Sunday, July 31, 2011

*Got back yesterday from 2 nights away with some girlfriends from college. Had the BEST possible time. I'll post more when I get some pics.

*This morning before breakfast:
Cam: Dear Jesus, thank you for being in our hearts and for loving us. Amen.
Me: Cameron, I sure love you.
Cam: And God and Jesus? They are good mans.

*Changed my mind. I want Ashley to choose Ben, not J.P.

*Chris' favorite store bought cookies are Mother's Taffy. I like to tease him because when he was a kid, he would have a specific number of seconds he would always dunk them in milk. Now he claims he is such an expert, he just KNOWS when they need to be brought back out. :)



*Cam ended up ADORING Vacation Bible School and was very sad that he wouldn't be returning this next week. Kendall also loved taking him in the mornings as we would hang out a while so she could listen to the opening music. I think we've decided to have him attend Awana in the fall at the same church.

*Starting to read "The Glass Castle" and really enjoying it. It was on my book club list a while back, but I never read it due to it not being in our library (and I was too lazy to go hunting around town for it).

*Hoping to make some sort of egg dish for dinner this week (frittata, quiche, etc.) The last time Cam visited my in-laws, my mother-in-law somehow managed to get Cam to like scrambled eggs. I was SO excited and I'm hoping Kendall will follow in his steps.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

granola bars


I've mentioned before that finding snacks for car rides, outings, etc. has been hard because I don't want to always resort to processed crackers. While I still have a hefty stash of pretzels in my bag, I found a GREAT recipe for homemade granola bars. They won't get all melty in the hot car and they aren't crumbly. I made them by the recipe this first time, to up the chances that the kids would like them. Next time I'll not only lessen the amount of sugar (they are pretty sweet), but I'll try and start sneaking in the veggies. :)

Ingredients

* 2 cups rolled oats
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup wheat germ
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 whole wheat flour
* 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/2 cup olive oil (I use half applesauce)
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

Monday, July 25, 2011

time outs

So here is my struggle. Most of the literature I have read has said that the best action to take with temper tantrums is to ignore them. While we have yet to enter the temper tantrum stage (crossing fingers it never happens!!), I find myself confused on the use of time outs related to fussiness/mild crying.

I tend to view most of Kendall's turdy behavior through the lens of also having a child who can't handle her being upset. I often wonder if there are things I would do differently, had I not a child like Cam with those sensitivities. So here is the question: Do you use time outs for fussiness and being whiny? When I asked Kendall to come into the house today and she didn't want to, she did come in, but crying the whole way. So should I use a time out for her attitude while obeying? My first instinct was to use it because I wanted to end the fussing for Cam's sake. But if Cam weren't there, I would have most likely ignored her and waited to interact until she had calmed down.

Here lies the problem. It's hard for me to be objective about what I would and wouldn't discipline for with Cam in the equation. And I want to do what is best/most effective for Kendall, even if it is hard for Cam. I don't want her getting away with more. Does that make sense?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

*I feel like the back of coffee canisters always have bad directions for making coffee. Since I don't drink the stuff, I have no idea how it is supposed to taste. Each time I've followed the instructions, it's been way too strong. This past weekend I know my father-in-law was just being gracious in telling me it was fine, but even I thought it looked VERY dark.

*Last night we went to Gourmet Pizza with my parents and some of Chris' family who were visiting. Not only do we adore the pizza, but we like that it is a unique place that we can bring visitors. Most people don't have access to pizzas made with cream cheese, pesto, pasta, and cashews! :)

*On Thursday I'm going away for 2 nights with 4 of my friends from college. I'm very excited!

*Chris is making dinner tonight: Fajitas. Combine that with a new episode of Damages and we have a perfect evening. :)

*Tomorrow Cam starts a VBS at a church up the street. We felt it would be good for him to be around kids (in a daily atmosphere...rather than random kids at the park, mall, etc.). He's already hesitant and wants me to stay the whole time. I told him I would stay for a while the first day, but then he needed to be a big boy and stay the rest. We'll see! :)

*Movie afternoon today. Daddy went to get ice cream for the kids.




*I made enchiladas the other night and REALLY didn't want to heat up the kitchen for an hour. So I layered pieces of tortilla with the chicken/sauce in the crockpot. It came out great and I didn't have to turn on the oven!

*Did some baking this weekend. Yesterday I watched my niece for a few hours and the kids and I made a cookie pizza. Quite yummy and much easier than making individual cookies.



