Thursday, December 29, 2011

Leftover Ham Mac and Cheese

2:30 AM 0 Comments
I know another post about Mac and Cheese. Actually I had all this left over ham from Christmas and decided to make a traditional mac and cheese and tossed the ham in. My Grandmother use to make awesome baked mac and cheese, so I have worked hard over the years to make mine like hers. I admit I changed it up some with the things I liked and didn't liked. This version is likely the closest to hers with a few twists.


12 oz of elbow noodles 
1/2 of the processed cheese brick (large) or one small brick- cubed
2.5 to 3 cups of Skim Milk
3 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 cups of cubed ham

1. Bowl your noodles according to the directions. I like to do them about 7 minutes so they are firm and can cook a bit more when I bake it.
2. As the noodles are boiling put the butter and flour in a large sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until the roux is brown and than add about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of milk. Stir in and wait till it boils. When it starts to boil, add another half cup of milk.
3. When the sluree mixture is boiling begin adding in the cubed brick cheese. I like to add some in, let that melt and than add more till it is all incorporated. You may need to add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk into the mixture depending on the how thick it is getting.
4. Once all the cheese is melted, turn off the heat and add in the ham. When your noodles are done, drain, and than add that into the pan. Mix ti all together and pour into a greased baking dish.
5. Spread the Panko around the top and than bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. The Panko is my new touch. My grandma liked to actually use big pieces of cubed bread which never toasted enough for me.
6. Enjoy as a main meal or as a side dish. This is also a great item to take to a potluck.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Column

12:29 PM 0 Comments
I was so lucky to be voted in as the contributing Mommy for the Macaroni Kids -League City website. I am so excited to have this opportunity for this coming year and am lucky enough to have my first column of Mommy Confessions published this coming weekend. Stay tuned for the link on here.

You can catch up with Macaroni Kids here. It is a great site that profiles lots of great happenings around the Clear Lake/League City area!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Warm Soup for a Cold Day

7:12 AM 0 Comments
We have had cold weather here in Texas for the last week. For us this cold weather is hard when you go from 70s to 30s in a short period of time. Texas doesn't give you the luxury like the north to change seasons gracefully. I had this butternut squash in the fridge and have been deciding how to use it. I usually just bake it and than serve it with some butter but I wanted something different this time.

So I went to work making a butternut squash soup. It was really easy and I thought it was good. I used a basic recipe I found off the internet and well I always make it my own.

I used one butternut squash that I peeled and cubed (I used my vegetable peeler to peel it and it went super fast).

While I was cutting up the squash, I had chopped up some onions and put them in the stock pan to sweat with some butter. When they were done and the squash was all chopped up, I tossed it all together and added one carton (32 oz) of chicken stock. You could also use vegetable stock. I let the soup simmer for about a good 45 minutes or until the squash was soft enough and almost falling apart. I than but the squash in the blender and pureed it. I added it back into the stock and added about a 1/2 cup of milk to give it some creaminess. I let it simmer another 15 minutes or so. 

I served it with a cheddar bacon biscuit and topped the soup off with  dollop of fat free sour cream (still on WW so the extra fat isn't needed). It was a good soup that was both sweet and savory I put some pepper on mine because I always like some on my squash.  The kids well they were okay with it. If I make it again, I would add chopped bacon in with the onions to give it some more body. 

Let me know if you try it and what you think. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Who Pillow

4:00 AM 0 Comments
I so have been wanting to make a owl pillow for awhile and I have been thinking about it and finally had some time to work on it. I created my own template and put him together. He is roosting here on my couch and I am sure that more of him will be appearing because he was pretty easy to make.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lotion Wrappers

7:41 AM 0 Comments
I just loved the hand sanitizer purses that I played around yesterday and created little wraps. B&BW always has a small lotion scent for a buck and I picked up a few the same day I got the hand sanitizers. These too will be fun little gifts to give.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cake Balls

5:14 AM 2 Comments

I made some cake balls for our Daisy Scout meeting this past Monday and they turned out so cute. They actually look like candy to me. For this batch I didn't put sticks in them because they looked so much like candy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Decorated Candles

7:31 AM 0 Comments

When we are at Ikea a few weeks ago, I saw these candles for like 2 bucks a piece. They said once the candle is gone, you can use them as votive holders. I thought to myself as any crafter would- what can I do with them?

After some playing around with them and a disaster  attempt with ribbon, I settled on punching out the flags and scallops and adhering them on to give them a cute look. I wrapped them all up and have them to take as little hostess gifts for the holiday season. Who doesn't love a little thank you!

Friday, November 25, 2011


5:04 AM 0 Comments
I think I might have talked some about this with tantrums. Miss O had two mega ones over the summer both which has each grandparent talking about it because they each happen either when they were here or we were visiting. Overall though she rarely has them. On the other hand, Mr. L is my tantrum kid.

His tantrums  range from minor to over the top. We had an over the top one the other night and well he went straight to bed. He refused to eat dinner and well refused to actually do anything, so I removed him from the equation and put him down.

I think that his tantrums happen more because he can't fully communicate with us. He is getting better and saying more and more every day. His new favorite phrase is "what you doing?" which he asks all the time and we answer.

I was a kid who had lots of tantrums, so I was waiting for one of my kids to be the same way. I know mine were do to lots of frustrations, so I try with Mr. L to understand him and work with him so that he doesn't go into a tantrum.

