Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A few for the family. . .

Last weekend we were doing some skyping with some relatives, and the kids' uncle made a comment about how he couldn't believe how big little a was. (He had never seen little a yet--only the bubble holding him inside 2 weeks before he was born!)

Yep, not quite so little anymore.

Then later, someone was checking out and commenting on my FB photos and I realized those were last updated long over a year ago. Where has the time gone?!?

And then I came to the sad conclusion that I find myself taking pictures less and less. Maybe because life gets more busy, and maybe because a camera is just one more thing I need to remember to take along when we are out and about! My mommy brain can't do it all!

But. . .here are a few recent ones for the family and friends to check out. . .
Our little a is big enough to take the wheel in his exersaucer now.
E and Princess A love playing outside--especially when we are doing yard work. Here is their "tree-fort," complete with a bedroom and a deck, so I was told.

Our blue-eyed cuties.
Little a keeps growing. . .and is now eating (and loving) his "solids." The hard part for me is that this is one more item to add to the schedule of everything to do and I often find myself late for things because I have to squeeze a meal in! (That is my excuse anyway--really, I'm just late!)
Some tummy time and play time. . .it won't be long now before those feet and arms will coordinate themselves and then he may be too quick to take pictures!
"Children are a gift from the Lord; a child is a reward from Him." ~Psalm 127:3

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Formula Can Craft Project

Yes, I have a formula baby.

And as a result, we have too many cans that make their way into the recycle--which is good, but I wanted to try to re-use them instead. So, I looked around for a good way to re-purpose them. And I found it!

Here are two sites/tutorials I found that I used as inspiration with my kiddo. (Site one and site two). These site are very cute! These gals do such a nice job when making these cans! I thought it would be nice to organize/beautify some of my scrapbook or sewing supplies by making a few of these, or making storage for my daughter. We'll see.

For now, I wanted a craft that my son could do--something he could gift to his teacher. So. . .here is what he--okay, we--came up with!
Here are some of the supplies we thought we would use. . .most of them we did use, but changed some of it, too.
First I measured and cut the background paper for E so he could glue it on. I may have helped keep things in place a bit. Not an easy task for a little guy!
E loves my scrapbooking punches. Here is one from Michael's. He punches things out and uses them as tickets, or as food, or as. . .pretty much anything! But these ones are for the craft. He punched out yellow ones and dark blue ones.
Then he wrote the letters of his teacher on them. He even wanted to decorate them "the way mommy does to letters when they have to be fancy." (See the little dots at the end of the letters--hee-hee!) We had to re-write some of the letters because he spelled it the way he thought it was spelled, then we replaced some of the letters with the "real" ones. I did help him center things a little. (sorry--the O.C. side of me couldn't help it!)
Then this part I did. Took a nail and a hammer and made a hole in each side. Then E helped me take the "paper" of the wire (See the green and white twirly wire in the supplies photo? Yah, I re-purposed that too--just wanted the wire!).
Then we threaded the wire through, I curled it around a bit, and E went through my scrap box to find blue and yellow things to tie. So, here they are:
We took some of the extra stars that were punched out and glued them together onto some embroidery floss to make the dangling stars. Cute huh? All the rest of the stars made it onto craft paper later on by both E and A. She loves glue.
Then we had to put in the tissue paper (yellow kind to match the blue and yellow already used) and put in the chocolates. . .(and maybe eat one or two!).
Voila! All done! And done by a almost-Kindergarten-er! (Most of it anyway!) See how easy it is? You can try it too--if you need any extra formula cans, we go through one or two every week! {smile}

1st Day

I now have a kiddo in school! After my countless first days to begin the school year, I got to see my son have his first day of school!

And it started VERY early! Here is my E all dressed and ready for school at 6:30AM. The good thing about it all was that, even though I was very groggy and sleepy, I still saw the humor in it and took a picture of him! (I thought this only happens in the story books that you read to your nervous grade one kids to make them laugh about a new school year starting! Doesn't he realize there is a baby in the house and sleep is a very cherished activity?!? Doesn't he realize I was super organized (read: overly excited) about this and we could have all been out the door and completely prepared for the day even if we had overslept by an hour?!?)

