Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Before I Was a Mom...

As I was looking through some of my parenting books, I came across this poem that my mom gave me when I had just had Kaylee.  It is so true....

Before I was a Mom
I cleaned my house each day.
I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies.

Before I was a Mom
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.

Before I was a Mom
I had never been puked on,
Pooped on, spit on, chewed on, peed on
Or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom
I had complete control of 
My thoughts, my body, and my mind.
And I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby
Just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
When I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
Could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
Could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
Every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.

I had never known the warmth,
The joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment,
Or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much.

Before I was a Mom.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

School Memories...Organized

Today I tackled all of the papers, projects, tests, and crafts that Kaylee and Aaron have brought home from school and stuffed into a "school junk drawer".  We pulled it all out and decided what to keep (actually I did that before the kids came in because they get so offended when I try to throw anything away and I just can't keep it all).  I have a book for each of my kids - School Memories, A Place for your Child's Keepsakes; ISBN # 0785340653, that helps us organize each school year.  Each school year is a double sided pocket with questions about the year and then the pocket to put favorite projects, pictures, and papers in.

Kaylee and Aaron are so different!  Aaron just wanted to hurry through writing about his year so that he could get out and play.  Kaylee on the other hand had to look at and read every paper from each year and reminisce.  Then when it came to writing in her book, she had to contemplate each answer very carefully and then write each letter to perfection.

It is so nice to have a clean drawer (until the papers start coming home again next year) and it was a lot of fun to look at all of the school work that Kaylee and Aaron worked so hard on.  I found some stories that each of them wrote that I will post on Saturday's Story.  They are so funny and creative...where do they come up with this stuff?  

So for now, the books and folder of papers will be filed away until it is time to pull it out again for another year's accomplishments.

Monday, June 28, 2010

No Piece of Cake!

Phhewww, I am just sitting down after a very LONG day!  This pretty much sums it up:
Kids to wake,
Places to take,
Laundry to shake,
Fix an ache,
Appointments to make,
Garden to rake,
Dinner to bake;
For goodness sake!
You deserve a break!!
Being a mom is no
Piece of cake!

Mondays are just crazy!!  I did try a new recipe today though...yep, you guessed it...cake.  I will post the recipe for this Texas Sheet Cake on Friday's Fabulous Food...yum!  I thought that this poem would be cute to give to a mom who has had a hectic day along with a piece of cake.  I know that it would make my day if a friend were to drop something like that by on a crazy day.

Speaking of cake, I linked up with Memorable Moment Monday from Buzzing the Day Away and here is my memorable moments:  These are some of my favorite birthday cakes that I made for Nathan and Kaylee.  I love celebrating birthdays and making them special.  Nathan just loved his train cake because each car was filled with little candies on top.  He had a hard time choosing which piece to eat.  Kaylee had a "color" party, so I tried to make her cake as colorful as possible.  Then her friends each got a cupcake for her friend party and the big cake was left for her family party.

Take a break and eat a piece of cake!  I'm going to!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Scriptures to combat anger

Ok, I promise that this will be my last post about helping kids combat their anger.  Aaron has really been doing well this week at controlling his "explosions".  My hope in sharing these ideas is that you can find something useful as well to help your can go to my "Code Balloon", and Six Ways to Help Kids Control Anger posts for more info.

Here are some scriptures about anger and its opposite - love and peace:

3 Nephi 11:29-30
For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contension is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Alma 38:12
Use boldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness. 
That last scripture is for me.  I need to work on bridling my anger in the heat of whiny, screaming kids and be filled with love in those heated moments.  I have just as much to work on as Aaron!

EnJOY your Sunday!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Even in Australia

Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day [Book]Going along with my anger theme for this week, I pulled out Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.  I love this book because it teaches kids (and moms) that everyone has bad days...even in Australia.

