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iPod lesson

07 Oct

My husband got an iPod touch a few years ago “free” with his MacBook. Since then, we have gotten iPhones and he doesn’t need it.  He gave it to his father, who now has an iPhone, so we have the iPod back into our hands.  My 7 year old has wanted it for a long time, he loves to play games on it (and doesn’t it do music too??)  :)

We got it back just before his 7th birthday, so we  put an $80 price tag on it and “gave” him half of it for his birthday.  He had to come up with $40 and we had a list of things he had to show responsibility with.  Here are some of the things he did.

For money:

Cleaned out and vacuumed car (after a long trip-it was bad),

Weeded the back garden (also, after we were gone about a month, weeds were almost as big as him),

Helped weed the front garden (ditto),

Cleaned base boards,

Emptied dishwasher lots of times,

and some other tasks, can’t remember.

He also had some money and was given some money for his birthday, the rest he earned by doing those things.

Responsibility:

Take care of your Bible like you would take care of your iPod touch (that’s my favorite)

Be ready for school at 9:00 (this had been an issue-great motivation)

Have all morning chores done-without me nagging

Memorize the rest of Matthew 5:1-12-he had it started

Memorize Phillipians 4:8-9 (iPod is strictly locked down-but just in case, thought this was good to have in his heart)

Memorize Isaiah 54:17

There may have been some other things, but that’s pretty much it.

One month and one day after his birthday he received his iPod and he’s a very happy 7 year old.  Sometimes I thought it was kind of a lot-but he’s 7 and he has an iPod touch…

It is a great tool has lots of games, his e-mail, Bible reader, flash cards, music, audio books and I’m sure something else.  He’s a happy boy and I think it’s been a great lesson for him.

I am linked with Works for me Wednesday over at We are that Family today.  Check it out!

 
 

Just a Bit More

20 Jul

Buttermilk Falls

I have lived in the flat state of Florida for 11 years,  each year I visit NY state and have a great time.  This year, I decided to visit my Aunt in Ithaca and take a 3/4 mile hike up Buttermilk Falls.  With my three boys.  All under 6.  One was 18 months, in a backpack, on my back.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.  This was a very steep climb, my 3 year old was having a tough time, I was having a tough time.  It was a hard climb, especially with a 25 lb toddler strapped to my back.  We pushed and pushed, positive we had gone the 3/4 mile, no way 3/4 of a mile would take THIS long!  We checked our map and were sure we were close, so kept pushing.  We got to a point, checked our map again and thought maybe we had figured wrong and may have quite a bit more to go.   There was a couple there trying to figure it out too.  I decided I couldn’t push my 3 year old any more (maybe myself a bit too….)   and it looked like it might rain, we decided to turn around.

We got to the bottom of the trail and headed over to the middle of the bottom of the falls and we see the couple we had seen on the trail.  They said the bridge that crossed the waterfall was just up the trail from where we turned around and the trail that went down the opposite side of the waterfall was much more beautiful than the way up.

The Way Up

What a great lesson.  I won’t be able to make this trip for at least another year, I missed out on the best part of the hike because I didn’t push it just a bit more.

Jeremy and I have been going through a really tough time financially.  We were both getting to the point asking how long is this going to take, how bad is it going to get, a bit of frustration coming on.   We have had so much clear direction to trust God and rest in him and we know He has given Jeremy amazing talents to use, we’re just not sure of the next step.   It’s been 40+ days since he lost work.  Prior to losing about 95% of our income,  our finances had been pretty much drained for other reasons.  It’s been tough.  I read this post this morning and it hit me.   We have made it through the hardest part,  hiked up the steepest sections, been faithful. Now, we are leveling out and just around the corner is rest at the top, a cool drink and a beautiful view!   Don’t give up and take the same way back you came from!

 

No Child Left Inside

08 May

I come from the middle of no where, we had no traffic lights, anywhere.  They put one up in “town”  when I was in eleventh grade.  We watched in awe from our Social Studies class.  My parents live on 15 acres and there were many more we could hike through.  The boys have a blast when we go there, able to run, play, dig, create, observe and inspect when we visit.   I went off and moved to the big city here in FL, by big city I mean, we have 6 houses on our street.  We only have a quarter acre, but empty lots on all sides.  

Today,  I let my kids play in the woods empty lot next to us.  I’ve always been a little skiddish, being in FL and all, snakes and bugs and such.  They had rubber boots on, mind you…  Anyways, they had a great time, played so long WITHOUT fighting.  Tearing apart dead tree stumps, playing with vines and inspecting leaves.  I don’t know if I’m a big fan of this free range parenting that I’ve heard of, but I’m learning to let go a little.

