12/30/11

I Feel So Small

One of the most peaceful moments I enjoy happens in the late evening.  When it is dark.  The kids are in bed (of course, I said peaceful, right? haha!)  It doesn't depend on the season.  I'm more likely to be outside at this time during the warmer months, but these moments can happen any time during the year.  I step out onto my patio when the sun is down for the day. Behind our house, is a large landscaped hill.  On top of the hill, is a house and huge trees.  In this near-perfect moment, I am looking up at the sky.  The stars are clear and I can hear the wind blowing through the large trees above me.  There is just something so special about these moments.  The night is so quiet and I feel so small in such a big world.  At this moment, I usually start thanking God for the very many blessing in my life.

What does your near-perfect moment look like?

12/29/11

Get Rid Of Those Smells

I've already mentioned that I am very concerned about living in a house that smells like I have 2 kids, 2 cats and a dog.  I am almost finished with my first bottle of home made room spray.  I use it often and I am looking forward to coming up with a new scented combination.

I've been researching other home remedies to see what else I can try.  I discovered a great idea and had to share.  Imagine this...you are preparing a great meal.  It is going to be very tasty, full of many flavors.  Maybe onion, or garlic, or even better, onion AND garlic ;)  Dinner smells so good and you cannot wait to sit down and finally eat.  What is the downside (other than bad breath)?  The lingering smells in your kitchen for the next few days.  So here is the little trick I found...

While you are cooking that yummy dinner, place a small dish of vinegar next to the stove.  That's it.  Pretty simple.  Honestly, I haven't given this a try yet, but I am definitely going to use this the next time I cook a stinky, uh, I mean a tasty meal.

Let me know if you give this a try.  I am curious to find out if this works.  Thanks!

12/28/11

Thanks!

I just wanted to say thank you for such a great response to my post yesterday, "I'm not ready for this". It was great to read the thoughts of other people on this topic. It was fun for me and I got a chance to learn about a few readers. Please feel free to comment any time, I'd love to hear from you.

Dawn

After Christmas Play

Te presents have been opened and a few days have passed. Now is the time to see which gifts were a "hit" and which were only good in theory.


The princess tent was a hit :). My girl has been climbing in there to read, to draw, to play and to sleep. This is a cozy place for her to go and have fun in a private spot.


The easel was another winner. My little girl loves to play school and spends lots of time drawing. This easel is frequently used for both jobs :)




This is my son playing his new game for the wii. It is a NHL game. For months I've listened to a football game in the background of my house. Now I am hearing an ice hockey game. I'm not complaining. I was tired of the football commentators :)




My little man is a huge fan of Legos. He ha wanted the police station for about a year. He started it yesterday and has made good progress. He'll be finished with the whole set soon.

We are very blessed. It makes me happy to see my kiddos enjoying the gifts they were given. There were other presents and some of them have had a lot of use so far buy I didn't want to take too many pictures. This was a very good Christmas for these guys. And while I'm thrilled to see them use the gifts they were given, they both know that the presents are nice but Christmas is really about Jesus' birthday.

What were some of the "hits" at your house?

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12/27/11

Not Ready For This...

Andy is a hunter.  I don't like it but this is one of his only hobbies.  It is only a few weeks each year.  And he does eat what he "gets".  Knowing that he is a hunter, I have dreaded the idea of my children being hunters.  Even before they were born.  The idea of my babies walking around with a gun just goes against everything in me.

I realize that when the time comes, my son (and daughter if she cares to) will be very well trained to use the gun.  But that will not make me feel much better.  Accidents happen.  That is why they are called accidents...no one plans for them to happen.  I only get one Boy Mini and one Girl Mini and it seems stupid to me to let them traipse through the woods for hours on end where they can get lost, hurt or shot. But I know the time is coming.  And as much as I dread this activity, my husband is really looking forward to the day he can take his son hunting with him.   In my defense, I worry almost as much each time Andy goes out too.  

