Grilled Peaches

July 3, 2015

grilled peaches

You’ve heard phrase necessity is the mother of invention. That is exactly what happened up in here last night. I can’t claim to have invented the idea of grilled peaches but I did come up with this delicious method off the cuff because I needed something for dinner. 

Dinner time rolled around and in the back of my head I knew all I had was chicken breasts. I had known this all day but didn’t want to drag myself and the boys to the store just for a few items. I needed something else to eat besides chicken but all I had in the fridge in the way of possible side items were peaches. Ding! Lightbulb. 

Grilled Peaches

It helps if you have a cast iron griddle for your grill. You can find these in the camping section of Target or Walmart, or in the cooking gadgets aisle where you will find cast iron skillets and dutch ovens. Side note tangent: Walmart sell a brand of dutch ovens called Lodge. They are just as heavy and quality of Le Creuset but a fraction of the cost. I love that I can have a collection of cast iron cookery without having to save up or pray that I win one of Pioneer Woman’s giveaways.

Discovering this griddle in the depths of my cabinets has changed my grilling life. Butter. On the grill. Do I need to say anything else?

 If you don’t have a cast iron griddle, don’t worry. Aluminum foil will work in a jiff. But if you do a lot of grilling you might want to seriously think about this. Here, let me help you:

grilled peaches

Back to the grilled peaches. The secret is in this magic concoction:

4 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbs. honey
juice from half a lemon

Cut two peaches in half and remove pits. 

Heat grill and add 1 Tbs butter to griddle. Place peaches cut side down in the butter. Close lid and grill for about 5 minutes.

Add another Tbs of butter to griddle. Turn peaches over and carefully spoon brown sugar mixture onto each peach. Close lid and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until peaches are slightly soft when inserted with a fork or squeezed with the grill tongs. 

If you do use a griddle, make sure to clean it off while it is still hot. Trying to get hardened brown sugar off of the surface can be a real pain.

grilled peaches

grilled peaches

grilled peaches

grilled peaches

 

Summer Fashion

June 26, 2015

Recently I discovered something amazing. Hanes men’s undershirts. This all came about a few months ago when we were visiting my parents for a weekend and I forgot my jammies. Dear Husband’s undershirt would do just fine. It was so soft and comfortable, no wonder he likes to wear them every day.

I had recently bought him new undershirts in two styles so he could decide which he liked better. Comfort fit and slim fit. He wasn’t a fan of the slim fit but I was. It was a cotton blend so it was really soft, slightly stretchy and light. All of his slim fits went into my pj drawer. But I wanted more for day time use so I headed to the mens underthings aisle at Target for a package of Hanes v-neck slim fit t-shirts. At 5 shirts for $20 I could have a sea of white shirts in my closet.

 little boys

 

I am in love with these comfy tees and have made them a part of my summer fashion uniform. Add a scarf, bracelets and a maxi skirt and you’re ready for date night. Combine the simple white tee with shorts, sandals and your favorite necklace and earrings and you’re ready to shuttle kids around town in comfort and style.

 summer fashion

summer fashion

As much as I love this white tee-shirt (that goes with everything) I need a little variety but still demand comfort. Also a part of my summer fashion uniform are soft tees with cool super cool graphics. I got this Scissortail tee shirt from Bigfoot Creative in Norman, OK. They have super hip, original designs that celebrate Oklahoma. Their online store has a limited selection but their Main St. store has so much more. If you get a chance, check them out.

summer fashion

 

Bigfoot also does custom work and helped create this design for my Oklahoma Women Bloggers sisterhood. This shirt is quickly becoming my favorite. The style is a little more feminine than a regular tee but it’s still really comfortable. I can’t wait to wear it with pride to the Arkansas Women Bloggers University (which you don’t have to be an Arkansas Blogger to attend and have an amazing time)

summer fashion

What makes up your summer fashion uniform?

 

 

A White Privileged Mom in the Suburbs

June 22, 2015

It’s happened again. A senseless act of hate, terror and racism took the lives of too many and brought our country to its knees. The bloggers have lit up the internet, the cable news outlets are spinning this way and that, the talking heads are trying to make sense of evil. But here’s the thing, you can’t make sense of evil. Evils main goal is do harm where harm should not be, to confuse us when we should know better and to shred our hearts. Evil’s goal is to separate us from rational thought and turn us against each other.