Aaron and I read it last night and it was the perfect ending to our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  Here is our version of the story:

I woke up with bags under my eyes to the sound of my 2 year old screaming.  My 6 year awoke with a fever and a sore throat.  They both have hand-foot-mouth disease...a nasty virus.  I had to break the news to Aaron that he could no longer go to our family reunion which he loves.  Instead he had to stay home with me and his two of whom acts like he is possessed when he is sick.  We waved goodbye to Eric and Kaylee as they drove off to Idaho while Nathan screamed in the background.  I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  I think I will move to Australia!

It was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.  Nathan threw tantrums and screamed all day.  I hate tantrums.  Aaron ate popsicles and ice cream while playing the Wii and watching movies for hours.  I hate letting my kids watch so much TV and eat up all of my ice cream.  Nathan figured out how to open his door even with one of those "child proof" door knob things.  I hate not being able to lock him away when he throws tantrums.  My house is a mess, I have spit-up running down my shirt, I am still in my pj's, did I brush my teeth today?, Nathan peed on my leg, and I am out of ice cream.  It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  My mom says some days are like that.  Even in Australia.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Breakfast Daddy

Our family has a special tradition of making breakfast in bed for special occasions.  On birthdays, Mother's Day, and Father's Day the person of honor gets a special breakfast in bed.  This idea was inspired from one of my new favorite shows - The Middle on ABC.  Click on the link and you can watch the Mother's Day is hilarious!!!

So this was Eric's Father's Day breakfast in bed...and I think that I will adapt it for my kids (instead of a tie, make shorts, or a dress and make breakfast buddies, and breakfast babes) because they were pretty jealous of Eric's breakfast.

I made the "Breakfast Daddy" by frying an egg for the head, a hash-brown patty for the body, sausage links cut in half for the arms and legs, ham cut thin for the hair and smile, cheese for the eyes, and a piece of ham cut into a  tie.  
The orange rolls are also a big hit in our family...and so easy!  All you need is a bag of Rhodes frozen Orange Rolls and a can of cherry or raspberry pie filling (I like raspberry the best).  The night before put 8 rolls into a greased 9x13 pan and cover with plastic wrap.  In the morning spoon the pie filling on top of the rolls and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  When the rolls are still warm (not hot right out of the oven) drizzle the orange cream cheese frosting (included with the orange rolls) on top.  

Enjoy your morning with this yummy breakfast!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chalk Art

This last weekend we took the kids to a local chalk art festival.  I was amazed at what the artists could create with are some of our favorites:

Aaron's favorite part of the festival was jumping through the water fountains...he had a blast.

When we got home the kids and I were inspired to make our own chalk art...we have a lot of practicing to do!

I found some fun chalk activities that I want to do with my kids at The Crafty Crow

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Six Ways to Help Kids Control Anger

I am continuing my quest to help Aaron handle his angry feelings in a positive way.  The "Code Balloon" has worked great.  When I see that Aaron is about to explode I say "balloon" and he is able to calm himself down...most of the time. For todays Wednesday's Words I searched through my mountain of books and surfed the web and I found this article Six Ways to Help Kids Control Anger by Michele Borba, Ed.D.  It is a great article with six ideas to help teach our kids calmer, more constructive ways to express their anger.

Here are a few of the ideas from this article that I am going to focus on with Aaron:

Model calmness.
The best way to teach kids how to deal with anger constructively is by showing them through your example! After all, you don’t learn how to calm down by reading about it in a book, but by seeing someone do it. So use those frustrating experiences as "on-the-spot lessons" to your child of ways to calm down.

Here’s an example: Suppose you get a phone call from the auto shop saying your car estimate has now doubled. You’re furious, and standing nearby is your child now watching you very closely. Muster every ounce of calmness and use it as an instant anger control lesson for your child:

"I am so angry right now" you calmly tell your child. "The auto shop just doubled the price for fixing my car." Then offer a calm-down solution: "I’m going on a quick walk so I can get back in control." Your example is what your child will copy.

