Friday, August 30, 2013

Chicken Alfredo

We had a long day yesterday. Austin missed school and at the pediatricians office we found out he has a pretty decent ear infection/stomach bug. FUN. We bought antibiotics and came home. Lorelei  is sporting a stuffy nose too. My house currently smells like my chest rub (Eucalyptus/Rosemary/Peppermint).

Chasing kids, dealing with stomach bug undies, puke sheets, & ruined carpet left me feeling pretty exhausted. My mom relief?? BATHTIME! I always shower first and OF COURSE both boys decided they were dirty and jumped in the shower too. I sprayed them off and kicked them out:) Drew a bath and then just sat there in the hot water, I ended up falling asleep...For over an hour! When I woke up and realized I had abandoned Robby with 2 starving children & a nursling, I rushed out and promised to have dinner made in an hour.

Super Easy Fast Chicken Alfredo it is!

If you know anything about me, you know I HATE pre-packaged food or pre-made things. I do not understand them. WHY on Gods green Earth would you eat something you cant even pronounce, on a regular basis (if at all), that you can MAKE yourself. Alfredo is so so so SO EASY to make yourself....and the jar stuff tastes like butt!

Not Judging-I get that sometimes it is convenient....I do,( I am guilty of Hamburger helper nights) but you should'nt be so busy that you rely on fake food the majority of the time. God made crockpots for that. 

Lets cook!!!

Modify this to your family size and tastes.
I made 2 boxes of pasta, 6 cups of alfredo, and 4 chicken breasts. Normally I would serve this with broccoli, because I think broccoli and alfredo are awesomeness, but my freezer is pretty empty right now... so pick a veg. (I'll feel better!)This is NOT a super healthy meal, but its yummy, filling, and minimally fake lol:)

I started dinner at 5:30... served it at 6:25.

First step= Pot, water,  salt, boil, noodles. Easy

Next=Bring your milk to a simmer. I have 6 cups in here and like to a pot that is short and wide. More milk is spread out on the pots surface so it heats fast this way. This is the longest part of the whole process. You want to get this milk steaming hot. While you're waiting you want to get the chicken into the oven (we are in a hurry remember).

I was RUSHING.....I threw 4 solid as a rock frozen chicken breasts on a cookie sheet I had sprayed with olive oil, and put them in the oven on low broil. Now you want to cube a block of cream cheese and throw it in the steaming milk along with a cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and a handful of chopped garlic and a tablespoon-ish of Italian seasoning.....
(GARLIC....NOMMMMMM) Love my ULU!!!!!

Aaaannnd that's it!

Seriously.....stop scrolling.... That's it. Leave it on low low simmer until the chicken is done. The cheese melts and the flavors all marry up nice.

I threw noodles on the plate, sliced up chicken, the alfredo, and we had a salad on the side. I turned an almost mom-fail into a super easy dinner. We LOVE this and I make it about once a month.
To make this Busy-Family-friendly you can always cook a double batch of chicken and sauce, then freeze half in a Ziploc bag.

Late evening? Make noodles and thaw the chicken and sauce.

Love Bean:)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Marbles... Day 2!

Vast...Major...LIFE-CHANGING improvement in the kids behavior! I am NOT EVEN KIDDING! Not even kidding.....
Last night after I published the marble blog, there were a few more incidents. Austin came in hubs and my room a few more times. He really really felt bad I think. He kept wanting to "cuddle with you guys".  I think his ear was killing him. I sent him back to his room after a few minutes of cuddles and kisses but made sure to drop a comment about having to take marbles out of his jar if he came in our room in the middle of the night and didn't get some sleep. He certainly took it to heart because after I said that about 20 minutes later there was insane crying/screaming from his room. Poor guy didn't want to leave his room from fear of losing a marble, but wanted me so badly. My heart kind of shredded into pieces, so he got some cuddling and I calmed him down, then left him in his room, which sucked for me because I wanted to give in and make an excuse for him...but we will never make progress if I give in. He passed out shortly after.
Sure enough, this morning they made their morning trek to my room for early morning cuddle/cartoons. Austin's ear had crusty goo and GOBS of nasty wax inside it. Called our amazing pediatrician and kept him home from school. Turns out he has an ear infection, and something wrong with his tonsils. At last years Well-child check up, the nurse practitioner mentioned his tonsils looked swollen. It's been mentioned randomly at appointments and sick calls. Today our Pediatrician mentioned it again. So he is on ear drops and the delicious pink liquid antibiotic that we all actually liked about being sick when we were kids. He has 2 giant bottles of it in the fridge...and mom licks the dropper after him lol....don't judge me! Follow up for the tonsil issue in 2 weeks. I don't have warm-fuzzies about it, but we will see. 

