Thursday, September 30, 2010


Ahhh....and once again...Friday has arrived.

The house is quiet and my DVR is begging for attention.  Along with the laundry, the floors, the pictures awaiting albums....ugh...what doesn't need my attention?  As I typed that a munchkin appeared requiring my attention.  No joke.  He needed an extra goodnight.

I decided tonight was the night I would finally order the 200+ prints that have been living in my kodakgallery since...well...the last time I ordered prints.

As I was viewing them, I was curious to see what my very 1st Kodakgallery photo was....
How appropriate considering I just told Hubby we need to plan a day for apple picking.  Sports Fanatic was three and a half and the Gymnastics Queen was eighteen months.

This is them about a year later....looks like they are about to ambush me for fruit snacks.
This is the munchkins grinning ear to ear that they now outnumber us.
This is LLG at seven months old.  This was the day I took him out of the carseat he lived in and I realized he could sit. I promised him playtime from that day forward.  He has been paying me back ever since...
Which brings us to LLG in a dog cage.  Don't ask.

After digging through my kodakgallery I am back to one of my all time favorite pictures of the munchkins.  This is the "YES! We outnumber them 2 to 1!...Suckas!" Photo.

LLG and the Gymnastics Queen look particularly psyched. may you be psyched.  Its the weekend...Have a good one!

Keeping the Munchkins on Track

Over the summer, things got pretty hairy in my house.  All the munchkins home, long slow days....we had quite a bit of pesky arguments.  Who touched who, who was looking at who, who needs to feed the was getting out of control.  Even the dog was annoyed.

The only time she moves from this position is growl for dinner.  She really doesn't ask for much.

I realized all my nagging to be nice to each other was not effective.  My other approach, yelling "I'm sick of it!" every three minutes didn't fare any better.  

I am not one for charts, I expect good behavior like I expect Hubby to take out the trash.  It is more of an     "or else" mentality around here.  There is no reward, DO IT OR ELSE!

But behavior needed to be adjusted.  I knew it.  I had to face it.  I refused to allow the munchkins to fall off the kind and considerate wagon.  I knew an incentive to work towards better behavior was what I needed to get their attention.

I started a "manners" chart.  I hung it in the kitchen, and they each had a column.  A smiley face was earned for any act of kindness toward a sibling.  Smiley faces also were earned for good manners and helpful behavior.  Once ten smiley faces were earned by each munchkin, we would take a trip to the dollar store, go mini golf, or get ice cream for lunch.  First munchkin to ten could pick the reward. This was a big deal around here, because outings with four munchkins are limited.  And they know it. 

Two keys to remember:

I never removed a smiley, good behavior is good behavior.  That cannot be taken away.

By making all the munchkins earn their ten smileys, there was less tattling and less antagonizing.  No rewards until they all had ten.  Amazing how they help each other along when they benefit as well.

As with any new system, we were all about the new chart.  Behavior went from embarrassing to upstanding (well, I don't want to get too carried away...but it was much improved).  The munchkins worked towards their smiley faces.

Within one week we were at the dollar store.  The next week we went mini golfing.  We were enjoying our little outings, and the munchkins looked forward to earning a new one.  We once again lived a peaceful existence within the walls of our home.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

After a month the chart fizzled out, but the good behavior was still in place.  My summer was once again enjoyable.  Hallelujah!  The harmony had been restored.

Every so often we are thrown off balance by a change in routine, or circumstance.  I realized that nagging and pleading with the munchkins simply doesn't work.  Some incentive to get their attention does.  And sooner rather then later, the incentives are no longer needed.  Good habits and manners are back in place.

My munchkins know how to be kind, and they certainly know how to behave.  But sometimes we all need a little nudge to get us back on track.  After all, we're only human.  Tiny munchkins included.

**My sister, Auntie "B", is a new contributor to Mommyhood.  Her 1st article is a wonderful, more in depth look at behavior charts.  Enjoy!**
Auntie "B"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Morning...

Mornings look the same in my house just about every day.

I make my bed.  Every morning, even if I'm in a rush.  It soothes me.  Don't ask me why...I equate it to controlling something in a house that is out of control....
I hurry downstairs to feed four starving munchkins.  In the middle of toasting up waffles and mixing strawberry milk, I finish making the lunches I started making the night before...
At about 8:20am, the mad rush to catch the bus begins.  It starts with me yelling things like, "Let's go, let's go, move it!  Bus in ten minutes! Move! Move!"  

