Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Personal Responsibility

It seems like a lot of kids and teens today lack a strong work ethic and sense of personal responsibility. I noticed it before I had children, but it did not become so glaringly obvious until after I became responsible for molding my own young minds. I want something different for my sons, I want them to be hard-working, capable, helpful, thoughtful, responsible young men. I have thought about different ways to start instilling these values in them while they are young, and I have recently landed on household chores. Aiden has gotten to an age and mental capacity that he can start taking on more responsibilities around the house, but mostly in his own room.  I think that is important to make things fun, I try to take a "Mary Poppins" attitude toward cleaning when I'm cleaning with the boys. In trying to make things fun and organized for Aiden's new responsibilities, I made him an Avengers themed chore chart! I picked up a cookie sheet at the 99 cent store and some magnets on clearance at Walmart, so this didn't break the bank. The only spendy part was the paint, but I have multiple projects that I plan on using it for so it is not so bad. I still have a few more magnets to make, but I did not want to overwhelm him with too many tasks at once. The fun part is that he has started to think of new magnets for me to make, I am glad that it was so easy to get him on board! If he does all his chores in a day, he gets to put one of the small magnets onto the corresponding circle. If he completes all his chores for the week, he gets a special treat. I have not determined exactly what that is yet, but will probably vary from week to week. He just recently had a "Daddy Adventure Day" with David and absolutely loved it, so I am thinking about having another one of those in the rotation for rewards.

Aiden's current chores include:

  • Make his bed
  • Brush his teeth
  • Pick up his dirty clothes
  • Open & Close his curtains
  • Water the plants
  • Put on his pajamas
  • Pick up his toys
  • Help Set & Clear the table

Fun Times in the Hallway with Friends!

Aiden is a lover of animals, so he was pretty excited when we put a hummingbird feeder
on his window. This is one of the first hummingbirds we got! We were all pretty stoked
when it came!

Image result for daddy adventure day
Daddy Adventure day was inspired by this book
that Aiden chose to check out at the library. It is
a really cute book that I highly recommend for all
little boys.

"The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence."

Denis Waitley

Monday, April 11, 2016

Baking is Beautiful

There is something so magical about fresh baked bread, the smell alone can lift my mood in a moment.  It elevates a meal, turns an everyday burger into a culinary experience.  I love the time and care that homemade bread takes. Bread making is so therapeutic, it speaks to my soul. It requires patience and time, it cannot be rushed into being the best version of itself. I like how it mirrors life in that way. Who you want to be, the best version of yourself, takes time. It takes effort, trial and error, love and care, nourishing the good and eliminating the bad. I am always trying to make my bread recipes better, tweaking them until I get exactly what I am looking for. It helps me in making a delicious product but it also usually makes me reevaluate my life. I look for things that need more time and attention, things that are taking my time that should not be and things that make me truly happy. The past week Aiden and I have pumped out a lot of home baked products. Despite not posting a meal plan, we had one and ate at home every night except for Friday night when Dave treated us to Cracker Barrel. We had planned on going to a movie event on Friday at Dave's school, but it was canceled so we improvised. We had a lovely dinner at Cracker Barrel, hit the red box and picked up a couple kids movies and made our own movie night in the comfort of our living room. I put out blankets, popped popcorn and made cookies, we had an awesome family night! Sometimes things work out better than expected! :)

Last weeks meal plan (4/4-4/10):

Monday: BBQ Chicken Sandwiches on Homemade Buns

Tuesday: Tuna Casserole

Wednesday: Chicken Ceasar Salad with Homemade Croutons (Mac 'n' Cheese for the boys)

Thursday: TriColor Rotini with Bolognese 

Friday: Cracker Barrel :)

Saturday: Cheeseburgers on Homemade Buns

Sunday: Homemade Hawaiian Pizza

M'n'M Soft & Chewy Cookies

Soft Home Baked Sandwich Bread!

Meal Plan for this week:

Monday: BBQ Chicken Nachos & Salad

Tuesday: Homemade Fish Sticks & Hand Cut Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday: Baked Ziti with Ricotta

Friday: Beef Broccoli & Rice

Saturday: Salsa Verde Shredded Chicken Tacos

Sunday: Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter & the Escape Artist

I may still be in my twenties on paper(for the next month at least) but having kids has added years to my life.  When Aiden was around 16 months, he climbed out of his Pack-n-Play and I knew that it was about time to take him out of his crib because I did not want him to fall out and get hurt. Connor is right around 16 months, without any kind of warning this kid climbs/falls out of his crib. Thankfully, he does not seem to have sustained any injuries but he has managed to totally freak out this mommy. Apparently, 16 months is the age for my children to decide that they are too big for their cribs. With Aiden, I was a little hesitant to change his bed at such a young age but since he was pretty advanced I did not see it as too big of a deal.  Connor, on the other hand, is not ready to sleep in a "toddler bed," so I am trying to come up with creative solutions to keep him in his crib a little longer.  We turned his crib around, so that the lower part is against the wall and he will be forced to try to climb the much higher side of the crib. I am hoping that will put a stop to my escape artist for at least a little while.

