Who’s being punished here?

Okay, so in our household watching television is a privilege and the children are well aware of this fact.  If you are a good listener, respectful of others and their things, and listen to mom, dad, and teachers than you have earned that privilege (truth be told, they have only lost that privilege a couple of times). They are allowed to watch a half hour of television in the morning.  They usually watch the Sunny Side Up Show on Sprout in the morning. Then in the afternoon, while mommy is getting dinner ready and cleaning up random objects throughout the house thanks to our little toddler tornado they may watch two television programs (half hour shows).  They often watch Veggie Tales, Sponge Bob, Yo Gabba Gabba, and/ or an iCarly episode (We are practical with the television, moderation is the key).

So, yesterday morning while they were watching the Sunny Side up Show I came into the room and gave them the morning routine reminder (we usually have about an hour for the four of us to be ready and out the door so I try to maintain somewhat of a daily routine).  I basically said they had ten minutes left then they needed to come upstairs when I called their names.  So ten minutes goes by and I call my son’s name. He doesn’t come upstairs. I then call my daughter’s name and nothing. I go downstairs to confront the situation and both of them are staring at the television and not even looking in my general direction. I speak louder this time and still I am ignored.  I go over and turn off the television.  Boy did that get their attention.  What followed was a lot of whining.  There are two things I can not tolerate well and those are being disrespectful and whining.  As they are aware there are consequences to our actions but of course being a mom I have to reiterate this at least twenty times a day.  Case in point, that morning, so I did the mommy song and dance and long story short the consequence of their actions that morning would be no Television privileges that afternoon.  That sounded like a solid punishment for the crime committed. I walked away feeling like a good mom, like my mom and other mothers before me would be proud of my decision.

Well, 4pm rolls around mighty fast.  And after picking-up, dropping-off, and cleaning up, laundry, going through the alphabet, numbers, colors, patterns, games, and reading a slew of books in-between I had had it. Momma was ready for a little down time. I desperately needed the help of a tomato and a cucumber or perhaps a yellow sponge to take over while I prepared dinner. But wait, damn it! I had made that proud speech earlier in the day about television being a privilege and having consequences and yada yada yada. I knew I had to follow through so I suggested a few activities to occupy the kiddos time while I prepared dinner.  Can I just say it is fascinating how many activities a kindergartener, preschooler, and toddler can go through in a single hour.  I can honestly say that was one of the most exhausting hours of my life.

It started off with music and instruments then evolved into a band.  They each needed to have their own drum to bang and bang they did.  Five minutes into the “Jam session” and I was praying to God to please give me the strength to survive this punishment, for it was I, and my head, my throbbing head that were being punished, not the children.

Then it was onto make-believe box where they dressed as Super Heroes and princesses and for some reason they each had items that made noise.  The toddler had tickle-me-Elmo (heeheehee….drove me crazy) and my son somehow managed to find these fake machine guns my in-laws gave him that I had hidden due to the terrible noises they made, and the kindergartener had her Barbie cash register checkout scanner going off, cha-ching . So every two minutes it sounded like tickle-me-Elmo just got shot down in the jungle and Barbie was in her glory over the whole thing, cha-ching.  So the next ten minutes went something like this, Heeeheee….Chaggggggggg….Ahhhh…. cha-ching…. cha-ching. HeeeeHeee…Chagggggg…Ahhhhhh….Cha-ching..cha-ching. And who is being punished?

I stood in front of my pantry desperately searching for something quiet that the kiddos could all do together and then it was as if the angels started singing as I cast my eyes on the play-doh drawer. Hallelujah!

Play-Doh= Peace

I have learned my lesson. Taking television privileges away means that mommy will be required to put some overtime in.  Going forward, if something similar to this scenario arises again, and I am sure it will, I will not be taking television time away I will rather, require that they watch Planet Earth or another form of “boring” television as defined by a preschooler.

Remember moms, before you hand out a punishment contemplate all possibilities that might play out during that said punishment and ask yourself, who is really being punished?

Sometimes God opens a window and door!

Last week our house was filled with excitement to see the Eric Carle’s Treasured Stories by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia on Thursday.  Our eldest was going on a field trip with her class to see the presentation while our son and daughter would be going with me to see the performance thanks to tickets given to them by their loving Nana for Christmas (experiences truly make the best gifts).

So to prepare for the performance the kiddos got out all their Eric Carle books and stuffed animals affiliated with those books and read books in the morning, afternoon, and evening.

They also made their very own Little Hungry Caterpillars’ out of an egg container, pipe cleaners, and paint. Our daughter was so excited that she took her’s to school to show her teacher and friends. We also enjoyed edible Hungry Caterpillars.

