Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kids' Rooms

I'm working on getting the big kids' rooms decorated (one of the reasons I've been a blog slacker!), and here are a few things I've been working on:
Kate's room is just getting started.  I'm going to do a garden theme with flower wall stickers and some picket fence around the bottom of her room.   I have the vision, but I still have to get the fencing (and have Jon install it with his staple gun), and then I need to get the flowers.  Kate LOVES flowers and is so excited about it.  

Michael has a cowboy room.  I really love his bedding, and I was able to score some cool western decor at Hobby Lobby last week for 66% off!  

Cool cowboy wall piece

Cowboy boot

Wall hooks (one of my favorite pieces)

 And an empty wall that I want to paint a silhouette mural of cowboys on a fence (like the pic below):
I just need to figure out how to do it without a projector...
(suggestions, anyone?)

 A great picture (Michael has this verse memorized.  He says it every day before rest time- which is really "play quietly time") and a horse shoe light switch cover.

And some odds and ends on his desk.  He uses this desk a lot to put together his Lego sets, or to play cars, or to read, or any number of fun things.  He loves his room.  One day, Michael came to me and said, "Mom, _________ (friend of his) gets to go to their room when they are in trouble.  Can I do that?"   Not a chance, big guy. :-) 
I will put up pictures when we make more progress, but this is where we are at now. 

Boys vs Girls: The Food Edition

Besides the obvious, I'm discovering how vastly different boys and girls are. 
Katie is not a really great eater.  She will eat pizza and pick off everything but the cheese. It's a challenge to make sure she gets all her nutrients, and we sometimes get creative to get some veggies in her (like carrots smothered in applesauce or green smoothies).  She loves her white milk, and will choose it over any other beverage (chocolate milk included), and she would subsist off simple carbs and dairy (if I let her). 

These boys, however, can put some food away!  At least shopping at Costco, I don't get as many stares when I load my cart up.  They probably just assume I have the other 3 kids are home. :-)  Yesterday at our Memorial Day picnic, Michael ate a cheeseburger, 3 hot dogs, and a couple sides for lunch.  This was an hour after eating a 3-level cheese sandwich (3 piece of bread and 2 pieces of cheese) and applesauce and mandarin orange cups.  David can down some food, too, for a little guy. He eats pretty much anything I put in front of him, and he eats them in large amounts.  Yesterday, he was on the deck with us, and he downed a couple of leaves.  Fresh green leaves and crunchy leaves- he's not picky.  I guess dinner just didn't cut it for him.  And if any of you know the volume of food my husband consumes, then you understand why I feel like I have a small army to feed.  I can't imagine what the teen years will be like...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

CSA Week 4 (plus menu)

Here's our haul from our CSA this week:

Swiss chard, 16 summer squash, 3 yellow zucchini, 8 green zucchini, 2 large kohlrabi, 5 greenhouse tomatoes, English peas, sugar snap peas, strawberries, red leaf lettuce

Here's what we're eating this week:
WEDNESDAY: tacos*, refried beans, salad* (from Tuesday’s menu- we ate leftovers then)
THURSDAY: Grilled BBQ chicken, grilled zucchini* and squash*, English peas, strawberries
FRIDAY: savory meatloaf, sugar snap peas*, Swiss chard*, salad*
SATURDAY: (company over) burgers (with lettuce and tomato), grilled zucchini* and squash*, kohlrabi* (Steamed and tossed with butter & salt), kohlrabi* chips (from the leaves), zucchini fritters*
SUNDAY: pizza and salad*, zucchini* bread
MONDAY (Memorial Day- company over)- grilled hot dogs & burgers, grilled squash* and zucchini*, baked beans, deviled eggs
TUESDAY: chicken tenderloins, salad*, any leftover veggies*

David and I enjoyed the kohlrabi last week.  I boiled it and tossed it with a little butter & salt and pepper. It tasted kinda like a very mild broccoli.  It didn't make very much, so the others didn't get to try it, but we'll see what they think this week.  Peas are not our favorite, so we'll be glad when pea season is over and green beans and corn come in. Jon and I really have been enjoying grilled zucchini and squash- toss with a little olive oil and some seasoning, and grill until soft (about 20min).  Delicious.  
 I picked up a couple of McCormick Grill-Mates seasonings, and they are so good on chicken, veggies, burgers- pretty much anything we grill.  Our favorites are Applewood Rub, Smokehouse Maple, & Brown Sugar Bourbon.  We really have been enjoying being able to eat out on our deck, and are thankful for warm, sunny days. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

David Waves

David has this adorable little wave that he pulls out now and then.  He loves to wave continuously at Daddy when I'm holding him, and he gets his whole shoulder into it.  He also loves to squish his peas.