On a related note. . .when he prayed that night, he said thank you for Kindergarten and how great it was and please help him get enough sleep because he was tired from his big bike ride with Opa and because he really woke up at 6:15 even though he told Mommy it was 6:30! What a goof!
But here is E waiting for school to start . . .
Here is the proud, out-the-door-photo. . .right before we walked to school together. Of course, Opa had to join in the action and biked along side of us (part of the same route that E and Opa bike along once a day in good weather!). It was a great walk together--he was so eager to get there and not be late!
Sitting in his group. . .these toys are not the trains he spotted in his Kindergarten visit and again as he was hanging his bag up! Eventually he did join in with the others.
Listening to the teacher during story/circle time. . .
And there you have it--a successful first day (well, morning anyway!) On our walk home, he didn't have to much to say. "It was good." Even asking direct questions didn't pry any further information out of him. Eventually, by supper time, we got a few more details--that he didn't get to go to the gym and that he thought he had the best snack in the class because his mom always makes the best snacks. (The longer he believers that, the better we all are!) I think I might be one of those moms who need to rely on the teacher's newsletters to know what is going on!
I made him promise to sleep until at least 7pm on the next day he goes to school!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays--Salmon

With lots of salmon in season, that's what we decided for a weekend supper with the family! Now to be honest with you, I'm not a big fish kind of person. I like it IF there is some other flavour along with it. I don't like the lemon juice and salt and pepper or oil idea for fish. I NEED flavour!!

After looking through a "fish" cookbook and knowing we wanted to do something on the grill, my hubby and I settled on Keoni's Island Broil by John P. Ko of Woodland, California from The Freshwater Angler America's Favourite Fish Recipes (1992, Creative Publishing Int'l).

But first was the tricky part: how to fillet a salmon. Of course, we had done our best up to this point, but this was going to be a "good" dinner. So we had to at least try to do it right! So. . . found this great tutorial site, titled "How to Fillet a Salmon." And it worked like a charm! Best fillet ever--barely any bones left in at all!

We made a marinade of 1/2 c. soy sauce, 1/4 c. port wine, H2O, brown sugar and sliced green onions (and chives), 4 cloves of garlic, 2 T. sesame oil, and 1 T. toasted sesame seeds. We took some out for a sauce later, and poured the rest over our salmon and covered it. It chilled in the fridge for the afternoon. Here was the tricky part--the marinade didn't smell all that great to me. It was just an odd combination. I thought this was going to be a flop, and there is nothing worse that having yucky fish for dinner. Well, eating liver or brussel sprouts might be worse, but yucky fish is still up there on the list. I was nervous.

Then after oiling the grill, we started the grilling. . .only to find out that our propane was empty. So much for grilling!

So. . .back in the house and in the oven on a low broil. I basted it a few times with the marinade. . .and suddenly the marinade started to smell really good! I was getting less nervous. And then, voila! Here is the end result:

We ate it with mashed potatoes, salad and cut veggies. It was super! And I highly recommend this recipe. The marinade kinda becomes a glaze on the fish. And it smells wonderful! :)

See more at BlessedWithGrace and At the Well this week!
Also see Tasty Tuesdays!

Menu Plan Monday

Another edition of MPM. . .

My weeks have been a bit busy, trying to cram in those last summer activities, doing some "harvesting" and "preserving", and just not being on the computer. We've been able to eat potatoes, beans, salad, herbs and some tomatoes from the garden already. I was busy making applesauce as well. I love it, but it also keeps life busy when there are also three kiddos who need attention.

So, last week's menu included some of these: salmon strudels/calzones, sausages, corn on the cob and scalloped potatoes, stir fry with noodles, pulled pork, out once, and of course left-overs.
My dad brought over this deal for the kiddos to try. It's a dragon fruit (I think). Tastes a little bit like a bland kiwi, or a kiwi mixed with a melon, but way more seeds. It was too weird for my kiddos, although I think they probably did like it! It looks like an interior decorator's fetish, but, like I said, too weird for preschoolers.
So, this week on the menu. . .

Monday-Indian-Spiced Chicken Stir-fry, corn fritters

Tuesday- Sub sandwiches or fancy grilled cheese

Wednesday-Pizza (It id my E's first day of Kindergarten, so gotta do something he loves! My choices (his top favourites) are limited to pizza, hamburgers and mac 'n cheese. So, selfish me, I like pizza best out of those, and I probably have time to make a home-made good one for him. And since it is only a half day, he can help me! Too much explaining, I know!).

Thursday-a roast?!?! I've never made one of these before! I know, I'm pretty pathetic that way. So either that. . .or left-overs!

