Monday, November 4, 2013

Boarding school

Did you know there's only one boarding school in Minnesota? Yeah. My husband checked. It was a rough weekend. 
We wouldn't really send our kids away, but it sure is a tempting thought when you have three boys who ignore instructions, talk back, fight with each other, break things from carelessness, make messes they refuse to clean up, and seem to go out of their way to break rules and get each other in trouble. Short of beating the snot out of them or locking them in individual closets (some more tempting thoughts that we would NEVER do), we are at a loss of what to do. 
We have rules, we consistently enforce those rules, we discipline and give incentives, but they still seem hellbent on doing the exact opposite of what is expected of them, even if they are fully aware it will screw themselves over in the end. 
For example, my husband wanted to take the boys to the REI rock climbing wall. They have all developed a fascination with rock climbing to the point that my husband actually built a climbing walk in our garage. All they had to do to go do this fun activity is get dressed, eat breakfast, and not fight. Easy, right?
TWO HOURS of us nagging them and breaking up fights later, they were on the road. The only rules once they got there were to stay close to Daddy, be nice to each other, and not ask to buy anything. Of course, they ran away, threw fits when my husband would buy them the million things they asked for, and made fun of each other's climbing abilities. They came home early and had to spend the day either doing chores or taking a timeout in bed. They were SO cooperative (not!) that they all went to bed early instead of staying up to watch a movie with fun babysitters while the hubby and I went on a rare date. 
That's pretty much how the entire weekend went. And they're off school Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week. Help!! How do you get your kids to behave??

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I'm back. Again.

So, I have not posted forever because (1) my life has been insane in so many ways, and (2) I haven't done much in the way if craftiness or creativity lately. Therefore, I have decided to change the path that this blog was originally intended to take, and share the REAL stuff that happens around here. I am a REAL mom who is awesome but flawed, with REAL kids who are incredible but exhausting, and we lead REAL lives that are fun and busy and noisy and, of course, crazy, but also very blessed. 
A lot has happened in the last year- good and bad- that I will share little by little, and I am trying to shift my priorities and manage my time better to allow for increased sanity and completed projects I can share. 
I hope you will join me on this journey of rediscovering who I am and how in the world I'm going to survive raising my four high-spirited kids. =)
In the mean time, here is our latest bundle of pure joy and perfection. Elliott Marian was born on June 14th, two days late, and we have thoroughly enjoyed having her in our family. She is so sweet, unbelievably happy, and loves to be involved in everything everyone else is doing. 





Today is JUST not my day!  It started just after midnight when we discovered out diabetic 11-year-old son's blood sugar level was sky high for no apparent reason. Like, scary high- higher than it has ever been since his diagnosis 22 months ago. Luckily, we were able to get it down by breakfast time, but holy panic attack! My overly active imagination outdid itself. 
Then, on the way home from preschool, my 4-year-old's asthma kicked in and he coughed so hard he threw up all over himself, the booster seat, and seatbelt. I got him cleaned off, showered, nebulized, and then went to the basement to start the laundry. 
But guess what? The utility sink (that the washer and kitchen sink drain into) is totally clogged and full of water. That means I can't do the pile of dishes in the kitchen or wash the piles of stinky laundry in the basement and bathroom until my poor husband (who was supposed to have the whole day yo study for a test tomorrow) gets home to fix it. Oh, yeah. And replace the front doorknob that the boys broke yesterday. We currently do not have a knob on our front door. 
At least I have chocolate...
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Worm cake

I can't believe I forgot to post this!
For my son's 6th birthday, he desperately wanted a worm cake. I thought it would be fun to make the cake in the shape of a hill, so I baked it in the large, glass Pampered Chef measuring bowl. It worked beautifully! (Mix as directed on the box and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.)
After the cake cooled, I frosted it generously with whipped chocolate frosting (store-bought, because why not??) and sprinkled crushed Oreos all over. That part got a little messy. Since the sides were sloped, I had to use my clean hands to pat the crumbs into place.
The gummy worms were the most fun part. They probably would have looked better if I had actually stuck some into the cake sides, but my son liked the look of them crawling all over each other. =)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tortellini Soup (super easy)

I went to a mom lunch today with some friends and brought the soup.  Since I have been dying to make tortellini soup, but know no one in my house will eat it with me, that's what I made.  I looked at some recipes online, found one I liked, and tweaked it a bit.  It was a huge hit! I think I ate four servings myself...

