Monday, November 30, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - Apple Crisp

I'm still having a hard time really thinking about food after this weekend. Not only was there the traditional Thanksgiving feast, but we were out of town staying with the in-laws (and yep, a post planned for that tomorrow!) which means that we ate out more times than not. I'm afraid to see what my sodium level is right now.

Fortunately, that doesn't stop me from enjoying a good recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of this. I made this actually last weekend when I realized at 8pm on Saturday that I was supposed to provide the fellowship for church the next morning. I managed to come up with quite the spread from ingredients I had at home, and this was the one most raved about (much to my surprise).

This is one of those recipes without really being a recipe, and super easy and quick to put together to boot (which is why I chose it for my last minute oops). Feel free to adjust it as you will, but make a second one because it will disappear!

Apple Crisp

~3 lb apples, cored and chopped (for me, this is ~8 decent sized ones)*
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 c butter

Wash the apples well, then cut into quarters and each quarter into a half. Cut out the seeds (I do this after quartering). Chop each eighth into three chunks. Place all the apples into a 13x9 glass baking dish. Squeeze the lemon atop the apples.

Make the streusel topping by adding the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg into a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients well. Use a pastry blender to mix the butter in until you have little pea sized lumps.

Sprinkle the topping on the apples, then bang the dish on the counter to ensure you have the streusel all yummy and down into the apples. Place it into the oven at 375 degrees for about an hour or so, until the apples are bubbling through the topping and it's nicely browned.

It tastes best when still slightly warm, so I tend to keep it in the oven (with the oven turned off) until I'm ready to serve it. The leftovers make for a great breakfast, just in case you're wondering.

*I use a variety of apples, which I find makes it taste even better. I always use about half granny smith but then vary the other apples from Fuji to MacIntosh to whatever crisp (not red) apple I happen to have in the pantry. I also sometimes add dried cherries or raisins for a special little treat!

Enjoy this and more with Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

PS Truly no pictures because I baked this while I was sleeping (I made a few other items for fellowship, too), then was too tired and rushed in the morning. I managed to sneak one little piece, but that crisp flat out disappeared!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

If I Could Change Just One Thing...

As I type this right now, I look to my left, and my husband is snoring softly with his head leaned back in his chair. The wee ones are both asleep in their beds, happily (I assume) napping.

This isn't unusual. My husband can sleep anywhere, at any time. It takes him seconds to fall asleep when he chooses. This isn't to say that he falls asleep when he doesn't want to in a problematic manner, but if he wants to nap, he simply does.

I'm not blessed with that gift. No matter how tired I am, I cannot nap. Even when I was on the brink of exhaustion with newborns, I could never sleep during the day. Once I'm up, I'm up regardless of how much or how little sleep I got.

This is coming into stark relief today. Thursday night, Little Miss had a nightmare. At 4:20am, I was jerked awake by her screams of Moooooommmmmmyyyyy! that echoed pitifully down the hallway. My husband (who needs less sleep than me and can sleep anywhere -- as mentioned above) was out doing the Black Friday scouring for us, so it was up to me to comfort her. She babbled about a monster she had dreamt about and simply clung to me. This is exceedingly unusual for her, and it took a good ten minutes before I could convince her to lay down again.

Then I laid down again. No matter what tricks I tried or how hard I worked, I never did fall asleep again, and my night's sleep ended at 4:20am. The irony that I could have gotten up at 4:20 and done the shopping myself was not lost on me.

Fortunately, that meant that when she called for me at 6am to say that she'd thrown up in her bed, I was already awake and was able to get her to the toilet in time for round 2. And Momma don't do puke, so yes, she then climbed into bed with me in clean clothes while we waited for Daddy to get home.

This wouldn't be so bad, except that the night before, Mister Man had come screaming down the hallway yelling for Mommy. At 2:20am. (Mind you, I've trained the wee ones to call for Daddy in the middle of the night when they need something. They have learned to do so, but when it's something really big, inevitably, it's Mommy they need). I caught him before he reached our room, which at least kept him from waking up Little Miss with his screaming.

Apparently the furnace scared him (we were at my in-laws and he has to sleep in the basement there -- more on that in a day or so). Once I explained to him the various bangs and whooshes the furnace made and the causes behind them -- he now understands how metal expands when heated -- he was able to go back to bed.

At 2:50, I got up to get a drink. At 3:30, I gave up and turned on the light to try to do some reading. At 5:20, I had finished counting backwards from 500 after doing some deep breathing exercises. Somewhere around 6, I finally fell asleep. Of course, the wee ones woke me up just after 7. And you know... once I'm up, I'm up.

