Friday, October 31, 2008

trick or treat


The boys wore their festive teeshirts today. They were excited about a special 'candy' day. HA
This year was the first time we took the toddler to a n'hood to go door to door to trick or treat. The previous 2 years we've taken him to the mall for the indoor activities they offer for kids. We decided to go over to one of Jonathon's friends houses where they always have a cookout and lots of people over for Halloween. We trick-o-treated'd in his neighborhood. Both boys ended up with alot of goodies. The toddler followed his big brother's lead the entire night. He was prepared to say 'trick or treat' all day long. So some of the houses we went to he was singing it over and over. He had so much fun hanging out with his big brother for Halloween!

Big E was a dirty ninja... he wore special swords on his back... but as you can see from the picture above, he's not 'dirty'. HA. Below he looks like he's ready for anything that comes his way!!

The toddler was "Yoda". He surprised us by wearing the ears all night. He didn't want them snapped under his chin (gets that from mommy I guess - I despise things that touch my neck) but he was excited to wear the hat otherwise! He was just the right size for Yoda this year and we accessorized him w/ a tiny light saber. He wouldn't stay still for any other photos, so I snagged these right before we headed out.

Happy Birthday




Happy Birthday to my hubby today. I'll never tell you how young he is.....

It's too sppoooookyyyyyy {insert silly ghost voice} . HA.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

comfort food


Another recipe swap is going on over at LifeasMom's blog. This one is a personal favorite of mine during the holiday season. Comfort food!! There's so many different things that are considered comfort food, I thought I'd share a sidedish. We try our best at home to improvise with these kinds of recipes to make them healthier.


The recipe I'm sharing is Cracker Barrel Style Hashbrown Casserole, I've added the substitutions that we've tried and it turns out just as tasty to me and lower in calories and fat.

Below are both ways to make it! Fat and lower fat.


Ingredients:

2 lbs frozen hashbrowns

1/2 cup melted butter (we use fat free butter)

1 can cream of chicken soup (we use the reduced fat version)

1 pt. sour creme (we use light or fat free)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we use 1 cup fat free, 1 cup 2%)

1 tsp. pepper

2 cups crushed corn flakes

1/4 cup melted butter (for the cornflakes, again, fat free)


Defrost hashbrowns. Combine next seven ingredients and mix w/ hashbrowns. Put all in a 13x9 casserole dish. Saute cornflakes in butter and sprinkle on top. Cover and bake 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. I uncover during the last 5 minutes to let it get a little crunchy on top.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

warm fuzzy Wednesday


5 things I'm feeling warm and fuzzy about today

  1. Kid conversations....Driving our oldest to school and listening to our youngest dictate the drive there, pointing out landmarks regularly. "see cows eza?" (he calls our oldest "Eza") and big brother replies "yes, and what do the cow's say?" the little one then says "moooo - ah-ah-ah-choo!!" Why achoo?? Well, because that's what Clara the Cow says in this book that we read occasionally. Then the oldest says "see the firetruck over there? what does the firetruck say?".... and the little one says "weeeeee-ooooo, weee-oooooo, honk honk".

  2. Holding hands.... sometimes on a long commute I will put a dvd movie on (gasp - TV - in the CAR???!!!??? it's about the only time he gets to see it, lol). The little one enjoys Finding Nemo and the part at the beginning where the mean shark takes the eggs away and leaves only little Nemo and his daddy behind seems to warrant hand holding between brothers. This is a silent gesture. So, the toddler senses it's a sad moment in the movie, and then reaches his hand out w/o saying a word - big brother follows through with hand holding and no complaints. Warms my heart. Unspoken reassurance is sometimes the best kind.

  3. Teaching moments.... every afternoon after we get back from the school commute and return home, the boys play together for some one-on-one brother time. During this time, the little one plays parallel to his big brother. At random during this playtime, big brother introduces a new color, shape or sound - it doesn't seem to sink in at the moment. The paycheck on this quick lesson of teaching is usually at the most random times. Like when we're in a store, and we see a certain item or color or shape and it's pointed out by the toddler with excitement, and more importantly - the conversation is directed toward his big brother because he knows that he'll understand him!

  4. Growth.... our oldest admitted something about 'girls' to me this week. I immediately called my hubby to tell him once I got a private moment - I had to share it. In respect of his privacy, I will not write about the details at all. He was reluctant to tell me - so I'm going to cherish that he shared it.... and realize that he's moving from being a 'little boy' to a young man quite quickly in many ways.

  5. Lullaby's- The night of the ER visit, we got home and for the first time in the little one's life he slept in our bed. We've napped together before, but never an overnighter in the big bed. It was more about me, and my need for security then his. I wanted to somehow keep apologizing to him, let him know he was safe and I was there for him. He asked to go night night in his bed, but convinced him with a story or two. The next night, he asked me to 'rock rock' him in his room. I haven't really rocked him since he was a small baby. On occasion when he doesn't feel well, or during teething times, I'd rock him for a few moments to soothe him before bed. This time he wanted me to rock rock, it was so sweet... then he asked me 'mommy, sing?'. So I sang (poor him) and rocked. He's always been the baby I could walk to the crib, put in the crib, rub his back for a moment, kiss and walk away, literally 2 minutes or less. He never cries when he wakes, never has except for when he was an infant and hungry. He's a great self soother, and always has been, outside of not feeling good. That ER visit was a month ago, and we've been rock rock and singing for a month now. This little routine at bedtime lasts no longer then 5 minutes, but it's a moment of my day I look forward too. We have 3 special songs in a special order, sweet lullaby's, and then he's off to bed. Tonight, after I left the room, over the monitor - I heard him singing one of those songs to himself. Sweet little boy, growing so fast.