We Love To Eat (and other oral tales)

David LOVES to eat, and he's not picky at all.  In fact, I've found quite a few interesting items consumed, like chunks of a nerf ball, a clod of dirt, a piece of flipflop, various papers... the list is broad.

Katie loves carbs.  That's about it.  

Michael is a great eater, and especially enjoys salad lately.  Unfortunately, he's been on a soft food diet ever since his 2 front teeth were knocked loose in an unfortunate accident after kids' club at church on Wednesday night.  The dentist says that at least the adult teeth above them were undamaged, and he was healing well and didn't require stitches.  But his 2 front teeth are quite loose, and will probably be on their way out in the next couple weeks, as long as Michael remembers to wiggle them.  He also now talks with this adorable little lisp.  :-D 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Girl

Here's a better picture of Kate with her new haircut.  

It wasn't too much off the bottom, but it sure makes her look older.  At least to me it does.  :-)

Hangin' With the Big Kids

David loves his big brother and sister.  He always wants to be where they are. 
And, though David can be destructive and will often mess up whatever the big kids are working on, Michael and Kate are generally patient with him, and are doing a great job being kind and understanding to this little guy.

David follows the big kids everywhere.  Or everywhere I let him.  I have to catch him as he tries to ascend the steps to their rooms.  

And he's dying for the day that I will let him out in the deck to crawl around with them.  I let the big kids play on the deck alone (they are good about obeying the "outside rules"), but David can only be out there when I am with him.  He'll be as big as they are soon enough, but I think he wishes it were much sooner.  

Our Other New Pet

This huge frog keeps ascending our side steps and waits at the door for us to come out.  Michael's a little afraid to touch him, but Kate has no fear. She loves him SOOOO much, the schweetie widdle guy. 
He's been hanging out for about a week, and he will go down the steps, then up, and repeat.  Now I'm super-careful where I step, as I don't want to squish him.  Gross!

CSA Week 3 (plus menu)

This weeks share from C&T Produce includes:
 2 pounds of English peas, 1 quart of snow peas, 1 quart of sugar snap peas, 2 pints strawberries, 1 bunch of golden touch beets, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, 5 greenhouse tomatoes, 1 greenhouse cucumber, and 2 kohlrabi.  (I purchased the onion, cilantro bunch, and 2 sweet potatoes separately)
Kate is still hating all this fresh produce, but the boys and I are really enjoying it.  She's getting better with salads, though sometimes I think she just chokes the lettuce down accidentally as she's eating her bowl of croutons.  Michael eats tomatoes raw, just like an apple. He's a great salad eater, and will always try new things.  David doesn't know better, and he eats anything I put in front of him.  He especially loved the beets, and I always pick up a fresh sweet potato or two, since they are his favorite.  I'm holding off my excitement on his non-pickiness, though, since I found a couple bites missing out of a Nerf ball recently, and I found the evidence later of David's mischief...  Jon's not happy about all this healthy stuff, but the alternative would be making something himself, so he eats what I make.  Anyway, we're looking forward to trying the kohlrabi this week.  It's a german turnip, and you prepare leaves like greens, and the bulb is similar in taste and texture to broccoli.
Here's the menu:
Wednesday- Honey Mustard Chicken, English peas* (with butter and salt), Salad* with ranch dressing, sliced cucumber
Thursday- company for dinner, out to Sakura, Strawberry* tarts for dessert
Friday- Baked spaghetti*(using leftover sauce from spaghetti this past week),  Corn and black bean salad* (didn't get to this recipe last week- out of Cilantro), garlic bread, golden beets (with butter and salt)
Saturday- burgers* (with lettuce and tomato), baked beans, grilled onions* and mushrooms, steamed kohlrabi*
Sunday- Pizza & Salad*
Monday- Creamy Italian Chicken with Pasta, salad, sugar snap peas*
Tuesday- Tacos, refried beans, salad

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meet Djondarly

This is Djondarly Cherestal.  He is an orphan in Haiti, abandoned by his parents, but taken into the Martinson's orphanage called Operation Love the Children of Haiti. Our family is sponsoring Djondarly to help with his basic needs of food, vitamins, medical care, and schooling. 
"His mom brought him to us having no means to care for him. He was starving for attention. After spending some time with us at OLTCH, we have discovered he is a lively little boy. He loves playing with trucks, and is growing more and more confident as he is reassured with TLC. Djon Darley loves to eat,  he can never get enough. He is best friends with Jethroson."

