Saturday, July 24, 2010

Confession Number 50: Lessons Learned at Sea World

We jumped in the truck last Monday afternoon and headed south for a little family vacation.  After an overnight stop to pick up Dustin's parents and sister, we finally made it to San Antonio and Sea World Tuesday afternoon.  KJ has had a total blast, even if she has been utterly exhausted since before our trip south.  After spending the better part of two days at the best marine wildlife park, I have learned a few lessons along the way.  Some are sassy, some are serious.  All are making for a great (and much needed) vacation.  Here are the Lessons of Sea World....

1.  Parenting at Sea World, or any other outdoor venue in the heat of the summer, is NOT for the faint of heart.  We actually got pretty lucky weather wise, but the heat brings out the worst in all of us, almost 3 year olds, too.  I was talking to KJ at one particularly hot and sticky moment and I told her, "sometimes we just have to put on our big girl panties and deal with it".  Great parenting quote of the year, I know.  Her reply?  "I don't want to wear big girl panties, I want to wear a pull up!"  I know how you feel honey, sometimes I do too.  I SWEAR this is a true story!

2.  Seeing something new through the eyes of a child is priceless.  Happiness.  Fear.  Joy.  Awe.  Whatever the emotion, children wear their feelings on their face.  And sometimes on Daddy's face, too....

You can immediately tell what they are thinking. The world is so simple through the eyes of a child.

3.  No matter how bad I think I look, I will still rank in the top 20% on a given day at Sea World. Don't get me wrong, I am nothing special to look at, I'm a mom for heaven's sake. I'm doing good not to walk out the door with a random bow in my hair and snot on my dress, but one afternoon in the Lost Lagoon and your self esteem will start inching upwards. I'm just saying. I thought to myself, "she left the house thinking she looked good this morning", more than once.

4.  Watching your hubby being a good daddy is one of the sexiest things he can do (next to unloading the dishwasher).  Dustin is so good with Kennedy.  She completely and totally latched on to him this week.  She's with mom all the time, mom's boring.  Dad is fun and exciting!  I love watching the two of them together.  He's the best dad a little girl could want!
5.  Last, and by all means, not least...Our God is an amazing God!  What creativity!  What insight!  He not only created us, but he created thousands of creatures, each with their own purpose on this planet.  They are beautiful! 
So, there you go, a little insight into my mind on vacation.  We have about 24 hours left.  I think I'm going to go enjoy them!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Confession Number 49: I Need to Buy More Beads

A little over a year ago I bought a big Easter basket on ebay filled with goodies.  I bought it more for the basket than the goodies, but the goodies were a good bonus.  One said goody was a small wooden box full of wooden beads and string.  I tucked it back in a drawer thinking it would be a fun activity for KJ once she got older.  Fast foward 16 months and two moves later.  Yesterday I found the box of beads in some of my craft supplies.  I thought it might be a little hard for KJ to handle, but it was worth a try, so after naptime we ventured to the craft room and I showed her the big surprise I had been promising.

After about 10 minutes of instruction and help she was off!  She loved these things and spent over and hour working on them.   She worked....
Choosing each bead carefully....
She got almost all of the beads on there...
I was pretty proud of her for working that hard.  Beading isn't easy when you have teeny tiny fingers.  What great fine motor skills...
Note to self:  Beading equals happy and quiet preschooler for an extended period of time.  I need to buy more beads.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Confession Number 48: It's Too Good for Recipes

Dustin and I were discussing a piece of carrot cake we had purchased at a local restaurant and brought home. D:  This is good.
Me:  Yeah.  It is a tad on the dry side.
A few minutes later.
D:  Really, this is good carrot cake.
Me:  It's not as good as mine.  Said very matter of factly.
D:  Laughs.  Well, it never has been a confidence issue with you, has it?

Umm?  I rarely run low on the confidence meter.  It is a good and bad trait to have, but it is part of who I am, and, well, deal with it. 

In the kitchen I know when something is good.  I mean, when it is really, really good.  I just know, and yes, my confidence gets a boost every time friends are family brag on my yummy food.  Now, I'm also my toughest critic.  There have been plenty of meals that I refuse to eat and Dustin just goes ahead saying that it isn't bad.  He's sweet like that.  Or he just fears starvation, I'm not sure. 
This recipe is good.  I mean GOOD, really good.  I made it the first time a few weeks ago and tried it again last night.  Wooo doggies!  This is a new favorite!  I knew I was going to share it with you all, but I decided it was just too good to get lost under the recipes section of Confessions, so it is here, for all the world to see.  Introducing my Parmesan Chicken Sandwich.....
I saw a recipe for a Chicken Parm burger somewhere and thought it looked good, but knew I wouldn't be able to talk Dustin into eating ground chicken in a gazillion years, so it was born and let me tell you, go make them for everyone tonight because they are yummy.  Now, I'm not real great at precise measuring, so I'm trying my hardest, but here is the recipe, anyway.  This recipe makes 2 sandwiches, enough for the 3 of us. 

