Friday, February 13, 2015

Sending your child to school with the best valentines box ever!!

The week of Valentines is crazy around our home.  I'm not sure exactly why it happens this way every year, but it does.  And this year was no different.  We started out the week with a demolition of our kitchen.  You know, just kind of spur of the moment!

My mom's husband was super kind in offering his help in lifting up the ceiling in our 1980s kitchen and of course we said yes!  Our kitchen ceiling was let's say "unique" with its florescent lights and spiffy plastic panels that creates the illusion that your in a spaceship.  Totally Rad.

But after a full weekend of work, we still had a half finished kitchen.  We still had mud dust falling on to our counter tops and this was about the point when I realized, "What the Who?!  I forgot we are having a party on Thursday for my hot hubby's birthday!"  (I know I should have realized, but my mind sometimes focuses soley on the present.  It's the only way to prevent insanity, you know?)   Anyway...  Stress! But then again, they are our family and friends. They'll love us no matter what and they can live with a little dust in their birthday cake, right?  So we're good.

I went about the beginning of this week cleaning the house, finishing up photography work, buying presents for my hot hubby (Happy Birthday Babe) and it wasn't until Wednesday night that I realized that we still hadn't done Valentines Boxes or cards.  And this was at 9:30 at night!

Having four kids that needed them made, I was thrilled that my youngest Kate decided that she was good making her own with no help from mom.  She came up with her own design.  Cut the paper, glued it down.  Everything from start to finish.  I looked it over briefly as I was dashing between the other three helpless kids, looking for markers, cutting papers just right and designing fancy boxes and I decide that she had done an awesome job!  She made a rainbow and everything.   And after all, she is in kindergarten so how fancy should it really be.

It wasn't until I dropped her off at school this morning that I noticed just how much hers stuck out like a sore thumb.  A sore thumb with a rainbow on it.  Everyone had beautifully designed and executed boxes that looked like they could be bought at some designer craft box store (yes there might be such a place) and here was little Kate with her oatmeal box covered in what looked like scraps of miss shaped construction paper.  Not a heart or trace of glitter to be found.  I felt my heart drop for a second thinking that she was going to feel bad.  But then I looked at her cute smooshy face and by George, she was proud!  She had made that thing all on her own and we had told her nothing except for how awesome it was.   And in that moment I realized that she truly had the best valentines box ever.  She had made a box that had empowered her and channeled her creativity and expressed who she was.  She had had fun making it too and I could have so easily screwed that up.

Case in point:
As she was finishing up her box the night before, I was busy telling Jack how much trouble he was in for losing a part of his box's design that I had purchased (yes spent money on!) and how now it wasn't going to look good.  Mind you, this is after I had already changed his design to mine because "it would be better" and I had taking the scissors out of his hands a couple times to make sure the cuts were right.  He looked at me with his wise eyes and said, "so I don't get to do anything for my box?"

Man, don't you hate when they are right.

Letting go a little and allowing your children to explore, get hurt, take risks, discover and make a shotty Valentine's box is really what I want to do for my kids.  This world is such a protected place for our kids that they aren't allowed to do anything.  I'd hate to be the mom that doesn't let them explore where it's safe, like our home, just because I'm afraid they might get hurt emotionally.  I hope that I can start letting my kids experience life as it should be. Full of joy, disappointment, accomplishment, awe, fear, discovery and pain and still provide them with a loving safe place to rest and think up new adventures.  Here's to new goals:  NO more micromanaging the little stuff!

Today i'm thankful for lessons learned from the little ones.  Happy Valentines Day!

Out with the old, in with the new

Is it just me or has this been the best. winter. ever?  And no I do not want to hear about how we won't have any water in the summer... yada yada yada.  I am focusing on the positive here people! :)

I don't know about you guys but I was so happy to say goodbye to 2014.  I routinely just go through the motions of New Years Eve and don't totally put my heart into ringing in the new year.  Maybe it's because I celebrate it at home surrounded my five really tired little people, watching the rest of New York get really excited for a new day, but I just don't really feel it, you know?  That being said...this year I felt it!  I was so happy to start new.  Maybe it was that string of bad luck we had around the holidays (we literally were "out" with all our old appliances and forced into new ones), but I was so pumped to put it all behind me and start fresh.

So did I make any goals?  Yes and no.  I'm trying to leave this year open to a little mystery.  Kind of a feeling of letting the wind take me where it will.  Not being afraid of the dark unknown, but being a light, a force, that the dark is afraid of.

But I also want to be thinner, so...

So I've started a new way of feeding our family and I really want it to stick because it truly is the best way to eat.  Some of you may know that back before I was the super mom I am today with snot on my shirt and house full of toys and chaos, I  had graduated from the University in Nutrition and Health.  These last few months I've been reading up on the best ways to help my family get healthy and based on what I know from before and what I have learned I really do feel like I have found what is best for us.

I have started feeding my family a BUNCH  more fruits and veggies with only a small amount of fish, sometimes chicken, and whole grains.  Sounds easy but it has been a struggle to find new recipes that will fill my family up and make people happy.  So I have decided to post good recipes when I find them and then if anyone else is looking to do the same thing, maybe this will help.

Today I want to share the link to this recipe.  It totally filled up my family when paired with some all natural or homemade tortilla chips and the kids loved it.  My only suggestion is to watch the amount of peppers that you put in.  The first time I made it it was perfect.  The second time, it just about burned our mouths off so be careful, but it's SO good!

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Yield4 servings
Wonderfully light, healthy and nutritious. And it's so easy to make - even the quinoa is cooked right in the pan!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Make Glazed Baby Carrots with Brown Sugar.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.