Friday, December 28, 2012

Portuguese Soup

Christmas time and holiday's get so hectic.  This year I said I'm making a double batch of soup for Christmas Day and we can eat it for days.  Or if you have family around for the Holiday's and you guys have had your big meal and need something else to feed them this one works great.  I chopped up the veges the day before and then stuck them all together the day of and just let it cook.  It's a great way to feed a lot of people fill them up and enjoy your guests.  I had a request to share this recipe.

It's called Portuguese Soup.  Now I'm not sure if this is a traditional Portuguese food but it is a tradition for our family.  I remember the first Christmas my mom made this recipe my sisters and I looked at it and said "no way" we weren't going to eat it.  We tried it and loved it and ever since then it was a Christmas soup tradition.  We ate it every year.  The colors are also very festive.

This picture was taken before it was quite finished cooking the cabbage gets so nice and soft and the flavors just come together so nicely.  I didn't add the onion because I have some family members who can't eat them so I added some onion powder and it still turned out great.

Portuguese Soup

6 cups                           Chicken Broth
1 lb                               Smoked Sausage (sliced)
1 lb                               Potatoes (about 3-4 average sized potatoes, chopped)
1 15.5 oz can                Kidney Beans Drained
1 14.5 oz can                Diced tomato's not drained
1/2 of a head                Green cabbage chopped
1 medium                     Onion chopped
1 large                          Carrot chopped
1/2                                Green pepper chopped
3                                   Cloves minced garlic

Put all the ingredients together in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, while stirring reduce heat, and then simmer for 2 hours.

This is a delicious meal to share with friends and family for the holidays or for the after holidays when you've done a lot of cooking and just don't want to do a lot more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Top 5 Easy, Fun, Delicious, Holiday Treats

Holiday's are here and time is running out.  We've gotta make something nice for the holidays to share with friends and family. I still want to have that tradition of making something nice to eat yet with less time involved and that the kids can help me with. I like the fact that we get to build family memories through baking.  My dilemma this year, I need: Fast, Easy, Fun, and Delicious Holiday Treats.  I let everyone in our family pick their favorites and I made them yummy, easy, and delicious.

1.)  Easy Chocolate Fudge I usually don't make fudge for the holidays but this year I decided to go ahead and take the plunge.  My husbands pick was plain chocolate fudge.  See the plain guy there in the middle that's for my hubby.  This fudge was super fast and super easy.  My 6 year old helped me make it.  So you can involve your kids too.  I thought it would also be fun to add different toppings to my fudge.  The red and green M&M's give a festive look and the peanut butter chips added a nice surprise and extra flavor element without the work.  Check out Very Best Baking for the Recipe.  I excluded the nuts we're not big on nuts or I'm not I guess.  This fudge is very moist and with 3 main ingredients, you can't beat that.

2.) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge.  Okay, I know what you're thinking, "More Fudge!!" It takes more effort then the chocolate fudge but it is well worth it.  This was my pick, of course it had to be the most difficult one of them all, but not bad.  If you love cookie dough then this is the fudge for you.  It's a cookie dough part with a fudge part and then Wa LA.....Chocolate chip cookie dough fudge.  I found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen, Excellent!!  I didn't have mini chips or semi sweet left after making a double batch of the Easy Chocolate Fudge so I crush up some regular sized milk chocolate chips and it worked well.
3.) Sugar Cookie Gingerbread Men.  When this was one of my daughters suggestions I filled with dread thinking of all the work ahead of me.  But alas a solution came to me...
  • Buy some sugar cookie dough in a round log; I bought the super sized roll it worked great for the next steps
  • Cut the rounds and give you a slice and your child a slice on a floured surface
  • Press the round down with your hands and flatten with wax paper
  • Take your gingerbread man cookie cutter and press
  • Take a spatula and add them to your pan and bake as your dough instructs
  • EASY EASY EASY, FUN FUN FUN I especially loved my daughter going cross eyed at the flour on her nose, "I can see it, I can see it."
Our Men got a little fat when they baked but we really enjoy decorating our chubby cute men.  Once again I bought frosting and anything else you would like to make your men with.