Exit and calm down!
One of the toughest parts of parenting is when children address their anger towards us. If you’re not careful, you find their anger fueling emotions in you that you never realized were in you. Beware: anger is contagious. It’s best to make a rule in your home from the start: "In this house we solve problems when we’re calm and in control." And then consistently reinforce the rule.

Here’s an example of how you might use it. The next time your child is angry and wants a quick solution, you might say, "I need a time out. Let’s talk about this later" and then exit calmly and don’t answer back.

I had one mom tell me her only escape was to lock herself in the bathroom. The child continued kicking and screaming, but she would not come out until he was calm. It took a few "locked up times" for the child to realize she meant business. And from then on the child knew that mom would only talk about the problem when he was calm and in control.

Create a "calm down" poster. 
There’s dozens of ways to help kids calm down when they first start to get angry. Unfortunately, many kids have never been given the opportunity to think of those other possibilities. And so they keep getting into trouble because the only behavior they know is inappropriate ways to express their anger.

So talk with your child about more acceptable "replacer" behaviors. You might want to make a big poster listing them. Here’s a few ideas a group of fourth graders thought of: walk away, think of a peaceful place, run a lap, listen to music, hit a pillow, shoot baskets, draw pictures, talk to someone, or sing a song.

Once the child chooses his "calm down" technique, encourage him to use the same strategy each time he starts to get angry.


I am really hoping that by using these techniques that I have found, Aaron will learn that anger is not the only way to solve his problems.  One thing that I am discovering from writing this blog is that there is a wealth of useful information out there!  If you or your child is having a problem, research it to find ways to handle that problem better.  At times when I am at a loss for what to do with one of my kids, instead of worrying and stressing out, I am going to take a more proactive approach like I have done this week.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Code "Balloon"

Yesterday, I posted about how Aaron's anger is like kryptonite to drains me of all of my mom powers. This week I am trying to find solutions to help Aaron cool down before exploding.  I found a great activity from The Potentially Sane Mother's Guide to Raising Young Children by Tamara A. Fackrell...a great book with lots of creative ideas for teaching children life lessons.  I sat down with Aaron and we talked about how anger is like a balloon.  It went a little something like this:

"Aaron, I want you to to think about what makes you angry or mad.  For each thing I want you to blow into your balloon"
Aaron said things like "Having to go to my room", "Being teased", "Not being able to do what I want to do".  After each item, he would blow into his balloon until it was full of "hot air".  My husband kept adding things to it also until the balloon eventually exploded (Aaron and I were too scared to have the balloon pop in our faces).  We talked about how this balloon is like anger and if we let things that upset us build up, we will eventually explode.

I then had Aaron blow up his balloon again after naming things that trigger his anger.  When the balloon was full we talked about ways to let the anger out before we pop.  After each item - like count to 10, walk away, take deep breaths, and find something else to do - Aaron would let out a little bit of "hot air" from his balloon.  When the balloon was half full, we tied it closed.  I gave Aaron a pin and told him to pop his balloon by poking the pin in the opposite end of the tie (usually a little darker in color).  He was hesitant but he did it and the balloon did not pop.  He thought that was pretty cool!  We talked about how doing those things that reduce anger help us so that we don't explode and lose control of our emotions.

Aaron and I made the code word of "balloon" that I will say to him when I notice that he needs to let off some steam.  This was a great way to explain anger to him.  We had a great talk and I hope that it helps Aaron triumph over his anger.  

For Tuesday's Triumph #2, my blog is featured today on Friendly Tuesday at seven thirty three - a creative blog.  Check it out!

For those of you just joining my blog...I hope that you will find some ideas to help you enJOY your kids and motherhood more!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cranky Kryptonite

I am not a Super-Mom by any means but I am trying to be the best mom that I can for my kids.  But one thing lately has really been making it hard to be the best Super-Mom that I can...Aaron's anger.

