Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Snowed-in-Crazies

Let's be honest.  Being snowed in with 3 kids is like riding a roller coaster.  One moment you think "This is great!" as you sip hot chocolate and watch a movie by the fire.  Then the next moment you think "I. AM. NOT. GOING. TO. SURVIVE!" as one kid knocks over your hot chocolate and another kid starts racing around the house pretending to be an angry bird and the third kid asks for the millionth snack of the day.  We're going on our 6th snow day and I'm starting to get the snowed-in-crazies.

Here's my solution: a lot of coffee, a whole lot more of Jesus, a workout, a lot of grace and a big margarita.

Skinny Margarita:

2 oz Tequila
1/2 lime
1 tsp agava nectar or simple syrup

my quick simple syrup:
equal parts water and sugar....zap in the microwave for 2 minutes...stir.

Here's a 40 minute interval workout that can be done at home.
(3 minutes cardio, 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes core)

Do each for 1 minute:
  1. Run in place
  2. Mountain climbers
  3. High knees
  4. Bicep curls
  5. shoulder raises
  6. Tricep Kickbacks
  7. sit ups
  8. boat rows
  9. Butt kickers
  10. Plank jumps
  11. Jumping jacks
  12. Squats
  13. Alternating lunges
  14. Calf raises
  15. Right side plank
  16. Left side plank
  17. Run in place
  18. Jump rope
  19. Burpees
  20. Hammer curls
  21. Flies
  22. Push ups
  23. Leg lifts
  24. Scissors
  25. Sumo jumps
  26. Jumping jacks
  27. Butt kickers
  28. Plie squats
  29. Alternating curtsy
  30. Ski squats
  31. Side plank with hip dips
  32. half plank with hip dips
  33. High Knees
  34. Jump rope
  35. Jumping lunges
  36. Dead lifts
  37. Bent over rows
  38. Chest press
  39. Bicycles
  40. Full crunches

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Behavior Therapy

Last week, Hubs was on a hunting trip and Princess P had 3 snow days...and I watched way too much Netflix.  Yes, I'm still hooked on 'Parenthood' and I was up late one night thinking about why this show has sucked me in so much.  And then it hit me.  In the first episode, Christina and Adam's son is diagnosed with Aspergers, a high functioning form of autism.  They are quick to get help and hire Gabby, a behavior therapist.  Gabby is what got me.  You see, my college degree is in Applied Behavioral Science and I dreamed of working individually with special needs families.  It was something I was passionate about and it held a special place in my heart.  But now, when I tell people what my degree is in, I get puzzled looks.  No one knows what it means or knows anyone that uses that degree.  I love that this show so beautifully portrays what I studied and longed to do.  It makes me want to shout, "See!  This is what I wanted to do!  This is what my career was supposed to look like!"  But it didn't.  Hubs and I moved states away the day I finished college and I was never able to get into the system.  You know how jobs have to know the right people to get a job, and unfortunately, I didn't know anyone.


Maybe someday I'll have that career I worked so hard for, but for today, I'm a parent and it takes behavior therapy to a whole new level.  After that first episode, I researched a little more about aspergers.  I've worked with lots of autistic kids, but none with aspergers and I was curious what differentiates them.  WebMD was the most helpful source I found and it states these as symptoms:

  • Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger's syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation.
  • Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
  • Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
  • Communication difficulties: People with Asperger's syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context and are very literal in their use of language.
  • Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger's syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
  • Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger's syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
  • Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger's syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.

When I was "in the field", these symptoms were just facts, but now they are flat out scary!  What if Bubby's love for pj's is really an obsession?  What if his quiet nature and few words to others are really a withdrawn symptom?  Yikes!  Sometimes as moms it's hard to know when a behavior is a quirk and they're just being a kid or if it's really an atypical behavior.

