Monday, January 30, 2012

Adventures in Parenting: Nutella Edition

Saturday night Greg and I once again learned some new things we may never have known had we not had offspring. One is that it is decidedly harder to clean up a giant sized container of Nutella spread all over the kitchen than it is to smear it there. The former is a task for a dedicated adult with deep cleaning experience, while the latter - well, any child can do it. Provided his parents think he is in bed asleep.

After tucking the boys in bed, Greg and I were watching a movie in our room. All was quiet and peaceful, until I heard water turn on in the kitchen. I went in to investigate and Kirby told me, "We were just cleaning up."

I saw chocolate around his mouth and thought, "Great. They've been into some chocolate chips in the pantry." Then I took in the whole scene and called for back up. Greg responded, as he was on his way in, "Is it hot chocolate again?" If only...

I'll say one thing for my boys: they are very thorough. There was not an inch of the handles on the fridge and freezer they had missed, nor on the dishwasher control panel. Sam summed it up for me quite nicely: "It's ah-mazing!"

They also proved they were creative and artistic. Beautiful Nutella handprints arranged in nice little rows. Who would have ever thought of that medium? Seriously, Nutella. Who knew? Thorough, creative and artistic, these are qualities we should encourage in our children, right? Ooh, and cooperation, dedication to a task... This mural must be an awesome visual attestation of our parenting skills.

When Greg came in, I was washing Kirby's hands while Sam was licking the fridge. Yes, you read that right. I wonder if Sam will appreciate his new nickname of "Fridge Licker" when he is older. (It did smell good. So thoughtful of them to make a mess that let me enjoy the lingering scent of chocolate while I cleaned.)

Not sure about what role the potatoes played, but they were also covered in Nutella, as was our butter dish. Also some plastic garbage bags, which we found hung up on clothespins on our art wall in the laundry room.

Greg took a picture and sent it to his sister. She showed it to her daughter (age six) who asked, "Is that funny? Or bad?" The answer is Yes and Yes. I have to say that a sense of humor goes a long way. Greg and I couldn't help but laugh as we cleaned it up together. Perhaps that may be evidence of our poor parenting, LAUGHING at such a naughty deed. We didn't laugh in front of the kids, though, for the record. Even though Kirby kept coming in and reassuring us with his commentary, such as:

"Me & my brother, we decided not to do it again."

And "I bet we're going to have a new rule tomorrow: No kids in the kitchen. But we can still help you with the laundry, right?"

And this was perhaps to ease our pain and put the present situation in perspective: "Remember the time I made an even BIGGER mess? When I went in my room and climbed up on my shelves and then DUMP! DUMP! DUMP! DUMP!" There is no forgetting that mess.

A word of advice: If it is quiet, go see what they are doing. They are never just "playing quietly" or miraculously going to bed without a fuss. They are ALWAYS up to something! Perhaps making a mess that they will describe as "The Biggest Mess I Ever Made! It even made me TIRED!" That was a mess to remember.

The Nutella Incident of 2012, perhaps not so noteworthy, but as Greg said in the midst of our cleaning, "At least now you'll have something to blog about."

Yes, there is Joy in the Journey of parenting, even late at night cleaning up a surprise mess. Still, I would not recommend Nutella for use as children's finger paint. At least not indoors.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gingerbread Monkeys!

A message from Kirby, which I think would make a good non-swear-word expletive.

You never know what that kid will say or do. Or take pictures of when he steals my camera... What I want to know is, why can he get pictures of Sam and Jiorji that aren't fuzzy, while they never hold that still for me?

"MAG-ni-fi-cent!" -Kirby, tasting his first bite of dinner the other night. I have to say, I think that he is. But I may be biased.

P.S. This just in... I have to share a couple more Kirbyisms from dinner just now:

"Jesus loves you more than you think." Then immediately, under his breath, "Solar Power!"

"Sam, you can do it, you're a smart boy!"

"Kirby...Ad-am...Jen-sen. Kirby...Ad-am...Jen-sen..."

"Mom, we could put frosting and whipped cream on pancakes sometime."

We are never bored with Kirby around.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If It's Not Too Much Trouble...

After I had just mentioned that I didn't want to cook dinner, Sam found me in the kitchen getting things out of the cupboards.

"What are you doing?" he asked. I told him I was making dinner.

"Why? You just said you didn't want to!"

I replied that I didn't WANT to but that I figured everyone would want to eat something so I was making dinner anyway.

He looked up at me and said in his adorable Sam way, "Well, I can just have water."

Bless his sweet little heart!

While I'm on a quote-my-kids kick, here are some more from today:

"Mom, look what my feet pajamas are good at! Wiping up milk!" -Kirby

"Turn on the lights dot com!" -Sam

Jiorji, looking at her reflection in a mixing bowl on the counter: "Hi, Jiorji!"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Write? Right.

