Boys…One of Life’s Mysteries

I have a three-year old. He is adorable. He is a sweetheart.

He loves dinosaurs. He loves Bob the Builder. He loves Goosebumps. He loves Mom and Dad. He loves food. He is so full of zest for so many things.

He is also full of NOISE and is the BIGGEST challenge of my entire life.

Every day, we have the same battles. He needs a certain color cup and plate. He needs to wear jeans and a polo shirt. He has to watch Bob the Builder. He absolutely must say everything in his loudest voice, regardless of how many people tell him he is too loud.

And after someone tells him to get quiet,…he gets louder!

He must be the one to pray before every meal. Even if someone else has prayed, he demands everyone stop again so he can pray aloud.

At nap time, he sleeps on my bed (so his brother will actually sleep and they don’t get up and play). He won’t lie down to sleep until I close my bathroom door and build “walls” around him on the bed with pillows. Then I have to give him a kiss before I can leave the room or he yells for me to come back. He also tells me he will not sleep and lets out a screech when I shut the door. Just one screech, but it happens WITHOUT FAIL.

He is constantly moving. Energy is off the charts. He is playing dinosaurs. Then he is running through the girls’ setup of dolls or toys or just messing with them while they play “house.” He has a million questions and (this week) a bazillion things to say about STEGASAURUS!!! Next week, it will probably be another dinosaur he is yelling about.

A few weeks ago, I really started to worry that he had a problem. The doctor mentioned his behavior this past Spring while we were there for another kid’s checkup; he was a terror – messing with everything, saying every naughty thing he could think of, and telling me NO any time I corrected him. When we went back for a visit at the end of September, she noted how different and more composed he was.

He did act better, but at home he was still (what I called) crazy.

Then we went to the library this past Monday. I was scanning the Parent/Teacher shelves for any new homeschooling books to check out. A book called Raising Your Spirited Child caught my eye. Ok, it pretty much threw itself off the shelf INTO my eye. I thought spirited sounded a little stupid, to be honest. But, the words under the title are what made my decision to check it out. “A guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic.”

This was my guy! He is MORE of what my other kids are at a “normal” level. HIS normal is out of the ordinary for other kids.

I am about half way through the book. I cannot tell you how many times I have laughed while reading this eye-opening book. Every example they give, every description or explanation they have for how a “spirited” child might act or react….it is EXACTLY how my little guy acts and reacts!

It is not a Bible-based book, which was one of the reasons I hesitated getting it. But, the book is mostly about understanding a spirited child and gives advice on handling and avoiding certain situations. It doesn’t deal with the heart and helping the child understand their need for Jesus or how their behavior fits into the moral spectrum. I am happy to read solutions to the over-the-top meltdowns he has at the store, library, park, friends’ homes, etc. And I also love how they explain how to BETTER talk to your child – the positive adjectives I can use to describe his over-the-topness (not a word, I know), rather than just use negative ones. He isn’t necessarily being defiant and naughty. He is just more exuberant than a lot of kids. He has a zest for particular things that maybe I don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean he does not like anything else. He just has to be approached a certain way when introducing new things or changing a routine or cancelling plans. He needs to be prepped a certain way before going to the store or out in public or in a loud place.

There isn’t anything wrong with my guy. He doesn’t hate me. He isn’t trying to push my buttons or ignore the rules.

He just loves life in a way that I do not always understand. But he LOVES life….and his dinosaurs. :)

And I LOVE HIM!

 

Recipe: Apple Pear Sauce

My kids love pears!

I do not.

BUT, I do love how inexpensive they can be this time of the year. So, I looked up several pear sauce recipes, but I did not find one that made me overly excited to mash pears and eat them. Until I saw people mixing pears with apples to make an Apple Pear Sauce! Genius!

I created a ratio of 2 to 1, apples to pears, just to be sure the pear taste wasn’t overwhelming. (I know, I am a baby about the pear taste!) Here is what we ended up with….and it is YUMMY!!

Apple Pear Sauce

6 pounds apples (we had a mix of gala and a few golden delicious)

3 pounds pears (we had Bartlett on sale locally)

Cinnamon, optional

Juice of 1 orange

2 TBSP lemon juice

Peel, core and cut apples and pears. (Yes, the pears become so juicy and slippery you will be extremely annoyed by them!) Heat on medium in large pot with about 3/4 cup of water. Cover and cook down, stir occasionally, for about an hour. Lower the heat slightly if it seems the water is evaporating faster than the fruit is getting mushy.