I'm still exhausted today, and this is after two nights of no wee ones disturbing my slumber. So really, if I could change just one thing about myself, forget the usual things people ask for -- supermodel-dom, wealth, more time in the day, etc -- I simply would really appreciate the ability to take a nap, even if only just every once in awhile.

How about you? What would you most like to change about yourself?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

Today is effectively the last day of my time off work. For those of you who didn't know, I've spent the last two and a half weeks off work. I've been -- shall we say -- a bit burned out at work lately. After bringing this up to my boss's boss, he suggested I take off three weeks in November. Ya know, since I have that much vacation time that I haven't taken. And I still have the time remaining to take off the last two weeks in December.

For me, this was a trial run to see how I do without a job. I'm seriously considering going the SAHM route, for a nubmer of reasons (Little Miss leaving me out of family pictures, the working through dinners while working at home, the challenge of finding the time to do everything I'm committed to doing, the absolute dread I feel every time I have to have anything to do with my boss).

I tried staying at home previously when the wee ones were truly wee. When Mister Man was two and a half and Little Miss eight months, I stayed home for six months. Going hundreds of miles an hour at work to zero with two mobile (she was walking shortly thereafter) children while living in a new area didn't work out for me so well. Now, it's a different story.

I can happily say that I was not in the least bored while off work. Interestingly, I've been more busy than normal. I'm way behind on my DVR. I'm so far behind on blog reading (sorry!) that I'll never catch up. I did fun homemade dinners more often, but not nearly as often as I thought I would. While I caught up on a lot of stuff at home, I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't get more done.

Things I did get done:
Made of list of everything I had to do while I was off
Wrote Mister Man's thank you notes for his birthday (that happened October 17)
Made it to the gym regularly
Had breakfast and lunch with friends I hadn't caught up with enough
Got a mani/pedi
Sorted my closet
Put together the annual gift card fundraiser for Little Miss's preschool
Put out the preschool newsletter
Got caught up on laundry
Played games with the wee ones
Took Little Miss to her gymnastics class
Got the old blinds over to my friend's house who will hang them someday (maybe this weekend, she says!)
Took the wee ones to open gym
Went to dinner with the wee ones at a friend's house
Caught up completely on the Labels for Education sorting, cutting and gluing

Things I didn't get done:
Make that dentist appointment
Get to the dentist
File the growing pile of papers in the office
Get my flu shot
Volunteer in Mister Man's classroom
Get caught up on blogs
Put up the reviews awaiting my review blog (next week!)
Make an inventory of the freezer and do meal planning based on this
Take the wee ones' outgrown clothes to the shelter
Straighten up the office
Call for a charity to come take away the old entertainment center
Get Mister Man's swimming lessons moved to a new time

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm busier with more free time than I was when I was working 30 plus hours a week. However, the realization that I have three weeks before I'm off again was really depressing, as me who can't count thought it was only two.

I loved having time with the wee ones. Hearing about their days in school and being able to take my time hearing all the stories instead of having two minutes between conference calls was great. Being able to see Little Miss run around the gym was heartwarming. Having the time to do vision therapy exercises with Mister Man instead of nagging my husband and mother to try to do them was gratifying. I liked being home.

While I felt guilty the first week about a couple things that I wanted to do for work, I successfully resisted the urge to ever check my email or to even charge my Blackberry. I separated, and I didn't miss it.

And there are so many things that I want to do yet if I had more time. With more time, I could really improve the wee ones' largest fundraiser of the year coming in May. I've wanted to volunteer at a hippotherapy center near me for years, but I can't justify it while working. I'm running further now, but once I go back to work, I have only one or possibly two (including the weekend) days that I can get to the gym, which means my progress will stagnate or worse. And the playdates that the wee ones love to have and so rarely get when I'm working? Just the joy that Mister Man showed on his face when I took him and a friend to go see a play on Monday was priceless.

But I'm wondering if the office will still remain with its growing pile of papers. I think my magazine pile might continue to expand. Somehow, the days just disappear. What's the saying though? Time flies when you're having fun. And me? I've been having fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All About My Birthday

Today is my birthday (whoo), and before I go to bed -- apparently I'm officially old as I'm exhausted at 8pm -- I figured I'd share some highlights of the day.

1) My mom called to ask where I wanted to go for dinner. Since I'm the one who cooks for everyone else's birthday dinners, at least I'm not expected to cook for my own? She suggested Go Roma! While they have good food, and I do enjoy it there, essentially fast food Italian is not quite what I was looking for. I politely declined and suggested a more suitable establishment (that was great and I ate 1/3 of my dinner yet still came home stuffed).