Yesterday, I had my first taste.  Andy had a few hours so he decided to take off into the woods and give hunting another try for this season.  Then he asked our 7 yr. old if he wanted to go along.  He was eager to join his daddy so off they went.  I threatened my son and told him that if I find out he touched the gun, then he wouldn't be allowed to go with daddy for a long, long time.  They were gone for hours.  But it seems they had a good time walking through the woods.  They saw deer paths, deer tracks, tree stands, an arrow that was shot from a crossbow and a dry lake bed among other things.  They came home all muddy, with a few scratches but wearing big smiles with shared memories.  To me, it sounds like a perfect afternoon walk in the woods.  No gun necessary, right?  Why can't they just hike on a regular basis?  Ugh! 

 I know mommies all over the world have to wrestle with watching their little boys (and girls) learning to hunt.  I'm thrilled that they had a great afternoon together.  I will encourage similar outings but I am still going to pray that my son will never feel right taking the life of any living thing and that he decides for himself that he doesn't like to hunt.  Time will tell...and I guess I will have to be prepared for both of my boys heading out each year.  But that doesn't  mean I have to like it.


12/23/11

Can You Make A Grape Float?

I can. My son got a really neat book on experiements for kids. This morning, as I was cleaning the bathrooms (the bathroom cleaning fairy must have run off with the laundry fairy) my son came in asking if we could do one of his new experiments. I said sure. I had no idea what I was in for. And science was not really my strength in school. But if both of my kiddos were workin together (they were gathering the materials needed) while they waited for me to finish cleaning, I was going to give it a try.

The experiment was a lesson on density. It was also very simple to do. It was fun spending the time together. I enjoyed asking their predictions and hearing what they were thinking. Both of the Mini's were pretty amazed. Just so you know, a grape is more dense than water so it sinks to the bottom of the cup. Sugar water is more dense than a grape so the grape will sink to the bottom and them float to the top of the water. Then we mixed water with sugar water and guess what happened? The grape sunk. You have to have way more sugar water than water to make the grape float.

This only took a few minutes of our morning. I am so glad I agreed to see this through with my kiddos. What a fun way to start our holiday vacation together. Maybe we can do a few more while the Mini's are on break from school.

12/22/11

The Magic of Hot Chocolate

I'm an equal opportunity warm drink person. I love my coffee. But I also enjoy a cup I hot tea. And one can never go wrong with a cup of hot chocolate.

Most nights, as the house settles down I tend to reach for my cup of comfort. The kids are tucked in bed. My face is freshly washed. And I'm sporting the PJ's of choice ;) Then I make something warm to drink. Sometimes it is tea but most nights it is hot chocolate.

This is my evening goody. I usually pass on dessert after dinner and look forward to my cup of liquid dark chocolate sprinkled with the perfect amount of marshmallows. A wait of a few minutes is necessary so I don't burn my tongue. But once I am able to drink my hot chocolate, I can just feel myself start to relax. The house is quiet. I've made it through another day.

This is a very common ritual for me. I look forward to settling down with my warm drink and a book. Maybe the TV will come on. This is a calm part of my day. It has occurred to me that I wake up early specifically to enjoy quiet moments with coffee and a book. And I end each day in a very similar way. Huh, I wonder what that says about me.


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12/21/11

Getting Ready For Christmas

Tonight we didn't have to rush out the door after dinner. We had a relaxing evening stretched before us so the kids and I got busy.

Year after year I struggle over Teacher Gifts. What should I give? Is it enough? One year I tried to make fudge. That was three batches of disaster. I have no idea what I did wrong but it definitely didn't turn out.

This year, I thought of our gift idea a few months ago. It was so simple. I am going to give my homemade granola to the teachers this year. Tonight I got the Mini' set up at the table to make Christmas cards for their teacher. While they were busy creating their card, I made my granola. When we finished with those jobs, the kids each made an ornament to give their teacher. This was a fun way to spend our evening. Both of the kiddos enjoyed making something to give their teacher. I loved listening to them while they worked on their projects. Thursday is the last day of school before the break. I know they will both be so excited to give their special gift to their teachers. And I know that I don't need to worry this year about the gift that comes from our house. That is a huge relief.