Are we going to let evil get the best of us? When evil thinks it has the upper hand the thing to do is look it in the face and challenge it. Recently in our country evil has been taking the form of racism. Are we going to continue to let racism get the best of us? Charleston has brought us to our our knees and quite frankly, on our knees, is where we should be. But not to ask God “why”? We know why. Racism is still alive in this country and many Americans turn a blind eye or pretend that it’s really not that bad or that we have come so far. Guess what…evil=hate=racism. There is no greater than or less than, racism is a product of hate is a product of evil. Or better yet, racism is a product of one group insisting they are better and more important than another which facilitates hate which is the child of evil. Don’t try to tell me that this recent act of terror was just a product of one sick, twisted mind. While his mind is most certainly sick and may be beyond repair; one isn’t born with racism, it is a learned behavior. Mental illness may be at play here but that is not an excuse. Timothy McVeigh had a sick and twisted mind but we did not excuse his act of terrorism in Oklahoma City as a result of mental illness. 

The time for asking “why” is long past. Now is the time to ask ourselves what we will do to stop this cancer that has been eating away at us for so long. I have listened to interviews and read blogs and the prevailing response seems to be to take a stand for what you know to be right. We cannot shrug our shoulders and say how sad and then go on our merry way. We must do something. But what is that something? 

What am I to do? How am I to react? What is my response? I have been asking myself what the answer to these questions are and what does this mean to me as a white privileged mom living in the suburbs. Life has been handed to me on a silver platter. I will probably never know what it means to be looked upon with hate and disgust because of my heritage. I will probably never have to fear for my life because of the color of my skin. I will probably always see the police officers in my town as a friend and not a foe. What then, as a white privileged mom in the suburbs, is my role in the Charleston response? Yes, I can pray for Charleston, the victims families and stand in solidarity with a hashtag but my response can’t stop at prayer. It is time to take a hard, hard look at ourselves, our history and the type of people we want to be. As hard as it is, we must look into the darkness that resides in our country and within our own hearts and call it out.

Responding to Charleston means teaching my children lessons that they can take with them their entire lives. Lessons that will shape how they respond to injustice in the world. Apathy towards racism and injustice can be harmful and is a slippery slope to condoning violence towards others. “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.” We can talk all we want but until we show our kids that we won’t tolerate racial injustice we are just a bunch of clanging gongs, which are really noisy and annoying. Each year in school our kids learn about Martin Luther King. Each year the lesson becomes a little more mature. 4th grade is an amazing time to have real conversations with kids. Their minds are ripe for learning and their self awareness is stretching beyond themselves. They are beginning to learn about the world, our history, where we are headed and they begin asking questions. I love it when I see kids begin to use their critical thinking skills, when they recognize that there are no simple answers to hard questions. This year we had serious discussions about racism, what happened to black americans in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movements and what Dr. King really stood for. Our 10 year old son asked if black people still had bad things happen to them because they were black, if there was still racism in our country. He has not witnessed it in his school (even though his school has a diverse population) and he doesn’t have access to social media so he assumed it no longer happened. He was genuinely surprised when we told him that there is, indeed, racism in our country. His naivety was a combination of sweet, sad and hopeful. I cherished his sweet innocence and felt the need to protect him from the ugliness of the world. I was also a little saddened to know that it would not be long before this innocence was broken and he would have to face these ugly truths. 

Meeting darkness and injustice face to face is where we as parents can make a difference. Yes, it is our job to protect them from all that is evil and unjust but it is also our job to give them the tools to know how to handle it when they are faced with it. This is the time, while they are still young, while they still listen to us and still heed our warnings when we have to sow the seeds of acceptance and love and teach rejection of injustice. Before they begin to rebel away from us for the sake of rebelling and independence we must show them how to stand up for what is right. So when they do have to make tough decisions, when they are faced with  whether or not to ignore hateful words or say no more to those perpetrating hate and violence, they will know in their hearts what to do. They will know because we have shown them the evil and taught them to make the right decision even when it’s hard. They will know what to do because they will have seen our example when we say no more violence, no more symbols of hate, no more words that dehumanize.

As a white privileged mom in the suburbs it is my job to teach compassion and reject racial injustice. It’s up to us as parents to take hold of our future and steer it towards what is right. If we don’t take this responsibility seriously, evil will gladly take up the role of parenting our children. In the grand scheme of things I do believe that there is an arch towards justice and that love will win but it takes more than time. It takes us. It takes parents facing the darkness, making tough choices, doing the right thing even if it makes us uncomfortable.

