Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Baskets 2012

As per our Spring Basket tradition, on the first day of Spring, Rich hid all of their baskets ... and the fun began! 
Rosalie LOVED looking through her basket!

Jonathan has been wanting a Webkinz bird ... he was so happy to find one in his basket!

Aaron loved his new Webkinz...but probably loved his new Wii game the most!

What is better than Star Wars Legos for a 9 year old boy? I suppose it was a toss up for Martin ... his new Wii game was pretty awesome too!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Dinner Winner

Last week I made White Chicken Chili.
I forgot to take pictures of the chili that I made, but the picture provided in the blog above is a good one! 

I absolutely LOVED it. It is an excellent recipe and very tasty. It is definitely one that I will make again. The only thing that I will change when I make it again is that I am going two puree to cans of white beans instead of one. So, I will use 3 total cans of white beans instead of 2. We loved how the pureed beans thickened the chili ... but both Rich and I found that we were wishing it were just a bit thicker.

The children did not love this recipe. Martin eats everything without complaining. He's always been an excellent eater. He did say it wasn't his favorite. Jonathan seemed to like it the most of all the children. Aaron had a difficult time with it, but he has a difficult time with just about every thing! (He's come a long way, though!)

Rich and I both loved it, though. We have found that the children warm up to new things after they've had it a few times. So, we'll definitely be having this again! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tadpoles are Growing!

We are having so much fun watching these tadpoles grow! 
We noticed last week that some of them were growing their hind legs!

You can see the legs quite well in this picture. The metamorphosis is pretty amazing to observe!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My singer ...

She sings a lot. She reminds me so much of me when I was 3 years old. I used to sit on our front porch and sing as loud as I could without any thought of who could hear me. She does the same thing. All through rest time the other day she was singing as loud as she could. Finally, I crept upstairs to get a video memory of it. Rosalie is such a happy and joyful child. She is full of smiles, laughs, and pure joy. I don't ever want to forget the times that she sat alone on her bed and sang songs without a care in the world!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Family Fun Night - Outdoors

Last weekend, I took Martin and Rosalie out grocery shopping with me.  While walking around the Harris Teeter, I picked up a package of Bistro Naturals Uncured All Beef hot dogs and got the bright idea that we should roast hot dogs in our fire pit.

This was a first for our children and they kept thanking us over and over again. It was a huge hit and we had so much fun. The weather was perfect - warm, but cool enough to enjoy. They had so much fun roasting the hot dogs that they were not able to eat all that they roasted! In fact, Martin and Aaron ate so much they weren't able to eat the dessert that I made to go with our meal. (chocolate muffins ... which were super yummy ... I'll have to share that recipe later!)
Aaron kept saying ... "I cooked my own supper!"
We will definitely be doing this again soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Growth Journal

3 years 1 month
37 1/2 "
36 lbs
54th percentile for height
87th percentile for weight

5 years 5 months
43 3/4"
41 lbs
43rd percentile for height
37th percentile for weight

7 years 3 months
47 1/4"
53 lbs
25th percentile for height
53rd percentile for weight

9 years 11 months
64 lbs
8th percentile for height
30th percentile for weight

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A middle of the night memory...

The other night, I heard some milling about upstairs, I saw the bathroom light was on ... and then I heard some noises in the kitchen. So, I got up and went to the kitchen. As I walked into the kitchen, I came face to face with Jonathan. He stopped dead in his tracks and looked up at me. In his hands he held a half eaten banana. I very calmly asked him, "Jonathan, what are you doing?"
And he very calmly responded, "Isn't it obvious?"
Yep, he said that. 
He went on to say, "Mommy, I am so hungry!"
So, I told him to finish his banana and then go back to bed!