12/20/11

Non-Scale Victories Are Important

The Holidays are here. Over the next few weeks, people wverywhere will be eating way too much food way too often. If you have more self control than most and you can keep your indulging the sweet tooth to a minimum, that's awesome! But for most of us, it is so hard to be around all the food without partaking in the yumminess.

Something I learned when I began my weight loss journey, was to look at the holidays with a goal in mind. A realistic goal. Basically, do you want to still have a loss when the festivities are over? Are you just hoping to maintain where you are? Or are you truly ok with a temporary gain? There is no right answer. Your response will then determine the work you have cut out for you as you hop from party to party.

Remember, non-scale victories are so important. I am someone who can become obsessed with the number on the scale. And when I feel myself becoming consumed with angst over that number, I have to force myself to think in terms of non-scale victories. This morning, I remembered a very real NSV that happened to me about 6 years ago. It was this time of year. I had been on a roll with my weightloss. And I had to buy a dress to wear to a New Years Eve wedding. I remember taking my best friend and feeling the very familiar dred of clothes shopping. Nothing ever fit right. Nothing ever looked how I wanted it to look. But this time, we went into JCPennys and I pulled a black dress off of the rack. I tried it on and I was really happy with what I saw. This dress was a size 14 and I couldn't have been happier! This was my first major NSV and I still feel a small rush of excitement as I think on this moment.

Your NSV may be different. It may be focused on what you do or don't eat at one social event. For example, "today I will take one plate and take a little of everything I want. But then I am finished with the food.". That is a common one for me. I love food. I am a grazer. I have a hard time staying away from a few bites here and a few bites there. But if I set that goal and am successful, it is an amazing feeling.

Whatever you do, don't give up. If you mess up, forgive yourself and move on. There will be other opportunities or success. Keep your long term goal in mind.

Maybe you will just stay active. You will find some way to exercise each day you have a social event. Whatever the goal is for you, setting a goal and seeing it through is so empowering. When setting your goal, make sure you know what you want the final outcome to be(loss, maintain or gain). Take small steps to make that happen. Enjoy the time with family and friends. An celebrate ANY non-scale victory you achieve. The holidays are stressful enough without adding the concern of what we eat.

12/19/11

Christmas Bells :)

My church has a Children's Bell Choir. The kiddos play twice a asrsrseyear; around Christmas and Easter. When my oldest was born, I couldn't wait for him to turn 4 so he could participate. Those kiddos stand up there and ring the bells with such gusto. I love it!

My son has played the bells since the golden age of 4. My daughter, has not. She is very introverted. Being in front of an audience is not a natural fit for her.

I was surprised when this year she said she wanted to try the bells. Today was the big day. I was a little nervous for her but I was very excited to see the whole group perform for us. The front pew was filled with children patiently waiting for the cue to stand and grab the bells.

As the children line up and begin to play, I noticed that my girl is holding the bells upside down. Whoops! I thought it was adorable but hoped no one would point it out. It was so hard for her to be up there in the first place. Next thing I knew, she was turning the bells around. I held my breath as she maneuvered the bells hoping she wouldn't drop them. Again, I kept thinking about how upset she would be if she was embarrassed. But the bells were righted, and she never missed a step.

I was so proud of both my kiddos and I enjoyed listening to the "joyful noise" the whole group made. And I'm sure I had that Silly Mommy Grin the whole time.


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12/16/11

Random Thought

                                                          

I had a revelation about myself the other day.  It's not exactly earth shattering but I have found myself thinking about this new insight ever since the discovery.  I love journals.  There are such beautiful journals out there to be bought, brought home.   Thoughts and memories are to be recorded in these journals and they are a written history of a person's life, from that person's perspective.  What a treasure.

Some people write in a journal to pass down their experiences to the next generation.  Some people write for themselves, as a way to process their world around them.  Page after page is filled with  words that describe emotions and problems and dreams and failures.

