Friday, July 30, 2010

Tray Work

I have been doing Montessori activities on trays with the girls for a month or so.  Here is a sample of one of the activities Kid #2 has been working on.

It requires 2 small bowls, a kitchen spoon and rice.

She loves this "game".
Working hard!
Using both hands (One of our occupational therapy goals)!

She "played"with this for about 30 minutes and clean up was a breeze since all the rice (well, most of it) stayed on the tray.

I am currently working on a rotation for both girls involving tray activities.  I have been looking for more trays at yard sales, so I can get the budget for this low.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Mom recommends...

This is another podcast and website I really love.  These moms are registered dietitians and have TONS of free recipes and advice for moms trying to offer our kids the healthiest options.  Recently, I sent in one of the tips for getting my kids to try new, healthy foods.  I was so excited when "The Moms" read it on their podcast.  It was show #110 and also talks about their new cookbook (Coming in October!).  You can subscribe through itunes.  I encourage you to head over there and check them out!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Institutionalized Snacking

Snacks have been a subject near and dear to my heart for years.  I have found memories of an after school snack waiting when I got home.  I still enjoy a mid-afternoon bite every once and a while, but I have grown a bit tired of what I call “Institutionalized Snacking”.  Everywhere my children go, they are offered a snack.  It has become a bit much.  Perhaps I have become more aware of it because kid #1 is gluten intolerant and can’t eat most snacks offered.  It seems that I am constantly running gluten free junk food to school, baseball games, church, and Cub Scout events.  There are birthday parties, pizza parties, bake sales, ice cream parties, and the standard Valentine, Halloween, and other holiday parties.  When kid #1’s class had a young authors’ event, there were cookies and lemonade. I forgot to send a cookie and kid #1 was the ONLY child that didn’t eat a cookie.  Then to make matters worse, there were so many cookies donated for the event the class ate them for an afternoon snack for the next two days.  Kid #3 insists on going to the barber shop with her father every three weeks when he gets his hair cut because she leaves there with fists FULL of candy.  Kid #1 gets off the bus with a lollipop or a stick full of sugar as a reward for good behavior. 

Now that kid #1 and kid #3 are playing organized baseball, the snack issue has again reared its high fructose corn syrup covered, ugly head.  When my children are going to participate in exercise I prepare a meal (or snack) ahead of time to give them the energy to complete the task.  I also provide them with adequate water while competing.  When we get home my kids will also get a healthy meal (or snack).  Don’t get me wrong, our family has gone to the local ice cream shop after one of the games this year and all enjoyed a frozen treat, but my children were not allowed to have that AND the snack offered.  I do not feel that parents are intentionally sending chocolate sandwich cookies and “punch” boxes to sabotage the health of children, but enough already! 

Here are the institutionalized snack rules at our house.
1. Always use your manners.  We simply say, “yes please” or “no thank you”.  (Kid #1 once began to explain that the “juice” box wasn’t really juice and that is why he didn’t take it!  We don’t want to offend people!)
2. You must ask your parents before you take a snack.  Especially since there is some label reading that has to go on with us!
3. If you take the high sugar snack food, then you may not have the juice.  It is one or the other, not both.
4. The snack has to come back to us to be opened.  At one of the recent ball games the snack was fruit snacks.  Each 4 year old was given a bag that had 3 servings in them!  Kid #3 ate those snacks on and off for a week.  Most of her teammates had them finished before reaching the parking lot. 
5. We don’t eat anything until we get to the car.  We have a lot of kids, gear, and a wheelchair to push. The addition of snacks can add 20 minutes to getting to the car.

My kids aren’t always happy about our snack rules.  Don’t feel too sorry for them though.  They eat junk food too, but I have noticed that they are now turning down the offered food because they prefer what’s at home.  After the last few ball games we have had freshly popped popcorn, frozen fruit smoothies, watermelon, and Larabars.  We recently took our turn at snacks and I let my kids pick what they wanted to take.  Their choices: 100% juice pouches, apple slices (in individual bags – a big treat) and cheese sticks.  I was pretty impressed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Podcasts I Enjoy

Since I am up in the middle of the night I have been listening to a few podcasts during my periods of restlessness.  I thought you might be interested.  Because they are podcasts, you can listen whenever you want.