Last week, I saw an article on how to deal with tantrums and for the most part, that is how we are dealing with them. Usually when they happen, we ignore and don't acknowledge the behavior. The problem is sometimes he gets physical like last night when I picked him up to take him to bed, he boxed my ear. That action lands him in a time out. This usually gets him to calm down but sometimes not.

Going to bed is usually the final  straw and it gets him to calm down. I don't like doing it and it is rarely used but it does work. I just home that these tantrums and terrible twos aren't going to send me over the deep end!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day

4:51 AM 0 Comments
Last night I prepped my turkey and put it in a cooking bag. I have never used ti before but everyone swears by them so I thought I would try it. Turkey is a food I have always been successful with but I am one of those people that baste and baste until I can't baste anymore. My turkeys have always turned out really good so this year, I am excited to try the cooking bag and not have to baste like crazy. I am planning on doing other things with the time not spent basting.

I also made green bean casserole which is not one of my favorites but the rest of the family loves it so I made it. It might actually turn out good and my keep it healthy trick was using WW cream cheese in it instead of the full fat. My pumpkin pies are done too- yes we have two and I plan on freezing one because we don't need two but I had so much filling, I had to make two.

So the only thing I have left is to make the sweet potatoes. This are always super easy to make. I just take the canned ones, drain, and add some pancake syrup and brown sugar. I just bake it in the oven and it comes out great. I have in the past made it my mashing them and adding a banana but this year I just want some traditional  ones.

All this good food for us is awaiting us. The meal is a good one but even better is spending time with my three favorite people. We sit together and just enjoying have some good conversation and watch Mr. L give his food to the dog!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rag Bag for Little Miss and Me

7:00 AM 0 Comments
I have been wanting to make a larger rag bag for me, something I can stick my purse in, the kids stuff, and well what ever else might be needed. I was going back and forth if I wanted just a all season one but than I saw this already quilted fabric at the craft store on Friday. I was in love with it. So I started working on it Friday night and when I couldn't sleep finished it on Saturday morning before I went to the GS Daisy Camp.

Miss O of course loved it and instantly asked for her own, so I made more of a purse for her to sling over herself. I used the bright red ribbon on it which just happened to be in my stash. These are both going to be so cute toting around this holiday season and it was so easy. I think the whole project (both bags) might have been just shy under 2 hours of my time. Honestly, to go shopping for a cute bag would be about the same time between driving, getting in the mall and of course going store to store looking.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Calendars

2:42 PM 0 Comments
Oh my do I love these little calendars I made yesterday. I saw a version of them on the SU demo website and asked the woman where she got the tiny calendars. She let me in on her secret (SkyBluePink) and I ordered like instantly. It was a fun site to be on but it did take awhile to ship- like over two weeks. Well it was worth the wait and I hope to be able to play with more of the stuff I got later today.

These calendars are so easy to make. I cut a 3 by 4 inch piece of cardstock and than added a smaller piece like 2.75 by 4.75 inches to mat it all up. I added the tiny calendars and than made the tops. I did the owl, and flowers, and of course the little multi-colored "Hello".  I still have more to make so I can have some small tokens for presents. Who doesn't love a homemade gift!!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey Chili kind of day!

7:18 AM 0 Comments
We woke up this morning to about 50 degree weather outside and well because we slept with our windows open pretty much the same in our bedroom (Okay maybe a little warmer). I love waking up to that and being snug in bed with my flannel pjs. I thought how nice it would be to make a big ole pot of chili so at 8 o'clock this morning after Ms. O was off to school, I traveled to the grocery store to buy ingredients for the chili. Of course I also purchased other things there which I don't need but am sure enjoying the iced coffee I got.

For the chili, it is maybe 15 minutes of prep time and than letting it all come together in the slow cooker (BTW I love the slow cooker and so think it is underused by some).

Because I am also still on weight watchers (almost hit my 30 pound loss mark), I decided to make it with turkey which is leaner and better for you.


2lbs ground turkey
2 packets of Chili seasoning mix (I used the store brand)
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 large can of kidney beans
1 small can of tomato sauce (I used the Mexican style hot which should give the chili a kick)

Now isn't that an easy amount of stuff and I buy the store brands which keep costs down to.

I browned the ground turkey until I couldn't see any red. As it was browning, I got out my crockpot (I used my smaller one) and added the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, spicy tomato sauce, and chili seasoning. Once the meat was done, I drained and added it into the slow cooker. I mixed it all together and tonight it will be some good chilliness.

I plan on serving it with shredded cheese, sour cream (fat free of course) and french fried onions. So now I have patiently wait ALL day for dinner and the good turkey chili!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cooler Weather and Warm Food

12:08 PM 0 Comments
The other night something came over me and I made the simplest dinner but was it good. I just did simple grilled cheeses and tomato soup. What is with grilled cheese and tomato soup that is so darn good. My husband was annoyed that there wasn't to much tomato soup left when he got home because both kids inhaled theirs and enjoyed the richness of the sandwiches.

Okay I admit I just don't make  regular grilled cheese. I used cheese bread I had picked up and nice provolone cheese on mine. My hubby and kids prefer the regular old wrapped cheese slices. The bread just gave it that extra punch that I like when I make a good old comfort food. The soup warmed us all up and yes I am a total milk user when it comes to tomato soup. It makes it so much more creamy.