I have quite a collection of journals tucked away in different places in my house.  But the thing with me is that I don't write in those journals.  I seem to like the idea of a journal.  Actually writing in a journal is something I never keep up with.  I was cleaning out my nightstand last week and I found three different journals that had just a few things written in each.  What a waste.

I don't know why I can't keep up with a journal.  I really do like the idea of writing in a journal.  And I always find myself looking at new journals when I am in certain stores.  I'm not sure what my fascination is all about.

So the revelation?  I was thinking about my many unfinished (barely started) journals and I realized that Java Talk is like my journal.  This is where I write down my ideas, my concerns, the things that make me laugh, etc.    It isn't as pretty as having a nice book to flip through and pass on to my children one day.  But the process is still there.  I really enjoy writing my blog.  It is therapeutic to some degree and yet it is just fun.  This is my creative outlet and I am very thankful for this opportunity to write and share my ideas.  With that in mind, I believe I write Java Talk for myself.  I would write it even if no one ever saw these entries.  I am touched that there are people who are interested in what I have to say enough to read my blog regularly.  Thank you for taking the time to read Java Talk, I appreciate your support.

12/15/11

Delete!

I confess to being a shopaholic. I spend too much at most any time. It seems the more I try to control the spending, the worse the impulse.

The upside to this is the Christmas shopping has been done for a while. I like to shop in a store as well as shopping online. I'm an equal opportunity shopper.

The downfall to shopping online is that then you get bombarded by emails from the shops you already shop from. And of course these emails announce all the special deals that are available.

I'm sure your inboxes are flooded as well. I have had to start deleting these messages without opening them. It is too much of a temptation if I see the image of whatever the "great deal" is. Seriously, I check my inbox and hit, "delete, delete, delete, etc". It's annoying but I can't bring myself to unsubscribe to these sites for fear that one day I will miss out on that Most Amazing Deal.

I know, I'm an advertiser's dream. It is what it is. It may seem silly to fight this online shopping temptation several times a day. But I am proud to say that since I've finished the gift shopping I haven't continued to buy for the recipients which is very easy to do.

I expect these emails to continue through the beginning of January, when everything is "blowout" pricing. But that's not too far away and my poor delete button will get a break ;)


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12/14/11

Big Girl Time

What has cheese, garlic, protein, chocolate and laughter together? Dinner at The Melting Pot with the ladies from Book Club. We don't make a habit out of eating sooooo much food. But the Holidays are among us so we checked our calanders, made our reservations and drew names for a Secret Santa gift exchange. All the prep work was done and we were ready for some Big Girl Time.

We had so much fun! We are a small book club, only six of us. But this is a nice size. We had a table in a semi private room. The restaurant is a fondue restaurant. There were two burners at our table. So for each course we got to choose two types of cooking flavors. Two cheeses, two cooking broths, and two types of chocolates! Yum! No way to go wrong there.

We had a great night together, laughing and celebrating. We discussed the book that we read this past month. We joked about the amounts of food we consumed (who knew such tiny bites of food could be so filling?) and talked about our Christmas plans. It was a great night out with friends. I'm so thankful to call these ladies my friends.

12/13/11

The World Through My Son's Eyes

My son is 7 and a really good reader (forgive my proud Mommy Moment).  Lately, I've had to smile at his innocence as he reads something and makes an incorrect interpretation.  For example, tonight I am going out to dinner with some friends.  Andy told the Mini's they were going out to Arooga's for wings.  My son responded by asking, "Can we go to Hooters for wings?"  Um...no!  Now, just to lay down the facts, my husband does not eat at Hooters.  Our son just remembered reading the sign that they sold wings and it stuck in his mind.  Cute, huh?  Not to this mommy.

  I previously wrote about how we as parents chose to keep the Sandusky scandal from his little eyes.  That means that we kept the newspaper from him for a few days.  We wanted to protect him from some of the ugliness in this world.

Recently we saw a Billboard while driving around.  He saw the baby who was clearly cold and read the reference about Daddy not having the heater serviced before the cold weather moved in.  I forget the actual joke of this ad, but it was funny to me that he was so literal and missed the point of the commercial. I realize he is only 7 and the HVAC company really doesn't care if my son misunderstands the ad campaign, but this is just another example of how my son takes everything in and tries to understand the world around him.

