Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Yesterday caught up to me today.  I awoke to the mess I failed to take care of last night.  I did the dishes, got a huge jump start on the laundry and cleaned the basement.  Apparently my children felt neglected and needed to get my attention - which they skillfully achieved.  Pumpkin Pie found my son's craft paint and decided to not only paint her shirt, but eat some in the process.  Then Sweet Pea thought she would be helpful by changing her own poopy diaper.  YUCK.  So I abandoned my basement project to give my full attention to my children.  Once they were down for naps, I kept tackling the clothes and answered a few e-mails.  Then it was time to pick my kids up from school and thus started the second half of my day - snacks, homework, supper, and the nighttime ritual.  Right now my feet are up and my eyelids are heavy.  Not much to report on, which made it a lovely, ordinary day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day

A few years ago, my two sons became interested in the U.S. presidents.  Not only were they learning their names, but also their terms, their political parties, and fun facts about each of them.  Ever since then, we have celebrated President's Day in our home.  Today, the kids made star pendants, patriotic pinwheels, red, white, & blue cupcakes, and we watched some presidential songs on YouTube.  I also took care of some kids that attend our church, so I had a total of 9 children in my home.  The crafts went well, but as the kids were working on them, Sweet Potato decided to give everyone a history lesson on the presidents, and to much of his dismay, the others did not share his enthusiasm for presidential and U.S. history.  All in all, we had a great day.  My house is in complete disaster mode - dishes stacked high, toys everywhere, I even found a broken cookie in the girls room.  But today was about enjoying each other, having fun with various activities, and just spending time together.  My favorite quote of the day was when we were coloring at the table.  I commented on how quiet it was in the house with having so many people in it.  One of our guests said, "everyone must be content," and Little Cucumber said, "I have a tent and it's awesome!"  Even with 9 children, everyone played well together.  There were even some tears as we had to say goodbye to our guests.  Tonight, I am exhausted and probably won't tackle the mess until tomorrow.  So for now I will put my feet up, have a cup of tea, and enjoy the sweet memories of today .

Friday, February 18, 2011

Time to Make Some Changes

In having 6 children in 7 years, I have let myself go - physically.  I've never been an extremely thin person, but I've done pretty well at managing my weight.  With my first few pregnancies, the weight dropped off almost effortlessly.  The last 3 pregnancies, the weight has lingered and just added on from one to the next.  As I approach 40, I know I need to make some changes.  2011 is a big year for our family.  On May 1st, Sweet Potato will be celebrating his First Communion.  On May 12th, Monkey Toes and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  In August, I'll be having my 20 year class reunion.  We also plan on traveling out west for a family reunion.  I have a friend who is strongly encouraging me to sign up for a 5K.  I'm not sure about that one yet, but none the less, I know I need to start taking better care of myself.  Today I have started a healthy eating plan.  I hesitate to call it a diet, because I don't want it to be short-term, but rather a chance to make long lasting changes in how I eat.  It actually is common sense - increase my consumption of green, leafy vegetables and lean proteins, eat more whole grains, cut back on my sugar in-take.  My mom is going to do this with me, so it will be great to have the support of someone else.  My goal is to lose weight, of course, but also to gain some energy and simply feel great.  I'll keep my progress posted.  Here's to a fantastic 2011, with a happier, healthier outlook.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Today was Valentine's Day and a fun day at that!  It didn't play out exactly as I had planned, but it was still a great day.  This morning, the 3 youngest and I spent hour(s) cutting, gluing, coloring and stickering (yes it is a word in my vocabulary) Valentine creations.  I made each child a special card - even the little neighbor girl, and of course, one for Monkey Toes.  For supper I made a big pan of lasagna and for dessert. . .individual espresso cakes.  O.k. they weren't exactly as the recipe explained, but I had to work with what I had, so they were actually yellow cupcakes with chocolate espresso frosting.  YUM!  I presented the cards I had made, accompanied with a poem for each.  "Roses are red, violets are blue, Little Cuke is a clown, and I love you!"  You get the gist.  After the kids went to bed, I dipped graham crackers in the espresso frosting.  Total indulgence.  I was hoping to maybe watch a movie with Monkey Toes, either Fire Proof or French Kiss (two of my favorites), but Monkey Toes fell asleep, due to not sleeping the night before, so here I sit at my computer. 

As I reflect on the day, there was a lot of laughter and really good quality time spent with the kids.  I don't always take advantage of that.  There is always a task that could be done and often wins over my attention, but today, we played, sang, danced, created, tickled and shared lots of hugs and kisses.  Today was the kind of day I hope my kids remember later in life.  I know I'll treasure it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

If I Had a Million Dollars. . .