Both of our boys - growing so fast.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

toddler halloween wreath

I snagged this idea from this blog.... The little one loved doing this project. I did the cutting work of course, and he donated his hand and footprints. I think we'll use this as a yearly craft and watch his hands and feet grow! I have found a few more fun ideas and we hope to do them this week.
We used washable paints, 1 paper plate, construction paper (black and white) glue and scissors to do this project. We also used toddler feet (white ghosts) and toddler hands (orange pumpkins)...
First we painted the bottoms of his feet white several times and stamped them onto the black. Let that dry then painted in the ghost eyes and mouth. Did the same w/ the palms only of his hands and painted those orange, stamped those on white paper then let that dry and painted stalks and faces on the pumpkins. Cut them out, then glue them to the outer ring of the paper plate!










if I only had a brain


Life lesson # 6,999,987,123 = Never attempt to 'purge' old toddler toys (broken, un-used, outgrown, and just in general pointless to keep) WHILE the toddler is awake.... It's been fun trying to sneak them into certain piles. I could have planned this better I suppose. We have a throw away pile, a Nicholas pile and a keep pile. At the moment he's jumping into the piles. All boy.

I'm a big dummy. Quite counterproductive. Either way, we need to do it - and right now I have time in between crafts this morning and work in about 30 minutes when he naps. The child has so many toys he never plays with... we're passing some of the 'baby' toys to Nicholas and we know they'll be put to good use there. Others are missing pieces and just useless. We're also going for the less is more approach this holiday season. Less by way of little odds and ends, and more by way of finding good long lasting toys made of natural resources. He's in love with wood trucks, cars, etc., and his imagination explodes with the simple things we give him. So, with Christmas and his birthday right around the corner - we're making room for what will take place of the toys we're letting go of now.

We still do the 'special box' in the closet. I have 5 plastic tubs and in each tub are toys that are of a 'theme' - like music toys, cars, planes, trucks, manipulative's for learning, etc.... these special boxes have been a lifesaver! Especially with rainy day blues. It also keeps him stimulated not to have all of his toys out at once. It seems like a big surprise when we pull out a special box! Almost as if he forgot he had those toys.

Well, back to it. Hopefully this project will be out of the way today. We still have to finish our special halloween craft from today. The paint is drying now, then the final step!

Monday, October 27, 2008

useless info

Politics, gas prices, economy, stock market.... most days I take a deep breath before I turn on the news. So, in effort to lighten up things, I wanted to post my first Monday edition of random facts and ponderings...
Ten random facts:

  1. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple.
  2. In a speech made in 1961, John F. Kennedy was recorded as speaking at 327 words per minute, the fastest in public history.
  3. You have to pay a tax in Denmark to use the back seat of your car for passengers.
  4. There is a city in Norway called "Hell.
  5. Every time Beethoven sat down to write music, he poured ice water over his head.
  6. Giraffes only sleep for 5 minutes a day.
  7. Mark Twain didn't graduate from elementary school.
  8. Your nose and ears never stop growing.
  9. A law in Alexandria, Minnesota makes it illegal for a husband to make love to his wife if his breath smells like garlic, onions, or sardines.
  10. Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand while drawing with the other.

I think he gets that from me...

...of all the traits I could pass on to my kid.... ugh. You always hear people say "you get that from your mom, or your dad". I wish I could wave a magic wand over this one AND heart disease potentials for both of our kids.

Thursday after "The Mist" we noticed a red streak under the little one's nose... this was a little sign of a possible irritation from the Mist dripping on his skin. It was the type of irritation that mirrored that of when cinnamon touches his skin. Blotchy, red, hive like mark. He's itched at it, wiped at it and rubbed it for 3-4 days now. It's still there, and today is Monday. I documented this in our allergy journal, just in case. Could be no big deal.... then this morning I decided to treat us to McD's, there was a selfish purpose behind it. I ran out of coffee. HA. Long story short, the toddler had already ate his breakfast at 730am, we left and picked up big E some breakfast and I grabbed a treat too. I gave the toddler my hashbrown, I don't like them but he does. He was a eating tank this morning and asked for more, but I didn't have more, so I pinched off some of the 'pancake' off of my sandwich (McGriddle - if I'm going to eat junk - I go all out, it's rare) the piece I handed him was on the egg side of the sandwich. Within minutes his face was splotchy, he was sneezing, eyes watering and itching at his face and nose.

I called the hubby, and then the doctor. Coincidentally, both of these "hive-like" reactions were right after exposure to egg. He doesn't eat eggs in general (never seems to want them when we offer), but he does eat things with eggs in them and doesn't have a problem - that we've noticed. After speaking with the nurse, and then the doctor it seems like we should avoid eggs in plain cooked form for now, and to watch for any mild reactions/symptoms to anything cooked w/ egg in it. Mild reactions are the body's warning signs. We plan to do diagnostic testing after he turns 3 and we're being referred to a pediatric allergist. They gave us the advice to keep benadryl handy at all times, avoid the obvious potentials - the pool somehow triggered hives the last 2 years, and now eggs. We also have epi-pens for the worst case scenario. I'm not big on jumping to conclusions... but I sure am glad that we've kept up with a journal and taken pictures during each of these episodes, been cautious and to a degree what some have called " too picky". The doctor feels sure that we will have allergies to deal with to some degree w/ him, early intervention will determine to what degree. I'm just thankful that this day and time - these things can be detected.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

