Archive for March, 2009

When I Want to Unwind

March 31, 2009
This is what a night all to myself looks like!

moms Nite IN!

Sometimes it involves Ben&Jerry’s… Chunky Monkey to be specific.
But on this night…

Just me. The tea. And the ‘biscuits’.
(Note the flavor of the tea is ‘Herbal Unwind’—how perfect.)

Oh the book I quietly read with no interruptions? I’ll share that another time.

Hubby was on a ‘winter camp-out’. Let’s just say he’s not exactly thrilled to be back in scouting after a 20+year hiatus. Something about 160 decibel snoring I think??

How do you spend a Mom’s Night IN?

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6 Tips For Keeping Kids Contained in a Restaurant

March 30, 2009

How can I Relish Restaurant Time with kids?
It’s not hard.
We’re not perfect, but we have surprisingly well behaved kids in restaurants.
Wanna know how?

Pub for the Whole Family
Photo by caitlynburke

1.

Well behaved kids in a restaurant start at home.
What? At home? Yes.

Manage their expectations, teach them to problem solve and help them deal with disappointment: “Sorry little Johnny, we’re all out of chicken nuggets tonight. But we have 2 other choices. Would you like hot dogs or quesadillas?” Then at the restaurant when the waiter comes back to tell you they are all out of chicken tenders, or mini burgers it’s not the end of the world.

2.

As a parent you have to be the example in the first place. Are you a picky eater? Do you complain a lot at restaurants? Do you throw fits if your food doesn’t come out perfect?—OR do you calmly problem solve, compromise and even laugh a little? Be careful…your kids are watching no matter their age!

3.

Limit how often you eat out. Seriously, if it’s not a treat for your kids anymore, they won’t look forward to it, and you’ll have more and more attitude. (If my kids give me grief about where we are eating out or fight over who get’s to decide, we head for the nearest grocery store and come home with frozen pizza.)

4.

Remember, if you have toddlers— You. Are. Kid. People! Get over it! Fancy Restaurants with long wait times? Not. For. You. You’ll be miserable, they’ll be miserable and let’s not talk about the next table over celebrating their 15th Anniversary (without their kids)! It’s more courteous to eat at Wendy’s and Applebees for everyone involved.

5.

We always head in with a game plan. Crayons, small toys (think toss-able fast food toys) and of course Goldfish for about 10 minutes. Then tag team: where a grownup trades off walking around with one or both little kids for the next 10 minutes. And ALWAYS order the kid food right when seated and ask for a rush on it! Once the kids have eaten their food, and the grown up food comes—we’re back to crayons/small toys/and short walks via the tag team. We also don’t order dessert. If they don’t expect it they won’t beg for it and forgo dinner, demanding it. If at any time they throw a fit, they already know—because we’ve followed through before—that we will grab our food to go and head home. We don’t threaten, we just give them the real consequences and then carry them out. Even at two a little kid can totally tell when you are bluffing. NEVER do it!

6.

If you can’t afford a babysitter, but you’d like to have yummy grown up food from time to time? Maybe from the super chic foreign place that is oh so NOT kid friendly? Order IN the haute cuisine, put the kids to bed and eat by candlelight!

Remember, toddlers grow up and turn into tweeners soon enough! They won’t want to go to dinner with you! (They’ll be babysitting for you instead…)


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Step Away From The Computer..

March 27, 2009

Unplug For All The Right Reasons

I’m joining Kimba today over at A Soft Place To Land.
My reason?
Today is my birthday.
Unplug computer? Check.
Eat plenty of my own birthday cake? Check.

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A Virtual Bake Sale? Why not!

March 26, 2009

Spreading the Good more than the Crazy today!

I’d like to introduce you to Kate (@asimplewalk). I met Kate at BlissDom09, I talked her into playing some board games one evening in fact! Kate is the owner of the Foodie Blog Cooking During Stolen Moments. (I love the pot image in the window in her header..!)

Take it away Kate!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been passionate about helping children that were less fortunate than myself. When I was in fifth grade, I began sponsoring a child through Christian Children’s Fund with my allowance money. I loved giving in that way – feeling like I was doing something important for other children. Never in my life did I imagine that someday I might have children on the receiving end of that cycle.

But that is exactly what happened a few years ago. A series of events led to our family relying on the kindness of strangers and food pantry donations to see us through. I saw first hand the work and compassion of organizations whose first priority is making sure children are fed.

