Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adventures in Cooking with 3 young children running around

After watching an episode of "The Pioneer Woman" from season 2, I was inspired to try her "Broccoli and Cheese with Ham Soup" recipe for lunch today because I had all the ingredients already if I substitute potatoes for the broccoli so that more people in our family would probably eat it. So I typed out the general directions for her  in Notepad and printed it out.

Cheesy Ham Soup (my edited version)
1/4 c butter, onion, 1/4 c flour, simmer, add 4 c milk 2 c half and half, bring to boil, add potatoes, add ham, simmer until cooked, add cheese

I went into the kitchen, pulled all the ingredients from the refrigerator and pantry, and set them on the counter by the stove. I added 1 stick of butter to a warming pot on the stove, and then decided that was probably too much, so I used a wooden spoon to break about half of it off and pull it out again.

I washed my hands with soap (#1), and began dicing an onion. Kelly (turning 3 next month) runs through the kitchen yelling "I have to poop." Oh, joy. I tell her that my hands are covered in onion so she needs to do it by herself. Then I ask her almost 5 year old sister Alyna to go check on her and help her.

But no, Kellyn doesn't want her sister, she wants Mommy.

So I finish dicing the onion and add it to the simmering butter. I wash my hands well with soap (#2) to get the onion off, wash my eyes because the onion is causing me to tear up, and go into the bathroom to help her wipe and get dressed.

I then wash my hands well with soap (#3) before returning to the kitchen. I resume the soup process by stirring the onions, and adding flour to the pot to make the base of the soup. I begin peeling red potatoes for the soup, when Kellyn runs through the kitchen once again yelling, "I need to poop." Aaaahhhh!

I reach over to stir the simmering ingredients once before following her into the bathroom again. I help her, and then I wash my hands with soap (#4).

Returning to the kitchen I add the milk ingredients to the soup and turn the burner up to med-high to bring it to a boil. Then I continue peeling the potatoes. Hearing playful screaming and loud banging sounds coming from the living room I call out, "Please don't do anything that would hurt some one."
I hear back, "Okay Mom."

The pot is boiling, so I add the potatoes and stirring occasionally while I chop the ham steak into little cubes.

It's at this point I realize I should have just used chicken broth instead of milk, because it would be lower fat overall and the half and half would still make it creamy.  But it's too late to change that now. So I add the ham, and reduce the temperature on the burner so it will simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Then I add the cheese and stir it while it melts.

Here's the end product: Cheesy Ham Soup

As I retrieve bowls from the cabinet I hear banging followed by screaming, crying, and Kellyn yelling that she can't get down from where she was because Ryan had moved a big box right in front of her. So I go in to help her down, and then go back into the kitchen and ladle the yummy, creamy soup into bowls.

Alyna starts screaming and crying in the other room because Ryan pushed her off her perch on top of one of the boxes. She walks in, followed by Ryan, and when I tell them the soup is ready both start to complain about not liking soup. What? Soups of all kinds have always been part of their mealtime favorites list.

I put the bowls on the table and tell them it's a new soup and they should try it. Alyna, my cheese loving girl, takes one bite and says she doesn't like it. Ryan won't even approach the table. So Kellyn and I sat down to enjoy our soups together. She asked me about where soup comes from, where muffins come from, and what every chunk in her soup was. I cherish these moments of quality time with just one of my children.

So now, an hour later, Ryan and Alyna still haven't eaten anything. I guess they just aren't hungry today.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Drama Queen vs Gymnastics

1 hour before gymnastics class yesterday, Alyna's big toe nail tore down the middle into the fleshy part and started bleeding. So I wasn't going to make her go to class if it still hurt her. I trimmed it down, and put a baindaid over it. She sat on the couch for a while to watch TV.

When it was time to go, I brought her suit to her and said, "If you don't go today, you won't get to do gymnastics until next Friday, and you won't get to flip on the bar or jump in the pit. But Ryan will because he's going."

So she promptly put on her suit because she wasn't going to miss an opportunity to flip on the bar.

When she stood up, my little Drama Queen put her foot gently on the floor then pulled it up fast and started hopping around on the other foot.

I said, "If you can't walk, then you can't go to gymnastics."

She put it down and walked just fine over to put her shoes on.