Saturday's Snack- One-bowl Chocolate Chunk Cookies (see below)

Sunday-pancakes and bacon

Saturday's snack. . .Baker's Chocolate One Bowl Chocolate Cookies. (phew! I found a link. . .saves my poor pitiful typing fingers!)
Delish! These taste like the Baker's Chocolate One Bowl Brownies, but they are cookies! I halved the recipe, just to be sure they were good and worked out. I had a note on my chocolate box saying that if you omit the nuts, as we had, to increase the flour to 3/4 cup, otherwise they may spread out like pancakes, which is "ew" in a cookie like this. I was a happy person . . while they lasted!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer Reading Has Come to an End

A few weeks ago, my kiddos read their last book for the summer, filled out their last entry to find "Rocky" in the Library, and participated in their last Summer Library Program. E doesn't really understand why it has to end. . ."Don't we have to just keep reading?" (well, yes, E. . .wait 'til you hear about the Kindergarten reading incentives they have!)

I thought I would share a a few pictures of some of the events. No, I'm not that mom who had their camera out each time we went to the Library, but once or twice I may have snapped a few of them.

This is the "Pet Parade." The kiddos got to bring their stuffies to the library for some stories, a craft and a parade. Each of my kids got to stand up and show off their animals--A brought her "glo-worm". . .a good memory for many of the librarians, and E (at the time) had the biggest animal there.
Here are the recyclable shakers they made (using water bottles, beans, string, ribbons, and stickers)--to make noise as they walked in their parade.
Busy at work!
And here is one of my favourite parts. . .One day at the Library, Princess A was looking through some books and found one that she wanted to take home for little A so "he could see the alphabet." As soon as we got home and A was on the floor, E and Princess A started reading the alphabet books to him so that" he will learn his alphabet and be ready for school." I love my kids! (See how Princess A is holding it up, just like the librarians did? Too cute!)
This was at another event--I think a musician came in this time.
On a side note, I was very impressed with all the programs the Library hosted. There were a few that may have been over my children's' heads, and one I thought who said and did a few inappropriate things, but it was nice to have some "free" entertainments--educational entertainment--during the summer months. My kids thought the best one was the pet parade and the pajamas puppet shows (They got to come dressed in their pajamas and hear stories, watch puppet plays, and sing some songs. Then, when we got home, they hopped into bed, all tired out!)
Here are their reading logs. . .all full now. They both received their "reading medals" for finishing all the books they had to read. . .and E even won one of the draws one time!That was quite and exciting phone call and trip back to the Library for him!
They pretty much can't wait until next year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kindergarten Worries (WFW)

My oldest kiddo is going into Kindergarten this year. He is so excited. He has been waiting for Kindergarten to start since last March. He's been putting on his backpack, practicing his letters and numbers, and counting down the days.

I'm a teacher. I've experienced many first days—many nervous, excited first days! I get to be on leave this year, so I get to see my firstborn enjoy his first year of school. I look at him and know he is so-o-o ready for the first day of school to come.

And then Sunday happened and I wondered if I am only fooling myself.

It was once of those mornings when he couldn't hold his cup like a five-year-old. He was pretending to be a peacock (of all things!), and peacocks apparently spill the contents of their cups all over the floor. It was one of those mornings when we had to leave in 5 minutes and he interpreted it as about 15 minutes or more. It was one of those mornings when everything was a bit too hectic for my liking and they didn't get any better.

In church, our oldest had to sit in church until it was time to have a "practice" Sunday School time. We had given him the talk about how to sit in church and how big of a voice to use—especially when there was a quiet prayer going on! He was doing alright—kind of wiggly, but we were happy, proud parents. It was that feeling of relief; that our kid was a good one. We had done our job, and done it well. We had taught all the necessary rules and given all the tidbits of wisdom needed to produce a wonderful child.

Then it was off to Sunday School. He listened, he laughed, he sang, he prayed, he had eyes that showed sheer excitement for all that was going on. I was a proud mom. When it was craft time he made his little prayer box—writing his name on it, decorating it with markers and stickers, and putting in papers for future prayers. I smiled at his accomplishments. Then it was off to do part two of the craft—making prayer bookmarks.

And that is when he decided not to cut on the lines, not to colour in the lines, not to listen to the directions and not to listen to mommy.