Today even with him feeling crap-tastic and being sick, he behaved SO WELL!! If it got too rowdy or I felt the need to repeat myself, I simply mentioned the marbles.  My new saying, all day, was "Do you think you should make a better choice?, I really don't want to have to take a marble out of your jar!". While we were out at the doctors office and then the pharmacy, Austin earned FIVE marbles from doing good deeds and following instructions and listening!! Liam earned FOUR! As the day progressed here at home they went on to earn quite a few. They each lost one or two here or there from not listening or following through on a request, but they earned them back. I am just in awe! Austin ended the day at 25 marbles (we began YESTERDAY) and Liam (the ornery child) has 18 in his jar. I am a super super proud mommy!

Tonight went so smooth. I put them to bed over an hour ago and have not seen or heard either of them since. I THOUGHT I heard one in my hallway, but I just said loudly "I hope there isn't a baby in my hallway, I hate taking away marbles!".... It may have been one of the dogs moving around or the cat. Whatever it was never entered my bedroom.....which is fabulous! They brushed their teeth and we read stories after supper with very little reminding and prodding as well!

(OMG soon as I typed this, Dobby the little dog jumped up on the bed and scared the shit out of me!!! Seriously dog???)

Now I will not sit here and say it is fool-proof. You have to be accountable and remember who has how many marble gains/losses during an outing and be diligent about filling the jar as soon as you get home so you don't forget. You want it to be as big a deal to you as it is to them. When things matter to you, they matter to them. If you are excited, they get excited. I may keep track in my phone or send myself a quick email through a long day so I remember. Today was fairly short. We were only gone for about 2 hours. Either way there has been a SIGNIFICANT reduction in screaming and frustration. I SIMPLY DID NOT REPEAT MYSELF OR GET FLUSTERED TODAY. I reminded them to correct themselves and if not, I yanked out a marble and put it back in my bowl.

Hoping we can all stick to it. I will post an update in a few days:) Cross your fingers LOL:) XOXO Bean

Monday, March 11, 2013

Big Changes

We are moving! Not really a big deal if you know a lot about our family. We live a mile from Robby's family farm in a little house on just under an acre of land.  Moving there is HUGE though. I have wanted the kids to grow up there since Robby and I were married. It has always always always been a huge topic in our conversations. Life on a farm is just different. There is no explaining it. It's a happy. It's a feeling. It's a release. It's being close to God, close to the Earth, primal, and beautiful. You are more aware of what really matters in your life. Not stuff, not places, or things...... reality lives in the quiet emptiness.

 I grew up in the city...well as "city" as Mid-town Tulsa, Oklahoma can I had one "country-ism", my dad and I had a few beehives. I loved that! We also had a garden, but THAT is where my prairie ways stop. I grew up cruising Memorial on the weekends and going to the lake, smoking pot, going to the club, being stupid, and getting in trouble. I still LOVE my techno, electronica, house, and drum and bass music when I am alone or in a "mood". (Can you imagine driving in the middle of the country, peacefully, then hearing some Tiesto in the background?" Yeah I am a puzzle!) Being ANYTHING farm or country related is NOT what I thought I would end up falling in love with. At all. Country living and people took me in and I have soaked it up! To be blatantly honest, my husband and I were COMPLETE opposites at first. He is and forever will be a cowboy, redneck, backwoods, hick. I mean that in a loving, completely complimentary way too. HE is REAL... He is the most real man I have EVER IN MY LIFE met. He isn't a jaded asshole. He never needs anything to make him happy. HE just IS what he IS and is happy with it.  Being around him just makes you more grounded. He completely centers me and mellows me. I NEEDED that. Before him I almost married a 39 year old, "rock and roll personality"/confused/angry abusive prick. That one, fed off of my crazy....bad bad bad match. BAD.