My unsolicited advice would be to ask your pediatrician or if your child is in school, their teacher if you have any concerns.  They're going to know your child and may even see them in a different light than our sometimes foggy-I-love-you-so-much mommy eyes see.

As for my Bubby, poor kid was put through the ringer the next day in mommy's behavior therapy.  I tested my areas of concerns and was greatly relieved when he passed.  I have a feeling this is just warm up for the things to come considering I caught Charlie drawing all over Hubs' sermon notes and ripping up library books this evening.  Oh, there's never a dull moment.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Thanks to a wonderful gift, I have been enjoying some shows on Netflix for my "me time".  I started watching 'Parenthood' last weekend and it gripped me from the first show.  It is so realistic and brings up some hard issues that everyone has to deal with, but maybe don't want to admit that they do.  I'll admit that it's easy to shelter my kids and pretend that hard things will never happen, but they do.

So, above all, this show scares me to pieces to have teenagers.  Definitely makes me cherish small children who don't have smarty attitudes, boyfriends or ACT preparations.  Seriously, changing diapers may not be so bad after all :)

As I've thought about the issues that will be coming in about 6 years, it's made me wonder what I could do now to make the coming years easier.  I wonder what parents of teenagers are thinking they wish they did when they were in my shoes.

Any thoughts?  Advice?

love my entourage

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yoga for kids

Pinterest win!  I am not a huge yoga person (mostly because I am the least flexible person that exists), but I do think it has some great health and mental benefits.  I pulled out this Pin tonight, as we were getting ready for bed.  Today was a snow day and our routine was all off.  Yes, it had it's blessings, but we were all feeling a little bit of the "snowed in stir crazies".  We put pj's on, went through these stretches and were all feeling refreshed and relaxed.  Princess P even asked if we could do it again...which I definitely plan on doing.  If you too are feeling a little bit of the winter crazies, try some of these stretches.

1.  Jumping Tree
2. Flying heart
3. Falling star
4. Kissy knee
5. Star

8 itty bitty yoga poses to help your kids calm from tantrums, to burn energy and sleep better...
Yoga for kids...source here

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Grilled Sandwiches

I decided to cut myself some slack and planned an "easy" dinner; grilled sandwiches and salad.

There are a few key ingredients to a great grilled sandwich;
1. Good bread...I used a home made french loaf
2. Grilled onions...slice an onion and saute in olive oil over medium heat for about 20 minutes (totally worth the time, I promise!)
3. Aioli...I mix together mayonnaise, stone ground mustard and horse radish sauce
4. Garlic salt...sprinkle on top of the bread while grilling

Pretty much any meat and cheese combination with these components is going to be awesome.

As for our salad, a go to for us is:
spinach or spring mix
sliced almonds
sliced strawberries
poppy seed dressing

Remember my "hard thing about cooking"?  I thought a quick, easy meal would solve this problem, but I was wrong.  A certain little stinker kept unplugging my grill without me knowing it!  My easy meal was still messy and complicated...

Letter N

Snack: nests (green rice crispy treats with chocolate candies as eggs)

Craft: Noah's ark
Nativity picture
noodle necklaces

Game: put your nose on a number
I called out a number and the first person to put their nose on that number won a point...great for number recognition.

N came at Christmas time, so we celebrated with our own little Christmas party!

Making silly faces while drinking "warm chocolate" and eating popcorn and cookies:

We made reindeer hats and played reindeer games (Santa says and relay races).

We ended our day with a Christmas movie.  I had to document this moment because it's a big deal that Bubby is sharing his blankie...oh, the blessing of friends.

Letter M

If you give a moose a muffin
made muffins
ate muffins and milk

counted marshmallows
ate marshmallows!

traced m's
traced mouse trail

made M mountain

read: mary and martha
mount sinai...10 commandments,  Moses
Jesus going up the mountain to teach

Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine

made rice crispy treat M's
march to music
memory game
monkey say, monkey do

Good night moon
Are you my mother?