2 chicken breasts
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped basil, divided
2 cloves chopped garlic, divided
6 oz. tomato sauce (do yourself a favor and buy salt free, please.  your cardiologist will thank me!)
2-3 Tbsp. diced onion
1tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 Ciabatta rolls
2-3 Tbsp. mayo
Parmesan cheese and baby spinach to top
salt and pepper to taste

Chop your onion.  Dump into a small sauce pan with a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until tender.  Chop and divide your garlic into 2 batches.   Throw half in with your onions, put the other half in a small bowl.  Reduce heat to low under garlic and onions.  DO NOT BURN!  Slice up your basil.  Add half in with your garlic, chop the other half very fine and put into another small bowl (this is for your basil mayo).  Add the parmesan cheese to your basil and garlic mixture.  Add a little salt and pepper and toss.  Dump tomato sauce into your onions and garlic, add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings God may lead you to add.  This sandwich really is divine.  Take your chicken breast and with a sharp knife cut a pocket into the side of the chicken.  You don't want to cut all the way through, but you don't want to butterfly it out flat, either.  Stuff the pocket with the garlic, basil and cheese mix and secure shut with toothpicks.  Brush chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill on medium high for a few minutes on each side or until the juices run clear.  Meanwhile, mix mayo into your reserved basil and set aside.  Warm your buns on the grill.  When all is finished, assemble your sandwich.  I do basil mayo on both sides of the bun, chicken, marinara sauce, parm cheese and broil untl the cheese is bubbly goodness.  Top with baby spinach, the other bun and enjoy.  I served these with Italian style french fries. 

Sit back and take in your accolades.  You deserve them.  And you can think me later.  Chocolate is always appreciated. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Confession Number 47: I'm Torn

In about 6 weeks my little "big girl" will turn 3.  3!  When did this happen?  How has she gone from infancy to Miss. Independence in what feels like a blink of an eye?  I love her birthday.  I love planning her party and finding the perfect gift for her.  She's old enough to pick her own theme for her birthday party now, and in true Kennedy fashion she has chosen to have a princess party.  Is anyone surprised? 

With this birthday comes some big parenting decisions, though.  She has the chance to go to preschool a couple of days a week this fall.  At first, I'm all for it.  Saying to myself, "She'll love it! She will get to do crafts and play with other kids.  It is perfect!" Then the doubt creeps into my mommy mind.  "Is she ready?  Is this me pushing her too fast?"  I think if her birthday were in June and not August this decision would be easier for me.  I ran across this article on Baby Center the other day and forwarded it on to Dustin.  It got us thinking, is she ready or are we ready?

At almost three KJ is 97% potty trained.  She's even starting to get the hang of holding it through the night.  In the last week we have had more dry nights than wet, but in the last week we have also pooped our pants twice.  So, does that mean she shouldn't go?  What if she has an accident at school?  I'm sure it will probably happen at some point, right?  Is that okay or should I keep her at home for another 5 months and send her after the first of the year until we are sure she won't have an accident?  Would being around the older kids help with this?

Another issue is naptime.  Our preschool doesn't nap and school is from 9-3.  KJ regularly misses a nap a week, and this week she hasn't gone to sleep during naptime twice.   Maybe she is telling me she is ready?  There are other days that she still naps for almost or over 2 hours. 

We would love for her to have the social interaction.  Remember, KJ hasn't been with a SAHM forever.  She spent the first two years of her life with Saint Marcie while I was crazy, workaholic mom.  She loved playing with the other kids at Ms. Marcie's and I'm sure she would love it all the same with Ms. Judy at The Academy.

Then there comes the Mommy Guilt.  I hate that guilt meter we all seem to have implanted in our heads.   If KJ heads off to preschool I will have 2 whole days at home by myself.  All alone.  That sounds wondrous and lonely all at the same time.  Am I pushing her into preschool so I can have time to myself or am I holding her back so I can have her all to myself?   So many questions.  Okay, all you moms out there, I'm needing some advice, so throw it at me!  Please!  Help!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Confession Number 46: She's Dramatic and I Don't Know Where She Gets It

Kennedy is a little addicted....

I really don't make her "wash the dishes, clean the floors"....

But last night that is what she was doing.  Singing, "Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it's Cinderelly"....
It's one thing to dress up like Cinderella Princess, but Cinderella the servant?  At least she is getting into the full character...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Confession Number 45: I Love Paying My Bill With Change

Many of you know that I have converted to semi-crazy coupon lady living after my friend Nicci, over at Nix9to5, started saving so much money.  I've only been doing it for a couple of weeks, and I still have a ton to learn, but here were my best shopping trips this week:
These groceries cost me $7.52.  There is steak in there!!  Here is how it all broke down:
Tony's Pizza (regular price $1.59 ea)= 2 for FREE!
Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls (regular price $1.89)= 2 for .66
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (regular price $1.69)= .33
Hunt's Ketchup (regular price $1.79)= .60
C&H Cane Sugar (regular price $3.39)=$1.89
Red River Ranch Petite Sirloin Steak (regular price $5.11)=$3.11

I think I ended up with about a pound and three quarters of steak.  Because of that great deal, our weekly menu was changed.  Who cares about pork chops when you can have steak?!?  Dustin's comment:  You are making income by couponing.  Exactly right.  Nicci once stated on her blog that is wasn't the money she was making that was allowing her to work from home, it was the money she was saving.  I also made a trip to Walgreens, where I literally paid my bill in change.  I bought:
Reach Toothbrush:  FREE
Colgate Toothpaste:  .75
Cottenelle Fresh Wipes:  $1.99
After all of my coupons, my total was $1.11!!  I actually had to buy the fresh wipes as a filler.  Yes, it is taking time, but right now, with me staying at home, I am enjoying it.  Maybe I can save enough to pay for sod.........