PS: Let your kids make a mess you can always clean it up later.

4.) Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies!! This isn't your average Peanut butter cookie, it is, once again 3 ingredients for the dough.
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 egg
Mix ingredients together then roll them into balls (if they are too sticky and hard to handle just add more sugar, can't hurt :) and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Don't over bake you can't see when the bottom burns.  It also works great as a double batch.  Who doesn't like peanut butter and chocolate?
  • Kisses
When the cookies come directly out of the oven, press your already unwrapped kiss straight down in the center.  They won't fall and melt but the kisses get very soft so careful not to touch them when you take them off the pan.  Unwrapping the kisses is a great job for little ones.  Be prepared for them to eat a few.
5.)  One more daughter and one more pick...Muddy Buddies...
   This one is so quick and easy I'm saving it for a Christmas Day make.  So you will have to imagine that those Chex cereal pieces have chocolatey sugary goodness all over them.  There are also many many other great goodies you can make with Chex cereal.  The recipe's can be found on the back/side of your box but just in case you buy the non name brand cereal the recipe can be found here at Chex online.  It takes about 30 minutes to make and it is a crowd pleaser if you've never tried it you better get going.  Chex cereal with melted chocolate/peanut butter mixture and all shuck up with powdered sugar, you're missing out.  I sometimes forget about making these but the kids don't, they love them and they are so easy that I don't mind making a batch or even two.

Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sticking with the Kids Routine

My husband has a job where he has to work shifts.  Your husband may not work shifts but most jobs now aren't your typical 8-5 Monday through Friday Jobs and even if they are you can expect that your spouse will be working different hours unexpectedly form time to time.  So this is the husband is home for the day and my whole life changes.  Our life changes according to his schedule and when this happens I don't get chores done and the kids don't get naps and fed when they need to be and when it keeps changing our life keeps getting more and more crazy.  I can be flexible! I.e. miss a nap one day or have dinner late one day. But when it happens regularly then the irregular becomes regular and this really doesn't work for young kids. They need a schedule and a routine.  It helps kids feel safe a secure.  It also helps them to get enough rest and healthy food so they can grow in body and mind.  Not to mention sanity for mom and child alike.  No one likes a the grouch monster.

I finally realized that my husband didn't realize I had a schedule so to him putting the kids down for a nap an hour after lunch wasn't disruptive....Operation Schedule, was on!!

1.) Write out a tangible Daily schedule. i.e....
  • 8:00 Breakfast, Get dressed and ready for day, exercise
  • 10:00 School Time (We did worksheets, crafts, play dough, or other activities during this time)
  • 11:00 Play Group/Story Time
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 1:00  Quiet Time/Naps for Kids (Mom, Chores, Writing, phone calls, Rest)
  • 3:00  Homework/ Snacks (Older Kids coming Home)
  • 4:00 Kids Play, Mom Starts Dinner
  • 5:30 Dinner
  • 6:30 Family Time (Play a game, watch a show...)
  • 7:00 Bed Time Routine.....Baths/Jammies, pick up rooms, read books, brush teeth, Warm Fuzzy Jars, pick out clothes for tomorrow
  • 8:00 Go to Bed/Kids  Me finish Cleaning Kitchen and picking up
  • 9:00 Watch a show, check blog/email/facebook
This is just an example, write one out that works for you and your family.

2.) Have a Family Meeting (we do this every Sunday, check back for another post about this) and go over the schedule so that everyone in the family knows about the schedule, and they can add their impute too.  Make any necessary changes to the schedule.

3.) Make a Copy of the Schedule and put it somewhere that everyone can see it.  The picture below is a copy of the daily schedule I made. To make one like this you will need:
  • 2 12x12 card stock scrapbook papers
  • Scrap Cardstock or a couple more sheets of cardstock in a different color and cut them into rectangles for as many events as you have on your daily schedule....I used twelve smaller time rectangles and 12 longer event rectangles
  • Sharpies
  • Stickers/die cuts or whatever else you would like to decorate with
  • For Reusable one: Laminator/paper, Velcro

I Taped the two 12x12 papers together from the back.  Use the Sharpies to write the time and events on the rectangle size cardstock. (You will have to cut the rectangles out just cut them to fit on your paper.) Use a glue stick to place the time rectangles on the card stock and then match the event with the time and glue those next to the time.  If you want to reuse this you could laminate the cardstock and use Velcro for the events so that you could change them out as your life changes.  Decorate with stickers and anything else you like to your hearts desire. If you are laminating it and using Velcro I would decorate before you laminate.

