Kids in the Kitchen: Mixing a Marinade

kids in the kitchen

When my older two boys were little, I wasn’t very good at involving them in the cooking. It’s something that I knew I should have been doing, but it was just never something that “fit in” to what I was doing at the time.

Now that I have a “second chance,” so to speak, with the little boys, they get involved a lot more. Especially Small Fry (4). He absolutely love helping out in the kitchen. And if it’s a meal where there’s not much for him to be helpful with, he at least likes to stand on a chair and watch, so he’s still learning. I understand now that I really missed out in my impatience as a younger parent; having kids help in the kitchen is a lot more fun than it is work. I never expected it to be such a blessing, and I know that I’m giving him something that will last a lifetime. With the older boys, it will be an uphill battle from now on teaching them to cook. It’s something that will have to happen, because I’m sure they’ll be living on their own at some point and they’ll need that skill.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy having my littles in the kitchen with me. Even if just doing tiny tasks like dumping in the premeasured ingredients or mixing up a marinade.

How do you get your kids to help in the kitchen?

Blessings,

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From Boy to Man (Celebrating Manhood review)

Celebrating Manhood Review at Ladybug Daydreams

In case you don’t know, I have sons. Four of them. And no daughters. I sometimes feel “incomplete” because of this. I often feel sad at not having a girl to raise (to be clear: I’m not sad about having sons. I’m sad about not having a daughter). I was going through an exceptionally difficult time with my emotions a few weeks ago, when I first learned of the book Celebrating Manhood: a rite of passage guide from Home School Adventure Co. There were several e-books being offered for review, and some of them looked really neat. But at that time, I knew that I was supposed to review Celebrating Manhood. I can’t tell you why, but there was something about this book that I felt would be a salve to my soul and help to heal the pain I felt at the time. I knew that I needed to embrace my boys and love my life for what it is (a boy mom) rather than what mourn what I wished I had (children of both genders).

So even though I was quite interested in Creative Freewriting Adventure (a book full of writing prompts), I’d Rather Be Your Mommy (a storybook for moms and young children), and Walking with the Waodani (a unit study on missions in Ecuador), I had to choose Celebrating Manhood instead. (In case you’re interested, all of these books are being reviewed by members of the Homeschool Review Crew. When you’re done reading here, head over to that blog for links to other reviews. I’ll provide a link at the end of this post.)

After all that blither-blather, let me move on to what Celebrating Manhood is all about. Author Stacy Farrell opens the book with this statement:

Extensive research asserts the importance of acknowledging a young man’s entry into adulthood. However, most of Western culture does not mark the transition from boyhood to manhood in any meaningful way. Consequently, an important opportunity is often lost.

celebrating manhood coverBecause Seahwak, my eldest (13 years old), is basically through puberty at this point, I thought this book would be a provide us a good opportunity to celebrate that with him. I want him to know that we (Will and I) understand that he’s getting older, he’s changing, and we want to bestow some additional responsibility on him. As much as I wish it wasn’t true, he’s not my little boy anymore. He’s rapidly becoming a man, and it’s time to acknowledge that. Celebrating Manhood is a book designed to help parents plan a “party” with just that goal in mind.

The book (I received a PDF version) is 37 pages, but really only about half of that is “usable content.” The first bit is the stuff found in most books: positive statements about the book, copyright, about the author, etc. Once you get to the meat of the book, half the pages are blank. I imagine this is because it was a print book first, and it’s designed to have the pages cut out and written on during your son’s rite of passage party. Even though you don’t need those blank pages with a PDF (your home printer will only print on one page at a time), they were left in for the e-book version anyway.

The first thing you’ll find (once you get to the main part of the book) is a timeline of events for your party. It’s designed to be planned by Mom but actually attended and implemented by Dad. The suggested timeline is four hours or so, but that’s easily adaptable depending on your situation. The first thing you have to do is work together with your husband (or son’s father or other father-figure) to decide who to invite to the party. The guests should be men who have a strong influence over your son – grandfathers, pastors, neighbors… Once you send out the invitations (which are included as a printable in the book), then Mom works on planning the main portion of the party, including preparing a meal for the men to share. The reason it’s suggested that Mom be the one to prepare this is to show your son and his guests an attitude of nurture and love by serving them.

All of my young men

All of my young men

Once the party starts, the suggested order of events is: sharing appetizers together, a physical activity lasting roughly an hour or less, having the men eat a meal together, allowing the men to share things they appreciate about your son (blessing him with their words), and ending the evening with dessert (not cake or whatever you normally serve at birthdays – it’s important that this party is nothing like a birthday party) and questions. There are question cards included in the book that you can print and pass out to the men during this portion for them to write on. These would then become keepsakes for your son.

