Thursday, October 8, 2015

Books & Stuff

Georgia has just finished reading her biggest book yet.  550 pages!  Wow!  I don't think I read anything that big until high school or maybe even after high school.  I thought it was funny that as she announced her finishing, that she thought she deserved a treat for a job well done.  So I asked what kind of treat she wanted.  Of course, her answer was, Froyo...Frozen Yogurt is one of her favorites (most likely because she gets to choose from all the fun toppings).  I was happy to oblige on this special occasion, but Daddy had one more requirement, which was to give us a synopsis of the book.  I thought this was fitting (because honestly we were wondering if she was actually reading it), so she proceeded to tell us all about the story for the next 30min.  I was quite impressed.  Curtis asked her questions, and she answered everything.  It was great.  So off they went to get Froyo, and now she is on to reading Harry Potter 3.  


Levi and I had a fantastic exchange a couple weeks ago.  This boy, never ceases to amaze me.  We are on our way to school, when I hear him opening his back pack and then his lunch box.  I knew exactly what he was going for (sliced hotdogs, his favorite).  I put my open hand back and asked for the Hot Dogs and told him that he could eat something else, but he needed to save those for lunch.

He then pulled out the IPAD from his backpack.

He pushed the buttons "I want a snack, I want hot dogs."
"I know you want the hotdogs, but we need to save them for lunch.  You can have chips, fruit, cucumber, bread..."
He pushed, "No, I want a snack, I want hot dogs."
(Wow, are we seriously having this conversation?  Yes, we are :)

I gave him a couple and then gave him the bag of chips, because, I was just blown away.  But here is the thing that makes it even more incredible.  He has to navigate through 3 pages to make those sentences.  He has to exit out to get to the front page to say "No" and then navigate back in to tell me he wants hot dogs.  I'm telling ya, that boy is awesome.


I just finished reading one of Dr. Laura's great books, Stupid Things Parents do to Mess up Their Kids.  I have to say that after reading it, I was feel pretty good that we are not totally messing up our kids.  However, she made some good points that I felt I could really do better on.

One such point was ignoring bad behavior.  Now coming from a behaviorist stand point...and all the training I have received with Levi, there are times when ignoring behaviors works.  But there have been some behaviors that we have ignored for years, that just aren't going away.  Her stance to not ignore these bad behaviors, reminded me that there are definitely times when bad behavior requires discipline.  If they don't know it is bad, they are just going to keep doing it.  And if they know it is bad, but we ignore it, they often just continue with it because we don't set any boundaries.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Chicken Tikka Masala

I have tried to make Chicken Tikka Masala several times over the years, and have never been able to get it quite right...until tonight!

I know, I know I get excited about the silliest things...but seriously, when I find a dish that tastes good and everyone likes it???  Well, now, I have to shout it from the rooftops :)

When I asked Georgia what she thought, she said, 
"It doesn't taste too bad"....translation: Hey, that's pretty good :)

Here is the link to the recipe.  It is fast and easy.  I made a few changes below for our dietary requirements.  Enjoy!

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (I used coconut oil)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces (I used left over rotisserie chicken from costco...cause, it's easy and delicious)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger (I used a 1/4 tsp ginger powder since I didn't have fresh)
1 serrano chile, cored and finely chopped, or more if you like it very spicy (I used half, cause let's face it...if something isn't bland, Georgia says it is too spicy.  It was enough to add flavor, but not so much that she complained.  Yea!)
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (I used a 15oz can)
2 teaspoons garam masala (I use Frontier Brand)
1 teaspoon curry powder (I used Trader Joes Brand)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used 1 cup Trader Joes Heavy Coconut Cream)
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (approx. 1/4 cup), for garnish
In large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter together over medium-high heat until the batter is melted. Add the chicken, onion, garlic, ginger and serrano chile. Saute until the chicken is mostly cooked and the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, garam masala, and curry powder. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and heat for another 5 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Coconut Rice Recipe

2 tablespoons coconut oil or other vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 cups long-grain white rice
3 cups water
1 cup canned light coconut milk (I used the rest of the can of heavy coconut cream)
Fine sea salt (I added the salt with the water...about 1/2 tsp)                               Freshly ground black pepper (I left this out)                                                                               ½ cup coconut flakes, toasted (I didn't add this...but I'm sure it is delicious)
In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and sauté until it becomes opaque, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the water and coconut milk and bring to a low boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the coconut flakes over the top and serve.
Serves 4. (I would say this could probably feed 6...especially if you have a salad or other side dish.)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Washing Clothes

Since Georgia's little stunt of the clean clothes in the dirty laundry basket (which has happened many times in the past, but warnings seemed to not be enough to stop it), I have been teaching her how to wash her own clothes.

