Monday, March 21, 2016

When in Doubt, Go for the Tortillas & Cheese

Life is Good: dinner was easy

I've discovered that with three kids, including a baby-slash-toddler, that "winging it" for dinner is a terrible, hideous idea. On my best days, I prep dinner at breakfast time. I've also discovered that my crock pot is my best friend.

Last year (maybe? I don't know...2015 is a blur), I discovered a yummy recipe that I lovingly refer to as Burrito Bowls. It's pretty quick to cook up after the first time (I think that is the way with all recipes) and everyone in the family likes it. You can substitute rice for quinoa and it is still yummy and you can leave out the chicken if you like, too. Click on the link and try it out! One of these days I will have to check out the whole blog. You know, in approximately 17 years, when I have time for myself. ; )

We're a bit googoogaga for Mexican food around here, so my "oh, no! how did I forget to plan dinner?!" go to is: tortillas and cheese. I always have tortillas and shredded cheese ready in the fridge. They sit there, happily, waiting for me to open the door. And then, they quickly become quesadillas, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and even Mexican lasagna once in a while. Stick them on a fiestaware plate with a little Restaurant-Style salsa from Target and your family just might leave you a tip after dinner!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Reason to Vote Democrat

Life is Good: we find humor in politics

Nuggets from our 4-year old at dinner last night:

"I want to vote for the Democrats. Because they're like the Wild Kratts!"

"And I'm going to be the 16th president. So I can drive!"

Friday, March 18, 2016

Good Reads

Life is Good: and so are these quotes!

I happened upon this post and am crazy about these wise words!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to Draw on Dishes & Mugs

Life is Good: and colorful

I've been having a lot of fun visiting the Big Kid's class the past several weeks. His school has a carnival and silent auction coming up, so I offered to do a class art project to use as an auction item.

I bought a white platter from Pier 1 and some oil-based Sharpie markers from Michael's. After lots of research online, I determined that the best way to make the drawing permanent (fingers crossed) was to use oil-based markers and then, after placing the finished item into a cold oven, baking the item at 250 degrees for four hours. After four hours, you leave the item in the oven until the oven cools completely. It's basically a day's time to complete this part of things.

My idea for the platter was to draw a tree and then let each child draw a bird on the tree. I figured that a bird was simple enough for everyone. I drew the tree as an outline and told the kids to keep their birds as outlines, too. I felt like coloring in the birds might lead to smears or other mistakes that could not be fixed and might cause kids to get upset.

After I drew the tree outline, I baked it as described above. Then, I applied pieces of painter's tape on the platter leaving spaces in between. I did this in hopes of keeping all of the birds uniform in size and preventing kids from smearing or drawing over each other's work. (And it seemed to work well!)

I bought a red, blue, yellow, light blue, and orange marker. I let the kids pick what color they wanted. My only rule was that they could not use the color that had just been used (to keep things colorful).

After the spaces in between the tape had been used, I had kids draw where I pulled off the tape. Again, they could use any color but the colors beside their space. This didn't cause any problems and everyone was happy with their color. I brought a piece of paper with some bird sketches in case kids wanted to see some examples. Then, before they drew on the platter, I asked them to practice drawing their bird at least once in a space the same size as they would have on the platter. (Preparation is always key no matter what you do! This is my mantra!)

I had to go to school a few times for a couple of hours at a time to get all of the drawings done. It was fun to get to spend a little time with each child and witness their process. Some drew slowly and with intention, some took time to think about their drawing, but then drew it fairly quickly. One child drew his in seconds! (But it looks great!) After I got all of the birds drawn, I baked the platter again.

