Thursday, January 14, 2010

What to feed hungry children?!

I don't have a large repertoire of kid friendly recipes, primarily because I'm really picky and I don't like a lot of typical family friendly fare... My kids are just used to what this mama makes! So I have already exhausted what I thought Evan & Emma would like: tacos, spaghetti, breakfast, my little cheddar meatloaves... We have a pizza/ movie night planned and my coup de grace is going to be boxed mac & cheese with hot dogs before we head to the airport on Saturday night. Well, that left ONE night...

Cynde suggested chicken drumsticks but I never did pick any up from the market so... what to do?! I reverted to a family favorite, feeling rather emboldened that I've had NO complaints all week long. Even every vegetable has been happily eaten!

I made Cajun Chicken Strips and Cornbread Casserole. And they loved it!!! (Even Emma who says she doesn't like corn...)

Super easy and quick!

Cajun Chicken Strips
1 T. flour
1 t. seasoned salt
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/4 t. pepper
1/8-1/4 t. cayenne pepper (I skip this with little kids)
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (cut into 1/2" strips)
2 T. butter
In a gallon sized Ziploc baggie, combine first 6 ingredients. Add chicken (1/2 at a time) and shake to coat. In skillet, cook coated chicken in butter 8-10 minutes.
(After making this recipe for more than 10 years, I just now figured out that I can mix up extra seasoning to store in the pantry. Seems I'm a bit slow!)

Cornbread Casserole
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (14 oz) cream style corn
1 pkg. (8 1/2 oz) cornbread/ muffin mix
1 egg
2 T. butter, melted
1/4 t. garlic powder (I add more!)
1/4 t. paprika (I add more of this also!)
Mix all ingredients. Pour into greased 11x7x2 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees until tops and edges are golden brown (about 25-30 minutes).

Monday, January 11, 2010

School with friends ALL week long?!

Evan & Emma's sister, Hannah, and their parents are off to Ethiopia to pick up their new brother AJ! You can read about it here: Ulrichs Adoption. What that means for us is that we get a 6 night sleep over! Rhys and Kjersten get friends over for seven days!

Today is our first school day & I did NOT fill work boxes last night... Whoops. So, we'll do math and handwriting... and play games!

Rhys & Evan playing Bananagrams using words like 'lyre' and 'gnu'...

Emma & Kjersten playing Sequence Numbers

Brennen practicing some sequencing...

Cael working on that hand/eye coordination...
It was actually quiet in here for nearly 15 minutes... Ahhhhh...

Tell me I'm not alone...

This is a "clean" room according to a 12 year old boy.

His ledge that functions as his nightstand. It's now completely empty except for his alarm clock and his trophies.

Contents of his pillowcase. Yes. That's my Flip Video. Where the Halloween candy has been hiding, I don't know. I do laundry, including pillowcases regularly. Hmmmm...

Under his bed. In his "clean" room.
Well, he was gone to a friend's for the weekend. After debating going to get him, I decided that me cleaning for him would be punishment enough. I was right. His room is empty except for the Lego bin and the Erector set. He nearly fainted last night when he got home. Jason and I are hoping next time he's told to clean his room, he actually does it. Of course, it couldn't take too long now- there's nothing left! LOL!
(I really hesitate to post these pictures out of sheer embarrassment. Sheesh... Be kind in your comments... )

Thank God for Minnesota Boys!

They just love the cold! Here's grandpa Paul. He comes up to plow for us and proceeds to plow for the neighbors and the unimproved road that no one uses... just in case! Any excuse to play in the snow! e

With the 8" we got, Rhys was very grateful to not have to shovel the driveway. He only has to shovel the concrete parking pad, not our actual driveway. With grandpa and the 4-wheeler, Rhys just has to tidy up the edges. Lucky kid!

Cael woke from his nap while grandpa was here. It was bitter cold (-10F) so he couldn't go out, but, oh.... how he wanted to!!!!

Painting is more fun at someone else's house...

Especially when you just pile all their stuff in the middle of the room and get to work! Sara and Josh decided that their house needed some new non-beige paint and, with Jason home watching boys, Lou and I headed over on New Year's Day to see if we could help make that happen.

I'd like to think I was a little more help than she... but she sure is cute!

It's a little house. Little house = little corners. We painted the main bedroom and the living room. We'd planned to paint the kitchen as well after a small repair under the kitchen sink...

Sara & Josh were babysitting Meg for his parents. She was a bit underfoot, so into the crib she went. (No, Sara has no "news"! They're certified foster parents so they have a crib/toddler bed combo in the spare bedroom, which works well for Cael too!)

Uncle Josh saying hello.

Here's that little repair behind the sink that turned out to be not so little...
After repair work, a new cabinet and reinstalling the counter top, Sara got the kitchen painted a bright yellow! I'll get some updated pictures so you can see the end result~ beautiful!

Grandma and I working on the living room. From barfy beige to "elephant" made all the difference. It is an impressive transformation!

Here's the photographer... who spent a long day helping, playing, snapping pictures, painting a bit, and being very, very silly!

Afternoon in the country...

We finally trekked a bit further east last weekend to see some friends in their not-so-new-anymore house. It's absolutely beautiful. They live on 20 acres with lots to keep the kiddos busy. Apparently climbing onto the hay bales was a must-do.

Kjersten loved Jasper. She's trying very hard to overcome her fear of dogs. Unfortunately, she's already taught her younger bothers and they aren't as quick to embrace opportunities to conquer their own terror. But, Kenna's dog is the perfect dog. He's calm, gentle, and happy to be outside. I think we'll be taking the little boys out just to visit Jasper!

Keaton and Rhys had plenty to do, including punching holes through the ice in the creek, but couldn't pass up the hay bale either. Of course, they had to put a poor cat up there too. Looks to me like the boys just climbed up there to have a meeting of sorts. They promptly got down and were off to other things...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

I've been debating how to catch up on blogging, but I've decided to embrace Jamie's approach: just starting where I'm at...

So, this is where I'm at:
  • proud owner of a new camera (necessary thanks to somebody's naughty children) so I can actually take pictures for the blog. Helpful, huh?

  • grateful owner of a a new computer (which shall make these computer-type activities much more enjoyable)

  • still recovering from the flu & subsequent bronchitis while battling whatever other little bugs we seem to be bringing home still...

  • surrounded by Christmas decor because I have yet to pack it all up
  • thoroughly enjoying the 8" of snow we got last night

I love January. I love the holidays, but by the time New Year's rolls around, we're all ready for bedtimes, real meals, and schoolwork! January is like a "spring-clean" without having to clean windows or the garage. All the toys & clothes get sorted, the house looks emptier than ever once the Christmas decor is gone, and I'm always so motivated to tidy every area of my existence. What's not to love?!

And now, a few sledding pictures...

Landing safely at the bottom...

Being hauled back to the launch pad. Note the dragging hand. Just because the girls have to huff & puff to get him back up the hill, doesn't mean Cael shouldn't get to play on the way!

Preparing to take off...

Kenna, Madison, and Kjersten untangling from a collision...