Monday, November 4, 2013

Maybe I AM Doing Something Right...

"One for me, one for you!" Benjamin said, enthusiastically handing a piece of his favorite candy to his sister.
"Wow... he's actually sharing" I thought to myself.

Later that day...

"Hey Ben!" I shout from his room, "Can you get baby T's paci and bring it to me, please?!" I try to yell over the screaming baby. I am mid diaper change and don't dare walk away from the changing table, even though he hasn't rolled over yet and the pacifier is a mere 10 feet away.  Ben looks up and I'm already rehearsing my argument "Please, Ben. Mommy needs your help. Can you be a good big brother? etc, etc"

Instead, he graciously says, "Okay, Mom!" and runs in the room to help.  Uhhh, he listened on the first request? I'm stunned. And that little part of my heart is proud of him, though I'm thinking it won't last.

Then it happened again. I was starting to think my real son had been abducted by aliens and injected with "good boy serum."  We were watching TV as a family and although I don't recall exactly what happened, I do remember Ben saying, "Well, that wasn't very nice!" with genuine concern on his face.  "Hmmm..." I thought to myself.  

Then the ultimate out-of-character scenario... Thad (my husband) took Ben for a quick trip to the grocery store. "Dad!" he said in a loud whisper, "I have to go to the bathroom!" "Oh, you have to pee?" Thad asked. "No," Ben replied, "I have to fart!" Thad, "Ok, so just do it" as there is no shortage of passing gas in this family. "But there are people here!" Ben said. This is coming from the kid who farts on all of our babysitters (and any other unsuspecting victim)... since when does my just-turned-four-year-old have manners?!

That evening, Thad commented, "Man, Ben's been a really good listener these past couple of days." 
"I know, I was thinking the same thing" I said back.  "It came out of nowhere, right!?"

We are used to the boy that tells us "no" any chance he gets. He'll take for-ev-er to do what we ask (if he ever decides he wants to comply), kicks/punches/pushes/trips his little sister, constantly whines for things he wants..... where did that kid go? Not that I was missing it, but the change seemed too sudden!

Then it hit me. This did not come out of 'nowhere.' This was not 'sudden.'

This came from the last four years of us trying our best to raise a kind, gentle, obedient little boy with a heart for God.  I'm not going to try and over analyze what's happening. I think I'll just sit back and enjoy watching four years of constantly saying "you're in time out" "we don't [fill in the blank]," "please change your attitude," "listen and obey," "ask nicely," "no, thank you," "share and take turns...." and every other mommy-ism you can think of (and probably said yourself!) finally start to pay off!

I am not trying to paint the picture of a perfect pre-schooler because even as I type this he swiped something out of his sister's hands who is now screaming and woke up the baby [insert eye roll here]. I know there will still be nights where I cry myself to sleep because I feel like I'm failing them, having that lingering fear that I'm raising monsters. And moments I'll have to contain my anger and not "Hulk out" as my sister says. And I know these kids will still inspire those thoughts that are so ugly I'd be embarrassed to share them with you on here.  BUT, I hope it is some encouragement to all of you. What you're doing DOES matter. It WILL make a difference. You ARE a great mom/dad and before long, we will be watching our own kids navigate through the rough waters of parenting their own children. In the meantime, keep equipping them with the right skills.

It's a work in progress... it's a LOT of work. And there WILL be progress.  I got to see a glimpse of light at the end of this tunnel - hopefully yours isn't as dark these days, either!



Monday, August 26, 2013

Restaurant Style Salsa

My family and I looooove eating Mexican - especially the authentic salsa they serve with chips before your meal comes out! Tostidos used to make a "restaurant style salsa," but I have searched high and low and I can't seem to find it anywhere! So, I hunted down a recipe that met my expectations.... so here it is!

Ingredients:

1 can (28oz) whole tomatoes with sauce
2 cans (10oz) Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeƱo sliced thin
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cilantro
1/2 whole lime juice

Directions:

1. Throw all ingredients in the blender - blend to desired consistency
2. Refrigerate for at least one hour (overnight is best)
3. Enjoy!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Black Bean Tacos

This mouth-watering recipe is not only delicious, but a healthy option for a meatless meal while still getting a good serving of protein!

Ingredients:

For the taco mixture:
1 can black beans, drained & rinse
1 can kernel corn
1/2 chopped red onion
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
*optional: juice from half of a lime


Other:
Corn or flour tortillas
Pepper jack cheese (sliced or grated)
Avocado, sliced
Sour cream
Hot sauce

Directions:

In a medium bowl, add beans along with onion, cilantro, corn, and spices.  Mix all of the ingredients together. Grate your cheese and have it ready as well.

On a griddle or skillet, add one corn tortilla at a time and sprinkle on some cheese (if you used slices, just place a slice of cheese on the open tortilla).  Wait for cheese to begin melting. Then add about 1/4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla.  Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla over so it forms a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.  

