Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday's Food: Mini Pizza's

This was my FAVORITE as a kid!!!

Ingredients:
- Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits (in the tube that *pops* and scares you when you open it)
- 8 oz. can tomato sauce (or ready pizza sauce or plain spaghetti sauce)
- Dried spices (oregano, garlic powder, basil, or italian seasoning mix)
- Grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, etc.)
- Toppings of your choice
(ex: pepperoni, sliced black olives, pineapple chunks, lunch meat ham cut in small squares, green pepper strips, etc.)

Directions:
1.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.   
2.  Have children help roll out individual biscuits, with their hands, rolling pin, or a plastic cup, then place individual pizzas on the cookie sheet
3.  Spoon tomato sauce (or other sauce) on each circle of biscuit dough
4.  If using plain tomato sauce, sprinkle spices on top.  (With young children, you'll want to do this part)
5.  Let kids top their own  pizza.  They can make faces, designs, flowers, etc. with their toppings if they want to.
6.  Bake in oven according to regular biscuit directions on package

This isn't a world famous tasty pizza recipe, but because kids can make it themselves and it's tiny just like them, they'll think it is amazing and will beg for more.

***Variations: use homemade biscuit dough, and divide into small balls for them to work with, or use english muffins. 

***Tip: line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then lightly grease it.  Makes for a super easy clean up after it bakes, especially if kids get messy with their ingredients.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday's Thing to Do: What's Different?

This is a great game that doesn't take too much energy for mom, but is super fun for kids. It is also an INDOOR game, which is handy since it's wet and cold in many places right now.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT?
How you play:
1.  Stand in front of your child or children dressed in something extra (a hat, necklace, or holding something random) Give your child a moment to study you.
2.  Leave the room and change something about your appearance.
3.  Come back in the room and have them figure out what is different.
4.  Take turns. 
* If you have more than one child, it could be played that the quickest to guess gets to be "it" next, or you could just take turns so everyone has the same number of turns.
* This game works great for nearly every age.  With young children, keep it more obvious, with older children, it can be something specific, a sleeve that's rolled up, or a shoe lace that is tied strange, etc.

Developmentally, this game helps children increase their attention span, pay attention to detail, and when they have a turn, gives them a chance to "be in charge" and lead the play time which is important in their development of self confidence and being able to take initiative.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Word:

The past is behind: Learn from it.
The future is ahead: Prepare for it.
The present is here: Live in it!
~Thomas S. Monson

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday's Mail: CRIBS & MATTRESSES

A mother sent me an email asking about cribs and mattresses and would like your feedback.  Here are her questions:

"I need to buy a crib & mattress for my baby that's coming soon.  Seems simple enough, right?  Well, I once heard something to do about mattresses and risk of SIDS, so I'm just wondering if anyone knows of any type of mattress that may pose a problem or one that is especially good (but reasonably priced).  Or, can I just dismiss the concern altogether and buy the least expensive mattress out there?  Just wondering what you other moms have heard/may know.
Also, does anyone have a crib that you just love and would recommend?  The one I used with my first had a way you could adjust the height of the mattress, so when he was a newborn and there was no risk of him climbing or rolling out, I could leave it high so I didn't have to bend so far over the railing to lay him down.  Then we just lowered it as he got older.  I really liked that feature, but have not really noticed it on newer models."

*As you answer her questions, please leave a comment or email me so I can post your answers.
*Do you have any questions of your own that you'd like to have other mom's answer?  If so, let me know and I'll include it soon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday's Food: Zucchini Oven Chips

I didn't take this beautiful picture...it's from myrecipes.com
Ingredients
  • 1/4  cup  dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4  teaspoon  seasoned salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  garlic powder
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  fat-free milk
  • 2 1/2  cups  (1/4-inch-thick) slices zucchini (about 2 small)
  • Cooking spray
Preparation
Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place milk in a shallow bowl. Dip zucchini slices in milk, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place coated slices on an ovenproof wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve immediately.
~Recipe from www.myrecipes.com

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursdays Thing to Do: Fingerprint Art

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Paper
Ink pad
Markers, Pencils, Crayons, etc.

