Friday, March 27, 2009

Fabulous Food!

I have a couple recipes to share with you guys today. Two we tried out this week and both were a big hit.

Garlic Lovers Chicken (actually, it didn’t have that much garlic- you could certainly add more)

½ c dry bread crumbs (I made these by cutting 2 slices of bread into strips and broiling them on both sides and then crumbling)
1/3 c. parm cheese
2 table spoons minced fresh parsley (I used dried…maybe a tsp or so)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Put all these in a bag or Tupperware dish to toss your chicken in

¼ cup milk
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup of butter or margarine, melted
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
paprika (I forgot this…oops!)

Dip chicken in milk, shake in crumb mixture. Place in greased baking dish.
Combine butter, garlic and lemon juice; drizzle over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika. I also sprinkled a little extra garlic powder on the ckn.
Baked uncovered at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until juices run clear. Mmmmm, mmmm! All the adults and kids loved it.

Next it ranch dressing similar to Outback Steakhouse' ranch. Not exactly but close and YUMMY!!

Outback-like (but not precisely) ranch dressing

1 table spoon Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (the little package of powder, and it’s the dressing NOT the dip)
1 C. mayo
½ cup milk
¼ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Let chill for one hour (you MUST do at least this for the flavor to take effect)

And everyone loved this, too.

Potty Training Adventures

This little lady who is in the process of training is one interesting little person. She's stubborn and cute and hard headed and sweet, independent and helpful, resistant to commands...

Well, without going into great detail, I will say that this morning she had an accident in her undies, DIDN'T tell me about it and went on to "clean up" everything on her own. Her attempts to take care of everything on her own was a situation that was a first, after potty training 4 others. Usually they have NO desire to take care of it (and really, does ANYONE want to?!). Of course, clean up carried out by the inept is... Well, I'm sure any mother reading this knows how that sort of thing goes. It was one of those things where it takes a little while to solve the whole mystery as to what exactly happened but as the clues unfolded I didn't know if I should laugh or cry, praise her or admonish her! What can you do but a little of both followed by a sigh and a shake of the head?!

I just want to EVERYTHING with girls going to be more work?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Potty training - one of the ironies of life

There are so many of these with children. You're so excited that they're talking and then you get so tired of them constantly asking "Why?" when you have no clue why or "When?" when you haven't even planned on a when and just pretty much talking nonstop.

Well, I got my fill of another one of these this morning. First, let me just say that I'm a very laid back potty trainer. Usually I put training pants on a little tot one morning, tell them whats expected, put them on the toilet a few times and when they don't successfully make it several times that morning and I go back to diapers. A couple months later, I do the same thing. Sooner or later, it just works and they take it and run with it with very little effort on my part. And by golly, I like it that way. Because what I did this morning was ridiculous.

The little princess is getting pretty close to three and while I've done the training pants thing several times and I've put her on the toilet many times, she's NEVER used the toilet. Ever. This is unusual for us. I've not had one to NEVER use the toilet by this age. Course, I've not had one this stubborn either but that's another line of thought entirely. So, this morning I was thinking that, by golly, I'm at least going to get her using the toilet so she can get an idea, at least, of this potty training thing. So I made some lemonade (we only drink water around here so even watered down 50%, it's a big hit) and filled her up. Sippy cup full after sippy cup, she guzzled quite a few.

I figured we'd hang out in my bedroom this morning...I'd fold clothes, the boys could sit at the chest at the base of my bed and do school work and we'd be right there by the bathroom to do the potty training. And the first hour or so, that worked out okay except she wasn't going to the bathroom! I was starting to despair. I pulled the big bag of M & M's out of the cabinet to display the promised treat. It's probably 1/3 of a 5lb bag that a "friend" of mine had given me several months ago. I don't know how friendly that is to dump that much candy on a person with 6 kids but, I'm sure she meant the best. (Her time is coming.)

A few moments after seeing the very big bag of candy she decided she needed to go potty. And she DID!!! Oh, what excitement and celebrating there was! After the whole "now you pull your undies back on and you move the step stool (made by my father-in-law for potty training my first) over here and wash your hands and then you dry your hands...and get candy... and then you turn the bathroom light off", we called Dad to tell him so he could stop to celebrate with us (hee hee! It's kinda funny to think of interrupting someone for that). She was so pleased and so was I. Very nice. So, I went back to teaching the boys. And after I got two sentences out of my mouth, she came back and said "I need to go potty!" That really wasn't very long at all but at this point we want to keep the the excitement, don't we?! So I jumped up and said "Okay, let's go!!" So I got up and helped her through the whole sequence (minus calling daddy) and then went back to teaching. And not 2 minutes later.... And two minutes after that, and two minutes after that and then she walked out of the room and walked back in to use the bathroom AGAIN in far less than two minutes. It was INSANE!! For the next hour and 15 minutes the insanity of constantly (and I am NOT exaggerating that there was not a break of more than 3 minutes and often it was shorter) going to the bathroom and ACTUALLY using it went on while I struggled to accomplish anything else. And I greatly struggled to not just totally lose my patience and slap a diaper back on her!! Even my 9 year old, after about 15 minutes into the ordeal, laughed and said "You thought she was never going to use the potty but now I bet you're really tired of it." Ah, yes, a diaper was looking *real* good after 30 minutes of that.