As the first tortilla cooks, move it to the side and do a second one. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to get 2 or 3 tacos at once. If you have a griddle you can do even more at once.  Cook each taco for about 3 minutes per side until they are nicely browned and crispy.  When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out.  

Serve tacos with toppings like hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream. Check out my "Restaurant Style Salsa" recipe - it would make an excellent appetizer to this meal! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lettuce Wraps

It's been a while since I've last posted! My apologies... I think it's time to get back into the swing of things! What better way to kick off a comeback than with a favorite recipe?? These lettuce wraps are surprisingly satisfying and filling, not to mention mouth-watering delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion, diced
*1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ginger
1 pound of ground turkey, chicken, or beef (all are yummy! total personal preference here)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 bibb or iceburg lettuce 'cups'

*I use a half of each color pepper, then slice the other halves and store in a tupperware to snack on later (yummy with hummus or ranch dressing!)

For the sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
(we have also used teriyaki and siracha on the side!)


DIRECTIONS:

In a separate skillet, brown/cook meat. Drain and set aside.

Using a large sauce pan, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute, then add the meat and saute for a few minutes to let the flavors set in.

While that sautes, combine ingredients for sauce and set aside.  Prepare your lettuce cups as well.

Scoop the meat mixture in the lettuce cups, drizzle sauce on top (or dip) and roll it up as you would a burrito. Chow down!

Get those napkins ready because this meal is messy, but oh so worth it!  Enjoy!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Best Parenting Advice Ever

I came across this e-mail a while ago, but just now got to read it (isn't that the way it is?!).  I found it very interesting!  It was sent from Parents Magazine and I just had to share!

It's called "The Best Parenting Advice Ever" and they intereviewd various people that are involved in the typical child's life (doctors, teachers, babysitters, etc) and asked them what advice they would love to give parents, but would never say to the parents' face. Very honest. Very insightful.

After reading the article, it made me think of some advice I myself would give - and I think anyone can relate!

My advice:  Be sensitive to the fact that other parents may do things differently than you do. Don't think what I am doing is wrong because it isn't the way you would do it.  Or even better, if you don't have kids, please - and this is putting it nicely - keep your mouth shut!! I know we've all heard the sentences that started like, "Are you going to let..."  "Don't you think you should...."  "Why don't you...".  Makes my blood boil.  I would like to finish those sentences for them.  "Are you going to let me... change the subject before I gouge your eyes out?" "Don't you think you should... have spent the last 3 years with my kids before you tell me what I should or should not be doing?" And finally, "Why don't you... wait until I ask you for advice before you so freely give it."

Every family is so unique - and every child within the same family is unique! We won't always chose the right method of discipline, sleep train the right way, nurse long enough (if at all), feed our kids organic foods, or sign them up for Gymboree classes.  If you truly love your kids, you will do what you feel is best for them - and who are we to judge?

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox now! Here is the link to that artcle - it's a pretty quick read.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Home Photoshoot Realities

I had to laugh.

I was looking through old pictures on the computer and came across our "Christmas Card Photoshoot."  You know, the time when you get the kids in a cute Christmas outfit and are determined to get that one perfect picture.

What diluted sense of reality was I in to think I could get a picture of the two of them. Together. Both looking at the camera at the same time. Both smiling.  Ha!

Well, I sort of managed to but I can tell you it took an hour and a half and a lot of repositioning and distracting! Anyway, I wanted to share the entire spread of photos in the album - this of course does not include the pictures I deleted right after taking them (they were that bad).  I hope you at least get a chuckle out of these gems. I know I did!













and the winners were:

 One "cute" picture

One "silly" picture


And there you have it! Can any of you relate??

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The "Not So Magical Moments" of Pregnancy...

I have been dying to share this post with you all! Now that pregnancy #3 is official, I can share all the wonderous things that have been happening - that I somehow blocked from my memory from the last two pregnancies.  Let's be honest... if we remembered every little thing about being pregnant, chances are we would never (willingly) do it again! hahaha Here are just a few of those...

The-Not-So-Magical-Moments of Pregnancy:

The majority of your laundry is pajamas (kids, too) because you've felt too crappy to even get dressed most days

Ugh! What is that smell?!

Somewhere between weeks 5 and 12 you were convinced there was a such thing as pre-partum depression, and you were going to self-diagnose yourself (thanks to exhaustion, morning sickness, etc).

The toilet paper runs out a lot faster, and it's not because of #2....

Speaking of #2, I can't help but think it is conditioning me for D-Day

Something I haven't seen in a while has suddenly come out of hiding... cleavage!

I knew it was time to call the doctor about my nausea when the smell of my own fart made me puke

You sneeze and pee a little.

You laugh and pee a little.

You cough.... you get the picture.

Seriously, what is that smell?!