If we don’t, then who will?

Rise and Shine Appearance

June 17, 2015

If you’re here because you saw me on Rise and Shine and thought you would just pop online to check me out, bless you. If I could reach through the computer screen and hug you, I would. Truly. I have no way of knowing how many people saw my Rise & Shine segment so the thought of maybe just one person seeing and finding me online is outstanding. Well, I know of at least one person who saw the show…Dear Husband. But that doesn’t count because he is married to me so he has to watch it.

Truth be told, this is my second attempt at this segment. I was supposed to be on the show a few weeks ago but I got a flat tire on the way there. It was a real bummer. Thankfully, the show’s producer was merciful and scheduled today’s appearance.

Here are links to the recipes I talked about on the show…

I’m really in love with the banana ice cream because it is so easy to make and it feels like an indulgence. I made a batch for the day I was supposed to be on the show the first time, but that went home with the road side assistance fella. This batch I made fresh yesterday and it was the perfect snack right before t-ball practice (that ended up being rained out.)

So, if you’re new and found me through Rise and Shine, welcome. Please stick around, find me on Facebook and share my blog with your friends. If you are a regular…I love you. 

Five tips to make your Dollywood Vacation soar

June 12, 2015

Disclaimer: I received free park tickets in exchange for this post. However, all opinions, thoughts, photos, Dolly freak outs, amazements, thrill ride screams are my own.

Dollywood Vacation

  

I need to let you know one thing before we get to the nitty gritty: Dollywood is legit.

We decided that a Dollywood vacation was in order this year. I find it fascinating that a wildly successful singer/songwriter/actress built a huge theme park to celebrate her humble beginnings and the part of the country where she grew up. I had to know more.

Dolly Parton

We went with another family (Dear Husband’s cousin and her sweet family) who had the same curiosity level about Dolly Parton and her name sake theme park. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I went into this with low expectations due to the standard that Disney has set for all things customer service and theme parks. I’m here to tell you that Dolly wants her fans to have an amazing experience and she delivers.

Dollywood Vacation

 The Dollywood Express is a working coal powered steam engine that runs every hour. The sound of the steam, whistle and engine as very loud hence the little plugged ears.

The park is beautiful and set in the middle of the hills of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They have done a wonderful job preserving the trees and natural surroundings so that there is plenty of shade and natural landscaping. The design of the park has captured what you would imagine a quaint, picturesque Smokey Mountain life to be like (with a little bit of an income and health insurance to make life comfortable and clean)

Dollywood Vacation Tip #1: Purchase Premier Parking

Purchase Premier Parking. Premier Parking is just a short walk away from the park. It has it’s own entrance and ticket sales booth so you don’t have to deal with long lines if you are buying your tickets when you get there. Yes, it is $10 more than regular parking but you will be so happy you made this wise choice at the end of the day when everybody else and their dog is waiting in line to get a shuttle to the parking lots for the schmucks. Parking shuttles is one thing Disney had on Dollywood. Disney has a fleet of parking shuttles that would transport the population of China in a matter of minutes. We parked in regular parking the first day and Premier Parking the second day. No contest. In fact, we were kicking ourselves for not doing it the first day. The wait for the parking shuttle was long and it felt like one came along every 30 minutes when actually it was probably only about 10 minutes in-between each shuttle. At the end of the day when your feet are on fire, you’re exhausted and the kids tired whine is at an 11 (when the dial only goes to 10); standing under a crowded pavilion with all the other cranky adults and screaming toddlers will test your patience. Plus, the extra cost will pay for itself if you take my advice in tip #3.

Dollywood Vacation Tip #2: Start Your First Park Day at 3:00 p.m.

Start your park day at 3:00 pm. Thankfully we found this little tip on the Dollywood website. If you enter the park after 3:00 pm you can use the same tickets the next day. That is like getting half a day for free! We showed up a little after 3:00 and our ticket taker, Gary, made sure we knew that we could use those same tickets the next day.

Dollywood Vacation

 

Dollywood Vacation Tip #3: Pack a lunch in a cooler and leave it in the car.