 

So the day finally arrives and I had everything ready to go. We dropped off our eldest at school with her booster seat (parents drove but not me since I had the younger two, I was disappointed that I couldn’t chaperon but I understood the logic).  After dropping her off at school we headed to the performance.

It was originally supposed to be at Lourdes College but the venue changed to the Valentine Theatre which is gorgeous.  So we arrive at the parking lot across the street with plenty of time to spare (45 minutes to be exact).  The funny thing is at this moment, when I am pulling into the parking lot I am worried about how I am going to kill time until the performance, boy, if I only knew.

So, I roll down my window to retrieve the parking ticket from the attendant and then drive to a parking spot. Once in my spot I go to close the window and to my surprise it will not close.  So, like any other women would do I sit there and press the button a few times (because maybe by the tenth time it will just start working?), still nothing.  Then I look to see if there is an object stuck in the window jam. I see a small gum wrapper but I am not sure if it would be causing such an issue and besides, I couldn’t reach it.  So I called my hubby for help and moral support because by now my preschooler is getting impatient and my toddler was impatient before we left the house (HELLO, did I mention she is a toddler?).  But he didn’t answer his phone so; again like many women do I figured I would try to call him again, mind you I literally just hung up the phone on his voice mail.  After calling him three times in two minutes I came to the conclusion that he was not available. What to do? Call Dad. And I did. He answered! My hero! But he was not near by (he works near the theatre so I thought he could make everything better somehow?).  He did suggest putting something in the window but I had nothing.  I did not want to leave my window wide open in a parking lot in the middle of Downtown Toledo unattended (I am not saying that crime is really bad but when you leave a window wide open in the middle of January aren’t you just asking for trouble?). Not to mention, it was raining. So I told my kiddos the unfortunate news.  And my preschooler began to cry and I was a second away from crying myself, oh, and the Toddler had already been crying for a good ten minutes (I think she just became background noise after five minutes, don’t judge, I was a little preoccupied with trying to save the day). in-between sobs my preschool said “mommy, can we pray for the window to close, please?”  My heart melted. Sure, I told him and we did but nothing, the window still did not budge.

So I pulled up to the same attendant who greeted us a half hour ago and handed her our ticket and explained the situation.  Then she said something that totally caught me off guard, she said that she would simply move her car and I could park where her car was and she would watch my vehicle during the performance.  WOW! I thought in my head what an amazing woman, how kind of her.  I thanked her, pulled into her spot and got the kiddos out (as well as my registration info and any other info with my personal id numbers. Hey, I am trusting but I am not a fool).

We get inside with ten minutes to spare. As we were walking in we ran into a mom and her boys who attend the same preschool as our son, crazy, right? It wasn’t planned at all and we were both running a little behind so we quickly went to be seated and asked to sit together if possible.  Well, they did not have enough seats all together on the main level so they said they would escort us up to the box seats.  Once upstairs the view was breathtaking. The Valentine is gorgeous, there is a huge chandelier in the center of the ceiling, velvet and gold as far as the eye can see and exudes pure elegance. So there we sat, quickly scanning the room to locate my eldest and her class. We spotted her way up in the center balcony seating.  Part of me wanted to go get her and have her see the performance from our awesome view but I resisted.

 

Even the stairs are gorgeous, every view is amazing.

 

The performance was amazing. They did three of Eric Carle’s stories, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you See?, and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia present the stories as puppets with the creative use of black light it really captivates the audience (and by audience I mean 3-6 year olds and chaperons) attention.

After the performance we headed to our vehicle.  I bucked the kiddos in, looked around and found that everything was exactly where I had left it, the stroller, car seats, booster seat, etc. and then opened the driver’s side and made myself nice and cozy in the puddle that had accumulated on seat.  A wet, cold butt was a small price to pay for the joy I had just experienced with my children.

Though, it was rather amusing trying to get out of the parking lot.  Every car I passed thought I wanted to say something. I mean, after all why else would my driver’s side window be down in the rain?  So I had a brief conversation with my daughter’s teacher and then kept the conversations with stranger short and simple by exclaiming “Great performance, huh?”. 

Thankfully I only had to drive around with my window down in the middle of January for one day.  The fresh air and rain was a great pick me up, I didn’t even require my usual afternoon caffeine thanks to the cold, wet rain against my face during afternoon pickup and dance drop off. My hubby had it fixed the next day. 

Granted there was nothing better than dropping the kiddos of the following day and being able to open and close my window, it felt like $350 (yes that is how much it cost to be able to open and close a window).  There is a price for everything these days but true happiness, now that is priceless.

The saying is, When God closes a door, he somewhere opens a window. Well, in this case God opened the door to opportunity and fun and left the window open too!