I say, kudos to the people who do the concentrated "potty training in one day" thing, but based on my small, one and a half hour experience, I am absolutely not equipped with whatever personal traits needed to deal with that! Whew!

Reviving? And K'nex!

Could energy be coming back? Oh, I hope so. The first trimester of the last few pregnancies have been a bit tough when it comes to having the energy or the desire to do much of anything. I think I'm doing good to keep up with laundry, keep kids fed and do school work. I've not really felt up to even doing that much (though you do what you have to) so anything past that really hasn't happened. However, this morning I laid in bed for a little bit with great thoughts for what I would accomplish today. Not that I will accomplish all that I was thinking about, or even half, but the fact that I was thinking about it could be a sign that the sluggishness is about to leave! Oh, and is my house ready for that!

Well, today I was going to share something that I think is great for kids to play with. K'nex. While they come with instructions for building a number of different things, it's the things they think of on their own that I like to see. It's really cute to see what they come up with.

It seems to me that creativity needs to be encouraged in children or they become very dependent on other things (games, sports, organized actitivies) to keep them entertained, to keep their minds engaged, to keep themselves busy. Hmmm. I wonder if a childhood lacking in practicing creativity is why so many women struggle with how they "don't use their minds" when they stay at home. They never learned how to engage their minds without direction from someone or something else. Hmm. A thought.

ANYWAY!! The really neat thing about K'nex is that there are so many creative possibilities! Many more than with Legos. Now, we enjoy Legos around here too, but with K'nex, you have all sorts of different things that link together and can move and all sorts of good stuff. Hours of good creative fun in these things!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Importance of Being Homemakers

So many times, as some of us stay at home moms go about our lives, we run into the opinion that women who stay at home, who spend much of their time on taking care of babies and children, changing hundreds of diapers, teaching their children at home, trying to make their home lovely and their food good, and just generally trying to be good, successful and efficient in their work are simply wasting their time and that they’re doing nothing for the world. What we do is nothing with any purpose or significance is what too many, even those within the Church believe. We often feel like we are alone, like we are making little impact, like the difference we’re making is no more than a footprint on the beach that will be washed away with the next tide.

This is so far from the truth!! Satan would LOVE for us to think that our duties in the home are insignificant. God, however, wants us to know that our work in the home is an important part of the Christian community. Titus 2:3-5 says “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” We aren’t all older women but we are older than SOMEONE and here is a description of the things we are to be learning and practicing in our lives.

As people miss God’s purpose and God’s design in the small building blocks of life, more people abandon doing exactly what God wants us to be doing. It’s these little things that lay the foundation for the godly success our children’s generation and it’s these things that hold our own generation together. When we act as if the only significant life is a life focused primarily on vocal political activism or spent in a vocation of missions or spent on relief work to those in dire need or whatever someone other than God deems worthy, we are demeaning what GOD has put in place as the foundation for greater things. God has shown us what He desires for us to do. It’s what He has commanded and it’s through these little things of working at home, loving our husbands, children, etc, that we are taking part in building a structure God has planned.

A majority of us here spend most of our time caring for children, teaching them, puzzling over how to better teach them, praying that God will guide us in training them so that they will be equipped to be future leaders in our nation, praying that God will help us figure out how to deal with the strong willed attitude in one of our children, making schedules for dentist appointments, we cook 21 meals a week, we are in charge of the nutrition of our family, we are in charge of keeping our children clothed, in charge of filling these young minds with things that God desires their minds to be full of. We’re responsible for loving our husbands which includes feeding them like we love them, keeping their home like we love them, caring for their children and keeping ourselves like we love and care that our husbands should be able to enjoy and benefit from his family. The list goes on and on and some people would belittle many of these things, acting as if most of them could be done given only 10 seconds or 10 minutes a day and you should be able to do these things in your leftover time from a “significant” job.