2) My mom did make my birthday cake though. She tries really hard, but ... while her heart is in the right place, her baking sometimes comes up a little short. She decided to make it dairy free by simply omitting the butter and milk (no replacements). Then she thought the white cake was a little too yellow so dyed it pink. She made chocolate frosting, but not quite enough -- so only the top layer ended up frosted. And the edge of the (once) round cake was cut off prior to being frosted so Little Miss could have a dairy free bit. It really was an adorable cake.

Bless her heart, my mom tried. My husband complimented the ice cream I served with it saying that, This ice cream really complements the cake, and that was the nicest thing he could say. My husband, who eats anything. My dad didn't even really want a piece, and he'll really eat anything. My cooking and baking skills? Nope, they did not come from my mom. I think we're actually going to toss the remainder of the cake, and my family is allowed to buy a cake for me next year -- unless I can teach the wee ones to make a cake in the next 364 days.

3) Little Miss leaned over to me at lunchtime and blew me a hug and some kisses. There, Mom, I just gave you some of your presents. And truly? That's all the presents I needed. Something really clicked last year, and I decided that I could care less what gifts I receive or whether I receive any. Kisses from Little Miss? Good enough for me!

4) I received a birthday card that listed the then and now type things. Again, I don't care who shares my birthday or what happened in the world of sports that night, but there was an interesting price comparison.

Gallon of Milk: Then $1.50 Now $3.87 -- where are they buying their milk? And from whom? I have a few things I'd like to sell these people. The last gallon of milk I bought was $1.79, and I bought it on sale for $1.49 the week before.

Gallon of Gas: Then $0.57 Now $1.86 -- but apparently I need to move somewhere else. I haven't paid $1.86 for gas in years. In fact, I paid $2.55 earlier today and was happy because that was the cheapest I'd paid in awhile.

Loaf of Bread: Then $0.28 Now $1.40 -- it's interesting to me that this is the biggest percentage jump, but I also have to say that my bread costs more than that (though not by much), and I buy mine at Costco which I know is cheaper than most grocery stores. But hey, I'll pay that premium for the whole wheat bread.

Ok ok ok, and just because I suppose I can't leave all the pop culture out, popular songs I've heard of included Mandy and Please Mr. Postman.

Wow. Now I really feel old. In fact, me and my inflamed bursa sac are going to head off to bed now. Especially because this was much funnier in my head, but I'm too tired to fix it now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

The wee ones have been enjoying their Saturday mornings lately (and granted, I have, too). We rediscovered our love for scones, and I've been adapting my recipe to be dairy free for Little Miss.

Of course, the *real* recipe has butter and milk, and that's what I'm posting. I can vouch for the fact that they're just as good when they have substitutes though. I even brought them to the tailgate for the Northwestern game where they were inhaled. And that was a good eight hours later.

Super easy, quick enough that hungry wee one can help me make them and wait for them to finish baking before demanding food - yum!

Super Easy Scones

1 1/2 c flour (I'll do a mix of whole wheat and regular plus ~1/2 c additional wheat germ but totally optional)
1/4 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/4 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c (or more) dried fruit -- raisins, cranberries, cherries, chocolate chips, whatever -- our scones are best with dried cherries and chocolate chips, just sayin'
1/3 c milk
10 T butter (melted)
1 egg
1 t vanilla

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add the oatmeal and fruit and mix again.

Mix together the butter, milk, egg, and vanilla and whisk really well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until JUST mixed. Do not overstir (or you'll start to get the hockey puck effect).

Dump the scone mixture out onto a sil pat or other non-stick type surface (wax paper, floured countertop, etc) and use your hands to form it into a circle about 1/2" tall. Use a board scraper or knife to cut them into triangles (8 pieces). Separate the triangles into a non-stick surface (sil pat or parchment paper) on a cookie sheet. They won't rise hugely, but you want some space so they cook all around.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy this and more with Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

You Go, Boy!

Today is November 20.

In my world, we're preparing for (in this order) my birthday and Thanksgiving. Just kidding -- while my birthday is coming up, the focus is truly on Thanksgiving. Ask Mister Man. I had no idea this many Thanksgiving songs even existed.

However, some places are rushing things a little.

In August, I saw my first Christmas display. I went out to eat last week, and the mall was playing Christmas songs. Christmas lights are out everywhere. A neighbor even has a lit Christmas tree in his window already.