Today Cam and I made Brownie Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies (I LOVE pickypalate! She has such unique dessert recipes) except I substituted peanut butter cookie dough. Wow. Wow. Wow.



p.s. In case you are wondering what I do with all these treats...I'm freezing them for our girls' trip. :) There is no way I would have this much bad for you stuff hanging around waiting to be devoured. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

beach day

Today I took the kids to the beach. We had SOO much fun. They absolutely loved it. Kendall got into the water part of it towards the end, whereas Cam was content to just sit on the sidelines and giggle as the waves came crashing in on all the kids (the waves were quite big today).

The only bummer about the day was that it was far too short. There was a glitch in our parking situation and I wasn't able to reload the parking meter. At that point, parking was a zoo so I didn't want to search all around. I promised Cam we would go to the "carnival" (Balboa) next time. He was a champ with the news that the carnival wouldn't happen. I feel like lately he has been so much better when plans change. He used to have a much harder time with this (even with something small like changing from going to the library after the store to before).



I love this picture because Cam was so intent on comforting Kendall with, "It's ok, the waves won't get you!". Ironically HE was the one that didn't like to have the waves come up close...Kendall loved it! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

oh, to have a one story

Lately Kendall has been pushing the limits, discipline-wise. Really the main problem is fussiness during dinner time. I often wonder if we would even care as much, were it not for how much it affects Cam. Anyway, last night she didn't want to eat anything on her plate, so she felt it should be fine to leave the table. Nope.

Ideally I would like to buy a small chair or rug and place one upstairs and one down. Then I could just plop her down on whatever one was closest. This just isn't possible with our family dynamic. Because it is so upsetting to Cam when she really gets to crying, I simply cannot put her in the same room as him. It's not fair. And I'm not going to ask him to run to his room and turn on his noise every time she is disciplined. So her time outs will now be upstairs, in her pack n' play, which we will set up in the guest room. The problem? Man do my legs get tired of running up and down, up and down (like during dinner when no sooner had we brought her down than she started up again)!

I guess if I'm trying to look on the bright side, my legs will get a nice work out. But man do I wish we had a one story!!! :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

cause for celebration and family dinner review


Today has been a good day...make that a GREAT day. I recently started researching a charter school nearby that we had heard AMAZING things about. It is one of those schools that has a lottery for enrollment. A gal I talked to waited 3 years to get her kids in there! Long story short, because they are starting a brand new "transitional kinder" class (for young 5 year olds), our little guy is officially a student of the school.

It all happened so fast and I'm VERY excited. I won't go into all the details of why we think it will be so good for Cam, but let's just say there is no other school I could think of that would be better suited for him. :)

Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On a different note, I've really been enjoying cooking for our family. I realized that cooking for just Chris and I caused us to eat the same things a lot. We didn't care about having tacos twice a week. Since I'm thinking kidwise in my meal planning now, I'm branching out more and more simply to up their exposure to different foods. I get more out of browsing blogs, cookbooks, etc. because I know I'll actually try many of the things I find.

I will say that I could never create a 5 day meal plan because we just have too many leftovers to warrant cooking something new each night...and I HATE to waste food. :) So tonight is a leftover night:

Chris: BBQ shredded pork pizza (on my homemade tortillas, which are GREAT for pizza)
Kelly: Meatloaf I posted yesterday
Cam: Mac and Cheese and meatloaf
Kendall: Mac and cheese and meatloaf

I'll serve each with veggies. I usually stick to the "Normandy" bag at Costco of frozen veggies (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, squash). This is an area I could use a little inspiration in. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

two recipe tries

One of the food blogs I follow is actually written by a gal I attended Biola with. I love that she not only puts the cost per serving, but she also puts the nutritional information for each recipe. This makes it so easy for me in calculating Chris' portions.

When I saw this recipe for Turkey Meatballs with Golden Raisins (I actually made it into a meatloaf to save my time at the stove), I knew I had to try it. The flavors were so unique and it really didn't disappoint. The raisins added a sweet flavor that both Chris and I really liked. I could not, for the life of me, get the dipping sauce right, but it was tasty just by itself.

