Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Funny Week with the Kids

While I do have funny kids, this past week seems like that have outdone themselves. I've compiled all the snipits I've posted on Facebook for a little laugh when they start to drive me crazy and I can remind myself they really are cute sometimes!


This morning-
Grant, "Mom, can you help me?"
Me, "In a minute"
"....okay, its been a minute! One....Two....Three! Mom, you just lost electronics for the rest of the day!"
LOL, be careful what you say because your kids WILL repeat it!

Greyson, "Free lunch tastes good!"

There is some beatbox rapping going on in the backseat of my car by two little boys.
I'm laughing on the inside ;)


Today the kids had a fundraiser for the 8th grade trip to Atlanta. They could pay $1 to dress down (no uniform) and there were snacks to be sold at lunch.
They never asked me for money, but instead asked what chores they could do to earn money! I would have just given it to them, but I told them I would pay for the dress down and they could earn money for snacks.
Greyson did 3 chores and Grant did one and I ended up giving them each $2 plus an additional dollar for each chore they did.
Then I find Grant at the bus stop with a pocket FULL of nickles and pennies. I counted them and came up with $.98 and a Canadian penny. LOL, of course I gave him an extra nickle!


Greyson, "In your spare time, can you invent something Mom?"
His plan for us to be millionaires so that he can have his own laptop.

Yesterday Grant got sunburnt on his field trip.
Today after school he said, "All my friends were asking why my skin was red, so we had to talk about it in class."
"What did you talk about?"
"Sunburns and how white people get sunburnt before black people."
It's a whole different world to me. Of course little kids are going to ask about it!

Eating a grapefruit for breakfast that Grant picked yesterday on his field trip to a citrus farm.
He said, "it was pretty much like having recess all day!"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Leprechaun Lunch and Owl Moon

I've had a ton of fun cooking lately and wanted to share some of my recipes!

The day before St Patrick's Day we had a "leprechaun lunch" and I made green muffins and green mac & cheese and served it on rainbow plates! I try to stay away from dyes in my kid's food, so the muffins were made with peas and the mac & cheese was made with spinach! The muffins were really yummy and you could not tell they were made with veggies! The mac & cheese however did have a distinct taste which I loved, but I love spinach, and Greyson said, "tastes like pesto!"
Green mac & cheese recipe
Green muffin recipe

One of our PrimeTime books last week was Owl Moon. I found the cutest owl cookie recipe that uses coconut for the "feathers." The only difference in my recipe was instead of using yellow chocolate wafers for the eyes (not in the regular grocery store) I used large chocolate chips and used "eyes" from World Market.
Owl cookie recipe

Everything was easy to make - and I am glad I have the time to do cooking projects like this now!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Books & Cookies

I mentioned a few posts ago how my family attends Prime Time Family Reading Time at the kids' school. Each week in Prime Time we receive books to take home and read with our family. This session I have been motivated to match the books with a cute cookie that we take as a snack for everyone to enjoy. It's been fun matching the books with recipes! Below are the two most recent books and cookie recipes.
At the beginning of March we had 2 books on rabbits. In one book rabbit stole honey from lion, so I modified a bunny carrot cookie (find the original recipe here) to include honey. It did turn out a little sticky, so if I made it again I might do half honey/half sugar, but the bunny shape is just too cute!

Carrot Honey Bunny Cookies
1 cup honey (sugar may be substituted
1 cup butter softened
1 egg
4 cups flour
1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine honey, butter and egg in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining cookie ingredients. Beat until well mixed.

To shape bunnies, roll dough into 30 (1-inch) balls, 30 (3/4-inch) balls and 60 (1x1/4-inch) logs. For each cookie, place (1-inch) ball onto ungreased cookie sheet; top with(3/4-inch) ball and 2 logs for ears. (Make sure dough pieces are touching so that bunny is formed during baking.) Bake for 14 minutes or until lightly browned around edges.

This past week our books were Jumangi and The Elephant's Child. Since both had elephants in them I made Elephant Ear cookies. Again, I modified the recipe a little and the original is here. 
Elephant Ear Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease cookie sheet. Melt butter and set aside. Stir flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in milk and 3 tablespoons of melted butter until dough forms.

Sprinkle surface with flour. Turn dough onto surface. Knead 10 times. Roll dough with rolling pin or pat with hands into a rectangle 9X5 inches. Brush with remaining melted butter. Sprinkle with mixture of 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll dough up tightly beginning at narrow end. Cut into about 10 equal pieces with sharp knife.