weekend wrapup

This weekend we did get alot done! I have almost cleared my Christmas shopping list for the little ones in our family. We don't do big Christmas gift shopping for grownups, a modest personal gift is what we plan and to be honest - we have very little invested in that but I think it will be appreciated (hope so anyway)..... but as for the nieces, nephews, and cousins - got em' covered! I have 3 more things to buy and then we're done :) woohoo! After that, we have just a few things to get for our own kids. Our budget has changed for the holidays over the past few years, as has my time in getting it done. I made it a personal goal to get all of this done before Thanksgiving, that way the holiday time is about family, gatherings, and enjoying the family traditions - NOT about gift buying and frantically making sure this and that are done.
We also got the boys Halloween stuff handled (costumes), we're planning some fun crafts this week for both boys - most of the ideas are ones I snatched up from The Crafty Cow, and we also plan to carve one of our pumpkins - maybe both.
Mimi and Papaw came over for a visit on Saturday afternoon, we had an early birthday meal for Jonathon. He shares his birthday with Halloween, so it's hard to make plans on that day! We had a great time hanging out and laughing with Mimi and Papaw. It's nice when gatherings are easy, no work involved, and just about time together. We ordered Boston Market for everyone - we went all gourmet. HA. More time was spent talking and laughing, less time cooking and cleaning - my kind of visit ;).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

about the week part II

  • Thursday the boys went to have The Flu Mist. Last year they ran out, and we opted out of the shot. Neither boy has ever had the flu shot. Vaccines are like politics to me, I tread lightly when discussing them. Opinions are either for or against usually - and I'm somewhere in the middle on unknown territory. While I agree that they have their place, I also understand that thermasol is somehow linked to Autism. I don't believe that vaccines cause Autism, but I do believe after reading medical studies from reliable resources that it can and has been proven to increase the likelihood in some children. Again, I'm a skeptic, and I always will be. Our oldest child was long ago diagnosed with PDD-NOS, and it makes us even more apprehensive in general. These things can't always be avoided, genetics play a role and since his biological mother was adopted we're not even sure of his complete medical genetic history. So, his ASD is very high functioning and very few people would ever know it was a concern, but even so - we're not willing to increase his odds. Very few people understand our perspective on being cautious, but no one is responsible for our kids but us. Secondly, a concern w/ vaccines and/or prescribed meds in general with our youngest (my own biological child) is my personal medical history with idiopathic anaphalactic shock. Medications trigger my severe allergic reactions, and some vaccinations are also known to cause "anaphylactoid" reactions. These reactions include total respiratory failure, and potentially a fatal outcome. My brother died from anaphalactic shock and his first reaction occured 5 days short of 1 year to the date of his death, his 4th reaction took his life. These reactions occurred at random, and to this day the only fact we have is that the last reaction was due to fire ant venom, the other reactions are unexplained but likely insect related. My mother has a severe allergy to medications and little J has had his own severe allergic reactions 2 times in the past 2 years, and our ped. has us keeping a allergy journal on him now. We don't live our life in a panic or in complete fear, but we're justifiably apprehensive. Thankfully, our pediatrician is equally apprehensive and 100% supportive of our quest to do what's safest and best for our children. For something that seems to just be the average thing to do, like get a flu shot or even take a pill - doesn't seem so average to us at all. Most people stay for 10-15 min after "the mist" but we stayed longer. Both boys did great, neither one of them seemed to mind the nasal spray at all, and the little one thought it tickled. Had the Flu Mist not been available, we'd have skipped it again this year (they've never had it before). I'm 32 years old, and the only time that I've ever had the flu vaccine was the only time I've ever had the flu. Weird huh? I guess I'm weird. After researching some, and speaking w/ the ped. I learned that the flu vaccines given protect against 2 or 3 strains only - there are 50 known strains of the flu. Interesting stuff. Fingers are crossed that the Mist protects my kids.

about the week part I

I didn't get my usual urge to post last week. Just random things going on that made my personal computer time a little less frequent. I work at night, but usually don't take time to journal during work. So there were a few things I wanted to journal about for my own personal memory! I've found that looking back on old journal posts makes me remember parts of my life that I may have shoved aside in my brain. That sole reason, is why I blog in general.
  • A few months back we discovered that the floor under our powder room toilet was officially rotting. There had been a small and slow leak progressing for the entire time we've lived here, and just as we began to see the darkening wood underneath we decided that something must be wrong. Well I finally got around to calling a general contractor (handyman) who came Monday to inform me that the wax ring at the bottom of the toilet was leaking along with the entire plastic gasket that is supposed to fit flush (ha, flush - the irony) with the wood floor was not at all flush and was in fact causing small amounts of water to leak. Thanks home builder,flooring people - thanks. Our house is 6 years old, and the builders of the house didn't leave a wood sample for us (we have tile samples, paint samples, even caulking samples - but go figure, no wood), so we had no idea of the wood floor brand, color, type, etc. So with his advice and on a long shot, I called the builder who referred me to the floor company they used who told me that the floor we have is no longer used by them! The only thing they could tell me was the general color!! Woohoo!! So handyman went to Lowes, Home Depot and we called flooring liquidators - none of which carried the color. HA! SO..... on a whim I google.com'd the color name and came up with ONE possibility, they suggested that I order a sample. I did, it arrived yesterday, and bingo - as close of a match as we could ask for. So, we're planning to order a good bit of this wood, because in the next year or so we'd like to extend our wood foyer through the kitchen and possibly the formals. Since the price per case is reasonable, we'll likely buy enough for what we need and store it until we're ready to pay the labor to have it installed. We're pretty confident that we'd screw it up ourselves ;).
  • Tuesday began a new course of study for big E's classroom. Sex Education. We're an open family, we discuss alot at home and big E happens to be a rather direct child who see's things in black and white for the most part. So if he has a question about something, even when some kids (or adults for that matter) would find it embarrassing to ask, he doesn't. He asks, and sometimes at the darnedest times and at this point in his life has a general idea of most everything they'll go over. I remember fondly, driving down the road when he was around 3-4 years old I noticed he kept fidgeting in his boy area and I asked if something was wrong and he quickly replied without stuttering "no, my penis is growing, that's all". I couldn't help but giggle, and then think about the big picture - this was just the start! So, sex education at school - I have mixed emotions, we were given an opt out form but we didn't sign it. I realize it's a part of life, it's not something to avoid, and it's also something we're not solely trusting a teacher to educate him with. The idea that all learning is to be done in a public school house is not practical to me, and may not at all be a concern after this year. See this, and this and this and this, post for why. We have always felt like there's no place like home for learning, particularly on moral driven matters like this one. So, we're going along with our own series of study at home w/ that, it just seems more important to us to be the teachers and guideposts for him in these important steps in life. He's nearing puberty, he's nearing the wonderful world of boyhood. He doesn't in the least bit seem to be grossed out by the idea of learning this at school or at home, they will also take a field trip to Discovery Place to have a visual learning experience along with the classroom learning. This will include a visual demonstration of how a baby grows from conception to delivery, and the actual 'delivery' will be demonstrated modestly with a model of the birth canal and how the baby is born. So I ask anyone who reads, what do you think about this course of study for 5th graders (homeschooled or public/private)???

