Sunday, October 4, 2015

Life Lately

It's been a while since I have updated on the day to day goings-on of the children.  The past month has been busy with lots of appointments, obligations, and events.  Here is a peek into what the kids have been up to.

Little Ish

Little Ish is wrapping up his 2nd month of his Kindergarten homeschool year.  He is making a lot of progress in learning to read and I find him in corners all around the house sounding out words.  He also spends a good amount of time writing be it lists, stories, or just words he is interested in knowing how to spell.  He is currently very interested in the Where's Waldo books. One day last week he assembled his own Waldo costume and when Lily wanted to play hide-and-seek outside with him, he renamed the game as Where's Waldo.  He has taken a lot of interest in preparing food this past month so we have done a lot of different cooking and baking tasks together. This has given us a good chance to talk about all sorts of math topics in a really natural way.

In not so homeschool news, Little Ish has developed a real appreciation for Atticus's sense of humor and they spend a lot of time playing and laughing together.  He also surprises me daily with his joy in little things and his generosity with his siblings.

Lily is quite the busy little girl.  She is always doing something and never complains of boredom. In the past month she has become really good at writing her name.  She has started to enjoy playing board games with me and Little Ish.  She particularly likes playing Trouble.  She has an affection for nonsensical rhyming games and has started to try to figure out knock-knock jokes.  She has joined her big brother in enjoying preparing foods.  Her favorite kitchen task is cracking eggs and she has quickly mastered it (we rarely end up with any shells in the bowl).  She loves to be read to and often gets into a pattern of asking me to read the same book a few times per day. This month Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco has been the most favored book.  Lily still loves music and dancing and has been on a Weird Al kick thanks to her cousins.  One of her newest pretend games involves washing things.  Last week she played "wash the kitchen floor"; she was entertained, and I ended up with a clean kitchen floor.  This week she has taken to playing Curious George Takes a Job.  Thankfully this has involved her washing windows and has not involved her mischeviously painting jungle scenes on the walls.


Oh my sweet, Atticus!  There is so much I can say about this boy.  His vocabulary is growing in leaps and bounds and he is speaking in sentences a lot of the time.  He has a few speech quirks that I find endearing.  He can make an f sound but only uses it when he says the word fish the rest of the time he replaces every f with an s or an sh.  His word for dinosaur is tiny-sword. He really enjoys language.  He tells the interrupting cow knock knock joke and loves asking "Guess what?" and answering "Chicken butt!" After months of sheer distaste for being read to, he has started to enjoy books.  He asks me to read to him by saying, "I read to you?" He is also happy to spend 30 to 45 minute time blocks sitting on the couch looking at books by himself.  Another activity he happily invests long amounts of his time in is coloring with markers.  One afternoon this past month he sat and colored for nearing 3 hours.  He loves when airplanes fly overhead (we're on a flight path) and he insists that airplanes say "Choop-choop!"  He spends a lot of time throwing frisbees and frisbee like objects.  He likes playing basketball and has taken to shooting all sorts of things into the kitchen trash;I have rescued several shoes this month.  He is a sweet, happy, affectionate little guy.  He has a great sense of humor and knows how to make everyone in the family laugh heartily. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Better Late Than Never

Once again I won't be writing much along with my weekly menu plan.  Atticus started yesterday off with a fever and this morning it morphed into a stomach bug.  So I am just stealing a quick moment while he naps to post my menu for the week.  Also, if you could spare a prayer for the little guy that he feels better soon, I would very much appreciate it.

Monday: Chicken and biscuits with green beans.  I had some leftover buttermilk from the cake and the chicken last week and it was exactly the one cup needed to make these biscuits.  Ish used the fried chicken gravy recipe from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook for the gravy. It was a delicious and satisfying meal.

Tuesday: Irish rice

Wednesday: Chicken curry over squoodles (otherwise known as spaghetti squash)

Thursday: Steak, baked potatoes, and zucchini from the garden.

Friday: Family wedding.

Saturday: Dinner with friends

Sunday: Pizza

Linking up with Simcha!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Apple Picking 2015

Since Ish had Labor Day off from work, we decided to bring the kids apple picking.  As much fun as the kids have each time we go, I usually find it to be an incredibly stressful outing.  I was pleasantly surprised that this year didn't feel stressful to me at all.  We arrived at the orchard before it got too hot or too busy which probably helped make things run more smoothly, but upon some reflection I think the biggest thing that made a difference is that the kids are just that much older than they were last year. 

Ish and Lily knew exactly what to do this year and delighted in finding trees with apples at their level.  Atticus really enjoyed himself, but we had to keep a close eye on him to make sure he wasn't putting the drops in our carton.  This year after picking we went and took refuge in the shade of a huge sycamore that we discovered last year and enjoyed some of our harvest.  It was a fun trip and we hope to go one more time before picking season is over.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Menu Plan for 09/07-09/13

I don't have much to say about food right now thanks to a headache that will not go away; thank you late summer allergies.  Here is this week's menu plan:

Monday: Burgers on the grill, baked oven fries, and steamed broccoli

Tuesday: We are having a bit of a feast today in honor of Our Blessed Mother's birthday.  Buttermilk roast chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and green beans.  For the feast day dessert I am making a birthday cake from the Flour cookbook. The kids plan on singing Happy Birthday to Mary before we slice the cake.

Wednesday: Lazy Man's Lasagna and raw vegetables.  This is the same recipe I tried a couple of weeks ago and it was both easy and delicious.