We've all been there, right? We've all woken up hungry in the middle of the night! He could have grabbed one of the banana chocolate chip muffins I had made the day before ... but he grabbed a banana. I thought that was a pretty smart snack to reach for. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tadpole Frenzy - Guest Post by: Martin Holland

While we were playing outside, we found tadpole eggs! (Do you see the string of eggs?)
We also found lots and lots of tadpoles that had already hatched.
So, we caught 8 tadpoles and made a home for them on our island in the kitchen.

Here is a closeup picture of one of them swimming at the edge of the bowl.

We learned from the internet that we should feed them tiny bits of boiled lettuce. So, Mommy boiled the lettuce and Daddy chopped it. (we keep it in the freezer)

Later that day, we bought a bigger plastic container for them. Now they have plenty of room to swim around.

Daddy found a rock to put in the middle of the container ... and some of the tadpoles hang out around it and swim under it.
Everyday (several times a day!) we check to see if the tadpoles have grown legs. We are so excited about this very awesome science project! (it's so much fun!)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Dinner Winner

Marinated thinly sliced chicken with onions and broccoli

Served over rice.

3-4  chicken breasts thinly sliced and placed into a ziplock bag with 1 sliced onion
Pour Olive Oil and Trader Joe's Low Sodium (no MSG ... but naturally fermented) Soy Sauce over the chicken and onions and let marinate for several hours.
Chop the broccoli and set aside.
Cook brown or white rice according to package instructions.
Heat the skillet with a couple Tablespoons of Olive Oil on medium high.
Pour the contents of the ziplock bag into the skillet and cook until most of the chicken is browned and cooked all the way through(when chicken is sliced thinly, it doesn't take long!). Add the broccoli and continue cooking until the broccoli is at the tenderness that you prefer ... we like it still crunchy!
This is a huge hit at my house with all my children except for Aaron. Aaron loves broccoli, but prefers it raw, and he also doesn't like rice very much. The other children love it. This is actually Jonathan's #1 favorite meal that I make.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First Flower of the Season

After a week of quarantine, Jonathan was finally given the green light to go outside. Keeping that child inside is practically impossible. He is an outdoor boy! After a short time outside ... he was already running inside with a small flower to hand to me. I will never tire of the sweet flowers that my boys bring to me. This is a sweet season of life!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Empty Your Pockets!

We were getting ready to do something the other day ... those details are fuzzy ... and Jonathan said ... "oh wait, I need to empty my pockets first!
I was astonished at all that he took out. It was as though there was no ending to what was coming out of his pocket. Rich and I got a good laugh at the large pile of stuff he'd packed into his small pockets!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's been a tough few weeks ...

I have had no time for blogging or reading blogs ... because I have been holding and tending to sick kiddos... and washing lots and lots of sheets and towels! Busy, busy, busy! Rosalie has had an off and on cold for the last several weeks, which eventually led to conjuctivitis. It took a good 5 days to run it's course, and when she finally seemed to be done with it ... Jonathan came down with it. Along with the pinkeye, Jonathan also had horrible upper respiratory cold and cough. His cough was so bad a few nights ago that he wasn't able to sleep at all and kept throwing up from all the coughing and mucus. Not fun. His eyes are all better now and he seems mostly over the upper respiratory stuff.
Martin came down with pinkeye on Thursday, but his has not been nearly as bad as Rosalie and Jonathan ... and started to clear up much sooner.
I have been giving them immune boosting supplements and their immune systems have been taking care of it. It's not easy to be in the thick of it, though. I am thankful that the eyes seem to be on the mend ... and am hoping that we can just be done with all the colds and coughs!

Update: Martin's eyes got much worse after they seemed to get better. Rosalie started with a fever last night and seems to have all the upper respiratory stuff that Jonathan had last week. I think that I am now fighting the conjunctivitis ... lots of strange things happening with my eye. Thanks for your prayers ... while this has been a tough month, I am so thankful that it hasn't been any worse and that our immune systems are doing their jobs to fight it all off!  I have been feeling a touch of cabin fever, though!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Colds, Coughs, Conjunctivitis, OH MY!