I am so glad it is cooling down here in Texas, okay cooling down is like in the 60's and 70's but that is cool when you had a summer of triple digits. Warm soups and comfort foods trigger for me the holiday seasons and thus begins that holiday creep into our lives. So what will I make tonight, quite possible a big bowl of chicken pho soup which is amazing too (great for colds).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleeping Comforts

6:27 AM 0 Comments
Last night as I was putting Mr. L to bed last night, he grabbed as many of his stuffed animals he could wrap his arms around. I think he had Mickey, Lightening McQueen, a sock Dog, and a koala. These have become his standard sleeping buddies each and every night. He has to have them and will attempt to ask for them if they aren't in his bed.

It got me thinking about how it is nice to have something comforting to sleep with. I for years had a down pillow I like to sleep with until it had an unfortunate accident in the dryer. Needless to say it was raining feathers out the dryer vent. These comforts seem to help us sleep.

I was never the kid to have a blanket or a doll I just had to sleep with. I did have a baby doll that I did really like and usually did sleep with it but was okay if I didn't have it. Miss O was like that with the newborn cabbage patch doll she had for a long time. She dragged that doll around everywhere and than one day, just decided she didn't need it. She does on occasion sleep with Barbie and Ken.

I think something in us likes to have those comforts for sleep. I still tend to take my one pillow and cuddle with it as I sleep. Years ago Winnie the Pooh somehow made it into our bed (I think the cat might ha dragged it in) and when I woke up in the morning I was cuddling with him.

These tokens we have help to comfort and sooth us. I think it is so cute my toddler has his "babies" that he likes to play and sleep with. These buddies have rode the rode the rails, driven in the dump truck and yes there has been a tea party or two involved. This is such a great way for kids to begin to understand how to socialize with others because the first socialize with their beloved stuffed animals.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Santa Claus is already here!

10:00 AM 0 Comments
Yes when I was walking through the mall the other day, they were putting the finishing touches on Santa's area. Santa arrived down in Galveston over the weekend and he usually sky dives into the opening ceremony of Moody Gardens Festival of Lights which is a great holiday experience.

Santa seems to already be everywhere and it is like the second week of November but honestly this is the time t take the kids to see him there are no lines to see him. Last year we were at the mall during the day and walked right up but I refused to pay for the pictures with him. They are like 20 bucks for a tiny 5x7. I am glad that they let the kids see Santa without making a purchase and I think they do allow like one photo to be taken with your camera.

Though there is a great secret Santa that most of us can go see and get a free picture with the kids plus if you like the picture, extra ones are pretty reasonably priced (at least last year they were). I highly suggest taking the kids to Bass Pro Shops for a photo and lots of great activities. They have created a wonderful Santa's Wonderland which has trains, activity tables, crafts, and plus a free kids meal in their restaurant.

We have gone the past few years and have gotten one of the nicest photos with Santa. Last year it was the only photo with Santa that Mr. L didn't cry in. I was also allowed to take a bunch of my own photos with my camera which I liked. It was a great experience overall and I highly recommend taking the road trip over to them for this great opportunity.

Stay tuned for more free Santa photos as they come up. I know of some in my local area and if I know in years past Walmart and Petsmart offer free photos with Santa as well. So enjoy your start to the wonderful holiday season.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall- finally sort of okay maybe here in Texas

8:49 AM 0 Comments
The weather is finally livable outside here in Houston which means it is Fall here. The calendar says so but the fact is it is the middle of October and I am still wearing shorts. This cooler weather was what I basically grew up with during the summers in Wisconsin but I finally think I have come to terms with that this is what Texas is like.

I think the pouring driving rain we finally had on Sunday in which Miss O and I got stuck in at the Girl Scout Camp outing, made it feel cooler. We were both soaked to the bone and of course cold. Miss O was so excited to come home after to have a hot chocolate (It was till like 80 some degrees out).

I do miss the fall colors changing so far north of us. They really don't change here or if they do it is so fast, that you never see it happen, than you realize that the leaves are now on the ground. The issue this year is that we have been in drought so the leaves have been falling for months because of the lack of water.

Fall to me has always signaled the cool down of weather and all of my favorite holidays which kick off here on Oct. 31st. The house is in full Halloween/Fall mode but still wearing shorts and sweating each day I walk to get Miss O doesn't help.

I have excepted fall now is warm weather. I have to pick costumes for the kids that they won't sweat to death in rather than when I was growing up, trying to figure out if t would fit over the snow suit. Mr. L has two this year to wear (One for cooler weather and one for warmer weather). Miss O keeps changing her mind, so no costume has been purchased yet but she needs to decide soon on it.

As the fall ends and winter arrives, I am really thankful for the warmer weather. It makes it easier not to have to bundle the kids up (It was a pain for the week last Xmas when we were up in WI). The kids can play outside far longer than they can up North. Bike riding and all those summer activities to hot to do, are now in prime.

Yes I miss the fall I grew up with but admit, I finally have learned to love the fall down here. But I am not going to complain if it gets cool enough to wear a coat.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Girls will be Girls

6:17 AM 0 Comments
I knew it would happen sooner or later- issues with the girls at school with Miss O. It really isn't anything major just something I am glad I am aware of and am filing in the back of my mind for possible future if more of a problem arises.

So here it is, Miss O made a fast friend at school who she spends all her time with at school. Well there is another girl there that seems to also want to play with Miss O's friend but not with Miss O. It broke my heart to hear that this little girl didn't want Miss O to play her games From Miss O it sounded like she was intentionally excluded because there was a group playing this kid's game.

What I found interesting is what Miss O said to me- she thinks this girl is jealous of her and that is why she excludes her. I asked her who told her that and she told me no one, she just figured it out on her own. I think that is likely the right assessment and the girl is just trying to show her dominance over my passive kid.