I sound much like a Drill Sargent.  But we have only missed the bus once so far...this school year.

Once the bus pulls away, I begin the clean up.  I don't leave mess.  It would accumulate so fast in our house it would swallow us whole.  

I wash the dishes.  I do have a dishwasher, but I refuse to fill it every day.  That would mean emptying it every day.  I loathe that job like Hubby loathes tomatoes.  I would rather wash by hand for a day or two and put away small amounts of dishes every 4 hours...
As I am cleaning up the breakfast mess Moopa begins to leave her trail of destruction....

Normally this is when I sit and help myself to an uber exciting 1/2 cup serving of Kashi cereal. 

But this is where this morning begins to differ from a regular morning.  

As I am cleaning, and Moopa is destroying, I find something extremely precious that I tucked away a few days prior....something Hubby brought home for me a few nights ago...
I then do what any semi-sane mother of four would do at 9:45am when she finds marshmallow sticks drowning in milk chocolate.

I pop a can of DC and I eat one for breakfast.

The day was looking pretty awesome right about then.  It still is, as there is still one marshmallow stick left.
I hope you all find a few hidden simple pleasures in your day today.  I know I did.

The George Saga Continues...

If you don't know who George is, you need to read this:

Trust me, it is well worth it.  Do yourself a favor and catch up on George.

Tonight was Kids Night at McDonalds.  Usually LLG is my date for the evening, but tonight it was the Sports Fanatic.  Football practice was moved to Thursday, and LLG and Hubby derserved some quality time.  As did I with my Sports Fanatic.

Obviously George is a hot topic in our house, with LLG candidly expressing his fear after every encounter at Kids Night.

So as I am ordering our high quality meal, our buddy George runs around the corner.  I whispered to the Sports Fanatic, "Look, that's George...." while I gestured in George's direction.

Sports Fanatic looked at me with wide eyes, smiled, and laughed as he said, "Good thing LLG's not here!"

We were discussing how LLG dodged a George bullet as I went to pay for our nutritious meal.  I looked down to count my dollars...and looked again....and asked the cashier to wait as I took a picture of my dollar...because I couldn't believe my eyes.

Forces larger than me are in on the George saga....and if LLG could read this dollar would give him nightmares.  My poor little nutcase.

And so the Kid's Night saga continues, even in the absence of LLG....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Needs, Needs, Needs....

Becoming a Mom means being needed.  Needed all the time.  Needed to feed your munchkins, change your munchkins, support your munchkins...the list goes on and on.  I remember when I used to watch my nieces, I thought it was so endearing how they would hang on my Aunt's legs.  It drove her nuts.  I couldn't imagine why.  I couldn't wait to have someone need me that way. 

Now I know why it drove her nuts.

What I never imagined is how exhausting being "needed" is.   Sometimes I just want to sleep, but a munchkin has a bad dream.  Or a munchkin is sick.  I just want to leave because I'm late, but LLG needs me to read a book. I just want to take pictures of my son's football team, but Moopa sees me through the fence.... Needs, needs, needs....

But just when I want to scream from all the needs in my house, I remember that being a parent is a privilege.  I am needed by four munchkins all the time, and it reminds me that I am a part of something bigger than myself. 

The name of the game is sacrifice.  I signed up for it.  And 99% of the time I am more than happy to sacrifice anything of mine for my munchkins.  The only thing I will not share is my ice cream.  Sorry munchkins, one taste, but then you are out of luck.  It's just too important to me.

Now I wait until they are all sleeping to eat my ice cream.   I wait for that time to be alone and recharge. What I need after a day of being "Mama" is a long run and a bowl of ice cream.  My needs are much more simple than before Mommyhood.  But we learn as we go what we really need to keep truckin'.  And it is always less than you think you need.

Mommyhood is a balance of meeting our own needs and meeting our children's needs. And most days I am lucky if I find that balance.  I do my best.

And this is what it looks like to be needed, needed so desperately that Moopa's day is 100% ruined if I don't hold her that instant.

This is also what I look like if it is 9:55pm and I still haven't had my ice cream.
Having my munchkins has enriched my life more than I could have ever imagined.  They have given me perspective, purpose and unconditional love.  Which in turn, has made me need them. 

