Thursday, July 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #30 - Revised

I've rearranged things so much this week - for whatever reason - that I need to completely rework this week's menu!

Monday: breakfast sandwiches on English muffins

Tuesday: coconut shrimp and Zatarain's Caribbean rice
Surprisingly, Caleb loved all this!

Wednesday: sandwiches
We went to visit some friends after our library trip and ended up staying there until almost 6:00. By the time we got home it was too late to cook anything, so we had sandwiches instead. It was a great trade-off!

Thursday: Chipotle Chicken Cornbread Cups, salad, strawberries
I decided to try this new fall Pampered Chef recipe since I already have all the ingredients on hand.

Friday: BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, green beans

Saturday: blackened tilapia, Knorr Parmesan noodles, broccoli

Sunday: leftovers

Now I'm scouring the weekly grocery sale papers to plan next week's feasts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

10 Things to Do When It's Too Hot to Go Outside

This week's Ten on Tuesday should be easy. We're becoming masters at this!

Here are 10 things we do when it's too hot to go outside...

1. read
2. play computer games
3. watch movies (at home)
4. go to the cheap movies (.50 or $1 per ticket)
5. church day camp (for Caleb)
6. go to the mall play area (for Jacob)
7. visit the library
8. play with Hot Wheels, Legos, K'Nex, Lincoln Logs, etc.
9. eat popsicles
10. nap (for me)

Jacob keeps asking to go out and play, and I keep telling him it's too hot. If we had shade or a kiddie pool to play in, that would make it tolerable - at least for a little while.

The boys had two weeks of swimming lessons a few weeks ago, and it was absolutely unbearable sitting in the heat for that 35-40 minutes each day. The only shade poolside was under one tree and a big crowd of moms claimed that early each day, so I was left crisping in the sun. (My feet have nice Speedo tan lines...) I would hide under the shade trees after swimming lessons while the boys played on the playground each day, but by then the damage was done. I was totally exhausted by the heat. By the last day of lessons, I was so drained of energy I couldn't do much of anything for a few days. We've been staying inside ever since - doing all the fun things listed above.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #30

We're back home this week, so I can get cooking!

Monday: breakfast sandwiches on English muffins

Tuesday: blackened tilapia, Knorr brand Parmesan Noodles & Sauce, salad

Wednesday: BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, spinach

Thursday: coconut shrimp, Zatarain's Caribbean Rice Mix, fruit salad

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: Satay Chicken Pasta Salad (a new fall Pampered Chef recipe)

Sunday: sandwiches

For more menu plan ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Real Moms

I just finished reading Real Moms: Exploding the Myths of Motherhood, by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall. At times, I felt the authors were speaking directly to me! Here are a few "real mom" statements sprinkled throughout the book that I connected with.

"A real mom . . ."

" . . . picks her kids' noses." Yes, I do that on occasion.

" . . . puts dirty socks on her kids when the clean ones run out." Sometimes you just can't keep up with all the laundry.

" . . . really likes to sleep, but when that sick or scared-from-a-nightmare child only wants Mommy, deep down she really likes that too." Thankfully those nights aren't very often, and I like them even better when I can go right back to sleep.

" . . . sometimes gets tired, frustrated, and mad at her kids."

" . . . fusses at her kids a good part of the day, then lingers over them as they sleep."

" . . . sometimes has bad days (or weeks)."

" . . . always loves her kids . . . she just doesn't always like them."

" . . . thinks that occasionally the television makes a wonderful babysitter."

" . . . shoves all the dirty dishes in the oven when an unexpected friend arrives." The dishwasher works great for hiding those things I haven't gotten to yet.

" . . . smiles at her little angels as she passes someone else's screaming brats in the grocery store - and knows she shouldn't." Yeah, this usually happens the other way around for us.

" . . . uses real plates when entertaining guests. But lots of times the family gets paper plates." They're in the pantry, second shelf, to the left.

" . . . hardly ever gets all the laundry folded and put away. She just grabs wrinkled shirts from the pile."

" . . . knows that childhood passes so quickly - but not quick enough some days." Grocery days!