I told Miss O that it will pass and that just be the bigger person. I told her to always include everyone when playing even if they haven't included you in the past. I also told her to let me know if anyone is out right mean to her and that it is important to let the teacher know as well. I don't want her to a tattle tale but I also don't want someone to mean for the sake of being mean.

I know as a Mom, this might sound like bragging about Miss O but for you all that have meet here, I think many will agree that she has this special light about her. I don't know how to best explain it but she is an incredible child who seems often to be much older than she is. I also know that this shine she has will both attract and bother kids her age. Either a girl her age will be attracted to her like a moth to light or they will find this to be threatening.

I was hoping that it would be longer before she experienced her first negative experience in school. The good thing is that she is this awesome kid that will survive this and many more things like this. I also know that girls are fickle and that in weeks, Miss O and this girl will be playing together like crazy.

The good thing is that sometimes when you start out not liking someone from school, that they end up being one of your longest and greatest friends (I know she know who she is!). This might not be the case but girls are girls and Miss O is having a blast so far and it is going to continue between school, girl scouts, and all the other things she is able to do.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School Groove

3:27 PM 0 Comments
We are now in our third week of school and so far so good. Miss O loves it and has made a friend that she talks about quite a bit. I finally got to meet the friend and found out she is here in our subdivision which is nice for future play dates and such.

We have gotten in a groove as well in getting ready in the morning and getting out of the house. The one person who needs to most prodding is my husband to get out the door. Once they get out the door and head off, it is just Mr. L and I.

Here is the tricky part for me- it is just him and I. I am a tad bored with him. I was so use to having someone here all day that I could carry a conversation with and now I hear grunts and someone who points for most of his stuff. Plus I don't have that second set of eyes here watching him which tires me out so much.

So far since school has started he has spilled the laundry soap all over my rug, gotten into countless things that he never has before and has finds it funny to sit on top of the train table. He is testing me all the way.

Overall though I am loving having the one on one time with him. I am finding him saying more words overall during he day. I just need to get use to just having a toddler around without an older child to entertain him.

He is a very different kid that Miss O. Miss O never touched anything while he touches everything. He likes to constantly touch and grab the picture frames all over the house. It actually is kind of fun, because I always ask him who is in the picture and where they are.

This has been an adventure for us which has been fun. Miss L and I are learning new things together while Miss O is thriving at school. So far so good and I hope it only gets better (as long as I keep the laundry soap up where it belongs).

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day - Awesome

2:06 PM 0 Comments
Last night at dinner Miss O raised her hand and asked if sh could go to the bathroom. She told us all that was the rule in school. One day of school and she was already applying all the things she learned.

Her first day was awesome for her. We took her and walked her to her class. Her first stop was to the potty than finally to her room. Her teacher is so nice and showed her where her lunch went as well as her backpack. Miss O seemed a little when she was looking for her seat but once she found it, she quickly opened the box of crayons and started coloring away.

We left her sitting there with the other kindergartners as they began their journey into learning. I on the other hand started crying the minute I walked out the door which of course set my mother in law off as well. We both teared up that this kid just seemed to be babbling away as she played with her blocks and now she is in school.

The day went pretty fast for us because we occupied our time (today not so much). Before we knew it was time to walk over to pick her up. We packed up Mr. L with a sippy cup and goldfish for the walk in the 100 degree weather yes it was very hot but lucky us it was shaded and there was a breeze.

We arrived at the school and waited till the kids came out. As we walked home together, we asked what she did during the day and she said she played, colored, and had fun. Her biggest complaint was the walk home because her feet were sweating in her tennis shoes.

Overall she had a great day and could not wait to go back this morning. She was standing at the door with her back pack about 15 minutes before she had to go. School is going to be a good thing for her. We all noticed a big difference in her yesterday when she came home- almost as if she wanted to show she is a big girl.

Now I am excited to see how school will go for her. She seems to want to ensure that she is good every day to get her green smiley face which will lead to getting a treasure. This is a incredible journey and we are all excited for her.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

School Days - Part 2

10:22 AM 0 Comments
Today is the day before I officially have a kindergartner and it is exciting. We have talked about what she is going to pick for her first day and what she wants to take for lunch. We went Thursday night and had the parent orientation which made me honestly - very nervous. But I have gotten over it since than and feel much more confident about it.

We meet the teacher on Friday who is very nice and I think Olivia will warm up to her quickly. I am sure my kid will be a chatty kathy soon enough in the class and yes we will be having a conversation about it in the near future.

For today, she is still a preschooler, enjoying just doing as she pleases. She is watching Tangled and having her mac and cheese. Tomorrow will be a new adventure that will include lots of fun and different things.

Stay tuned as to how day 1 goes for both of us. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

School Days- Part 1

8:14 AM 0 Comments
I know for many of us we are sending our kids to school for the first time, or a second and even third are about to start school. We start on Monday and I am a ball of nerves about it and am working very hard not to show it to my soon to be kindergartner. I know for this to go smoothly, I have to remain calm when we go on Monday.

My husband and I have set the rule no crying while there but if we must we can after she is dropped off. I guess what is hard for me and so many parents is that this is a point where we realize that our kids are growing up. Kindergarten seemed like eons ago when she was born and now in four days we will be getting her lunch ready and walking her through the doors of what is now her life for the next 13 years.

All her supplies have been purchased, new clothes are awaiting to be worn, and the lunch box still looks brand new. In a few weeks, I know that the supplies will be used, clothes will be what ever we can throw on quickly, and the lunch box will have that old food smell. This is a big change for the house overall and it is a good change.