HERE'S HOW
1.  Roll your finger or thumb over the ink pad.
2.  Make a print by firmly pressing the inked finger or thumb against the paper. Use different fingers to make prints of various sizes.
3.  Wash your hands and allow the prints to dry for a few minutes. Then draw faces and other details on the prints.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday's Wonder: The Miracle of Adoption

I am a huge advocate for adoption...and have a lot to say about it!!!!  My father and his brother were adopted when they were  two and three years old, I have a great friend who was adopted as a teenager after being in foster care for most of her life.  I have a dear friend who's adopted two of her children as infants, my cousin is adopting two children from Haiti, my husband also has many family experiences with adoption, I could go on and on... and it's simply beautiful.  We have friends that are currently hoping to adopt (notice their button on the blog and check it out!  They are incredible people and will be fabulous parents!!!!  Pass on their info.) and we are also in the process of approval for being adoptive parents.  I also have a dear friend who chose to place her baby for adoption...and it's been incredible to see the journey from her side of the story as well. 

Every child is a treasure, every adoption situation is unique, every birthmother has her own story and reasons, every adoptive parent has their own journey in the process of becoming parents...and every story is a miracle!!!

With that in mind, I'd like to share a couple of great places to learn more.  Both of these sites are helpful for birthmothers, birthfathers, and potential adoptive parents as well as family members of all involved.  I hope these resources will be helpful if you or someone you know is considering adoption.

ASK A BIRTHMOM:
http://www.therhouse.blogspot.com/search/label/ask%20a%20birth%20mom

LDS FAMILY SERVICES ADOPTION WEBSITE:
https://www.itsaboutlove.org/ial/ct/eng/site/adopting-families/

Adoption isn't something that will be a part of every family, but it is a part of most families in some way, and learning more about it helps everyone understand THE MIRACLE.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesdays Tip & Tidbit: Reading...for YOU

Lately, I've been thinking about my own marvelous mother and what she did while I was growing up.  I remember her doing laundry, dishes, driving us all over, having us clean doorknobs and mow the lawn, crying with me when I messed up at a tryout that I'd work so hard to be ready for....but I also remember her always READING!!!  She took us to the library regulary (I even remember a time when we were at the libray, and I thought I was old enough to go in the elevator on my own, and I got stuck and cried for about a half hour...but that's another story for another day...)  I remember her love of books and though I never have enjoyed the same type of books that she enjoys, I use to read a lot!  However, since becoming a mom, I don't have time!  I never read!...I take that back...I've read five books since becoming a mother. (Not including scripture reading.)  The first was a manuscript a friend of mine wrote, so I began to read it as a favor...however, once I began, I devoured it and couldn't put it down.  Every time my son napped, I read.  Then I read two other non-novel type books that were easy to put down and pick up again months later because I wasn't having to remember a plot.  I also read two other books that a single friend of mine highly suggested, encouraged and prodded me to read.  I gave in but felt guilty starting to read a book.  I mean, I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO THAT NEVER GETS DONE ANYWAY!  How could I take time to sit and read?!!!  The interesting thing is that while I read each book, I felt more calm in general.  I was more patient with my son, sometimes he'd sit by me and "read" his own book or play with his cars, I was happy, somehow got the dishes washed faster so I could get back to reading, and when all the laundry wasn't done, our home didn't fall apart.  (Let's be honest, even when I'm not reading a book, it still didn't get done...so what's the difference anyway.)  

Now I know that everyone has different family dynamics, and maybe reading is something you've never enjoyed anyway.  But I'm still going to push reading as personal time for several reasons.  First, as you read, the world opens to you and you're not feeling like life is stagnant.  It can be a great way to relax, and rejuvenate.  Second, as your children see you read, their love and desire to read will grow (this is true...I really learned it in school and there are about two zillion studies done on it.  Your example of reading will help them in school!) 