Friday, October 24, 2008

flashback Friday


These two photos were taken less then 1 week before I married my husband. As strange as it may be, I believe that the single photo posted of Heather on her flashback from a few weeks ago may have been taken on the same day as these of the kids.
This is our big E (the only boy in the photo) and his cousins Hannah and Tara!! Wow those kids were a blast to get in a room together, laughing, having fun and loving life. This was so fun, making a bean bag oreo sandwich with them over and over.
My goodness how they're all growing so fast. We miss them dearly.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

autumn

I love autumn. The leaves changing, the smells of the holidays just around the corner, the comfort food, the beautiful October sky... I could go on and on. The only thing I don't really care for is the unpredictable weather, but that's not a biggie. It's fine, it comes along with changing seasons. I've been taking alot of photos of the colors. It's fall, things are changing around here.

The leaves of the tree in our front yard today.



A photo of the baby 'compkin' that the toddler picked out!



Ethel and Mayberry - the protectors of our pumpkins!


A beautiful sunflower - with a bee!!

And last, but certainly not least, such a favorite part of fall...... Reese's pumpkins!!! I have no idea how those got in my bag at Walmart the other day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

good point

I had to snap this photo w/ my cellphone. I couldn't resist.


art letter

While I'm at home w/ the toddler, we do play and learn activities during the day at random. We generally use natural play to cease the moment of learning. One thing we've been doing more (because one particular toddler loves it)is draw in the sand when we're outside, this started out with us just making tracks for the trucks or trains to drive through and it turned into the him making a circle and then an 8 and realizing it and wanting to do more sand shapes. We just went with it, and since then he's shown interest in drawing shapes, letters, and numbers then he tries to copy them.

Today he was so proud to tell me "mommy, look, M!!" I thought he wanted ME to draw a "M"... I came around the corner to see that the Aquadoodle mat was proudly displaying a "M". MAYBE it was pure coincidence, maybe it was unintentional, we DID work on M last week.... who knows. Either way I was so proud for him, because he was so proud for himself!!

car talk

I read about 40 blogs, all of which are updated at various times of the week, and some daily. In the last week I've seen almost half of them post about politics. I've been reviewing posts for information, resisting my own blog posts about it, and re-centering myself in knowing why my vote is being made for the candidate I choose.

I generally enjoy reading opinions of different views on politics. I am one to research after reading and try to validate opinions based on facts. Today, I was surprised by a short conversation with our 10 year old. After hearing a political campaign message on the radio, and some brief information about the recent visits to NC by both candidates, my 10 year old had something to add.

him: so, are you decided? do you know which person running for president you'll vote for?

me: well, honestly I'm curious of how YOU feel about it? no matter what I'm deciding, what do YOU think?
him: well, I think that the previous presidents have done some good for the country, getting different peace treaties signed and all....and that's good. Hopefully whoever is elected will follow their lead in the good choices that they've made. ((he was pointing out that not ALL of the past choices were bad))

me: really, how do you think that has helped?? (at this point I was so proud that he even knew about peace treaties, he DOES pay attention!)

him: it just seems to be helpful that the peace treaty(s) keep things from being hostile, it causes there to be a balance. that way no one has all the control.

me: and what do you think the new president, whoever that will be, should do different?

him: oh, he'll have alot of balancing to do it sounds like.

HA. Even the 10 year old is aware of the crappy financial mess this country is in!

awarded


ME!! I was pleasantly surprised! I don't even blog for money, I blog for my sanity, to vent, to journal, to share!! HA! Either way, it makes me get the warm and fuzzies that someone other then family (family is usually bias) thinks my blog is even remotely interesting OR creative!


My terrific friend, and as we like to put it - my sista from another mista, Julie over at CoolMomGuide has awarded me with the Kreativ Blogger Award. Julie is one of my best friends and I love her dearly! I'm so glad she's joined the blog world... her posts are funny, controversial at times (politics - whew, that was a cat fight in the making huh Julie? HA!), and in general filled with Julie Wit! With this award, I am to post 6 things I value and 6 things I do not and then pass the honor to 6 other bloggers that I frequent.