The Catholics Next Door
Catholic Family Podcast
The Dave Ramsey Show
The Chaos Chronicles

I subscribe to all of them through itunes.  Let me know what you think.  What do you listen to?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A "Break" in the Action

Well, it has been about 2 weeks since my last post.  I have been busy for sure.  I have lots of post ideas to put together and review.  I am expecting "Baby No Name" in about a week (maybe more, if you ask me).  To be quite honest my household is in a bit of disarray.  I finally got out the baby stuff and began washing it this weekend.  The kids are have finished T-ball, baseball, basketball camp, and Safety Town.  On the calendar there is still Therapy Camp, Drama Camp and 2 Vacation Bible Schools.  To say I am a bit overwhelmed, is an understatement.   My kids are tired and hot.  So am I.

Have I mentioned that it has been unseasonably warm this summer???  I drive around and sweat.  Oh and waddle, I am officially waddling now.  Add to that my volunteer commitments (Which have decreased, I promise!) and I am quite a sight!

I am actually looking forward to the birth of this baby to get a few days off??  How crazy has my life become that I am actually looking forward to the break of 48 hours that INCLUDES hospitalization AND childbirth? 

I have been reading this book:

I have been really thinking about how to use the ideas to kick my family budget in high gear.  It is full of prayer and reflection.  I have enjoyed it.

I am using this pregnancy nesting to my advantage and am cleaning out closets and parting with MORE clutter.  My mother's neighborhood is planning a yard sale for the end of August and I am getting things together for that to start the "Fall Clothing Fund".

While I am "sitting" in the next few weeks I have a plan to make a plan about the family budget, schooling for the kids (I'll find out teacher placements soon and then have the BIG decision to make!), meal planning and general food consumption, household organization and planning,  a "revamp" of Kid #1's room with his input, adjusting to life with 4 kiddos, religious education as a family, and mommy time.  Gosh, that seems like a  lot.  My deadline for most of this is December 1, so hopefully I have a handle on some of those things by then.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  Pray for me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meal Planning This Week

Just a quick note...Not much planned this week:  I am 2.5 weeks away from baby AND it is HOT!!!

Monday: Pasta (Baseball Night)
Tuesday: Chili (Crockpot)
Wednesday: Sandwiches (Baseball Night)
Thursday: Mom bringing dinner
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Steaks on Grill
Sunday: Roasted Chicken

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Kid #1

Today my oldest child and only son turns eight years old.  His sisters got him a Kevin Garnett jersey and he also has a Lego kit or two to open after dinner and he is also going to a basketball camp later this month.  Bless his heart, he asked for a dirt cake for his birthday.  I was able to find gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies, so it was easy enough and no turning on the over in this heat!!

I still have plans to do a profile post about each kid, so I won't go into too much about kid #1, but he is funny, smart, silly and caring.  He is the nicest boy I know, I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Catholic Homeschooling Magazine

Based on the recommendation of a friend (Thanks Jen!) I subscribed to this magazine that is great for Catholic families.  My first issue of  mater et magistra was FULL of all kinds of useful information that I think would be valuable to all Catholic families, not just homeschoolers.  It is published four times a year.  I can't wait for the next issue due out the end of this month!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Mom recommends...

In honor of our nation's birthday, I thought I'd recommend this book.  I received it as a gift and have done a few of the activities in this book.  As July 4 approached, I got it out again.  We will definitely add this in to our schedule.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This week's meal plan

 Photo from

Monday: Holiday Fare Leftover
Tuesday: Pizza (Too hot to cook!!!)
Wednesday: Sandwiches (Baseball night)
Thursday: Mexican Night
Friday: Chicken "Not" Nuggets (Chicken breast cut into nugget size.  The name makes it fun!!)
Saturday: Kid #1's Choice (his 8th birthday!!)
Sunday: Crock pot cookbook creation (Future This Mom Recommends...)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Merry Band of Pirates

Taken after an afternoon of Pirating.  I love to listen to their imaginations at work!