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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's All in the Presentation


Maybe it's just my kids. Maybe not. They seem to get hurt a lot. Not "big hurt", but a good number of ouchies, boo boos and the such.

We figured out a way to soften the impact without coddling them. Spin it. It plays out like this--when one of our little ones has a run in with a wall, floor, dirt, etc, we look completely flabbergasted and ask them why.

"Why are you trying to knock that wall down with your head? That is so crazy!"

"Why are you trying to put a Sammy-sized hole in my beautiful wood floor?"

"Why are you trying to eat your tongue? I gave you some delicious dinner, you know."

"Why are you trying to fly off of that chair? Your wings aren't big enough yet, you know."

It will stop my child mid-wail and start them laughing. Sometimes they'll even come to me saying through a few tears, "Mommy, I was trying to put a Girlie-boompa sized dent in the sidewalk!" (Bottoms="boompas" in our house)

Don't worry, we've discussed safety. Sam-Sam is well aware that "Giwls an mommies an babies aw delicate, an boys an daddies aw tough, but thew heads aw still delicate." But, until those safety lectures are seriously internalized, we'll just keep spinning it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What a Weekend!!

We are coming off a fabulous weekend!! We went to Skagit Valley for the Tulip Festival. How totally fun is it that there is a whole festival dedicated to one of my favorite flowers??? We also went to Deception Pass State Park, named by the mariners for the "deceiving" positioning of all the little islands and land forms in the pass. This was one of our very favorite Seattle days yet! We finished off the day with enormous ice cream cones from Snowgoose Produce, followed by naps on the way home. Wahoo!!!



This was an absolutely breathtaking sight!! And the smell was intoxicating.






We had so much fun hiking on the rocky beach there, and the kids and J entertained themselves by squishing barnacles (which would then spit at us). Good fun.




Thursday, April 23, 2009

For Those Who Have Stuck Admirably to Their New Year's Resolutions, and the Rest of Us

Thought I'd share my favorite repices from each end of the spectrum.

First, Bran Muffins, courtesy of my dear friend and health food GENIUS, LeArta. This recipe makes a VAT of muffin batter, which you can store in the fridge for FIVE WEEKS and bake up muffins when the spirit moves you.

Apple Cinnamon Bran Muffins




Mix and set aside to cool:
4 c All bran cereal
2 c boiling water

Cream together in large bowl:
1 c vegetable oil (I substitute applesauce)
2 1/2 c honey
4 eggs

Add and mix well:
2 T baking soda
2 t salt
4 c buttermilk
cooled bran mixture
7 c whole wheat flour
4 T cinnamon
4 1/2 c finely chopped, peeled apples
2 1/2 t nutmeg
2 1/2 t cloves

Yield: 13 cups batter

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 min.

And now I give you, my favorite

New York Cheesecake (thanks to Martha for this one)


4 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan (I use cooking spray for that)
8 full graham crackers
2 T light brown sugar
3 8 oz bars cream cheese (I always use neufchatel), room temperature
1 3/4 c sugar--divided
1/8 t salt
2 1/2 t vanilla extract--divided
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 pint sour cream (2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter bottom and sides of 9 inch springform pan. In food processor, place graham crackers and brown sugar until finely ground. Add butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press mixture into bottom and 2 inches up side of pan. Set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 1/2 c sugar, salt, and 1 t vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, beating after each one and scraping sides of bowl. Pour filling into pan, bake until center is almost set, about 50 min. Let cool 15 min.

3. Meanwhile, raise temp to 450. In a bowl, combine sour cream, remaining 1/4 c sugar and 1 1/2 t vanilla. After cake has cooled 15 min, spread topping leaving 1/2 inch border. Bake 10 min.

4. Let cool, then refrigerate at least 12 hours. Run a knife around edge of pan before releasing sides.

If you've ever had my cheesecake, this is the recipe I used.