.
Value: Family, Friends, Honesty, Laughter, Sincerity, Thoughtfulness


Do not Value: Greed, Ignorance, Closed Mindedness, Selfishness, Deceit, and in general I don't value mean people. They suck.


And I pass this award on to: ((I came back to add a little about why I love these blogs))
Itspewsforth - real life, real emotions, real raw
LifeasMom - great tips, sharing, interactive with her blog readers
Ittybits & Pieces - random mommy humor, great posts, AWESOME photos!
Rocksinmydryer - great tips, product reviews, links, fun giveaways!
Homemaking Cottage Blog - crafty, creative, and centered
Ramblings of a Crazy Woman - the title says it all! so many creative ideas here


To you ladies who claim your much deserved awards, be sure to post your 6 values and non-values and pass this award on to 6 other incredible bloggers. Be sure to include on your award post the links to the 6 blogs you chose!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pumpkin Patch '08

This is our 3rd year visiting Hodges Dairy Farm for our pumpkin patch adventure. Today it was quite chilly and windy for the outing, but we already had planned to go, so we bundled up and headed out. After checking my blogroll tonight, I notice we're not the only ones who went on a pumpkin adventure today!!

I mentioned last year that Hodges Dairy relies on the good ole honor system. You pick em' then YOU price em'! It's still so strange to me to walk up and someone say "what do you want to pay me for those", just wild and I love it! In all fairness, they do have a few example pumpkins laid on the ledge that have an average price on them for their size/weight, and that gives you an idea of what to pay. However, today when I went up to pay the lady said to me "how much do you want to pay for those? whatever you think, whatever you can afford, we trust you." Wow, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside - over pumpkins.

Here's a few photos we took from our visit, I have posted the rest on the smugmug site. The boys had a terrific time even though it was cold and windy today. the toddler had fun finding comkins everywhere(pumpkins), big E had fun pulling them around in the wagon and pointing out the right ones to us. There was a replica of a giant spider at the front lot where we parked, and little J was apprehensive to go near it when we first came close to it, but once big E went up and touched it he was sold that it was safe. We ended up getting a couple of big pumpkins for carving, and each boy picked out their own little pumpkin!

Don't forget to check out what we did earlier today, big E had his belt test in TaiKwon Do!




**not crying above, it was very windy!

toddler green

** No one asked me to review this.. HA. This is totally my opinion and I wanted to ramble about it.

This morning the little guy and I watched a few Saturday morning cartoons. When I was growing up, Saturday mornings WERE about cartoons for about 2 hours!! The rest of the week, and weekend for that matter were not about TV, unless we sat down to watch Wheel of Fortune or Sanford and Son! HA. Anyway, we don't care for most of the 'new' cartoons so we generally watch Boomerang for classic cartoons like Tom&Jerry or the Smurfs, there are a few of the new cartoons that have a moral of the story type of approach, and those are the ones we generally watch on Saturday morning very early (before big boy wakes up). Little Einsteins is pretty fun, along with Johnny and the Sprites. I'll admit, at first the little talking Sprites kindof weirded me out... but taking a quick dose of reality, that's what kids like! It's imaginary, it's fun, it IS about kidstuff (not about me, ha). We're not concerned that the little one will grow up to believe that there is a Forrest of talking Sprites out there...I like how Johnny is an actual person in the show, and how special appearances are made by other actual people. It's a mix of cartoon characters and people, Sesame Street style I guess you'd say. Today's storyline shocked me, pleasantly!!

Here's a quick rundown of the show: Johnny Helps Mother Nature: Looking to give his garden some extra boost, Johnny sprays it with a new spray, not realizing that its actually harmful to the environment. The foul mixture soon spreads to Grootto's Grove, polluting the water, the air and all of the plants. Mother Nature makes a special appearance to get to the bottom of the problem and to remind both Johnny and the Sprites why it's important to care for nature.

I LOVED how Mother Nature was portrayed by a woman wearing a whimsical outfit made of flowers, it almost looked like she was a landscape scene! Her gown was green at the bottom, floral at the waist, and cloud blue at the top, she wore a beautiful tiara of flowers in her hair. Again, we're not concerned that our kids think that Mother Nature is a PERSON... but it was an interesting way to show that Mother Nature is important. In most cases, people don't want to upset other people, and the desire to please others starts at an early age. So what an interesting twist on how to please Mother Nature!! Portraying her as a person for mere symbolism that creates a concrete type of idea that Mother Nature should be regarded with respect.

I read WAY more into it then our almost 3 year old... but boy do I realize how very much he DOES pick up from what he see's. I see the big picture, and the big picture was absolutely described in the theme song for this episode. Johnny sang the song while planting flowers, gathering plastics for recycling, and generally cleaning up! It's a catchy little song!!

