Monday, March 28, 2011

Toddlers Helping

I learned a few years ago how important it is to welcome the help of our little ones.  All too soon, our kids might not desire to help us if we have always shewed them away, they might down right detest having to do chores and helping around the house.  So while your kiddos are little, let them help, teach them the joy of a job well done.  Teach them that they are an important part of the family and that you need their help.

Yes, it may take you twice as long to get something done.
Yes, you might have to re-do whatever you had them do (after they are in bed... don't let them see you re-doing all their hard work).
Yes, it takes time to think of ways they can help.
Yes, you get to build memories together.
Yes, you are starting to teach them life long skills

Ideas of jobs and chores your little kids (ages 2-3) can help with.
Wiping down baseboards, doors and railings
Wiping down bar-stools or dining chairs
Wiping down the outside of the kitchen trash can
Bringing clean laundry to each person's room
Loading clothes from washer to dryer
Helping sort laundry (with your supervision)
Picking up after themselves (toys)
Set the table

Job ideas for pre-schoolers (4-5)
unload the silverware from the dishwasher (after you have taken out all sharp knives)
Bring dirty clothes to the laundry room
Clear the table, dump trash off plates, put plates by the sink
Help scrub shower walls (H loved this a bottle of water/ vinegar mix to spray and a rag for scrubbing)
Match clean socks
Water plants

Great book with more ideas for little helpers... and I am sure there are many more books with great ideas.  If you know of any, please comment so we can all benefit : )
Mommy, Teach Me: Preparing Your Preschool Child for a Lifetime of Learning 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mr. Steady-ism

I just showed Mr. Steady all of my hard work in creating tabs at the top of my blog.  He responded, "Nice."  In a joking manner I said, "You need to be more excited, that took me a while."  And he pointed to his picture on the side of the page and said, "See it says I am Mr. Steady, not Mr. Excited!"

Ha!  It made me laugh out loud!  Sometimes I wish he was more excitable, and exuberant, but usually those that have high highs, have some low lows.  So thankful for my Mr. Steady!  Though he might not ever physically jump for joy, he is never mean, depressed or negative!

I love my man!

Spiced Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a grain; it is actually a seed and related to the spinach family. When cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy, slightly crunchy and subtly flavored. It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, making it an excellent replacement for grains that are difficult to digest.

Some of the nutrients in quinoa include:
  • Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
  • Magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
  • Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
  • Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.

All information above is quoted directly from Body Ecology

I know Quinoa is so healthy, but I have been struggling to find a really good Quinoa recipe.  And I finally found one!!  I found this recipe on, and then adjusted it to fit our family.   I knew our kids don't necessarily care for a lot of spice, so I cut most of the spices in half, and it turned out so tasty. (Below is the low-spice adjusted recipe)
 Spiced Quinoa, with grilled Halibut and grilled zucchini... healthy and yummy : )



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional) 
  • Directions
  1. Stir together the olive oil, onion, and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, curry powder, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes until the quinoa is tender.
  2. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, stir in the drained garbanzo beans, toasted pine nuts, and raisins. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, March 21, 2011

9 Months

B-man is 9 months old.  Has this gone by fast to anyone other than me?  Are you all tired of hearing me say how quickly time is FLYING by right now? 

So I think the teething fairy came and stole my chill little dude and temporarily gave me a grumpy, wants to be held all of the time, waking up occasionally at night, fussy little man.  Praying all those darn teeth break through soon so that my laid-back little man returns soon!  And while I am on the subject, why does the teething process go so smoothly for some kids and it turns the world up-side-down for others?!?!
 Can you see his 2 teeth on bottom... more are coming...

So when those stinking teeth are not hurting B, he is still a delight to be around.  And this month has 2 big firsts... not walking yet, but probably not too far off : )

  • Standing up!  B is pulling himself up to standing, and I have even caught him letting go and balancing for a few seconds.  
  • Babbling "Mama" and "Dada"!  LOVE to hear his sweet little voice.  Yesterday Mr. Steady was in the car with the kids.  I hopped in the car and started talking, as soon as B heard my voice he started saying "Mama, Mama, Mama" over and over again.  Awwh, so cute : ) 

B is determined... and I finally caught it on the camera.  These shots crack me up!

and he hates to have his plans thwarted... just a little example... I took something out of his hand that he shouldn't have...