Meal Plan for 3/28-4/2

Monday: Ham & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Tuesday: Garlic-Lemon Double Stuffed Chicken & Quinoa(new)

 ***This was amazing***

Wednesday: Pasta Carbonara

Thursday: Broccoli Chicken Rice Casserole

Friday: Ham & Cheese Hot Pockets

Saturday: Homemade Pizza (Haven't decided on Toppings) & Salad

Sunday: Pot Roast, Potatoes & Carrots


 Dave Getting Spoiled By My Family For His Birthday

 Beautiful Dyed Eggs!

Delicious Easter Food!

Mara & Me

Playground Fun!

 Grandpa Hanging Out

Fun By the Pool

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Look at What My Boy Did!

Before time marches on and takes this month without me putting up a single post, I decided to slip this one in.  March has been incredibly busy, volleyball has been taking up a lot of the time that I would usually spend on the blog. I cannot complain about volleyball, though, because it has been so nice to get out and be active doing something that I really love.  It feels so good! I am going to be sad when the season is over, I don't know if anyone else on the team can say that though. We have had a rough season so far, which include losses and inner team conflict but I have still thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The main reason that I wanted to post, is that I wanted to share a photo with you guys. Aiden wrote his name for the first time all by himself, in a really legible way. We have been working on it, and he has made attempts in the past but you could not tell what all the letters were.

Hooray! It is so awesome to work with your child and see them learn and grow. I am so proud of him!  Speaking of proud, I got to serve on my very first jury! I am working on a post about it, hopefully I will have it up by the end of the month. Dave just finished up his spring break on Sunday, it was so nice to have him home for two weeks. The boys loved it and are having a little trouble adjusting to Daddy having to be back at work. I have been seriously slacking at taking pictures but here are a few of the past couple weeks.
My parents treated me to see Wicked for an early birthday present!

We were playing Hi Ho Cherry-O. I'm teaching him to lose gracefully.

Eating together by the fish tank.

Putting on the puppet show at the library.

Aiden cracking me up with his hat in the car.

Wearing his Daddy's pants...

Hello Hermit Crabs!!!

Went to a Cake Decorating Class and this is the result.

And that's all folks!!!

*If you are wondering about the limited pictures of Connor, he is not always keen on having his picture taken. Every time I take my phone out to take his picture, he runs at me and tries to take it from me. I am hoping that this will get better, but so far it hasn't.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekly Update

We got Aiden a bike for his birthday! This is his first time on it!
So, last week, I did not have Aiden and I kind of fell off the wagon in terms of making dinner.  We had our first volleyball game and multiple practices, I did not plan well for those things so I had no real meals prepared. This week, I have done MUCH better. I had a meal plan in place and I have not missed a single meal thus far! I know I usually post on Mondays, but it has been kind of crazy, so I figured better late than never!
We started something really fun this week, we joined a reading group at the library! The group is for kids 0-4, so both of my kids can enjoy it. Aiden had such a blast. This week was all about owls, we got to read three books about owls, sing songs, dance around the room and just have fun for about an hour. At the end of the hour, all the kids got to pick a book to check out for the week. Since we had to check out a book, I am excited to say that Aiden got his first library card! He was so excited and cannot wait to attend our reading group next week for Dr. Suess's birthday!

Meals this Current Week:

Monday: Zoodles (Zucchini noodles) & Homemade Meatballs

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Pesto Ranch Chicken, Red Potatoes & Carrots

Wednesday: Pan Seared Steak Ceasar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Thursday: Homemade Hawaiian Pizza (forgot to take a picture)

Friday: Lemon Pepper Salmon, Garlic Parmesan Asparagus & Quinoa

Saturday: Dave is cooking up dinner. Not sure about the sides, but I know we are having steaks.

Sunday: We are having Turkey Dinner with the Rotters. Dinner is going to include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and apple pie.

Well, hope you all have an awesome weekend!!