31 August 2011

Weekday Breakfast Part I

Bird Seed? Gerbal food? Nope.
Can you believe school is almost here? For some of you it is here. No more lazy mornings. Time to start thinking about your morning routine and how you can send the kids to school with tummies full of healthy food and not have to wake up at the crack of dawn to do it.
During the school year I make 2 things for breakfast Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I know.... I'm not pushing any foodie boundaries here but what I do works for us. It is a routine, it is healthy, it is comforting and the kids love it. I can expand the boys paletes after I've had my coffee. Breakfast is about starting the day right for us.
Today I'll tell you about 1 of the 2 things I make each morning. Porridge. I grew up calling the hot grain cooked stuff oatmeal... which btw my mom also cooked for us each morning before school. But I married a Canadian and now we call it porridge. I've changed it up a tad from my childhood quaker oats version.
I pre-make a huge batch of dry mix. I used to order each individual grain from Bob's Red Mill and mix them myself... now I'm lazy....ier. I buy the 9 grain hot cereal mix (Bob's has one, Winco has one, most places have one now in the bulk area), steel cut oats, and thick cut rolled oats. The ratio I use is 2 parts steel cut oats, 1 part thick cut rolled oats, 1 part 9 grain hot cereal mix.

22 August 2011


The first time I had sangria was in Spain. I was hooked. How can you go wrong with wine, fruit, sugar and brandy? At our house a pitcher of sangria is a standard item in the summer. One thing I LOVE about Sangria is its versatility. Traditionally Sangria is made of 4 things. Wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener and brandy. My every day recipe doesn't have brandy only because we don't normally have it on hand. This week we had just picked a bunch of blackberries... and I thought how lovely they would taste soaked in wine! Yes?

21 August 2011


My mom is a great great woman. She has and continues to leave me with little gems of wisdom.

Way back (yes WAY back) when I was in high school I remember her telling me, "you should be a better person because of those you hang around and they should be better for knowing you."

I've thought about this over and over and over and over. This is one of those little gems that is applicable your entire life.

Look around your life. Do you make a positive impression on those you spend time with? Family and friends? Neighbors and colleagues? Husbands and kids? Do you raise them up or knock them down?

Do they make a positive impression on you? Family and friends? Neighbors and colleagues? Husbands and kids? Do they raise you up or knock you down?

If you answer no... to either question, perhaps it is time for a change?

19 August 2011

Accessible Snacks

I don't remember where I heard this gem but I love it. "Never do something for your kid if he/ she could do it themselves." I try to remember this. It is so easy to do things for our kids. We love them and most of us get joy from "serving" our families. That being said.... isn't the primary job of a SAHM (or any parent) to raise children who can be self sufficient well balanced members of society?

I go through phases where I find I'm doing everything for them and then I remember my motto above. If they can be taught to do something themselves... teach them! It might take longer at the beginning but eventually you can be reading a book while they put away their own laundry! Or finally have time to dry your hair while they take out the garbage.

This brings me to one of the areas I've focused on. Snacks. Not meals. I'm talking about every 20minutes when they say, "I'm hungry mom." If you set up a snack area - you can answer (as I do now)... "well go get a snack!" I always have a bowl of fruit around. Yogurts in the fridge and cheese sticks. Then I've organized our snack cupboard.

There is the home-made granola, cold cereal, crackers, etc. And the easy access bin where individual servings are ready to grab. This works great if you need a snack in the car too. I have oranges, applesauce, crackers, peanuts, Kids Z-bars, gummies, etc. And I also have all our plastic bowls, plates & cups down where the kids can get them. Mommy free snacks and drinks!

18 August 2011

A Better Pizza

So we all love pizza right? But let's face it, most pizza isn't exactly the poster dinner for good nutrition. Here is my version of making a slightly better version of the run of the mill pizza. To start I take ONE pizza dough recipe and divide it into TWO. I roll them out thin enough for 2 full size pizzas. They are thin crust. Not cracker thin but thin enough to taste the yummy toppings. See? TWO pizzas out of ONE dough recipe.

Give it back

It is important to make an impact, leave a fingerprint on society if you will. As a mother one of the largest ways to do that is to devote ourselves to our children. For me that takes 95% of my energy. And I'm thrilled about that. I am thilled that a large part of my contribution to this world are my boys.

I think God want more from us.

I read a book about raising boys once that stressed the importance to be an advocate for all children. If you are volunteering at your kids school and you see someone elses kid get bullied, fall and get hurt, or whatever it is your obligation to step in and help that child.

My mom did that. I vividly remember 3rd grade. We were reading a book and my mom was the volunteer who helped a small group "discuss it". There was one boy who the teachers warned her about. She shouldn't expect anything. He was a "bad seed". She ignored those teachers and conducted our small group as though we were all future PhD's. Do you know what? That bad seed kid did the best. He rose to her expectation of him... just as he had fallen to his teachers expectations of him.

Right now in East Africa children are dying. It is estimated that 29,000 children have died in the last 90 DAYS from famine in Somalia alone. They are not my children. They are not your children. But they are someones children. Help them. They aren't asking for much. $5 is all. Have you bought your Grande Soy Chai Latte yet?


17 August 2011

Boys will be Boys

I have three boys. I LOVE boys. They are sweet, kind; they are loving, compassionate and straightforward about their feelings.

Something that has always bothered me a bit is the phrase "boys will be boys". Yes, boys are different than girls. But what I don't like is the tone the phrase "boys will be boys" is so often delivered as if to say... well what do you expect?? He's a BOY. Boys are awesome. Don't let anyone tell you different.

I know little to nothing about little girls. But on boys under the age of 6 1/2 (my oldest) I am an expert. What I do know is that boys have feelings and emotions. Boys sometimes need to cry. Boys need hugs... lots of hugs. Boys need to be protected and nurtured. Now I'm not saying every time a boys falls down and gets a micro scratch we need to run and encourage him to "get his emotions out". I'm talking about education our young boys to be able to identify different emotions in themselves and others. I HATE the suck it up... be a man attitude. We adult women want our men to be in tune to our emotions. If we as mothers never teach our boys what "hurt" or "sad" feels or looks like what kind of husbands / boyfriends / friends / people will they be?

Another thing I am learning about little boys is that they play rough. Like bear cub rough. Early on I was against this type of hard physical play. Then I did a bunch of research that revealed that rough play is integral in how boys learn about themselves and their surroundings.

Let me first say when I say "rough play" I mean wrestling, running, wrestling and did I mention wrestling? I also don't mean that boys should be allowed to beat up on each other or be mean. EVER. And I mean NEVER. My boys wrestle all the time but I am teaching them to watch for the obvious signals when play turns from fun to NOT fun. And stop means stop. No means no. No exceptions. No butts.

So when I talk about rough play I mean within boundaries. So it is SAFE rough play. So within this safe rough play world they are able to learn the boundaries of their bodies and emotions. They learn who is stronger, who is faster, what they are good at, how to play with younger / smaller boys, and where their own weaknesses are. And they have a kind of physical fun with each other I couldn't come close to providing.

I feel so happy for them that our family has 3 little boys. So yes "boys will be boys" but when I say that it is a compliment. Boys are amazing. Boys are physical. Boys are emotional. Boys are compassionate. Boys are loving. Boys are sweet. Boys WILL be boys. Thank goodness for that.