That's how much she LOVES gymnastics. It overcomes all her drama queen tendencies (which is probably a good thing in this or any sport).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Scary Allergies

Most food allergies can just be avoided, but the PEANUT ALLERGY is just scary.  At least now I know that just touching a peanut doesn't cause a reaction in Kellyn, my 2 1/2 year old. But that sure was a scary thing to find out.

We took Kellyn to an allergist at 10 months old because she had already shown allergic reactions to eggs and red food dye (in medicine). On the prick test, she also tested positive for the dreaded peanut allergy. It was a borderline reaction though, so we just were told to avoid giving her any peanuts or peanut products. A blood test at 2 years old confirmed she still has a very low level allergy to peanuts.

Our home has been peanut free for almost 2 years now, we just don't have it in our home, and I don't let anyone in our family eat it when she's around. We found a great almond butter, called Barney Butter, that tastes just like peanuts butter, but is made in a completely peanut free way from start to finish.

We put out warnings at our church too, because she and another little boy her age are allergic to peanuts. But group gatherings are always a little scary for us. The boy's mother carries an EpiPen for him just in case.

Yesterday, the kids were in the Firestone store in Lubbock with me picking up the van after having some maintenance work done. There was about an inch gap between 2 of the cushions on the couch in the store, and Kellyn reached down in between them to pick something up. She held it up to me and asked, "What is this?"

Oh, no, a peanut. Of course, she wouldn't know what a peanut looks like because we go the other direction anytime we see them.

I took it from her and threw it in the trash can. I told her not to touch anything, while I grabbed a wipe from the bag. The only thing she did touch was her other hand, so I wiped them both thoroughly  Then I picked her up and took her to the bathroom to wash her hands with soap.  I watched her carefully for the next 15 minutes, ready to dose her with Zyrtec I'd brought in the van. And then I watched her for reactions all evening too, I couldn't help myself. What kept going through my mind was the news story last week about a 19 year old dying from eating a cookie that contained peanut oil, but didn't have a proper label.

I thank God that she did not have a severe reaction to the peanuts, in fact she didn't show a reaction at all. I'm also very thankful that she asked what it was without just eating it first. There were probably a dozen peanuts down in between those cushions. I told the manager, and he said he would clean it up soon (but he didn't do it in the next 10 minutes we were standing there avoiding the couch).

I don't think you appreciate the Fear factor that comes along with this particular allergy until your own child has it. So please, if you know a child with a peanut allergy, take it seriously and help their parents protect the child.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Not So Fun Questions of 4 Year Olds

The deep questions have started coming from our 4 year olds...

"Are we going to die?"
me: yes, every one dies, and then we get to go to Heaven and be with God, but hopefully it's not soon

"Jesus is in heaven, but he's alive?"
me: yes, that's right (silence is golden)

"How did the doctor cut me out of your tummy?"
me: with a very sharp knife called a scalpel, but not all baby's are cut out, it's just because you wouldn't come out the normal way (oops I said too much)
"How does a baby normally come out?"
me: (ya, we actually had that talk... and then I added some stuff about these things being private things to only talk about with Mommy, Daddy, and the doctor.)

"How does a baby get in Mommy's tummy?"
me: God puts babies in the Mommy's tummy (theologically correct, the whole "God knit me in my mother's womb" verse)

Oh ya, fun times... thankfully they are satisfied with simple answers for the moment.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Thankfuls

On every day in November up to the Thanksgiving Holiday, I'm going to write one specific thing for which I'm thankful.

I already posted the past 2 days on Facebook... so here they were.

Nov 1: I'm very thankful for all of my kids Bible class teachers...In this picture Kellyn has all her babies sitting nicely in their spot for Bible class.
A few minutes later she was patting a book and singing "Jesus Loves Me"


Photo: All of Kellyn's babies are sitting nicely in their spot for Bible class. I'm very thankful for her wonderful teachers.
At a later moment she was patting a book and singing "Jesus Loves Me"

Nov 2: Today I'm thankful for homemade, banana muffins... yummy.

I may not even bother with dinner since the kids are filling up on them right now :D
Kellyn asked for another one, and before I got there to get another for her, she'd already used the step stool to get one down from the counter.

