Monday, January 24, 2011

National Peanut Butter Day!

When I told my kids what today was, they decided they wanted peanut butter in every meal and every snack. This should be intresting. I'm hoping our day doesn't end in a situation like this

Holy crap, this makes me twitch. 

So this morning, we decided to revisit one of our favorite breakfasts, Banana Nut Crunch. I blogged about it awhile back and you can get all the details by clicking these different colored words.

For lunch, PB&J of course (which is their normal lunch, every single day). For snack I'm thinking apple slices with peanut butter. Dinner might be a bit tricky since I've planned for potatoe and cheese perogies (how ethnic of me). But I bet they'll eat it if I slab some Skippy on them. And for dessert, I'm thinking a peanut butter and banana smoothie or maybe just a scoop of ice cream with some peanut butter.

Here's an intresting tidbit, my friend Tiffany has to have a slice of bread with peanut butter every time she eats chili. Sounds crazy, right? Dude, try it! It's delish. What about you? What's your favorite peanut butter dish? Got any good peanut butter childhood memories? Creamy or crunch?

Me? Definitely creamy. All the way.

Uuggh. Thinking about all this peanut butter is making me thirsty and simultaneously craving a Nutter Butter.

Happy Peanut Butter Day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Catching up

Hi friends. It's been awhile. 

These past couple weeks have been a blur for me. I have had three sick kids with an awful upper respiratory infection and a husband with pneumonia. It has been utterly exhausting-to say the very, very least. 
The up side? 

I managed to shower this morning. 

 And I had my good friend come to visit for a week, which seemed to be the only thing that put a smile on my face. Ed is our college friend and is truly one-of-a-kind (in oh so many ways.) I think he thought it was going to be awesome to hang out and talk and drink and laugh and eat---which it was, but for only 5 hours of the day after the kids fell asleep. Other than that Ed was thrown head first into our daily routine including early wake-ups, tantrums, craft time, and god knows how many episodes of Dora he had to endure.

But from the moment he arrived, our kids were smitten.


video


We didn't have much alone time and didn't get out as much as I would have liked since my entire extended family was sick too, which pretty much wiped out all babysitting services. So instead, we ate everything in sight, drank ourselves silly, caught up on as much trash tv as possible and played wii until we passed out. 

The highlight of the visit was adding my new favorite condiment (my neighbor's homemade habanero jelly) to EVERYTHING in sight. Delicious. Which was the inspiration for our homemade white chocolate habanero ice cream that was TOO DIE FOR. With a sprinkle of salted pecans it was the perfect combo of sweet and spicy and salty. 



Thanks Ed for a such a feculant visit!

The day after Ed left I turned 36. Waking up to the sound of two girls serenading me with a birthday tune was a great start to the day. Bella insisted that I follow our birthday/holiday tradition of personalized pancakes and I grudgingly agreed. But ya know what? There's something pretty satisfying about slathering your age in syrup and shoving it down your throat.


Our word of the day project has been going well. We were on a science streak for a couple days with words like mitochondrian and algae. Although, vindication and amputate lead to some pretty funny conversations. But on my birthday, I got to pick. And sure enough, with my eyes closed, I landed on

Goblet.

But of course I did.


At dinner, I got the "special" plate which felt pretty cool. 


I listened to two kids sing (and one kid moan) the birthday song. It was perfect.


And the cake was delicious


just ask Bella's nose.


But my favorite part was the after dinner dance recital. 



I swear her costume choices are getting exceedingly more creative.



 Thank you, my incredible family, for such a memorable day! Here's to another 36!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Day of the Living Dead

When we decided that I was going to stay at home with our kids I had grand visions of what type of mom and teacher I was going to be. Ya know, the type that was extremely organized, had a monthly theme and daily lesson plans that were thought out weeks in advance. One whose kids proudly stand on their kitchen chairs and in unison yell carpe diem.

Hah.

Hah. Hah.

Three kids later, I still struggle for the patience and the organization that I once dreamt about. Lesson plans, Gina? Really? I struggle to make a grocery list most days. I'll admit, we do a fair amount of crafts and projects and reading--but it's all spur of the moment, nothing planned in advance and definitely nothing close to being considered a lesson. When I think about it more--I've always been that way. The fly by my seat of the pants-kinda way. Did I think having kids was going to miraculously change me? I actually think I did, and that's where I was wrong.

I decided that one of my New Year's resolutions was going to be establishing more daily routines with my kids. Hopefully, some that will have a lasting effect. Thinking it through, I decided that I'd do a word of the day. Simple yet educational. I can handle that. All I needed was a dictionary.

So for Christmas I got a Children's Dictionary for the kids and endured numerous mockings from my family because it wasn't a toy or because as a kid I hated educational xmases or blah blah blah--bite me family! I was going to buy it anyway so I might as well wrap up the darn thing for them to open.

My rules were simple.

1) Each day one child picks a letter to chose from
2) I'll flip through the pages until my child tells me to stop
3) They will point to any word on the page. Cannot be a picture.
4) No matter what the word is--it's the word of the day.


It sounds easy, right? Well Mia was first and her letter was E. She circled her finger in the air and landed on the word elliptical. Hubba what? Yep, elliptical.