So here are a few ideas of how to find that impossible reading time:
* If you have a baby, don't be afraid to take one nap time to read until you also fall asleep, or until the baby wakes up. 
* If you have older children, find a book that you might enjoy reading outloud to them as they listen.  (Did you have any favorites from when you were their age that you'd like to read again?) 
* You can have reading time while everyone else quietly reads or colors their own book. 
* If your children have movie time, why not take part of it for reading time for yourself. 
* Maybe after getting the kids to bed, read for a few minutes to settle down instead of rushing around cleaning up Cheerios and cracker crumbs. 
* I even recently heard of a mother who would tell her husband it was time to do laundry...and they both knew it meant she was going in the laundry room to calm down and spend some reading time. She had a chair and book in there ready for those needed times.
* Choose one book to read a month, or before a certain holiday...set a goal
* Have a book in the car that's ready for reading when you're waiting at the bus stop to pick your kids up...after all, half the time the bus is late anyway

Each family has it's own needs and is different.  Years will pass, kids will grow, and things will change.  There will be a time when you'll have hours of time to read...so don't wish away these busy times.  At the same time, remember balance....reading books constantly and neglecting your children isn't good.  But, it's also not good to never read.  Don't feel guilty to take a little time to read.  It's good for you.  And it's good for your children's development to see you reading.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mondays MOMents

For those of you who follow every day...sorry for the gap in time.  I went on vacation and after I was gone realized I hadn't posted enough days to make it through our whole trip.  Oh well.  I figure there are worse things and I'll be forgiven. I hope you all had a great weekend too!

This MOMent is especially wonderful for those of us who speak Spanish.  If you don't, I hope you still enjoy it just as much as I did.

My husband and Emma were praying the other day. Emma repeats words that we say right now. They're just simple words right now. Oh, and she prays in spanish. So this is what happened:
Dad: Papi
Emma: Papi
Dad: Gracias
Emma: Gracias
Dad: Mami
Emma: Mami
Dad: Papi
Emma: Papi
Dad: Salud
Emma: (she thinks for a moment...) Acho!
We sure love our little bundle of joy. She really does listen :)
~Annie, mother of one

*Note: Salud means Health.  In Spanish, when someone sneezes, you say "Salud" instead of "Bless You".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday's Thing to Do: Home-Made Silly Putty

Mix together:
1 C. Cornstarch
1 C. Salt
1 C. Flour

Add 1/2 C. water, then mix until right consistency.  (It may take more than 1/2 cup).  It's easiest and messiest to mix with little hands!  This can be stored in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator

Honestly, I haven't done this one, but came across it in my Kid Recipes and will also be trying it this week.  No matter what the final outcome is, the kids will love messy hands and feeling new textures. 

Have fun!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday's Word

"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted."
~Garrison Keillor

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday's Tip: Prints

Doctors, parents, teachers, & grandparents all like to do different projects...whether for practical safety purposes or for fun craft projects... that involve hand, finger, or foot prints.  Before the ink, remember lotion.  Even the most washable baby ink pads will usually leave some ink on the skin. 
If lotion was applied to the skin and rubbed in first, it helps the ink wash off MUCH EASIER!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday's Mailbox: The Survey Results

Life As Mom Survey--Here's what you said:

1. How many children do you have at home?
   1- 30.4%
   2- 39.1%
   3- 17.4%
   4- 8.7%
   5+ 4.3%

2.  What do you enjoy most about this blog? 
(I know the percentages here don't add up to 100.  You could answer more than one.)
   Monday MOMents- 33.3%
   Tuesdays Tips & Tidbits- 28.6%
   Wednesday's Words & Wonders- 19%
   Thursday Things to Do- 76%
   Friday Favorites-  23.8%

3.  How often do you check this blog?
   1/week- 30.4%
   2/week- 17.4%
   3/week- 8.7%
   4-7/week- 26.1%
   All the time...- 17.4%
   Uh...what blog? 0%  (phew, I'd be worried if anyone selected this one!)

