun pee?

It was actually the kidlets that did it. :)

With today being Saint Patrick's day and the kids wanting to play in the bathtub this morning, I gave them green water! A friend tipped me off that when it's in the potty, it's leprechaun pee. I'm not sure what it is in the bathtub, but it got your attention right?

Crayola Color Dots at Amazon

I had some reservations about these initially because of their artificial coloring but then I decided that as often as we use them, what the heck! Kids love playing in the bath and it's a pretty easy way to buy me 10 minutes. I also wondered about if they would dye the tub, tiles, grout or blond kids. Nope, not at all!

We received about 200 of these for Christmas which I have to admit is super excessive. But, it's a fun way to learn color blending and a bit of simple science. Yup, worth the about $5 a pack of 30.

March 16, 2011

Have a nostalgic moment, but updated?

Learning to cook has been a bit of a curve for me because I don't have a great foundation to build on. Pasta Roni and pork chops just don't cut it for me as an adult, especially when I'm trying to teach my kids how to eat diverse and nutritious meals.

Tonight however, I made a dinner that I've only seen made by my mom. I only know it as barbeque cups.

Barbeque Cups
1/3 batch easy biscuit recipe (enough for 8 biscuits, recipe is below)
3 cups ground meat or meat substitute (I used Morningstar Farms crumbles)
¼-ish cup barbeque sauce
2 tablespoons water
Cheese for topping

Make the biscuit dough per recipe and then divide into 8 pieces instead of rolling it flat. Press and spread each piece of dough into a cupcake pan space, being sure to go as far up the sides as reasonably possible without breaking the bottom of the dough or mending it if you do. Turn the oven on to 450. Put the water (and 2T is a guess, just a little bit to keep it from sticking initially) and "meat" in a small pan on the stovetop. Heat the “meat” and sauce on the stovetop while the oven pre-heats and then divide the “meat” mix into each of the dough cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Add cheese to each cup and bake another 5 minutes or until cheese is melty. If the cups are particularly full, put a flat baking sheet under the cupcake pan.

Easy Biscuit Mix
Ingredients (will make 6 cups of mix, divide into 3 parts while dry and put two parts in the fridge for another day)

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
Mix 3 parts mix with 1 part milk (2/3 cup milk with 2 cups of dry mix and I use soy milk usually). Then I put it down on a floured surface, knead 10 times. For Barbeque cups, stop here and see notes above. For regular biscuits, then rolled out to 1/2 inch thick, and cut with a biscuit cutter (or a drinking glass). I baked in 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. 2 cups of dry mix makes about 8 biscuits and they freeze well.

March 11, 2011

Get my chance?

There's this poem that's on my mind right now. Here's the poem so you have context for the rest.

If I had my child to raise over again
by Diane Loomans

If I had my child to raise over again, I'd finger paint more and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.
I'd run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd teach less about the love of power, and more about the power of love.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely poem. Problem is that there’s no reason to wait and wish that you had a chance to do it again. If you’re a parent, you’re always a parent and you can make the changes now. If you’re lucky enough to be a grandparent, consider that your chance to do it again!

March 7, 2011

Celebrate Lent?

Okay, in all fairness, it hasn't started yet. It'll start on Wednesday.

In the religious sense, Lent is about connecting back to faith. That's overly simplified, but that's a start.

For those who aren't religious, it's still an opportunity to let go of the stuff that makes us less than stellar people. Or a time to add a new habit that gets us a step towards stellar.

I feel like I generally avoid drama, but I've been sucked into it lately. Today I decided that I'm giving up the petty drama for Lent. Hubs is in agreement with me on this. I asked him to eradicate a certain pair of drama mongers from my e-mail. Nothing more that they send will be seen by me. Good bye drama!

I'm fortunate enough and make decisions such that I have very few catty women (or men) in my life. Problem is, occasionally one slips in and then I get sucked into their negative vortex of yuck. For Lent, I'm just removing the people and their yuck from my life. I have way too many great things in my life to spend time or energy on yuck.

So, with the yuck removed, I'm adding back in the attention that a couple of my friendships are worth. For lots of (admittedly insufficient reasons), a couple of my dear friendships have faded or been neglected as of late. Now I can reinvest my energy into meaningful friendships with awesome people.

Lent officially starts on Wednesday, but this is one of those things that I don't have to wait for to start observing.

March 6, 2011

Let it all roll off?

There's been too much crap in my life lately. Today started anew.

Instead of continuing to deal with the crap, I said no more and let it all roll off my back like water off a duck. Quack quack quack.

Took the kiddos and Hubs to church where Sparky decided she was ready to sing audibly. She sings A LOT on a normal day, but this was the first time I've heard her in church. She can't read the words yet so she sings from memory and I think she's been intimidated. I could be wrong, but that's my suspicion.

It brought tears to my eyes a bit to hear my little kid singing a love song to God. Pretty cool kid, let me tell ya.

After church, we delivered a coat to a friend's son on our way to a special place in our family. Got there, got wet, loved it and left. We took the scenic route home.

Had to stop to get gas to make life easier the rest of the week and I checked my e-mail in the car while Hubs pumped gas. Yeah, he's awesome that way! In my in-box, lo and behold, there's a wonderful gift from a group of amazing women who I'm so proud to call friends. I've got it lucky!!

Instead of the kidlets sleeping when we got home, I got to! I think Sparky slept for awhile with me, but I just got all snuggled up and fell asleep. Just what I always wanted!

After waking, it was dinner with the in-laws (who I enjoy and usually get along with) including my favorite salad dressing at the Spaghetti Factory. Yum, yum yum!!!

Then a beautiful conversation with one of my favorite people.

Awesome day that just washed away the junk of lately.

Happy quack.

March 4, 2011

Feed a friend in need?

The original recipe for the chili is from Dad’s Own Cookbook (probably my favorite cookbook!) and the starting recipe for the chili seasoning is from Both parts that I have here are adapted based on my family’s preferences and what we had available and needing to be used.

Vegetarian Chili
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 red pepper
1/2 orange pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 medium yellow onion
2 cans kidney beans drained
2 small cans tomato paste
4 cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (I’ll leave this out next time)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon powdered onion
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8oz frozen edamame
8oz frozen corn (left this out of the meal for my friend)

This makes 12+ cups, but it freezes fine and I split it into 3 parts. Just make sure you defrost in the fridge instead of trying to defrost as you cook it since it’s prone to falling apart a bit.

Put a large sauté pan on high heat for a minute or so to let it get hot. Add the oil, peppers and onion. Let it cook for 5 minutes or so until the peppers are bright colored and slightly softened. Add in the beans, tomato paste, diced tomatos and spices. Let it cook on low heat mostly covered for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so just to be sure it doesn’t stick. Add in the frozen veggies and heat until hot.

The original recipe calls for the chili to go on a taco shell with shredded lettuce, fresh tomato, and cheese. We normally serve it just as chili with shredded/grated cheese on top. Yum! 

Chili Seasoning
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon powdered onion
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
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