4.) With all this technology now a days there are a lot of ways to write your schedule on your smart phone and sync it with your husbands.  We use icloud with apple and it works great. You just go into your calendar and add new calendars under icloud and hit share and choose your spouses email to share it with. (They have to be signed up for an icloud account too.)  There are a lot of programs out there that can do this though so check your phone for an app, or check your current calendar for a way to share it.

5.) If you work and have a Sitter, make sure your sitter knows what the kids need.  If your kiddos are at a daycare and they can't change the schedules for all of the kids, ask them what their schedule is like and try doing yours close to that one.

Solution: Now when dad's home things can run just about the same and there isn't the extended TV watching time or naps at 5:00 or chores that go undone.  It really has worked for us, I have to change the schedule sometimes with changes in out life to keep this working. The kids are much better behaved and I'm a lot less stressed when I stick with it. And when I had to be somewhere my hubby also stuck with the schedule much better because he agreed with it and because he knew what it was.  It's been nice coming home with kids already in bed or the house picked up etc. etc.

Don't forget to include your spouse.  My hubby started to feel a bit left out.  So we also did some days that felt like "Saturdays" and went out and did something fun as a family.  Or I started putting him in charge of some of the activities that we had planned or I even will write out a list of things that need to be done and let him pick something.  Spouses really do want to help sometimes they just don't know what to do to help so give them a little help without nagging. I'll have to post more suggestions on that.

What's your daily schedule like?  Does your Hubby come home and mess with the routine?  What was your best strategy?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I realize I'm a bit late on posting my plan for leftovers however I felt that it was very successful so I would like to share.  I had read a bunch of ideas for leftovers and I do think that I read this idea somewhere but can't remember where or even if I put a couple ideas together or what so here is what I did...
I wish I would have gotten a picture before we ate it but hey we were hungry. :)
This was really simple and easy...

1.) Ingredients:
                      - Thanksgiving or Christmas or any large meals leftovers
                      - Store bought pie crusts (Rolled up in the refrigerator section of the grocery store)
                          I bought the cheap generic brand and it was good
2.) Roll out the bottom crust in a pie pan
3.)Layer leftovers mine were:
            -Mashed potatoes
            -Sweet potatoes and Green bean casserole (I did one half of each because I only had enough
            of each to fill one side
            -More mashed potatoes and Gravy
4.)Roll out the top crust and crimp edges
5.) Bake for your pie crusts instructions  (really just to brown the crust and heat up the goodies)

We really enjoyed it!  I loved my daughters reaction..."Mom I'm Scared." I replied, "Me too, let's try it together." "Okay."  "Yum this is good!"  She had seconds and we had those left overs for lunch the next day.  Another suggestion would be to make it without the crust and just layer the leftovers in a casserole pan and heat through.  And of Course, Turkey is a great Meat that you can add to almost any recipe that you already make.  Enchiladas, Chili's, Chicken and Rice....etc. etc. Happy Left Overs!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Guide to Success

Okay so thanksgiving is coming the Turkey's getting fat, I have got to get ready! what do I do?!?...

I am going to include as much information as you could possibly need for a traditional and smooth thanksgiving day celebration.  All the Websites that I've searched and recipes that I've used for thanksgiving will all be included.  So stop surfing for hours to make your thanksgiving work. I've already done the work for you.  If you enjoy a traditional meal with a bit of a twist yet still simple this is the guide for you.  The Holiday is about having family and friends and sharing what we are thankfull for, so I like to spend as much time visiting and enjoying company just as much as I enjoy the food.

