Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Soccer Style

For Soccer Girl, it's all about the fashion footwear.

I love to see everyone's photos each week. Link up below to share your Wordless Wednesday post.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Food on Friday - Chicken Roll-ups

These chicken roll-ups are a fan favorite at my house. They're simple to make and don't use a lot of ingredients. The small people eat them up, which is always a plus. The best part is that they're something I can throw together at the end of a long homeschooling day.

To make the roll-ups:
Unroll and separate crescent rolls. Place about a tablespoon of chicken and some shredded cheese into each roll. I've used boiled chicken and canned chicken for these. The canned chicken adds a little more convenience, but the boiled chicken works just as well. Roll them up and place them in a casserole dish.
Bake these at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. This keeps them from being dough-y after you add the sauce.

While the rolls are baking, mix together cream of chicken soup, milk, and grated cheese. You'll pour this over the baked rolls.
Bake them again at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Ingredients:
2 pkg of 8 crescent rolls
1 large can of chicken
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
milk (1 soup can full)

Unroll and separate crescent rolls. Into each crescent roll, put about a tablespoon of chicken and some grated cheese. Roll them up and place them in a casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, combine soup, a soup can full of milk, and the rest of the shredded cheese. Pour this over the baked rolls. Continue baking at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Thank you for understanding about me not hosting Food on Friday last week. We were at the beach for a much needed vacation. I can't wait to see what recipes you all link up this week! You can grab the Food on Friday button on the sidebar.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Sunrise

I spent last week at the beach, which is why there was no Wordless Wednesday here. Thanks for understanding!

I love seeing everyone else's Wordless Wednesday pictures. Link up yours below!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Energy

I seriously lack it. The small people have it in abundance.

Energy. 

As a stay-at-home mama, I am on call 24/7. Thankfully the days of having to be up several times a night have passed, but I still need a decent amount of energy to get through the day. Most of the small people get up and are ready to start their day, which means I need to be ready also. During the school year (August to May), I'm homeschooling all day long from 8 am to 3pm. After school, the small people have a variety of activities that require me to shuttle them to and fro. Somewhere in all of that, I still have to maintain the household responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
It was incredibly important that I find a way to increase my energy level. I thought about those little 5-hour energy drinks, but I have a problem with the thought of taking them. So I started exercising. It worked!! I've found that when I start my day off with some exercise, even if it's a walk around the block, I have much more energy for the rest of my day. Conversely, when I start my day off like a slug, I feel pretty slug-like for the entire day.

I've also found that by eating healthier, I've improved my energy level tremendously. It's amazing how much energy is sucked from me when I eat a bunch of junk every day.

According to WebMD, these are the top 10 ways to boost your energy:
  1. Increase your magnesium intake. Foods like almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, whole grains, and fish are a great source of magnesium.
  2. Walk around the block. Just a brisk 10 minute walk is enough to increase energy levels.
  3. Take a power nap. A 60-minute nap can help revive us.
  4. Don't skip breakfast or any other meal.
  5. Reduce stress and deal with anger.
  6. Drink more water and less alcohol.
  7. Eat more whole grains and less sugar.
  8. Have a power snack. Eat something that combines protein, a little fat, and some fiber.
  9. Have a latte instead of just a cup of coffee.
  10. Check your thyroid function and complete blood cell count.
I want to hear from you. Do you find yourself with a lack of energy? How do you try to increase your energy levels? Do any of the WebMD suggestions work for you?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Listening to My Mom Radar

Mom Radar. If you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about. That uneasy feeling you get when things don't seem quite right. I had that happen a few weeks ago.

The hubby and I took the girls to Carowinds, a theme park on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. We had a great day. We found that Sassy Pants LOVES roller coasters. Unfortunately she was only tall enough to ride a couple of them. Soccer Girl is not a thrill ride lover, so she didn't ride many (any) roller coasters. I'm also not big on riding thrill rides, but I will ride them with my children if I have to.

 Here's where my Mom Radar went off. Near the end of the day, Little Red, Ballerina, and I were going to go on a roller coaster. It was one of those where only 2 people could sit together in a car. So Little Red and I got into one car, and Ballerina got into the car directly in front of us, sitting on the side where you enter the car. We're getting buckled in when all of a sudden this man about 30 year old jumps over Ballerina to sit next to her in the car. Ballerina turns around to look at me, and I ask her if she's okay. She just stares at me with huge eyes, obviously NOT okay.