Superman could do anything with his super-human powers...except in the presence of kryptonite.  This green, glowing rock would paralyze his powers and make him weak.  Aaron is my wonderful 6 year old boy who is excellent at reading, basketball, baseball, working hard, and math.  One thing that he is struggling with lately is controlling his anger and temper when he gets frustrated or provoked.  When my sweet, sensitive Aaron gets angry he has a hard time controlling himself.  Instead of thinking through his problem and finding other ways to handle it, he resorts to crying, yelling, hitting, throwing, slamming doors...pretty much a 6 year old tantrum.  When this happens it is like Aaron is turning into a big green, glowing rock of kryptonite that repels me.  I feel all of my patience, self control, happiness, and any other mom-powers being drained from me.  I can't be around him because it makes me a weaker mom.  I usually send him away until he can calm down and talk to me with respect and love.

When something goes wrong (like yesterday when he couldn't find his chapstick) Aaron talks in a very crying/whiny voice.  We have named this annoying cry-talking "crocking".  He crocks so often that I don't think that he realizes when he is doing it.  We have started to tell him that "I will be happy to talk to you when you are done crocking".  It seems to help for the most part.  I need to help Aaron find some solutions to control his emotions better before all of my Super-Mom powers are gone forever!  I have found some object lessons, books, professional advice, and scriptures to help me in this quest that I will post throughout the week.

I am hoping that this cranky kryptonite concern can by kicked!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Man Like Captain Moroni

Happy Father's Day!  Before I was married, I came across these scriptures in The Book of Mormon about Captain Moroni who led the Nephite army.  I decided that I wanted to marry a man like this:
Alma 48: 11-13 

And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
 Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
 Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ

President James E. Faust said about fathers:

"Brethren, noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine attributes of our Father in Heaven. A father should be many things. He should magnify his priesthood and be an example of righteousness. In companionship with his wife, he should be the source of stability and strength for the whole family. He should be the protector and the provider and the champion of the members of his family. Much of his love for his children should flow from his example of love, concern, and fidelity for their mother. By his uncompromising example he should instill character into his children."
Eric, thanks for being this kind of man and father.  You are a wonderful example to our children and to me!

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dad's Story Time

In honor of Father's Day, I want to write about my husband's favorite children's books.  Are you ready for this one?  Don't hold your breath...well maybe you should because these books really STINK!  Eric came home with these books and I just had to have a "Whatever" moment.

Yes, you read that right...The books are called Walter the Farting Dog and Pee-ew!  Is That You Bertie?  You see, my sweet husband is like a little kid when it comes to farting.  He laughs uncontrollably when someone makes a farting noise and he has a farting app on his phone (which he loves to hide under someone's chair and then "let it rip" when the moment is right).

It is hilarious to hear him read these books to the goes a little like this... "Bertie let rip a big one in his sister Suzy's playhouse -TRUMP.  It reeked.  Suzy was livid.  Pee-ew!  Is that you , Bertie?  You stink, smelly pants," sniffed Suzy.  I'm not the only one who stinks, thought Bertie.  When Mom farts, she coughs at the same time to cover it up.  PFOOF  When Dad lets off, he's so don't know what's coming until it hits you.  Grandma's always letting go.  PLP PLP  She just blames the cat."

Eric make great sound effects.  The only problem is that the kids can't understand what he is saying because he is laughing so hard :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

My Aunt made this a few weeks ago for a family vacation and it was a delicious summertime snack.  I got the recipe and made it for a BBQ to share with our friends and it was a big hit.  Now is the perfect time to make it with all of the fresh fruit that is in season.  It is so good and so easy.  It just takes a little time to cut up all of the fruit...Enjoy!!