The final step in this process was getting kids to sign the back of the platter. I visited the class to read, "The Snail and The Whale" and then had them all write their names. I will go back later this week to read (maybe "The Popcorn Book"?) and get the last two names of kids who were absent. After I bake the platter once more, it will be time to give it to the silent auction committee and hope that a bunch of parents fight over ($$$) who gets to take it home!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thoughts on Forgiveness and Lent

Life is Good: I'm still learning

Two years ago, I took a vacation from social media and spent Lent in deep thought and reflection about Forgiveness. Forgiving has always been a topic of on-going study for me. I seem to be able to forgive everyone but myself. In fact, one of our family's mantras is "Everybody makes mistakes sometimes." And I believe that. Whole-heartedly. And I want for our children to grow up believing this in their hearts and if they do, hopefully, they will forgive easily---themselves as much as others. Sometimes those mistakes are unplanned and sometimes they are completely intentional. But because of my faith, I forgive. It's easy to forgive when you aren't perfect yourself! It's a funny, thing, though, because I think not being able to forgive myself has a lot to do with being a "recovering perfectionist". And when I say that, I'm speaking about recovering from my pursuit and expectation of perfection, not actually ever being perfect.

I also think my inability to forgive myself easily has to do with how deeply I feel things. I think our strengths are often our weaknesses, too, and while I am able to use my sensitivity to support and empathize with others, I also seem to let it flood me with guilt and pain when I make the eensiest of mistakes. I hold myself to a standard that I would never use to measure anyone else in my life. Gosh, I am still kicking myself for not taking a meal over to an acquaintance when her dad died several years ago. It happened to be a rough time for me and I just wasn't able to do it. But I still think of it and feel guilty! I feel guilty for big and small things---for not volunteering to be room mother this year because I had a new house to unpack and a baby to keep me running all over the place. Good reasons, right? But when I get an email from the class room mothers about an upcoming party, I hang my head in shame! I feel guilty for removing people from my life who weren't kind to me or good for me or there for me when I needed them. I feel guilty for not doing things, for not doing things sooner, for not doing something first or last or twelfth. Yes, it is sometimes comical and ridiculous. Other times, it's completely warranted because I have really messed up! And of course, this is a totally abbreviated version of my nuttiness.

As I continue to work on this "issue" of mine (in an effort for me to have less inner struggle but also, so that I can be a good example for my family),  I try to remind myself that when I can't forgive myself, I'm getting in God's way and not allowing Him to be in control; I'm not allowing myself to receive the forgiveness that my faith is based upon and therefore, I'm not fully living out my faith. When I am mindful of this, it works. But when my mind is muddied with guilt and to-do lists and the noise of everyday life, it doesn't. I'm a work in progress. Sigh.

In my time spent this Lent pondering Forgiveness, I discovered a sweet little devotion about this subject entitled "Remodeling 101". My favorite part of the piece is, "God is the One who heals. Forgiveness puts us in the correct posture for Him to do so.  Don’t wait another minute to deal with the issue of forgiveness in your life." (Mary Southerland) I also really like this nugget of truth from Southerland, too, "True forgiveness is a choice – a deliberate choice to release the person who has hurt us from the pain they have caused. We can stop forgiving others when God stops forgiving us." (Forgiveness = freedom = love!)

In this time of pondering Jesus' last days on this Earth and His gift of Forgiveness to us, I'm trying my best to remember that I deserve the same forgiveness that I give to others. That I am a child of God and that He wants for me to let go of the (control) guilt.

Admittedly, there is nothing profound here. But if you have trouble forgiving yourself or someone else, I urge you to read the post I referenced above. I found it to be succinct, well-written and thought-provoking.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How to keep your 4-year old pleasant

Life is Good: when you have a bunch of tape 

When your four-year old NEEDS a boat, I mean, MUST HAVE a boat right now in order to survive, in order for the world not to cease, in order for life, as we know it, to continue on it's peaceful, cheery way, you grab a cardboard box from the garage, paper towel rolls from the recycling, some paper from the craft bin, your MacGuyver's mom cape from the closet, and, with a whole lotta tape, you make a boat.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Play-doh Still Rules!

Life is Good: and silly

I am crazy about this crazy kid!
(Play-doh still rules!)