I imagine this is also what I'll look like dropping my last munchkin off at college.  But I won't look as cute.  Needs are a two way street,  which I will remember the next time a munchkin is hanging off my knee begging me not to leave.  One day that will be me.  I guarantee it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Not Responding

Lately my computer has not been listening.  I move the cursor only to see it not moving, I type a letter only to see that annoying little blue circle...circling...and circling...

And my computer, ever so politely, adds in parenthesis that it is "not responding".  I immediately want to smash it, to toss it out the window.  I can't, another computer would cost way too much $.  Instead of going the violent, crazed woman route, I hit the keys.  I start the task manager.  I threaten to "end task" the computer would care.  I pretend it would care.  And then I end every task as punishment for it being incompetent.

Unfortunately the small blue "not responding" circle is not limited to the computer.  I see it in my munchkins when they are excited or tired.  I see it in Hubby when I speak to him as he's trying to finish his work or watch TV.  I feel like a small blue circle is just hanging and circling in front of his face. 

There are days when there is a lot of "not responding" in our house.
 With the family, I just pretend they are listening.  Then I walk away.  And a week later, when I am having the EXACT same conversation as the week before, I always add in, "I JUST told you all this the other day!  Weren't you LISTENING???"  (Hubby always gets that line).

My online tasks would be so much easier if my computer would just "respond".  Man, my LIFE would be easier if my munchkins would just respond.  And don't even start me on Hubby.  The famous "non responder".

But I do get it, the "not responding".  When the munchkins get whiny, its 5pm, and the day has been long, I need to make a small, blue circling circle to hang in front of my brain.  The "not responding" circle. How considerate it would be, if we all could just gently warn someone via blue circle hanging from our head, that we are "not responding"?

If I could only figure out a way to invent that I would be a millionaire.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dig Deep and Keep Going...You May Just WIN in DOUBLE OVERTIME!

My Sports Fanatic had an incredibly amazing, thrilling and exhausting football game today.

Last night he was nervous.  So nervous his stomach hurt.  This was a BIG game.  Last year this team handed them their only loss of their regular season.  The kids on this team hit hard.  They play rough.  My Sports Fanatic remembered this well.  His teammates did too.

Not sure how much you all know about football, but we only had one first down the entire game.  Our offense was shut down.  Our defense played their little hearts out, keeping us in the game.  Play after play after play.  They ran, chased and tackled.  And tackled. And tackled.  Most of the game our defense was on the field, and by the 4th quarter I don't know how they were still vertical.   This is my little Sports Fanatic playing his heart out. 
Losing this game essentially would have taken us out of the playoffs.  Our team wouldn't have it.  Our defense showed up to play.

Perseverance brought us to overtime.  Overtime is each team getting the ball at the 20 yard line.  We didn't score.  Then they fumbled, we recovered.  They didn't score.  It was a nail biting, back and forth, yard by yard fight.  

In double overtime each team starts at the ten yard line.  Our defense, even after four quarters of football, still had more left.  We held them at the 2 yard line.  Our opponents didn't fare as well with us.  We ran the ball into the end zone. Victory was ours.

If I was able to do back flips I would have.  For two and a half hours this afternoon I watched 21 eight and nine year old boys play their hearts out.  They dug deep and they kept going.  They didn't stop.  They persevered.

Not only were 21 boys celebrating a hard fought football game.  So were the fans. And the coaches.

This is what Coach Hubby looks likes when he is elated.

This is what the Sports Fanatic looks like when he is elated:
And this is what a Mommy looks like when she witnesses her son's team succeed in the face of adversity.  Elation, pure elation.  I wish you all the same this week.

Homemade Peppermint Patties

When the Gymnastics Queen was a baby, I mastered the art of making homemade peppermint patties.  My first venture was through a recipe, which was a success.  I now have my own recipe for peppermint patties that I use every fall and winter.  They are devoured in the same manner I devour Cappuccino Chip Ice Cream.  That is serious business.  Mama don't play when it comes to her ice cream.

I have to reserve peppermint patty making for cooler temperatures due to my lack of central air conditioning.  Melting chocolate for dipping is best done in cooler temperatures to ensure the chocolate will set nicely.  Thus, when fall rolls around, and Hubby or the munchkins see the container of patties in the fridge, there are universal squeals of delight.  And I must say I cannot blame them.  These are quite succulent.

A few tips before I begin.  Set up your work station before beginning.  Your hands will get sticky and it is much easier to have your pans lined beforehand.  Also, there is no greater enemy to melting chocolate than water.  Water will cause the chocolate to seize, and it will not melt if even a drop of water mixes in.  Keep the area and all utensils DRY.