The toddler danced and clapped during the closing song, while I was sortof bubbling with glee that there's a little green talk Incorporated into something fun for even the toddlers! We're not the greenest people on the planet, but we sure try to do the little things like recycle, conserve water, avoid chemical overload, etc. I'm sure we have more we can do, and we're trying to do more each day. It's nice having the kids involved and more importantly to me, keeping it fun instead of it seeming like such a chore. While we do not at all rely on TV to teach our kids any morals, we do enjoy the idea that some real issues are addressed in a fun kid friendly way in a few of the shows that are offered up for viewing.

toddler green

** No one asked me to review this.. HA. This is totally my opinion and I wanted to ramble about it.

This morning the little guy and I watched a few Saturday morning cartoons. When I was growing up, Saturday mornings WERE about cartoons for about 2 hours!! The rest of the week, and weekend for that matter were not about TV, unless we sat down to watch Wheel of Fortune or Sanford and Son! HA. Anyway, we don't care for most of the 'new' cartoons so we generally watch Boomerang for classic cartoons like Tom&Jerry or the Smurfs, there are a few of the new cartoons that have a moral of the story type of approach, and those are the ones we generally watch on Saturday morning very early (before big boy wakes up). Little Einsteins is pretty fun, along with Johnny and the Sprites. I'll admit, at first the little talking Sprites kindof weirded me out... but taking a quick dose of reality, that's what kids like! It's imaginary, it's fun, it IS about kidstuff (not about me, ha). We're not concerned that the little one will grow up to believe that there is a Forrest of talking Sprites out there...I like how Johnny is an actual person in the show, and how special appearances are made by other actual people. It's a mix of cartoon characters and people, Sesame Street style I guess you'd say. Today's storyline shocked me, pleasantly!!

Here's a quick rundown of the show: Johnny Helps Mother Nature: Looking to give his garden some extra boost, Johnny sprays it with a new spray, not realizing that its actually harmful to the environment. The foul mixture soon spreads to Grootto's Grove, polluting the water, the air and all of the plants. Mother Nature makes a special appearance to get to the bottom of the problem and to remind both Johnny and the Sprites why it's important to care for nature.

I LOVED how Mother Nature was portrayed by a woman wearing a whimsical outfit made of flowers, it almost looked like she was a landscape scene! Her gown was green at the bottom, floral at the waist, and cloud blue at the top, she wore a beautiful tiara of flowers in her hair. Again, we're not concerned that our kids think that Mother Nature is a PERSON... but it was an interesting way to show that Mother Nature is important. In most cases, people don't want to upset other people, and the desire to please others starts at an early age. So what an interesting twist on how to please Mother Nature!! Portraying her as a person for mere symbolism that creates a concrete type of idea that Mother Nature should be regarded with respect.

I read WAY more into it then our almost 3 year old... but boy do I realize how very much he DOES pick up from what he see's. I see the big picture, and the big picture was absolutely described in the theme song for this episode. Johnny sang the song while planting flowers, gathering plastics for recycling, and generally cleaning up! It's a catchy little song!!

The toddler danced and clapped during the closing song, while I was sortof bubbling with glee that there's a little green talk Incorporated into something fun for even the toddlers! We're not the greenest people on the planet, but we sure try to do the little things like recycle, conserve water, avoid chemical overload, etc. I'm sure we have more we can do, and we're trying to do more each day. It's nice having the kids involved and more importantly to me, keeping it fun instead of it seeming like such a chore. While we do not at all rely on TV to teach our kids any morals, we do enjoy the idea that some real issues are addressed in a fun kid friendly way in a few of the shows that are offered up for viewing.

belt testing





Several years ago when big E took TaiKwon Do he made it up to a yellow belt. When he decided he wanted to start back w/ TaiKwon Do we discussed how to start with his instructor. It was suggested that he start fresh, working his way quickly back up to where he was and then progress from there. Today he took his first belt test. He PASSED :)

Our camera battery died quickly and hadn't been charged, evidently the battery didn't secure on the charger overnight properly ~sad face~ so I had to use my cellphone! We got pictures either way!!

video


sorry for the poor quality! it's a cellphone! Our's is front, far right.

Toddler Green

** No one asked me to review this.. HA. This is totally my opinion and I wanted to ramble about it.

This morning the little guy and I watched a few Saturday morning cartoons. When I was growing up, Saturday mornings WERE about cartoons for about 2 hours!! The rest of the week, and weekend for that matter were not about TV, unless we sat down to watch Wheel of Fortune or Sanford and Son! HA. Anyway, we don't care for most of the 'new' cartoons so we generally watch Boomerang for classic cartoons like Tom&Jerry or the Smurfs, there are a few of the new cartoons that have a moral of the story type of approach, and those are the ones we generally watch on Saturday morning very early (before big boy wakes up). Little Einsteins is pretty fun, along with Johnny and the Sprites. I'll admit, at first the little talking Sprites kindof weirded me out... but taking a quick dose of reality, that's what kids like! It's imaginary, it's fun, it IS about kidstuff (not about me, ha). We're not concerned that the little one will grow up to believe that there is a Forrest of talking Sprites out there...I like how Johnny is an actual person in the show, and how special appearances are made by other actual people. It's a mix of cartoon characters and people, Sesame Street style I guess you'd say. Today's storyline shocked me, pleasantly!!

Here's a quick rundown of the show: Johnny Helps Mother Nature: Looking to give his garden some extra boost, Johnny sprays it with a new spray, not realizing that its actually harmful to the environment. The foul mixture soon spreads to Grootto's Grove, polluting the water, the air and all of the plants. Mother Nature makes a special appearance to get to the bottom of the problem and to remind both Johnny and the Sprites why it's important to care for nature.

I LOVED how Mother Nature was portrayed by a woman wearing a whimsical outfit made of flowers, it almost looked like she was a landscape scene! Her gown was green at the bottom, floral at the waist, and cloud blue at the top, she wore a beautiful tiara of flowers in her hair. Again, we're not concerned that our kids think that Mother Nature is a PERSON... but it was an interesting way to show that Mother Nature is important. In most cases, people don't want to upset other people, and the desire to please others starts at an early age. So what an interesting twist on how to please Mother Nature!! Portraying her as a person for mere symbolism that creates a concrete type of idea that Mother Nature should be regarded with respect.