(this was taken from her blog as her meatball pictures looked quite a bit more enticing than my hunk o' meatloaf picture)


This next recipe both my friend Ana and I knew we had to make when we saw it. When her family came to visit this past Sunday, we made a batch. My hesitancy beforehand was that using a cake mix for a brownie type base would result in a little graininess. We both thought it did. But I think you couldn't go wrong if you were to swap it with a brownie base. They are VERY rich, so be warned. :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

boys hike

While we weren't together today, we all had a fun day. Kendall and I went to a friend's birthday. She loved the little kid pools, the cheese puffs, and cake. :)

Cameron and Chris went on a "boys hike" (Cam quickly attached to that name). I found a hike in Riverside that ended up being more of a paved trail up a mountain. They started out at Wendy's for lunch, where he ate and enjoyed his first frosty. The hike was longer than both had anticipated and Cam was VERY ready for bed tonight, but both really enjoyed their time. :)

Cam requested Chris send this text picture because he wanted me to see the berries he found. So sweet. :)



p.s. That recipe I posted about yesterday was pretty darn amazing. If you are in the mood for a SUPER unhealthy mac and cheese, look no further. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

*Cam started swim lessons this past Monday. He LOVES them! My mom takes Kendall during the lessons, so it's nice for me to be able to just sit and watch him the whole time.

*This morning Cam had a dentist appointment. He did awesome. I sat there in amazement that a child on the spectrum was so good about letting people in and out of his mouth for almost 45 min. The outcome? The top tooth coming in is actually extra and will need to be pulled to make room for his "real" two front teeth. I never realized one could grow an extra tooth!

*Here is Kendall and I making gooey bars to bring to the dentist. She gives discounts to kids who are paying cash (since we don't have dental insurance). We are very thankful as all this work would cost quite a bit. Chris was like, "You are bringing sweets to a dentist???" But in all honesty, I'm not going to bring her a basket full of vegetables! I think dentists eat the occasional cookie too!



*Bachelorette Thoughts:

Ames: VERY nice guy, but almost too nice. He's not edgy/outgoing enough for her
J.P.: Still my favorite
Bentley: Do you think he'll actually have the guts to show up for the "Guys Tell All"???

*Making this for Chris' splurge meal tomorrow night. I can't imagine how it could NOT taste good.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

music

Back before we had kids, whenever Chris and I went on a road trip, we would always make a CD for the journey with our current favorite songs. Last week Chris made me one for the car rides with the kids with all of their favorites. I had to laugh at the wide variety which were included.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean Theme song (instrumental only)
2. Raise Your Flag- K'naan
3. You've Got A Friend In Me- Toy Story
4. Tigger- Winnie the Pooh
5. Cheeseburger in Paradise- Jimmy Buffet
6. Volcano- Jimmy Buffet
7. Spoonful of Sugar- Mary Poppins

This is mainly for my family who reads my blog, but this video is so cute of Cam singing one of these songs...

Monday, July 11, 2011

pizza pie

I didn't end up starting "family dinners" until last week. While we haven't done them every night (Kendall was sick, Chris was at a meeting, etc.), I have to say that they have gone much better than I had anticipated. Cam is pretty easy as he will eat what we tell him to with minimal, "Can you tell me a less number of bites I have to eat?". Kendall's main hurdle is keeping her in her high chair until we are done. Here are a couple stumbling blocks I wouldn't mind advice on:

Cam: When he doesn't like something, he takes FOREVER to eat it. Should I set him a time limit so he goes to bed with only a couple bites if he takes too long?

Kendall: She literally will not eat one bite of some things she doesn't like, making her dinner consumption about a zero. I've tried forcing her to take a bite and that ends horribly. My plan is to just keep serving her the foods and eventually she'll get to the point where we can use the, "If you take a bite of this, you can have this"...unless anyone has different advice for a barely two year old.

Tonight we had a delicious meal I found in one of my old cookbooks. I made it back when Chris and I had only been married a few months. I had Chris write his review which was, "Excellent! I give it a 10!". I health-ified it a bit this time, but we still both gave it an 8.5. :) I like it because I prepare dinner in stages throughout the day, so I made the filling this morning and then returned it to the stove to heat up quickly before baking.



Pizza Pie

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 can Pillsbury pizza dough
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until beef is cooked. Stir in tomato paste, oregano, 1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Keep warm while preparing crust. Unroll pizza crust and cut 1/3 off to throw away (you could use the whole thing, but this way it's fewer carbs). Press crust into a 9-inch, greased pie plate. Press filling into crust and top with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella. Bake at 350 for approx. 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

weekend getaway

Last week Chris and I were looking ahead to a weekend we needed to fill. He had just heard from his aunt that her condo was available (she not only allows us to use it, but loves for us to), so off we went! What a fun, fun weekend.

Saturday we headed out and made a stop in L.A. to walk around 3rd St. and the Santa Monica Pier. It was so nice to just have a change of scenery, be around tons of people, and experience the pier for the first time.