Letter L

L with leaves on it
Lion face
fingerpainted a tree with leaves on it...pinterest fail!

Lambs, see how they grow
Little Miss Midge
The leaves are falling one by one
I love you so...
When the leaf blew in

Bible Verse:
Love is patient, love is kind.

Collect different kinds of leaves...leaf rubbing
Wrote "I Love you" to grandparents and mailed the letter
Went on a Lion hunt with flashlights
folded laundry
watched 'The Lorax' a million times

London Brides

This little light of mine
Jesus loves me

Licorice, lemon bread and lemonade

Friday, January 17, 2014

Coconut Curry Chicken

This is one of my new favorite dinners.  I never thought Indian food would be part of our regular meals, but I've fallen in love with the flavors and healthiness it brings.  This recipe is originally for the crockpot, but I've found it dries it out.  Instead, I simmer the chicken in our doufeu pot and it turns out way better.  If you do use a crockpot, cut the time and watch to make sure you don't over cook it.


2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 large carrots, peeled and diced

Blend together (I use a Vitamix) and pour over chicken:

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (5 oz ) can tomato paste
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala

Serve over basmati rice and top with cilantro

I'm hosting my first baby shower in a couple of weeks, so I've started working on some decorations.  I'm working off a yellow and grey inspiration, which I've fallen in love with.  I set the table our coconut curry chicken night, in hopes of a nice dinner.  Lesson soon learned: table clothes and toddlers do not mix! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy New Year!

I decided to take a little blogging hiatus to focus on our family during the holidays.  We spent a lot of quality time together, we traveled and quite frankly, we were sick...a lot.  New Year's was a blur, so I decided to declare my own "New Year's Day" yesterday, when life was a little more normal. 

I kicked off 2014 going back to my roots.  I've heard a million times "A new year, a new you!".  What if I want to be the old me?  I think there's something precious about knowing who you are, accepting it and appreciating it.

I cleaned and organized the house to start the year in the right direction.  Plus, "old me" relaxes a lot more when things are in their place.

 I put on my grandma's apron, pulled out her old cookbook and spent the afternoon cooking.


There is absolutely nothing better than fresh bread.
Princess P enjoying a fresh after school snack
 We had ham and potato soup for dinner, followed by a butterfinger dessert.  I thought it was funny my grandma had a candy bar dessert in her cookbook, but I figured it must be good if she made it...and it was:)

Yummy food and your family is always a great way to start the new year.  And while I don't want to be "a new Jen", I do have a few goals for 2014.
Top of that list: execute meals better

Yes, I cook every day from scratch and would even venture to say that I am a good cook.  However, it seems that often my execution is off.  For instance, last week's meals looked like this:
Monday: tortilla soup (in crockpot) beans were still crunchy, so we had to go out for dinner
Tuesday: roasted ranch chicken (in crock pot), potatoes and carrots...chicken was still a little pink, so we had soup from the night before
*About this time Hubs reminds me that it's called a slow cooker for a reason... maybe I have an extra slow-slow cooker
Wednesday: finally ate the chicken, that was now dry from cooking 2x
Thursday: speghetti and meatballs...completely forgot to serve the salad

A friend recently asked me what was the most challenging part of cooking...planning? shopping? recipes?  Nope.  Hardest part of cooking is juggling little ones.

I get distracted with a little Charlie who is climbing in all the cabinets and playing with all of my utensils and screaming for a bottle and taking his diaper off to show he's angry.  Then Bubby walks in and needs help with a toy and is upset that I actually want him to put real clothes on instead of living in his pj's.  Princess P will waltz in and needs her 4th snack in 30 minutes because she was too busy chatting at lunch and didn't actually eat.  About this time Hubs gets home and full on craziness know, the "DADDY'S HOME!-how was your day?-kids want to play but daddy wants to unwind-is something burning?" time? 

Maybe in 2014 I'll master the juggling act...
or maybe I'll just simplify my meals :)