Fruit Salsa
Peal and dice your favorite fruits into very small pieces
You can use:

Combine all of the fruit, drizzle with honey (about 1 Tbls), squeeze one lime over the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Mix and eat with cinnamon sugar chips:

Cinnamon Sugar chips
Brush flour tortillas with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture - (1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbls cinnamon combined).  Cut the tortilla into 8 pieces.  Put them on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Community Freebies

I am all about getting out of the house to do things with my kids...especially when they are free....most of the time.  Our city has a Summer Literacy Program that we go to once a week.  There is a theme every week complete with stories, activities, crafts, and a snack.  Our library also has free story times and programs every week like puppet shows, magicians, ice sculpting, and bird shows.  While grocery shopping yesterday, I found out that this store even does a free kids camp every Thursday...who would have thought?  Yeah, more freebies!

Today I ventured out with my 4 kids plus my one year old niece to try out this kids camp.  Before I left I thought to myself "what are you doing...are you crazy?" In hind-sight; yes I was crazy to attempt that!  The younger kids wanted to touch and open anything that they could get their hands on.  Free events attract A LOT of people - so it was very cramped (especially trying to maneuver my double stroller through the crowd).  The kids had fun though.  They made a little Father's Day craft, got a tour of the store's huge freezer, played with a parachute, and got ice-pops and balloons when it was over.  It was a thrilling time had by all (I was thrilled to get out of there with all 5 kids and without destroying the store).

Now to complete our Thrilling Thursday, I told the kids that we would go to the Library program tonight....what was I thinking?  So if you see a crazed mom pushing a double stroller with 4 kids  through the crowd at the library tonight...just smile, wave, and say "Aren't you thrilled to be here?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today's Wednesday's Words come from A Mother's Book of Secrets by Linda Eyre and Shawni Eyre Pothier:

"So the secret is, say "Whatever"...and say it a lot.  Life is crazy as a mother.  You have to pick your battles carefully.  There are some things that are essential to ingrain into these precious minds.  Children need to know we love them unconditionally.  They need to know they can trust us.  They need to feel safe.  But the minutia of life:  I say, "Whatever."  As long as the important stuff is intact, I'm good with that!"
I need to say "Whatever" more often...usually my go to response to things is "No" or "We'll see" which often creates a battle.  So when Kaylee asks if she can get out the paints, when Aaron wants to wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants that totally clash in 80 degree weather, and when Nathan wants me to read him the same book that I have read for the past 4 nights in a row; I am going to try to say "Whatever".  Life is too short to say no to everything!

Here are some "Whatever" moments that we caught:

I caught Aaron playing with the baby powder..."Whatever, thanks for making your carpet small nice and fresh."

Nathan really enjoying his first birthday was a HUGE mess, but "Whatever, will you lick the counter and chair clean when you are done with that plate?"

Kaylee playing dress up with Nathan...I think that Nathan is thinking "Whatever, at least she is playing with me".

Kaylee let her Dad do her hair..."Whatever, retro 80's is coming back...right?"

Nathan finding new uses for a popcycle stick..."Whatever, have at it buddy!"

I have also linked up with Welcome Wednesday.  Check it out if you want to find other cute blogs or have other people follow yours:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hair Bows and Bands Hangup

I have been hung-up about what to do with all of all of Kaylee's hair bows, bands, flowers, ribbons, clips, and elastics.  They just become a tangled mess in the bathroom cupboard:

Do you see the tile above the jumbled mess? ..."Please AIM to keep the bathroom clean"  Ha, ha, ha ya right!  Between hair stuff and boys who don't know how to "aim", this bathroom is a disaster!  So today I tackled the hair accessories ( I will save the aiming problem for another day).

I took one ribbon the length of the door and simply stapled the top and the bottom of it to the inside of the door to hang the flower clips on.
(I must confess that is wasn't that simple to pull the trigger on the staple gun...I was terrified of that thing.  But I did it, triumph #2)

The headband hangup is the same idea except I added loops for the headbands to go through.  To make the loops, I sewed another ribbon on top of the "foundation" ribbon in one inch increments with a loop in between the stitching.  I then stapled it to the other door.

