Category: Kids

Sometimes it is the little things :)

I will start by saying I am not the neatest person in the world. I don’t know how people keep their homes looking like museums and they have kids. I envy those people. I wish I could keep my house neat. It is by no means dirty. There is just stuff, namely baby toys, everywhere. Sigh. How I long sometimes for those Saturday mornings pre-baby when I would clean and organize the whole house in 4 hours.

There are somethings that I do try to keep as organized as possible. One of those are my kitchen cabinets. Thank you to the person who invited baby proofing because my cabinets are one of the few places he can not destroy! The other day my husband was the best husband ever: he emptied the dishwasher after the cycle was done. He is the best since that particular day had seemed like a very long day! I had no energy after my little one went to bed to empty a dishwasher.

When I was making my son breakfast the next morning I opened the cabinet door and this is what I saw:

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Now I appreciate his effort, and I know you are all going to think I am crazy, but everything is out of order. Big plates are mixed in with small plates. One style dish is mixed in with other style dishes. Mugs are all over the place. Yes, I definitely get bothered by little things like that. It bothered me so much that after breakfast I had to fix it. This was my finished piece:

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To some this may not mean anything. To me it is everything. Am I a tad overboard? Possibly. But in the end it comes down to one thing: I love my husband for cleaning out the dishwasher!

 

Sesame Street (a new critique)

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I am sure all parents out there of little tykes know that Sesame Street is a staple in their  home.  If you are a parent-to-be, this will be your new favorite show (either by choice or by force 😉 ).  I have written about Sesame Street previously. (You can read about it here if you haven’t already.) Today I want to add on to my critique.

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Believe it or not, after watching Sesame Street hundreds of times, I saw the segment Birdwalk Empire today. It is very loosely based on the show Boardwalk Empire. I have never seen Boardwalk Empire, but I have heard great thing about it. On Sesame Street, the segment has two groups of “mobsters”: The Quackers (which are a group of ducks) and the Cluckers (a group of chickens). They meet on the boardwalk and have a disagreement about the way they walk. The part that had me rolling (yes, I do laugh quite frequently at this show) was when the leader of the Cluckers sees the leader of the Quackers. He says, “Well, well, well. Isn’t it Clucky Luciano”. For those who may not understand, it is a joke on the mobster Lucky Luciano from the early 1900s. There were plenty of other funny lines, but this one stuck out to me.

Here is the segment if you would like to watch. I have to commend the writers on Sesame Street again. Not only do you keep my son actively engaged during the show, but you keep this momma wildly entertained. Kuddos!

What is your favorite Sesame Street segment? Comment below!

Easy and cute Spring Project for the kids!

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Spring is here! Well, there was just a little bit of snow  yesterday. But who cares! The warmer temperatures will prevail in a few days. We have conquered the winter!

Since it is spring time and the spring holidays are upon us, I decided to share with you a cute and super easy project you can do with your kiddies.  My friend Tracy did this with her son and shared it with me. (She does super fun projects with her son all of the time and I kind of mooch off of her ;).  Thanks Tracy!)

These are the materials you will need:

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1 – Shoebox (I used one from my son’s shoes. It was a small box.  I’m sure an adult size shoe box is fine as well.)

White Paint (I used Crayola washable paint)

White and green construction paper

Pipe Cleaners

Pompoms or Cotton Balls

Googly Eyes (We didn’t have these, so we improvised with buttons we had lying around the house)

***Some of the items are small. Please supervise any materials used by your child.***

Here are the super easy directions:

1. Paint the shoebox white. (I didn’t bother painting the inside since little treats will cover it up.)

2. While it is drying (The Crayola paint dried fast. But test it before you glue anything on it.), draw the bunny ears on the white construction paper. After you cut them out, let your child color them in. My son is still too little to color inside the lines, so he just scribbled on them. Either way is perfect!

3. While your child is coloring the ears, cut out a strip of green construction paper (or any color of your choosing) for the handle.  Tracy used the top of the box to create the handle. Anything you have is perfect!

4. For the whiskers, I cut the pipe cleaner into two 6 inch pieces. For the mouth, I cut a 4 inch piece. You can adjust the sizes depending on the size of the shoebox.

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5. You can begin to glue all of the pieces to the shoebox. (Use the pictures as a guide for where to glue everything. Or, use your own judgement.) My son didn’t want to use the glue, so I let him go play at this point. I used a hot glue gun. However, if your child is old enough, use regular Elmer’s glue. It will be much safer.

See, I told you: super easy and super cute! And it will be a basket you can use year after year. I was thinking of leaving carrots for the Easter Bunny in it. We’ll see if he leaves a small treat in the basket Easter morning.!