Off track..I tend to do that:)

Married my husband on the farm in front of our pond:)
The land is 87 1/2 acres that was Robby's grandfathers land and there is about 500 acres of woods right next to it owned by another family but nobody lives on it. My in-laws run the farm and we will later. It is a prairie hay farm. Basically all summer we cut hay in the fields, let it dry, bale it, pick it up, and load it into the barns to sell as feed in winter. The only equipment is a tractor, a trailer, the baling machine, and the loader. All of the hay has to be physically stacked in the trailer and then loaded by us, into the barns...It is HOT, EXHAUSTING work. I will blog about it. 
I want my kids learning this lifestyle. Hard work, perseverance, dedication, loyalty. I WANT them to run in the fields, fish in the ponds, ride 4-wheelers, fall down, get dirty, break arms. I want them to hunt and hike and camp out in the woods.
Do you remember sitting in awe of your grandparents, when they told you stories of how they grew up? The freedom they had, the awesome things they did. THAT is the childhood MY kids will have. THOSE are the lessons and caliber of people my kids will be...or so I hope.

There is always MY plans...and then God's plans:) Let us all just hope we do a good job and instill good morals and lots of love into our kids!!!

Back to now..
Beyond just being on the Farm, we are also setting our family up to build a house. We currently are moving into an old trailer that his parents used to rent out, so we can sell our house. Sell your house to move into a trailer??? Are you crazy? YES...and no. We HAVE to sell our house to move ahead in life anyway. Build, buy, whatever...we have to sell. BUT, we have a semi-blessing. We want to build a pole-barn type house on the Farm, away from my in-laws house which we someday will inherit along with the Farm. The house WE build is our kids "grow up " home and a future rental income for Robby and I. Smart smart smart! We have to sell our current house to pay off student loans, car notes, and save the rest plus a year of frugality and thrifty thriftiness, to have a decent down payment on a building loan. The blessing?? The trailer means NO RENT! Normally you have to do these things in an apartment or rental. Any kind of financial downsize or saving plan takes a lot of sacrifice. Thankfully we have AMAZING parents/in-laws. They are letting us BUY their old trailer. When we build our house, we get to sell it. In any other situation you couldn't "make back" the "rent" you paid after your done living somewhere...we sort of are! It is so SO SO worth a year-18 months of tiny trailer living to be on the Farm and to be financially free (minus a low interest building loan) AND be in a house we built that someday will provide income for us! There will be days where I wont be so chipper about it. I am 7 months pregnant with our 3rd kid! We are leaving a HOUSE. 1300ish square feet for maybe 1000. Maybe. Our own yard, not having to ask if we want to do something or where is ok for this or that, but that is our sacrifice. We are moving onto a Farm that is still his parents. We are just learning the ropes and there to help where we are needed. I have to see where is ok for me to have a big garden (and I already started tilling and getting soil ready here at the house, so THAT work went to waste..)...but again, those are times I will need to center myself, step back to look at more than the NOW... The whole picture is so worth it. I really am a lucky lucky girl. Very ready for this challenge and eager for the big beautiful barn house and my kids growing up in an amazing environment. I hope you follow along as I write, vent, gripe, and maybe sometimes brag a little:) 
More to come....This is all just a work in progress:) XOXO Bean

Mom's, Stop losing your marbles!!!

My kids and I have been trying to find a happy place when it comes to discipline, and praise, and rewards for a while. I grew up believing spankings and being yelled at was what parents and kids did. Our home was dysfunctional to say the very least. Maybe as this blog grows and I feel its safe to open myself up more, I may talk about that.....but THAT isn't what today is about. This is about making sure that the things I grew up with as "normal" do NOT become normal to my children. My goal is to parent them with love, learning/teaching, and guidance. (Did you know the word "discipline" actually means to "TEACH"...yup yup!!) I do not want to yell lessons into them or beat them into behaving. I wont say spanking is wrong because BELIEVE ME...there have been Plllllleeeennnnty of times I have swatted my boys, and there will be more, but I do not like it being the norm or being an everyday occurrence. I HATE threatening my kids, yelling at my kids, and spanking them. You do what you feel is right and what works for your home. I've let them get away with a LOT and I have been inconsistent, so nothing has worked and they have turned into hellions when things don't go their way.... or when they just don't want to do something. I keep getting frustrated and giving up... Sooooo I have put my foot down. We are in the midst of a lot of changes, so why not this too. Why not implement a system that is small kid friendly and fun??

I have seen this on Pinterest and a few friends on Facebook have posted this idea a few times. Today we began:) We now have marble jars!!!!