Mommyhood's Homemade Peppermint Patties:

1 32 oz bag confectioner sugar
4 Tbsp softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup evaporated milk
24 oz bag milk chocolate chips

Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper.  Set aside.

In large bowl combine first 4 ingredients.
Mix with large spoon to combine.  Add evaporated milk and mix well.  You will have to get in there with your hands to incorporate the milk....dive in and get crazy...

Once the mixture is the consistency of playdoh, roll into 1-2 inch balls.  I always go for the larger patties, primarily because if I'm limiting myself to one, I want it to be satisfying.  Can you blame me??

Mixture cannot be crumbly.  This makes for disappointing dry patties that are difficult to dip.  Add a few drops of evaporated milk if dough balls are crumbling. 
Flatten dough ball and mold into patty.  Place on lined baking sheet.
Continue until all dough is happily molded into patties.
Place trays in freezer for at least 30 minutes.  At this time I wash my hands and clean my work area.  While patties are freezing melt your chocolate.

I have a Treat Dipper, which is an excellent tool to melt chocolate easily.  If you plan on making any treats that require melted chocolate, I highly recommend one of these.  Makes life extremely easy.  I love easy.

If you are melting chocolate in the microwave, place all but 1/2 cup chips in a sturdy glass bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 second intervals.  Check and stir chips after each interval.  Once chips are 90% melted, remove and add in 1/2 cup chips.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Should be smooth and creamy, and drip from fork or spoon. 

Remove one tray patties from freezer and begin dipping patties, one at a time, in chocolate with fork.

Let excess chocolate drip off and use knife or spatula to slide them back onto lined sheet.  The cold cookie sheet will help to set the chocolate. 

I like to add chocolate candies to them because I am eternally a child when it comes to my desserts.  And I like to make them seasonal.  Hubby prefers them plain. The beauty of homemade is the creative freedom over your desserts.  Along with pure deliciousness...licking the bowl...the house smelling delightful....and so on.

Oh Nellie, come to Mama....

Don't shy away from helping yourself to a patty right now, as I do.  No one will know it is gone, and it tastes like it was left in your car in the know, gooey... messy...gets all over your fingers and pants but you really don't care....(at least I don't)...

You can leave the patties out to set, or keep them in fridge.  When the weather is cool I leave them out, but store in fridge.  We like them cold and refreshing.  Tonight it is a bit humid so I immediately placed them back in fridge.

The beauty of dipping anything in milk chocolate is the left over chocolate.  This is when I get kind of crazy.  I look for anything edible to dip in Australian Licorice (for me)...

Animal Crackers...

Don't be intimidated to try this recipe - it is well worth it and quite easy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Who Changed You?

Friendship is complicated. We have friends from childhood, friends from college.  We have "mom" friends, "work" friends and "family" friends.  Friends, friends, friends.  They are everywhere.

If we are lucky we have a few close friends we can really rely on.  Friends who love us like family and we love them that way in return.  Friends who "get" us.

I have friends who get me.  This is a miracle because I don't even get myself.

At the ripe old age of 19 I met Hubby.  I was naive.  Mature, but still so naive. We were in love, crazy love.  After about three months of "no matter how much I see you it is NEVER enough" dating, we were engaged.  I then went to a surprise party (that was not a surprise), and I met his friends.

That was the night I met Krista.

We didn't really talk that night.  At the time we had nothing in common other than knowing Hubby.

She is tall (5'10"), and I am quite small (5'3").  We look nothing alike.  She is a bit more reserved than I am (most people are).  She was "country," I was pure "suburbia."  At the time, she was a better person than I was.  I say that with confidence.

Our childhoods could not have been more different.
But then we became Mommies.

And against all odds, we somehow forged a bond so tight she is now bound to me forever (Lord help her).

I'm amazed at how Krista is my family, yet in high school she would have been a mere "Hello."

And now our families mesh together for weekends and vacations.  We have more memories than my memory can retain (which unfortunately isn't much).  The Hubbies complain we shop too much and they golf too little.  We ignore them.  We squeeze our families into eachother's houses and let our kids run wild for the duration of the visit.

We have meshed so well that she is no longer "country" and I am no longer "suburbia."  We are "counburbia".  Whatever that means.