Both of these are so yummy, but the recipes are worthy of a complete read-through before you begin. The cheesecake one, especially takes some pre-planning (room temp ingredients, etc). Let me know how you like them!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Point Is--



It's finally a little bit warm here in Seattle, so we opened windows. When I caught Girlie and Sam Sam jumping off the Barbie house roof--again--I just had it. {Flashback to the playroom picture, with the Barbie house positioned right by a window} The danger, children!! I marched determinedly in to make my point clear. Into my mind sprung an effective, albeit gruesome, object lesson involving an egg (representing their heads) and gravity (representing gravity). I made them watch as I popped the screen out at the back of the play room, proving just how easily a misstep on the Barbie roof could result in a tumble through the window. I put a pan on the ground outside the window (to catch the mess and ordered them to watch closely.

What if this little egg were your head???

Dramatically, I let it plummet to sure death.


Okay, this picture is what is was supposed to look like. Instead, the egg missed the pan by a good foot and simply thudded down onto the soft mulch and rolled lazily down the landscaping to a gentle stop. Completely unharmed. The kids just stared. I tried my very best to swallow the guffaw that exploded out. They looked up at me from the patio as I leaned out the window. I didn't know what to do at this point, so I stuck to my guns and pointed emphatically to the peacefully resting egg.

Do you see this? Do you want your little heads to end up like this??? I choked back more laughter, because the kids were staring solemnly at this egg, but I could tell they had no idea what was supposed to be so bad. They looked up at me seriously and I had to pull my head in for a minute for my laughter to die down.

I'm serious guys, do you want your head to just... be 'rolling' all over the ground like that? Look at that poor egg! I was just dying at this point. I had to exercise some seriously hard core self control to continue my tirade.

Well, the point is, that THIS could happen to YOU, if you keep climbing on the Barbie house. You could fall out the window, all the way to the ground. Do you guys understand me??

Wide eyes gravely assured me that they understood, although clearly they had no idea what on earth their zany mama was trying to prove.

I brushed the mulch off the serene little egg and my now-dirty pan and tramped sternly back into the house to drive the point home, snorting in laughter the whole way.

The point is, I think I just taught my kids how to pop off the screens and throw eggs out the window.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Something Weird Happened to Me

Strangely enough, when I posted last week, my blog was suddenly flooded with hits from around the world. Like, Bulgaria, Germany, South Africa, Canada, New York, etc. Like, we're talking 36 global hits in less than 15 min.

I'm more than delighted to share our life happenings with people I know, or at least people that people I know know, but this kind of weirded me out. So, for about 1/2 an hour, my blog became private. That seemed to take care of the "problem".

However, if, for whatever wacky reason, my blog becomes broadcast to the general online population again, I will consider making it private. In that unfortunate event, I would love to already have everyone's email who'd like an invitation. So, should you care to remain apprised of the goings on here, just leave your email address in the comments or email me at things.mommy@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Monday, April 13, 2009

6 Lb. Ball



The Gold Star Mommy sticker award can be earned a million ways. Thursday, I earned mine by taking my kids bowling. We met up with some friends and paraded our collective 10 children into the bowling alley. Grumpy Cashier Lady actually told us we had too many kids. Oh, yeah. True.

Have you ever gone bowling with 10 small children? It is a riot. First, it's like bowling in s-l-o-w m-o-t-i-o-n. Seriously. You could see their little arms just straining to huck the ball down the lane, but it would land with a thud and meander down the lane. Some of the balls even stopped mid way, and one even started rolling back towards us. Hilarious. And then one of the mommies got yelled at for trying to remedy the situation, which was not quite as hilarious.
The kids loved the slippery floors, Girlie wanted to keep the velcro bowling shoes, and all the kids kept forgetting that you get two tries to knock the pins down. They actually seemed to lose interest before the first turn was over, probably because the ball took 1/2 an hour to reach the pins.

Sammy flung the ball, which then "bounced" (slow motion, of course) between the bumpers until it miraculously ended in a strike. Girlie caught right on and watched the screen for her turn, then used every bit of her 35-pound might to haul the ball in her skinny arms.

