25 September 2009

Big Trucks

Pieces spilled milk on my keyboard and ruined it, so this isn't the easiest blog post to write. :(

Today, thanks to Obama's stimulus package, the street in front of my building is undergoing a much needed facelift. It was covered in pot holes and craters that could eat your car. According to my sister you could fall in one and not get found for 20 years.

They are currently tearing the roadway up, so on this beautiful day we decided to go sit and watch them work. I talked about trucks and cars. The kids had a great time watching the roadway leave and once the workers saw the children they were waving and honking horns. They loved it too. I took pics.

22 September 2009

A Cake Story

This weekend was fun. Friday afternoon I got the reminder I was making the cake for Dad's birthday party on Saturday. A little miscommunication but no big deal, nothing I haven't caused before, it's nothing I won't cause again. So I begin... I can get up early on Saturday, bake it, pop in freezer and start busting out some fondant. Yank said cake out of freezer, cut, fondant up decorate and go! Sounds easy right? Yeah.

 So I get Mandy to find a couple cake mixes that will work. Got it. I get up early and start mixing. It's going well, getting the cake mixed up fine. Double check eggs and amount of water, so far so good. I turn on the oven, separate the batter and pop into oven. Timer set. I've got a couple minutes to chill while it bakes. After some boring tv and the kids still sleeping (thank you for that quiet time) I hear the buzzer. I open the oven to... smoke. What did I do? I quickly pull out the cakes to find one burnt and the other burnt on the outside but still liquid in the middle. This, dear readers, is what happens when you don't double check the temperature on the oven. I baked that poor cake at 450° for 35 mins. Not a mistake I will be making again soon.

Off to put Banana and Pieces down for a nap! Until next time.

18 September 2009

Potty Training

Let me start by saying I think we potty train our children too early. I think we start and push too far too soon. I'm as guilty as the next person. For me it comes from not wanting to be that close to stinky, poopy diapers anymore. I love my kids, but changing diapers gets old... fast. That being said, here is how I potty trained my kids. It worked well for E and I've seen signs it'll work well with Pieces, but I'm not ready for him to start.

Wilson Potty Training 101

1. Be prepared for mess ups. They happen, get over it.
2. have plenty of underwear on hand. mess ups happen.
3. Mentally prepare for the mess ups that will come. It's ok.
4. I like to use real words, toilet, poop, pee, penis, vagina etc. I figure let them learn the other stuff later. Teach them the scientific terms and use them with vigilance.

Ok, here we go:
Day 1: Show the the toilet. Make a big deal of what's coming. Explain what the toilet is for and how it works. Let them flush it. Let them wash their hands. Pretend for a bit. A peeing doll is nice, but not necessary.
Day 2: Repeat day 1 and add about how tomorrow is Big Girl/Boy day. play with underwear. It's ok to play with it, let them see it. We all use the toilet. It's no big deal. Continue throughout day explaining about how the toilet is for poop and pee. Get a good night's rest. Both of you.
Day 3: Get fluids ready. I don't do salt, it holds water. We want them to pee. As soon as they wake up, grab some brand new undies and head to bathroom. Put them on toilet and have them try. No more than 4-5 mins trying. Ever. Put on new underwear. Spend the rest of the day going to the bathroom to try every 30-45 mins. Give drinks all day. repeat. repeat. talk about the toilet and what it's used for.
Day 4: Repeat day 3.
Day 5: You should see improvement on own by now. If not.. I'd suggest trying again in a month. Go back to diapers. Don't mention the toilet at all and try again in a month. The same way.

Never demean or force your child to use the bathroom. Accidents are no big deal, so don't make them into one. But go to toilet and try there after every accident. This is how children get scarred. I don't believe in training pants, pull ups that stuff. Into undies and away we go. During the night I'd limit fluids and try right before bed. I'd go to sleep knowing I'm changing sheets and oftentimes I'm pleasantly surprised. Banana got thru the 2nd night fine and hasn't looked back. I've trained both a boy and a girl this way and it's worked for me. I hope it does for you. I'd love to hear how it went.

10 September 2009

Dealing with anger

This is taken from a workbook on parenting. It's actually a good read and as soon as I find it, I'll post the name.

Responses that reduce anger.

Anger understandably occurs when a person of any age is overpowered. Because young people have so many rules to learn, they are likely to feel overpowered many times a day. (something I had not thought about before) Thinking that children should accept your decisions without comment will only make you frustrated and do little to resolve the situation in a productive way. Understand that refusing to allow children to express any anger at all is just as destuctive as allowing them to vent however they please.

Labeling and feeding back feelings are teh first steps in teaching children how to express diestress without acting out inappropriately. Making at least three statements that rephrase, understand validate or encourage children to express feeings can reduce anger. For example:

  • "You don't like it when I correct you. I see you are really angry. You can stomp your foot (scream in this pillow, smash this cane, draw a picture, give me a mean look) to show me how angry you are. I know it's hard to have to learn so many rules.
  • I know you don't like being on restriction until your grades improve. It must tear  your heart out not to be able to talk to your friends everynight. For a while, you may be very upset with me because I am holding firm.
Postpone talking to children if you are too angry to listen and feedback feeling. Tell them, "I'm too upset for talking right now. We'll discuss this when we've both calmed down." It helps to give both sides to a chance to think so talking can be done clearly.