4.  This best describes how I feel about being a mom:
   I LOVE it EVERY day!- 13.0%
   I love it most of the time-  65.2%
   I am okay with being a mom- 4.3%
   I feel inadequate being a mom- 8.7%
   I am unhappy most of the time with myself or my kids- 8.7%
   Not applicable...I'm not a mother-  0%

5.  I usually get _____ hours of sleep a night
   less than 3- 0%
   4-5 hours- 26.1%
   6-8 hours- 73.9%
   9+ hours- 0%

6.  How many people are in your support system?  (this means, the people you feel comfortable to call to COME help you if you're having a hard day, are sick yourself, or didn't sleep because you were up all night with a crying baby, etc.)
   None- 13.0%
   1 or 2-  34.8%
   3 or 4- 39.1%
   5-10- 8.7%
   10+- 4.3%

7.  What limits your ability to do the things you want to do with your child/children?  (generally, not just today)
   money- 39.1%
   distance- 4.3%
   transportation- 4.3%
   health- 4.3%
   lack of help/support- 8.7%
   I don't feel like I'm limited in what I can do with my kids- 17.4%
   other- 21.7%  (I'm curious about the "other" reasons...that's a big percentage)

The other questions were:
1.  This is my favorite thing about being a mom......
2.  This is the hardest thing for me about being a mom....
3.  I'd like more posts about......

These questions that were open ended will all be talked about sooner than later in this blog.  A lot of moms said that the simple things about motherhood are their favorite things.  That's good.  Simple things happen most often!  There was a lot of frustration or distress about discipline issues and keeping our tempers under control, as well as questions about babies to teenagers.  And many of you asked for more food and activity ideas.  (that's why Friday's now include Foods, and I'm trying to give ideas of things to do with kids in more posts than just Thursday's Things to Do.) 

Every answer to these questions gave me a million ideas of things to address...and each one will be.  Though some I'll have to do more research for so it'll take a little longer.  Please keep giving me suggestions, or asking questions.... Just shoot me an email or post a comment. 

Thanks for all your help with doing this survey!  You've given me great insight in how to fit this blog to YOU!!!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday's Food: Octopus Lunch

What you'll need:
1 hotdog per child
ketchup
mustard
butter knife
boiling water

For each hotdog, hold it in your hand vertically so you can only see the end circle.  Be very careful and slice the circle like a pie, into eight sections, leave about two inches of the hotdog uncut.  This forms the long octopus legs.  Put the hotdog into boiling water.  As it cooks, the legs will curl out.  Serve with ketchup, and mustard. 


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday's Thing To Do: Movie Characters

Do your kids LOVE to watch movies?
Is there ONE movie that they have memorized (which means you do too)?

Pull out a few things, paper, crayons, scissors, etc. and make the movie characters.  Depending on the age of your child, they may need a little help, but be sure to NOT tell them HOW to make it.  Let them go for it.  It's important for children to have a chance to experiment with creativity.  Often times a child wants a "model" project to copy.  Resist the tempation to tell or show them exactly what to make.  (If you draw a flower with five petals, watch, your child will draw a flower exactly the same way as you.)  As they create on their own, and then you praise them for it, their self confidence and creative abilities will grow.  If your child is an age where you can't leave the whole thing up to them, make sure to be careful to back off whenever possible, and encourage them trying new things. 

This can also be a great time to introduce things they haven't used before: glue sticks, goopy Elmer's Glue, your scrapbooking sticky squares, glitter, stickers, pompoms, pipe cleaners, paint, brads....the possibilities are endless.

The funnest part is seeing them play with those toys over and over again.  So what if you can't afford a $29.99 Woody at WalMart, have your child make one.... He or She will love it probably more than the real doll.

Over several weeks time, my son has now made the ENTIRE cast of Finding Nemo and Wall-E.  (Yes, including Nemo's Mom and the Anemone.) He loves to reinact scenes with his handmade toys, and it also means he's happy with a little less movie time. 