Now that the tide has turned toward the better for our family, I feel that same passion I did as a child, except this time I’m armed with first-hand experience. A commercial on Food Network for Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale really got me thinking. I knew I wanted to get involved. I tried to figure out what I could do that would have the greatest impact. That’s when the idea of the Virtual Great American Bake Sale occurred to me.

I emailed Share Our Strength with my plans. I was thrilled when they responded that they loved the idea and set up a conference call with me.I partnered with them to create the official Virtual Great American Bake Sale.

I can’t wait to see the power of the blogosphere in action. I hope you’ll join me in my vision to make the Virtual Great American Bake Sale a success. Let’s support Share Our Strength’s work to make sure that no child goes hungry!

You can read all of the details and find out how to participate on my blog, Cooking During Stolen Moments.

~~~~~~~

Calling All Foodies! The virtual bake sale needs your recipes!

I already sent in my recipes to Kate… YES that dang Pistachio cake went in. And my Veggie version of Bolognese..(you can get a sneak preview though).

I hope when I buy her bake sale cookbook, that I find YOUR recipe in it! Hurry she needs the recipes by April 5th!

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A Kiss is Worth a Thousand…

March 25, 2009
I could leave this wordless. I really could.

Nahhh. I can’t.

I tried. Sorry.

My little boy has pretty much always hated kisses. Can you tell?? He wiped my kisses off.
And Hugs? Yeah, those too. Hated.
I could talk him into a ‘boy’ hug. Where I would grab his shoulders and get close (but not too close) and basically sqeeze him while growling at him.. He LOVED those kind of hugs.

But in the last two weeks? WTHeck?

Who stole my little boy?

He kisses the sisters and knows everyone will laugh. And he’s taken to asking me to bend down for a secret… and then sneaking in a sloppy, slurpy KISS instead! I of course pretend not to like it and then have to chase him down for some serious tickle torture… which he REALLY hates….

He’s growing up… will he still want to sneak in a secret kiss?
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Make A Wish, Help Someone Else’s Dream Come True

March 24, 2009

This is Gabby.

Among other things she has had brain surgery.

She spent months in a hospital.

She is six.

She also received a Trip to Disney World Care of Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Watching Gabby smile and be treated like a princess was the best gift I could imagine.—her mom

And this week.

Her family is giving back. They are walking in a 5K fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. And their goal is to raise $300.

Will you help? A few dollars.. A few hundred dollars?
Help make a little kid’s dream come true!

Tuesday Tribute @halftimelessons
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Pistachio..What Did I Ever Do To You?

March 20, 2009

A day late and a topping short.

I had this great PLAN.

St. Patrick’s Day was coming. And I bought corned beef and cabbage, the works. I totally didn’t even know how to cook it. (You so know my twitter peeps came thru on that part) Just throw it into the crock pot and walk away. Done.

But.

You knew there was a BUT comin’ didn’t you.

But.

I also had this second part to my plan. THE DESSERT. I got the idea from slc.citymommy.com. What could be better than PISTACHIO CAKE for St. Pat’s!? I totally love pistachio pudding. I do. Call me a geek, call me crazy.

So I found a couple different recipes to combine into one great doozer symphony of a cake. {Of course I can’t leave well enough…}

I bought the ingredients I knew I didn’t have; including heavy whipping cream. I couldn’t remember how much cream I needed tho? A whole pint, a half pint? What the heck..go all out, I bought the big one! And then.

I left the groceries in the van…

For 3 hours.

I figured maybe the cream was still okay? I’d just hurry and stick it in the freezer, get it cold quickly and hope? Maybe?

I made the cake, it was beautiful! Green Goddess Beautiful. And later I went to make the whip cream frosting…. oh crap. How long did I end up leaving that stinkin’ whipped cream in the freezer!

Ahhh. Totally frozen! (PS, it says right on the container? DO NOT FREEZE.) It should have the warning ‘distracted moms need not apply’.

I tented the cake, and went to bed.

~~~~~

And then later the next day, after the kids’ parent teacher conferences, I ran quickly to the store to grab that DANG cream. I DID NOT HAVE MY WALLET? Is this a curse!? At least it was in the van.. I ran back out, and back in and oh my gosh I was a MOM on a MISSION by this point.

I’m getting my Pistachio Cake come leprechauns or green clovers.

I pulled up the topping recipe and GET THIS. I mean oh. my. holy. cabbage.
The recipe calls for a whole pint of heavy cream. YES. I bought a half pint the second go round.
I made that bad old topping anyway. And WORLD? Here is the most amazing cake I think I’ve ever made. It’s not pretty, but holy moly it’s moist, and over the top sweet, and green for Pete’s Sake!