On a side note I have a 7 and 2 yr old, it's alright to sound like a dork. I would try to word it differently when I was talking to a older child. You need to practice and remind yourself to do it. Don't forget it takes time to get something down and doing it as a response to a child's anger can be especially difficult. breathe. think. react. I don't do or react like this all the time, every time. What I am learning to do is recognize when I react and how I react. It is a process.

09 September 2009

Rainy Days

Well, the rain destroyed our morning outside time, and I thought it might do the same for the afternoon. Quickly I noticed that there was no thunder or lightning so I decided why not? Let's go outside and learn what rain does to dirt and how it flows and puddles. So that's what we did. We took a 30 min trek outside and got all kinds of wet and muddy. We stomped through puddles and learned about splashes, we fell into mud and learned how water makes dirt into mud. We followed a trail of runoff water as it traveled down and around towards the lowest ground. The kids had fun just splashing around each other and getting wet and muddy. I didn't mind the rain, it was nice to see the Banana and Pieces having a good time laughing. Oh to be a kid. They've got it good don't they?

Recipe of the Day

Thanks Betty Crocker for this wonderful slow cooker sloppy joe recipe! It's pretty easy and is awesome on a bun or over tortilla chips. I love the slow cooker because I can set it and go do other things for a while. Feeds my ADHD very well. If you're like me you'll need a timer to remind you to check it!

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

2lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/4cup water
3tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2teaspoon salt
1/4teaspoon red pepper sauce
1bottle (12 oz) chili sauce
10oz tortilla chips or 10 sandwich buns

1.In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.
2.In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix beef and remaining ingredients except tortilla chips.
3.Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours. Serve over tortilla chips or in buns.

Quick Tip: If you use ground beef alot in recipes for the week, do what I do (thanks to my older sister's tip) Cook up a few (2 or 3) pounds of ground beef and separate them out into even amounts. Then put those into freezer bags and freeze. Makes for really fast reheating of the beef for meals!!
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08 September 2009

Here is a quick sample of what the day looks like at our place.
7:30 - 8:35   Arrival, get ready for day, breakfast, free play
8:30 – 9:00  Weather, number, and letter for the day. Day of the week.
9:00 – 9:30  Theme, holidays upcoming, days events.
9:30 - 10:00 Coloring (if older child writing practice) or Story time
10:00-10:30 Restroom, hand washing, snack
10:30-11:00 Park, if weather is bad it’s playroom
11:00-11:30 Letters, phonics, quick review
11:30-12:00 Wash hands, restrooms, free until lunch
12:00-12:30 Lunch
12:30- 1:00  clean tables, hands, restrooms, get ready for naptime
1:00 – 1:30  Story or 30min tv show while resting
1:30 – 3:30  Naptime or Quiettime for older kids not resting (reading, relaxing etc)
3:30 - 4:15   Wake up, snacktime, restrooms, wash hands
4:15 - 5:00   Outdoor play, weather permitting, or play room
5:00 - 5:15   Restroom, hand washing
5:15 - 6:00   Stories, clean up, prep to go home

That’s a sample of our day. Do we follow it exactly? Nope, but I don’t have expectations to be perfect. I just want a guide for how our day is going to go. I like lists because I have ADHD, and they just help to get things going, help to guide me along. I think the children like lists because they know what to expect next. They are aware of what’s coming around the corner. 

07 September 2009

Another Hat

Another hat I wear is that of baker. I like to bake cakes for birthdays, parties, and just for fun. Here are some pictures of 2 that I've done. One is of Brobee, from the Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba, the other is from my wife's request for "a cake that's pink and has polka-dots".

Happy Labor Day!!

I hope all the stay at home dad's out there are having a great Labor Day!

Let me introduce to my brood. There is E and Pieces, 7 and 2, both my boys. I also watch Banana, almost 3, my niece, and 2 other nieces on Wednesday's, DQ and No-No, 4 and 22 mos. If you read my first post, you know about me, so that's us!

This blog may start a little slow, some advice, some recipes, and some journaling of our activities. Take today for instance, My wonderful wife Mandolin watched the kids for a couple hours this morning while I got to play 9 holes of golf. I had a great round and was on pace to shoot my best score ever. So when I got home she was wonderful enough to take them to Air Zone, a place with bouncy houses, climbing walls etc, for a couple hours! What a great day off! (when you're a stay at home parent, even a couple of hours feels like a full day.) I know, I married well. Actually I think I married way out of my league too.

Anyway, have a great day! There is an evening post to come!

04 September 2009

Recipe of the Day

This is a great recipe! it's pull apart cinnamon bits that the kids will love helping to make and eat!

Monkey Bread

4 cans refrigerated biscuits
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon 
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-10 inch tube pan.
2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a medium sized plastic bag. Cut the biscuits into halves or quarters and place six to eight biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Shake well.
3. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the greased pan. Continue layering until all the biscuit pieces are coated and in the pan. If you are using raisins, place them among the biscuit pieces as you are layering.
4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the layered biscuits.
5. Bake for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Pull apart and enjoy!