Place cut sides up on cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
I'll be sure to post next week's creation! But in the meantime, you can check out my Pinterest page for the recipes I'm considering - and the ones I didn't end up using!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Being a Tourist in your own hometown - March edition

Last weekend we were delighted to host my brother Stanley and his wife Alison as they looked for houses in Slidell, north of New Orleans.
Where is the absolute first place we took them? For a po'boy at Parkway. Parkway has served po'boys since they were invented in the 1920's to feed the striking street car conductor and is a popular tourist destination. In fact, I had a craving a few weeks ago for one - but when we went the line was out the door because of all the Rock & Roll Marathoners in town. So, I finally got to fulfill my craving!
On Friday night we went to dinner at DatDog, a restaurant we were introduced to by our friend Katy last October and have frequented ever since. It's one of the cheaper places for family eats in the area and the atmosphere is great with their colorful picnic tables set up outside. Also, the entire family can find something they love from the choices of dogs & toppings. Of course Grant still only gets cheese on a bun, but he's also branched out to cheese fries! We topped off the eventing with a trip to Creole Creamery for some yummy ice cream.
Beignets at Morning Call
Saturday morning we took a trip to the City Park Sculpture Garden and ended up at Morning Call where we munched on this city's famous beignets. This was our first time eating there and the beignets were just as yummy as Cafe Du Monde, with the added benefit of a sunny park view.
Stanley and Greyson petting sting rays
After lunch at home we took the streetcar to the Audubon Aquarium. We are members there, so we end up going a lot, but it is always fun to show off the huge tanks of fish as well as the specialties, like petting a sting ray. Afterward we stepped down the street for a visit to the Insectarium. It's hard to imagine that an attraction based on bugs is fun, but it is! Stanley and I were also the only ones brave enough to sample ALL the insects available in the cafe. Our favorite were probably the ones with taco seasoning.
On Sunday we had brunch at Cafe Navarre, which is just down the street from us and where Greyson has been dying to try. I had a yummy spinach artichoke panini. Then we were off to the Audubon Zoo. Again, we go there a lot because of our membership, but it's always a nice day when the weather is nice to walk around and look at the animals.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Blindsided: Sometimes, things aren't about you

Have you ever been blindsided by a person you thought was your friend? Someone you support who you thought supported you until the day they blow up and tell you what a mean person you are. How you are rude and mean to everyone. How you are a horrible parent who only yells and is mean to their kids.
So after the shock and horror wear off, you have to think, is there any truth in what they said? It's easy to dismiss it all and say they must be crazy. But there is a niggling, what if they are right? You feel horrible, because why would anyone make this up?
Honestly though, I don't think anyone else would describe me this way. I didn't think this person would describe me this way. I'll be the first to admit I yell at my kids, but I am also the only person who is there 100% for them. I'm coming off a 3 year stretch of being a single-full-time-working parent. And if there is anyone out there who knows how to get through a day without yelling at  6 & 10 year old boys - I'll be the first to sign up for lessons from you. I even decided to ask my kids if I ever yell at them for no reason, "No, we're always doing something we shouldn't when you yell."
I ask those who know me best, "am I really the way this person said I am?" And I can't get anyone to confirm the accusations.
So it comes down to realizing that sometimes, things aren't about you. You just got to be the person they took their frustrations out on. It's hard not to take it personally though. But I'm not going to buy into someone else's pain and bitterness. Our realities and perceptions are probably not the same. And I know I am far from perfect, but I am not the monster you made me out to be. I am truly sorry your life is rough right now, but I am not the person to shoulder that for you when you try to bring me down with you.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Skipping the Cleaning

I think one of the best days in February ended up being the day I skipped cleaning the house and made cookies for Primetime Family Reading Time. Primetime is a family reading program where we go to the school, have dinner, have books read to us and then have discussions on them, take the books home and read them all week, plus there are "door prize" drawing each week. Last fall we won a Dominos gift card, the game scrabble, a Halloween gift pack with books/stickers/candy, and a crate of building blocks.
Our family at Primetime Family Reading Time at John Dibert School
Last week we brought home Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse and when I was looking at the pictures I thought, "I could easily make a cookie mouse that looks like Alexander!" And so I did. I really wanted gray mice, like the artwork, but when I stopped at Rouse's on my way home from work they did not have any black coloring, so I thought "Mice can be brown!" and good thing because the chocolate frosting made them. I used a sixlet for the eye and a gum drop cut in half for the ear. The tail is made of pull-apart Twizzlers that I found in the Easter candy section. I also made two kinds of purple pebbles (from the book): cookies with gum drops and some with food coloring.

The cookies turned out to be a big hit and I was told I was the first parent to ever bring a snack. Of course I'm already working on ideas for next week's snack! Another side effect was that the kids wanted to make their own cut-out cookies and that made for a nice Saturday project.

Updates on our budget (New Year's resolution). Month 2 was good. I am happy we can stay on budget with food - that is the hardest part! We saw we needed to add a category for "housewares." Just things we need around the house. Our shower was redone and the seat/shelf was taken out, so we needed to buy a new shelf and there was no category for that!  We are hoping that congress can work things out so that Alex isn't furloughed one day a week starting in April. That will take some serious paring of our budget if it happens.

Alex won the weight contest losing 4lbs. I lost 1/2lb, but at least I was consistent! My goal for March will be to double that and lose an entire pound ;) Now Alex gets to plan date night as his reward.

I missed 4 days of my devotion book, so I guess that means I missed about once a week. I'm going to try and keep that up for March also.

I didn't have a goal of running in February, but I ran 72 miles over the month! I've been averaging around 50 miles a month since I started keeping track in October. I'm chalking the increase up to no visitors/no visiting! I also ran a 5k for church yesterday, the Skeeter Run, benefiting Image No Malaria. My time was 30:20. I haven't run any 5ks since 2009 and I don't think I've ever had a time under 35 minutes! So all those miles must have paid off. I am looking forward to running the Color Me Rad race in May with my sister-in-law Alison.