Rosalie has had a rough month! It started only 2 days after her birthday in February as just a mild cold. After a few days, her symptoms began to go away and all seemed to be well. A couple days after that all of her cold symptoms returned, but it was a bit worse. She was much more congested it and it seemed to be more like sinusitis than a cold. It just kept holding on ... I kept giving her immune boosting supplements, kept her home, and tried to have her rest as much as possible. When it finally seemed as though she was getting a little better ... her eyes started running and were terribly goopy. It was a very mucusy discharge coming from her eyes. Her eyelids and skin underneath her eyes was dark red and swollen. She was miserable. I spent most of the week sitting on the couch holding her. (that topic is a whole other blog post! Let's just say, I am not very good at sitting still!) We put a few drops of colloidal silver in her eyes and put warm compresses on her eyes several times a day. It just seemed to get worse each day instead of better. This is where I must make a confession. You may think that I am very confident in my homeopathic remedies. The truth is I am a basket case when my children get sick. I am not confident and I panic ... a lot. I don't panic with colds, sore throats, and fevers. I do panic when it comes to the unfamiliar. I have never dealt with conjunctivitis before, so I had a very nervous week. In fact, on day 4 of this ordeal, I was at a loss and ready to take her to the pediatrician. Rich helped ground me, though. I am not anti-doctors ... I am thankful for modern medicine and all that it provides! I am generally more comfortable with doing all that I can to treat things at home first. One of the things that bothers me about taking a sick child to the doctor ... is all the things to which I am exposing my already immune compromised child at the doctor's office!
You can see in the pictures how swollen and red her eyes were!  Her conjunctivitis was clearly following the pattern for viral conjunctivitis. So, what could a pediatrician do, anyway? If I had taken her to the doctor, he may or may not have prescribed antibiotic ointment ... but he would have had to admit that he didn't really know if it was viral or bacterial. The only way to know that is to culture the eye discharge. I wouldn't have considered treating the conjunctivitis with antibiotics unless it could be determined 100% that it was bacterial ... and even then, I'd probably try to treat it naturally.
So, what did we do?
I mentioned that we used colloidal silver drops in her eyes...and warm compresses. I didn't see much improvement with that, though. We made a solution of warm filtered water and sea salt and began putting drops in her eyes 3 times a day. We almost immediately saw results! Her eyes began to clear up within 12 hours of starting the drops!
Now, I will most certainly panic over other health issues that we face in the future, but at least now I can face conjunctivitis without fear!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Dinner Winner

I had a bright idea for Chicken and Spinach stuffed Shells with Tomato Cream Sauce - and this is what I came up with. When I made this last week, I thought that the filling was too dry. (I only used half a container of ricotta cheese) So, I modified my recipe(below) to include the entire 15 oz container. You can play around with it if you decide to make it... and tweak it to make it just right for you.
16 ounces chopped chicken - chopped more finely than for a stew or soup
1-1 1/2 Cups of chopped spinach
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1/2 stick of butter melted
1/2 to 3/4 Cup of parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt to taste
1 box of cooked jumbo pasta shells
Mix together the ricotta,butter, parmesan, egg, and salt and add it to the chopped chicken and spinach.
1 small onion
freshly chopped garlic to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon salt
Olive Oil
1 28 ounce can of Tomato Puree(add water to thin if necessary)
Basil (add to taste - up to 1 Tablespoon)
1 Cup Cream (heavy or half and half)
Saute onion in olive oil until onions are clear, add garlic, then add tomato puree and spices. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the cream. Heat until warm.

Place stuffed shells in baking dish and cover with the tomato cream sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Family Reaction:Rich, Martin, and I loved it! We all agreed that we would love it even more in the form of ravioli, but the stuffed shells were great too. (Rich needs to get busy making some fresh ravioli!)
Aaron was okay with it ... loved the chicken and spinach filling ... wasn't crazy about the sauce. (probably because of the onions in it)
Jonathan liked it, but it wasn't his favorite.
Rosalie was just okay with it.