If your the host of thanksgiving this year your going to have to get the meal ready and in good timing if you also want to enjoy your guests.  Let's face it, cooking and cleaning last all day and if your not prepared you may be eating thanksgiving dinner way into the late dark night.  It is also important for the holidays that you set a time when dinner will be served.  If you live in the same area as your family you know they may need to house skip between parents.  And if family is driving in you want to be considerate of others schedule for the holiday.  Or even if your just having friends over for the big day, let's be prepared.  If you say dinner will start at 5:00 then start dinner as close to 5 as possible.  Here's how it's done.

1.) Gather all you favorite recipes before you make your trip to the grocery store.  Are you tired of calling your mother for her recipes again?  I mean, "I know I had that recipe somewhere!"  Try searching for your favorite recipes online.  I love you can find almost any recipe that you desire you can search for recipes by name or ingredients.  I love to read the reviews because they always have some new and fun ways to spice up traditional recipes.  Turkey is definately the main event, unless your into tofu turkey and then you are reading the wrong blog.  I found this recipe on, Homestyle Turkey, the Michigander Way.  I likes this recipe because it wasn't to difficult and few ingredients but yet still delicious.  For the turkey we bought a roasting oven and I stick it in there in the morning and then just let it roast.  It is a great way to keep your oven free for all those side dishes.  Or instead of a roaster and if you don't already have a double oven you could reconsider a remodel to include one. :)  Speaking of side dishes here are a few of our favorites.
  • Grean Bean Casserole; from by paula dean  Yummmmmy!!!
  • Candied yams (Of course with mini marshmellows); from allrecipes I made the sweet potatoes from scratch last year and not a can but it was a lot faster and easier to use a can, and they tasted just as good. And I have made them healthier as well but I figure if I get to splurge on a holiday, what they hey!
  • Mashed potatos; I just peel and boil the potatos until soft with a fork and then I use a potato masher and add milk, butter, and/or sour cream to the consistancy that I like and then I also add garlic powder, salt and pepper and any other spices that you might like.
  • Rolls; this year I am buying them or frozen rolls are great too you get them warm freshly baked rolls without all the rising and time that takes to make them fresh, although I have to say homemade rolls are great too here's a recipe if you need some help with that.  It's from Betty Crocker, I haven't tried it yet but it looked like a good one.  So attempt at your own risk.  I've made my rolls out of a bread recipe before and I didn't really care for it so this one should be better.
  • Cranberry-orange sauce; From food network Tyler Florence  This recipe was pretty tart but I didn't have a cinnamon stick so I just used cinnamon spice and I don't think I added enough orange either but if you like homemade from scratch cranberry sauce this is quick and easy! And I would use a stick of cinnamon and make sure you put in plenty of orange and give it a taste test.
  • Stuffing: I love Mrs. Cubbison's Cubed Stuffing mix and then I used the recipe on the box and did the cranberry and spinach option it was delicious I highly recommend it even if the recipe did come from a box.  I'm using this recipe again and cutting out the cranberry sauce this year, to simplify my dinner. *See update below*
  • Pumkin Pie;  This year I made them from scratch, (This website has all the information you could need from A-Z)  But if your looking for just the recipe and short instructions here is another recipe. I made them after Halloween with some pumkin pie pumkins and then I stuck them in the freezer so that I would be ready for the big day and have less to do.  I used the first website for imformation because I had never made pumkin pie from scratch before and not a can and then I used the recipe from the second website because it was easy with few ingredients and had the measurements for the from scratch pumpkins.  (I did have extra filling so I just baked it as a crustless pie and it was fun to snack on.)  You could freeze any pie you like or if you really need a quick pie you could buy one from the store or ask one of your guests to bring pies. 

You never know how your holiday season is going to go from year to year. So don't set yourself into such rigid traditions that they can't be altered a bit to fit the time you have each year, it may require a few store bought items.  Don't skip the tradition alltogether just alter it.  The holiday can still be great!  Pick the few things that are your families favorites that you make and them go from there.
                  These recipes I've included aren't necessarily the healthiest recipes but I just figure that we don't get to do this very often so we're going to enjoy the fat and good food, and then go out and play football or go for a run with our loved ones.  My Husband is hosting a Turkey trot (5k run/bike/walk) so we've got the exercise built in this year.  The event includes a thanksgiving memory game and prizes for the winner.  Search your local town or city for an event like this one.