The older he gets, the more we have to work  to protect the innocence in our children.  I don't want my kiddos to live in an unrealistic bubble but I feel they are too young to experience a lot of what is bombarding us from all angles.  Now, I not only have to choose what is appropriate for the Mini's to watch on TV (which I think is tough enough), but I have to worry about what they can read.  Read in the paper, books, on T-shirts, and now on the signs that pepper the streets.  The job of a parent doesn't seem to get easier.  It changes all the time as each stage brings on new challenges.  I'm not complaining, just sharing my observations.

This topic has brought a cute story to mind. This memory takes place my Boy Mini  was in kindergarten.   It was the first time I ever heard him sound something out without being prompted.  We were visiting my in-laws in Erie.  We were stopped at a red light and I heard my Little Man saying "KaFaCa, KaFaCa".  I was confused and so I turned to him.  He was very serious looking.  Then I realized we were stopped in front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken and the sign out front only said KFC.  The poor guy finally decides to sound out a "word" in the real world and it isn't a real word.  I laughed a lot over that one.  



12/12/11

The Worst Part

If you have known me for at least one holiday season, you know I LOVE Christmas!  I love the music.  I'd listen to it all year round if it didn't get me such crazy looks (I believe in the message all year so why can't I sing to it?).  I do wait until Halloween to pull out the Christmas music.  The pretty lights make me feel relaxed.  Our tree went up the night before Thanksgiving.   And I wouldn't have it any other way.  If I haven't started my shopping by mid-October, I feel panicked.  And whats not to love about the many occasions to visit with friends and family and enjoy yummy holiday treats?  

                              
                                                        

The worst part for me at any gift giving occasion is the wrapping of the presents.  I do not like to wrap.  At all.  No fun for me.  The shopping is fun.  I love thinking about what to give to the people I love.  The wrapping is worse than a chore.  Yep, I'd rather clean bathrooms then wrap presents.  In fact, I often find myself with an unwrapped gift that has been purchased and sitting in the bag for a few weeks.  I have managed to avoid wrapping the gift for those weeks.  And wrap it within hours of the gift being opened.  The whole time I am wrapping, I am thinking, "Why bother?  It is just going to be ripped open in a few hours."  Of course, this is a problem of my own making, not the gift recipient's.  And yes, I feel gift bags are still an act of wrapping.  

So this year, as my closet has become overrun with gifts and boxes, the guilt has been plaguing me.  This little inner voice has been saying, "you really should start wrapping". But I don't wanna! (insert whine here) So I came up with a new plan this year.  My sister comes home at the beginning of Christmas week.  The Mini's are still in school for the first few days of that week.  So Sis and I are going to have a Wrapping Party.  There will be paper, and presents and bags galore.  There will be music and coffee or maybe hot chocolate a plenty.  There will be laughter (that's pretty much a guarantee when the two of us get together).  And I'm hoping this is just what I need to put some excitement into this dreaded chore.  For now, the annoying voice telling me to get busy wrapping has stopped.  And I am looking forward to this afternoon with my Sis.  Maybe this can become a new holiday tradition for us.  Although, I feel it's only fair to warn Andy if this plan doesn't work, he may be Head Wrapper starting next year!

12/9/11

Friday

This is not a normal Friday. This is an early dismissal from school Friday. On days that the kiddos have rely dismissal, the school district buses the kindergarten kids in early and feeds them lunch. That seems like a waste of money to me but no one asked me.

Knowing my youngest would be at school by 11:30 am, I decided to checkout what classes the Y offered at this time. I was pleased to find a Zumba class available. That meant I could sleep in this morning (yay for me!) and I got to get my Zumba Groove on ;)

So my day has been something like this...