I lean forward and ask the man, "Excuse me, are you with them?", indicating the mom and son sitting in the car in front of Ballerina. He answers, "No, I'm by myself." My radar is pinging all over the place at this point. I then told him, "I really don't feel comfortable with a stranger sitting with my daughter." He just looked at me and turned around to face forward. At this point, it took every fiber of my being not to jerk a knot in his head.

At this point, the ride operator is starting to walk from the front to the back of the cars, checking the safety belts. As he gets near us, I again tell the guy sitting next to Ballerina, "I really don't feel comfortable with a stranger sitting with my daughter." My plan is if he doesn't move by the time the ride operator gets to our cars, I will say something then and get the man out of the car with my daughter. Thankfully, a guy a few cars ahead of us decides he doesn't want to ride and gets out. The guy sitting next to Ballerina gets out and moves to that car.

The ride starts, and I'm still feeling 86 degrees of uneasy. I started to second-guess myself and wonder if maybe I had over-reacted. When Ballerina looked over at me as we were leaving the ride and said, "Thank you Mommy," I knew I had made the right decision. She wasn't comfortable with him sitting there (neither was I), and my job as Mom is to advocate for my children. I'm so thankful that this happened toward the end of our day, though, because it took me until we were leaving to shake the weirdness of the whole situation.

I don't understand WHY a grown man would think it would be acceptable to jump into the empty seat next to a pre-teen girl and stay there AFTER I said something the first time. It wasn't like the line was long and he'd have to wait a long time to ride. There was about 2 minutes between rides boarding.

Moms, would this have triggered your Mom Radar? Would you have said something? 

Guys, would you have jumped into a roller coaster car next to a young girl?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Drop Everything and Read

I used to be a voracious reader. Ironically, that changed when I started homeschooling my children. I still read, just not for myself. I read history books, science books, historical fiction books, children's books, etc., all day long to the small people.

This summer we've instituted a D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) time every day. For 30 minutes in the afternoon, all of us at my house are picking up a book and reading. This gives me the opportunity to do some reading for myself, plus I'm setting a good reading example for my small people. Ballerina will read anything and everything during any free moment she can find, but the others aren't quite as excited about reading as she is. I'm hoping they'll enjoy reading more when they read more. (Yes, The Boy does D.E.A.R. time, too, but he wouldn't let me put his pic in this post.)



We're also going to the library once a week. The small people go through so many books that there is no way I could afford to pay for all of the books they read. I'm so grateful for the public library!

It's wonderful that, not only are the small people getting in some good reading time, I am as well!

How do you get in time for personal reading?


Friday, July 12, 2013

Food on Friday - Pioneer Woman Enchiladas

I truly believe I have the best husband in the world. Because of the 4th of July holiday, he had most of the week off last week. During that time when he was home, he did most of the cooking, giving me a nice break. One of the things he made was Pioneer Woman's Enchiladas.
He had some help from Sassy Pants also. She loves to help in the kitchen, even if it's just to move bowls of shredded cheese from the table to the counter.





Ingredients: (Sauce, Meat, Assembly)
  • 14 flour tortillas (The original recipe calls for corn tortillas, but they were still good with flour ones)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (28 oz) enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 cans (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped black olives
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
Directions:
Sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together oil and flour to make a paste, cooking for 1 minute. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

Meat: Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain. Stir in chiles and season with salt. Set aside.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the baking pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into sauce, then place on work surface. Spoon meat, shredded cheese, olives, and onions into the center of each tortilla. Roll tortilla and place, seam down, in baking pan. Pour extra sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.
We had some great recipes shared last week. I can't wait to see what you all have this week. Link your recipes below. I'd love if you added the Food on Friday button to your recipe post. You can grab the button from the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Playing in the Rain

Soccer Girl playing outside, prepared for the coming rain.
 I'd love to see your Wordless Wednesday pics! Link up below.

C is for Responsibilities

Right now you're probably thinking that maybe C should be for "crazy" or that I shouldn't be allowed to teach my children spelling if I think "responsibilities" begins with a C.