More than anything Krista changed me for the better.  On one vacation in Florida I decided it was time to cut my hair pixie style.  This decision came to an abrupt halt as the hairdresser was knee deep in my once long locks.  Sick to my stomach (literally), I chanted, "I look like a man, I look like a man..." in a state of hair withdrawal shock.  

Krista drove me to Walmart.  There, she calmly told me clips would make my semi-pixie style cute.  We picked some out and I started to breathe again.

Then she got in the chair at the Walmart Salon and chopped her hair off too.  "It's JUST grows back!"  She kept telling me.

And it did.  It was a valuable lesson about vanity.  

The first time she mailed me photos (we live a few hours apart) she wrote "Photos, please do not bend. Thanks!" on the envelope.

I never once thanked a mailman on an envelope for not bending my photos.  Never. Today, every piece of mail I send that needs to be preserved, I thank the mailman for doing so in advance on the envelope.

The miraculous part of growing older is opening yourself up to change.  The miraculous part of being a Mommy is yearning to constantly change for the better.

I have a few friends who "get" me.  I am blessed enough to have a few friends who also changed me.  I can count them on one hand.  They know who they are, and I thank them for my personal evolution.

Krista is one of those few.  She changed me for the better.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I had this story tucked away in my sidebar for weeks, but decided I needed the space for more "decor" for the blog.  Since this story is a keeper, I am posting it.  It will then be filed away in my "family life" category to the right.

Let me tell you about George.

George was in LLG's (Lunatic Little Guy's) preschool class. George had a mohawk.

The real deal mohawk.

He followed LLG around and bothered him. Apparently, he bothered him quite a bit.

Every Tuesday I take LLG to McDonalds for Kids Night. Happy Meals are $1.99. We drop the Gymnastics Queen off at practice and head over to McDonalds for some quality time. Just me, LLG and the Moopa.

A few Tuesdays ago, I noticed LLG peering over the booth. I looked over and saw who I thought was George with his grandparents.

"Why don't you go say hello? Isn't that George from preschool?"

LLG crouched down low. "OH NO! It is George! How did he find me here?!?!"

I laughed for the next hour.

Update: Tonight we ran into George again at McDonalds. Apparently his mother is also a sucker for $1.99 Happy Meals. Naturally, LLG did what any four year old would do in the face of danger. See below.

Read on here....George Saga Continues

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Just Me

Tonight it's just me. 

Hubby will be late and the day has come to an end. 

My lovely sister so graciously offered her "free babysitting" services three nights this week...making my life that much easier (she has NO idea!).  I was able to go to gymnastics in peace on Tuesday, followed by another Back to School Night (when you have 4 munchkins you undoubtedly will have more than one), then to work on Wednesday, and gymnastics again tonight.  Without her help this week may have been impossible.  Muah Auntie B.

I broke down and bought Auntie B a gift card to thank her.  Hope she has a tall stack at IHOP to celebrate an at least a four day stretch of peace (meaning no calls from me asking for her help).

And now the munchkins are fast asleep.  I have two chick flicks burning a hole through my kitchen counter, and ice cream screaming from the freezer.  The air outside it JUST warm enough that I don't need Hubby to warm my side.

To top off this wonderfulness, tomorrow is Friday.  The best day of the week.  Friday means anticipation.  Saturday and Sunday are looming.

Friday means pizza day at school.  Which translates to no making lunches.

It means bedtime is later, and a weekend with the Hubby.

Friday means football is coming.   I watch my Sports Fanatic live his dream on Sundays and then I settle in to good food, family, and lots of NFL.

Friday makes me feel just a tad bit wild.  Like I want to throw laundry to the wind, let the cleaning go, and go to Target.  I'm so bad.

This friday means even more because friends so close they are family are visiting.  Which means laughs so intense my stomach will hurt, and no sound will come out.

But for tonight, its just me.  Me, the ice cream, my chick flicks, and the blog.  And tomorrow, I wake up to a Friday.

It's a beautiful thing.

Little Entrepreneurs: Newspaper for Sale

When my Sports Fanatic was around four I tried giving him an allowance. He had to make his bed and put away his laundry. It lasted all of one week.  The allowance part anyway.  The rest he still does.

I used to have "Mommy Guilt" about the lack of allowances.  An allowance is like a right of passage.  But over the years, as our family grew, the guilt disappeared (along with half my sanity).  There is too much that needs to get done on a daily basis.  Even more pressing, there are too many munchkins to hand out money every Friday.  The wallet couldn't take it.  It would implode.