2.)  Once you have Gathered your recipes you need to...
  •  make a Grocery list.  Make sure to look at all of your recipes and include everything you will need for your recipes, including any changes you want to make. 
  • Clip coupons, there a lot for these specific foods this time of year.  Your going to be buying a lot so save a lot too. 
  • Include in your shopping lists snack foods.  For instance, if you eat later in the day your guests may be trying to save room for the big meal that they might skip lunch but they'll need something to tide them over.  So a nice simple relish tray, or chips and dip. Is a nice easy way to do that.  You don't want to be cooking a lot of snack foods because there will be a lot of other cooking going on.  Or once again this could be a good thing to assign guests. 
  • So make your List and Get Shopping!  (I didn't include a list because I hate premade lists because half the time I end up editing the list so much that it would have been easier for me to make my own list.  Because I have to take things off that I already have and I have to take things away that we don't like, and I have to add specific things that are my families traditions and add things that I wanted to add to a recipe so I'm going to let you make your own list.)

3.)  Before the big day:  Make as much as you can before hand. Anything you can do days before the big day is a big help. i.e.
  • peel and cut the potatos, and then put them in water in the pot your are going to boil them in and stick them in the refridgerator.  If you don't put them in water they will brown...and then you'll have wasted your time. 
  • Bake Rolls, or even just start them rising the night before
  • Make any cold salads and put them in the fridge
  • I personally like to wait till the day of to make the hot sides but if your short on time you could even make the hot sides, cool them off, put them in the fridge, and then reheat them the day of.
  • #1 thing:  Defrost the Turkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Here are some safe ways to do that.  If you are dethawing in the refridgerator you will need 24 hours for each 4-5 lbs so plan ahead.  My Turkey is 11.58 lbs so I have to get mine out of the freezer on Monday!  You have got to have days of time to do this so think about it now!!!!!
  • Make any decorations that you would like on the table or place cards.  Family Fun had some cute ideas.  Also check your pinterest account for some fun ideas.  I'm going to get a white table cloth and put out some fabric markers and have kids and adults write or draw things that they are thankful for.  This idea was from family Fun.
  • Don't forget to invite Guests!

4.)  You will need to make a cooking/oven schedule because if you don't you will not have dinner when you plan on it.  I was planning dinner at 12/12:30pm and pies at 6:30.  And I did have everything ready on time (Except I had to get dressed still :) I was busy the whole day so if you wood like a little wiggle room asjust accordingly.  Here is my example for the recipes I have above...

  • 7:00am:  Get dressed and get ready, if you don't do it before everone gets there you wont have time later. :)  Make sure your turkey is dethawed.
  • 8:00am Turkey and Stuffing Prep  (Oh once you get that celery and onion going on the stove it starts smelling delicious already and you are already ready to eat. :)
  • 8:30am Cook Turkey and Stuff turkey (This year I'm just going to bake the stuffing I still worry about stuffing it without mixing with raw turkey juices but I know that you can.) For safe turkey stuffing see this site.  My turkey was 11 lbs to temp 165 for 3-3.5 hours.
  • 8:30 Prep Rolls (the roll recipe above is different then the one I used but I didn't like the one I used last time so I wanted to give you a different one, but the timing is the same.)
  • 9:00am Bake Sweet potatos, peel russet potatos chop and put in water in the fridge, rolls rising
  • 9:30am Make Cranberry-Orange sauce on stovetop cook 20 min and refridgerate, Start Boiling potatos too
  • 10:00 Punch and Shape rolls  Watch the Parade!
  • 10:15 take sweet potato's out of the oven and peel and prep casserole
  • 10:45 Prep Grean bean Casserole
  • 11:15 Bake Rolls, Grean Bean Casserole, and Sweet potato's (Candied Yams), Mash Potato's and add wanted ingredients to them.
  • 11:30 check/remove rolls
  • 11:45 Remove Candied yams and Green bean casserole
  • 12:00 Check Turkey and Stuffing for 165 temp (ps don't forget to baste the turkey throughout cooking as well)
  • 12:00/12:30 Eat!!!
  • 2:00 Prep pies (take out of freezer, I used store bought freezer pies last year, and I think a quick pumkin pie with a pre-made crust)
  • 2:30 Bake  While the pies were baking we went out side and played dodgeball, it was a lot of fun!
  • 4/4:30 Remove pies
  • 6:30 Eat pies!!!

