Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gratituesday: Little Things

Little things you say....what are little things? There are lots of little things in my house ;-) I am thankful to the Giver of all Good Gifts for the peaceful night I had last Thursday. Thursday nights, Rich works late at school to get his lesson plans, copying, and just to get ready for the next week. He usually is there 2-3 hours and it requires me to put the kids to bed on my own. Usually, Thursday nights are not pretty in my house. By the end of the day, my patience has worn thin, Bug knows how to push all my buttons, and will proceed to do just that. Last week, I was blessed with 4 cooperative children at bed time. Bean and the Boy both require a "lay down with", and it's hard to put everyone to bed at once for that. Bean had napped in the afternoon, so after doing story time with everyone, I sent her down to watch some Dora while I layed down and cuddled the Boy. He was a tired fellow, having been out to play in the snow at preschool and burning off some much needed energy. Bug didn't give me any trouble at all and obeyed all my directions and did her homework without any complaints. Bear usually has issues going to sleep when Daddy isn't around because she becomes more afraid. Last week, that wasn't the case. I can't begin to tell you how much of a blessing it was to have all the kids go to bed without a fight. I actually felt relaxed at the end of the evening.

Another little thing...we were blessed with an unexpected invitation to dinner Saturday evening. Everyone was greatful for that since Saturday was supposed to be clean out the fridge and eat leftovers day. We had a Delicious meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli Normandy with cranberry tangerine cheesecake and brownies for dessert. All I had to do was enjoy the meal and make the dessert. We also had a great time of fellowship with our friends while the children played.

And a Big Thing...In my house, there are 2-3 picky eaters that just won't eat "normal" food because it doesn't look or smell as they expect it to. Tonight I was feeling uninspired, unmotivated, and just plain lazy about dinner. I decided I would use a bag of frozen ravioli and some meatballs I had waiting in the freezer. Bug surprised me when I was draining the ravioli. "Those look like perogies. Are those perogies?" I explained that while they were similar, they get cooked in a different manner and didn't have mashed potatoes in them. "Well, what's inside?" she wanted to know. I figured I'd over-simplify my answer on the off chance that she might actually try it and told her "hamburger". She decided to try it since she liked perogies and hamburger. Lo and Behold, she did like the ravioli. Not only did she like it, but so did Bear, the Boy, and Bean, who didn't like ravioli the last time I made it for dinner. Then Bug proceeded to shock the pants off of me. She commented that she didn't like meatballs in spaghetti sauce, like they were, but wanted to try them. She ate one, then another, and i believe, she actually had a third. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to see our practice of insisting that everything goes on your plate even if you decide not to taste it is finally paying off and Bug is starting to taste it. She was an excellent eater oh say...about 5 years ago. She became picky shortly after Bear's arrival. I am hopeful and optimistic that she will return to her previously well appetited self. Mainly because I know that many of the things she comments negatively on I cannot get her brother to try because of her comments, and if I can just get her to eat it he is more likely to.

Thank You Jesus, for these little and big things that have brightened my past week.

For more Gratituesday, Head on over to Heavenly Homemakers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Weekly Menu~ January 4

Lunch~ Macaroni and cheese, orange & apple slices
Dinner~Chicken Noodle Soup, veggie sticks, Hamburgers

Lunch~Ravioli, Toasted Cheese, Fruit
Dinner~ Spaghetti, Garlic Knots, broccoli

Lunch~Tomato Soup, toasted cheese, fruit
Dinner~ Lentil Rice Tacos*, rice, pineapple, corn

Lunch~Peanutbutter & Jelly, Chicken noodle soup, fruit or veggies
Dinner~Fish, Shrimp poppers, broccoli normandy, pears

Lunch~Soup, bread, fruit
Dinner~ Pizza or Strombolis, veggie sticks, fruit

Lunch~ Leftovers
Dinner~Steak Stir Fry/out to chinese if the kids are good

Sunday (Crock Pot Day)
Lunch~ Ramen noodles, leftovers
Diinner~ Bar-b-que pork roast, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, fruit

Taco Style Lentils & Rice

3/4 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup brown rice**
4 cups tap water
4 beef bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a 2-quart saucepan bring the water to a boil. As the water is heating, add the lentils, rice, bouillon, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring the whole thing to a nice fat boil. Reduce the heat to low. Place a lid on the lentils and allow the mixture to simmer for about 45 to 50 minutes. The water should be mostly absorbed. You may serve this as it, topped with a little cheddar cheese if desired. Or you can use it to fill burritos or tacos instead. Both ways are very tasty.

**if you want to get the most nutrients out of your brown rice (or have super tender tummies like my house) Put the rice in the pan with 1 C of cold water and 1 TBSP of cider vinegar. Drain before cooking and follow the recipe as directed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! What are your plans for this New Year? My first plan is to stay warm :-). I've been freezing cold for the past week. It seems that we're unseasonably cold, but I think reality is I'm just not used to it since the snow came late this year.

We will be working with Bean to use a big girl cup. No more sippys. It will make my life a little messier for a month or so, but it will be nice not to have to worry about dragging cups with us wherever we go. She will also be getting a big girl bed and moving out of her toddler bed some time in the next two months. My goal is to have the crib/toddler bed put away before Little Bit arrives. My last goal for Beanie is actually one she instituted herself. She is giving up naps. I am hoping that she will quickly learn the proper rest time procedure for resting on the couch. Even the Boy lays down on the couch for 30 minutes each afternoon and I will be in desperate need of that time myself once we get closer to and Little Bit arrives.

For the three big kids, Bug, Bear, and the Boy, I want them to pick up more responsibility around the house. Keeping their rooms clean, making their beds, putting away their clean clothes, clearing off their dirty dishes. I guess my goal for them is to return to the habit of keeping their chore charts and earning their allowance. I do have a few things I want to add in for Bug & Bear, like unloading the dishwasher. Bug also enjoys mopping and vacuuming, so I need to let go of those responsibilities and let her share in those chores too.

For myself...boy do I have a long list. I'll try to keep it brief, knowing that I will probably not make it through this month before most of them fall by the wayside. First, I want to cement the habit of daily prayer and Bible study time for myself. I go in fits and starts with this, which, I know is better than what used to do...nothing, but I so long to cement this habit in my life. I know everything runs smoother, chores get done, and I am a more patient, fun mom when I have my relationship with God is right. I want to blog at least 3 times each week, one of those times being my weekly lunch and dinner menu, which I hope to do a better job sticking to. The last main goal I have is to create a housekeeping routine and stick to it. Something along the lines of www.flylady.com. I have followed Flylady in the past and always "fallen off the wagon". I want to use the parts that work for me and stick to them.

I hope your New Year is full of Blessings and God's Best.