So, the idea goes like this. When your kids do good things, they get to put marbles in their jar. When they do bad things they remove marbles back to Mommy's bowl. If one is being a bully to another, the bad guy has to take his own marble and place it in the victims jar. I personally LOVE this idea. It brings life lessons down to a child's level. Responsibility, accountability, honor, and name just a few. We have already had AMAZING success with this tonight. Ill tell you about that in a few minutes!! When the jar gets full you can do something special. You could have a game night, or go to CherryBerry, or let the child pick a fun craft. We decided to let them pick a small trinket or toy from the Dollar General by our house. The boys LOVE going there. I'm sure we will random it up every once in a while, especially during summer vacation. You want them to look forward to filling up their behavior jar and to be proud of themselves for accomplishing a big goal.

(Excuse the mess..we are moving LOL)
We chose to use pint sized jars. It takes about 120 marbles to fill it up to the bottom thread line. THAT is asking a LOT from a small child. (We are letting them put in 2 when they do a normal "good" task and maybe more if the deed is deserving, and removing 1 unless its a pretty drastic offence) I think if you are doing this method with small children you may want to use half-pint jars. My boys are 3 and 5 and I feel this is appropriate. I feel that good behavior should be expected from children and not necessarily "rewarded" but definitely praised. With this method, I am not rewarding my kids good behavior with crap, toys, candy, MONEY. I am simply showing them that doing the right things and continuing on the right path leads to good things. I NEVER want my kids to think they only behave to get stuff. That is why I really am excited about takes a lot of hard work to reach your goal. It is not instantaneous.
We decorated our jars and bowl this afternoon when we got home from school and stopping by the new (old) trailer to clean a bit more. We came inside the house and I threw pork chops and scalloped taters in the oven. We grabbed the puff paint out of the craft cabinet and all sat around the coffee table. They picked the colors they wanted and then they pretty much dictated to me what they wanted and where....I wasn't game for a huge clean up tonight so I am glad they "helped" me by unscrewing the puff paint lids and handing me paints..
We let them sit and dry on the buffet and we ate supper. After supper our routine is clean up, brush teeth, stories, and bed. Or so I like to think. Its really an awful dance of "did you brush your teeth?", "Let me brush your teeth", "Did you pee?", "Please go pee!", "Lay down.", "Please be quiet so I can read your story.", "Please lay down.", "Lay down."..."Be quiet".."PLEASE stay in bed."...etc. I mean its just awful... TERRIBLE.. Bedtime stresses me the hell out! Then if I am lucky they will stay there when I go to my room.... If not, which is usual, there is several more episodes of our back and forth banter and eventual begging....or me giving in and they both end up in my bed. Robby is on a weird schedule right now and has to be at work at 2:30am. This screaming/begging/kids end up in our bed normal is so not good for him. He just doesn't sleep well when both kids are in bed all night with us. We ADORE morning cuddles and Saturday morning cartoon marathons in our bed, but week-night 150 degree 3 year old in your back sucks monkey balls. Not to mention midnight pee in our bed, which has been a fun journey.
ANYWAY...all of that to kind of fill you in on our "normal" and then how it all went down tonight using our marbles..
I made a comment once to hubby tonight that this cant be real.
I made sure after supper to say encouraging things like, "When you are done brushing your teeth, come put some marbles in your jar!". Liam needed help brushing (he is almost 3) so I helped him and did our usual "breath check" after. I made all kinds of a big deal out of them putting their dirties in the laundry room, taking the dishes back to the sink, brushing, and even gave them 2 extra marbles because "I know tonight you guys are going to stay here in YOUR bed like big boys after I read Thomas, right? I know you want to keep these marbles in your jar!"
LIAM CAME OUT ONCE!!!!! ONCE........ There was no huge fight, no yelling, no losing my cool.. In one evening of doing this I FEEL GREAT! Now I wont BS you, Austin had a few more back and forths from our room to his tonight but his ear hurts. I will let him pass. It has been a success regardless and I am actually excited to see how this goes over the next few weeks! I will totally keep y'all updated! XOXO Bean!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Welcome to the insanity

Hey Yall! Thanks for stopping by:) I hope to use this blog as a way to share what I learn everyday from being a mom, wife, and crunchy wannabe! I love to cook and will share recipes with how-to's and photos. I also make all of the cleaners I use in my house so Ill share that stuff too. Lets keep it fun and entertaining. Cant wait to get started and have you guys as a witness to the all the fun things we have going on. We will be moving very soon back to our farm, so that will be a fun adventure to share with you:) Lots of changes, mishaps, craziness coming...enjoy:)  Love Bean