Special thanks to Nana for getting us the tickets to the performance, also to the kind parking attendant who watched our vehicle, and my hubby for getting the window to operate again.

Wednesday’s what would you do?

Let me set the scene…

So, we got home late last night from my parent’s house so the kiddos went directly to bed without making their lunches. Our 6 and 4 year olds fell fast asleep but the 17 month old had a high fever followed by crazy coughing fits.  So I gave her some Tylenol to lower the fever but for some reason Tylenol acts as a stimulant for her and she was up and miserable and she definitely wanted me to know it.  The night went a little something like this…

Or…another convenient method that is all the rage with the toddlers these days is just wiping their noses on mom. This way it cuts the cross contaminate process out entirely and she is guaranteed to get your germs. After all isn’t mom always saying you need to share?

We got cozy on the couch, or as cozy as one can get on a couch with a toddler that moves ever ten minutes.  I would get close to falling asleep then she would sneeze or cough a wet nasty cough using my face as a tissue and say “mama ouch”.  Her sweet raspy voice saying “mama ouch” really distracted me from the fact that my face was starting to stiffen up from the amount of snot I had accumulated over the course of three hours.  I say three hours because my eyes were constantly on that crazy clock determining exactly how much sleep I could get if we fell asleep at 1pm, at 2am, at 3am…then we were greeted by another visitor, my 4-year-old.  Followed by my 6 year-old at 4:30am, she had to sleep on the Yo Gabba Gabba couch on the floor surprisingly our couch could not comfortable sleep all 4 of us.  Around 5:30am I found myself exhibiting jealous feeling for my 6 year-old that was squeezing her long legs into a small Yo Gabba Gabba couch on the floor.  Why? Because that small couch only sleep one and was snot free!

You know you have reached a new low when you find yourself contemplating throwing your child off this couch so that you can sleep on it. I haven’t experienced jealous like this since I was in sixth grad and Kimberly pulled off the Blossom hats better than I did (what were we thinking?).

Unfortunately 7am came and I had still not slept a wink but this means nothing to anyone, after all I am mommy, we are supposed to just function on  oxygen alone, food and sleep are just luxuries.  Remembering the kiddos did not have time to make lunches the night before I quickly started to throw lunches together then got breakfast on the table.

Even after 2 cups of coffee this mama is still not waking up so I am running on empty for the remainder of the morning and I opt to do morning drop off in my PJ (it is really difficult to tell in the winter since I have a longer coat, boots, and sunglass on. Although it is not sunny out so that might have been a dead give away). 

Well at least my unconventional attire might have provided a topic of conversation for some mothers, your welcome ladies. I was thinking of you all along and how I could make your day more fluid and besides, there is nothing worse that sitting down with a friend and have nothing to discuss.

So, as we are heading out the door I do the double-check/reminder questions, which go as follows;

Do you have your folders?

Do you have your lunch?

Do you have socks on? (Yes, surprisingly sometime they rush out without socks even in the winter but I think my talk about frostbite and gangrene really help or just scared the crap out of them, either way they are wearing socks).

All of which my 6 year-old replied a firm YES.

Upon our arrival home I let out a huge sigh of relief, I did it, I made it through the morning mayhem on no sleep. Then I see it……

Stupid Kitty!!! She isn’t even smiling but it feels like she is smirking at me.

That crazy little kitty waving at me, I have never experienced so much animosity towards an inanimate object in my life.

So, what would you do?

They say children lean responsibility in three ways. First, by watching the behavior being modeled for them by their parents, they are watching your every move, secondly, by being instructed, and third, through their own life experiences.

I have already instructed her to remove her old lunch bag from her book bag when she returns home.  I have also provided guidelines in term of the morning routine of removing the lunch bag from the refrigerator and placing it into her book bag.  I also encourage her to double-check prior to leaving the house that she has everything that she requires. This morning she answered yes to all questions including the lunch bag question. Therefore is it time to move onto the third step, should I let her learn through her own experience?

They say (doctors, therapists, professionals, etc.) if you don’t do things for them and let them fail they can learn the consequences otherwise they will not take the ownership.  But they never said how hard it would be, should I just drop off her lunch? She is going to have nothing to eat. But then again she does get a snack and she does have friends who might share the stuff they don’t want, like the healthy stuff, carrots, apples, etc.  But then again I am the mom and I am supposed to provide for my children but I am also supposed to be raising a one day self-sufficient contributor to society. Ahhh…..I  don’t know what to do but maybe it is because of my lack of luxuries, you know food and sleep, gotta get me some of those.

What would you do if faced with this dilemma?

Chex Party Mix Exchange: Convenient, FUN, and did I mention convenient?

