Monday, March 31, 2008


We used to play a game called Sardines when I was a kid that was the reverse of Hide and Seek. One person would go hide, and then everybody else would look for them. If you found them, you hid with them. We'd move around and switch to places people had already looked, and by the end you'd have twelve people crammed into a teeny space, sweating, while one poor guy was wandering around the place all alone going "Hey guys? Where is everybody?" It was great for really big areas where you could spread out.

I was reminded of that today as we did our every-six-months required severe weather drill. I talked them through hearing the siren and everybody getting their drink and a blanket and we all marched into the laundry room, which is the only room in my house with no windows and no outside walls. There's seriously not a whole lot of room in there. But it was actually kind of fun. I took Owl Babies in there and we read it for the four hundredth time and after awhile they were telling me I should have brought some kleenex, and some snacks, and what about dinner? Could we just live in here forever? It's so much fun squashed in a three foot space!

At least hopefully they'll remember the next time I get inspected, when the guy asks if we do those drills. :) It's always bad to get a blank stare when he asks them about something I'm supposed to be doing, especially when we do it all the time!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friendship Soup

I know this post should be probably be about spring or Easter or chocolate, but frankly I'm feeling tired of all the sugar. :) Here's a soup recipe that every kid in my house except for one has loved for the last four years. Even if they don't like the individual ingredients, there's something about the way it comes together that makes it palatable for everybody. I first got this recipe mixed in a jar for a Christmas present, and it's incredibly easy to recreate if you want to give it as a gift.

In a jar or cutesy container:
1/2 cup split green peas
1/3 cup beef bouillon granules (in a pinch I've used cubes, and it takes about 10 to get the same flavor. I also find I like Wyler's better than Knorr.)
1/4 cup barley
1/2 cup lentils
1/4 cup dried onion (or slice real if you're making it fresh)
2 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup rice

in a little separate baggie in the top of the jar, put 1/2 cup small macaroni. I've used orzo, tiny stars, and that bitty alphabet pasta. The kind in the mexican food aisle that's about 20 cents works great.

Add a tag that says you need to add 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained, 3 quarts water, and 28 oz diced tomatoes, undrained.

Put everything except the macaroni in a big pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes. Then add the macaroni, cover, and simmer 15 more minutes.

It makes a ton, is really thick and hearty and healthy, and is even better the second day. It's really good with club crackers (my favorite way to eat it!) or cornbread or just by itself.
Here's the first round of bowls ready to serve- everybody loves it~! Most kids eat at least three bowls of it.
And here's how much I had left, I put the tomatoes in there as a size guide. That's a really big Tupperware container, we have enough for probably 2 more meals. It freezes well too.

Cost breakdown: meat $2.25, tomatoes 2/$1, everything else I have trouble calculating- it's stuff I usually have in my pantry anyway and it's all pretty cheap to buy by the bag. I'll estimate maybe $1 of dry ingredients. Total cost: $4.25

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Daylight Savings Stinks

The kids don't care that the clock has changed. Schedules have been so off as I look at the clock and they listen to their internal clocks. Usually I keep the playroom clock wrong on purpose for a few days just so I know what time they THINK it is. And I change all the other ones to the right time.

So Brinks, WHY does your alarm panel in my kitchen not update itself automatically? That's the clock I look at to see when it's time to make lunch. My poor babies keep asking when lunch will be ready, and I tell them in just a few minutes, it's only just almost noon.

but no, it's nearly one. And they're hungry. And I'm annoyed. No wonder the morning felt like it dragged a bit. it's a whole hour later than I thought it was. But the friendship soup is nearly done, finally, and everybody loves it, so that's a good thing at least. How sad for them if I was spending all this extra time making something they don't like.

Cautiously Optimistic

So all of a sudden yesterday morning I asked Ariel if she wanted to wear big girl p*nties. She said yes. And proceeded to wear them all day long with no accidents. After about an hour Snow said she wanted them too, and also stayed dry the whole day. I'm excited. Attempts at training before had been largely unsuccessful, and I figured we'd have to wait until they decided they wanted to, but I didn't expect it to be so quickly or happen on the same day. I think the peer pressure is working really well in this case.