I read WAY more into it then our almost 3 year old... but boy do I realize how very much he DOES pick up from what he see's. I see the big picture, and the big picture was absolutely described in the theme song for this episode. Johnny sang the song while planting flowers, gathering plastics for recycling, and generally cleaning up! It's a catchy little song!!

The toddler danced and clapped during the closing song, while I was sortof bubbling with glee that there's a little green talk Incorporated into something fun for even the toddlers! We're not the greenest people on the planet, but we sure try to do the little things like recycle, conserve water, avoid chemical overload, etc. I'm sure we have more we can do, and we're trying to do more each day. It's nice having the kids involved and more importantly to me, keeping it fun instead of it seeming like such a chore. While we do not at all rely on TV to teach our kids any morals, we do enjoy the idea that some real issues are addressed in a fun kid friendly way in a few of the shows that are offered up for viewing.

our little tree hugger

Friday, October 17, 2008

just like the commercials...

One ER visit w/ 6 hours of observation (because I was an idiot and wasn't paying attention)...$645.80
ER Pulse Oxygen and Pulmonary function tests..... $127.70

Electrocardiogram ..... $177.80

Total ER Bill ---- $951.30

Out of pocket expenses $150.00 ER Co-pay

Peace of mind that this little man is 100% ok. PRICELESS.

I love his silly face pose in this one!!

flashback Friday



Summer of 1999 or 2000 (dad, maybe you remember - I'm stuck on those two years) ...
I hadn't met my husband yet, and had no idea what a wonderful future with a family and kids I had in store for me. I was clueless about what my life would be like, how having kids can change your view of the world, and how much I'd grow as a person because of it. Not to mention, I was much skinnier.
My dad hadn't had quadruple bypass surgery yet, and the meal we had that day probably drove him closer toward needing it... he broke out the deep fryer on this particular day. This was the ONLY occasion in my entire lifetime that I saw my dad wearing shorts... not to mention a TEE SHIRT (GASP). Anyone who knows my dad - is probably in shock from that picture alone.
My grandma was her usual charming, beautiful, and straight to the point - direct self. (wonder where I get that trait??) We had a great meal and lots of laughs with dad and Susan, out on their newly closed in sun porch ....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

yummy pumpkins

I'm participating in recipe swaps through Life As Mom because I'm interested in variety. I like to see recipes and then try my best to manipulate them into a healthier version for my family!!

My entry in the recipe swap is one I found in a cookbook my mom sent me. She always gets me a community cookbook each year from her church or from the local fire department. This one is yummmmmmy!

Fall Muffins (makes around 30 regular, 18-24 jumbo)


· 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 cups whole wheat flour
· 2/3 cup rolled oat
· 1/2 cup oat bran
· 4 teaspoons baking powder
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 4 teaspoons cinnamon
· 2 teaspoons ground ginger
· 1 teaspoon nutmeg
· 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
· 3 ripe bananas, mashed
· 1 cup applesauce (the cinnamon applesauce makes it even better!)
· 15 ounces canned pumpkin
· 4 eggs, lightly beaten
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
· 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted - optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease or line muffin tins with paper liners.
Combine flours, bran, oats, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Using whisk or spoon, stir until well mixed.
Combine remaining ingredients (except nuts) in a large mixing bowl; beat until smooth.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Beat just until combined.
Spoon into prepared pans or tins
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
Remove muffins from pan and cool on wire rack as soon as they come out of the oven.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

honesty

My SIL posted this meme on her blog recently... she didn't officially 'tag' me, but I thought I'd give it a whirl. I am tagging Julie, Amy and Jennifer... let's get honest! So if you post it, then post a comment for me so I know to read it!!

Worst thing about you that you wish people never knew:

I wrecked my car once, at highway speeds (because I was on the highway), because I passed out at the wheel. I was drunk. I'm not proud - at all. I'm completely ashamed. I would kick my own ars if it were possible. I'm very fortunate to be alive after the speed and location of the accident. My parents don't even know... well - now my dad does (after reading this, sorry dad - but I was a dummy). But that's what this is, right? The brutally honest meme?? So there you go - I was a drunk driver. About 2 weeks later, my brother was hit by a drunk driver, he was injured and eventually was fine - but it could have been fatal after seeing the wreckage. I haven't had so much as a sip of wine and been behind the wheel since 1998. I will not let anyone I know drink a sip of wine and drive me anywhere - and if I can stop them, they won't drive themselves either. I wish I could go back and make that day different but I can't, it's my mistake, I live with it. I thank God everyday that no one was hurt by my stupidity.

What annoys you?
Insecurity, poor accountability, superiority complexes, bullies, indirect answers...
And on a lighter and slightly personal note, when my bra isn't comfortable - I'm pretty annoyed... also, when people drive with their signal on for no apparent reason - that's annoying.

What do you enjoy doing all alone?
bubble bath with a good book

What do you enjoy doing with friends?
laughing, talking, hanging out.

What do you enjoy doing with your kids?
I love watching them grow... but WITH them, I love to laugh, go to the lake, go for walks and 'treasure hunt' together, dinner time when we sit and talk, laugh and act silly. We actually DO sit together for dinner every night! I think in 6 years of marriage, we've maybe missed that 10 times.

What do you like most about your significant other?
I love that he's a great father to our kids, and a great husband and friend to me. Overall, our lives have taken us on one interesting ride - and he's stuck by, hung in there, and worked with me on this journey of ours, through thick and thin. I love that he's committed to this family and to being a father and when he gets home from work he devotes his time and attention to the family and doesn't flop down on the couch and ignore the kids as if they're 'my job' (I actually know people who do that). I love that we can have moments where we're not talking at all and then randomly start talking about the same thing.. that's a little weird, but it's also pretty neat!