Plan to eat one meal in the park and one meal at your car. Dollywood does not allow you to bring food into the park however, you can leave the park and come back. This is where the premier parking comes in handy. You can easily get to your car, have a tailgate lunch and be back to the fun and games in less than an hour. I have a hard time spending a lot of money on amusement park food but I have to admit everything I ate in the park was really tasty. If you eat one meal at your car you have more than paid for the premier parking fee. 

Halfway in-between our breakfast and our tail-gate lunch we were out of steam and needed a pick me up to get us through the next ride. Thank Dolly’s rhinestones we happened upon Grist Mill for cinnamon bread. Holy baked goods this cinnamon bread with apple butter was the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. Do not miss the freshly baked goods in Grist Mill.

Dollywood Vacation Tip #4: Take your time and plan when you will get wet.

If you are able to, I would suggest spending two and a half days at Dollywood (the half day being the day you arrived after 3:00). We spent one and half days and there were things that I really wanted to do that we didn’t have time for. It wasn’t until 6:00 that I realized they had a leather shop that could put my name on a belt. Turns out the leather smith leaves at 6:00. No name belt for me. We also missed seeing Dolly’s tour bus and museum with all of the amazing tiny, sparkly outfits. 

There is so much to see on top of the rides. We discovered the glass blowing demonstration and the kids were mesmerized for 20 minutes. All of his creations were available for sale in the glass shop just steps away (of course) and I wanted to purchase something but decided to do it later so I wouldn’t have to carry something breakable around all day. Well, by the time we made our way back by the glass shop at the end of the day I was ready to chew my arm off and decided to forgo the glass shop in search of food. No glass pumpkin for me. Dang it.

Dollywood vacation

ummmmmm….that says Glory Hole. Am I the only one seeing that?

Dollywood Vacation

There are 5 rides where you have the opportunity to get wet. Unless you want to spend the entire day in wet undies I would suggest doing most of the wet rides towards the end of the day. Dear Husband rode the River Rampage with the kids and described his level of wetness as “sitting in a bathtub”. A few of the really wet rides have body blow driers that help but they can’t penetrate wet tennis shoes, socks and undies. While your outerwear may eventually dry off, everything down under will stay nice and moist the rest of the day.

dollywood vacation

Dollywood Vacation

 

dollywood vacation

 

dollywood vacation

 

Dollywood Vacation Tip #5: Ride the Wild Eagle roller coaster.

If you are a fan of roller coasters, even just a little, consider riding the Wild Eagle. Unlike the wooden roller coasters that look like they will break apart into a million tiny splinters any second and make your head feel like its full of mexican jumping beans, the Wild Eagle is super smooth. I rode this ride with our friend and his son and we all would have ridden it again that day. Addison was having a fun time riding some of the more tame roller coasters and I regret not making him ride this with me. He would have loved it. It has four inversions and goes 61 miles an hour and is a huge rush.

Dollywood Vacation

Before Wild Eagle

Dollywood vacation

 After Wild Eagle

Dollywood vacation summary: Awesome-sauce

We rented a cabin up in the mountains just minutes away from the park. This worked out perfectly for the nine of us since the kids could hang out and play with out everyone being on top of each other in a hotel room situation. The adults could hang out and talk after the kids went to bed and not worry about having to be quiet. Eating out felt like a treat since we could eat several of our meals at the cabin and not have to spend every meal in a restaurant and pay way too much for yet another chicken strip dinner. We only had one little snafu. At the very end of the day Addison backed out of riding the Thunderhead roller coaster and then discovered that he didn’t have time to both ride another ride and get something to eat (which he sorely needed as he gets hangry when he is hungry). Per his usual style he moped and lamented his bad luck the rest of the evening. Too little time and too much to do; its a unforgiving master.

Going on vacation with another family who has kids that get along with our kids made our trip 10 times better. Not that I don’t love being on vacation with just my little family, I do. But having playmates who all get along is priceless. Being with adults who you actually enjoy spending 24 hours a day with for 5 straight days was the icing on the cake. When things went our way that could have taken a turn for the worse, the adults would look at each other, give a wink, and say Dolly. We jokingly decided that Dolly was watching over us and became the patron saint of our vacation. On our last drive up the mountain to our house in the rental car Here You Come Again started playing on the shuffle. Just as we pulled into the driveway the song ended. Dear Husband and I just looked at each other and we didn’t have to say it. Dolly.