Buzz brought some big boy pants today too, so we'll see how it goes with all three of them. I can't imagine how fun it will be with only three kids in diapers around here! Maybe we'll see if Sebastian wants to train too, just for the fun of it. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Some Snow and Some Songs

I think it's going to be at least until tomorrow before it's 75 again and we get to play in the sandbox again like we did YESTERDAY. Because today it's snowing. WOO HOO crazy weather in this place.

I called all the kids to the window to come see the snow. Most everyone came running and started jockeying for position. Ariel started singing a little song:

"Oh, it's snowing!
The winterland is happy!
There's ice and snow and winter now
And oh we are so happy!"

Such a creative girl.

They all went back in the playroom and I kept making grilled cheese. I remember now why I never make it- they love it and want tons of it and it takes SO long on my griddle. Anyway, about ten minutes later Buzz comes in and freaks out.

HEY! Whoa! It's snowing!

I think he was excited about having the playroom to himself when everybody ran out so he didn't think to ask them what they were going to look at. :)

And now I finally have enough grilled cheese to appease the masses, so it's lunchtime. Stay warm.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Book!

I'm a geek and new books really make me happy. Except I'm cheap and I can't believe bookstore prices. :) So I discovered Paperback Swap, which I adore. When I want a book, I just add it to my wish list, and eventually I'll get in the mail. Even if it takes a long time.

I've had a book on my wishlist since June 14, 2006 and I finally got it yesterday. I've read the preface and a couple of random paragraphs in the middle that caught my eye flipping through it, and I cannot wait to read the rest. It's Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood. I've heard a lot about the Love and Logic ideas but never actually read any of the books. The preface promises to give parents real, working, effective strategies for:
  • Grocery store temper tantrums
  • Bedtime battles
  • Power struggles over eating
  • Getting them to brush their teeth
  • Potty training
  • Whining and saying things like "No fair!" and "But why?"
  • Kids who won't get ready on time in the mornings
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Getting them to pick up toys
  • Temper tantrums and fits in restaurants
  • Saying NO all the time
  • Begging for toys or candy at the store
  • Misbehaving at daycare, preschool, or kindergarten
Copyrighted book, directly copied that list, just so you know. But I'm excited about this! Holy cow! If I can get some strategies for even a few of those things my life will be a lot easier both at work and at home. I'll be glad to loan it out when I'm done if it works well. :)

The other thing I've gotten from it already that I knew in my head, but wasn't really doing:


I know that, but the book went into great detail about how MUCH they like them, and that you should give them a choice as often as possible, especially about trivial things where you don't care one way or the other. Do you want to read this book on the couch or in bed? Should we wash your left hand or right hand first? If you let them choose a bunch of small things, they're placated much easier because they don't feel so railroaded.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday Snippets

***Sebastian, running in from the playroom to tattle: "Hey! He ow me!" Oh, he hurt you? "Yes! I ow!"

***More on Sebastian- he loves Snow White. Lurves her. Carries her Valentine with her picture on it around the house on the weekends, I hear. When I put him down for a nap, he cries for her instead of his mom or me. Wants to be near her and make sure she is having a good time whenever possible. It's adorable. Flounder went through this about six months ago. And Snow's totally oblivious to the whole thing. The boys are just enough younger that they don't really register on her radar.

***We were talking about things that fly and Buzz was doing a great job telling me about woodpeckers and helicopters and things. I asked about butterflies (yes) and caterpillars (no) and then elephants. NO! Silly! Ephant don't fly! And being silly and contrary, I said, are you sure elephants don't fly? I think I might have seen one flying the other day. And he said, "OH! Bumbo! Yeah! Bumbo ephant fly ev'y time! I see him on the movie!"

***Ariel calls the PBS character "Clifford the red big dog" and it's amazing how different it sounds with just two words out of order. Throws me off but I love the way she says it.

***Last week we were playing barefoot in the sandbox. Today it's raining and yuck and 31 degrees. I much prefer last week.