Here are a few of our Nemo cast members: 
Bruce: I drew part of the tail and fin for him, then he practiced cutting along the lines the best he knew how.
Nemo: He used a gluestick all on his own for the first time to put on the white stripes that I'd pre-cut for him.  We also introduced brads for the fins.  That was a cool novelty for a little boy, now the fins can move.
Dory: Awesome fins...Joshua just went for it and got some scissor practice

So, be brave, pull out some creativity to match your child's movie obsession.  The most simple homemade toy can bring more joy than you imagined!  When it's the child who makes that toy, the self fulfillment and joy is multiplied a bazillion times. 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tuesday's Tidbit: Wanting to KICK Depression

Depression is a HUGE topic...I won't even pretend to be a know-all and solve the issue. 
    But, according to statistics, about 1/3 of you who read this will be tackling this issue at some point in your lives. 
    Some of you are dealing with it now. 
    Some of you are wondering if that's what's been wrong lately. 
    Some of you have dealt with it in the past...and that means an increased likelihood of it showing up again later (unfortunately). 
Hopefully that hasn't scared anyone, but it is a REAL issue and can suck all the joy out of motherhood.  And we all want to be happy as mothers.  The hardest part, is that if you're already dealing with depression, these things will seem out of reach and impossible.  Don't give up on yourself, and don't be afraid to talk with your husband, a trusted friend or family member, a doctor, or someone else you can trust.  They can help you.  You're not in it alone.  I PROMISE!!!
Here's a little info and a few natural remedies that may help:
- Did you know that serotonin is an essential brain chemical and needs to be replenished.  Having low levels of serotonin is very closely linked to depression.
- For most people, you need at least 6 hours of consecutive sleep to replenish your serotonin levels.  (no wonder so many new moms experience postpartum depression)
- Being out in the sun each day for 20-30 minutes can help raise serotonin levels
- Meditating, Praying, and simply relaxing has been shown to help raise serotonin levels.
- Flax seed.  It's great mixed into a smoothie and you'll think it's just the raspberry or strawberry seeds.  Can't even taste it.  Try it on a salad or in homemade bread.  It's kind of pricey, but goes a LONG way.
- Bananas
- Dark Chocolate (yes...a great excuse for buying it on a regular basis)
- Listening to soothing music

Like I said, this is only a dabble in a small amount of information.  These suggestions and ideas are not meant to override a doctor's prescription, or other methods for dealing with or avoiding depression.  Just a few helps from one mom who dealt with postpartum depression (yes, me) to my friends out there. 

Monday, October 04, 2010

Monday's MOMent

When my son was 3 and our daughter was about 2 months old, I had a busy morning and had not had a chance to shower. So I put Elizabeth in her carrier and placed her on the bathroom floor and I got toys for Josh to play with and told him to stay in the bathroom so I would know where he was. I got into the shower and as I was showering I could see and hear him playing. But soon I realized he was not in the bathroom. I got out of the shower and quickly dried off and put a robe on. I could hear voices out in the living room. One was Josh and one was an adult male. I was very worried and hurried out into the living room to find my son talking to the UPS man. Josh turned to me and there he stood with 2 tampons, one in each hand and was happily talking to the UPS man. I never could look the UPS man in the face when he came to deliver boxes to our home.
~Valarie, mother of three, grandmother of one

Friday, October 01, 2010

Friday's Food: Peanut Butter Quesadillas

Because of the survey....I've learned that several of you would like kid friendly food ideas.  I'm glad you thought of it!  What a great idea!  So, Friday's will now include Food, not only Favorites.  Our first recipe is very simple...but if you haven't tried this simple twist on two classics, you really should!

Peanut Butter Quesadillas (kind of...there's no queso)
1 tsp. butter
1 flour tortilla
2 Tbl. Peanut Butter
2 Tbl. Grape Jelly

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Spread one side of the tortilla with peanut butter.  Fold tortilla in half so that the peanut butter is on the inside.  Place folded tortilla in skillet, and heat until lightly browned on each side.  Slice into wedges, and dip in jelly to serve.
You can also serve this unfried, and spread the pb&j inside....a great alternative to bread.