The things we are concerned with are incredibly varied and some seem more important than others but remember, they ALL come together to build a structure designed by God and each little part is of great significance. Sometimes we think that the LITTLE things we do don’t really matter. We might think that our attitude about changing diapers and training children isn’t really a big deal but when you imagine all the ways God could possibly use that, you begin to realize that God can and does use every little thing we do to inspire others, to pass on good things to our children, to make others feel the love of Christ. We may not think our cooking or attitude towards cooking matters but our family is impacted when they see how we approach caring for them and they are impacted when they see the effort we put into it and they are impacted when they have a pleasant and enjoyable experience at the table with their family.

Don’t allow yourself to believe that what you’re doing is unimportant. God says that your efforts in these things has an impact on whether or not God’s word is dishonored!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Baby Announcement

Back when we first started adding to our family I didn't do anything especially interesting to "announce" the pregnancies. Largely because I'd never heard of it being done before. But, too, with your first few, people are excited and/or suprised and have a delightful reaction that you have lots of fun with when all you do is TELL them!!

Well, as time goes on and you have more, YOU are very excited but sometimes the reactions you get are not quite like the first one or two. I don't exactly get why this is because the announcement still means an amazingly precious and wonderful person, just as amazing and wonderful as your first and second born. But, whatever. So, I started spending more time planning the announcements and really soaking up all the pleasure I can from this amazing news. I may not get the MOST excited and certainly not the most surprised reactions (though some of our family members and friends did have WONDERFUL reactions!) but I get to spend the time coming up with the announcements just thinking and enjoying my news on my own.

For this little one, I decided to make a banner. I saw Valentines banners on a blog just before we found out we were expecting so I thought it would be really fun to make a banner announcing our little one.

This is made of scrap booking paper and ribbons. I wish I'd gotten a better picture to share but I JUST finished this before getting together with my in-laws and was in quite a rush.

Creative Cook

Last month was a busy month. We found out we are expecting and so I spent much creative energy on announcing that, we visited family and had a miscarriage scare (which was apparently just that, a scare). All of that kinda kept me from spending too much time sharing here.

Well, here's one thing that was just SOOOO cute that I have to share.
One day I was making some Alice Spring's Chicken (as in, Outback Steak House). It was delicious and if I can find the recipe card (I can't right now) I'll share it. I was frying the bacon to go on the chicken and my little cook wanted to help with it. I told him that he couldn't because the bacon would pop grease in his face. He said, "Hmmmm." And left. I went on with my business only to turn around a few minutes later and see that he was back, helping with the bacon in some home made protective gear:

This is a Narnia knight's helmet with sunglasses.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the front row seat I have to these amazing little people God made!! Awesome!

Home Made Baby Wipes

If you're a baby wipe user, this is a great money saver. When I first started having babies, the bathroom we used was really too tiny to change diapers in or even to store diapers in so using a washcloth when changing diapers was really not a very convenient thing to do. So we used wipes and sometime about 7 years ago I started making my own.

Here's what you need.
-Bounty paper towels. Don't go cheap or they won't work well.
-2 cups water
-Baby wash/shampoo
-tea tree oil (optional)
-Rubbermaid container

Cut the paper towels in half. You can use a large sharp knife or an electric knife if you have one. I was given a used one several years ago and it does make it a bit easier. You'll use half of the roll now and the other half will be ready for your next round of wipes.

Next you mix two cups of water with about 2 or 3 tablespoons of baby wash. I just give a couple good squirts and stir it in with a spoon. You can either put this in the rubbermaid container and drop the paper towels in after (which will take a while to soak in) or pour it over the tops of the paper towels. If you pour it over the top, the cardboard tube will get soaked quicker and you can pull it out sooner (if you're in a rush to use your wipes).

Once you've pulled the cardboard tube out, start pulling the wipes from the center. Notice my lid. You don't have to do this at all, but my lid started out with a LITTLE x in the top for pulling the wipes out (exacto knife). As it's been used for years and years, constantly, with usually 2 babies in diapers the whole time, it's gotten a LOT of use and the original little X split all the way to the edges. Which is not a big deal...the wipes still stay wet. You don't, of course, have to cut your top at all. You can just leave the top whole and take it off when you use it. The choice is, of course, yours.

And, ta-da! Here are home made wipes! For me, with 2 in diapers and using wipes only for diaper changes, we usually go through half a roll a week, more or less, so a 12 pack of bounty paper towels which were a bit under $7 last time I bought them, will last about half a year. In the course of a week, they don't get the mildew smell. If you use yours more slowly, you might want to use a few drops of tea tree oil to keep them fresh (I never have). I don't know how long it actually takes for them to start smelling a bit stale.

Last note. I've looked for the round rubbermaid containers like the one I use and I haven't been able to find any for the past few years. Some of my friends who have started making wipes more recently use a square rubbermaid container that's just a bit taller than the half roll of wipes. It'll have a #6 on the bottom. Here's the size (this is my flour container).