Nov 3: I'm thankful for the technology in my mini-van and this automobile era I live in.
Today the gas light reminded me to fill up with gas before I went too far. It said I had 16 miles left, so I might have made it to the community breakfast and back to my house, but on my next trip I might not have even made it to a gas station.
I'm also currently reading a novel set in 1916, and the main character owns a Ford Model-T, and drove it from D.C. to Idaho at about 20 miles an hour. They also have to have gasoline sent by train to their town so they don't run out.
So I am thankful for my local gas stations and their supply for my mini-van.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Remembering ... 9/11

As I sat down this morning at the first fall meeting of my Ladies Bible Class, I wrote this at the top of my notes page.


But then I stopped and thought about our topic for the class this fall... "Forgiveness".

So I added on to the heading

*Remember*  ...but also Forgive.

That was a hard thought for me to write down.
I believe it is important for us to learn from things that happen to us, and things that happen in our world. In order to learn from those larger things in our history we MUST remember.

But we must also forgive. Jesus taught us to pray to God by saying, "forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us." Wow. I sure want God to forgive me, so I need to learn to extend that grace to others as well. It is for my own spiritual health that I have to let go of the hurt.

On 9/11/2001, there were specific people who hurt other specific people. I hope those vicitms and their families have learned to forgive, even in the remembering. I also see that our entire nation, and perhaps the entire non-muslim world was hurt by the actions of a handful of people. Have we forgiven them?

I don't want you to think of this as a political issue right now, remember that it's a personal one.

So I'll ask again. In remembering the events 11 years ago, have you fully forgiven?

Monday, September 3, 2012

To color or not to color...

I'm going to a meeting on this Saturday with the homeschool group from our county. It's just a roundtable discussion of ideas, but I'm excited.
Barry and I are still not sure what our choice will be for next fall, but it's one of our top options. Alyna and Ryan won't turn 5 until mid-September so our only options are private schools that will test and allow them early entrance, or homeschooling them.

We've already had an experience with their preschool that makes me consider homeschooling even more, which is partly how I got invited to the meeting this weekend, because of discussions with other moms on Facebook about it.

Alyna came home with a worksheet where they used a pencil to draw a stem down from the flower bud to the base stem at the bottom of the paper. She did excellent lines and even drew some extra leaves herself that looked just like the ones printed on the paper.
I had said as I looked at it that I bet she colored some of the flowers in too, and then looking at it said, "Oh, she did a couple."
But then she said to us, "We don't color with pencils."

Her teacher had stopped her from coloring with her pencil. She's been so excited since getting a pack of pencils  from her Sunday school teacher last month, and colors pictures with them all the time. I think she's going to follow in her Daddy's footsteps with a love for creating charcoal drawings.
I was astounded that the teacher would halt her creativity by limiting her to coloring with crayons. I told her, "Well, you don't color with school pencils, but you can color with home pencils."
Since that day, that flower worksheet is almost completely colored in with pencil shading  (within the lines). It may not be colorful, but she uses color in other pictures regularly. This is a different kind of creative outlet for her.

Other moms have suggested to me that "maybe there wasn't time for coloring", or "maybe they are worried that kids will switch their grip to color and not hold the pencil properly." So, I understand. If it's time to move on, just tell her that she can finish it later. And her grip doesn't change. She paints, colors, and writes with the correct finger positions on the item, and has done that since she was 2 1/2.

Another mom suggested that maybe it wasn't a "correct" color for a flower, so the teacher didn't appreciate it.
My response to that was, "Well, that kind of talk just makes me want to home-school. Why do we suck the creativity out of our kids?"

That's when another mom invited me to the meeting, and I'm glad she did. I'm anxious to see what kind of outings/special activities the group here does together.

Today, Ryan and Alyna and I worked on some sight words and putting them together to make different sentences. We had cards with our family names: Daddy, Mommy, Alyna, Ryan, and Kellyn... they already mostly recognized those. Then we learned "loves" and "me."
They had big smiles as they read the sentences I put together for them. "Daddy loves me", "Alyna loves Mommy", "Kellyn loves Ryan", etc.
Then they both played on for about 40 minutes.

And oh yes, it's a holiday, so we went to a park early this morning before it got hot.