Here are a few I came up with on my own:
*A real mom sometimes falls asleep while reading to her children and makes up nonsense words in the process.
*A real mom makes her children take swimming lessons, whether they want to or not. And she makes them go underwater to get used to it.
*A real mom wraps up an uneaten lunch and serves it again instead of an afternoon snack.
*A real mom makes sandwiches for lunch a little more fun by cutting them differently to make two houses. Sometimes she makes a window in each one to make sure they taste good. :o)

I'm sure I can come up with more, given a little more time. :o)

Got some "real mom" thoughts to share? I'm sure I can relate!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #29

Last week, we ate sandwiches almost every night because we came home from Billy's parents' house with a package of 24 dinner rolls and a 5-lb. container of potato salad. We put most of it to good use. This week, I'm back to cooking. Some nights, anyway.

Monday: leftover hamburgers from yesterday's grilling session - I have a meeting.

Tuesday: Taco Layer Dip - I'm hosting a homeschool curriculum gathering for several of my friends so we can look over what each other uses and ask questions about it. The big homeschool shopping day at Mardel is Thursday. Everything education-related is 20% off!

Wednesday: Florentine Scrambled Eggs, toast

Thursday: sandwiches - I will be attending a ladies' game night at church!

Friday: Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday: Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Chutney, served over a bed of rice

Sunday: - leftovers

For more menu plan ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Free Lunch!

The park where the boys take swimming lessons is one of a few in the city that participates in a summer nutrition program for kids. One lady I've been visiting with during swimming lessons said she lets her two grandchildren play on the playground after lessons, then have the free lunch. She didn't want to at first because she thought they may be taking a needed meal from someone else, but the man who works that park said the more people he serves, the more funding he gets to do it.

She said they serve a variety of hot and cold lunches. Monday was steak fingers, mashed potatoes, green beans, and chocolate milk. I don't remember what Tuesday's lunch was. We decided to stay for it Wednesday, which ended up being turkey and cheese sandwiches on wheat bread, apples, fruit juice, and chocolate milk. (I think there's chocolate milk every day, which Caleb doesn't like. I end up drinking his milk and he drinks from the water fountain.)

Today's lunch was hamburger pizza, corn (YES! I know! Pizza and corn, just like in school!), and soggy tater tots. And chocolate milk. Caleb ate everything except for a few bites of his pizza; Jacob only ate a few bites of his. I told them we'd keep doing that after swimming lessons as long as they eat the food. Once they start picking at it and wasting it, we'll stop.

It's a great program. There are so many kids that just hang out at the park all day, unsupervised. The guy who works that park brings a few board games, some crayons and coloring books, and a few basketballs so the kids will have a variety of things to do. He also provides a visible adult presence to keep down any misconduct. It's too bad all the parks throughout the cities in the Metroplex can't do something like that, but as long as some parks in not-so-great areas are covered, it's a vast improvement.

13 Staples in my Kitchen

Here's a list of 13 things that you can always find in my kitchen.

1. Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
2. Pampered Chef Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle
3. Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning Mix
4. olive oil
5. brown sugar
6. onion
7. bread
8. milk
9. cheese
10. peanut butter
11. jelly
12. ham
13. honey mustard

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

10 Favorite Movie Characters

Here's this week's Ten on Tuesday list, in no particular order.

1. Napoleon Dynamite
2. Willie Wonka (as played by Johnny Depp)
3. Captain Jack Sparrow
4. Ouiser Boudreaux (played by Shirley McClaine in Steel Magnolias)
5. Gracie Hart (played by Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality)
6. Patrick Verona (played by Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate about You)
7. Mater (voiced by Larry the Cable Guy in Cars)
8. Forrest Gump
9. William Wallace
10. Landon Carter (played by Shane West in A Walk to Remember)

I'm on a roll and could go on, but I won't... I'll save those for another day.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bribery or Threats?

Jacob had his first swimming lesson today. He got his feet wet. That's all. He spent the whole 35 minutes of his lesson sitting at the edge of the pool watching everyone else. He was the only one who didn't get in.

His instructor tried to talk him into getting in the water, but he made several excuses why he couldn't. Later the pool supervisor sat by him and talked with him, trying her best to get him to go in. No deal. She said they'll try again tomorrow.