 I first came across OLTCH when a facebook friend from college and fellow RN posted about an expectant mother who had come to the orphanage that night to deliver her baby and to leave him there, since she had no means to care for the baby.  I can't imagine what these moms must go through to pass their children along for someone else to care for.  I headed over to the website and ended up sitting in my chair weeping over the orphans in Haiti- most are abandoned, many abused, but all experiencing the effects of poverty.  It's a little overwhelming to think that it could be my family who was born in a 3rd world country with no education and no available work to provide the basics of food and shelter. I want my children (and me, too) to grow up with love and compassion for others, especially for those less fortunate.  We've been blessed beyond measure, and it's only by grace that we are not in the same situation.  I would love to bring all these children home with me!  We can't help them all, but we can definitely help one.  So we will support, love, and pray for Djondarly, and maybe someday meet him in person.  

 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."  James 1:27

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kate's 1st Haircut

I took Kate in to get her first haircut today.  I cut the boys' hair regularly, but I was worried about cutting girl hair.  Also, I'm always chicken to do the first one, and since Kate took so long to get any hair at all, I was hesitant to even get it cut at all. 
The lady cut off all the baby hair that was on the ends.   Kate sat statue-still the whole time, and the lady was so sweet with her.  Kate gave a big smile when she was finished.  It's amazing what a new style will do for a girl!

And it really makes her look a lot older.  When did my little girl grow up so much?!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Caterpillar that Was

My cutie Kate is a nurturer.  She thinks her baby brother is *her* baby, and she with mother anyone who will allow her the opportunity.  Enter the fuzzy caterpillar that the kids found on the deck.  It soon became her first and only priority.  She emptied all the toys from a container to make a home for it. She supplied sticks on which he could climb, leaves for nourishment, and a constant supply of love and attention.  
Unfortunately, she left the lid off during nap time, and the little guy was off on a new adventure.  I am sure there will be many more little creatures to come, but Kate was pretty happy to put some of that nurturing to good use, even if it was only for one sunny spring morning. 

These Boys Stick Together

Michael and David just adore each other. 
It's not unusual to hear them playing a game together or to hear the baby giggles from a big-brother tickle.  Michael is exceptionally patient with David, and David just loves being around his big brother.  Plus, Michael shares his goldfish, which is a surefire way to build a strong relationship.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CSA Week 2 (plus menu plan)

Today was CSA day again, and here's what we got:
4 pints of strawberries (YAY!), bunch of swiss chard, 4 beets, romaine lettuce, spring onions, Boston buttercrunch lettuce, bunch of asparagus, 1 cucumber, and 5 tomatoes

I was quite surprised to find the swiss chard was pretty decent.  I've never been a fan of greens, but I sauteed the stalks in olive oil and garlic for about 5 minutes, then added the leaves and a touch of sugar to saute for another 5 minutes, and even Jon ate some and enjoyed it.  The kids, on the other hand...  they are not as excited about trying new things.  Kate is my pickiest, and is really having a hard time with all these new foods.  But it's a good experience for us all.  Here's this week's menu:

WEDNESDAY: BLT* sandwiches, cucumber* sticks with ranch dressing
THURSDAY: Grilled BBQ Chicken, Grilled Asparagus*, Rice, Salad* topped with walnuts, strawberries* and Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing*
FRIDAY: Spaghetti with red sauce* (onions used), peas, garlic bread, roasted beets* with butter and salt
SATURDAYBacon Quiche*, sauteed chard*, mini strawberry shortcakes* (if any are left by then)
SUNDAY: pizza & salad*
MONDAY: Cheddar mini-Meatloaves, Corn & Black Bean Salad* (new recipe.  I'll add any leftover veggies)
TUESDAY: Rotel chicken casserole, peas, 55 salad*

*all are items used from CSA

David's New Talent

David has found a new way to express himself.  I do believe Daddy taught him this. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

So Proud of Himself

David loves to be upright.  He's always climbing on something, but the stools are his favorite. 

My Big Helper

Michael has been such a sweet helper lately.  Of course, he has incentive, too, since we've been using an online job chart that he can log in and get "points" for being responsible and doing his chores.  Helping unload the dishwasher is an extra chore for him, so he get exited for those additional points he gets to earn.  
We also formulated a new character chart, where the kids can earn stickers for being loving and thoughtful and helpful and kind to each other.  They have really been doing better with the positive reinforcement, and it makes for much more peaceful sibling relationships. 