In celebration of the New Year one of our Playgroup Moms  hosted a Chex Party Mix Exchange and it was a blast!

I have to admit I was a little leery at first since I have never made a Chex Mix.  I always thought you had to have a microwave and since we got rid of ours I thought my chances of being able to prepare a decent Chex Mix was out of the question.  So when I was invited to the party my first thought was to kindly decline. Then I looked over the Chex Mix Party website and noticed all the amazing recipes and I was pleasantly surprised http://www.chex.com/Recipes/ChexPartyMixChange.aspx. The website offered great tips and tricks, creative packaging ideas, and a slew of recipes.

I decided on Goin’ Fishin’

Ingredients

3

tablespoons butter   or margarine

9

cups Corn Chex®,   Rice Chex® or Wheat Chex® cereal (or combination)

2

cups tiny pretzel   fish-shaped crackers

2

cups bite-size   cheese crackers

1

package (1 oz) ranch   dressing and seasoning mix

1/2

cup grated Parmesan   cheese
Variation
For extra fish   appeal, and even more whimsy, use fish-shaped cheese crackers.

1.

In large   microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 30 seconds or   until melted. Stir in cereal and crackers until evenly coated. Stir in   dressing mix and cheese until evenly coated.

2.

Microwave uncovered   on High 3 minutes, stirring after every minute. Spread on waxed paper or foil   to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.
Oven Directions: Heat oven to 250°F. In ungreased large   roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in cereal and crackers until evenly   coated. Stir in dressing mix and cheese until evenly coated. Bake 10 minutes,   stirring after 5 minutes. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool, about 15   minutes. Store in airtight container

I placed my mix in Mason Jars to pass out at the party.

When I arrived I was greeted by the amazing aromas coming from the kitchen.  Our host outdid herself and made a beautiful combination of savory and sweet hors d’oerves.

Okay, so I was partial to the sweets, they were so good!! 

It was so nice to be able to sit down, relax, and hear about everyone’s New Year and Christmas.  While each of us loves our children it was so enjoyable to be in a kiddo free zone for a night.   We could sit our beverages on the coffee table without the fear of a toddler drinking it or knocking it over, we could actually say words like crap and that sucks (come on, you know you have your own select few you allow around adults too), and maintain eye contact with the person talking (I always feel so rude when someone is talking and I just start running off because I foresee some accident waiting to unfold, usually involving my preschool and toddler, they can be a dangerous combination).

Everyone sampled each others Chex Mixes.  Wow, I have to admit, I am not usually a huge fan of lemon but my two favorite Mixes had lemon in them. Then we exchanged Chex Mixes and the host even had beautiful container for each of us to take our Chex mixs home.

It was an all-around fabulous night and I would highly recommend a Chex Party Mix Exchange.  The added bonus, in addition to getting away from the kiddos and having some fun “mommy time” was that I went home with enough Chex Mix for my kiddos to snack on for the next two weeks.

Thank you for a wonderful night Lilly, you outdid yourself (and thank your mom too, please).

So, if you are looking for a great way to celebrate any occasion (hello, Valentines Day is right around the corner) host a Chex Party Mix Exchange and invite some of your friends over and exchange these delicious (and so easy to make) treats. Added bonus, if you are room mom or in charge of any child’s holiday party you will have plenty of treats to share (this means you have to do a lot less work, hello, sing me up, right!?!). So, Chex that off your list as a “to do” (too much?).

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever attended a Chex Mix Party Exchange? Would you contemplate hosting a Chex Mix Party Exchange? Do you have a favorite Chex Mix you make? Please share…

39th Anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and the Amazing Moms who chose Life

Today is the 39th Anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and since the legalization of abortion more than 50 million abortions have been done in the United States, 50 MILLION! About 23% of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. These statistics are disturbing but it should be noted that there are women who are taking a stand, a stand for their unborn babies.

In church this morning I found myself deeply moved when I read about the following women and I wanted to share their stories with you and I hope you find their stories to be an inspiration for all of us.

Gianna Francesca Beretta was born in Italy. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family, only nine of whom survived to adulthood. In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.

Gianna hoped to join her brother, a missionary priest in Brazil, where she intended to offer her medical expertise in gynecology to poor women. However, her chronic ill health made this impractical, and she continued her practice in Italy.

In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955. They welcomed Pierluigi, in 1956, Mariolina, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this.

In 1961, Gianna was pregnant once again. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. The Catholic Church forbids all direct abortion even when the woman’s life is in danger, Catholic teaching would have allowed her to undergo a hysterectomy, which would have resulted in her unborn child’s death as an unintended consequence.

“Abortion – that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus – is never permitted…Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.” – The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERD) Directive 45

Gianna opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child’s life.