Here is the after picture:  hopefully this solves the first part of our aiming to keep the bathroom clean problem.  Stay tuned for the second half of the problem...any great ideas???

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thumb Sucking Son

Ugh!  Today is definitely a Monday!  It started off with Aaron beginning a throwing-up episode (he has abdominal migraines which cause him to throw up constantly for about 2 fun!)  So then began the task of dumping the throw-up bucket and keeping my one year old niece and Nathan away from it - no accidents...yet.  Then Nathan threw a huge tantrum at lunch because he wanted a piece of bread.  "So give him a piece of bread" you say...well the problem is that he is throwing this tantrum while holding a piece of bread.  It was resolved by him throwing his lunch and me putting him to bed.  Phew, I got through the morning and everyone is napping :)

To add to my madness, Travis has picked up a new habit-sucking his thumb.  I try to stop him by giving him his binky but he just spits it out and sticks his thumb in.  (It's not quite that instantaneous;  he is still very uncoordinated so it takes him a while to get his thumb to his mouth.  He usually ends up smacking himself several times before he finds his mouth.  It is pretty funny to watch.)  I know that this is a bad habit and that I should stop it now before it gets harder to break...but it sure makes him content.  He has slept through the night 3 nights in a row now and I really don't want to give that up!  Oh, what am I to do...try to break the habit, or enjoy a full nights sleep?  Right now I am leaning towards has been so long and I love it so much!

Happy Monday...I hope that I survive this one!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Places of Security

This scripture in The Book of Mormon is one that I have skimmed right over until my good husband centered an entire Family Home Evening lesson on this simple line:

3 Nephi 4:15:  "And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites did return again to their place of security."

Eric pointed out that just as the Nephites had returned to their place of security after battling the Gadianton Robbers; our families also need a safe place to return to after battling a hard day at school, work, bullies, and disappointments.  We had a great family discussion on how we can each make our home a place where we all feel loved, accepted, safe, welcome, and secure.  Thanks Eric for turning such a simple scripture into a great lesson that really stuck with me!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grandpa's Stories

One of my favorite family traditions is going up to our family's cabin with my extended family.  A tradition within that tradition is my Grandpa telling us stories before we went to bed.  I grew up with his oral stories of Brer Bear and Brer Rabit; The Friendly Mormon Pioneer Cowboy; Peter Rabbit; Jack-A-Dori; and Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego.  Now my kids request a story from Great Grandpa before they go to bed at the cabin.

A couple of years ago, Eric and I recorded Grandpa while he told his stories to our kids.  Then for Christmas we made a CD of them for my family.  Now we can listen to Grandpa whenever we want.  It will be a priceless treasure when he is gone to be able to hear my Grandpa's voice as he sings "Zippady Doo-Dah", impersonates Brer Bear, and Brer Rabit, and performs his Indian chant that he learned on his mission while he tells his amazing stories.

If you or anyone you love has a favorite story to tell, record them so that you can always hear those stories.  It is so much better than reading a picture book!  Here is one of my favorites-"Brer Rabbit and the Laughing Place".  Thanks Grandpa!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sweet Pork Salad

Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about these recipes!  My favorite place to eat out is Costa Vida or Cafe Rio.  I must admit that I always get the sweet pork salad because it is SO good!  I make fun of Eric because he is a creature of habit when we go out to eat...but when it comes to Costa Vida so am I.  These recipes are so easy, and taste just as good, so now I can get my fix at home.  I made these recipes for a crowd of 25 people and it was a big hit.  I just doubled the pork and beans and we had plenty.  I get the raw tortillas and cook them up, then top with the pork, beans, rice, chopped romain lettuce, cheese, salsa, dressing, and tortilla strips.  Enjoy!!