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you became a millionaire?  Monkey Toes and I have discussed this a number of times.  What would life be like if we had all the money we needed and more?  I'm thinking about this now because one of my favorite radio stations is having a pledge drive and needs to raise $400,000 more to meet their goal.  As I was driving home and listening to them, I wished I had money to donate.  If I ever came upon a bunch of money, I've always thought I would donate much of it.  I would love to give a bundle to my church, to my Alma Mater, Birthright, and Catholic Charities.  I would generously give to my children's school and other local charities.  However, seeing as we are far from wealthy, I can only give what I can and when possible.  This reality emphasises my responsibility to give in other ways - mostly of my time and talent when called upon.  It may not be much, but I believe every bit helps.  And if I remember to offer up to God all I do, then hopefully it honors Him as well.  So as long as I count my blessings (my faith, my husband, kids, and family, a roof over our heads, food to eat, valued friendships) I am wealthy beyond measure. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Little Secrets

With all of the cold weather we've been experiencing, I have been craving comfort foods.  The problem is that I have some kids who turn their noses up at what I cook.  A few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook, "Deceptively Delicious."  In it, she teaches how to add really healthy ingredients to foods kids love, by simply pureeing them.  So I have gotten into the habit of steaming, pureeing, and freezing a variety of vegetables.  I add them to whatever we're having for dinner and as long as the kids don't watch me cook, they don't know what they're eating.  Tonight we had meatloaf (made with squash), mashed potatoes (made with cauliflower) and carrots (which didn't bother me if the kids pushed them away because of the vegetables they were eating in the other foods).  We had pumpkin pie for dessert - yummy!  My two pickiest eaters (they are total meat lovers) ate a big helping of the meatloaf and some of the potatoes.  They refused to eat the carrots - they believed they were in control as I simply smiled to myself knowing that they had actually consumed something healthy.  Pureeing is also a great way of using up leftovers.  I just pop them into my Magic Bullet (or the blender), seal it in a freezer bag, label it and toss it in the freezer.  When I need it, I thaw it in some warm water and add it to whatever I'm cooking.  Leafy greens are great in tomato based sauces. Squash, pumpkin, & carrots are tasty in baked goods and pancakes/waffles, along with pureed fruit.  Am I deceiving my kids?  Yep and I won't apologize for that.  I love them and want to see them healthy and happy.  So if you're ever over for dinner, don't ask what's in it and I won't tell.  Enjoy the deception!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Honey Bunches of Oats Turns 7

My second  born turned 7 yesterday.  Honey Bunches is my child who wears his emotions on his sleeve.  His birth was the most difficult for me and his stubborness has not subsided.  At the same time, he is also the most tenderhearted child in the family.  When he tells me he loves me I know he is sincere.  However, when he is upset with me, I also knows that he means it!

Our weekend began with preparing to go to a water park overnight, along with aunts, uncles and cousins.  Saturday was a busy morning, trying to pack everyone up.  While I worked upstairs, Monkey Toes was monitoring the basement.  At one time, Honey Bunches came upstairs and declared, "Dad has ruined my birthday!"  Apparently the boys were ordered to pick up the basement - a task Honey Bunches didn't feel he should have to do since it was his birthday weekend.  Eventually we made it to the hotel.  There were a few glitches we encountered.  Our rooms were not yet cleaned when we checked in; the hallway smelled like urine; Pumpkin Pie did not like the water at all and wound up clinging to me whenever we entered the park; I had to sleep with Sweet Pea who not only kicked me most of the night, but also fell out of the bed twice; the people staying in the rooms next to us and above us stayed up most of the night partying; and when we showed up for Mass, it was in Spanish.

Now, the highlights of the weekend.  With the exception of the baby, the kids loved the water park; my sister-in-law made a Super Bowl cake for Honey Bunches (upon his request) and his cousin; we went out to eat the following morning - 4 adults and 7 kids and all were extremely well behaved; and of course the great, quality family time spent together.  We topped our weekend off by all gathering at our house to watch the Super Bowl.  It was bittersweet to say good bye to everyone at the end of the game. It was one of those weekends that I wanted to bottle up and keep.

I loved that Honey Bunches believed that the Super Bowl was being played for his birthday, and it warmed my heart when he redeemed his original declaration by saying "this was the best birthday ever."  I love this little man whose big, brown eyes with long lashes can pierce my soul with all of his defiance, all of his honesty, and all of his love.  I love you Honey - Muah!