I am excited to see the friends she will make, and all of the things she will learning. I am also scared for her because I know how hard it can be in those first few weeks. I know she will be cared for by her teacher because they are all very good at the school. I know the few older kids she will know will be there to show her the ropes as needed.

I don't really remember my first day of school. I had a new baby brother at the time and it was only a half day. This is an exciting time for all of us though it seems so hard to go through. I will keep you all posted on how well we are doing with it. I look forward to sharing stories of all those new things we are learning about school.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What it costs to raise a kid!

11:52 AM 0 Comments

So I was wandering around the website today and I found this calculator that calculates what it costs to have a kid. I typed in Miss O who was born in 2006 and her cost from birth to 18 was nearly $561,000. Alone it is estimated that her first year was nearly $26,000 which I can believe between formula, diapers and daycare though I think we were closer to about $15,000 at the time.

Here is the link to the calculator:

The breakdown includes what it will cost for housing, health care, food transportation, clothing, childcare, education, higher education and general misc. stuff that they have like that train table that recently made it into my house.

When I did Mr. L who was born in 2010, his cost was about $640,000. This survey takes in account your income, family status as well as where you live in the country. I do think it is a rough estimate but I could see between clothes, education, etc. that rearing a child is expensive.

No one really warns you how muck a child will cost you. You can estimate out but they are expensive especially their first year with multiple doctor visits, formula, and child care if you aren’t working. We paid close to seven grand a year when Miss O was in childcare and that was at an excellent place that was reasonable.

I just found this breakdown interesting. I can see that kids are expensive but also know this is a sampling and not necessarily the true amount.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mommy Confessions

1:48 PM 0 Comments
So I sat down and watched the Today show this morning because they were talking about how us Mom's deal with the everyday as well as confessing our deep down secrets about how we really feel about motherhood.

I thought this was a great piece and am looking forward to more of it over the week. For us Mom's and Dad's too- parenting is a tough job. We often do it with limited means and time. I know that I am not getting it right all the time. I also know that I am at my wits end at lot of the time with these kids.

Motherhood is both what I expected but also at the same time wildly different that I ever imagined. I would never have guess at this age that I would be a stay at home Mom with two kids. Motherhood changes you- for some it is a wonderful change and for others they struggle.

I have to say I think it was a wonderful change and yes at times it is a struggle for me. Yes I wish I had more time for myself. For me this is a 24 hour 7 day a week job.

Last week we were on vacation but honestly it wasn't really a vacation for me. I still had to be a Mom and do all those Mom things so my kids could have a good time. I don't expect a true vacation until the kids are either much older or even out of the house.

There are so many things I would love to once again have since having kids but honestly there are also so many things I have gained since their arrival. Being home with them is wonderful. I really don't have a burning desire to go back to a regular job- for now this is my job.

Yes I wish I could sometimes just pick up and go with out having to lug two kids, and a diaper bag but I know it gets easier (the diaper bag is getting smaller).

Ultimately I work hard at making it look easy. I work the best and most efficient when I feel things are in control. I know my kids aren't perfect but I am constantly working with them to be responsible adults as they grow up. I know that there are things that I lack at and wish so much that I could figure that out but I try hard at not stretching myself to thin with the kids, house, and life in general. I also know that for many this is the biggest battle for Moms.

For me personally, my household is about to have a major transition in the next few weeks when my oldest begins attending school. I admit that I don't cope well with change and would love her to stay home with me but I know that for her going to school is a much better thing. It comes back to me and the control issue.

Basically we are all overworked, stressed out, and stretched to thin. Some more than others. We are all trying to get by and give our kids the best in this life. We both succeed and fail at it with hopes that those failures are minor but also educational while the success don't spoil us to bad.

I love this life but yes I have moments where I would love to trade it in though they are far and few. I look at my kids even when they are at their worst and am glad that they are part of life- yes even when the dare devil is dancing on the kitchen table while juggling knives (okay he hasn't done that yet).

We are all dealing with similar issues. We all struggle and it will eventually work out for you . I know this can't last forever and I try to enjoy them in the moment.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kids and Vacation

6:50 AM 0 Comments
We are on vacation for the second time this month. Yeah it may sound like fun but it has become a pain. The kids are at each other and well I am having a hard time sleeping so is it really a vacation?

We decided at the beginning of the month to tag along with my husband on a business trip which became a mini vacation and was super quick. The kids were awesome through most of it even when I was stuck with them while my husband worked. We did do some fun things but overall it was a quick trip.

That trip was sort of a last minute decision where the current trip is our annual summer trip to visit the family up north in Wisconsin. Yes we packed 2 kids, a dog, and a boatload of snacks to drive 2 days up here. The kids were awesome on the drive up. We didn't do a marathon drive like to Florida so it seemed much easier plus we saw alot of America we hadn't seen. Irony was the kids watched "Cars" on the way up and we drove off the interstate.

Though kids are like fish on vacation- they will go bad. Miss O had hers early this week and well Mr. L has had moments, plus I am by myself with my hubby on work travel the first week here. Needless to say, this doesn't feel like a vacation. It feels more like I am at home but living out of a suitcase.

I do have to say that my brother and sister in law have been wonderful hosts and I know it is alot to have 2 kids, 1 dog, and us all here with them and a new baby (who by the way is so super sweet).

How is it for a mom to have a nice time on vacation? It is tough because we are the ones who make the world go round for everyone. It is suppose to be relaxing which it is not. How does a Mom enjoy herself when away from home?