Oh, and yes, I am the mother of Buzz Light Year, he may be from space, but loves to play in the dirt.   :)

 

Surviving Wednesday Night Church with 3 Littles

28 Apr

We are linked up with We are That Family for Works for Me Wednesday

I have three boys: 6, 3 and 1.  I also have a very busy hubby.  Here is a “typical” wednesday night at our house.

3-4:30 (yeah, I start that early)  pack diaper bag, make sure kids are dressed or at least have clean clothes laid out-get dinner ready

4:30 Fill the Littles bellies

5:00-5:30 Clean up from dinner, finish dressing, shoes, diapers, get them in the car   Phew!!!

5:30 leave for our 25 minute drive

6:00 Drop off daddy for worship practice, we run errands, go to the park, do something to keep the kiddos busy

7:00 Return to church, I would like to,  but try not to get there early.  Since Daddy is always on stage, it is 3 on 1 for worship time until they go to their classes.  It pretty much wears me out.

8:15 church ends, after picking up kids, chatting, Jeremy doing something he needs to do (someone always needs him), drive home, and kids to bed it’s usually about 10:00.

Something that has made it sooo much easier is:  putting the kids in comfy clothes for church.  Not so much the oldest,  he dresses himself, but the 2 little ones go in sweats and a t-shirt.  They come home, quick snack, teeth brushed and straight to bed (diapers get changed in the nursery-yeah!)  Some may think it’s gross sleeping in the same clothes they were in nursery, but seriously, I don’t care.  It brings me that much peace  and it Works for Me!

 
 

We’re having that? Ewwww!

20 Apr

Does anyone else wonder how those “crunchy” moms get their kids to eat and enjoy all that good stuff? I see other kids happily eating hummus, I read about how they love their raw —-  bar, etc…  I hope to give you a few tips and maybe you can give me some in return.

We’re not super healthy here, but we try to eat mostly whole foods, although the occasional Chips Ahoy gets snuck in.  ;)

Here are some of my tricks:

Dips!! Kids love to dip.  I try to make my own ranch for veggies, or buy it as natural as I can.  Yogurt is great to dip fruit in.  My oldest son used to dip rye toast in yogurt-they will dip almost anything!

Sour cream/Cheese/Chips (I know, I know…)   I am desperately trying to get my kids to eat beans and rice about once a week.  It’s like a torture session.  I can tell the difference between “I really don’t like this” and “It’s not my favorite, I’d rather have chicken nuggets”.  Although they don’t say it, mamma knows. I know they don’t hate the beans and rice, so I am firm.  We had some leftover the other day with quesadillas, I put cheese on it and had them dip it with tortilla chips and they both ate most of it.  I think slowly getting them to eat new things gets them more comfortable with it and eventually, they will be more willing.

Dessert only after good food is eaten-self explanatory.

Crudite before meal-When dinner is finishing up, sometimes I’ll set out carrots, celery, etc.. with ranch for them to snack, it keeps the  hunger away and gets some raw veggies in them.

Give them a small portion of the food they enjoy along with the veggies, or beans, or whatever.  When the plate is clean they can have more of the food they enjoy. My kids (and pretty much every other kid) will inhale the chicken nuggets and leave the carrots.  So we give 2 nuggets and some fruit and vegggies.  When all that is gone they can have 2 or 3 more nuggets.

Nothing else until you eat what I gave you. Sometimes it’s a battle of will.  When I started working oatmeal into our breakfast menu they were miserable,   it was new, it was different and they didn’t WANT  to like it.  If they didn’t eat it for breakfast, it was reheated later for snack, lunch, or whenever they got hungry.  I’m trying to get them to understand we can’t eat our favorite foods every day.  Not everything will be great and exciting.

Another thought I have is feed them whole foods when they are young.  We have so many convenience snacks available now.  My opinion is that these condition their tastes for dry “fake” foods.  *Full disclosure, I use these and they can be lifesavers*   I’m thinking-cereal bars, puffs, these BEYOND overcooked jarred veggie and meat cubes, “Graduate” type foods.  I REALLY try to limit these sorts of snacks, but do use them.  It can be hard to find good foods when the little ones are in that in between stage.  One thing I would use as an easy breakfast are these whole grain waffles, they would be a great snack too.  Bananas, Cooked frozen/fresh veggies,  applesauce, casseroles, mashed potatoes mixed with veggies or cut up meat. I used a baby food grinder too before they ate the pieces-great for any type of pasta or potatoes mixed with veggies. The boys just ate what we ate.  I used some jarred food, but after the initial one food at a time, I switched to mostly table food (saves so much money and they really like it!)

Prayer-In The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omoarian,  there is a chapter where she talks about praying over our children’s eating habits.  Pray for them to be attracted to healthy foods and have a desire to exercise and take care of their body.