What trait does your child have that you admire?

Big E - creativity - he loves to build things. Give him a random box of lego's and he can come out with a car from scratch... as if he saw instructions (but there really weren't any) and did it.
The toddler - passion - he has a passion for certain things. He knows what he wants and is very passionate about it.

What about you annoys others?
my convictions, my directness, my obsessive need to put certain things in the same place, my liking things a certain way... I'm sure there's tons and tons more.... :) I'm only human!

What about you is utterly obnoxious?
directness I'm sure, often I hear that I 'come across'... when I hear those words I cringe, because I don't INTEND to 'come across' anyway - it's just who I am.

Who is your favorite Historical Figure:
Beethoven

If you walked in a bookstore, what part of the store would you walk directly to?
non-fiction

What is your least favorite type of book?
science fiction, hands down (sorry dad)

in five minutes or less...



  • Friday after dropping big E off to school we were rear-ended... no major catastrophe, and the boy and I are fine. The SUV is super durable and came out with mere scratches ;). Not even worth getting insurance involved.

  • Saturday we had some of the neighborhood kids over for turkey dogs, chips, cake and a pinata beating... that was a blast. Jonathon's parents came by and had fun watching those kids go after that pinata.... We offered big E a birthday party OR gifts... what do you think he chose?? Since he chose gifts, we ended up having the neighbors over for just dogs and chips. They're usually over on the weekend anyway, so to make it more about the birthday we waited to do his cake for Saturday and got the pinata. What fun it was!

  • Sunday was a trip to our fav. Chinese restaurant... where we would leave our debit card (another city away) and have fun trying to figure out where we left it!! Once we discovered it was there, we were a little less worried about fraud or theft.

  • Monday was a trip to pick up the card after dropping big E off at school....we ended up getting a toddler haircut since we were near our fav. place for haircuts anyway!

  • Monday also marked 'black Monday' at my employer's.... they laid off over 15 people in just under 2 hours. I'm fortunate not to be in the mix, I work for them from home - independently. It's sad, and I'm so sad for these friends of mine who've lost their jobs. Just awful.

  • My SIL and BIL in TX have officially been given the opportunity to adopt 2 of their foster kids!!!! I'm super excited for them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

flashback Friday


Amy(right) and I(left) on the way to the beach when I was 9 years old. This would be the last trip we'd take together, I moved away with my family shortly after that vacation. The trip was for my birthday and a sortof 'going away' girls gathering. Amy and I were very close, best friends from childhood, we were literally joined at the hip whenever we could be. After moving away, we wrote, and even called one another for a while. Time pushed forward, and so did our lives... we lost touch.
How bitter sweet it has been to be reconnected with her. We hadn't talked in years, or even seen pictures of each other. She contacted me through the online obit right after the news of my brother's death, and we've been in touch regularly since. It's funny that we both have blogs, and all this time has passed by, yet there's so many little things that are similar about our lives. The irony is that she and I both married Jonathon's, and we both have 2 boys!! Even more interesting is that the Jonathon she married was also a childhood friend, and now I have the pleasure of keeping up with the both of them, as well as getting a few random updates about other elementary school buddies!!
Ahhh - flashback Friday has brought me some smiles from the yesteryears...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

how about them apples?

Life as Mom is doing a recipe swap - and so I'm posting 2 of my fav. apple recipes for the swap! I normally delete alot of emails for recipe swaps because not many people end up participating, but I love apples and something about fall makes them even more yummy!!

The first is "apple brownies" - I got this recipe from a google search about 2 years ago and tried it and loved it! I worked with whole wheat flour to make it a little healthy....when using whole wheat flour you use 3/4 cup + 2tbsp in place of 1 full cup of white flour. Also, keep in mind that whole wheat flour doesn't rise the same as white flour because of it's density. You can mix 1/2 white w/ 1/2 wheat to get a better rise in the flour.


RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 to 3 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup walnuts (optional)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and eggs. Stir in apples and nuts. 3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Fold into apple mixture. 4. Pour batter into a greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan. Bake for 50 minutes.

This next recipe for Apple "morning" muffins includes mixing whole wheat and white flour - this is because it's just a nicer looking muffin if it rises like white flour allows.


RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated apples
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12-muffin tin or line it with paper liners. Set aside. 2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the eggs, sugar and oil until well combined. Stir in the grated apples and carrots. In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Blend the dry ingredients with the apple mixture until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Happy Birthday

A photo montage from around 3 years old until now. Most photos prior to 3-4 years old are on paper, I plan to scan those in when I can.
big E mentioned to one of his grandparents on the phone today that this was the 'best birthday yet'. Wow - he's growing fast, and it really shows in the photos! What a handsome boy becoming a young man right before our eyes.


changing things

big E's room has been plain old white since we've lived here. He's changed his mind 10 times about colors. We finally agreed we'd just surprise him based on his colors of interest.... so today we started the design on a dime bedroom re-do birthday project.....He has no idea at this point of colors, theme, anything.
We (Jonathon) taped, and (I)painted 3 walls in just under 2 hours.


Then today, I finished the base color for the headboard wall. We're leaving it at this for about 3-4 days, then finishing off the project w/ the 3rd color (very navy blue - color of his new chair). We've ordered a couple of the peel and stick wall decals to finish off the look for him. All in all - the room re-do, was a total design on a frugal budget.





Big E was so surprised and excited! He wanted a 'beach' theme since our visit to the beach. So I fould this tropical boy quilt, and found a cordinating bedspread to interchange from time to time. He LOVES IT!!