I'm not ready for it. Don't get me wrong; I love Christmas. I just prefer to savor it at the appropriate time rather than elongating it until it isn't special anymore.

At lunch today, our waitress wrote "Happy Holidays!" on our check. While WeaselMomma (jokingly, I believe?) suggested we amend her tip for that, we essentially just sighed and shook our heads.

Then she, Melisa, and I walked through the mall and saw all the Christmas lights, line to see (a bad) Santa, and more evidence that no one is remembering to savor the season in its own time.

This afternoon, Mister Man and I went to vision therapy. As we were walking away from the receptionist's desk after checking in, she wished us "Happy Holidays!"

Mister Man turned around and gave her a scathing look.

You mean "Happy Thanksgiving," don't you?

She had the grace to look abashed and proceeded to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.

Score one for the little guy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's All About The Inducements

So Mister Man "lost" his first tooth several weeks ago. He had another tooth that was loose, and he was working on it. I'd explained to him clearly that the needed to get a move on the wiggling of said tooth to ensure we didn't have another incidence of a permanent tooth growing behind the baby tooth. I'm really not into braces (all assurances from Karen, aside, I'm paranoid).

I noticed a week or so ago that I could feel the bump of a tooth starting to form behind it. I gave Mister Man a deadline of this Friday to get the tooth out, or Daddy would have to pull it again. He understood and continued to wiggle.

This afternoon he informed me on the way home from school that the art teacher had good eyes and had spotted a tooth growing behind his baby tooth. He was proud of her eyesight; I simply sighed.

I explained that we needed to hurry up the tooth losing. I tried to cajole him into having Daddy pull it tonight. He was pretty well convinced.

Until, of course, Daddy started feeding his mind with what needed to happen. Then he started freaking out about how he could almost taste the blood in his mouth already. *sigh*

My husband continued to try to talk him into pulling it tonight, but Mister Man was convinced that it would be better tomorrow.

After his shower, I pointed out that he has no school all next week, so if he pulls it tomorrow he won't get his name on the board or tell his friends at school. He wasn't swayed.

Then I brought up Mommy's Special Ice Cream. This would be the ice cream a friend of mine brought back for me from Columbus for my birthday. Of the ice cream from there that I've tried to date, I haven't been willing to share.

I put a deal on the table (literally). One bowl of Mommy's Special Ice Cream from Jeni's in Columbus OH (Wildberry Lavender, which is heavenly btw) if he had Daddy pull his tooth tonight. If not, that offer was off the table, and he wouldn't get Mommy's Special Ice Cream.

He dithered. He couldn't decide. He told me his brain hadn't made its decision yet. He whined a bit, trying to figure out what to do.

In the end though, Mommy knows her boy well. He chose the ice cream.

Daddy pulled the tooth, and he was happy it was done. It wasn't nearly so big a deal as he was making it out to be, he informed me. He literally couldn't sit down to eat his ice cream because he was so excited and happy that he was bouncing up and down.

He called my parents (individually, much to my amusement) and my husband's parents to inform them of the good news. And he also announced that he wasn't going to have the Tooth Fairy visit tonight because he insists on showing his tooth to his grandma and grandpa tomorrow.

But first, he finished every bit of ice cream in that bowl.

And here I thought I was the only one (in the family) where ice cream made it all better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oodles Of Doodles

The wee ones always entertain me with the games they come up with. I remember playing games growing up, but I don't remember them having so many rules. The one I played that I'm sure the majority of you are familiar with is "Slug Bug."

You know. The one where you hit the person closest to you if they aren't wearing the color of the Volkswagen Beetle you just saw -- provided you see if first and yell "Slug Bug!" while uhh slugging them. And yes, I am aware that there are regional differences (I'd love to hear them), but this is how I played it growing up.

The wee ones have a slightly similar game that at least involves Volkswagen Beetles, but the whole intent is different.

It started out that you simply had to spot a Beetle and yell "Doodle." It quickly progressed however to involve many more rules.

1) Everyone gets a point so long as you see the Beetle.
2) Strike rule one. Now only the first person to see it gets a point.
3) Addendum to rule two. If "enough" time has passed, a second person can claim the Beetle as his own Doodle.
4) PT Cruisers also count as Beetles (this came about due to an inability in my children -- since rectified -- to accurately identify the Beetles).
5) Amendment to Rule 4. PT Cruisers have their own subset, and you now shout PT Cruiser, but they still count in the same grouping.
6) The first person to get three points wins.
7) Amendment to Rule 6. When you have three points, you have to also shout "Oodles of Doodles" for your win to count.
8) When someone has won the game, you start all over.
9) Amendment to Rule 5. PT Cruisers now have their own category, so points are tracked separately for Beetles and PT Cruisers. You still need three of one or the other two win.
10) If you are the first to get three PT Cruisers, you have to shout "PT Winner."
11) If someone else enters the car in the midst of the game, everyone has to start over.