Have fun making your basket. Post any pictures you may have of your finished project.

You can reach me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Live each day to the fullest

Sometimes a quote comes to you when you need it. Or you’ll read something and it just makes your day. Quotes have the ability to put life into perspective. This quote that follows really hit home.

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It happens to the best of us. We wake up one morning and there is just tons to be done that day. Make breakfast. Get the kids, as well as yourself, dressed and ready to roll in a very short amount of time. Get to school and work on time. Work deadlines. Homework deadlines. Pick the kids up from school on time. Complete homework. Drive kids to extracurricular activities. Cook dinner (or perhaps take out. Order healthy 😉 ). Bath time. Pajama time. It is not until the moment you sit with your little ones at the very end of a very long day do you realize “Oh my god! They are getting too big. I need to slow down!”. That’s when the mommy (and daddy) guilt starts. Trust me, I have felt it so many times.

Don’t beat yourself up over it. Sometimes life gets in the way. But one thing we can all do is to slow down just a little. Listen to the giggles. Build a building out of blocks and knock it down (even though doing it 100 times in a row does get insanely boring after awhile).  Play dress up. In a blink of an eye this will be all over. The kids will one day move out and have lives of their own. And the silly moments will have passed us by. Live each day with no regrets. To me that means being the best present mommy there is. And I know you are as well :).

Are there any quotes that hit home with you? Share them below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

To my fellow teachers

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I was recently reading different blogs and came across this great post the other day. This one goes out to all of my former students. You are all amazing and I know you will do amazing things one day. I have been honored to have you in my life and you have taught me so much. Like I have always said to you, my students, I give you the tools necessary for life. It is up to you to use them wisely. I know that you are using them to the best of your ability.

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This post also goes out to my fellow colleagues. You are amazing and are so dedicated to what you do. You shape young minds. You have the power to create a president, a lawyer, a doctor, a business owner, or perhaps a teacher. At times I am sure, no I know, that it can be downright scary in the education field. You are constantly being degraded my people’s comments. You are trying to live up to a standard that I am sure those that put them in place probably couldn’t even attempt to reach it. However, you are better than all of that. You are amazing. I have not been in the classroom for some  time now. But I stand with you in solidarity and am proud to say that I am one of you. You are the foundation everything in this world stands on.

It is testing season, so I figured the blog I mentioned to you in my first sentence would give you some inspiration. You can do this. You are much better than the 27th line!

Leave some love for those teachers and students below! I know it means a lot to them :).

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

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Your first playmates

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Cousins. If you are lucky enough to have them, they are your earliest friends in life. They are your first playmates. Even if there is a huge age gap, you know you will always have someone to go to if you need help, to play a game, or just a simple hug.

As years have gone by I have realized that my cousins are extremely important to me. They are the family that grounds me. They are the people that are excited for my good times and are sad for the not so happy times. They are the ones that I can be completely silly with and no one will judge (unless they do and I don’t really know 😉 ).  In my family we have multi generational cousins. I am still close with my  second, third, and fourth cousins. Yes, that’s right, fourth cousins! We may not see each other very often, but those two or three times a year that we do are amazing! You know that best friend you have that you haven’t seen in a while. Then you hang out after so much time has passed and it seems like you just saw each other yesterday? That is how it is with my cousins. All of them.  What is even better is, when you see them, and your relationship is so solid, that a simple “Hey Cuz!”  is all that is needed. I have had some of the greatest conversations of my life with these people.

My husband comes from a very similar family dynamic. He is also very close to his cousins. I honestly consider myself lucky to have married someone with awesome cousins as well. I don’t even think of myself as an “outsider” or someone who “married into” the family (unless, of course, I’m wrong 😉 ). They are all so welcoming that it feels like an extension to my own group of cousins.

My first cousins I see quite often (I’m just using a number order to better differentiate for you, my readers :) ). We have started a dinner where the cousins meet up several times a year. We decided these dinners will have a theme. Our most current one was Italian. The dinners are potluck, so everyone brings a dish that corresponds with the theme. After our big meal, we wind up playing Pictionary, Catch Phrase, etc. It is so much fun!

Try the dinners with your cousins. It really is an amazing time! And don’t forget to take lots of pictures. I know I love looking at old pictures of my grandparents and their generation at family gatherings when they were my age. I especially look for the smiles and the good times they were having. I try to imagine what they were talking or laughing about. I hope future generations will do the same with the pictures we have taken.

What are some favorite things you like to do with your cousins? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

The Never Ending Challenge: Toddler Eating

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Eating with a toddler seems like an enigma sometimes. One day this little tyke will eat just about anything. The next day, they don’t want anything to do with the same food you put in front of them 24 hours earlier. This little human is so picky. However, can you blame them? They are growing at such a fast pace at this point in their life. Their world is constantly changing. To us parents, though, it can be a journey. Sometimes, a very tedious journey.