Which, by definition, is having the shape of an elipse, a flattened circle. Which I only knew because I needed to look right above it for the definition of elipse. Hmmm, not gym equipment, after all. Flattened circle, aye? Bella and Mia proceeded to draw their version of an eliptical shape


The following day Bella chose B and her word was boa. As in constrictor not hot pink feathery neck scarf. Duh. As we talked, I realized that they were learning so many more secondary words through this process too. I ended up spending several minutes explaining the difference between pray and prey. Ahh, the joy of teaching.


Our little daily project was turning out great. In fact, one day the word was loath (not willing, reluctant, disinclined) and as we were saying our good night's Bella busted out with, "Mommmm, Mia is being very loath right now. She's not laying in her bed."

Right on. Proud moment. Mother of the Year for sure!

Until the following morning when Mia chose Z as her letter. And again twirled her stubby little finger in the air and landed on this:


Oh shit!

WHAT THE HECK IS THIS DOING IN A CHILDRENS DICTIONARY? Suddenly, crazy visions started going through my head of decomposing dead people popping out of the sandbox with my daughters desperately running for cover while a whole team of zombie preschool teachers bust out the Thriller dance number and shimmy after them.

A zombie. A freakin' zombie!


I didn't give a rat's ass about my rules, I quickly pretended that Mia pointed to a word adjacent on the page.  

Ahhh yes, much better. And there we were, happily making up a story about a zipper that wouldn't zip. PPHHEW!!


So far it's been going well. It's a simple, easy, day-to-day ritual that allows us to sit and talk and draw--which is always a good thing. So I ask you, my mom friends (and dad friends too) any other rituals you and your family do that you'd like to share? I'm always looking for new ideas to spice things up around here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

While we were busy decking the halls, this little dude turned 5 months old!

DISCLAIMER

I didn't intentionally pop his collar. My sister (of course) is the culprit! 



  









Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Palm Tree Christmas

 Hi friends! I know there's some really cheesy "last year" joke that I could use to describe how long it's been since I've blogged. But it kinda feels like it's been that long, huh? 

This holiday season was one for the books. Here's some of the highlights

After watching some kids carol on Sesame Street, Bella and Mia decided they wanted to carol too. Since I don't know my neighbors all that well and I can't handle the cold for long periods of time, I decided to take them to the local nursing home. 


It was such a riot! I knew that when I agreed to take them it meant that I'd have to sing along too. And oh my holy night--I was awful. Like really awful. I'm not sure what happened but from the first note I sang I was totally off-key. And to top it off--our audience members don't have the greatest of hearing so I was asked to sing louder! Uuuggh! Thankfully I had two really great backup singers who belted through the carols like they were Johnny Freakin' Mathis!




It was the perfect start to our Christmas season. 



And we continued to sing every day. Our favorites were Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph. Wanting to musically redeem myself in the eyes of my daughters, I decided to bust out my flute from the 7th grade and I actually sounded alright. Sa-weet! This mommy was cool again!

Ya know, in that band camp kinda way.


But no matter how much I tried to slow down and treasure the true meaning of the season, I couldn't. There was so much to get done--so many (self imposed) tasks to cross off my list that, at times, my stress could be felt  by everyone.


Every year I tell myself that I'm going to do it differently, but it never seems to happen. This year though, it was only stressful for a short period of time. Once we had our bags packed and we boarded the plane for Los Angeles, I let all of my worries go. We were so excited to go back again. Excited to see all the family that we miss and talk about every day.



Excited to proudly introduce everyone to our newest family member. To let them fall in love with him the way we have.




It wasn't long before Chance felt the warmth and security of our West Coast roots.


And in an instant Bella and Mia were reunited with their ol' gang again. It was like no time had passed. From sleepovers to play dates the kids were together all the time. 




Laughing and playing the way they used to.









At our friends xmas party, they got to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Five bucks says that Mia is telling Santa that she wants a white Cinderella dress. Another five bucks says that Santa told her that Cinderella usually wears a blue dress. And an additional five smackers says that Mia very matter of factly informs Santa that Cinderella DOES TOO wear a white dress at the end of the story when she gets married and that this is the exact dress that she wants. 



Like every other 5 month old child, Santa freaked the shit out of Chance. 



Since it rained all bloody week we spent most of our time indoors, playing around and enjoying each other's company.





And since Disneyland was out of the question cuz of the rain, my in-laws treated the kids to Disney on Ice. It was my first ice-skating show and I have to admit it was fun. Watching Jessie and Woody attempt a triple lutz was highly entertaining. 



And watching Mickey magically order around about 30 live broomsticks was enough to make me question what my popcorn was laced with.



The daily christmas carols continued. Although, after the nursing home debacle, my daughters grew wise and kicked me out of the band. I was no sooner replaced by a 
battery operated Bing Crosby.  



I reunited with old friends and shared a laugh or two or three.


Isn't this adorable? My love, my Chance. 


We'll always remember this Christmas. We boarded the plane with such full hearts, happy to have spent this holiday with the people that mean so much to us.  We arrived home two days after Christmas and the girls actually believed that Santa was waiting until our arrival to leave some presents under the tree. 

I guess Santa got my e-mail. 

Mia was amazed that he ate the cookies. 



And they posed for about 3 seconds before opening their presents. 





And like a Christmas miracle, Mia opened her beloved white Cinderella wedding dress and shrieked with excitement. Thank you Nana, it's perfect. 

And so was our Holidays.



Merry Christmas, 2010.








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