Monday, April 28, 2008

May the Force be with you

We went to my nephew's birthday party on Saturday. They had a Jedi Master come and train the younglings to be Padawans. He put them through a few "tests" and then passed out rings to each child. (They were a ring of sheet metal with a smiley face cut out of them -- cute, but I worry about the lead thing....) The kids loved the rings (of course -- they always do when you're hesitant about its safety) and Sierra kept telling us how it was given to her by the "Zedi guy!"

And now, I'm sure you're all anxiously awaiting the cake photo. And here it is:

If I had more patience with the details, it could be better, but I think it turned out pretty ok. The kids loved it and they all wanted a piece of the "head."

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

The other night Owen was trying to tell his dad about his new dinosaur pajamas. Or pajamas with dinosaurs. Or should I say bajamas (that's how Owen pronounces it.) He said "Bajinasaur."

Say it out loud.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Funny email

My husband's been travelling a bit lately. Here's some email he sent to the kids:

"Dear Owen,
Thank you for the heart. Go use the potty. It reminds me of how sweat and special you are. Go use the potty! I’m very proud of how smart and kind you are. I wish you would try harder to communicate with mommy and me. Go use the potty!
P.S. Go use the potty."

"Dear Sierra,
I love you very much. Eat your lunch. You are fun to play with. Eat your dinner. I miss your giggle. Eat your lunch. Please try not to instigate too much trouble while I am away. Eat your dinner. You generally can’t get in trouble reading books. Mittens.

They get big so fast!

10 signs that my kids are getting big too fast:

10. The next size clothes that I just bought for the summer really don't look as big on them as they should.
9. The youngest won't let me do anything for her anymore... and she's successful doing it all herself.
8. The youngest empties the sand out of her own shoes! (I just watched her do this!)
7. They fight over who's biggest: "I'm bigger!" "No, I'm bigger!"
6. The 4 1/2 year old is finally wearing underwear all day, every day. (I know, this isn't too fast, and he's not always successful, but I've got to celebrate that he's doing it anyway.)
5. We can go to a museum without a stroller (and find that it's easier without one!)
4. I let them play on the climber without having to really pay close attention anymore.
3. We can go out to eat as a family and actually have a pleasant dinner.
2. They play happily by themselves while I blog or do yard work. (woo hoo!)
1. The sandbox isn't big enough for both of them at the same time anymore!

I hate that my babies are growing up, but I love that we're going to be able to do more interesting things with them as time goes on!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Don't ask for it if you don't want it!

I generally make my kids whatever they want for lunch. At dinnertime, they get what I make for the family, but at lunch time, I do the short order cook thing (to a degree) just to, I don't know, make sure they eat something reasonable that they like each day. So today, one of the things we offered to Owen was a hot dog. He said he didn't want a hot dog, but he did want a hot dog bun. We told him he had to have something more substantial, i.e. with protein, than just a bun! (I don't know why, but he loves hot dog buns better than any other bread.) So then, after some deliberation, he requested peanut butter, jelly, and banana on a hot dog bun. Not something we've done before, but ok, that sounds good! He proceeded to eat the top part of the bun by picking bits off of it. Turns out, requesting his complicated sandwich was his way of getting the bun we had previously refused. I'm often a sucker for giving in to the kids on food issues, but today, I stood my ground. I told him no snacks until he ate the sandwich that he requested. At snack time, he begged and begged for a snack. I pointed to massacred sandwich on the table. This went on for a while, until he started misbehaving in other ways as retribution. So I sent him to his room until he was willing to eat his sandwich without complaint. He proceeded to fall asleep until dinner. Ok, so once dinner time, he already missed his snack, spent the afternoon in his room, punishment over. I made the kids "Kid Cuisines" for dinner, which they love. He picked at his and then requested something else, perhaps snack-like? No way, if you're hungry, eat the dinner I made. Initially, he decided he was done and went off to play, but slowly, he kept coming back for more and eventually ate all the whole dinner! Who knew, if I held my ground, he would eventually eat?