I also included fun things that I wanted to do with the family to my schedule otherwise I could easily miss out while I was in the kitchen.  Some other fun things we've done is talk or act out the thanksgiving story, watch football, and play games.

5.)  Enjoy your guests and make sure you remember to ask everyone what they are thankful for!

***UpDate: I am feeling like quite a dork.  I did use the box recipe for Mrs. Cubbison's stuffing as a guideline for the amount of bread crumbs to liquid and vege's ratio but I just bought my box for this year and there is not a Cranberry spinach option.  So now I am remembering that I added these ingredients to the staple recipe.  When your sauteing your onions and celery and they are almost soft, add in the spinach and wilt it slightly.  Then when you add the cranberries you don't need to cook them first you can just add them when you add the stuffing from the box.  The cranberries come out the perfect doneness this way.  Make sure you use the Oven Casserole Directions not the Top-Of-Stove Directions.

*** How could I forget the Gravy!!! Here is a video on how to make the gravy with your turkey stock.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Warm and Fuzzy

My kiddos can get pretty onery, like most kids they like to be especially onery at home with you, the mom.  It gets exhausting.  When they are little and trying to learn not to hit and how to clean their rooms and to brush their teeth and make their beds and how to talk nicely etc. etc. etc.  The list goes on and on and on.  Okay enough of this you wanna hear about what I have to say about it. Right? Okay maybe not, then you should probablly stop reading.  But I'm telling you, what I have to say is exellent so you wanna hear this.  This idea works great!

So I was getting sick and tired of Time-outs and nagging about the kids getting things done.  So I decided to do something about it.  I'm not saying that I still don't do time-outs because they are necesary still but it doesn't happen with the same consistancy that it used to.  I really just wanted to reward the kids when they did things the right way.  So here it is...what you've all been waiting for...

...Warm Fuzzy Jars!!!!  TA DA!!! 

So now you must be asking what is a warm fuzzy?  Well first of all, a warm fuzzy is designed to make you feel good inside, warm and fuzzy!  Okay next it is literally a **Beware of Definition**  Fuzzy Pom Pom Craft Ball Thingy; see picture below for clarification;

 Enough said about that.  Now the Jar part.  Get any Jar you would like I found these Jars at Wal-Mart for pretty cheap I don't remember what they cost was now because it was quite a while ago when I bought them but I found them in the Kitchen section not crafts.  To be honest the jars are a little difficult for little fingers to open so even just a canning Jar would work great and be easy for little fingers or you could even take the middle part out and they wouldn't have to open it at all.  Although I do like the size of our jars, it doesn't take to long to fill up (I could see the kids getting discouraged if it doesn't fill up in.......................Forever), and it doesn't fill up too fast either, so I'm not shelling out gifts all the time.  I do recommend Decorating the Jars, the girls had fun doing that and it was a great way to start off the reward system.  I simply bought foam stickers, they had a ball with that.  I also got the letter foam stickers and they put their names on them too.

As you can see we have almost filled our jars right now and the girls are getting excited about getting their reward.

How it works...

1.)  Catch your child doing something good.  i.e.  making their bed without you asking,  saying something nice to a sibling or friend, brushing their teeth, really anything that you think is awesome when they do it!  OR they arch themself doing something good!!