After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, “This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other — I want them to save my baby.”

On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section. However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.

Gianna was beatifiied by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna’s husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.

“If you must choose between me and the baby, no hesitation; choose – and I demand it – the baby. Save her!” ( Gianna)

The migraines had started about a year before, when Jenni was a sophomore at Pocatello High School in Idaho. After doctors found a 2 centimeter mass on her brain from an MRI scan, she was diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma, a tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord. Doctors gave her a 30 percent chance of surviving two years with treatment.

Only weeks after Jenni was diagnosed with cancer, she found out she was 10 weeks pregnant. Doctors told her she had to terminate the pregnancy or stop treatment while pregnant for the safety of the baby. Jenni reportedly did not consider terminating the baby. She decided to forgo radiation and chemotherapy while pregnant.

“I guess we were just hoping that after she had the baby, she could go back on the chemotherapy and get better,” her mother, Diana Phillips, told the AP.

Her family documented the heartwrenching year through a series of YouTube videos appropriately titled, “Jenni’s Journey.”

“I don’t know how long this is going to last and I just want it to go away,” Jenni said in one of the videos uploaded on November 20, 2010.

The baby’s father, Jenni’s boyfriend, Nathan Wittman, will take care of Chad in Idaho, the AP reported.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/12/29/teen-gives-birth-loses-cancer-fight/

 

 

 

Stacie Crimm received the best news of her life in March when she found out she was pregnant. Doctors have told the 41 year old that she would never have kids and was overwhelmed with the news. A few months into the pregnancy, in July, Stacie was diagnosed with neck and head cancer from a n CT scan given by her doctor that stemmed from having headaches and tremors.

When given the option to began chemotherapy the mother refused. She risked her health for the thought of a healthy baby. Throughout the term she was very concerned about her unborn daughter. She consistently sent over 150 text messages to her brother about her worries.

“I hope I live long enough to have this baby,” she commented on one text. “Bubba if anything happens to me, you take this child,” she also wrote.

Stacie Crimm passed out in the middle of August finding out that the tumors were wrapping around the stem of her brain. During so the babies heart rate began to drop severely. Stacy’s heart had stopped for an hour an a half. The doctors proceeded to resuscitate but decided to deliver the two pound baby. Dottie Mae Crimm survived the tragic ordeal. Last month was the first time she held her newborn baby. Three days later Stacie Crimm died leaving a dying wish behind- a beautiful baby girl. The miracle baby is now 5 pounds living with her uncle, wife and their four children.

Source: http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2011/10/19/oklahoma-mom-rejects-chemotherapy-to-save-her-baby/

Thank you to all the moms who have chosen life and if you are reading this you need to thank your mom too!

Tonight when you are kissing your children goodnight give them an extra long hug and think about the moms in this post and the ultimate sacrifice they made for their children. And think about the 50 million babies that have died all because here in the United States women have a choice, not a gift or a blessing, but a choice. And pray.

 

Make Healthy Food Convenient

Why is it that those inevitable words, “Mommy, I’m hungry” always seem to strike at the most inconvenient moments?  In our house it seems like those words are always uttered moments before we have to drop off a child at school, pick up a child from school, go to an after school activity, doctors appointment, playgroup event, and/or whenever mommy gets a moment to do anything for herself, whether that be using the restroom, brushing her teeth, you name it and they come running.  It is like they have this sixth sense and they can tell when mommy is suddenly not doing something for someone else but surprisingly doing something for herself.  It is as if they have mommy detectors that go off in their little heads when mommy is no longer in mommy mode.  Saying, warning, warning, mommy is enjoying a moment of solitude, must intervene.  Like we will lose our title as Mrs. Mommy or something? (In case Mrs. Mommy can’t fulfill her duties then the first runner-up will be crowned). But, I digress….

So there you are, a mom on the go, and there is your little one(s) asking for a snack, what to do? Well, you could prepare a healthy, nutritious snack for your little one which might take a few minutes or you could grab convenience foods thus making the solution rather, well, convenient. More than likely, since you do have a tight schedule, you will choose the more convenient route, and who could blame you?  Those darn companies making the individually packaged serving sizes so darn appealing, just grab it and go. Now that is something the modern-day mom can get on board with, am I right ladies? I know I for one personally enjoy the convenience of the Late July peanut butter crackers and the cheddar cracker snacks. The prep and cooking time are just my speed.  The directions are as follows, open box, remove individually wrapped cracker package and place in diaper bag, done.  True, that was way convenient but at what cost? 

Here is a riddle for you, what is inexpensive to get but expensive to treat? Answer: Heart Disease and Type II Diabetes. 