There is only one way to end a Dollywood vacation…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add More Fruits and Veggies To Your Diet and Thank Goodness for Roadside Assistance

May 29, 2015

one pot chicken lo mein

If you are here because you thought you were going to see me on Rise & Shine, bless you. Unfortunately the fates conspired against me and I had a flat tire on the interstate on my way to the studio. Thankfully I’m home safe and sound but I missed my appearance on the show. Hopefully they will be understanding and reschedule.

roadside assistance

 

It turns out it was a good thing he was there to help me. I had my hazard blinkers on long enough to drain the battery. I’m sure it would have taken me a long time to change my own tire and I probably would have run down my battery from the blinkers being on so long. Then I would have had to call for a battery jump and I would have been back to square one. I also tried to look on the bright side; at least I have a car. At least my tire didn’t give out the day before when I was driving home from the panhandle of Texas (aka no-mans-land). At least I didn’t have my kids with me and that added stress. At least it was rainy and overcast so I didn’t have to sit in a hot car waiting for help to arrive. At least I have a phone. Seriously, what did we do before smart phones? Everybody probably knew how to change their own tires, that’s what. Steve Jobs, wherever you are, thank you for your invention that told me exactly where I was exactly on the map, let me call for help, allowed me to call and email the producer of the show to explain my absence and kept me entertained while I waited for help. Surely you are in heaven for this miraculous handheld computer.

The guy who helped me what very nice and quick with his work. He seemed sympathetic to my plight and asked if I was supposed to be somewhere soon so I told him that I was going to be a guest on a TV that morning but my car had other plans and I had missed my scheduled time. He changed my tire then jumped my battery lickety-split. As he was handing me my paperwork he spied the little cooler I had in the passenger seat and inquired about it’s contents. (I had made banana ice cream and blueberry yogurt bites the day before for the show and was prepared to wow the host with its nutritious deliciousness) No kidding, he asked if I had made something for the show and he wouldn’t be disappointed if I wanted to give it to him! So guess who went home with healthy frozen treats? I figured the entire morning was a loss anyway and somebody mind-as-well enjoy the fruits of my labor. I hope that guy is licking the bowl clean right now.

Back to the reason I was writing this post in the first place: getting more fruits and veggies in your diet. If I had been on the show I would have told you about these easy and yummy recipes:

 

AWG Campaign Graphic

 

If I didn’t have a flat tire this morning I would have told you about the partnership between Produce for Kids and Homeland and how it benefits Oklahoma Regional Food Bank. I would have told you that during the month of June when you shop at Homeland grocery store and fill your basket with fresh produce, Homeland will give a donation to Oklahoma Regional Food Bank.  Specifically their Backpack program.  During the school year Regional Food Bank give backpacks filled with nutritious and non-perishable food to elementary children every Friday. Why Friday? Because 1 in 4 children in Oklahoma struggles with hunger every day. Sometime the only real meal they eat all day is it at school, so what happens when they aren’t at school on the weekend? They go hungry. Regional Food Bank gave out over 18,500 backpacks last year. Look around your child’s classroom; chances are some of those kiddos will experience real hunger.

We all go to the grocery store. I’m more of a Target gal myself but I’m willing to switch for a while if it means doing something good for someone else. I love this partnership between Produce for Kids, Homeland and the Regional Food Bank. They make it so easy for all of us to do a good thing. Despite flat tires.

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein

May 28, 2015

one pot chicken lo mein

I love to cook but there are times when 5:00 rolls around and they are looking at me, wondering what is for dinner and I think to myself: You JUST ate, like, yesterday. You want me to fix you another delicious meal? Again? If I don’t act fast I hear the sound of little people looking for snacks in the kitchen. It starts with a chair being dragged over to the pantry and then the crinkly sound of packages being rummaged in, boxes being opened and closed, bags of goodies being shifted around. I swear I can hear a fruit snack package being ripped open from the other side of the house. Once the rummaging starts, it’s only a matter of time before appetites are ruined. Gaa! the ruined appetites! For the love of Julia Child, can a girl get a break? 

It is days like these when I need something simple, something that won’t mess up the kitchen too badly, something that makes me feel like I’m still giving something semi-healthy to the family without turing the kitchen into a cooking show. Something that is made in one pot. 