I like this game. Partly because there's no hitting involved. Partly because each of the wee ones is really supportive no matter who gets a point or who wins. Partly because I tend to win since I'm watching the road and the cars around me more intently and regularly than the wee ones who often get distracted.

However, Little Miss will periodically surprise me by seeing a PT Cruiser or a Beetle and correctly identifying it. Mister Man will also sometimes identify one, but if I don't immediately confirm the sighting, he'll decide that he didn't see it after all -- even if I do later spot it and tell him that yes, he was right. So interesting to see the differences in children.

I'm sure the game will have amended rules the next time we play, which makes it all the more challenging for me. I'm sure Mister Man doesn't change them on purpose to make it more difficult for me to win... he'd never be so devious. Or would he?

What games do you play with your children or have fun making up?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

I am so stuffed right now. You know how sometimes you make food you really like and you eat just a little bit too much just because it's so good? I did that tonight. Then again, I'm pretty sure the wee ones did, too!

Traditionally in many families, Monday night is pizza night. I'm all for that tradition, but I can't justify eating out that often -- especially when it's so easy to make homemade pizza that tastes oh-so-good (and that Little Miss can eat).

So tonight I made a homemade pizza with a whole wheat crust. Yum.

The crust is super easy, and I shared this one a long time ago (just sub out 2/3 whole wheat flour for the white flour and add a touch more oil and water) here.

Tonight, you're getting my easy sauce. This is the sauce that I use for spaghetti (less blended), lasagne (medium blended), pizza (completely blended), meatball subs (medium blended), and more! It's super quick and tastes great.

Fifteen Minute Tomato Sauce

1 15 oz can of tomatoes (make sure you get the low sodium ones) - whole, diced, whatever you like best, although I usually do the dieced ones because I'm lazy unless I'm frustrated, then I use the whole ones and squish them by hand
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1-2 T olive oil
1 T dried parsley
1 1/2 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
grated cheese to taste, if you so desire (which I do, but I can't add due to Little Miss's dairy allergy)

Heat a sturdy saucepan on medium heat (I love my Le Creuset for this) until the bottom is fairly warm. Then add the olive oil. While the olive oil is heating, peel and slice the garlic.

Add the garlic, once the olive oil is shimmery. Immediately use a can opener to open the can of tomatoes. You want the tomatoes in there within about forty-five seconds of getting the garlic in there so that the garlic is fragrant but not colored at all.

Once the tomatoes are in, add your dried herbs and the salt and pepper. Stir, then let simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. Use an immersion blender (or a regular one in batches) to blend it to the consistency you desire.

You can obviously use fresh herbs, as well. However, if you are doing so, you want to add three times the quantity and do so at the end of cooking so that you don't kill the flavor. Ok, the oregano can go into the pot with the tomatoes -- but only because I'm not a huge fan of oregano to begin with.

This is a super forgiving. Put in what you want, adjust the quantities to your liking, and enjoy. You don't even want to know the last time I bought jarred pasta sauce. This tastes so much better (to me), and it's also far cheaper.

Enjoy more recipes at Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


On our way to a Northwestern game earlier this fall, Mister Man decided to entertain Little Miss by reading one of her favorite books (we LOVE the Froggy books around here -- it's all she gets from the library).

As I was listening to him read, I realized that he was doing so in a sing-song voice. And that I actually knew the tune. And he for the most part was managing to get the meter to match the tune.

Luckily, I had my camera with me, so I captured some of it on video. As is typical, he stopped shortly after I began recording, even though he'd been doing it for the ten minutes prior. Still cute.

Ten points if you can name that tune!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

One last day to enter my giveaway!


Apparently I'm in the mood for feeding kids lately. Granted, last week's homemade ice cream is something a kid can do, but I rather enjoy my portion controlled treats, too!

This week, the wee ones were helping me in the kitchen again. And again, this is a recipe that the adults in my family enjoy, as well.

Kids who don't eat chicken fingers are few and far between. Unfortunately, Little Miss can't eat many commercially prepared chicken nuggets and chicken fingers because they add dairy in the breading. And some of the ingredients I read on some of the packages....