Okay, my actual C word is "chores," but that word just depresses me. A chore can be defined as "a hard or unpleasant task." I don't know about you, but calling work around the house a chore doesn't exactly inspire me to want to do it.
For that reason, I decided this summer to change my vocabulary. Robb and I sat the small people down and talked with them about the importance of them helping out around the house. There are so many things that need to be done around the house, and between homeschooling and running the small people to their various activities, it is difficult impossible for me to keep up with the house by myself. I explained to them that the lists I had created for them are not chore lists, but responsibilities. Each of us need to do our part in order for the house to run smoothly.

One of those responsibilities is laundry. My 5 active small people create a lot of laundry. Soccer and softball practices, ballet rehearsals, and outside play times cause a never-ending need to run the washing machine, usually 3 or 4 loads a day. The 3 oldest children are now responsible for doing the laundry produced by them and their roommate one day each week. (The Boy gets off easy; he doesn't share a room, so he only has to do his own laundry.) The 2 smaller ones are capable of sorting, folding, and putting away their laundry. I'm in the process of teaching Little Red to use the washing machine and dryer, so she'll be picking up a day to do laundry soon. 

Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, cooking, and cleaning bathrooms are other responsibilities that they are able to help with. I look at this as a win-win situation. I get the help I need keeping the house in decent condition, and they learn valuable life skills. I don't have to worry about them bringing all their laundry home for me to do when they're in college because they don't know how to do it themselves. (They may still bring it all home because they don't want to spend the money to use the laundromat, but at least I know I won't be the one doing it when they bring it to my house.) 

Don't get me wrong, my children don't throw a party because it's time to clean the bathroom, but I am seeing a change in their attitude toward helping around the house. Being in a family is like being on a team, and every member of the team has to contribute in order to have success.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I AM Enough

For most of my life, I've felt less than, like who I am wasn't enough. I spent my time as a teenager and young adult comparing myself to everyone else.
  • "I'm not as pretty as ____."
  • "I'm not as popular as ____."
  • "I'm not as smart as ____."
These things and others like them would echo through my head all day long. Looking in the mirror, I immediately saw all my flaws and imperfections. This lack of self-esteem and self-confidence led me to look for acceptance in some very unhealthy ways. I was a wreck, and I was miserable.

After getting married and having children, I no longer worried about if I was as pretty, as popular, or as smart as people around me. But I still felt less than. This time it was as a wife and mother. I looked around me to see others who seemed to have it all together, and again I didn't quite measure up. I continued to play the comparison game, just with different qualities. Again, I'd look in the mirror and see my flaws and imperfections, not just my physical ones but my life flaws as well. I wasn't as good a homemaker as ____. I wasn't as calm and laid back as _____.

I still longed for acceptance from those around me. I wanted my children to look and act perfectly, so that others would praise my parenting. I constantly worried about what people thought about me. I felt like everyone was watching me and judging me. Again, I was a wreck, and I was miserable. Who I am wasn't enough.

Why? Why did I play this comparison game with everyone around me? Why did I think that I was the only one with flaws? Why did I care what other people thought about me when the people I love, the ones I live with and spend every day with, told me that I was enough?

I think most, if not all, women do this to themselves. We look around us to see how we compare to those around us. Society has had a hand in this.
  • We see models who ooze perfection in every magazine.
  • We read blogs where the author is a whiz at organization, while our houses seem to be in total chaos.
  • We read blogs where the author does all types of fun, creative, educational activities with her children, while some days we feel like we're barely treading water.
  • We go on Pinterest and see all types of creative ideas, gourmet recipes, and home decorating ideas, and again we feel less than, not enough.
We play the comparison game every day, and almost every time, we come out on the losing end. Ironically, those we're playing with usually have no idea we're comparing ourselves to them. They aren't an active participant in the game, yet we still allow our perceptions of them to affect our perceptions of ourselves.

I recently realized that it doesn't have to be this way. I don't have to go through life feeling like I'm not enough. Because I AM enough.

Those models - Their airbrushed images have the same blemishes the rest of us do; they're just hidden from our sight.
Those bloggers - Their lives have difficulties too; they just don't blog about those things.
Those Pinterest pins - Their creators have their 500 failed attempts before they reached perfection.
Those people in our lives we compare ourselves to - They aren't perfect. They also have the same blemishes, bad days, etc., that we do.