Take Son to school.
Run home.
Take daughter to gymnastics.
Stop by the mall to buy daughter a new winter coat (her zipper broke yesterday on the old one)
Take daughter to school and we were almost late because we had to run back to the house to get her backpack (of course it's library day so if she doesn't return the book, she can't get another)
Then I drove straight to Zumba.
Sweat like ice in a glass.
Drove home.
Showered crazy fast and got ready.
Picked the Mini's up at the bus stop and drove to meet some friends so we could enjoy our early dismissal to the max.

It is almost 3 pm and I'm exhausted! I am so glad it's Friday.



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12/8/11

Why Exercise?

It's no secret I enjoy my exercise. I'm not obsessed with it but I truly enjoy that hour five days a week that I set aside for my workout. And I pity the person or circumstance that gets between me and my exercise.

I don't need to tell you the physical benefits of regular exercise. The key to sticking with exercise for me is variety. Variety and a class environment. There was a time a class full of people would have freaked me out but now I thrive on the energy in the room. And when it gets tough, someone is always there to say the right words to motivate you through the moment.

I do cardio interval, muscle works, kickboxing, boxing, Zumba and even some Pilates. I use fun toys like, weights, Weighted bars, medicine balls, exercise balls, steps, bands and mats.

Zumba is a great cardio workout. And as a woman, it makes me feminine and sexy. Boxing is awesome because I feel so strong and my body is changing without weights and a million reps ;)

I'm not into big muscles an some women fear these forms of exercise because they don't want to look manly. These types of exercises are great for shaping and toning. And that is what most women would like.

I often hear mom's say they feel guilty about taking the time away from their family to do something for themselves. While I would agree there are some activities that should not come before family, your fitness is not one of them. I am a much better mommy when I take care of myself physically. I feel better. I have burned off steam. I am setting the example of the importance of exercise. And I hope they see that I am an important member of the family too and so this is one thing that gets done for mommy. When the kiddos are older, I look forward to them joining me at the Y.


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12/7/11

Daily Frustration of Mine

Sometime over the past year I have really begun to enjoy making dinner for my family.  Sometimes I don't like thinking of what to make, but that is where my planning ahead comes in handy.  Just check the  menu for the week and see what I feel like eating and prepare...

So, I spend the time planning meals.  Running to the store for something I forgot to get at the store.  Preparing the meal (while juggling assisting the Mini's with homework) and getting a healthy, tasty meal to the table for my family.  I get bored easily so I don't like to make the same thing too often.  Sometimes I take requests and that is when I make " favorites".

I really do ENJOY this process, most nights.  Really I do.  I sit down, feeling good about myself and a job well done.  Then so quickly, that content feeling is whipped out from under me.  Not intentionally, of course, but its gone nonetheless.  Someone starts complaining.  My daughter is famous for, "how much do I have to eat?"    And my favorite is, "can we have dessert? (I know, this isn't a complaint, but if you've barely touched dinner, why do we need to think about dessert?) The thing is, I know what my family doesn't like.  I rarely make something with ingredients I know they do not like.  I think it is more habit than anything else for them to find something they don't want to like.  I realize I am no kitchen goddess and I do not expect a gushy chorus of how wonderful dinner is.  But I would love to sit down, and have the people I love, just eat what I have made for them.  We could enjoy our dinner conversation as we eat what has been prepared for the evening meal.

I realize this is probably happening in homes across the world every day.  While there is some comfort in being a "normal" family, it doesn't make this daily matter any less frustrating.  It would be so much easier to plop microwaved frozen meals in front of each person.  But that is no longer the wife and mother I am.   I don't expect my kiddos to appreciate the effort I put into their lives until they are much older.  But a "thanks mom" or "this is yummy" every once in a while would be great.  They say it takes 10 positive comments to counter balance 1 negative comment.  I believe it.   I will continue to prepare healthy, tasty meals for my family, no matter what they do or don't say.  Making these meals are one way I feel I am showing them I love them.  Some day, they will think back on dinner time and they will get it.

12/6/11

Homemade Air Freshener


I am so excited about this new idea. I have two cats, a dog, two kids and one husband. I am always worried that my house smells like animals or something worse. So I buy lots of air fresheners and sprays and candles, etc.