All the moms thoroughly agreed that one game (1 1/2 hours) of bowling was plenty, and we herded our littles out to the row of minivans.

Gold Star sticker.

PS: What do you think of my new "sexy nerd glasses" (as nicknamed by my sister)?

Friday, April 10, 2009

To Whomever Took My Load of Laundry:


Dear Sir or Madam:

Please give it back. The load that you so ungraciously lifted from my home seems to have contained all the matches to the socks, a bunch of Sammy's "Incredibles" underwear, and my favorite white tee. It contained the majority of my children's white socks, which I bought just last fall, so we are cycling through about two pairs each and makes it very difficult to get ready for kindergarten in the morning.

As I am the only resident Laundry Doer in this household, I assure you that I didn't put it anywhere. And as I have found no hidden cache of clean laundry, I must assume that you've absconded with our underthings. Just leave it on my front porch and there will be no hard feelings.

Sincerely,
Things' Mommy

PS: Because if I see you on the street wearing our clothes, you are in for a Negative Consequence.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Favorite Easter Activity


In case you haven't heard of or done this before, try this Easter idea to teach your kiddos the reason behind the holiday. We've combined it with our regular Easter egg hunt, or had it separately. Either way it's wonderful and makes me teary every time.

(click on the words "Easter idea" for directions)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Peep Peep




Want a yummy Easter activty? Try this on for size.

Chocolate
Chow mein noodles
Peanut butter
Jelly beans or chocolate Easter eggs
Peeps

1. Give everyone a square of waxed paper.

2. Melt chocolate in a bowl, according to package directions. Mix in chow mein noodles. (You can make as much or as little as you need. To make four of these I used 4 "cubes" of almond bark, and 2/3 of a 12 oz pkg. of chow mein noodles)

3. Let chocolate cool just enough so it's not too hot to touch (but don't wait too long--you don't want it to harden). Scoop a little pile onto each square of waxed paper and form into nest. Let it cool and harden.

4. Put a dab of peanut butter in the center to "glue" the jelly beans or chocolate Easter eggs into place.

5. Finish with a Peep.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

To Do



I love making lists. A lot of them. Mostly titled "To Do" (I used to have ones titled "To Buy", but that evoked a "That's sick" reaction from my finance husband, so I stick to "To Do"). Sometimes I even make lists of lists I need to make.

Lists are a lot of things to me.
They are an organizational help, so I can manage my time.
They are reminders, so I don't forget things.
They look nice in my planner.

But they are tricky. Managed improperly, they can make you feel like a total loser. Manipulated correctly, they make you feel like you've got super powers.

For instance, I have been up for the past three nights with Little Buddy (instead of Little Red, because that's what we call him here anyway), who's had a fever of up to 105. Therefore, I set the bar very low for the day. Yesterday, I had only two things on my list:

1. Make sure Girlie looks decent for class pictures, and
2. Care for my sick little guy. (Because, seriously, could you say no to holding your baby if he looked that sad and sick?? I think not.)



Realistic expectations, people. That's what it's all about. The joy of this is that those were two things I could accomplish, no matter how tired and frazzled. I was a success. I accomplished all I set out to do that day! I checked off my entire list! I left nothing undone! Do you see how good this makes me feel?

And then, to make sure I feel even more satisfied, I add things to my list as the day goes on. Things that I already did, just so there's an automatic check mark! Like, "read books to the kids" and "make dinner".

There are some days that I add accomplishments to the list like "breathe in and out" and "smile," ...because there are just some days like that. And sometimes I have "get dressed" on the list or "take a shower" and I end up scribbling it out. Some days are like that, too.

But, yesterday, thanks to my short, doable list, I accomplished it all. And it made my tired self feel exhilarated to actually go above and beyond with trying out a new recipe, grocery shopping, and laundry. Super powers. I tell ya what.

And that, friends, is the beauty of a list.