I love this little man {teething or content} I can't get enough of him!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life with 3

There are some days at home with my 3 little people where life is smooth sailing, where all is well, and easy.  I want to pinch myself, in dis-belief that this is my life!  Then there are days where life with my 3 little people feels completely overwhelming and busy.  We are at that point right now.  Life is busy, I "have my hands full" as people often like to tell me!

The initial adjustment to 3 was breezy for me, no sweat... yet right now I wouldn't say my days are breezy.  I know it is just the season we are in, I am not trying to wish away a single day... even the hard ones.  I can even attribute some of the chaos to some specific things going on in our house... B is on the move and on the look out for trouble.  Bug is potty-training on top of testing out the boundaries as all 2 year-olds like to do, and H is curious about the world around him, asking tons of questions, needing heart training, guidance, instruction and encouragement. 

I am realizing lately that being the mom I desire to be, the mom that I feel God is calling me to be is a lot of work.  I am thankful that I am not in this alone!  I am so thankful that daily God uses his Word to encourage and refine me and to help refine the hearts of my kiddos.  I am thankful for moms that have gone before me (have older kids) that I can turn to for advice.  I am thankful for friends in the exact life stage that I am at that challenge me.  I am SOOO very thankful for Mr. Steady for the father he is and the example he is to me. 

Through all of this, I am also realizing a couple of other things....
  • I have to be intentional with my day... that my time with my kids is cherished and not just spent rushing around to the next thing.
  • I can't expect that all other areas in my life will remain the same. I have 3 little people vying for my attention, 3 little hearts waiting for instruction. 
  • "Me-time" comes in small little doses, doing tasks that might seem mundane and/or tedious have become "me-time", like mopping the floor.  Yet if I choose to have a happy heart (like I always ask my kids to do) and turn on non-kid music or a podcast, I can actually really enjoy this new version of "me-time."  Sometimes it may come in the form of grocery shopping all by myself.  Whatever it may be, I can choose to have joy in these moments...
  • That my house will NEVER be all clean at the exact time... as hard as I try, it just doesn't happen.
  • That I am needing to embrace that most things I do, get un-done, so that I can do it again, and it can be un-done again... (this topic deserves a whole post)
  • Parenting is WAY harder than anyone ever told me it would be.  It is full of joys and blessings, and I really wouldn't trade a single day of it, but I have to be honest, it is hard work! 
  • I have to get to bed at a reasonable time... or I am just not starting us out to have a "winning" kind of day!

Yikes, this tired mama needs to get to bed... I am already late on that "reasonable time" : )

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Pizza and Movie Night

    We recently started a new tradition in our home that has been a huge hit: Pizza and Movie Night!  We start out with Trader Joe's pizza dough, and throw together some scrumptious pizzas.  The kids pizzas always consist of just sauce and cheese.  But Mr. Steady and I have gourmet ones : )  Last nights creations consisted of pesto sauce, with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Getting hungry just thinking about it : )

    Then we watch a kids movie.  Last night it was Bug's turn to pick and she choose "Lady and the Tramp."  Both of the big kids were totally in to it.  Sweet Bug came over and sat in my lap for the last half of the movie.  I loved the chance to snuggle with my little girl!

    We dialog a little during the movie, especially since Bug is asking lots of questions.  We are trying to point out honorable character, love and commitment.  It is fun to see them connect the dots between character areas that we are talking with them about and then watching it played out in the movies.  Not every movie has a direct correlation of exactly what we are working on, but it is amazing what you can draw out when you are intentionally looking for it.  It's a great time for dialog; either during or after the movie.  We welcome any chance we can get (or in this case, create) to help shape the little hearts we have in our home!

    If you want help in selecting a movie, you should check out Plugged In by Focus on the Family.  They review every movie (not just kids flicks).  They tell you the good and the bad, with even specific details such as how many times they say the word "idiot" in a film. 

    You can even download a new App for your phone, by going to your App Store (iPhone or Android Market).  Search "Plugged In Mobile."  Worth having on your phone so you can do a quick search where ever you are!  Just downloaded it on mine : )

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    life long friends

    Who would have thought that when I went to college 12 and a half years ago (yikes makes me feel old) that God would have blessed me with such an amazing group of friends!  Not only I was I blessed to know these girls in college, they were the ones that helped carry me through tough times, they were the ones that laughed with me, cried with me, rejoiced and spurred me on to growth! 