When my son went for his 9 month check up, the pediatrician that I normally see was on vacation so we saw a different doctor in the practice. She went through the normal routine of asking questions. One of these questions was about his eating habits. I hadn’t really given my son any whole foods at this point except bananas, avocados, and other mushy foods. When the doctor had heard this she said that I should start giving him the foods that my husband and I ate all the time (except for the normal food restrictions of a child this age). She said I could supplement with pureed foods, however, I needed to start introducing regular food cut up really small so that I wouldn’t have a picky eater. As soon as I left the office, I went right into giving him our food for all meals. It took a good 2 months for him to get the hang of meat and just about any type of food that wasn’t pureed. It was definitely an uphill battle. On the upside, my son is a pretty good eater. Don’t get me wrong, there are days where he wants nothing to do with food. Or the only thing he wants is pasta or bread. But the good days outweigh the bad, so I’m pretty content. ( And what did my son want above all else for lunch today? Kalamata olives! Oh yes, he is definitely my son!)

Foods from different food groups

I do like to try to give my son foods from all food groups every day. It is definitely a challenge but it makes me feel better knowing he is getting the nutrients he needs. I find this site to be very helpful. It breaks the recipes up into breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and making your own “fast food”.

I also use a recipe book from the Cooking Light writers. It has over 700 recipes that take either 15, 20, or 30 minutes. I beg to differ on the time it takes to make certain recipes. However, there are so many great ideas! My sister got this cookbook for me 3 or 4 years ago and I have used it nonstop since. Thanks!! She is also the one who gave me the idea for this post as well. You’re the best ;).

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One of my all time favorites from this cookbook is the Quick Vegetarian Paella. It calls for artichoke hearts and olives. If your kiddies don’t like these you can also substitute a favorite vegetable. Or you can add in a meat to bulk it up a little bit. Just a warning: It does take a while to get all of the ingredients prepared. This may not be an ideal recipe to use on a night where you are short on time.

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I also like to cook ahead so that I have food already prepared in the freezer for those “oh man, time has flown by” moments. Once every two or three months months I make two dozen beef, two dozen chicken, and two dozen turkey meatballs. I usually chop up some type of vegetable and include that in the meatball mixture before I bake them. I then freeze them. I also make about two dozen pancakes. I always try to keep the freezer stocked with different frozen vegetables. Fairway sells a large bag of organic vegetables for a pretty decent price.

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I hope some of these ideas were helpful. Remember: eating is  tricky business when it comes to children. Let eating take its course. Just keep exposing them to different foods and textures.  Your child will get there. (It’s funny. Tonight when I was serving dinner, my son didn’t want any of it. Go figure!)

If you have a recipe that is super kid friendly and your child/children love it, please share with us! Or any tricks of the trade when it comes to getting your kids to eat.

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Oh Goldfish…Why must you tease us?

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As a child, I literally lived on Goldfish. They are so easy to just pop in your mouth and who can resist the parmesan flavored ones? Then, I grew up and learned how to read the ingredient labels on food. And that ended our love affair. Sigh…..

I was thinking of writing about Goldfish the other day when a friend of mine sent me this article. (Shout out to Diana!!) It just clarified everything I thought about the ingredients not only in Goldfish but in Pepperidge Farm in general. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Pepperidge Farm. I think I have definitely bought my fair share of their products. I just feel, in this day and age, they need to look at their ingredients and begin to see where they can add more natural ones.

Look at this label from their Golden 3-Layer Cake.

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I don’t even know what half of the ingredients are, let alone pronounce them. My motto: If you can’t pronounce it or you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. These ingredients are literally damaging our bodies each time we eat them.  When you read the article it says that the founder of Pepperidge Farm originally started this company to make food without additives because her son had an allergy to commercially baked products. What happened to this brand?!?!

Goldfish ingredients are not quite as bad but they do contain GMOs.

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According to the article I mentioned above, Goldfish is being sued because they claim on their product that it is natural and no artificial ingredients. Several of the ingredients are GMO based. So sad :(. I love these crackers.

So, what is a girl to do? You need friends who watch out for you! And my friend Diana sent me this recipe for homemade Goldfish crackers!! I have yet to make it but it seems pretty straightforward. The writer shows how to make the fish shape out of an aluminum can. That seems like too much work for me. I would honestly use any small cookie cutter I had to make these. It is the taste that I miss the most!

I definitely plan on making these real soon. I hope you try them as well :).

Comment below.