Suffice it to say that I'm much happier making the chicken fingers on my own these days -- assuming that I can find the corn flake cereal that doesn't have any spurious ingredients, that is!

Mommy's Homemade Chicken Fingers

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 T honey
1 t mustard (I use Dijon, yellow, whatever sounds good that day)
1 c corn flake cereal, well crushed
1/4 t salt
dash pepper
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the chicken into 3/4 inch strips. In a shallow dish, combine the egg, honey, and mustard. In another shallow dish, stir together the corn flake crumbs, salt, and pepper.

Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then roll them in the crumb mixture to coat evenly.

Arrange the chicken strips on a baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Mmmm! Unfortunately, it was gone before I could get pictures. Partly because I forgot. There are never any leftovers when I make this one though!

Enjoy more recipes at Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Little Teetotaler

Only a few days left to enter my giveaway here!

Friday was the fiftieth day of school for Mister Man. In celebration, his teacher (whom we love) had a fifties day. They were to bring in 50 pennies, which they counted and used for all sorts of fun games. She provided 50 Cheerios per student for snack. They played with hula hoops during recess.

Oh, and of course, they were allowed to be out of uniform and dress for the fifties.

(Ok, seriously, why can't he smile like that for the pictures for school?)

When I picked him up after school, I asked how the day went.

Fine, Mom, he told me. Mom, am I allowed to drink beer?

Ummm, no. You know that of course. You are allowed to drink root beer though.

The silence in the back seat was deafening.

Did you have root beer today, Mister Man?

Umm, I told Mrs. Teacher that I'm not allowed to have it.

Oh, knowing they also had root beer floats in school. So did you just have the ice cream then?

No, I just told her that I wasn't allowed to have it.

Oops. Yeah, that generalizing thing isn't exactly his strong point. Poor kid. Of course, now I have to wonder what the teacher thinks that I won't let my poor little guy have a root beer float with the rest of the class!

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's A No Brainer

Quick, go play here to enter my fun giveaway!


Yeah. Sooooo we got Mister Man's school photos home in his backpack yesterday.

We're getting retakes.

No questions asked, we're getting retakes. But really, what was the photographer thinking taking the photo when he wasn't even close to smiling? *sigh*

What was your worst school photo?

PS That would be my mom doing his hair, etc. I was in the office at work on the day he had the photos taken.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is It 9pm Yet?

Go check out my giveaway here. Another week to go, and you've got a great shot!


Not unlike so many of you, I'm exhausted. Completely. I wake up with circles under my eyes wishing for just a few more minutes (ok, hours) of sleep. I drag through my days, yawning away. And I hate that.

Since the time changed, I've made a conscious effort to get more sleep. By 9pm, I am finishing up whatever I'm doing and heading upstairs. I may read for a bit or watch a little Food Network, but I'm getting to sleep much, much earlier now.

And it's helping. A little. But I'm still tired even when I'm "sleeping" nine or more hours a night. Why? Eh, take a look below.

Top Ten Reasons I Can't Sleep At Night

10) Mooooooom, I can't find Snowy! When entering Little Miss's room, Snowy is on her bed, approximately nine inches from her body, which is approximately eight inches further than where she searched.

9) It's 4:40am. If I get to sleep now, I'll be able to have another hour and a half of sleep. Unless my husband's alarm wakes me up. Then I'd only get forty minutes of sleep. That's not nearly enough. Maybe if I start counting backwards. Ugh, what if I get to zero and am still awake? That would be really depressing. Then I definitely wouldn't be able to sleep again. Should I turn on the tv for a few minutes? Maybe not. At this hour, it's only infomercials, and I don't want to listen to those.... Yep, that would be my internal monologue.

8) Mom. Pssst. Mom. Mom. Mom. Do you want to hear about the dream I just had? It's really funny. Not at 2am, thank you very much.

7) Why am I so cold? Yikes! Oh. I don't have a comforter anymore. grrrr.

6) That would be a light shining directly into my eye. Why oh why did I place the bed in such a position that whenever my husband opens the closet door and turns on the light to choose clothing for the day (because it's impossible to choose clothing the night before), the bulb is exactly in my eye. I'm still debating rearranging the room to avoid this, but the window and door configuration make it a tad difficult.

5) Ummm, did you read this post?

4) Or this one?

3) YES! Go. GO GO! Awww, I can't believe he got tackled. HOW did he not manage to score there? I can hear that. Through closed doors. And from a floor away. This is not a fun way to be jerked awake.