Vacation is tough enough but nearly impossible with small kids. It is nice to see everyone but home is way easier with them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Homemade Multiple Bean Soup

2:14 PM 0 Comments

I am always looking for good and healthy foods for the family. Plus I am working on losing weight. I recently bought a package from a local farmer’s market store of a variety beans (black beans, split peas, black eye beans, garbanzo, and I am sure others). It was packaged as a soup mix and had instructions on the back. I had most of the stuff on there but decided to experiment some and make my own version. I do that a lot and love to tweak and make things I see my own. I have to say this was so easy and well very good. Even though it is very hot out here in Houston, it was a nice hearty soup that worked well for summer. I think it would be an awesome soup for fall as well.
Here is the super simple recipe and all you need is a few ingredients and a slow cooker.
2 cups of a variety of dry beans (black beans, black eyed peas, split peas, etc)
1lb of smoked sausage (I used a smoked pecan sausage) sliced up
1 cup of baby carrots
1 small onion chopped up
1 can of crushed tomatoes and peppers
Water to fill up the crook pot
1. Rinse your beans and let drain.
2. Pull your crock pot out and add the washed beans, chopped onions, baby carrots, tomatoes, and sausage.
3. Fill the crock pot up with water covering the ingredients.
4. Cook on high for about 3-4 hours and then turn down to low for another 4 hours (total cooking down for 7-8 hours).
5. You made need to add more water during the cooking process. I added about a cup of water when I turned it down.
6. I stirred it about once an hour to get the ingredients together. The longer it cook, the more the beans break down to thicken the soup up.
7. Serve with a scoop of brown rice (optional).
Plus it is not full of stuff and is a good source of protein. I have been doing weight watchers and one serving is about 5 points which make it a filling meal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What kind of example are you setting for your kids?

6:25 AM 0 Comments
People always tell me how nice my kids are. I have heard so many times how well behaved, polite and courtesy they are. People always ask what our secret is and I saw there is no secret, the kids act this way because we lead by example and have expectations of them. We set a solid example for them and well the kids seem to follow.
My kids still act like little hellions (just ask my mother in law how Miss O was last week) and they get punished accordingly. Maybe we are hard or mean seeming but the kids react to it by being well behaved most of the time. I know that when I am stressed out, my kids seem to act worst versus when I am in a good mood, I see my kids act better.
I have learned that my actions directly affect how my kids are and they model their behavior after mine. My kids are polite because well I try to be polite (even though it gets harder every day with how people are becoming). I expect lots of myself, so I expect a lot from my kids. I set examples of correct behavior and how I react with them.
As an exercise, think about that thing that annoys you the most about your children. Oddly, it is likely one of your most dominating traits. My husband and I were talking the other day and he told me that our son can irk him more often than our daughter. Why because Mr. L is a mini version of my husband. I see the same looks of intense thought across both of their faces.
I notice that they enjoy similar activities and as Mr. L grows, I believe, they will find so many things in common. Your kid is a reflection of yourself. I too admit at times, I get annoyed with Miss O because she has to do things her way which is totally like me. I have tried hard to work on areas, I know that annoy my husband. I have to work on being more flexible in areas, that I have a hard time being flexible in.
Kids learn by the example you set. I know when I see a kid have a tantrum, that one of the parents must be a hot head. I know this first hand because I was a kid who through tantrums and well my mother (who I love dearly) was one. My Mom and I both worked on it as we have gotten older. She told me many times that she would get upset over things that really didn’t matter as much as she thought. We both have learned to control the tempers and find this is a far better way to be.
I stepped back myself and really evaluated how I dealt with that anger. I admit there are times I blow up in anger but it is pretty rare now. Everyone does it at some point. Another thing is that I didn’t want allow that in my house. I have a zero tolerance policy for that kind of behavior and the kids know it.
Another thing I see often is manners with kids. Overall for many they are lacking. I see kids who have no idea what please and thank you even mean. I think it is important in this day to thank people for doing the right thing and recognize when things are done the right way. I try hard to do this so my kids will and I remind them all the time to thank people for being nice. I think nice people go much further in life than ones who are not.
My kids are not perfect but I have never had anyone tell me they were awful. They have their moments and I notice they usually are at times when they are overwhelmed. When that happens, we try to work with them as much as possible to teach them how to deal when they are in that situation. The kids will react the way you teach them to react when you set a good example.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The second child

11:30 AM 0 Comments
I really don't like comparing Miss O to Mr. L but it happens. I look at what Miss O did at almost 18 months and find it hard to believe that Mr. L seems to be doing way more. I know this is because he is watching Miss O like a hawk and mimicking lots of what he does but I look at him and the wheels seem to be turning overall much faster. He seems to be putting more thought into things and is a very big risk taker.

The one big difference between the kids is that Mr. L is a daredevil. This kid has no fear and is willing to try about anything hence him falling in the pool a few weeks back ( I also find him on top of things all the time. We are constantly pulling him down off the kitchen or dining room table. He loves to stand on any chair or stool he sees. The word of the day seems to be no which he has started using- yipee!

I know that his personality is light years away from Miss O and from me even. He is way more like his dad (who is denial about it). I know as he gets older he is going to be one kid who likes to tinker. I already see him trying to fix things. He is way more hands on than Miss O and wants to see how things are done.

He is an awesome little boy but because he is different from me, I am challenged. I have to parent him differently than Miss O because he responds to way different things. He doesn't care if you are upset like she gets. He cares less about it but I notice that if we take him out of the situation with a time out, his world is ending.