After an hour, remove lid for good and stir and mush fruit. Cook until fruit can be smashed with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and use potato masher to smash all fruit into a chunky sauce (or run through the blender in batches to get a thinner sauce). Stir in juices. Add cinnamon to taste.

Tah-dah!

I believe I did slightly more fruit than I posted here, and I ended up with 4 1/2 quarts of sauce. I canned (water bath, 25 minutes for quarts, 15 minutes for pints) the quarts and refrigerated the pint.

Apples are on sale again this week, so I do plan to get several more 3-pound bags and work on more sauce. One of my FAVORITE things about Fall!!!

Bake It Tuesday

I am on week two of my two-week menu plan. We are really liking the two weeks’ worth of meals planned out at a time. And when I say we I totally mean just ME. No one else really cares…as long as there is an edible meal on the table at dinnertime!

Today was a baking day, but the only thing I managed to do was make a loaf of bread. And I used the bread machine.

So, I guess I really didn’t bake.

Oh well. I have plans for granola bars later this week and some muffins for breakfast on Thursday or Friday.

Did any of you bake anything fun today (or any time recently)? I would love to hear about it!

Two-Week Menu Plan

We went as a family to do our big grocery trip. A family of seven. All of us went to three stores. It was a bit long and crazy, but we got it done! I using A LOT of the meals from the $5 Dinner Menu Plans that I am receiving for free. (Go HERE to sign up and get four weeks free to test out the site and service….you will love it!)

 

Breakfast

Oatmeal Muffins x 2

Cinnamon Rolls x 2

Eggs x 4 (fried, scrambled, cheesy, whatever)

Apple Cake x 1

Waffles x 2

Egg and Ham Hash x 1

Pancakes x 2

 

Lunch

Leftovers x 6

Noodles x 2

PB &J x 4

Egg Salad x 1

Chicken Salad x 1

 

Dinner

BBQ Meatball Sliders (on homemade rolls), frozen corn, applesauce

2 x BBQ Chicken Tacos, Black beans and corn

2 x Red Enchiladas, Salad

2 x Black Bean Chili, Salad, Cooked Carrots

Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce, Cooked Veggies

2 x Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

Herbed Meatballs w/Pasta, Veggies

Pizza

Taquitos

Savory Pulled Pork, Potatoes, Veggies

 

Homemade Items to Make for the Two Weeks:

Applesauce (Meijer has apples for $.68/lb!!!)

Honey Granola

Trail Mix

Bread

Cookies/Brownies

Rolls

Homemade Mixes (pancake, oatmeal muffin, biscuit)

Catching Up and Falling Behind

The last week has felt like a controlled chaos around here! My husband took off a few days around his regular time off and ended up with seven full days t home!

Don’t get me wrong…I love having him here. To fight the whininess at 4pm, to battle the bath times, to help feed the starving kids in the morning, and so on. BUT my obsessive cleaning has to halt while we spend our time together. I feel like nothing gets cleaned while he is home. We work around a crazy schedule of his regularly, so his days off get dumped on with everything we want to get done with him home- movie nights, playing outside, going to the museum. And on top of all that stuf, he ran the Chicago Marathon his past Sunday!

So, my cleaning schedule, my blog, my menu plan posting…it all takes a back seat. And it is ok. I will catch up once he is back to work.

For now, on his last day home, I will enjoy the mess and the moments with him!

Recipe: Apple Cake

I love Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures! I don’t remember how I first heard of or came across her site, but I have used so many of her recipes. They are all amazing! She has such a huge selection, and she has a TON of gluten-free versions too…for those in need of gluten-free foods!

So, I received her daily email last week, which included an Apple Cake recipe. I tried it and LOVED it!

You need to go make this cake…NOW. It is delicious as a dessert or breakfast food or snack after you put the kids to bed (I don’t know who would do that…).

Here it is: Apple Cake. Click on it. Make it. Eat it.

NOW!

Menu Plan Update

Last week, I posted my two-week menu plan. As always, life changed some things around, and we deviated from the menu. Here is what we ate last week for dinners:

English Muffin Pizzas
Chicken and spinach taco casserole (because I forgot to buy enchilada sauce…duh!)
Bbq chili
Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Frozen pizza
Creamy potato soup

This week should be:

Bbq chicken and tatoes
Chicken tortilla soup
Spanish rice skillet
Southwest rice pilaf
Tato, egg and cheese tacos
Zucchini meatballs
Chicken taco casserole

Hoping it doesn’t get too crazy here. My husband runs the Marathon on Sunday. I won’t be able to go and watch (race security + 5 kids= too much crazy), but he will need certain meals the night before and after.

Happy Monday!!