As moms it is important that we teach our children healthy eating habits.  Thus, in an effort to have healthy growing foods available for your children to have as snacks I propose that you make healthy food convenient. And this is how…..

The day you get home from the grocery store clean and prepare fruits and vegetables. I realize you may be tired and that you have much more to do during the remainder of your day but trust me, you will thank yourself.

Side Note: When purchasing produce remember the dirty dozen, these are the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels or pesticides.  The following are the dirty dozen and you should make a special point to purchase these organic.

1. Apples
2. Celery
3. Strawberries
4. Peaches
5. Spinach
6. Nectarines (Imported)
7. Grapes (Imported)
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
9. Potatoes
10. Blueberries
11. Lettuce
12. Kale and Collard Greens

Roast butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and sweet potatoes preparing each as your family likes.  I prefer to have the butternut squash with a little olive oil and sea salt, the spaghetti squash plain so the kiddos can place their own topping on it (parmesan cheese and marinara sauce), and I slice the sweet potatoes into sticks and mix with olive oil, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  

Slice cucumbers into sticks and divvy out serving sizes of hummus for dipping. Slice up broccoli, cauliflower, and green peppers too, all taste great with hummus.

Place a serving size of grapes, carrots, apple slices (with a few drops of lemon so it doesn’t turn brown) in containers.  I also like to have salsa (or cowboy caviar, sooo good!!), hummus, Greek yogurt, and peanut butter in smaller containers for dipping.  Children seem to really enjoy dipping their fruits and vegetables.

You could also make a few yogurt and granola parfait, these are another fun and delicious treat.

Voila, you just made healthy food convenient.  Now, depending on how old your little one(s) is, you can even place these items at their level in the refrigerator and allow them to choose their snack.  I have even added a container with filtered water that my 4 and 6 year-old can reach and help themselves to, which is really awesome when they are thirsty and I am not near the kitchen.

So, while I realize those prepackaged foods will more than likely still be in your pantry (and mine, I am still buying the Late July crackers and the TLC crackers because let’s be honest, we can do it all, just not all at once, and sometimes we get by with a little help from our conveniently prepackaged friends, am I right ladies?).

Happy Birthday Mama!!

I turned 32 this past week and it was awesome. I received so many warm wishes from family and friends, cool gifts, and surprises too!  I figure what better way to share my experience with you than by posting a few pictures. 

We partied like it was my birthday!!

As tradition would have it in our family my birthday began with birthday donuts for breakfast. (Birthday breakfast is the only time our family has donuts, that way it is truly special and a fun tradition. Although my hubby might not always agree, he is the one getting up early and going out in the cold/heat, depending on whose birthday it is, to get donuts and we all greatly appreciate his sacrifice).

It really means a lot to me to have the entire family sitting down to breakfast together on a school/work morning.

I can’t think of a better way to wake up on your 32nd birthday then being greeted by your 3 beautiful children and loving husband (and dog and cat too!).

After breakfast it was time to get ready. I did the morning drop off, afternoon preschool pick-up, and then during quiet time I received a surprise visit from my sister and mom as well as balloons and an iced coffee- AWESOME!

That evening we went to my mom and dad’s for dinner and cake.  My sister and brother also came over for dinner and before we ate they played with the kiddos, I loved it, it was such a genuine moment. As I stood watching them I realized how truly blessed I am to have family in town, family that speaks to each other, that loves one another, and enjoys spending time together. The two best gifts my parents have given me are faith and my siblings.  Faith is just as vital as breathing as far as I am concerned and my siblings keep me real, they don’t allow me to get a big head, they enforce humility in a good way.

And did I mention they are a lot of fun!

Earlier in the week my in-laws came over to celebrate my birthday and they brought a delicious cake.

Best gift, my toddler saying "Happy Birthday Mama"

I bought a new living room area rug with my birthday money, I love it!!

As an added bonus, in addition to the Scott Hahn Signs or Life book my sister watched my two younger kiddos so I could meet  friends for lunch.  On my way to lunch I received another surprise, my hubby called and informed me that there was someone interested in seeing the house that evening (we are talking 5 hour notice for a home filled with lively youngsters and animals, AHHHH). I was still in shock from the first surprise when I walked into the second surprise. 

Instead of just having lunch with two of my close friends all my mommy friends were there, it was a wonderful surprise but I fear my face didn’t exude happiness since I was still overwhelmed by the fact that the house would need to be clean in record time. (The image above is of a previous event but most of the mommies in the picture were present at lunch).  These women are amazing and I am so thankful they are each in my life. Most had to get babysitters to watch their children since we met during lunch and all are on a budget, amazing friends.

I received so many beautiful cards, presents, and spent precious time with family and friends.

My wish is that everyone cherishes the relationships in their lives and realizes that it is truly the people who add substance, value, purpose to your life.