2) Moooom, I have to go potty. Mooooom. Mooooom, I have to go potty. While Little Miss a) is perfectly capable of going potty by herself during the day, b) has absolutely zero interest in learning to stay dry overnight and c) is the most independent little cuss on the planet except when it suits her, if she decides she has to go potty, she insists on getting permission in the middle of the night. During naptime, she has no compunctions about getting up and going two or three times of course.

And the number one reason?

Mooooooooooom, I don't feel so good. Mom! Urp.

And if you'll excuse me, it's 8:58. I need to start shutting down my comptuer and heading upstairs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Karma Is Not My Friend

Psst, I'm having a giveaway here. Go. Play. Enter. How is it possible that only one person has entered so far?



On Saturday morning, I got an email from one of the parents in Mister Man's class. Apparently she'd been one of the Halloween party helpers the day before and left partway through the party with her son. Yep, he was feeling sick enough that he voluntarily left in the middle of a party. The mom wanted to let the rest of the parents know that he had swine flu and that she was really sorry and hadn't known about it before then.

No biggie. I get it. I've sent my child to school thinking he was totally healthy and then had him come home. And I know how fast the flu comes on.

A few hours later, there was a note from a parent whose child had tested positive for strep earlier that day. She noted that he had a low grade fever and a rash on his stomach but no other symptoms.

Another email arrived shortly after that one from yet another mom whose child tested positive for strep that day and who also had only a tiny fever and a rash on his bottom. She had him tested for strep against the doctor's wishes only because the boy's brother had strep earlier in the week.

And then another one arrived, apologizing for being the one who introduced strep into the classroom early in the week. Again, she noted the few symptoms, which is why it had taken her so long to get tested for strep.

I smiled and deleted the emails. My children don't get strep. I've been exposed to it hundreds of times when I was growing up and never got it once. I'm sure my wee ones have the immunity passed on. Plus, they eat well, sleep a ton (as Melisa can attest to!), take Vitamin D daily, and are good about washing their hands.

While I was at work today -- in the office, my one day a week, of course -- the school nurse called and left me a message. I needed to come pick up Mister Man because he had a low grade fever. Oh, and his right lymph node was slightly swollen. I then had two voicemails from my mom, one letting me know that my dad was on his way to pick up Mister Man and the other to let me know that my dad had him and she was at bridge and unavailable.

I sighed when I picked up the messages and called my dad. Mister Man was totally fine. He had no fever by the time he got to my parents' house and was busy playing with Legos. I said I'd call the doctor and see what they said.

After explaining the swollen lymph node and epidemic of strep and mentioning that he was also complaining of his ear hurting him, she asked that we bring him in. Her only concern was the ear hurting him, at this point. Had I not said that, they were fine waiting it out and seeing if he got any worse.

My dad was able to take him to the doctor for me, and I got a call a few hours later saying that Mister Man had -- to the shock of the doctor -- tested positive for strep. He showed no other symptoms, so apparently we caught it early.

And that smile I had earlier in the week when I deleted those emails? It is completely wiped from my face. Now I figure swine flu is next. That or Karma is coming back to bite me for saying that I'm immune to strep myself.


Oh -- and a post script to all this fun. My parents decided to keep Mister Man at their house overnight since I have two PTO-related meetings tomorrow from 9:30 to 2:20 tomorrow, so it's easier to do that than drag Mister Man around tomorrow morning. They filled the prescription and gave him his first dose.

A half hour after giving him the first dose, my mom called to ask me a question. Isn't Mister Man allergic to amoxicillin and penicillin?

Ummm, yeah, why?

Well, that's what the prescription he had was, and we just gave him a dose about a half-hour ago.

Oh. Great. Well, apparently now we'll see if the hives he got as a baby (while admittedly being introduced to several other foods and soaps and such at the same time) were related to the amoxicillin he got or whether he truly is allergic. Tomorrow morning I'm ensuring he gets a new prescription.

Reason #632,719 why I need to quit my job.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tasty Tuesday!

I'm giving away a three month membership to JumpStart here. Go. Play. Enter.


I have a great recipe to share, but before I do, I want to point you in the direction of a cookbook for a cause that a friend of mine's then five year old son has put together. So many people love to cook, and not only for themselves. I personally love bringing the wee ones into the kitchen with me and letting them help me out -- and they love it, too. Little Miss can already break an egg into the bowl by herself after a lot of practice.

So go check out the Kids Feeding Kids cookbook. It's a cookbook with recipes from various children, as well as some from celebrities, including Oprah and Chris O'Donnell. It's not only recipes they love to make, but also recipes they love to eat. For $20, you can get this adorable cookbook with over 800 recipes.