Some of these are pretty similar but take a slightly different approach.  It’s good to be firm and consistent, try to make it appetizing and be sensitive.  I always have them try a couple of bites with a good attitude, if I see they really don’t like it, I won’t make them eat it.  I also try to work just one new thing in at a time.  Right now, we’re doing beans and I try to have them once a week, with a yummy dessert that night too.  :)

So what tricks do you have?

We are linked up with Works for Me Wednesday.

 

Healthy and Filling Sandwich *kid approved*

16 Apr

This seems to becoming a food blog, but I thought about it and realized that I’m in a house with 4 boys who eat

ALL. DAY. LONG.

I came across this recipe a little over a year ago, I think it came from Paula Deen, but this is how I do it.   I have never had more than a quarter of one of these, it is sooo fattening.  Little Jeremy has never had much interest in food (until recently)  Around 1 yr of age he went through the “failure to thrive” thing, or as I like to call it “he’s just little!”  thing.  I’m always trying to get something that can fill them up and put on some pounds.Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana

Mix together:

2 tbs natural peanut butter (enough for a good slathering)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp honey

Spread on your bread ( I use whole wheat)

Slice up half a banana

Top with the other slice of bread and butter each of the outsides

Put a little butter in your pan and grill the sandwich

I have a cinnamon/sugar shaker I shake on each side when it’s done, or you could mix some cinnamon and sugar and coat the sandwich.

This is a couple of times a month sandwich and my boys are very active.  Made with whole grain bread, raw honey, cinnamon, it is high calorie and good for them!  Better than the dr’s suggestions of adding more butter and oil to their foods.. ugggh.

Enjoy!

 

Homemade French Fries

02 Apr

These are good and fairly easy.  I didn’t think I could make really good french fries from scratch, even though 5 Guys does…..I googled a recipe and tried it not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised!  I’ve had lots of potatoes and no french fries in the house, so we’ve had these 3 times already.  I made them with red potatoes once and they weren’t as good as the russets.

Here is how I’ve been doing it:

Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch strips and put into ice water for about 10 minutes.

Heat oil on medium heat, put the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil, if it bubbles up around the handle, it is ready to fry.

Place your first batch of potatoes onto paper towels to remove excess water, then place into pan.  Fry about 10 minutes, they will float when cooked through.   You are not browning them at this point.  Remove from oil and place on another set of paper towels.  Fry up the rest in as many batches as you need to.

Turn up the heat to med-high, wait a minute or so, and place some of the fries back into the pan (I’ve found you can fit a bit more in this stage).   Cook them until they are brown and crispy as you’d like them, put onto paper towels and let them drain a bit.

Salt or season them as you like and enjoy!
A few tips:

I used about a 2 inch deep pan and only had about an inch of oil in it.  Obviously you could use more and cook more fries at a time.  I did 2 batches for 4 people and had plenty.

Also, if you use your oil often for fairly clean foods (like french fries)  you can reuse it.  Restaurants use the same oil for about a week (depending on how busy, but I’ve found that to be a general rule) it more has to do with how much it is used and what it is used for not how old it is.   Breaded items like chicken and fish will get the oil “dirty” quicker.  After it cools, I put mine into an old glass jar, I’ve used it 3 times now and it still looks good.  It’s a good idea to strain out some of the little pieces left behind, but not a big deal.  I”m not sure how long to keep it, but I would say at least a few weeks.

 

3 Grain Waffles

16 Mar

Before I had kids, I was a chef.  I ran the kitchen at an old mansion turned restaurant  for breakfast and lunch .  Our big deal was waffles, and not  your ordinary waffle.   A huge Belgian waffle,  piled high with strawberries, fresh fruit, pecans, ice cream, whip cream, or chocolate chips. You could get any of these or all of the above, then top it off with gooey, warm, homemade caramel syrup.  Besides the fresh fruit, there was nothing healthy about these.  At our house, we do these super yummy 3 grain waffles.  I’ll be straight and say the hubby does not approve, but I think the pickiest of kids would like these, mine all love them.  They’re a great finger food for babies babies who are at this stage.   My littlest had nothing to do with baby cereal, these were great for him to get a decent breakfast.  I make a double batch,what we don’t eat goes into  Tupperware or Ziplock and into the freezer, pull one out when I need one and stick it in the toaster and that works for me!

3 Grain Waffles

Mix:

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 C Unbleached All Purpose Flour

1/4 C rolled oats

2 TBS  ground flax seed

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

Then add:

1-1/4 Cups low-fat buttermilk (I usually use regular milk)

2 TBS maple syrup

1 LG Egg, lightly beaten

1 TBS canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix together and let set a couple minutes.  Cook according to your waffle makers directions.  This recipe also makes great pancakes.   Serve with butter  and maple syrup, or Strawberries and Chocolate Chips, or Whip Cream, or…..you get the picture.

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We are That Family