This carousel on the pier cracked me up. I'm used to Disneyland, where they check and double check everyone is safely secured before starting the ride. I was still buckling Cam in when this one lurched to a start. And boy did it go fast! Both kids LOVED it.





We picked the wrong route to the condo after the pier so it took a very long time. Both kids were complete champs in the car, which we were very grateful for.

This morning Chris took the kids to breakfast so I could relax for a while. He then picked me up and we headed to a great park. We had such a fun time together playing with the kids.




During Kendall's nap, I took Cam down to the beach and walked along the pier. The weather was such a nice break from back home.
(sorry it's a little grainy...took it with my phone)


After Kendall's nap, we went to the Thousand Oaks Mall and let the kids play. On our way home, we stopped at Gourmet Pizza Shoppe for dinner. I love that restaurant not only for their food, but for the atmosphere. We were both pretty tired from the trip and in one of those "I really don't care what the kids do" kind of moods, so it was nice that I didn't need to be bothered by the fact that Kendall insisted on taking off her shoes and walking around the restaurant. :)

Very fun weekend and a nice change from our norm weekend stuff!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh, WOW



Yes, I made these. Yes, they were absolutely, positively AMAZING. Yes, that is peanut butter and a graham cracker covered in yummy chocolate. Yes, they taste like Reese's times 10. No, they are not for the wimpy "Oh! That's too rich!" people out there (my husband being one of them...he could only handle one bite). They are such a fun and unique treat and despite pickypalate's claim that they are rather difficult, I didn't find them to be at all.

Here is my version. Instead of drizzling chocolate over the top, I sprinkled crumbled graham crackers. I find this WAY easier and you can cover mistakes by just crumbling more crumbs. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ikea

It has been so muggy and yucky lately. To entertain ourselves indoors, we went to the mall play area and Costco yesterday. Today we made the trek (it was a little bit of a drive) to Ikea. I've always wanted to take the kids as I thought they would enjoy walking around such a huge store with so much to look at.





They both really liked it and it wasn't crowded at all, which was great. I stumbled upon the kids area (where you can drop your kids off while you shop). I decided to give it a try with Cam and he loved it. I left him there for about 30 minutes while Kendall and I walked around and hunted for some plates, which I couldn't find. I really wanted some divided plates (but bigger than the toddler kind) that have lids. Whenever the kids are done with their meals, I use plastic wrap to cover their plates in case they are hungry later. I waste so much plastic wrap this way. Anyway, if anyone knows where I can find these, let me know!



Here we are taking a break at the snack shop. As I was looking for something to choose for them, Cam picked up a croissant and ran it over to me to ask if it was what I was looking for. So...by default, a croissant was what we all shared.:) Overall it was a very fun few hours and a great time eater for our day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the 4th

We had a BLAST this year on the 4th. This is the third year in a row that our block has had a big BBQ/party. We had a bounce house, 3 small swimming pools, two sets of corn hole, and lots of good food. We have such great neighbors and enjoyed hanging out and talking all afternoon.

Here was Chris getting a game of corn hole together. Last year our neighbors loved it so much that they built a set of their own boards so we could have two games going.



Our friends Breanna and Jason brought their kids over for the afternoon. Cam and Aidan enjoyed playing with each other. Here they are taking a break from outside with a little starfall.com.



This little one had a BLAST the whole afternoon pool hopping, bouncing, and running around. :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

last few days

Our little guy lost his first tooth this week. Unfortunately he swallowed it during the night. The next day we printed out a cartoon tooth and put it under his pillow the next night. The following morning he was surprised to find a couple fun things under his pillow.



Last night a friend and I went out to dinner and then to Color Me Mine. I had not been there since college. While I think it's a little overpriced, I love the atmosphere. It is quite relaxing to just paint and talk. We had a really fun time. I think it was the first time of our entire friendship we hung out without kids. :)



Today was Cameron's "big day" (or so he told several people). We dropped Kendall off with my mom, then after a lunch out, took him to see Cars 2. He was insistent on bringing his three Cars toys with him and we spent the ride home asking his "friends" all sorts of questions about the movie. While we did get a few, "Wow! This movie is really long!", overall he did great and really enjoyed it.



So a solicitor just came by and knocked on our door. He then proceeded to look in our window...twice. I was VERY irritated by this. So I opened the door and very firmly, but kindly told him so. I was surprised he still went ahead and gave me his pitch after that. :)