2.)  Let them put a warm Fuzzy in their Jar for the good deed they did.
  • I've done this a couple of ways.  Now that they are a bit older I will just have them go put the fuzzies in their jar whenever I notice that they did something good.  But it also works really nicely to add this into your bedtime routine.  Just before bed I would ask the kids what good things they did and I would offer some suggestions.  It really helped the day end nicely because the kids were having good thoughts about themselves just before bed and it helps promote the idea that the kids are good and that they think highly of themselves not just you thinking highly of them.  I think it helps them have higher self confidence and remember the good things and not the bad.  We even added warm fuzzies into the jar for, "I gave mom a hug today!" Really anything that they could come up with I'd give them a fuzzy for,  believe me you're not going to fill the jar in one night.  We usually did about five to seven a night.

3.)  Have them take a warm fuzzy out if they did something wrong.

  • I always make sure the kids are responsible for putting the fuzzies in and taking them out, it gives them a sense of responsibility.
  • I would not do this part unless you really need it.  Sometimes this was the only thing to keep me from blowing my top!  For some reason, "Go take out a warm fuzzy for that!" Helped me calm down.  We all know when we are angry we do not have the ability to come up with logical consequences.  So this one works!

4.)  When the fuzzies hit the top of the Jar they get a reward.
  • You can also do this a number of ways.  I find it nice to switch it up a lot.
  • We would let them go to the Quarter machine at the local store.  (doesn't cost a lot but the kids love it.)  If your like me and usually say, "not today" to candy, machines, and toys at the store this is the perfect time to say, "yes."  And then your child might stop saying, "You always say not today! NOT TODAY! NOT TODAY!"  If your the kind of mom who always gives in at the store and says "yes" everytime and would like to stop doing that, this is your perfect out. Just remind them that once they fill there jar with warm fuzzies they will get to pick something.  And WHEN they throw a fit just let them. Then you can just take out a warm fuzzy when you get home or all of them depending on how angry you are.  (You must know that I like to be sarcastic sometimes for that to be funny.)  If you are the kind of mom who always says "yes" and don't want to stop then you might not need a warm fuzzy jar.  And if you are the kind of mom who always says "NO" then maybe a Warm Fuzzy jar and a reward every once and awhile might make your child feel Warm and Fuzzy.
  • Another way I've done rewards is by printing out rewards on strips of paper and then when they fill their Jar they get to pick a reward strip.  The strips had rewards on them like go and get an ice cream cone, or go to the playplace at Mcdonalds...really anything you'd be willing to do for a reward. That way they had a reward right away, because sometimes I wouldn't be able to make it out right away so they would just give me their reward strip when we went to redeem their reward.
  • Another good idea is to take them to the dollar store and let them pick whatever they want.  What the hay your out a buck and they got the joy of picking from anything in the store without a "no."  But the thing is you can't say no then after you told them to pick whatever they want(unless of course it's dangerous,) it's nice for kids to get a "yes" every once and awhile to an idea.  They may pick junk but they got to pick and they could learn from their own decisions.
  • You could give them a dollar for their piggy pank.
  • You could even plan a fun outing with the family and then say when everyone fills their jars you'll go.  There are always more good deeds you could come up with to catch up the slow Jar filler in your house.
  • Don't worry if one fills up their Jar before the other.  I've taken one of the kids out when they were the only one to fill their jars and it makes them feel special.  Sure the other ones are disappointed but I'll tell you, they sure work harder to fill theirs.
The hard disipline times don't stop but they sure seem to happen a lot less and the good things happen more and more.  Or at least they do in your head.

Go ahead try the Jars, it can't hurt! 

What do you do to reward your kiddos?  How could you change my idea to make it work for your family?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Don't Like My Hair

My three year old daughter has the cutest curly red hair! She tells me, "I don't like Curly Hair." She's three and she already doesn't like something about herself and it really bothers me, I want my girls to love themselves how God made them.  So I'm not going to fret I'm going to come up with a solution. 

1.)  Naturally I started simple.  When I did her hair I'd say things like, "I love your curly Hair, it's so pretty!" Others are always giving her compliments on her hair too.  Well, it turns out kids don't always think what others do. :)

2.)  I tried getting her a "special spray."  It's a curling gel spray.  She has other sisters so I tried to make this special for her.  I told her it was just hers and no one else could use it.  Oh she loved that.  Something that her sisters didn't get to do, that was awesome.  For like three days then she was letting everyone use it because she didn't want to use it.  Awe that made me very sad it really did make her curls very defined and like ringlets all over.  She didn't like it.  Sigh!