Happy St. Patty’s, maybe next year I’ll get to eat it on time.


You know you want to watch this… it’s only 31 seconds long… listen right at the end to what my 8yrold says…


Here’s the Recipe I created.

Pistachio St. Patty’s Cake

* 10 1/4 ounces white cake mix
* 3 1/2 ounces instant pistachio pudding mix
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup oil
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
* 1 1/2 cups water

Glaze

* 6 oz canned milk
* 6 oz sweetened condensed milk

Pistachio icing

* 3 1/2 ounces instant pistachio pudding mix
* 1 pint heavy whipping cream

Directions

1. CAKE:Mix all the cake ingredients together and pour into two 9” cake pans or one bunt pan.
2. Place in oven for 35 -45 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out cleanly.
3. GLAZE: In a medium bowl, combine canned milk with sweetened condensed milk and stir until smooth. When cake comes out of the oven, poke holes into it in even rows using a large fork or chopsticks. Pour milk mixture over, allowing it to soak into the cake. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
4. PISTACIO ICING. Place your bowl and beaters from your electric mixer in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
5. Once the bowl and beaters are chilled start to mix the heavy cream and one box of Instant Pistachio pudding slowly at first then gradually increase to the maximum speed of your mixer till you have soft peaks. Mine was a bit thick.. maybe add some milk to make a better consistancy?

I combined two different recipes to create my version: This Coconut Splendiferous one for the Glaze. And this Pistachio Wonder for the cake and icing.

Rachel From ASouthernFairyTale has other..probably BETTER recipes go check!

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E is for Ice Cream?? Huh?

March 19, 2009

What do you do when your kids all pull ‘E’s on their elementary report cards?

(What exactly does E stand for anyway? Every kid? Especially 2nd Grade? They tell you it means excellent. Oh. I see. Then what the heck does S+ mean and how exactly is that different in Geography than an E?)

Anyway.

What do you do when they are all ‘Excellent’? (even the preschooler was marked as abilities in the early part of kindergarten..!)

You head to Cold Stone Creamery don’t you!

And yes. Yummy. But.

What the heck is the deal? They honestly would not give us a cup of water… wanted to charge 50 cents. I mean do you know what a teeny tiny cup of Cold Stone costs?? And there’s 5 of us people! 5 times a lot for 4 teeny tiny cups of ice cream…? Seems like it’s not that big of a deal to share their free water and 0.4 cent plastic cup. Heck they could even re-wash the dang cup and re-use it ya know??

PS. anyone know what the heck ‘french vanilla’ means? from the short video…


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Ya Gotta Love Em.

March 17, 2009

You know what drives me crazy?

When a kid—(mine of course) walks up to me while I’m eating a cookie and says: “I’m HUNGRY…” It’s the dot dot dot that gets me. You’re hungry? And….? WHAT!?

You want a turkey sandwich? A banana split? Some MacNCheese? Am I supposed to guess?

Lately TK (4yrold) does it non-stop. We’re driving in the car. He spies from like 4 miles away the Golden Arches (let’s not say the name.) And he blurts from the backseat. I’m HUNGRY! Huh? What? You just ate? Do you want a granola bar? How can you be hungry? He points out the window—I look—”Oh.” I think…and we drive on.

Would it kill him to just say hey mom, I see some crackers in your bag, can I have a few? Instead of the, “I’m HUNGRY (dot dot dot.)”

Ahhhhh GoodNCrazy KIDS. What about your kids, drives you crazy?


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HalfTimeLessons Tuesday Tribute.

Tide Loads of Hope

March 13, 2009

I love the name of this good will campaign Tide Brand has created.

“Loads of Hope”

In the wake of disasters, small comforts make a big difference.

When Hurricane Katrina first hit New Orleans, thousands of families were left without basic comforts like clean clothes. In response, the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program traveled to the city, helping provide clean clothes and renew a sense of hope. It’s the spirit of the people of New Orleans who continue to inspire us.

…you can read more about their Program: Loads Of Hope

This includes a giant truck with 32 washers capable of doing A LOT of laundry.. and more!

I think I’m most impressed with their partnership with FeedingAmerica.org! Mom It Forward (my other baby) teamed up with Feeding America last November in our first ever Virtual Food Drive! And although we only raised a small amount of money ($1400) we knew there were amazing companies out there matching our little, turning it into A LOT!

Tide’s Loads of Hope Campaign has created a line of T-shirts that you can purchase and the proceeds go back into this program. I love that!

I’m loving the red shirt.. which do you like?

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