Sunday, February 12, 2012

Maddie Turns 8!

Madeleine turned 8 on the 4th, and she decided it was high time to host her first slumber party.  I agreed, reluctantly, since I was pretty sure there wouldn't be much slumbering that night.

We started the evening with a snack - cookies and milk, in a sprinkle crusted rim.  They ate the sprinkles and left the milk.

I surprised them with a special kind of night-light...glow sticks in balloons!

I had to laugh because at the very late hour of 9 pm, the girls were begging for some shut eye!  I guess I wore the out with all those stories of the good ol' days when I was a little girl.

In the morning, the official party started.  They made decorations for the party.

I painted their nails.

They made hair barrettes an lip gloss.

Of course there were presents and cupcakes.

Here are the gals (and Graedon).

It's fun to be eight!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Healthy Eating Tip #4 - Sneaky Sneaky

Got a food processor?  This is probably the appliance that I use the most in my kitchen.

My kids will not touch mushrooms or onions.  They do love them, though, and here's how I know this fact.  They eat them and ask for seconds.  They just don't know that they're eating them.

When I want to add some flavour to a dish (in this case Shepherd's Pie), I whip out my handy dandy petite size food processor.  I grind up pieces of onion, mushrooms and peppers until they're a paste.  It helps if you add a bit of liquid, like olive oil, to the mix.  You can hardly tell what's in the mixture once it's ground up.  At this point, if the kids ask me what I'm making, I just say, "I'm making flavour!"  to which they reply, "I LOVE flavour!"

Muah ha ha!!

When that's done, you just mix it with your ground beef and cook it.

See?  No, you don't, because you can hardly even tell it's in there.

This would work for any ground beef dish - meatballs, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce or even tacos.  I've even put fruit & veggie pulp from the juicer into meatloaf with the same results.

Just remember that the secret to this is to call if flavour.  How can anyone refuse flavour, right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

There are these moments, when I glance up from my work, distracted.  I give a tap to the tied sneaker, and lift my head to catch my eldest zipping the baby's coat.  I turn the corner, arms full with laundry, and the moment is almost over, but not yet.  The table is cluttered with paper, and they're writing letters to me.  I love yous and XOXOs.  How is it that I've been given that chance?  To be the one to make the difference?  To bear witness to their growth?

We snowshoed through the woods today, as a family.  Gen on my back, Eva led the way.  Richard was behind with Maddie & Graedy, he in charge of yanking the boy back to his feet by his snow jacket.  As the house came back into sight, Eva sped ahead. 

I entered the back door with lunch prep on my mind.  Tuna pitas, salad, chips...but there was half a loaf of peanut butter toast, and eggs frying in the pan.  Eva, so proud, so grown up, making lunch.   I worried.  Was I wrong to teach her to use the stove?  I wavered between heart attack and filled heart, and settled on the latter.  She was careful. She was wise.

I kissed her and thanked her for the wonderful meal.  We ate it, and praised her cooking.  I couldn't help but bring up safety and perhaps, next time, asking permission to use the stove.  Mostly, though, I marveled at my girl who, by leaps and bounds, will not be a girl much longer. 

They are growing.  I am watching, my apron strings lengthening every day. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dip It - Tip 3

Tip #3 - Everything tastes better with dip.

But here's the's not just any dip.  It's an hors d'oeuvre!

This has made a big difference in the veggie intake at my house.  Serve them some crudités as a first course and they're bound to eat it.  They'll be extra hungry, and with veggies as the only choice, that's what they'll eat.  The bonus is that these veggies are raw, so they still have most of their nutritional value (as opposed to cooked veggies which have lost a good chunk of their goodness).

Carrots and broccoli aren't the only options, of course.  You could try any kind of vegetable - green beans, mushrooms, peppers, celery, you name it!  You could cut up fruits, too, and serve them with a yogurt dip.  If you really want to get funky with it, you could have a cheese platter with sharp cheddar, brie, swiss and even bleu.  Of course, that's not a veggie/fruit thing, but, healthy nonetheless.

Having the veggies and dip before lunch is really what makes this tip work.  I used to serve carrot sticks with our meal, but the kiddos usually filled up on the other food instead of the veggies.  For example, if we were having egg salad sandwiches with chips and carrot sticks, which do you think they crammed in their mouths first?  Yep.

Now, will snacking before lunch ruin their appetite?  Yes, yes it will.  But if you think of the snack as part of their dinner, then I'm sure the Mommy Guilt will lessen soon enough.