So, at bedtime, as I was tucking him in, in a fun way, I told him tomorrow he should ask for something he really wants to eat for lunch (and smiled.) He laughed!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dry day

Yea! We had our first dry day in probably a week. I realized yesterday that in the last load of laundry I did for Owen there were 9 pairs of pants and 4 shirts. Doesn't sound too bad until you add in the (at least) 3 pairs of pants I washed separately because they were part of pooping incidents! So, if you do the math, that's an average of 3 pairs of pants per day. Ugh! But I think the new strategy might be starting to sink in. We went to the mall today, straight from school, so we were out of the house all day. I brought three extra sets of clothes, just in case. (I didn't tell Owen that -- I didn't want him to know that I expected him to fail.) But, this evening, I put all three sets back in his dresser drawers!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not a good start to my day

Arrgh! My 4 1/2 year old son is choosing not to use the potty. It's frustrating! It's aggravating! It's making me depressed. We've been trying the reward system. And as he's dug his heels in, the rewards keep getting bigger. (His dad has a knack for offering stuff like trips to the museum or new stuff to put on his playset before I have a chance to weigh in.) I now believe that he's figured out the system. He regresses and the rewards get bigger. He succeeds and gets great rewards. The offers decline. He regresses and gets great offers. And on, and on. Ugh! Plus, I feel that by offering such great rewards we've sent the message that this is really important to us and that gives him power. A lot of power... that he is wielding.

My last declaration to him is: No more rewards! Not until he's done potty training and does it every time, all the time! And the 2-wheel bike he got last year for pooping on the potty for the first time? It stays in the basement until he goes back to pooping on the potty every time!

I know some of you are reading this and thinking that we're crazy and going about this all wrong, but we just don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Gathering Kitchen

Last Friday I went out with my girlfriends (and some of their friends) to a place called the Gathering Kitchen. In addition to it being a fun night out with the girls, The Gathering Kitchen is a place where they provide the ingredients and you assemble meals. They have a set menu from which you pick ahead of time (so they have the right amount of each ingredient.) Then you go around to the station for each meal that you picked and just follow the instructions provided. I was impressed that it seemed very clean and sanitary and the selections were interesting. (They change the menu every month.) I made six meals, five of which I split into two for my family, so I came home with 11 meals to freeze. My friend set it up as a private party and everyone brought drinks and appetizers and desserts. The place actually had a decent sized sitting area with tables and such, so it was actually a little social event!

If you have one of these types of places near you, and you're not a gourmet cook, I highly recommend getting at least a friend or two and trying it out!

Tonight we're going to have apricot-cranberry stuffed chicken.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Things will be different this year!

When I was pregnant with Sierra, I read the book, "Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life" by Jennifer Bingham Hull. It talked about the magical ages of 3 and 5. When the two kids are younger than that, life is challenging with the diapers, the wandering, needing to be watched with everything. But once the youngest hits 3, things become easier.

I had a glimpse of that today. I can see that this summer, with my children almost 3 and almost 5, I will, for the first time since moving into our house, be able to work around the yard! Today at lunchtime, Steve and I were both raking the lawn while the kids were off playing. And I wasn't worried about them! Maybe I can turn the weed garden in the front into something to look at! Maybe I can plant some trees and bushes to landscape around our "new" stone wall. Maybe I can put in the step-able ground cover plants near the play areas that I wanted to put in last year. Perhaps I can put some annuals in planters and other places to make our house look nice! And maybe even the kids will help (instead of "help"!)

Perhaps, hopefully, this is the year that taking care of the kids is something that can be done in parallel with other tasks and it won't be an all-consuming activity... hopefully! (Don't worry -- I don't for a second believe that it will be without its challenges!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Finally, I'm beginning to take advantage of having a laptop and a wireless router! I've got it in the kitchen and I was just looking up a recipe to use for dinner tonight. It's cool that I can refer to it without having to print it out. How green! I'm still using the old desktop a bunch because I haven't yet set everything up and ported everything over, but I can certainly blog from my kitchen!

OK, so I was told by my dad that the dark chocolate zucchini cupcakes were good -- and he was skeptical because he hates zucchini! Here's the recipe:

1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium sized zucchini (2 cups grated)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup white raisins (sultanas) (Julia was skeptical of this ingredient, but I really liked the final result)

In large mixing bowl add cake mix, eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Beat until well blended. Stir in chopped nuts, grated zucchini, chocolate chips and raisins.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9-inch cake pan. (I used mini cupcake tins.)

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 min. (I adjusted the time for cupcakes -- I think it was 15 or 20 min.)

Cool the cake, then frost with cream cheese frosting of your choice.

My cream cheese frosting recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
8 oz. package cream cheese
4 cups/1 lb./1 box confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar and milk and beat until smooth.

(I piped this on the cupcakes with swirls using a 1M tip.)

Well, I've got to get back to my turkey pot pie dinner!