    Each one brings a special dynamic to my life and the the group as a whole.  Each gal comes with her own story, strengths, weaknesses and form of encouragement.  Each one is striving to be an amazing wife, to honor God in how she lives and 21 (almost 22) kids are blessed to have one of these gals as their mom.

    Thank you Lord, for the chapter in my life of college, thank you for how you have extended the blessing of these relationships into my 30's and hopefully for the rest of my life!  Who am I to have these AMAZING gals in my life?!?!  I can't even imagine how different of a person (in the not so good form of different) I would be if it were not for these girls!

    May our annual girls trips continue!  May we continue to build on the memories, laughter, sharing and encouragement!

    Love you all!!!

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Amazon- Big Savings...

    I HEART Amazon!
    Have you heard of the Amazon Mom's Club?   If you have little ones at home this may change your life {okay, maybe an overstatement, but it can change your budget}

    My friend Dena told me about this for a few months before I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad that I did!  Here are some details that might convince you to give it a try...
    1.  30% off select diapers and wipes: normally you get 15% when you subscribe and save, but Amazon Moms get an extra 15% discount for a total of 30% off!
    2.  Free Amazon Prime Membership for 3 months: that means you get free 2-day shipping on eligible items – if you buy $25 or more form the Baby Store (in a single order) you get an extra free month of Prime, up to one free year (but everyone gets the free 3 months without buying anything from the Baby Store)
    3.  And it comes to your door in 2 days... Seriously, how many times do you have to run an errand to Costco or Target just to get diapers or wipes.
    4.  NO TAX on Amazon purchases at least not in most states
    5.  You can change the settings on your subscription at any time.  I put most items at 3 to 6 months out, so I have time to make adjustments if needed.

    So here are 2 examples of savings that I am taking advantage of...
    Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers, Size 3, 156-Count 
    I was buying diapers at Costco (love costco, still shop there, just don't get my diapers there anymore)
    Huggies size 3, box of 228 for $43.50 (after tax) which breaks down to $.19 a diaper
    Huggies, size 3, box of 156 for $22.34 (Mom's Club Subscribe and Save), total $.14 a diaper
    $.05 a diaper adds up!  Let alone to save the hassle of going to the store just for diapers.

    Plum Organics Baby Food, Pumpkin & Banana, 4.22-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 24)
    I make most of B's food, but sometimes I need something easy for on the go.  These Plum Organics are amazing, you squirt the food directly into the baby's mouth, no spoon needed and minimal mess.
    At Target these are $1.62 each,
    On Amazon when purchased in case of 24, each one ends up costing $1.12
    Savings of $.50 each, that is 2/3 the cost!

    If you don't have a baby, you can get hundreds of other items through the Subscribe and Save Program delivered to your door, no tax and at a big savings.

    Anyway, worth looking into for sure!  Click here for more information!  I couldn't keep the secret to myself... if you know me well, you know I love saving money and time!  I hope this saves you a little of both!

    I put a link to the specific page on Amazon on my side bar so it is easy to get started, and easy to get back to each time you need to place an order.

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Monday, March 7, 2011


    Tonight I was tucking H into bed, after we finished prayers I said, "Oh, I am so tired, I wish I could sleep here with you."
    H: "You should Mama, I will share my bed with you."
    Me: "Wish I could buddy, I still have to clean up and do the dishes.  Maybe tomorrow night I can."
    Without hesitation he said, "I think tomorrow night we should eat off paper plates, and even use plastic forks, that way you don't have dishes to do, and you can sleep right here!"

    That kid melts my heart!  I love how he thinks, processes and comes up with possible solutions.  I love that he desires to spend time with his mama.

    So tomorrow night... paper plates it is!

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011


    is not off to a great start...
    I got up 25 minutes later than usual
    wasn't done with my BibleStudy when kids got up
    I wasn't ready to be needed by my little peeps
    I'm still in my PJs at 8:30
    Bug is up in her room crying as she is trying to "find her happy heart"
    H is running around with crazy boy energy
    And I think B's tummy might be hurting him
    I have a to do list that could have been accomplished on a good day
    .... but not looking quite as possible at the moment

    Wishing I would have pulled my tired bum out of bed earlier... our day might be looking different if I had!  Praying that we can get back on track and all find our happy hearts!


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