I am in love with the concept of putting everything into one pot, including dry pasta, and then 20 minutes later an entire meal magically appears. This recipe is courtesy of Produce for Kids. There you will find tons of recipes and ideas to keep the kids happy and mom guilt at bay.

 

One Pot Chicken Lo Mein

 

One pot chicken lo mein
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into small strips
  2. 1 (16oz.) box whole wheat linguini
  3. 8 ounces matchstick carrots
  4. 1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
  5. 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
  6. 4 green onions, sliced into 1-inch strips
  7. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  9. 1 teaspoon corn starch
  10. 2 tablespoons sugar
  11. 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  12. 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add chicken and pasta, then carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, broth and oil to large stockpot. Cover, bring to a rolling boil over high heat and stir. Cook, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until most of the liquid is gone and the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Remove from heat, uncover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Hugs, Kisses and Snot http://hugskissesandsnot.com/

Before you head on over to Produce for Kids website to find other great recipes, take a minute to hear what else they are up to.

one pot chicken lo mein

During the month of June, Produce for Kids has partnered with Homeland grocery stores to encourage families to get more fresh fruits and veggies into their shopping cart. When you purchase produce at Homeland, a portion of the proceeds will go to help fund the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank’s Backpack program. During the school year, Regional Food Bank provides backpacks filled with nutritious, non-perishable food to elementary children. Last year they gave out over 18,500 backpacks! 

In Oklahoma 1 in 4 children struggles with hunger every day. ONE in FOUR. This isn’t just the “mom, I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?” hunger.  This is serious, school lunch may be their only meal that day, hunger. This is just not acceptable. Thank goodness for the Regional Food Bank and the good work they are doing to provide food for families in need. Regional Food Bank provides food for 11,000 people…every week. 

If you are in Oklahoma, please consider doing your shopping at Homeland during June. I’m a Target gal myself but I can switch over for the month knowing that it will help keep kiddos fed.

Last Minute Teacher Gift Idea

May 21, 2015

teacher gift idea

Per my usual style, I have waited until the last minute to purchase an end of the year teacher gift for Addison’s teachers. Since teacher appreciation was just two weeks ago and the end of the school year snuck up on me (as usual) I was scrambling for a teacher gift idea.

Thank goodness for Facebook because a friend showed me these precious boxes filled with goodies she bought her teachers. Praise be! I had my teacher gift idea covered and I didn’t have to lift a finger or search Pinterest.

Check this out…these fancy little pizza boxes come filled with goodies and are beyond cute with their coordinating paper and bows. Just stop it with how precious this is. I found the Dab Box FB page, told her my teacher’s favorite candy and since she is local I was able to pick it up the next day.  Done and done! 

teacher gift idea

teacher gift idea

teacher gift idea

This is not a sponsored post, I’m just really in love with this gift idea. I feel like Oprah with my favorite things…DAAAAAAAAAAAB BOOOOOOOOX. Sorry, but you’re all not getting a free one, nor is there an amazing prize under your seat right now. 

Good luck on your end of the school year mayhem.

Raising Little Boys ep. 901

May 15, 2015

little boys

Living with little boys sure will keep you on your toes and give you a new appreciation for all things creepy and crawly.  As I sit and reflect on the turtles, frogs, worms and talk of poop I have come to realize something; God knew what she was doing when she gave me boys. If I could guarantee a boy, I would petition for a third baby. But God doesn’t answer those types of prayers. She knows a mother’s heart and knows that we will fiercely love whatever is given us. When it comes to thanking God for the gift of children, God is a “she”. Who else can understand how intertwined the joy and pain are when it comes to giving birth and taking care of babies. A women, that’s who.  

Raising little boys has opened up my world to the beauty of all the gross and grody that creation offers, the hilarity of sitting on a whoopee cushion and a well timed fart joke.  Life with little boys has allowed me to embrace the mess.  I no longer stress over a messy house. Yes, I scream at them to put the toys away, clean their rooms, make their beds, wipe up the filth they create in the bathroom sink, wipe up the drips from popsicles and to brush their teeth again because the first pass didn’t clear away the fuzz. Those constant requests aren’t obsessing over the mess, those are life lessons. Someday they will be on their own and won’t have me to pick up after them, make their beds and scrape plaque off their teeth (yes, I have scraped plaque off little boy teeth with my fingernail). I’m just doing their future roommates and spouses a favor.

raising little boys

raising little boys

Raising little boys means you always have someone to recuse the turtles that wash onto your yard after a big rainstorm.

raising little boys

Raising little boys means you become enthralled with tiny frogs, snails and millipedes but always have someone to deal with it so you don’t have to.