Thus, I slowly arrived at my current stance.  I provided you with a bed.  You make it.  If you have laundry, that means you are blessed enough to have clothes.  You put them away.  You will receive much praise for completing these tasks, but not money.  This household is about teamwork, we all have to pitch in.  Even the dog. She is blessed enough to have a yard, she MUST poop in the back.  And she knows it.

Consequently, money has become quite exciting for my kids.  They truly appreciate money on their birthdays or $5 from grandma in the mail.  Their wallets are busting open at the seams with small bills.  When my kids see money their eyes light up like jack-o-lanterns on Halloween Night.

Mine do too by the way.

The munchkins only receive "big" items from Santa, the Easter Bunny or for their birthdays.  That's how the cookie crumbles in our house.  Although I have always made it clear they are welcome to save their money and buy whatever they desire (within reason, of course).  As a result,  my Sports Fanatic knew he needed to find a way to save more money.  Being "allowance-less" forced him to get creative.
Every Sunday we visit my mom and dad.  One Sunday a few years ago, my Sports Fanatic began charging for things.  His first scheme was to carry around a wooden box that he so eloquently wrote, "Pay Here" on.  He carried it around and told us all to "pay here".  While no one knew what they were paying for, it was quite amusing.  He made over $10 that day.  My little entrepreneur was born.

Last year, my Sports Fanatic upped his game.  He began his own sports newspaper, and he is still in business.  We all buy it on Sunday mornings during football season.  He charges $1.00 for each copy.  Most of his articles revolve around NFL games, picking who will win and who will lose.  He adds in other news from school, and his own football team.  Once the weather and a crossword are in place, he goes to press.

Once I realized this paper was ongoing, I explained to him that people buy a newspaper because they want "information", and we started searching online for sports stats and reading through his sports magazines.  He sits at the computer one or two nights each week and types his articles.  When he's finished they go to the editor (me), and finally his publisher (my brother, Uncle T).  Uncle T makes it into an official newspaper on his computer.  Sports Fanatic made over $65.00 last winter entertaining us all with what was news in his world.  And his "newspaper business" has instilled a tremendous work ethic in him.

Sometimes, since we have a big family, I feel like the munchkins miss out.  We have to be economical, and going anywhere as a family requires a lot of patience and energy.  An outing to play mini golf is a special treat.  So is buying a pack of gum. 

But then I realized that they aren't missing out, they are gaining perspective.

Life offers us so many opportunities to teach our kids.  And they will adapt and find their way when need be.  We all should be so determined.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner: Easy French Toast

LLG loves french toast sticks.  I make them from scratch because my arteries hardened just reading the nutritional information off the box at the grocery store.  The recipe below has the healthy substitutions in parenthesis.  The pictures are of the healthy version, which is how I make them for the munchkins.

As with 95% of my recipes, they are easy and quick enough for me to make for LLG's lunch (as I did today).   And while I watched LLG feast on his delectable french toast sticks (he prefers them as sticks), I decided to share this as a "Breakfast for Dinner" recipe.  Thursdays used to be our night for pancakes, eggs and sausage.  By Thursday the groceries were always running low.  But with the end of the school year last June came the end of any type of schedule.  Now its time to get back on the horse.  Hence, my recipe for french toast.

No need for cereal, fast food or pizza....this recipe takes only 5 minutes to prepare and 5 minutes to cook.  As if easy and delicious wasn't enough, your house will smell like a bakery on Saturday morning. 

This recipe yields 3 pieces of french toast, which is all I need when making them for LLG.  Of course that won't cut it for dinner, you'll need to double or triple the recipe.  Hubby would for sure give me the hairy eyeball if I served him 1/2 slice of french toast for dinner.  The munchkins would too.

Easy French Toast

2 large eggs (1 egg, 2 egg whites)
Splash Whole Milk, about 1/4 cup (1% milk)
2 drops vanilla extract
Sprinkle cinnamon
3 Slices Bread** (whole wheat)
Oil as desired to cook (canola)
Powdered Sugar

**To really wow a crowd use Texas Toast Bread, Challah Bread or Cinnamon Raisin Bread**

When serving for dinner, add fresh strawberries and eggs, sausage or bacon.

Heat pan on medium to low heat, add oil.

Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in shallow bowl.

Whip with fork until well combined.

Place bread in egg mixture, flip, and let it soak.  Think of the bread like a sponge, let it sit and really absorb mixture.  Nothing worse than egg coated bread being passed off as french toast.