I love him dearly and am starting to see how as gets older, he is only going to get more awesome. I just have to hope that we can make it to that with out to many broken bones and accidents.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I am down and out- what about the kids?

3:15 PM 0 Comments
So here I am FINALLY on the mend from a major back flare up. The first day and half, I couldn't even stand up straight but finally am able to do that but still have a pretty bad back ache. I haven't had one of these since before Mr. L was born almost 18 months ago and that was related to pregnancy. I have NO idea what I did on Monday to hurt this bad.

So for the last few days, I have been pretty out of commission with the kids and only doing the bare minimum of things and lots of help from my husband. I feel bad because Mr. L has been wanting to be carried and I can barely do that so I have a grumpy toddler the last few days.

Since I started staying home, I have been sick pretty infrequently as has the kids. When I have been sick, it is like one day and I can push through it. I haven't been able to really push through it unless I have taken some pain meds which I don't like to be on.

Lucky me, that Miss O has been a big help in getting the things Mr. L may need like sippy cups and such. What an awesome 5 year old she is for helping me. She actually made him lunch yesterday. The both had a bologna sandwich which they loved.

The other thing is that because I ache so much, that my temper is much shorter as well and I admit I snapped a few times and expected things a certain way.

I feel bad for my kids when I am down and out. They aren't fending for themselves but I expect more of them because I need the help.Plus my hubby was on call for jury duty, so he wasn't able to be around as much as he would have liked.

My kids are remarkably well adjusted and did better than I expected while I was dealing with the backache. Mr. L was all about kisses when I was icing my back the other afternoon. Now that I am feeling somewhat better, I took the kids out and about though I am now paying for it. I try to make up where I can for them.

Teach yourself and your kids to say Please and Thank you

2:57 PM 0 Comments
I talked about the other day ( about how I am thankful in this thankless world. I have been thinking about it more and than today something happen to me today that irked me because I did a good thing and well received just plain rudeness. Yes I am both complaining and lecturing today.

So here is what happen- we were at the dollar store today and when I walked up to the checkout the woman behind me had like three things in her hand where I had a basket full, so I told her to go in front of me. She pushed herself around me and the kids never once uttering a thank you. Her attitude towards me was almost like it was expected of me to do that. Than another woman came me with one card. I fully admit I was annoyed now because I had done a nice thing for this other woman when the one behind me shouted over to the woman in front of me (they knew each other) and handed her one item and told her to pay for it.

So here I am with two small kids, trying to be nice and I was totally taken advantage of by these rude women at the store. It makes me not want to be kind (No good deed goes unpunished I guess). I stewed for awhile and I never said anything to them but it got me thinking about how often I don't hear please and thank you from others. I see this attitude of it is expected rather than a privilege.

I try hard to say please and thank you. I reward the good and usually will comment when things are bad. It just seems that good manners has gone out the door for so many. So I ask that you stop and try to remember to take that moment to say please and thank you when you are out and about. Teach your kids how important it is and show how far it goes with good things.

I am just venting and I will not stop doing good things like saying please and thank you. I also will not think twice in doing what I did today by letting the woman go before me. I just hope that people stop and acknowledge when someone does something nice for you and don't expect it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Documenting the kids part 2

12:00 PM 0 Comments
So I talked about how important it is to document the kids with photos. I have been thinking lots about it and how much I love to look at their photos. For me it is the quickest way to time travel back to when they were little. Today I took them out to the park and photographed them lots.One of them was cooperative while the other ran around like a crazy person almost falling into the water fall.

It was fun to have them pose for me and I got some great shots of them. They will always be my favorite subject to shoot and I plan on taking thousands more photos to add to the thousands I already have.

Here are some of the many shots I took today:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Documenting the kids

4:59 PM 0 Comments
I think as a parent it is important to document the special and not so special things in your kids life. I am a big scrapbooker and picture taker because I love to look back and remember my kids. The house is full of pictures showcasing the kids growth and special times we have had together. Some of the best memories with the kids are ones that were spur of the moment.

I think as a parent, it is important to document what you can. I love looking at old pictures of myself and brother. My daughter loves looking at them as well. I look at them and see hy my kids look the way they do. I see that when I was little, I made that face or I did that.

The photos for me are a window to the past and a way to see how far my kids have come. I am amazed at this tiny baby we brought home in 2006 is now headed to kindergarten this fall. I see the leaps and bounds my little boy has had since his arrival.

So I recently invested in a new camera to continue the documentation of the kids and the events in our life. I have taken a big leap and am so excited to take this leap.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sick Kid-Yeah!

7:33 AM 0 Comments
As a a parent, we all have dealt with a sick kid. I am a lucky parent because my kids don't get sick that often. When my daughter was little, she did get sick quite often and even had a case of RSV hen she was about 10 months. I started wondering why she was so sick and noticed that she had huge tonsils. I mean these tonsils were so big that they were called kissing tonsils. So we went through countless tests to make sure that her sleep apnea was caused by the tonsils and not some underlying problem.

Sure enough, we found out it was the tonsils which we had removed when she was 22 months and well now she rarely gets sick and when she does, it is pretty quick. I am glad we dealt with them at this age. I to had large tonsils and had some problems as a kid to but out grew most of them.

So the fact is for me, I get sick kids pretty rarely now. I think I can count on my fingers how many times both kids have gotten sick in their lives since Miss O had her tonsils removed. But today, the little one woke up with a fever. He has gotten sick like maybe twice since he was born and even than, it was a mild cold.