And that $20? It goes to support the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The proceeds from each book are able to buy 100 pounds of food for the food bank. With the economy the way it is, more and more people are relying on the food bank, and this is a great way to support it.

Hurry though. There are fewer than 500 cookbooks left, and once people get their holiday shopping going, I have a feeling they'll sell out quickly. (I'm pairing it with an apron to give to several children I know who love to cook -- and a few adults, too!)

In honor of the cookbook, I'm choosing a recipe this week that is one of the wee ones' favorites -- and one I enjoy too!

Kids' Ice Cream


1/2 c whole milk (don't use skim)
1 t sugar
1/4 t vanilla
6 T rock salt
1 pint size Ziploc
1 gallon size Ziploc
ice cubes

Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag. Put the milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, then seal it. Place the small bag inside the large bag, and seal again carefully. Shake up the mixture until it is ice cream, about five minutes. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully and enjoy!

I love that this is totally portion controlled! You can also add flavors -- put in some chopped up cherries or strawberries. Add a little honey (warmed with the milk). Try mini chocolate chips. Swirl in some caramel or some fudge with a spoon after it's turned into ice cream. Add a couple drops of peppermint extract. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination.

And the wee ones can totally do this themselves. Whoo, more ice cream for Mommy. Is it wrong to use their innocence to my advantage?

Enjoy this and more with Blessed With Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

They Get The Magic

Before I forget, new giveaway up at my review blog. And more to come in the next week or so!


In Halloweens past, it's been more fun for me than for the wee ones. While they were interested in trick or treating, it quickly wore thin, and they were done. The costumes were fun, but they didn't really get into it.

This year? Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Granted, Little Miss decided at the last minute that she did not want to be Tinkerbell (as she'd been demanded for the previous ten months) but instead wanted to be a goblin. Uhhh, yeah. Momma don't make a goblin costume a) at the last minute b) after spending money on a Tinkerbell costume c) because she doesn't know what a goblin actually looks like or d) all of the above.

She went as Tinkerbell after I promised to put two layers of pants on her and threatened to take away the opportunity to go trick or treating. And she loved being Tink.

The first really cool part about this year is that a group I'm a part of put together a gluten free / casein free trick or treating event so that Little Miss was able to collect candy that she could actually eat. Mister Man was also invited along as a sibling, which meant that he saw his best friend from his first year of preschool and had a blast.

That's also where Little Miss started demanding two layers of pants under her costume. Bad mommy, I didn't think about how cold it would be Friday night. She had bare legs, although we were only out for a little bit as "just" fifteen or so houses were participating in the GFCF trick or treating.

The good news is that the wee ones followed the trick or treating rules I laid out for them. I did have to add a new one: after you ring the doorbell, count to fifteen slowly. If no one has answered the door by then, move on to the next house. The little buddy who saw Mister Man and immediately screamed for us to wait for him and joined us on our trek for the neighborhood benefitted from that rule the most, I think!

We actually did our entire neighborhood, and the wee ones wanted to keep going. Of course, as we went along our neighborhood, the coats, hats and mittens came out of my backpack. We stopped at home twice to dump candy and get a drink of water. But they had so much fun, we went to the neighborhood that connects to ours.

Smart me? I drove to it. And we lasted about ten houses into that neighborhood before they were done. And when they were done, they were D.O.N.E. Fortunately, I organized our trick or treating so that we weren't too far from our car at that point.

And getting home quickly meant that they still had plenty of time to hand out candy at our house, an honor they practically fought over. Our grand total was 339 this year, far less than the 462 we had last year. Our neighborhood is still a magnet for those who live elsewhere and have ahhhh greater acreage than we do. I took a quick snap of one car driving into our neighborhood to drop off kids at the very beginning. Within a half hour, streets were completely filled on both sides with cars parked, trucking in kids to trick or treat in my neighborhood.

Yes. That really is the kind of car we see driving around in our area.

And yes, I did the candy sorting. We had the Snickers pile, the corn syrup pile, and the you can choose from this pile. And wow is it hard to find candy that doesn't have corn syrup in it. Reese's and Mister Goodbar, along with two bags of pretzels were the only ones that made the cut. It's possible others might, but boo to Hershey's who refers me to the website for ingredients and nutritional information when looking at the package yet refers me to the package when I go online.

We're already asking when Halloween is next year.

So how was your Halloween?

  © Blogger template 'Solitude' by 2008

Back to TOP