Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Toilet training gone awry

Being a resourceful and intuitive parent means sometimes you have to come up with quick solutions to problems that arise and be in tune to your children's needs.  We thought that we were helping Brody's potty training (which was very successful) by letting him pee outside.  This solved the problem of not making it to the bathroom in time and tracking mud and grass all over the floor. He also thought it was pretty cool to pee in the grass, little did we know we were fueling his fire.  Brilliant as we thought it was, this, "solution," has quickly back fired.  Now whenever the urge strikes, Brody will drop his drawers in the blink of an eye.  We're not to concerned about it when it happens in our backyard (our neighbors however are another story) but when it happens in public places, our faces turn red with embarrassment.  The kid has no fear and gosh darn it, when he has to pee, he has to pee!  He has left his mark in quite a few places including the church parking lot, through the fence in the back yard, my flowers in the front yard. tires of our car, the apple orchard and the long jump pit in the indoor track (I am so sorry long jumpers!) He often waves as he does his business at anyone passing by....truck drivers, joggers or bikers.  This kid could probably win some sort of contest (if there was such a thing) for longest (as in yards) pee.  Needless to say, he is very proud of his spray and the force in which he exudes (must be a male thing) Now that potty training is complete we have begun training on the whole public urination thing.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Truthful Tuesday: Let's be realistic here....

There are some things in life that you just can't or shouldn't sugar coat.  I often find myself being told that I am kind of negative, when I prefer the term realist.  I am all for positivity and joy, but I frequently look at the realistic side of life.  Life is not all unicorns and rainbows my friends.  There are a few people that just seem to ooze positivity and most of the time I want to box them in the ears.  

It's very hard in today's society where, "everyone wins!" (gag me with a spoon) and we pat everyone on the back and ask them, "how does that make you feel?" Really? 


Like everyone else, I want my children to succeed, have dreams and set high goals but I also want them to be realistic.  In reality not everyone is a winner, somebody has to lose (uh, the Cubs? cough cough)  You have to have a back up plan in case your dream of becoming a tight end for the Bears falls through.  How are they ever going to learn how to work hard and how are they ever going to learn how to fail.  You have to fail before you can succeed.  That is why we are trying to teach our boys not only about hard work and taking responsibility but also about honesty and reality.  

So in the spirit of all things real, here are my truths for Tuesday:

1. I hate mopping. (I do however love my steam mop) I would rather wax my eyebrows with laffy taffy or get a root canal than mop the floor.  And if you live in this house, the floor needs mopping at least once a day.  Gross.  

2. I could never run a day care.  Don't get me wrong, I like watching peoples children to help them out and having play dates but for a few hours at a time....not for an entire day.  I'm sorry, I just can't do it.  I'm loving and caring but I'm selfish and want time with my kids only.  

3.  In college I knew I wanted to get married right away and start a family BUT I knew that I also wanted a good education and a job that I could use later in life.  You shouldn't go to college to find a husband. You should go to college to get an education and maybe God will lead you to your future spouse. 

4.  I fed my kids chocolate chip cookies for breakfast this morning. Mom of the year!

5. I ate peanut M&M's for lunch...and man, they were good.   

6.  I love clothes but I hate shopping for them. I am pretty certain I have the weirdest body shape ever (no boobs, ghetto booty) and they just don't make clothes to fit me.  I can spend hours in a store shopping for jeans and walk out with a pair of shoes. 

7.  I think the reasons people leave a church are pretty ridiculous sometimes. 

8.  I don't actually love running. I like running a lot and when it boils down to it, I just don't want to get fat.  Really. 

9.  I should really be vacuuming the hairy stairs but instead I sit here and type.  

10.  It absolutely drives me bonkers when people go in the EXIT door and out the ENTER door.  I want to ask them how well they can read sometimes.  It's really not a hard concept people.  Today at Wal-mart there was a lady going out the ENTER door and I turned to Baylor and quite loudly said, "see Baylor this is the door we go IN because it says ENTER."  I know, sinner.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday's Meals: five ingredients or less

Can you tell that I don't have very much food in my fridge? It's the end of the month and many trips to the grocery store are out of the question so I've come up with meals that require five ingredients or less.