Lift bread gently with fork or spatula.  Bread will fall apart easily, handle with care.  Hold over bowl and let extra mixture drip down.  Place bread in pan and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Listen carefully.  *Sizzle*.  Ah, heaven. 

Cook until bread is golden and edges are lightly browned, flip.  Fry 3-4 minutes. While frying, take in the aroma.  Fry baby fry....

Make certain bread cooks through.  You may need to cover and cook an extra minute.  Bread will plump up when done.

Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar, and for hungry munchkins, slice into sticks.  If you really want to get crafty, make a french toast stick tower Jenga Style.  I wasn't too crafty this afternoon.

Serve to awaiting hungry munchkin.  Pray he leaves just a little for you to enjoy...since every mom knows table scrap calories don't count....

Booyah!  Scraps!  Come to Mama!

Share a comment if you try this recipe, and let me know how you like it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Lesson from 2nd Grade

I spent my evening updating my blog design.  Thursday is the 1st day of fall, and we are big on decorating in our house.  I couldn't treat my blog any differently. Hope you like it! 

Now, for my Lesson from 2nd Grade....

Last Tuesday I had Back to School Night.  Aside from all the other commitments that evening (read "who's YOUR Clone? for that story), I refused to miss it.  I insist on being an active and involved Mom.  I want teachers to see my face, and to know I am there for my kids.

As I hopped from the kindergarten class to my daughter's 2nd grade class, I was more concerned with signing up for conferences and filling out forms than anything else.  I have sat through many Back to School nights; I know about the folders and the lunch menus.  I know the kids need sneakers for P.E. days.

But as I sat in room 6, half listening to the teacher and looking around the classroom, something above the door caught my eye.  It read,

"Being Nice Matters"

The teacher had handwritten this sign and laminated it.  And of everything in that classroom, that is what I remember.  The bright yellow, handwritten, laminated "Being Nice Matters" sign.

In life, as we get older, manners and kindness sometimes inadvertently lose out to stress and frustration.  We are hurried, rushed, busy and we get annoyed.  We are pulled in many different directions. 

What if we all took that lesson, from the sign above the door in Room 6?  The world would be a much better place.  Did you ever notice how if you approach someone with kindness, they are kind in return?  And if they aren't, they aren't worth your trouble anyhow. 

In our house we reprimand for bad manners; the kids have to make their beds.  They are not allowed to jump on furniture or eat anywhere except the kitchen table.  But there is no greater offense under our roof than cruelty.  If I catch the munchkins intentionally being cruel to each other, they regret it IMMEDIATELY.  The hairy eyeball comes out and they know I mean business.  There are serious consequences for being nasty. 

We are a family, and you will be kind.  You may be angry, but that does not give you the right to be mean.  If nothing else, I aim to send four good hearted, kind people out into this world.  We all know the world could use it.

Be nice today. Be nice everyday. It matters.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Best Friends Forever

"Mom, what's a BFF?"

"It means best friends forever."

The Gymnastics Queen looked at LLG.  "We're BFF!"  And they certainly are.

They have, for as long as I can remember, been "BFF".  They have always shared a special bond.
After LLG was born, The Gymnastics Queen took to her new little brother like a moth to a flame.  She mothered him, entertained him, guided him and made him play the games she wanted to play.  He obliged.  He still does.
We refer to them as "the little guys".  Their whole lives they've been dragged all over to their big brother's  football, baseball and soccer games.  They've sat through his awards ceremonies and orientations.
At home they play together for hours.  They watch television and sit in the same chair.  I can't imagine sitting this close to anyone when a couch is three feet away.  They choose to.
They sit next to each other on the bus to school.  They share secrets, stories and the "middle child" syndrome.   They make each other laugh.  Where one is the other is.  They are a package deal.  A team.  "BFF".

They fight.  Every ten minutes something is "unfair".  I ignore it completely.

They support each other.  I can not do for one without doing for the other.  They are "my little guys".
One of the most wonderful blessings of a family is siblings.  They know who you are.  They pull for you when times are tough.  They celebrate with you when life is good. They drive you crazy and keep you sane.  It's a complicated relationship.  Beautifully complicated. 

LLG and the Gymnastics Queen are best friends forever.  I have the honor of witnessing them grow up together.  I have duty to guide them as they discover more about life.  Being a "Mama" has brought nothing but magic to my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.