Here's what I did:
  • Bring 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil.  
  • Add 12 oz. package dried tortellini (I used the three cheese variety from Trader Joe's), reduce heat, and cook until just barely tender (about 12 minutes but you'll want to check because it will cook more with the other ingredients, and overcooked tortellini is kinda gross).  
{ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Use refrigerated or frozen tortellini in only 4 cups of boiling chicken broth. It will cut down the cooking time a little bit.}
  • Add:
    • 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 can of cannelloni or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 large handful of baby spinach
    • 1 heaping teaspoon of dried basil
    • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
    • black pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 teaspoon, I think)
  • Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Simmer until all ingredients are heated through, spinach is slightly wilted, and tortellini is tender.
  • Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese (optional) and serve.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza

This was dinner tonight, and it was delicious!
I used a whole wheat pita, spread it with about a tablespoon of prepared pesto (I buy mine in the pasta sauce aisle), arranged halved grape tomatoes on top, and sprinkled a generous amount of crumbled goat cheese over everything. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (OR broil for roughly 3 minutes) or until the cheese is melty and the edges of the pita are toasted.
If you don't have pitas, you can use flat bread, pizza crust, or even a tortilla. I'd also like to try it with artichoke hearts and sautéed mushrooms.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Sandwich

With this baby, I have been craving sub-style sandwiches.  My favorites are Quiznos Turkey Bacon Guacamole (no Ranch dressing), Jimmy John's #12 (The Beach) with no mayo, Erbert & Gerbert's Narmer (no mayo), and Potbelly's Mediterranean.  Can you tell I'm a sucker for turkey and avocado??

Tonight, I decided we would make our own sandwiches, Quiznos-style.  Toasted.  I picked up a package of hoagies from Target and we had turkey and chicken to choose from (I only buy Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh now), along with four different kinds of cheeses (cheddar, Colby jack, Swiss, and Havarti), and then pickles and lettuce for add-ons (no one likes tomatoes, besides me, and we were out of bacon).

For my sandwich, however, I borrowed inspiration from a sandwich that Subway only occasionally has: the Chicken Florentine.  The ingredient that makes this sandwich so addictive and yummy is the spinach artichoke spread.  For my copycat sandwich, I simply use my spinach artichoke dip recipe.  It's super easy to make and I usually have the ingredients on hand. 

Making the sandwich is super easy, too.  I ate the whole thing before I thought about taking pictures.  Sorry.  I'm sure you're smart enough to put the sandwich together without visuals. =)

You will need prepared spinach artichoke dip (this can be made ahead of time, refrigerated, and then reheated), your choice of bread, slices of chicken (cold cuts are easiest, but I've also used leftover baked chicken breast), and your choice of sliced cheese (I like really like provolone or Havarti).  That's it.  Oh, and an oven.  We're going to broil it in the oven on a foil-covered baking sheet.
  • First, set your oven to broil.
  • Next, get a hoagie/section of French bread/dinner roll/whatever bread you want, slice it the long way, just like they do at Subway, and open it up so the insides are facing up.  
  • On one side of the open bread (the side that will be the top), spread the dip on generously.  I like it at least 1/2 inch thick.
  • On the other side of the open bread (the side that will be the bottom), stack slices of chicken.  I used 6 for my 6-inch hoagie.
  • Top with sliced cheese.
  • Keep the sandwich open and broil until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are toasty.  It only takes a couple minutes, so don't walk away!
  • Close your sandwich and enjoy.  =)
Since I have extra hoagie rolls and dip, I will probably do this again tomorrow. Or maybe for a midnight snack tonight.  Hey, I'm pregnant.  It's allowed.