Silly Siblings

David only uses a paci at bedtime, but the big kids thought it would be funny to make it a family affair.  Cuties!

Flower Girl

This girl of mine LOVES flowers.  If we are on a walk, I have to frequently remind her to keep up, as she wants to stop and get every flower on the roadside.  She LOVES going to Michael's baseball games, since there's a big field filled with "flowers" (aka dandelions and buttercups).  She spends the entire time picking and organizing flowers.  Sweet girlie girl!  

Learning to Read

Michael has been learning to read, and he is catching on pretty well. Here he is reading "The Cat in the Hat" to his easily distracted sister and his easily excited baby brother.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Grasshoppers T-ball, 2011 Season

Michael had team pictures today, and this is his team, the Grasshoppers. 
We're about halfway through with the season, and we sure are going to miss t-ball in June. We have a great group of coaches, and it's been nice meeting some other kids' parents, who can appreciate all the funny, entertaining antics that a 5-6 year old league brings.  

Michael was concentrating so hard to keep his pose that he could remember to smile, too.  :-)
So if you want a copy of Michael's first t-ball pictures, feel free to print these.  We won't be ordering overpriced pictures when we have high quality camera-phone pics.  We go all out...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

CSA Week 1 (plus menu plan)

Today was the first day of harvest for the CSA share that I purchased through C&T Produce, our local farmer's market.
We received a tomato box full (1/2 bushel) of what looked like mostly green things, but I discovered some colorful veggies underneath.  I confess I had some trouble identifying what everything was.  Thank you, Google, for helping me identify most of the green items.  

Included, starting from the back left, was a bunch of swiss chard, large bunch of green onions, bunch of red-tipped lettuce, bunch of leaf lettuce, a large bunch of spinach, 2 pints strawberries, 5 medium tomatoes, 6 turnips, and a bunch of asparagus.  
So menu planning with this is interesting, but I'm up for the challenge.  We've been eating salads mostly every day anyways, so we will definitely put that lovely, fresh green lettuce to use with salads.  
Here's our dinner menus for the week:
WEDNESDAY: Tacos (using those tomatoes and green onions), Salad with ranch dressing
THURSDAY: Burgers (with lettuce and tomato on top), grilled asparagus (with balsamic vinegar, EVOO, Salt and Pepper), and caramelized turnips (new recipe- hope it's good)
FRIDAY*: Chicken Enchiladas (using green onion), Asian Strawberry Salad, Strawberry Pie *I will be doubling this meal, 1 to share with a friend who just had a baby.
SATURDAY: Leftovers
SUNDAY: We usually have pizza and salad on Sundays after church, but since that is Mother's Day, we will be going out. 
MONDAY: Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, grilled garden veggies (vidalia onion, squash, zucchini, peppers- not included in CSA, but I will pick up from the farmer's market), Cranberry Walnut Salad with 55 House Dressing
TUESDAY: Taco Pizza, salad with red raspberry dressing

I'm going to have to do some research on how to cook chard, and I will add that as a side one night. The kids love green smoothies, so we will have those with breakfast a couple mornings this week. Anyone have any additional suggestions for me?

UPDATE:  I had to pass on the turnips.  They smelled so putrid that that I couldn't bear to prepare them.  I switched a couple days around, since I took a meal for a friend on Monday instead of Friday.  Also, I learned that you should prepare asparagus right away, and not leave it in the vegetable drawer for a couple days, or it will get stringy and fibrous.  We used up everything, with the exception of all the green onions and those nasty turnips. 

The Watering Hole

 When the weather is nice, we like to take a walk to the lake in our neighborhood.  The kids enjoy "fishing" with their sticks, and we all enjoy the fresh air and exercise. 
Dreaming of big fish

David enjoys the scenery from the Ergo carrier.

Monday, May 02, 2011

My, How They Grow

 I guess I should lower David's crib. 
He's been pulling up on everything lately. 

His climbing, pulling up, and desperate need for exploration has gotten him into some predicaments.  This baby keeps me on my toes!  
He still loves to cuddle, and is always free with the smiles.  
David is starting to pick up a couple words, so now not only says "Dada," but now calls me "NaNa" (for Mama), says to "t" sound for "eat," and will say "Nie-Nie" when he wants to go to bed.  It's pretty cute.  I just started teaching him a couple signs, and he just thinks they are funny.  Silly, cutie baby we have!