Thursday:  Thai Peanut Pasta, Chicken Satay, and Carrot coins.  Lily has been requesting  "chicken on a stick" for dinner ever since we got Chinese food for Ish's birthday back in April.  I finally took the time to find a recipe.  I have had the Thai Peanut Pasta recipe pinned for a while and it seemed like this would be an appropriate dinner to try it with.

Friday: Dinner with extended family.

Saturday: Dinner with friends.

Sunday: Pizza at Ish's parents' house

Linking up with Simcha!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lesson Learned

This evening I somewhat foolishly dragged three very tired kids to scout out a photography location.  It mostly consisted of me trying to convince the kids to stand in various spots so I could test some things out and me failing to gain any cooperation.  Lesson learned.

I am always pleasantly surprised that even my worst photo sessions result in at least a few keepers.  I am mostly just writing this to remind myself that tired kids and photography location scouting do not mix. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

This week in dinner....and a little about dessert

Dessert seems to be one of those topics that moms don't discuss a lot.  I don't know if they fear judgement of their mom peers or it just doesn't come up in the dozens of discussions about feeding youngsters, but I want to share how we do dessert in our house and how it has blessed us with children who don't beg and whine about sweets.

Before Atticus was born, dessert was a sort of haphazard thing that didn't happen with any predictable regularity.  Many times Little Ish and Lily would ask about it and Ish and I would say, "No, not tonight" as we didn't have anything planned.  Cue whining and disappointment from the kids.  They also, not knowing when they would get a sweet treat again, would often spend a lot of time pestering and whining for sweets.  Shortly after Atticus was born, I read the book French Kids Eat Everything and it inspired me to change the way we handle dessert in our home.  As an experiment, we started having dessert every single night.  Within less than a month of doing this, Ish and I both noticed that our children had stopped asking about sweets at all.  We realized that since they knew they would get dessert after dinner, they didn't have any need to ask about them.  Kids like routine and they like knowing what is going to happen.  Demystifying dessert by making it a routine did that for Lily and Little Ish.

How does your family do dessert?  

And now onto what we are eating for dinner this week:

Monday: Nachos at the request of Lily.  These are served with tomatoes, guacamole, refried beans and sometimes corn if someone requests it.

Tuesday: Irish Rice.  There is actually nothing Irish about the rice.  When I was growing up my dad made a dish that his family calls Irish Spaghetti.  It is diced tomatoes, ground beef, and onions all cooked up and thrown into a pound of thin spaghetti.  When I was pregnant with Lily, I had gestational diabetes and pasta was not a good food option for me.  Ish suggested we make the dish with brown rice instead of pasta.  It was delicious and the dish has stayed in our rotation ever since.

Wednesday: Potacos at the request of Little Ish.  I don't know what website I originally got this idea from, but basically it is a baked potato topped with taco meat and other taco toppings.  This is my family's favorite taco meat recipe; it freezes well so double the recipe for a quick meal some other night.

Thursday: Breaded baked chicken,  corn on the cob, and green beans

Friday: Dinner with family.

Saturday: A birthday BBQ for friends.

Sunday: Pizza at Ish's parents' house.

Linking up with Simcha!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What's cooking?

We are a meal planning family.  Ish and I have actually been planning meals together since before we were married.  After I graduated college, I spent a summer living in Delaware just a short walk from Ish's childhood home.  We spent the summer cooking dinners together in the basement of the St. Thomas More Oratory and all of our meals were made according to a meal plan we had devised together.  It was no surprise when we got married two summers later that meal planning fell naturally into place. 

Even though we use a meal plan regularly, we are not impervious from the occasional falling away from this strategy.  In the past couple weeks we have failed to meal plan and it has led to insufficient leftovers for lunches, a couple of take out dinners and a handful of rotting food.  These few weeks away fro meal planning have led me to want to be a little more on top of things, so when Simcha decided to start a weekly meal planning post on her blog, I decided to join her.

How does meal planning happen here?  The process has evolved over time.  I used to do all the meal planning with a pencil and paper, but Ish discovered Trello last year and now our plan and grocery list are digitized.  Ish and I have shifted meal planning responsibilities back and forth over the months and years.  I am working to make that my domain right now, but he is incredibly competent when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping so it is easy enough to swap off when necessary. This is an especially big blessing during 1st trimesters and the first few months post-partum.  As for actual meals, we only plan dinners.  Lunches are generally leftovers of some sort and we just make sure to always have oatmeal, eggs, and chapati on hand for breakfasts. Also we generally don't generally need to plan dinners on Friday, Saturday or Sunday due to generous family and friends.

What's cooking this week?

Monday: Chicken Curry over rice or possibly  over spaghetti squash if it is ready to be harvested.  This dish consists of chicken and vegetables in a curry sauce that Ish makes.  We will also be eating corn on the cob from the farmers' market.

Tuesday: Roast pork, butternut squash from the garden, applesauce, and green beans.

Wednesday: Lazy Man's Lasagna  This is a new recipe for me but it looks similar to a dish my mom made when I was a kid.  We will probably have raw vegetables on the side.

Thursday: Chicken Tacos

Friday: Grilled Cheese Night at Ish's parents' house.  I am hoping to contribute some more tomatoes from our garden to the salad.

Saturday: Dinner with friends.

Sunday: Pizza at Ish's parents' house.  My father-in-law makes the best pizza.

What's cooking at your house this week?