Thursday, March 31, 2011

Letter to my blog

Dear Blog,

I know I have not been doing the best job of keeping up with you lately. Not only have I been lax at making new posts, but also I have been neglectful of commenting on other blogs. I’m sorry to say it might just get worse before it gets better. It’s not for a lack of ideas or desire just very limited time right now.

I do have several blog posts that I’m planning but those projects need finished first. On top of the many projects I’m working on we have some planning to focus on with my big girl making her First Holy Communion in less that five weeks. I still need to steam the dress, finish making the veil and size her rosary bracelet. (There’s a blog post there just waiting to happen).

With that event comes the panic to finish household projects so things look good for all the subsequent guests attending her reception/party. Oh, yes, more blog posts waiting to get photographed and published. (Too many ideas in my head not enough time on my watch.)

All this while I also decorate and plan for the bunny's visit. (You bet, more blog posts there too)

I know there are other blog authors who are also busy so I’m not trying to sound like I’m making excuses, just maybe asking for a little leniency towards how often I get to you. Not that I don’t love you but I am spread a little thin. Miss you greatly and promising to check in as much as possible until my “to do” list clears up somewhat and I get back to more regular posts and comments.



(owner of too many hats)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are you sick of dinner?

I’ve been really sick of dinner for some time now. I’m tired of eating the same old stuff and even more tired of cooking the same old stuff. It’s been more than just a rut. It’s been more like a total loss of desire. I’ve pulled out cookbooks and gone to the computer looking for inspiration but still feel bored. I’m not going to go too far out on a limb in the creativity area. I don’t have that the time with three kids to be overly fancy. I tend to avoid recipes that have a laundry list of ingredients. Short attention span maybe??? Besides, since I’m cooking for kids, I need to keep things fairly simple and recognizable for their sake. There’s nothing worse than cooking meal at the end of a long day and then sitting across the table from a wrinkled up nose.

One night, I made an off the cuff remark that the kids could plan dinner. I said it with the sentiment of a punishment in mind. I guess that’s how I’ve been feeling about the kitchen lately.

To my surprise I was met with excitement.
I quickly changed the tone of my voice and continued on with the thought as if it was some grand new scheme of mine. (I meant to do that the whole time).

So we started to talk about what things made a healthy meal. We discussed what the different food groups were and what things sounded like they would be good together. The girls (7 & 5) came up with a quick list of some of their favorite things and I pulled out paper and a pen. I had each of the girls come up with a plan for one dinner and they each picked a night that they would be the chef.

The next day I made a trip to the grocery store and that evening we started our cooking team. For two nights I had a little helper making dinner with me. We talked about cooking terms and how to time things to be finished at the same time. They were so interested in seasoning and how flavors came together. They were slightly intimidated with the stove and some of the sounds of food cooking at first. A little talk about safety and their confidence bloomed in front of me.

After the first week I thought I would continue as long as they showed an interest. I don’t want it to become something that they are not enjoying. Although it started as a threat or an intended punishment, I want them to be excited about cooking. It’s not like they have never helped before but now the planning and the scheduling of it has giving them so much more ownership. I can’t believe how they look forward to their night.

I new it was a hit when my second grader got off the bus and before she was half way up to the house she wanted to know who’s turn it was to cook that night. When I said it was her night the response was “YES” with a cute little dance move.

The change was more than I could have expected. We’re several weeks into it and they are still excited to cook and they are very complimentary of each other’s skills. Sometimes they like what the other has made so much that that becomes part of their choice for the following week. Sunday afternoons have turned into a planning meeting for the week to come as they pick their dishes and what day will be their turn in the kitchen. The best part for me is the special one on one time I get with them to do what was becoming mundane and tedious for me. Our little man (2 ½) has even gotten into the game. His job is to sprinkle cheese on our Friday night pizza and set the timer. He is thrilled with himself for being such a big boy and cooking like his sisters.

So what do you do to keep from getting boarded with your daily routines?
Do you have any fun ideas to make cooking more interesting?
What’s for dinner tonight?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Irish...

I’m not Irish but I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s Day. In my younger days it was just a fun “holiday” to drink beer and have Irish coffee all day. I could do without the corned beef or the cabbage but I do love anything potato so that was always a plus. Now I have an Irish husband. Well, He’s 7/8 Irish. We are sure to make a big deal about St. Patrick’s Day around here. Hubby’s grandfather was even born on St. Patrick’s Day so there is all kinds of celebrating going on. AND his name…is Patrick. Go figure. This year the old bird will turn 93.

Happy Birthday Pap paw!!!!

We do all sorts of things to get in the spirit. Last night we made chocolate covered pretzel rods for the kids to share at school (naturally they are green). Everyone will be decked out in his or her best green attire, the girls will have green fingernails and we’ll be making our rainbow cake today. I’m sure I’ll awake to a messy kitchen Thursday morning. That mischievous Leprechaun comes in through the night and turns things up side down! Last year he spilled “Lucky Charm” cereal all over the place.

I decorate as much for Saint Patrick’s Day as I do for any other holiday. Most of the house is coated is something green.

Here’s a new decoration I added to the collection this year.
I stated with a plate, chalkboard contact paper, a pattern of a clover and some leftover (post-Christmas discount) ribbon.

The image I found for the clover was fuzzy after being enlarged, so I had to trace around the edge to get a better image.

Then I cut it out and traced it onto the contact paper. Once I had the contact paper cut out I positioned the chalkboard clover on the plate. I used some hot glue to attach a piece of ribbon to the back of the plate and…

The kids love being able to change the message.

Have a fun and mischievous Saint Patrick’s Day!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March is here!!!

Last Year I decided to make a new door decoration for Valentine’s Day. I was in the midst of re-decorating EVERYTHING and my house was torn to pieces. It was hard then to get to little projects. I tucked the “leftovers” away and held onto the discarded grapevine hearts for a year. A few weeks ago, I pulled them out and turned them into something for Saint Patrick’s Day.

I cut all the red and pink ribbon off and then cut the hearts from each other. I reconfigured their arrangement and wired them back together. After Christmas I try to hit the discount bin for things I can use toward other holidays. I get all things red to use for Valentine’s day and everything green I can find to use for Saint Patrick’s day. I snagged a spool of this shinny green ribbon for 25 cents. It added a great splash of color to my new shamrock. I think it looks cute on my all season chair planter.

Happy March!!!!