Shredded Pork Barbacoa 

5 lbs pork roast         
Salt, Pepper, and garlic powder           
1 can Coca Cola 
15 oz can green chile enchilada sauce 
1 can (use can from the green chile) brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1. Sprinkle roast all over with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 
  • 2. Place in crockpot with Coca Cola and cook on low 7-8 hours. 
  • 3. After cooking, take roast out and shred. 
  • 4. Dispose of remaining cooking liquid. 
  • 5. Place shredded pork back into crockpot. 
  • 6. Add the enchilada sauce and brown sugar, mix all together and heat through. 

Green Dressing 

1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)
3 tomatillos
1 jalapeƱo
1 clove garlic
½ bunch of cilantro
juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the papery covering from the tomatillos. Cut each tomatillo in half and place on a greased cookie sheet. Using disposable gloves cut jalapeno in half, remove seeds, and place on cookie sheet with the tomatillos. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate. (If you are in a hurry you can skip roasting the vegetables)

Black beans 

2 (10 oz) cans black beans (don't drain the liquid)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
11/2 teaspoon oregano
11/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1. Fry the onion in a little oil. 
  • 2. Add the garlic and saute a little. 
  • 3. Introduce a little of the bean liquid until all previous ingredients are soft. 
  • 4. Add the beans with the remaining liquid. 
  • 5. Add spices and simmer about 30 minutes. 
  • 6. Add the vinegar just before serving. 
  • 7. These are quite good when served over a bed of rice seasoned with just lime. 


½ bunch cilantro
4 tsp garlic, crushed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 can diced green chilies
1 Tb butter
1 tsp salt
4 tsp chicken bouillon
3 cups rice
6 cups water

Blend cilantro, garlic, onion, and green chilies together in food processor. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer and cook covered 20 minutes. Stir.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Shaving Cream Finger Painting

Here is an easy activity that my kids LOVE!  All you need is a bottle of shaving cream.  Simply squirt some on the table and let your kids spread it around and draw pictures/letters/hand prints in it with their fingers.  The best part about using shaving cream is that after playing with it for about 10 minutes, it drys up and actually cleans your counter top/ table.  All that is left is a little residue that you simply wipe up with a wet rag.  He-he-he my kids think that I am such a cool mom for letting them make a mess...little do they know that I am actually having them clean the counter while they play.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why God Made Moms

Have a little laugh today:)

 Answers Given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
 1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
 2. Mostly to clean the house.
 3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

 How did God make mothers?
 1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
 2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
 3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

 What ingredients are mothers made of ?
 1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
 2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

 Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
 1. We're related.
 2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

 What kind of little girl was your mom?
 1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
 2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy
 3. They say she used to be nice.

 What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
 1. His last name.
 2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
 3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

 Why did your mom marry your dad?
 1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
 2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
 3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

 Who's the boss at your house?
 1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
 2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
 3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

 What's the difference between moms & dads?
 1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
 2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them
 3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
 4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

 What does your mom do in her spare time?
 1. Mothers don't do spare time.
 2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

 What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
 2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

 If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?
 1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
 2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
 3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Batter's Up!

Hey batter, batter SWING!!  Aaron's baseball team had a great season, winning 7 games.  This was his first year of machine pitch.  Aaron was one of the youngest on his team and he did great.  He had some great hits and defensive plays.  He also had some moments of sitting in the outfield picking grass, chewing on his mitt, and chasing his teammates.  I must admit that this year was A LOT more fun to watch than T-ball!

I must admit that I am one of those crazy moms who screams at her son when he is up to a good, excited  way.  Some parents are truly crazy when they scream at their kids and get mad at them for making mistakes...come on people, this is machine pitch for 7 year olds!!

Way to go Aaron, I am sad that the season is over!