I knew something was wrong when he sat down on the couch and didn't move for an hour. This in constant motion kid, was down for the count. He even at some point feel asleep. He is now laying there with a sippy cup of water and his yellow ducky watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

His Tylenol has kicked in but he still prefers to just vedge on the couch which is an okay thing to do when you don't feel good. I feel bad for him and plan on making him as comfortable as possible and just hope that whatever it is, passes quickly like most of the things they get now. Miss O is mothering him to the point of annoyance, so I do have tell her to just leave him be. I think it is just her nature, like mine, to take care of him because he is sick. She has asked him many times if he needs anything which is funny because he doesn't say to much.

Sick kids are a given when you have kids. You hope that you can make them comfortable and relax till they feel better. You also hope that you don't get it either or that if you do, that it doesn't hit as hard as it hit him.

Well, Mr. L has slide of the couch now but still movement is minimal because he is just standing there and again I had to tell her to leave him alone. So lets hope for a quick recovery and that no one else gets it and maybe it is just teething.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remember your Pool Safety

12:26 PM 0 Comments
Summertime is here and the kids flock to the pool because it is something to have fun. As much fun as the pool is, it is also something that can be deadly for the kids. It is important to know that the pool season is here that the adults freshen up on the thing to ensure the safety for the kids.

We have a pool and my now 5 year old always stayed clear of it when she was little. We never left her alone out there and she had a natural fear to it which took a few years to overcome. My 17 month old is a complete different story- there is no fear and recently as I was standing right there, slipped into the pool. He was face down for a moment, as I jumped in to get him out. In a second, our lives could have changed forever. I was pretty shaken up about it.

The thing is we are a family that are doing the right things to ensure safety of our kids with the pool. We have the kids in swimming lessons and made a investment in a pool fence that surrounds the pool. Our fence which is a wonderful thing, can be removed, which at the time of the incident was down so that the kids could enjoy the pool. I was watching my son like a hawk, and I turned my head for a second, when I heard a splash and looked down to see him in the water. He was only in there for a moment and he did hold his breath but still it was terrifying to go through that. I can't even imagine what it feels like for a parent when the unthinkable happens.

My cautionary tale is one to remind people that even when you do all the right things, that things still happen. I never leave my children unattended in or around the pool even with the fence up. Both kids are told constantly about how dangerous the pool and water is. As parents we need to make sure we are always watching our kids when in the pool and remember that even if our kids are good swimmers that something could go wrong in a heartbeat.

So remind your kids about pool safety, and freshen up on pool safety as well. Make sure that you are doing all the things you need to do to ensure that your kids are safe if you have a pool. Kids can drown in just enough water to cover their faces.

I am doing all the right things and my kid still fell into the pool as I was standing right there. It only made me feel that I need to continue with what we are doing and never turn my head for a moment until my son is a strong swimmer.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Haircut Trick

2:14 PM 0 Comments
I so have to share the haircut trick used on Lumpy today. When I took him for his official first haircut back in February, he screamed like a banshee. I had the haircut done in one of those places in the big box store and people were stopping and staring because he was carrying on so. Some laughed and said it must be his first haircut. It was an overall painful experience so I was not looking forward to repeating it.

So fast forward to now and his hair has gotten long. I knew it needed to be cut when the woman at the sub shop asked it the baby was a boy or girl. I told her a boy and sort of laughed it off with a witty comment about his long eye lashes. Though I knew that it was time for a cut. Grandpa also commented on the need for the haircut to so, I found one of those places, far from my house to try because I figured if I had a reenactment of last time, I wouldn't run the risk of having to go there or see them again.

The stylist took his info and asked me how I wanted it cut and suggested we shave it. I thought that was a great idea but inside was terrified at how it was going to go. We put lumpy in the seat alone and the brilliant stylist asked if he could have a lollipop- it was the perfect thing to distract him for the ten minutes of the haircut.

She was able to shave his head and use the scissors without one peep. The only time someone got upset was when the sucker was done. I will always use this method now with him until he gets big enough to understand more that he needs to sit. This small amount of sugar helped both him and me through what I thought was going to be a nightmare.

I usually don't like to bribe my kids in to doing things but once in awhile especially in situations that cause anxiety with them, I am willing. So now I have a kid who looks like a boy actually he looks like a boy who really looks like his Daddy now.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Why the Blog!

6:24 AM 0 Comments
So awhile ago I was at story time and I was almost plowed over by one of the other mothers who decided she just needed to park next to me even though there were plenty of other spaces around. What annoyed me was that she say me taking my one year out of the car as she pulled into the spot. I had to stop and practically climb into the car so she was able to get the spot.
You see this isn't the first time that I have had an issue with this woman and her kid. The kid is pushy and has shoved my kid and other kids many times. I understand why the kid is that way because Mom is the same way.

I have for a long time thought about how we in this country has an epidemic of poorly behaved kids because we have poorly behaved parents. For my husband and I parenting is about common sense. We work hard each and every day on having our kids be good kids. I have been told countless times how nice my kids are and how well behaved they are. For the most parts my kids are well behaved. Both my parents and my in-laws have told us we are hard on them but it has paid off because the kids are great. I will admit that it isn't all wonderful and we do have trying times- what parent hasn't.
I wanted to have a blog in order to jot down some of the things as a mom that I am thinking about. I know in this crazy world that we all deal with the stresses of parenting. I know that as a Mom, I work hard every day to ensure that my kids are in a good place.
So I figured I needed a place to put those thoughts down and see here it goes. So that is why I wanted to blog, to give tips, get things off my chest, and help each other.