May 29, 2009

Mommy Confessions: I Am My Mother

#11 Hubby and I once watched an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba after the kids went to bed. What?! Jack Black was the special guest!

#12 Recently, I've heard myself say "Wait until your dad gets home!" and "When your dad gets home he is not going to be happy about this!"

#13 I hide toys and books I can't stand (especially the noisy ones). When the boys have forgotten about them I donate them to the Goodwill.
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May 27, 2009

As Seen on TV!

I was probably introduced to the Swivel Sweeper while watching TV at 3AM nursing a newborn Peanut. What is it about early morning infomercials mixed with sleep deprivation that can make you believe you need something so badly?! For just two low payments of $19.99 I could get not only one Swivel Sweeper...but two! I decided to avoid temptation and put my Swivel Sweeper dreams out of my mind.

I was again introduced to the Swivel Sweeper by my best friend's mom about 9 months later. She swore by it. I think she even said "It's so easy, a toddler could use it!" I fell in love all over again, but decided that my regular broom was all I needed (as if I actually swept on a regular basis).

Last month I could no longer suppress the lust I had in my heart. I dragged the boys to Bed Bath & Beyond and purchased my dear Swivel Sweeper. As soon as we got home, and the battery was charged, I gave the sweeper a try. It sucked up snack crumbs, dog hair, cat hair, name it! It even worked on the carpet. It reached under the crib, the beds and the couch. And the very best part...the boys fought over who got to try it first!

I admit it. I love my Swivel Sweeper. I use it daily and sometimes I even let the boys help...if they are really really good.

May 26, 2009

Dish of the Week: Pina Colada Popsicles

This frozen treat recipe comes from The Toddler Cookbook by Annabel Karmel.

Let me just say that both of my kids went bonkers for these popsicles! We've had warmer weather in Seattle the past couple of weeks, so I picked up a little set of popsicle molds at Target for around $4. I had just been filling them with fruit juice so this recipe sounded like an interesting twist. I think next time I may add a little lime zest because Hubby and I love lime. Also, I think I might try using agave nectar instead of the sugar just to make it a tad bit healthier. Let me know if you try another variation!

Tropical Ice Pops

1 lb canned crushed pineapple
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 large lime

Mix pineapple, sugar & coconut milk in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice and mix until well blended. Fill popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably over night.

May 25, 2009

Library Picks: Cooking with Kids

The Toddler Cookbook by Annabel Karmel
Last week our library was featuring several new books and Peanut quickly grabbed all the cookbooks he could find. For years I have looked for a great "cooking with kids" cookbook and this is my favorite so far. The recipes aren't the most creative or interesting, but it got Peanut wanting to make some pretty healthy recipes. The pictures in the book are really well done and even made salad look appealing to my picky eater. Peanut specifically requested the lettuce boats, salmon fishcakes and tropical ice pops (see tomorrow's Dish of the Week post). They were simple to put together and tasty! Peanut loves to help in the kitchen and these recipes seemed to have the perfect amount of tasks for him. I think I may end up purchasing this one for our cookbook library.

Keep on Rollin' Meatballs: and Other Delicious Dinners by Nick Fauchald
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love that they break the recipes up into skill categories, Easy, Intermediate and Advanced. Plus the recipes are very simple and the illustrations are helpful for really young cooks. On the other hand, I don't like that many of the recipes involve sticking stuff in the microwave rather than cooking on the stove. Part of what I like about cooking with my son is showing him how things melt, mix, steam, etc. But overall it's a decent cookbook for kids and has some fun ideas. Peanut and I made the Crazy Shapes Pizza and both boys enjoyed eating their heart-shaped pizzas.

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May 22, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Thank You, TiVo!

#8 I never thought I'd be able to handle leaving the working world and be home with my kids all day, everyday. But now I am thankful for all of the crazy circumstances that turned me into a full-time mom.

#9 I'd like to thank Disney/Pixar for letting me make dinner on the nights my husband is working late or out of town.

#10 I'd like to thank TiVo for allowing me to take a shower almost every morning.

I guess you now know how I "handle" being a stay-at-home mom. Ha!

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May 19, 2009

Dish of the Week: Black Bean "Mexican" Lasagna

This recipe is simple, easy & great for last minute guests..or guests of the vegetarian variety. I added a little sour cream and guacamole on top of this and my kids went nuts. I think they both had two servings...I think hubby had three servings!

Black Bean "Mexican" Lasagna

4 or 5 flour tortillas (I buy the big burrito size)
2 cans black beans
2 jars of salsa
4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or jack)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread a small amount of salsa on the bottom of a large casserole dish (I used a 9x13). Tear the tortillas into palm-sized pieces. Lay some of the pieces on top of the salsa until you have one complete layer. Pour one can of black beans on top of tortillas. Spread salsa on top of beans. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on top. Add another layer of tortillas, beans, salsa and another 1/3 of the cheese. Add a final layer of tortillas and then top with the rest of the salsa and the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted.