The final thing you’ll find in the book is a printable poster stating “Welcome to the World of Men” with 1 Corinthians 13:11 on it.

Will and I talked, and we decided that before we have this party for him, we want to have something in mind that “being a man” means for after the party. We don’t want it to be a meaningless ceremony, and until we know what that will mean for our family, we’re putting off having a party for Seahawk. I fully intend for us to have one (and will write about it when it happens), but for now it hasn’t yet. But every time I reread this book, I’m reminded of just how important this ceremony will be for my boys – I’ll get to have the privilege of planning this at least four times! What a blessing! But I want to do it right, and for now, that means waiting. Despite not actually having been able to “use” this resource yet, I’m so glad to have been able to review it today.

As I mentioned earlier, the Homeschool Review Crew is reviewing lots of different products from Home School Adventure Co. today. Click the banner below to find out more!

Blessings,

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Resources with a Biblical Worldview{Home School Adventure Co. Reviews}ladybug-disclaimer-review-crew-copy

Year in Review: 2016

I’ve heard a lot of “2016 was terrible!” types of posts/broadcasts from different news sources over the past month or so, but that was not the experience our family had. I know there were a lot of celebrity deaths, most of the people who work in media were unhappy with the US presidential election results, and loads of other things that I’m sure made them feel like it was a rotten year, but in our home, we had a great year. Here’s just a glimpse.

In January, Will and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. This Friday, it’ll be 16 🙂

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In February, I learned to knit. This was an absolute game changer in my creative endeavors. Since then, I’ve made 13 sweaters, 2 hats, 10 washcloths, several baby teething rings, and a pair of mittens (maybe more stuff, but this is what I can remember of the top of my head).

In March, we missed out on all Easter celebrations because we were sick. The kids were sick about half a week before the holiday, and I spent most of Easter Sunday in bed, too exhausted to wake up. Fortunately, Will was feeling weak but not sick, so he stayed up with the kids and they watched movies all day. I woke up just often and long enough to nurse the baby.

In April, we had a nice time visiting with some old friends at our nephew’s birthday party. We also took the kids to a couple of concert band concerts at the local university.

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In May, the kids went to the eye doctor. Munchkin’s prescription got a little stronger (he has an astigmatism), but the others are still fine. We also went to the Elephant and Piggie party at our local library.

In June, Dragonfly had to have an ultrasound on his backside. He was born with a “dimple” in his bottom which can sometimes indicate incomplete closing of the spinal cord prior to birth. Fortunately his came back normal. Also, Munchkin and Small Fry attended the VBS (Vacation Bible School) at a local church we attend when we don’t go to my father-in-law’s church for whatever reason.

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In July, half of our family had birthdays – me, Will, and Small Fry. We had a cookout party for Small Fry (he loves doing that – good thing he was born in the summer!). For our immediate family’s celebration, we went to a theme park near here called Enchanted Forest. At the end of the month, Will and I went to the opera. This was the one and only time we’ve ever paid babysitters. Normally we just ask my mom, but it was going to be too late a night for this event.

In August, Will had a speaking engagement at the State Fair’s Author Day. While the event didn’t pay, it was a good time for him to get the word out about his books.

In September, Will and the three older boys, along with Will’s dad, went to one of the Comic Cons. Based on the pictures (which I promise I plan to share soon!), I know they had a fabulous time. Also, Munchkin turned 10 years old and Dragonfly turned 10 months old on the same day.

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In October, Munchkin, Small Fry, Dragonfly, and I went to see the Portland Opera To Go version of Hansel and Gretel, which was being performed at a library about half an hour from our home. That was the plan, anyway. What actually happened was that I took the boys to see it and Munchkin and Small Fry got to stay in the room and watch. I ended up having to take Dragonfly into the foyer because he wouldn’t hold still or be quiet. (My fault for taking an 11-month-old to the opera, I guess.) I was pretty bummed out about that, but there’ll probably be other events. Also, Seahawk became a teenager.

In November, Munchkin spent the first half of the month dealing with having a needle stuck in his foot. On October 21st, he was walking across our living room when he suddenly felt a sharp pain and discovered a sewing needle. However, the tip was nowhere to be found. Upon inspection, we were able to see a glimmer of “something” in his toe, but it was too deep to get out with tweezers. We took him to the emergency room that night, but the doctor was unable to get it out, even

Seahawk doing his toy soldier solo dance during dress rehearsal for The Nutcracker.

after x-rays, ultrasound, and cutting the toe open to the bone. After getting the runaround from several different doctors, we finally got him into a specialty clinic for feet and ankles, and that doctor was able to get the needle out in under ten minutes. Also, Dragonfly turned 1.