I wasn't so concerned with it today because the instructors were focused on gauging what each child is able to do. (They now know Jacob is reluctant, and that's putting it mildly.) Tomorrow they'll be put into equal ability groups so the instructors and children can have an easier time with the lessons.

Caleb, on the other hand, did super! He was excited to get in the pool and eagerly showed his instructor his bobs. He did the front float and glide. He's still nervous about floating on his back, though. He just won't relax enough to stay up. He keeps lifting his head up, so maybe he doesn't like having his ears under the water. Tomorrow I'll tell him to keep his ears under and find out what things he can hear under there.

But what can I do to get Jacob in the pool? I'm not above bribing him. He wanted to play on the playground after today's lessons. I told him no, but if he'll get in the pool tomorrow - and stay in the whole time - he can play on the playground AND we'll get a treat from Sonic on the way home. I've also told him that if he does well with swimming lessons, we'll get him a special toy. I'm ready to promise a black cat Webkin just like Caleb's!

I'm also not above threatening him. I paid $41 for his lessons and I don't want it to be wasted on his sitting on the edge for two weeks. If he doesn't get in the water by Wednesday or Thursday, I'm going to be really tempted to go through the gate and put him in the water myself! (There's a chain link fence around the pool, and only the lifeguard instructors and students are allowed inside during lesson times.)

Jacob is very strong-willed, so I'm not sure what's going to work. Any suggestions?

A Book Meme

I came across this meme on Cindy's blog and had to participate.

1. Do you remember how you developed a love for reading? I remember Mama talking about how I'd walk around with my chalk and chalkboard and ask her how to spell words. By the time I was four, I could read well.

2. What are some books you read as a child? I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. I also read Jack London's Call of the Wild several times. Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew were good, too.

3. What is your favorite genre? I prefer fiction (historical, mysteries, Southern, contemporary), but I've recently taken an interest in biographies. I also enjoy some non-fiction.

4. Do you have a favorite novel? I don't have one favorite, but there are several series that I'm a big fan of: the Monk mysteries, Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries, Ann B. Ross' Miss Julia series, and Karen Kingsbury's Redemption, First Born, and Sunrise series. I also enjoyed Jan Karon's Mitford series.

5. Where do you usually read? I usually read in my rocking chair, but I also read on the couch, in bed, in the car (when someone else is driving, but also when I'm waiting in the drive-through line at the bank or pharmacy), in waiting rooms, while I'm brushing my teeth, etc. I always have a book with me. Even when we're out somewhere, there's probably one in my purse.

6. When do you usually read? Whenever I get the chance.

7. Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? Definitely. It's usually a mix of fiction or a biography along with a work of non-fiction.

8. Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction? I typically read non-fiction when my mind is fresh, and I read it more slowly than fiction. Usually with fiction, I'm enjoying being lost in the story, but I usually have a specific purpose for reading non-fiction, even if it's just learning from curiousity.

9. Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library? Most of my books come from the library. I've got limited shelf space, so I don't collect many. The only series I'm currently collecting are the Monk mysteries.

10. Do you keep most of the books you buy? On the rare occasions I buy books, I do keep them. There are some I've had to get rid of and others I've had to put in storage, but I hate doing that.

11. If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? I read different books than the types my boys like, but a few easy favorites I've shared with them have been Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, and several Dr. Seuss books.

12. What are you reading now? I've just started reading Grace Is Enough by Willie Aames and Maylo Upton-Aames. (It was recommended by Cindy!) For "professional development", I've got a few in progress: Build It Big and Why We Buy. I'm also reading two for "personal development": Real Moms and Boundaries for Kids. Is that too much at once?

13. Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list? Most definitely. Actually I have a TBR stack. There are 10 library books stacked on the table by my rocking chair that I'm working my way through. Is that too many?

14. What's next? After I finish the Aames' autobiography, I'm going to read another Sue Grafton (K Is for Killer), then a Mary Higgins Clark (Where Are You Now?). I also have Miss Julia Strikes Back and Around the World in 80 Dinners in my stack.

15. What books would you like to reread? There are so many I want to get through the first time, I'm not really wanting to go back to anything else again. If I ever do, though, it would be Call of the Wild.