May 15, 2009

Mommy Confessions: Sleep, Exercise & Reindeer

#5 Neither of my kids sleep through the night, Sprout especially...and I am so jealous of the moms with babies that sleep through the night.

#6 I never exercise anymore and my kids are my excuse. So lame, I know.

#7 I'm so excited that Peanut is starting that "wild imagination" thing. He tells me daily that a pink fox and Santa's reindeer are in front of the house & they want to eat our carrots. I'm envious of the joy he finds in things that aren't really there.

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May 13, 2009

This Digital Mom is Back to Paper

There are a lot of items out there that are supposed to make your life easier as a mom. But I usually find that they are overpriced, well-marketed pieces of useless junk wrapped in trendy fabric. But there are a couple of so-called mommy helpers that I have dropped some serious coin on...and am glad I did.


At first glance this is your usual everyday calendar organizer. Besides the multiple cover choices like lime, fuschia, chocolate or leopard, I couldn't really figure out what justified its $40 price tag. Plus, I'd worked for a major software company for years and was really happy with keeping track of my entire life in Microsoft Outlook. Why would I pay $40 to go to paper? Well, my friends, I'm a paper convert. I LOVE my Momagenda! Yes, my cute lime cover makes me happy. But my favoritest part is the section on each page for four more family members and meal planning! I can keep track of my boys' schedules, my husband's schedule AND what we are having for dinner on any given day. I swear to you that the only reason my family gets a meal (almost) everday is because of that simple little "Dinner" grid. It looks like the 2009-2010 Momagendas are available already too! Should I get lime again? Or maybe tangerine, true-purple or pink faux crocodile!

May 12, 2009

Dish of the Week: Arroz con Pollo

It was 5:30 on Friday and I suddenly realized I hadn't started dinner and I didn't even have a dish planned. But I knew I had some chicken thighs in the refrigerator, so the options were endless. I decided to throw together a sort of Arroz con Pollo based loosely on a Dream Dinners entree we had once and a recipe on the back of a placemat we got at a kids' health event. I thought for sure I'd be serving chicken a la crapola, but it turned out to be delicious!!

Arroz con Pollo

1 bag "boil in a bag" brown rice
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 tsp cumin
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (you could also use breasts)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic salt
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Empty bag of rice into bottom of dish. Then layer with black beans & corn. Sprinkle cumin on top. Top bean & corn mixture with chicken pieces. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix tomatoes, marinara, garlic, oregano, garlic salt and a little more black pepper. Poor mixture over chicken. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven & sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for another 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with sour cream.

May 11, 2009

Library Picks (We heart David Shannon!)

We discovered a lot of great books this week. In fact, our "losers" aren't as bad as usual! I think we also found our new favorite children's book author in the process. Next week we are going to check out some toddler cookbooks. I can't wait!


The Winners

No David by David Shannon
When I first saw this book at a local toy store when Peanut was a baby I was a little freaked-out. The cover features a bald toddler with sharp jack-o-lantern teeth grinning an evil grin. But now that Peanut is a rambunctious, trouble-making, independent preschooler I can very much relate to this book. Apparently, so can Peanut. While little David gets in trouble with his Mommy all day, the lesson at the very end is that his Mommy still loves him no matter what...and she is always there to give him the hugs he needs.

Good Boy, Fergus! by David Shannon
I think we are officially David Shannon fans now. Good Boy, Fergus! is HILARIOUS! We all laugh each time we read it out loud. Fergus is an adorable little white terrier that is a terrible listener, doesn't know any tricks and loves to chase cats & motorcycles. Even Hubby, who can't stand little "kick-me" dogs, adores little Fergus.

The Losers

Richard Scarry's Best First Book Ever!
by Richard Scarry
I have to say it. As much as I think Richard Scarry books are great for my kids...I can't stand reading them. We must have five Richard Scarry books at home, but Peanut HAD to bring this one home. IT IS NOT A STORY! It is a great big book full of pictures and random vocabulary words. He begs for us to read it at bed time and it's like literary torture. I now refer to it as a "read to yourself" book.

Hoptoad by Jane Yolen
We have some mixed reviews in our house on this one. I think it's sort of cute and the illustrations are really great. Hubby, however, thinks it is dark and teaches a strange lesson about the dangers of cars. I think it teaches some undeniable facts about roadkill. Peanut likes looking at the pictures of the desert. In the story, Hoptoad tries to cross a desert road when a truck comes his way. The driver stops when he thinks he has hit the toad, gets out of his truck & finds Hoptoad underneath...alive. He and his son rescue Hoptoad by placing him on the other side of the road. that I've typed out that summary I'll admit it's a little strange.

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