When your child asks to use permanent markers and you say no, please use the washable ones, and you say this three times to him, I have learned that you STILL must keep a close eye on him. Talking to other parents, even if they are in the chair next to yours is a big No-No! Especially if you have had the type of morning I had! Because that is the time when my son decided to take the permanent purple sharpie and write his name—ON THE TABLE!!! Yep, it was almost as if it has been published in that book, The Purple Crayon. I quickly went into upset-mom-mode. "What did you do? Why would you do that? What did I say to you? Why didn't you listen?" and questions of that sort. I got paper towels, hoping the word permanent was a mistake. But no, permanent markers don't lie. And the purple etching clearly told who had committed the crime!!! One of the dads next to me joked with me that I should teach my son how to write someone else's name, so that person would get in trouble. A mom shared with me how her cousin had actually done that—written her name on something and she had gotten into trouble and that it was this huge joke to this very day! And it was funny—I laughed . . . but this was MY SON! And he had done something wrong!

We went to the leader and my son politely said (on his own),"I'm sorry Mrs.~~~, I wrote on the table in the stain-y kind of markers." And she wonderfully and graciously said, "Oh, that is okay and thank you for telling me." And all was okay—but this was MY SON! And he had done something wrong!

Later when I was having my son try to clean his name off, she told me not to worry about it. And I told her that I was just having a mini-punishment moment. And I continued to worry about it . . . for the rest of the day! And the rest of the day I was tormented by thoughts of: What is he going to do in Kindergarten? What if he does something like that there? Didn't he know better? How are people going to judge me as a mom? What were they going to say about our parenting? Where had we gone wrong? When I told my husband he laughed at the jokes the other parents had made about it, he said that was too bad and it seemed to have been handled well . . . and I couldn't believe that was all he had to say about it, because this was MY SON! And he had done something wrong!

And finally (read: the next morning, after stewing on this for a full day and night), I finally came to my senses. I realized that, yes, this was my son and he had done something wrong. He had felt bad, he had apologized, and he had learned. And that was all. How many times had I been in a similar situation? How many times had something like this happened before? Or one where the wrong-doing was worse or compiled or with no shame? And how many other moms and dads and caregivers have been in the exact same situation? Even as a teacher, I have seen many situations on a similar plane as this. And I respond the same wonderful and gracious way the leader did: "Oh, that is okay and thanks for telling me." Kids make mistakes, and then they learn from them. That is the joy of being a kid. And I don't give it another thought.

And yes, this was my son . . . and realistically . . . how many times would this happen again? Millions! He, along with me (and for that matter even the rest of the world) are fallen creatures. We have fallen short—very short! We are going to sin, we are going to make our Father sad and disappointed and really, how many times has He tried to teach us a lesson and we keep messing it up? But He patiently helps us back onto our feet, and loves us and stays by us until we fall again.

And maybe this was just one more lesson for me, too. You see, my husband and I are trying our very best to raise our children in the way of the Lord. We are doing all we can to teach our children to love and obey God. We are trying to be disciples of Jesus Christ in our family. But this isn't the first time something "went wrong," nor will it be the last. Dealing with it in a Godly manner to correct the behaviour, attitude or action is really what matters. And this wasn't, nor will it ever be, an issue about me and how I look in front of other parents or what other parents might say about what my child did. If other parents are going to talk, so be it. I just hope that the talk will be—or one day be—about how they saw God's love, forgiveness and grace in how we handled the situation at hand. That even in the "bad moments" they saw a testimony to the Christian lifestyle we are trying to uphold. That they saw Jesus in us.

That night, my son wrote a prayer for his prayer box. He wrote, "Please help me listen better" in his squiggly-wiggly phonetic spelling. I smiled. I was a very proud mom. And then I wrote one too: "Please help me show God's love better."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Menu Plan. . .

Welcome to another late edition of Menu Plan Monday!

Monday- left-overs (what a way to start the week, hey? Can't you tell this week is going to be a good one?)
Tuesday-sub sandwiches, cut up veggies
Wednesday-Chicken Enchilada Casserole, salad (a good freezer recipe if you double it!)
Thursday-Stir-fry, noodles
Friday- Crock Pot Chicken something. . .
I found two easy recipes I could try, but I don't know if I want another casserole type deal this week. I'll write them down here to make sure I remember them, maybe I'll try it another time.
Mysterious Pizza Casserole
Easy Pasta Casserole
Sunday (BFS)- French Toast Casserole (gotta use up some left-over bread in the freezer--this recipe is great for those "end pieces" no one likes to eat!)

Last week I tried this new recipe: Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake.
It was delicious!!! (Sorry for the brightly coloured potholder underneath! Wow, that makes the picture look terrible!) The only change I made to it was no croutons on top--I did a mixture of butter and bread crumbs and some Parmesan instead. (It seemed a little more cordon-bleu-ish, and I didn't have any croutons in the house!) That is a recipe I would recommend.

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