Thank you everyone for your warm birthday wishes.

God Bless,

Kat

 

Working Mom vs. SAHM

While reading an article the other day I had an epiphany. The article was discussing the ongoing mommy war of Working moms vs. Stay at home moms which I have often found to be moronic. As soon as a woman is given the title mom she is working.  She is physically, mentally, and emotionally on the clock so to speak.  She is up at 3am for feedings, changing diapers, packing bags, giving baths, making meal, and those are just the physical requirements.

Source:http://equalwrites.org/2009/10/20/careers-children-choices-why-the-usual-feminist

She is also modeling behavior regarding appropriate ways to interact with others, seek assistance, and compassion for her youngsters.  She is answering philosophical questions, and teaching basic vocabulary, cause and effect, colors, shapes, religion, etc.   She is also emotionally invested till the day she dies.  She will worry about the way her child is developing. She will wonder if she is doing everything she can and should be doing for her children. She will put immense pressure on herself and even blame herself for any social, physical, or physiological delay her child may experience.

Source: http://www.worldcompass.org/blogs/stacyjj

As moms we question ourselves enough without the added pressure from other moms. Let the mom who is perfect, with perfect children, and home/household to be the first to pass judgment on another mother.

Stay-at-home mom salary: $117,856 (source:http://blog.sfgate.com/sfmoms/category/stay-at-home-mom/)

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Let the mom who is perfect, with perfect children, and home/household be the first to pass judgment on another mother.

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Source: http://www.get-carried-away.com/2011_07_01_archive.html

Some may say politicians, teacher, and religious leaders are the people who will have the most impact on the future, the ones who will write history.   I disagree with this factor; moms have the most important jobs on this planet, we directly influence the future generation.

Do you agree??

 

 

Thankful Thursday: That’s not mud, a new kind of mommy guilt, and having it all!

As I stand here cleaning dirty diapers I find myself reflecting on this morning and desperately trying to recall all the make that, any thankful moments. It is kind of like grasping at straws at this point.

Run down of this morning….

I guess it all started last night. Our toddler, once again, got up and refused to return to her crib. I have no idea what is going on, she is to young for bad dreams and she has never had the privilege of sleeping in a different crib so it can’t be chronic crib envy (phew, we can cross that off the list). For those of you who have not experienced, or are not familiar with the term I provided the definition below;

Definition of Chronic Crib envy – baby or toddler becomes accustom to sleeping in a crib that is not their own.  Perhaps the babysitter or grandparent has a comfortable crib they prefer but since they can not speak you have no idea. The result, they fall asleep in their own crib then roll over and awake horrified by the fact that they are not in the cozy crib they prefer but rather their own uncomfortable one.

Now here is a crib to envy…checkout more at Posh tots.

So, once again she was in our bed. And sometime during the night another child was added to the mix because when I woke up our toddler was desperately grasping at my neck, the cat was sleeping on my head, and there was two additional legs kicking my torso, talk about a great night sleep. You know how those famous people are always talking about their Sleep Numbers. Well, my sleep number, is 3-1/2 or what I call maximum capacity, that breaks down to, two adults, one animal, and and child under 4 feet tall.

My personal preference is to not be choked, kicked, or sat on while I sleep. Is that asking too much?

 

So I managed to free myself from all the people and animal in my bed and make my way downstairs to start breakfast. After everyone is fed it is time to get teeth brushed, get dressed, and then do the girls’ hair. Little did I know that I would be in for so much more than the occasional “ouch”, I would be introduced to an entirely new concept of mommy guilt.

This site has awesome ideas for hair.

My daughter requested a braid in her hair this morning and while most moms might think this is a small task I am here to clarify, it is not.  First I must make my expectations clear, so I ask that she stand straight, gently place her head where I need it to stay for the next two minutes, and ask her to not put her hands on her face. So, what does she do?  She puts her hands on her face, slouches, and starts bending her knees.  I then repeat my expectations and explain the consequence of not following my directions, which is no braid.  She then informs me that a friend in her class gets two braids and she would like two braids. To which I reply, “maybe tomorrow, we do not have time today”.  Then she went somewhere we have never been before, she expressed “But Amanda’s (name has been changed to protect the innocent) mom has time to do her hair”, ouch, really, the mommy jugular.  Now, I am definitely familiar with the self-inflicted Mommy guilt but having my child inflict it was an unfamiliar pain. I didn’t know what to say, I panicked, and pulled the number of children card. I asked her if Amanda had brothers and sisters.  She quickly expressed no. And there you have it folks, mommy comes out on top with the old number of children card!!! As I finished her braid and she made her way down the stair to put on her shoes she added, “Oh, no wait, she has two brothers and two sisters”.  Really!?!  In my mind I replied, ” well, she sounds like a lovely mom maybe you shouldgo live with her” (but I am the adult in this situation so I did not say this outloud, God did hear it though, I think I need to go to confession). At this point I added a note to self, figure out how many siblings Amanda has and how the heck she get her daughter to sit still long enough for two braids. I wonder if bribery is involved.