I have been feeling like I need to write. The more I read, the more I want to write and I feel it is right to write. I came across this quote from President Hinckley that I find very encouraging:

"To you women of today, who are old or young, may I suggest that you write, that you keep journals, that you express your thoughts on paper. Writing is a great discipline. It is a tremendous education effort. It will assist you in various ways, and you will bless the lives of many - now and in the years to come, as you put on paper some of your experiences and some of your musings."
(From "One Bright Shining Hope, p. 46)

I realize I can feel bad and apologize and regret and make excuses for not writing for so long, but instead I am starting with today, and moving forward. The great thing about life is that you can always start right where you are to get to where you want to be, just face the right direction and go for it!

Thank you to all you more faithful bloggers who inspire me to keep writing and finding joy in the journey!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Being Thoughtful to Myself

Dear Brittany,
Next year when you have grated up your zucchini and are leafing through the pages and pages of zucchini bread recipes in your file, this one is your favorite. Why do you still keep those others around? Anyway, you are welcome.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1+ cup shredded zucchini

Mix eggs and sugar; add pumpkin butter and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Pour into two greased loaf pans (9x5x3). (Or my two medium plus one smaller, but not mini loaf size) and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until they test done (more like 40 minutes for the smaller loaves). Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.

P.S. The recipe here is not the exact same as the original in the file. It is with my adjustments, just the way I like it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Doing My Laundry is "Loads of Fun"

1. I have three eager little helpers who LOVE laundry! They are varying degrees of help, but each enthusiastically gets involved.

2. I have a laundry song. Are you jealous? It goes something like, "Iiiiiiiiiit's Laundry Time, It's Laundry Time, It's Laundry Time! Hurray! We love to do the laundry, we do it EVERY DAY!" (except Sunday, which is my day off.) Oh, and we march. Laundry Parade!

3. My kids love to be "The Great Kirbini/Stupendous Sam/Wonderful Jiorji in the Amazing Flying Laundry Basket!" and get carried to their rooms with their laundry.

4. I love to hear the washer and dryer running in the background of my day. It makes me feel like I am a super multi-tasker, getting laundry washed while I do something else. :)

5. I find it very relaxing to fold laundry. I think this came from when I worked at Clear Creek Family Ranch in high school doing all the laundry for the ranch. I got to go back and forth between the lodges across beautiful lawn and around a small lake and through a path with tree branches overhanging to gather and put away laundry in the various facilities. Beautiful. And I folded sheets for hours each week, just me in the laundry room I had organized just the way I liked it. I got to sort out life one load at a time, and I still do.

6. My laundry room is fantastic. When we moved in, it was just a spot for a washer and dryer with two shelves above, a hot water heater, a sink, and a couple shelves for food storage. One day I said to Greg, "I think it would be nice if we added a shelf above the sink, maybe with a rod for hangers." Less than an hour later my dream was a reality. Then a week or so later he added a couple more shelves at my request, which has made it much more organized, and I like things to be organized. It is essential to my sanity. The room is tiny, but a very efficient use of space.

7. When I go in and out of the laundry room, I hear various animal noises. It never ceases to elicit a smile. This is because of a little wooden puzzle of animals I left on a shelf in there one day, which, when you lift up the pieces (in theory) they make the sound of that animal. In reality, any change of lighting (flipping the light switch) or any vibration (shutting the washer lid, the garage door closing...) alerts its sensor and we hear, "oink oink" or "moooooo" and so forth. I may never move that puzzle because it gives my laundry room character.

These reasons are each getting longer and I seriously doubt anybody in the world could be THAT interested in my laundry so I'll sign off. I have towels to fold. Hope you are enjoying your laundry, too!

Are there any household tasks you especially like, or have ideas to make more enjoyable? I would love to hear about it!

P.S. No, I do not pretend that I am perfect or that my laundry-doing is perfect. There is a good reason I didn't post a picture of my laundry room today. I still get behind and sometimes I'm lazy about putting it away, resulting in mountains of laundry piled up waiting there for me. But the nice thing is, it just waits. And it doesn't whine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Strawberry Muffins: Delicious. Oh, and Safe!

In an effort to continue blogging somewhat regularly, I want to tell you about these muffins.

They are blueberry muffins, a fabulous recipe from my fabulous sister in law, with strawberries substituted for the blueberries. I thought it up yesterday when I made the blueberry muffins and tried the substitution with just 2 muffins, then had to make a whole batch today because they are my new favorite.

Why haven't I heard of these before?! Just a tiny bit sweet, with the goodness of fresh strawberries baked in. Strawberries are my favorite! I just feel so bad for people who don't like them (I'm looking at you Leta-Kaye!) because almost all my favorite recipes include strawberries.

I've shared the recipe below for the blueberry muffins, and if you are up for something new, try it with strawberries before they are totally out of season and cost $5 and have no flavor.

Anyway, delicious they truly are, and as for safe, well, they are a safer topic than the botched job interview of last week, my oldest starting Kindergarten (and me crying, even though I swore I wouldn't get all emotional), potty training in progress with Sam (IS there any progress?), and my horrible hair inadequacies trying to help my baby girl look like a girl. I tell you, I was ready for some Success I could share with the world, which today came in the form of a strawberry muffin. Enjoy!

Sara J's Blueberry Muffins
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh blueberries (or thawed frozen blueberries)
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients, along with berries, stirring JUST until moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX! Batter will be thick and lumpy. Put in paper-lined muffin tin. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Makes 12 lovely muffins.