16. Who are your favorite authors? Sue Grafton, Karen Kingsbury, Jan Karon, Mary Higgins Clark, to name a few.

Thanks, Cindy. This was fun!

Now I'm going to tag Mama, Lindsay, and Stacy. If I didn't tag you and you like to read, feel free to post your answers in your own blog - and be sure to let me know so I can read it!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New Recipes

In case you've stopped checking my recipe blog because of a lack of updates since April, I've added two new recipes and have a few more to add soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Weigh-In Wednesday #9

Yes, I know. It's been a long time since I updated on this. Here goes...

1. Weight is the same, and the problem is two-fold. It's boring exercising at home, and I like food. Too much.

2. I've been changing my workout up a bit. I'm walking a mile in about 17 minutes plus some seconds each time. My best time so far is 16:35; I didn't time today's walk. I've dropped back to working out my upper body just once instead of twice, and I've added some lower body weights to my regimen. (I think I'll really feel it tomorrow.) After my workout with weights/equipment, I walk a few cool-down laps.

3. I jogged today. And nothing was chasing me. And I didn't die. Okay, it was only half a lap, which works out to be 1/20 of a mile. But still - I attempted it. I kept thinking about doing it as I counted each lap, and finally I just did it. I was listening to the wrong song for that though. It was too fast and I couldn't get my timing down. I ended up going a little too fast and had to stop. I'm going to have to listen to the other stuff on my iPod, other than my "walk" playlist, and see what's good for a slow jog. Maybe next time I can get a whole lap in!

In the Children's Section

Caleb loves to read and has read all the Beverly Cleary "Ramona" books as well as all of the Junie B. Jones books. He read most of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, and will probably get back to those later. He collects The Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton series, so he doesn't want to get them from the library.

Two weeks ago we asked the librarian for some recommendations. He suggested The Boxcar Children, Encyclopedia Brown, and Captain Underpants. What?!? I had seen the Captain Underpants books on the shelf and wondered about them. I knew one day they would capture Caleb's attention, and what would I do? I asked the librarian if they were "okay", and he said they were mostly silly boy humor. I told Caleb to wait until I checked into them a little more, then I would let him know if he could read them. I asked several of my friends about them, and surprisingly they had all read them and loved them. Well, liked them. The kids loved them.

I relented and Caleb checked out The Adventures of Captain Underpants last Wednesday. He read it in no time and was ready for more. We went back to the library two days later so I could pick up some books that were on hold for me. Caleb checked the shelf for more of the Captain Underpants series and found books 2, 3, and 5-8. He checked them out and has since read every one. On today's library trip, he found book 4 and checked it out. He's already finished with it.

While I was looking for some easy reader books for Jacob, I came across some books from the Walter the Farting Dog series. Thankfully the boys weren't with me when I found those. I have to draw the line somewhere.

I'm Guilty

Apparently there's a list of 10 Words to Avoid When Writing. I am guilty of using several of them, if not all. After reading the reasons for not using certain words, I felt dumb. (Oops, there's one!) I'll provide the 10 words, but you'll have to read the article to see if you feel bad about making the same mistakes.

1. really (I use this one too much!)
2. you
3. feel (This one, too. In fact, I used it in the above paragraph. Twice.)
4. think
5. as
6. a lot (I use this one a lot often, too. )
7. sort of/kind of
8. like
9. just
10. used to

I thought for certain the over-used "that" would make the list.

I sort of, like, just used to feel like writing this way all the time, but now I'll make a attempt to choose better words so my writing won't seem weak.

HT: Bag of Nothing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

10 Favorite Sports to Play or Watch

Today's Ten on Tuesday looks to be challenging... I don't know if I can come up with 10 sports, much less ones that I like to play and/or watch.

1. volleyball
2. racquetball
3. golf
4. softball

5. NHRA drag racing
7. football
8. baseball (in person, not on TV)
9. gymnastics
10. diving

Bonus: Spelling Bee. Hey - it airs on ESPN2, doesn't it?!?

Thankfully the upcoming Olympics gave me some ideas!

What do you like to play? To watch?