This morning, she had a finished load in the dryer to be folded and a load in the wash to transfer to the dryer.  I asked her to fold her clothes and put them away and move her clothes over, and start the dryer.  This way I could start on the rest of the laundry for the weekend.

After a couple hours, I asked her if she could check to see if her clothes were dry.  She informed me that she didn't turn on the dryer because she couldn't remember how to work it.  "No problem, lets go take a look" I said.

We go out to the garage, and there is a pile of clean clothes on the floor (they had been apart of her previous load, in order to fill it up, but they didn't belong to Georgia).

"Are those clean clothes on the floor?!"  I asked.  
"I didn't know what to do with them, they aren't mine."  Georgia said.
"Do you think leaving clean clothes on a dirty floor is a good idea?"
"I didn't know where to put them" she said.
"Okay, well, if ever there are clothes in the load that don't belong to you, put them in a basket on the couch.  For now, you can pick them up, fold them and put them away."

She didn't put up a fight, I think she realized it wasn't a good idea to just leave them there on the floor.  Afterward I just said, "I hope next time you are more considerate and don't leave clean clothes on the dirty floor."

(Am I crazy in thinking that it just seems like common sense to not leave clean clothes on the dirty garage floor?  Perhaps I was the same way at her age.  Oh good grief...I need more patience.)

I have like 5 posts in the works...but this I just had to post right now.

This article reminds me of a quote by Margaret D. Nadauld (you can just substitute the word 'women' for 'people') : “The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”

Here is what I have to say:
Let's try to be more understanding of people and the struggles they have. 

Offering a helping hand teaches us far more than a pointing finger.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Case of the Clean Laundry in the Dirty Hamper

It all started the other day, when Georgia came home, soaked in her school clothes.

Come to find out that at her activity days get together, she and a couple other girls decided it would be fun to jump in the pool with their clothes on.

Rewind about an hour before:
Georgia asked if she could take her swim suit to activity days
I told her 'no, today is not a swim day, and you are not going in the pool'.

Fast forward back to after Activity Days is over:
I get a message from the teacher that she gave a lesson on Choice and Accountability.  Explaining that we can choose our choices, but we will have to pay the consequence of each choice, whether good or bad.  Then she told me about the pool incident.

I go to find Georgia, who is hiding in her closet.  As soon as I find her, she burst into tears, "I'm sorry!"

"I'm sorry too, you made a bad choice." I said.

Her consequence was that she lost her electronic time for the day (a highly coveted time) and she now had the opportunity to learn how to do her laundry, since she will be doing it herself from now on.  I went through some basics of clothing care, and explained why we don't wear clothes in the pool.  And Daddy talked about obeying the rules and listening to our teachers.

After our discussion, we head to the garage to start the laundry.  As I'm teaching her about the water temperature, we start pulling out all the dark clothes from the hamper.  It was then that I found a stack of clean, folded laundry, that I had done just 2 days before, at the bottom of her hamper.  I had to take a deep breath in that moment, and Georgia saw as my eyes went wide.  The clothes now smelled dirty, like the rest of her clothes.  I kept my cool, but sternly asked why it was okay to put clean clothes in the hamper instead of in her dresser.  She was too stunned at being caught and didn't know what to say.

Again, I had to go back to telling her 'that was a bad choice and I was sad for her and hoped that from now on as she did her own laundry that she would take better care of her clothes'.  (Since, she knows that she only gets new clothes when school starts, Christmas and Birthday)

(and it made me realize that she is totally ready for some more responsibility :)

Case Closed

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Tale of the Monstrous Tomato Worms

Once upon a time, there was a big beautiful tomato plant.  It was covered in beautiful green leaves and even had a couple of tomatoes beginning to grow.  

The very next day we found this:

Our poor tomato plant stripped bare and five of these gnarly tomato worms, all fat and happy.

They really are amazing to look at, because they are so gigantic.  About 4-5 inches long when stretched out with these gigantic suction feet.  (Reminded me of the Alice in Wonderland worm, but green instead of blue.)  

After the initial shock and awe of seeing them....well, the chickens had a delicious treat 
(and it wasn't the plant :)  

The End.

Monday, August 17, 2015

First Day of School and other things

Today is the first day of school, and I honestly can't believe how summer flew by.  Levi did not want to stand still for the it isn't the greatest, but you can definitely tell by Georgia's tan and white hair that she had a lot of fun this summer outside.  She has been happy with her short hair, and even went a little shorter last week.

Georgia went to 'take your child to work day' with Curtis.  She had a great time.

 Beach with Cousins

 Curtis and I were able to the Lindsey Stirling Concert.  It was a great show.

At Georgia's Young Marine Beach day, Cousin B was able to get some surfing lessons and boogie board time.  

 Levi loving the sand