That is not mud, or my dog for that matter but it gets the point across.

Once downstairs I noticed dog paw prints all over the house. It rained last night and is still raining today, so mud happens but I prefer that it doesn’t happen throughout my home.  Then a non appealing aroma started to linger throughout. NO!?! Could it be that the dog did not track mud throughout the house but instead, poop!?! Yup!  So I request that all kiddos step around or over the paw prints as they proceed to the door.

We divided and conquered today. My hubby took my son to preschool and I took our daughter to Kindergarten (different schools/building but they begin at the same time).  Once home I had to rush downstairs to clean diapers because I put the last clean one on her this morning. And so here I am cleaning diapers and contemplating what I am thankful for today.

http://greenmomhappymom.com/prefold-cloth-diapers/

Then it dawns on me, I am thankful for all of it, everything!   I am thankful for the fact that I have a little toddler to keep me up at night, a preschooler who infringes upon my quality of sleep, a kindergartener who made me a mommy which also gave birth to mommy guilt, a cat that sleeps on my head, dog that tracks poop throughout the house (well I could do without the poop, it is just not sanitary, but you get my point), and a house for that dog to track poop throughout.  But most importantly I am thankful for my hubby, my partner in lives journeys and that God has blessed me with so much.

What are you thankful for today?

Bathroom Remodeling

Okay, so last night my toddler awoke at 2am and she refused to go back to sleep in her crib so I brought her to bed with us hoping both her and I would go back to sleep. Instead, she fell asleep in seconds and I laid in bed staring up at the ceiling thinking about random things. I wondered how, and why, selling Girl Scout cookies became such a huge competition and if my little kindergartener was ready…..I wondered why the English langauge is so difficult, for heaven sakes, wind means one thing and unwind something entirely different ….Then I wondered what the heck is in Velveeta and why they can’t consider it cheese…. Why is it that the woman’s brain never stops, NEVER! Meanwhile my hubby was sawing logs next to me.  So I continued on with my queries in my mind. My next thought, our house.

Our house has officially (I say this because we did put up a For Sale By Owner sign a year ago then signed with a realtor)  been on the market for 3 months, and while I realize that is not a long time I can’t help but have a plan B.  I am a mother, a Capricorn, and a recovering perfectionist (does anyone know of a perfectionist anonymous group?), I need a plan B and often times C & D (now I just sound like the Cat in the Hat).

So, here is my plan B, we take down walls. That’s right people, I said walls. We remove the wall between the dinning room and kitchen to allow for a more open floor plan which will be visually appealing and allow for a more functional traffic flow and use of space.

Then we will focus our attention on the bathroom which is currently a little shoe box were all five of us wash and bath but thankfully only 4 of us are potty trained.  Once we add that fifth person to the pot we might be in some trouble.  So this is what I propose, Bathroom Remodeling.  We expand the current bathroom to allow for a larger soaking tub and vanity with two sinks. It would be so nice to have a luxurious spa like atmosphere in the adult bathroom (then again, I might never want to leave).  Directly behind our current bathroom is a computer room that we will make into the children’s bathroom so we can use the same plumbing wall.  Then the real fun begins, finishes, fixtures, and accessories!

Wow, after all that thinking I finally started to feel sleepy.  Then the alarm clock went off.  It was time to get the kiddos going for school.  While I prepared breakfast and waited for my coffee to brew I quickly perused some websites and came up with a few ideas for our bathroom.  Does anyone else suffer from the same mind debilitating nuisance of not being able to let things go?

Here are a few ideas that I have come up with thanks to Houzz http://www.houzz.com/photos/bathroom (think pintrest for interior design. Though it should come with a warning, it is difficult to walk away from this site.)…….

21st Century Bungalow traditional bathroom
French Country traditional bathroom
Ranch House Bathroom Renovation contemporary bathroom
Master Bath Retreat traditional bathroom
contemporary bathroom ideas contemporary bathroom
Master Ensuite Bathroom - Divine Homes contemporary bathroom

Don’t these inspirational photos make you want to take a sledgehammer to your poor excuse for a bathroom? I will be sure to keep you all posted for when Plan B is taken into effect.

Maybe tonight while I am not sleeping I can try to come up with a plan to achieve world peace?

Any suggestions for getting a mommy’s brain to shut down are welcomed and greatly appreciated.