3.)  As I was thinking about the problem it accured to me that everytime someone asked, "Where does she get that curly Hair?" I reply, "From her dad but he doesn't like it so we cut it when it starts to curl."  Oh crap!!! What was I thinking.  Surrrre...her dad doesn't like curly hair so why should she.  So I had to do operation... "Fix that Mistake."  So I had my husband talk to her about his hair and why he keeps it cut and that he likes his hair. Then He got out his old photo album and showed her his curly hair.  She really liked that.  You might too...
Awe soooo cute!!!  But it didn't really solve the problem....I still got, "I don't like curly hair."

4.)  I was visiting with my mom about it and she said that she saw this video with a Sesame Street Puppet singing "I Love My Hair!"  So we looked up the video I Love My Hair (click her for the link to watch the video for yourself).  It is a really good video it even made me like my hair a bit better. :)  So we decided to make our own video about loving our Hair.  (The first thing she sang was I hate curly hair but it wasn't aloud after that. :)  Here goes...

After all this she said she liked her hair.  I was feeling quite satisfied.

5.) .....the next morning after all that, I love curly hair buisiness, guess what she says...."I don't like curly hair."  AHHHHHH!!!!  I'd had it.  I was really mad.  Grantid it wasn't the right approach but I'm not really known for wearing my emotions lightly and we had done so much and I felt like how else was I going to get her to like her hair.  So I was not quite and I just went on and on about how I wished she liked her hair and how upset I was that she didn't because I loved her the way she was and that I really wanted her too.  Dad saved her from my ranting and took her aside and explained to her that I was really just very sad that she didn't like her hair and talked to her very nice and sweet.
She came over to me and said, "I like my hair mom."  I almost cried.

*Update:  She has days where she likes it and days where she doesn't, but I guess that's all of us. She tells people out in public, "you have curly hair like me." She even said that I had curly hair like her I didn't have the heart to tell her the truth. "Do you like your curly hair mommy?" "Yes I do!":)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Everything Around the Kitchen Sink

So I catch myself the other day complaining about the junk (i.e. soap, scraper and brushes) around the sink. "I hate this crap always falling into my sink." When I'm trying to do the dishes...plunk...when I'm trying to wash my hands...plop...when I'm trying to look out the window and enjoy the outdoors...splank!!! Okay so you get the point. So then why do I just keep letting it happen?!? ERRRG!! Well not anymore!

Game plan:

I live in an extremely small town, to my standard anyway, about 1100 people. There are not many places to go and shop I have to make do.

1.) Trip to Hometown and go shopping!!!

I do really love to shop unfortunately my budget and town of slumber does not always permit this activity.

2.) Go to Thrift Stores, Garage sales, and Antique stores searching for unique and interesting items for storage.

3.) Enjoy it!!! (And I did.)

I met up with my best friend from High School and we hit the streets in search of the perfect things for my kitchen. Here is what I found: that really neat clay basin for all of my plunk, plop, and splank items around my sink. I found it at this really neat antique store "Retro" (Casper, WY) for $10; great find!!! Everything fits nice and neatly just inside no more crashing into the sink when I am doing dishes... Plus it is easily accessible for when I need to use the so called crap. Which really are essential items that I need for sink activities. Plus it looks much cleaner. Oh man, that dish rag around the middle console, my husband hates that!! Well maybe that's a dilemma for another day. I know that the old metal sink and faucets are but that will just have to wait I can complain about that a little longer. J/k I can look forward to the change in the future!

I also have to point out the gorgeous pitcher that I found at Ross for $8; unique and a fun pop of color. Another kitchen item that I found at "Retro" on my hunt for goodies is this awesome
napkin holder for...dang it I can't remember how much...Cheap! :)

Anyone else have this problem with their kitchen Sink?  What were your solutions?