I found this simple recipe online and couldn't wait to try it. It was simple and worked great! Andy says its very strong but it's just a matter of getting the right balance. No biggie. And there is nothing harmful in these simple, natural ingredients.

All you need is a spray bottle, water and 30-40 drops of whatever essential oil scent you wish I use. I mixed Sweet Orange an Clove Bud. I love that sweet and spicy combination. Add it all together. Shake it up. Spray. Smell your wonderful, homemade room spray.

If you give this a try, leave a comment and let me know what scent you made. Give us some ideas for future sprays.

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12/5/11

The House That WE Built

This Saturday was a beautiful day. We spent some time outside, the kiddos enjoyed riding their bikes now that everyone has moved away from training wheels.

We spent a little time shopping. I was surprised how quickly we ran into the toy store and the mall and found what we were looking for. Holiday surprise for me :)

When we got home, we pulled out a gingerbread house kit and got to work. Daddy and I assembled the structure. And if you look closely one of the walls is leaning in. I'm gonna claim that Andy was responsible for that side, hehe.

Then we let the Mini's decorate. They will in Sugar Candy Heaven! Runts, Nerds, Bottlecaps and SweetTarts, oh my! So not my kind of candy. Although, I was definitely in the minority.




Sweetpea having fun with some icing.




The Boy Mini was determined to make a pattern. Red, green, red, green...




This is the house that WE built. Not too fancy, not to difficult, but the perfect way to spend an afternoon together.

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12/2/11

Dinner Hit!


Last night was the final night the kids and I were on our own for dinner.  Our Daddy has been away  for his week of hunting.  I was really impressed with this meal and the Mini's made quick work of their food, which is always a good thing.

Homemade sweet potato fries and chicken tenders with a side of green beans was on the menu at our house.  This was the first time I made the fries as well as the first time I made the chicken tenders with this method.  I will absolutely be making these again.  I will admit, the green beans came from the can but you have to cut me a break, I was trying two new recipes as well as helping with homework.  

Sweet Potato Fries:  I peeled and cut two sweet potatoes to look like fries.  Then I placed the "fries" into a ziplock bag.  Put in a little olive oil and tossed.  Spread the fries on a baking sheet (preheat oven to 400*) and bake for about 40 mins.  Keep an eye on the fries to make sure they don't over cook.

Chicken Tenders:  I cut  my chicken breasts into tenders.  In one bowl, I put 1Cup of whole wheat flour.  In another bowl, I put the equivalent of four eggs.  In a final bowl, I put 2 1/2Cups of Panko Bread Crumbs.  Dip the chicken in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs.  Place on a baking sheet.  Cook for about 20 mins.  Internal temp. should be 165*

Both of these new recipes were very simple and well worth any work that was involved.  The chicken tenders were very crunchy without being fried.  I like any recipe that the kiddos are happy to eat without any fuss.  




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12/1/11

The Power of Music

The kids and I were in the car and the Christmas song, Sleigh Ride was on the radio. I was merrily singing along when I had a flashback of myself in kindergarten.

Today in school, the different areas of learning and play are called "centers". I'm not sure what those places were called "back then" but this memory takes place in the "Listening Center".

I remember how I loved to go over to the record player ( I know, I just dated myself). I would put on the headphones and just listen to the music. My favorite album was a Mickey Mouse and Friends Christmas album. And Sleigh Ride was my favorite song to listen to. This song was sang by none other than Goofy! Loved this song! Im not sure what the draw was but I have often thought back to that song on that record that I would listen to in the corner o my classroom.

Back to tonight. I was singing along. Smiling to myself. And remembering this little piece of my early years. So I decided to share the memory with the Mini's. They enjoyed hearing my story and shocked me by knowing what a record was. I have no idea how they knew that but their collaborative description was pretty accurate.

Isn't it amazing what a song can do? It can trigger memories and bring back emotions. I was reminded tonight that I have always loved to listen to music and I enjoyed sharing this happy memory with my children.

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