Monday: White Pizza
1 ball of pizza dough (thawed)
Garlic flavored olive oil  (if you don't have this on hand just sprinkle garlic powder on olive oil)
1/2 Cup ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
Parmesan cheese grated

Roll out the dough into a circle on a pizza pan or stone.  Make a small "lip" on the edges so the cheese won't melt off.  Spread garlic infused olive oil over the dough then top with ricotta cheese. Spread out the ricotta cheese evenly and sprinkle with mozzarella.  Top with parm. cheese. Bake on bottom rack at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Tuesday: Pan roasted chicken with shallots (or white onion) and zucchini
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion cut into thin slices
Zucchini (med) cut into strips
4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt/pepper/parsley to taste

Heat oil in large skillet to medium heat. Add seasoned chicken (with salt and pepper) and cook for two minutes. Add onion and turn chicken. Keep turning chicken and onion to prevent sticking. Cook for 8-10 min or until chicken isn't pink.  Transfer to serving plate and cook zucchini in chicken and oil reserve. Serve hot.

Wednesday: Salmon and wild rice
4 small wild salmon fillets
2 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Uncle Ben's Instant Rice

Marinate salmon in zip-lock bag with oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce for at least 4 hours or overnight. Grill until flaky in skillet or grill. Serve with wild rice and a veggie.

Thursday: Egg fajitas
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Cook eggs (scramble) set on flour tortilla and sprinkle cheese on. Add salsa and sour cream if you want to.  Roll up and cut in half.

Friday: Blue Cheese Pasta
10 oz. angel hair pasta
1/4 lb blue cheese
1/4 cup whipping cream (obviously this isn't a low fat recipe!)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper (pinch of each)

Cook pasta and drain. While pasta is cooking mix everything else (except Parmesan cheese) together in a bowl.  Add pasta to cheese, stir in skillet and cook on low for a few minutes to melt cheese. Top with parm cheese.

Saturday: Take your wife/husband out to eat (seriously)

Sunday: Leftovers

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple Orchard fun

Today Baylor didn't have school so we took some of his AK friends to the apple orchard and let them run free.  We ended up with no apples in the baskets but many in the mouths, one apple tree being watered by Brody and one three year old meltdown (that makes 124 this week)  A good time was had by all.  We're excited about the new friendships we're making with the moms as well as the kids in Baylor's class.

Getting ready for the Lincoln Highway Arts Fest tomorrow in really should go.  Really.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who's your Daddy?

How encouraged I am by being able to attend BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) each week. I look forward to the time we spend in God's word, the rich notes from the lecture and being surrounded by other women who are being filled up and consumed with God's true word each week. This year I get to talk about what I've learned with my mom, my sister in law and a handful of close friends (near and far) who have decided to take on the challenge of the book of Isaiah! I highly encourage you ladies to get involved, wherever you might be, in a BSF course this year. You won't regret it.
This the butt crack of dawn....the sun wasn't even up I walked to the coffee shop to open and bake, I was grumbling inside my head, wishing I was still curled up under my comforter. Then I got to thinking what a blessing in disguise it was to be able to open a coffee shop (hello free coffee!) sit in silence and work on my bible study. I am so distracted at home and often find myself making grocery lists, playing on the computer or breaking up fights between two naked little boys using curtain rods as light sabers.
As you know last week....okay, every week has been a challenge for me with the boys. We've hit a stage where I feel like all I do everyday is discipline the boys. I have thought many times that running away would solve the issues of my strong willed children who don't listen. I am often saddened by the fact that my children have learned defiance and rebellion and question my parenting skills daily. In my quest to be the perfect parent, I have fallen very short. What am I doing wrong? What can I do better? But this morning I began to think of our heavenly Father and how disappointed his is when we choose the path of rebellion and defiance. Does he give up? Absolutely not! We are his precious children, we call him Daddy and we are his special gifts. He cares for us tenderly despite our shortcomings, meaningless worship and hardheartedness. He truly is the perfect parent. He deserves our respect, love and obedience.
I have been given two very precious (albeit they are naked most of the time) that have been entrusted into my care. I can't give up now, throwing in the towel is not an option. Just knowing how much God cares for us and how he would never give up on us encourages me to be the mother I need to be. Far from perfect, but filled with an overwhelming love and desire to raise these boys the way God wants.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Before and After: Dining/living/whatever room

Before....the once dining room that has been taken over by toys and more toys. Seriously, these things have a life of their own...they breed when we're not looking. I try to get rid of them and they just keep coming back. Anyhoo, not sure what I was thinking with the dark and light and color choices here, but it wasn't working for me anymore. Soooooooo
...after lots of primer (primer by the way, is very hard to get our of your hair and other body parts) and a lot of mess.
Voila! A calming shade of green that really makes the room look bigger. Eventually, I want to transform it into the reading/dining room once again. It's just a really awkward space (you walk right into it from the front door) The toys have migrated into the living room. I also have a deep hatred for house plants. Just ask my husband. I've tried to kill every one we've owned and this one has remained. I'm not sure where this deep seeded hatred comes from, but they have haunted me in my dreams (no joke) This one however, is special to us because it came from Mike's funeral, but I will leave the caring for it up to the hubby.