When you think you feel the baby kick... then you fart a few seconds later

Or you actually did feel the baby kick, but it was a straight shot to your cervix/bladder/ribcage

The morning you wake up and your belly sticks out farther than your boobs (this is about the time your toes disappear, too)

That weight check that confirms you weigh as much as (or more than) your husband

When you've moved up two bra sizes.... again

When your hemmorhoids are so frequent you start to name them (Herman, Harley, Hank...)

When a food commercial comes on you either gag (food aversions) or automatically crave it (when is that next weight check again??)

When you look ready to pop.... at five months.

And finally, when your water breaks and you're so excited to have started labor on your own... then you remember somebody has to clean that up!

and this list can go on and on!

Please feel free to add on in the comment section! 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Irony....

As I was looking through photos and videos on Thad's phone, I felt slapped in the face by a little thing called irony.  Let me explain...  there seems to be a phenomenon in our family where Thad (the cool, hip, rad dad) lets our children do things that, well, I never would.  I, on the other hand, am the play-it-safe kind of mommy.  Of course, we still have fun - I just don't want to factor in a trip to the emergency room as part of our fun.  Well as it turns out, the kids only seem to get hurt on my watch! When Thad watches them, they come away scott free of any bumps, bruises, or scratches.  How this is possible, I will never know.... observe as I share some of the anitcs Thad has managed to escape what would appear to be inevitable injury: *(You may have to be patient uploading the videos - in case you're pressed for time, there are captions underneath! I think they are worth the wait, though)*

video
"The Near Miss"
(Ben catches a basketball, drop kicks it, and it zooms passed Gigi - missing her by mere inches!)


video
"The Bed Flip"
(Ben is attempting front flips on his bed, but not always completing the rotation...)

video
"The 2 Year Old Skateboarder"
(Ben doing jumps & spinning on the top of the skateboard)


These gems were added by Thad after he read the original post:

video
"Wakeboarder in Training"
(Thad is lifting Ben up into the air, foot on foot, by holding on to a ski rope)


video
"Wakeboarder in Training Part II"
(Thad is pulling Ben around the living room as he practices handle passing & surface 360s)


And here are a couple of pictures for your entertainment... let your imaginations be your guide:




So here is the ironic part... just in the past two weeks, poor Benjamin has suffered a couple of shall we say 'mishaps.'  Thad was out of town on business, and I was home with the first aid kit getting plenty of good use:

Our "trip" to get the mail... poor guy tripped over his own feet and landed face first in the street.
This was complete with a bloody nose, mind you! At least he was smiling for the pic...


This grape tomato over his eye was from a sock-slip on the kitchen floor.  
Again, his face took the brunt of the fall
(notice his nose was still scaped up from last weekend's fall)

Here it is the next day... green, yellow, purple, blue, red, and even a bruised cheek!

So there you have it.  Do you see the irony?  Sigh.  Maybe it's because God knows mommies are better at treating boo-boos and ouchies than their daddy counterparts ;) haha I'll just keep telling myself that anyway.

In the meantime, stay safe and free of needing the first aid kit! ;)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Savvy Storage

Hello friends!

It's a new year and I'm hoping to be a better bloggy friend and post at least twice a week (you all need to hold me accountable!) :)  I thought I'd start 2013 with a few quick tips I use to help keep things contained and organized - on the cheap!  Mommies (and Daddies) need to get creative sometimes to maximize their dollar so they can spend money where it really counts - like a nice bottle of wine or a six pack of brewskis to unwind after a day of parenting! ;)

Here are a few quick tips from the home of yours truly:

I repurposed a snack can by wrapping it in pretty paper 
(it's the thick, quality wrapping paper - I found mine at TJ Maxx)



Here is a paper stacker turned on its side to store my scrapbook paper
(I hot glued the trays together to keep them from coming apart)


This is a bag that a curtain panel came in - the lotions fit perfectly inside!


 
My preschooler (Ben) has learned to recognize the packaging of some of his sister's snacks and mercilessly begs for them from the pantry door.... namely, yogurt melts.  So, I removed the label of a French Fried Onions canister and behold! My new "yogurt melts" container.... and Ben is none the wiser. ;)


Recognize these guys? Puffs! 
I'm not sure what I'm going to use them for yet, but I am picturing them in the cupholders of the Swaggin' Wagon (aka our minivan) with some snackies in them - animal crackers, raisins, pretzles, etc. 


 I'm sure you've all seen this on Pinterest, but I used a door hanging shoe organizer for all my craft accesories, and labeled each pocket to make sure everything had a place and was in its place. :)
The bag hanging on the door knob is actually a trash bag to catch all my craft scraps - I thought it looked nicer than a plastic shopping bag

And finally, an animal cracker container filled with all kinds of snacks-on-the-go.  I like this because I don't have a dozen boxes of things in the pantry.  They all fit nicely into this container, don't you think?

Here is another post I did in the past that showcases a few ways to repurpose some things around the house

And there you have it!  Nothing monumental, but I hope you are inspired to repurpose, reorganize, and revamp something in your home.  After all - baby, it's cold outside! (at least it is in Indy) ;)