IMG_6178

Raising little boys gives you a whole new education of the penis and the benefits of being able to go to the bathroom outside whenever you feel like it.

little boys

Raising little boys teaches you to be excited about the discovery of Alligator Snapping Turtles and send them off to discover nature with the only word of warning being “don’t let him bite your fingers off.”

raising little boys

Raising little boys teaches you to relish the messy fun and allow them to just be.

IMG_6556

Raising little boys means that all the clothes are “play clothes”

Raising little boys means having the heavy responsibility to turning them into men who will love and respect the one their with. Thankfully these little boys have an excellent role model who is not afraid to hug and kiss and dance with me in front of them. Someday all too soon we will have to send them out into this world to see what happens. We pray for God to watch over them and guide them. This is another one of those times when I see God as a mother watching over them with the mother bear instincts that She put in me when She gave me these boys. 

Raising these little boys is a delicate balance of tough and tender.  Allowing them to be messy, crazy, adventurous, curious, dirty, scraped up and rough.  At the same time allowing them to cry when they are hurt, teaching compassion for others, holding their tender feelings in palm of your hand but showing them how to be tough and stand up for themselves when they need to. 

Sweet Jesus with the little children in your lap, help me walk this tight rope.

Nutella Banana Ice Cream

May 12, 2015

banana nutella ice cream

This all started because of school testing. You know that ridiculous Common Core testing that has everyone up in arms? Yeah, that. During testing week the administration tried to make the best of the situation and asked parents to volunteer to bring breakfast to the class so the kids could start the day off with a full stomach and a positive attitude. Nothing says you can fill out bubbles with a no. 2 pencil like a boss like homemade breakfast for the whole class. The moms in Addison’s class were quick on the draw and filled all the spots to bring breakfast before I could sign up. No problemo because there was another 4th grade class that had some days that needed to be filled. I was happy to help. I decided that bananas, Sunny-D, bagels and Nutella was a great way to start the day.  I took myself to Sams and bought the you’re-a-serious-Nutella-fan size jar and 24 bananas.  I was all ready to bring my simple but yummy breakfast to school the next day when I glanced at my calendar to see what else the week had in store for me.  Oh look, my day to bring breakfast is next week. 

I knew that 24 bananas would not make it an entire week and be presentable to 4th graders.  I also knew there was no way my family of 4 could eat that many bananas on one week.  Since I couldn’t stand the thought of that many bananas sitting on my counter just turning brown I knew I had to take action. The first thing I did was to make banana bread. Pumpkin banana bread to be exact and it was de-lish (I still have 4 mini-loves in the freezer).

Banana bread was out of the way and I still had a lot of bananas. I’ve heard the interwebz talk about this one-ingredient banana ice cream thing so I started searching.  Turns out it really is just one ingredient: bananas. Freeze bananas then put them in a food processor, bam! Banana ice cream.  But I had an industrial size jar of Nutella. What if I added Nutella to the mix? Turns out the interwebz knew its stuff and offered about 20,000 results on Nutella banana ice cream. 

So here it is, the 20,001st post on combining Nutella and bananas to make ice cream. All thanks to state testing and my inability to do things when I’m actually supposed to do them. Maybe testing and being scatter brained isn’t so bad after all.

Some thoughts on this recipe:

1) When freezing banana slices make sure to place them on parchment paper. Otherwise they will freeze to the cookie sheet.

2) Processing this many bananas in a food processor can be a smidge frustrating.  You will have to stop many times to push the bananas down to the blade.  Once you have about 1/4 of the bananas blended, add the nutella and vanilla to get things moving. 

banana nutella ice cream

 

banana nutella ice cream

Banana Nutella Ice Cream
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Ingredients
  1. 10 bananas, sliced
  2. 1/3 cup Nutella
  3. 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Place banana slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 45 minutes.
  2. Once bananas are frozen place in a food processor and pulse until bananas begin to puree. Stop often to push bananas down toward the blade. Once about 1/4 of the bananas have been pureed, add Nutella and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a pastic storage container and freeze for 30 minutes or until ready to enjoy.
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