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Shut your Mouth"

I hate it when I say something dumb and my kids call me on it.  The other day, I was scrambling to get my kids out the door for school.  They were "eating" their breakfast while they talked, teased, and sang.  Not a lot of eating going on.  I got frustrated and said "Shut your mouths and eat your breakfast!"  Well - I didn't realize how dumb that was until I heard laughter and looked over at my smarty-pants kids to see them trying to put their forks in their tightly closed mouths.  Ughh!  Why do they finally choose to listen and mind in my moment of stupidity?  Oh well, I've got to hand it to them, it was pretty funny and we all had a good laugh and they still made it to school on time.  I guess I better think about what I am saying before it comes out of my mouth!

If you have a funny story please share to help me get through the first Monday of the long 3 month Summer Break!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Encircle our Little Ones

My favorite story in The Book of Mormon is in 3 Nephi chapter 17 when Jesus visits America and blesses the children.  Verses 23 and 24:  "He spake unto the multitude, and said unto them:  Behold your little ones.  And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them."

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: "Clearly, those of us who have been entrusted with precious children have been given a sacred, noble stewardship, for we are the ones God has appointed to encircle today's children with love and the fire of faith and an understanding of who they are"

I have always tried to imagine what that must have been like for those Nephite children.  I have always wanted to be there when the angels encircled the little ones.  Our children can feel of Christ's love for them, just as those Nephite children did, when we as parents encircle them in love and faith.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Hiding Place

I'm not sure why, but the World War II genre fascinates me.  It is a time period of horrific events, but also one of inspiring and remarkable stories.  One of my favorite books, The Hiding Place written by Corrie ten Boom, is one of those stories.  It is the true story of Corrie and her sister and their courageous efforts to hide the Jews from the Nazis.  It is one of those books that I just couldn't put down and it contains so many true examples of love, forgiveness, and courage.  Here is a few lines from the book:

"All through the short afternoon they kept coming, the people who counted themselves Father's friends (Jews). Young and old, poor and rich, scholarly gentlemen and illiterate servant girls—only to Father did it seem that they were all alike. That was Father's secret: not that he overlooked the differences in people; that he didn't know they were there." 

"Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings. It's something we make inside ourselves." 

If you have any favorite books centered around WWII , please leave me a comment so that I can read it too!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Super Sides: Ranch Potatoes & Baked Beans

For Memorial Day, we fired up the BBQ and had some fabulous steaks with the following sides:

Original Ranch Roasted Potatoes (Thanks for the recipe Jessica!)

2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered (or whatever potatoes you have at the time)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 packet/1 oz. Hidden Valley® Seasoning & Salad Dressing Mix

Place potatoes in a gallon size Glad® food storage bag and add oil; seal bag. Toss to coat. Add seasoning & salad dressing mix and toss again until coated. Bake in ungreased baking pan at 450°F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are brown and crisp.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans (Thanks for the recipe Karen!)

1 cup dry pinto beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 T molasses
tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried mustard
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine beans and water in slow cooker and cover. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or until soft. Drain liquid and add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Cover and cook on LOW for an additional 3 hours.  This is a great way to use those dried pinto beans that you have stored.

Makes 4-6 servings.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gone F-I-S-H-I-N-G

I got this idea from Eric's Grandma who taught Kindergarten out of her home for years.  She is such a great teacher even still!  We love to go and visit them.  Grandma will pull out her little chalk boards and have the kids practice writing their letters and numbers correctly.  Last time we visited, Grandma wouldn't rest until Aaron learned how to write his 8's properly...and he loved it!

Supplies needed:
Mason jar lids
permanent marker
On each lid, write one letter of the alphabet - one for each letter.  I did capitals on one side and lower case on the other.  I also did a separate set of numbers.  Make the fishing pole by tying the string onto the dowel and the magnet on the other end.  Now you are ready to fish!

For smaller kids, you can name a letter or number and have them fish for it.  Or mix the letters/numbers up and have your fisherman put them in order.

My older kids love this as well.  To make it more age appropriate, I have them spell out words on their spelling lists from school, or call out a number and they have to fish for the numbers that add up to that sum.  

This is such a great simple activity for any age...Thanks Grandma!!