In December, the big boys got to dance in a local production of The Nutcracker. We all started taking ballet classes near the end of September, and the boys really took off in their love and skill of the dance, especially Seahawk. Because they were fairly new additions to the dance school (they’d only had one or two lessons by the time it was audition day for the recital), they didn’t have huge parts – Munchkin was an extra in the party scene and Seahawk played a toy soldier (he had a one-minute solo). They had a fabulous time, though, and are itching to get back to class (after the final performance, the school took the rest of December off for Christmas, but classes start again next week).

So as you can see, it really has been a great year for our family. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!

Blessings,

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Picture of the Week: 11 Months Old

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Only one more month until baby Dragonfly has his first birthday! Oh, how time flies…

Vital stats:

Height: approximately 28 inches

Weight: approximately 21 pounds

Clothing size: 12 months. He’s been in this size since he was about 9 months old, so I expect him to outgrow them pretty soon

Teeth: While he was a late teether (none until nearly 10 months old), he now has 3, and one more is imminent

Other: In the past couple of weeks, his hair has gotten pretty thick and long. Just a couple more months and he’ll be ready for his first haircut. He started walking right around his 10th month birthday;  now at 11 months, he walks more than he crawls. Even though he was a late teether, he was an early walker.

Blessings,

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Exposing Children to Fine Arts

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2016 has been a big year for our family, especially in the realm of “fine arts.” Will and I went to our first opera back in July. We had tickets to see The Italian Girl in Algiers on opening night, and we did the whole dressing up thing for our night out. A couple of days after we saw it, Will got an email that included information about the opera house’s free simulcast of the performance. It was coming right up (two days later), and we decided to take the boys to see it. The simulcast is a time when they close the street outside of the theater and turn it into a courtyard of sorts, with tables, chairs, and restaurant food available. Because we’d enjoyed Italian Girl so much, we really wanted our children to see it, too. Seahawk was excited about it; Munchkin not so much. (The other two were too young to really understand much. Since this experience, Small Fry has become much more into opera.)

In addition to opera, I’ll be taking my first ballet class later this month. I’m really excited about that, but it’s really a post for another day – namely, after I actually take the class. I bring it up only to confirm the notion of “2016 being a big year.”

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At the Italian Girl simulcast

Back to opera, though, as that’s the main point of today’s post. Some people might think it’s crazy to take children, especially young ones, to the opera – even if it’s not to a ticketed performance. But I think it’s important to expose children to these kinds of things, especially in a movie and TV centric world. It’s really important that they learn about “real” things, and seeing live performances is a great way to do that. I’m not saying that recorded options are bad, but stage performances is important, too. As our children grow, we want them to become well-rounded, cultured adults. Taking them to things like operas, plays, ballets, and museums is a great way to accomplish this.

And from my experience, even if your children are very young (when we went to the Italian Girl simulcast, Dragonfly was only 8 months old), don’t be afraid to take them – especially to a free event, especially if it’s outside. People think it’s really cool that you’ve brought children, and they don’t even mind a bit of baby noise (for the most part). If you’re still unsure, even at something like the simulcast that my family went to, look for other opportunities to expose your children to fine arts. For example, just yesterday, we had the privilege of seeing the upcoming Hansel and Gretel opera in its rehearsal stage. The costumes were crude, and there were a lot of starts and stops because it was a working rehearsal, but it was still pretty neat. We looked at the website when we left and learned that the “real” performance for that will be taking place next month (for free at the library a few towns over), so we’ll take the children to that. It will be really neat for them to see the difference between a rehearsal and the official opera.

And remember: if your children – even babies – are brought up in these kinds of environments, it will become normal to them as they age, and they’ll develop a deep appreciation for fine arts.

Blessings,

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Birthday Celebrations, Fairy Tale Style

The first half of July is a busy time for birthdays in my family – half of us have our birthdays all within a 9-day span. To celebrate this year, we decided to take the kids to a fun place near our home – Enchanted Forest. It’s a theme park done in fairy tales. Upon paying the entrance fee, you walk a path that takes you on a meandering journey through a wide variety of houses (life size sculptures, many of which you can actually go inside) from pretty much every fairy tale and nursery rhyme you can think of – and many you probably can’t.

For something so visual, I think a photo essay with captions is the best way to share our experience.

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Humpty Dumpty

 

Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet

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Hansel and Gretel

 

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Mary Had a Little Lamb

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Jack and Jill