I'm not perfect, and I still have areas of my life that I need to improve. But I AM enough.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Orange Chicken Pasta Salad

Today's recipe is one of Robb's favorites. I like the fact that it's light and cool for those hot summer days. I also like that I can put it together in the mornings, and all I have to do is pull it out of the refrigerator when it's time for supper. Very helpful for those busy evenings with soccer practices and ballet rehearsals.

Orange Chicken Pasta Salad
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cooked, cubed or shredded
  • 12 oz (1 box) tri-colored rotini, cooked, drained
  • 11 oz can mandarin orange segments, well drained
Mix mayonnaise, juice, basil, and ginger in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Refrigerate.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Reflection

We've had rain, rain, and more rain for the past few days (weeks). I got this shot of Soccer Girl in one of the puddles near our house.

I'd love to see your photos. Link up your Wordless Wednesday posts below.

Tech-free Tuesday

Beginning today, we are implementing Tech-free Tuesdays at our house. From 7am-7pm, no technology-driven devices are to be used, unless it's for school purposes during the school year.

This means:
  • no television
  • no cell phones (unless absolutely necessary)
  • no computer
  • no wii
  • no mp3 players
As you can probably imagine, the small people weren't overjoyed with this new idea. However, I knew that I had been spending wasting too much time on the computer lately, and this is definitely not what I want to be modeling for my children.

Here are some of the things we can do during our tech-free time:
  • go bike riding
  • play outside
  • play board games
  • read books
  • go bowling
  • go to the pool
  • do crafts
  • cook together
I'd love to hear your ideas for things to do that are tech-free! (Of course, I won't see them until after 7pm here. Ha ha!)

Bowling


When was the last time you went bowling? Thanks to Kids Bowl Free, we go about once a week. With this program, registered kids can bowl 2 free games EVERY DAY during the summer at participating bowling centers. To find out which bowling centers near you offer this, you go to the Kids Bowl Free website and click on your state. There you will see a list of participating bowling centers. Then you just click on your local bowling center to find out the dates and times available; our local center offers dates from May 13 to September 15.

On the page with the local center information, you will also find the age limit; ours is 15 years old and younger. They do offer a family pass, though, where for $24.95, you can add up to 4 adults (or older teens) to be able to bowl 2 games a day.

You do have to either rent shoes or provide your own. Some bowling centers offer a discounted shoe pass. Ours does not. I'm thinking about buying bowling shoes for each of my small people next summer; I'm hoping I can find some cheap on ebay so that will lower our cost for this activity even more.
This has easily become one of our favorite summertime activities. My kids thoroughly enjoy bowling, especially since several other families we're friends with also participate. We plan a day where we can all go together, and the kids get to hang out with their friends. Plus the moms get to hang out together too.   

Here are some pics from the last time we went.

I don't know why she doesn't like having her pic taken. Maybe it's that she takes after me. LOL



They even cheer for each other!
 





Trying to direct his ball.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Pitching in an elevator

I'm participating in the 31 days to build a better blog over at yeah write. Today's assignment is to write an elevator pitch - a brief description of what I blog about to catch the interest of readers.

Right now, it's "My adventures as a homeschooling mama of 5 small people". I don't know if that's really catching or interesting to anyone other than me, but it is the synopsis of what I blog about.

So here's my new (maybe improved) answer to "What do you write about?" (Edited to include what in the world a Pee Dee Mama is.)

My adventures in the Pee Dee area of South Carolina as a homeschooling mama of 5 small people and all the craziness that entails.

(Editing again) Above is my little snippet of what this blog is about. Here is a little longer version of that - for those who ask and their eyes don't glaze over after the snippet.

First of all, what is a Pee Dee Mama?

The Pee Dee is an area of South Carolina, named for the Great Pee Dee River that runs through the area. For those not familiar with the Pee Dee, it's very close to Myrtle Beach. 

So I'm a mama who lives in the Pee Dee. I blog about the many adventures that occur simply being a homeschooling mama to 5 small people. 

What else might you find here? Things that help me with my crazy life - homeschooling tips, activities to entertain the small people, and recipes to feed this crazy crew of mine.

I hope you'll stick around so I can get to know you. I love making new friends.


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