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com

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Motherhood…The baby frontier

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I often wondered what motherhood was like before I had my son. I remember being with moms and thinking how tired they looked. It all seemed so daunting. Why would I ever want to put myself through all of that? Well, I guess by the time you reach your 30s (at least for me), you get bitten by the baby bug. That’s right. One day you wake up and there is this need for a baby in your life. Trust me. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will.

The entire time I was pregnant my mood shifted from pure excitement to an agonizing fear. I had no idea how to take care of a baby. Yes, I work with kids. But at 3 o’clock they go home to their own parents. The idea of taking care of a baby 24/7 put my emotions into such a frenzy. This made those 9 months drag on for eternity. Then one day my son decided to make his appearance. And that excitement and fear changed into a state of awe. I can remember just looking down at him and just saying “Wow” over and over again. Plus, I still had no clue how to take care of a baby. Well, that changes very quickly. It is like a switch is turned on and within 24 hours you know how to change a diaper, burp a baby in the right place, change clothes within 60 seconds before the cries come, and countless other tasks.

Would I change anything of this? No way! Do I wish I could sleep in on weekends the way I use to after a leisurely Friday or Saturday night out? Sure. Do I wish I could just leave the house without having to pack the diaper bag, collect toys, put on everyone’s shoes and jackets? Sure. However, I know in a few years I will be able to do all of that again. And I know deep down I will step out into a beautiful Saturday night and turn to find my son waving goodbye. I’ll then see him turn and play with his toys and not even give a glance back. I know that my heart strings will definitely be pulled tightly at that sight. So, I will enjoy these moments now.

To those of you wondering about motherhood, it is probably the hardest job out there. It never stops. You will probably think you can do better and will do everything like a pro when it is your time. I know, I was there too. I thought this would be easy peasy. Do it when you are ready. Don’t let anyone push you. And when you see that little face for the first time, know that your life will definitely change. It will be more hectic and most likely crazy. But this momma wouldn’t change anything for the world. Except to maybe get a little more sleep!

I was reading this article and it made me think of my own experiences. Thought I would pass it along :). In regards to the Star Wars reference and picture: my husband is a HUGE Star Wars fan. That’s how we roll ;).

Comment below if you’d like!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Oreos!

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March 9, 2014

When I was a little girl one of my favorite cookies were Oreos. I loved dunking them in a cold glass of milk. Sometimes I would take the two cookie pieces apart and just eat the cream. Yummy!! Let’s just say, I have definitely eaten my fair share of Oreos.

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Sadly, I have not had an Oreo in years for my own personal reasons. These reasons are solely based on the ingredients (see picture above). They include palm oil and high fructose corn syrup. I largely avoid those added preservatives in my diet. So, you could imagine my joy when I came across this recipe for homemade organic Oreos.  At first glance the recipe seemed mighty lengthy. However, this blogger explained in detail each step. This was great for me. If any of you are like me, I need any type of recipe spelled out and explained. I also enjoy when someone includes pictures in a recipe so at least I know if I am headed in the correct direction.

Back to the recipe. It calls for all organic ingredients. This is totally up to you if you are going to do that or use whatever you have on hand. I used organic ingredients for everything except the sugar and the cocoa powder. I used dark chocolate cocoa powder, which had no processed ingredients in it. As far as the sugar, that was a store brand. Yes, I used regular sugar. I’ve already mentioned that I am working on changing products in my house to healthier choices. I just haven’t gotten to this particular one yet.

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Making the actual cookie dough was easy. The recipe didn’t say how much whole wheat flour to actually put in because the blogger used spelt instead. I put in 2 cups and next time I might put in 1 and 3/4 cups. The dough had a slightly drier texture to it and I think it was from too much flour.

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I also recommend not putting the dough into the refrigerator for longer than 30 minutes. It was very hard when I took it out and was slightly difficult to roll out.

 

Once I did roll it out, I used a heart shape cookie cutter to make the cookie shapes. I made this around Valentine’s Day, so I thought it was appropriate. You can change the shape for any holiday or occasion.  After the cookies baked and cooled, I made the cream. It doesn’t taste exactly like an actual Oreo but it was super yummy! Next time, I need to use less milk because it was a little too runny.

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Here is what my final product looked like. They really were delicious. The texture of the cookie is not hard like the originals. But it just tasted so good and I felt at ease knowing all of the ingredients were of my choosing to put in. Since I used a small cookie cutter, I wound up being able to make 60 cookies!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you try your own homemade Oreos! I know I added a lot of things that I would do differently next time. But remember: this was my first time using the recipe. There is always room for improvement in everything you do ;).

Post your pictures below of the Oreos you make!

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.