I am also getting ready for the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival in Mt.Vernon this Saturday. I'll have all of my artwork there hoping to sell some and make some Christmas moola! Stop by if you're in the area! It's from 9-4pm on Main Street (first ave) in Mt.Vernon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday's Meals: Ode to the slow cooker

I love throwing a bunch of yummies into a crock pot and not touching it until dinner time when the aroma fills the house. I don't have to worry about dinner. So this week's recipes are for slow cookers....major props for whoever invented them.

Monday: Steve's awesome rump roast
1 large roast...the good one, not the cheap one
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth
Baby carrots
1/2 onion
minced garlic
salt and pepper
halved red taters

Throw everything in crock pot, put enough water in to barely cover the roast. Cook on high for 4-5 hours and then on low for a few hours. Serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup (from sisters cafe)
4 chicken breast halves
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained
2 15-oz cans Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies
1 14 ½-oz can tomato sauce
Tortilla chips, not optional
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp)

Combine all ingredients except chips and cheese in large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Just before serving, remove chicken breasts and slice or shred into bite-sized pieces. Stir into soup. To serve, put a handful of chips in each individual soup bowl. Ladle soup over chips. Top with cheese.

Wednesday: Beef Barley Veggie Soup (

  • 1 (3 pound) beef chuck roast
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 carrots, chopped
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon cube
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 ounce) can chopped stewed tomatoes
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a slow cooker, cook chuck roast until very tender (usually 4 to 5 hours on High, but can vary with different slow cookers). Add barley and bay leaf during the last hour of cooking. Remove meat, and chop into bite-size pieces. Discard bay leaf. Set beef, broth, and barley aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Saute carrots, celery, onion, and frozen mixed vegetables until tender. Add water, beef bouillon cubes, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, chopped stewed tomatoes, and beef/barley mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday: Creamy Potato Soup
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 large potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  1. Place bacon and onion in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until bacon is evenly brown and onions are soft. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Transfer the bacon and onion to a slow cooker, and stir in chicken broth, water, potatoes, salt, dill weed, and white pepper. Cover, and cook on Low 6 to 7 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and half-and-half. Stir into the soup along with the evaporated milk. Cover, and cook another 30 minutes before serving.
  • Friday: Leftovers baby. Really.

    Tri and Tri again.....

    Survived the extreme hills of the Trihawk Triathlon yesterday. Here is a few shots of my awesome friends who also did very well! So very proud of them!! As for me, I am so sore today but it was worth it. I did well in my age division and overall. The course was insane, full of sharp turns, hills and more hills. I think this will be the last tri of the season but I'm looking forward to training again in the spring or late winter. I'm also looking into trying a Xterra triathlon next summer...which is extreme terrain trail running, mountain biking and swimming. My goal for the fall is to do a 10k or 8k or half marathon as well as try P90X with my husband. Today however, I am just working on getting up from a sitting position.....*sigh*

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    My brother did it

    Happy Friday!

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    Sausage casing

    This Sunday will be my second triathlon, the Trihawk in North Liberty. I have fallen in love with them and hope to survive the extra hilly course (and extra is an understatement) We'll be swimming at Sugar Bottom beach, which ironically isn't sugar at all or even resembles sugar, it's nasty slimy ooze crawling with eColi. We bike on Sugar Bottom Road in North Liberty and then run on a County Road F28, which I should know well because it's right where I grew up! I borrowed this wet suit from a friend hoping to increase my swim time a little and really I just want to look cool. All I could think of when I was struggling to get it on was Chris Farley in Tommy Boy singing, "Fat guy in a little coat." Good thing I have plenty of time to get it on because it took me about ten minutes to finally get it to where I had full function of my extremities. The crotch was at my knees and my knees were at my ankles....go figure. I needed to practice getting it off, but I wasn't up for trekking to the nearest body of water. Baylor was happy to oblige and found it quite entertaining hosing his mother down.
    ...and it slipped right off....except for I fell over.....will work on that part.....wish me luck!!