Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Last Blog Post

I've enjoyed writing about my adventures in parenting, cooking for my family, and all of the silly ups and down of our lives for the past year but I've decided to close down The Family Fanantic blog.

I still have lots of ideas to share, but now that my third child is no longer a quiet little baby content to sit by my side as I type and my older children have more and more activities to participate in, I just don't have the time to maintain my blog.

I hope that in the future I can start up another blog sharing funny little stories about my family and tips for other parents but in the meantime I'll have to bid farewell to all of you wonderful readers out there.

Take care!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Son is Getting Big

Mason fell asleep in the car this afternoon.

A few months ago this would have been the beginning of a story about the crazy tantrum my four-year-old threw, how I lost my temper and the stressful day we had. Thankfully (really, really Thank God!) today's story has  happier ending.

When I tried to wake Mason up so we could take Emily into her dance class, he opened his eyes, sat up and said in a groggy, angry voice, "I HATE EVERYTHING!"

Then he leaned back against his car seat and fell asleep again. I had to lift him out of the mini-van and carry him. When I picked him up he quietly wrapped his arms around me and about a minute later he said, "I wanna get down now," in a calm voice.

I was holding my breath. Where was the screaming? Surely the tantrum would start any second. I walked along silently, carefully watching Mason. And you know what? He didn't throw a tantrum. He didn't scream.

I realized at that moment that his funny, half asleep declaration of hate was actually a huge step forward. He was, to sound like such a mom, "using his words." He told me how he was feeling instead of throwing a tantrum. I bet during all of the monster tantrums that he threw last summer he was feeling like he hated everything and he just couldn't put his feelings into words.

Yahoo! My son hates everything and he can tell me! Sounds weird, I know, but it's a huge step in the right direction.

The rest of the afternoon continued on very smoothly. After dinner I looked at Mason and said, "You sure are getting big. Do feel like you're getting big?"

"Yeah, I do feel big," he said in a serious, proud voice. "Do you know how I know I'm getting so big, Mama?" he asked. "Because I do what my dad asks me to do and I don't cry about it."

This is one of the days I've been dreaming of, waiting for and praying about for the past year. My son is getting big. I so completely cherish these moments of happy, big boy time with him. I could cry tears of joy just thinking about it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Help! My Kids Won't Eat Their Vegetables

I bet thousands, maybe even millions of parents worry about the fact that their children don't like to eat vegetables. Kids hate veggies, right? Everyone knows that. Hey, not so fast. That may be a myth. Maybe it's true that some kids wouldn't pick up a carrot stick when they have a bowl of chips available too, but does that mean that they really don't like carrots? I don't think so.

Jenna from Food With Kid Appeal doesn't believe the anti-veggie myth either. She recently held a "Taste Off" at her son's elementary school. Over 300 kids taste-tested several healthy foods and the event was a big success. Check out her blog post describing the tasting event and lots of great information about teaching kids to enjoy their fruits and vegetables.

In our house we have a dichotomy of eaters. My sons and I love to eat veggies and fruit. In fact, I have started calling Mason, my four-year-old, a natural vegetarian because he will always choose vegetables and fruit over anything else on his plate. My youngest, Ryan, is already a great eater too. My daughter and husband tend toward the, "Eewww... it's a vegetable," opinion but I haven't given up on them yet.

I learned a lesson the hard way with my first child - offer a variety of fruits and vegetables (and all types of food for that matter) as young as possible in order to avoid the picky-eater syndrome.

If kids can't remember not eating lots of healthy food there will never be a battle over trying to add it back into to their eating repertoire. For example, Mason is excited when he gets a plate full of spinach salad, green beans, or kiwi because those are the types of foods I've been feeding him since he was a baby.

Unfortunately, I've had to backtrack with Emily because I didn't offer enough of a variety in her first year eating solid foods. Thankfully, she is usually willing to try new foods and has developed a fondness for several fruits and veggies.

So, anyone who is looking for ideas about improving their children's nutrition should check out Jenna's blog. I am always inspired by her ideas and I think you will be too.

This post is linked up with Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday and Life As Mom's Eat More Veggies

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Mystery of the Blue Footprints

January 2011 Update: It is the one year anniversary of my blog so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year. 2010 was a year of change for me in many ways. My blog documented most of those changes and it fun for me to be able to look back at my writing from the past year. I wanted to honor my one year mark by re-posting one of my favorite first posts below. 

The Mystery of the Blue Footprints

As I was making lunch yesterday, unbeknownst to me, a mystery was brewing in my house. All was quiet around the house. That should have been my first clue that something was amiss.
As I was finishing up with lunch I called to the kids to get ready to eat. At that point I looked down into our family room and saw the evidence of some kind of foul play.
This is what I saw in the hallway.

The crime scene in the family room was even more terrible. Blue ink was everywhere! I used my expert mommy investigative skills to figure out the culprit was Mason. He had the blue feet to prove my suspicions. Not to mention his blue hands too.
Apparently while I thought Mason was playing with legos he was being "artistic" but his creativity went a bit too far. He found a blue stamp pad with some art supplies and decided that his hands and feet made the best stamps of all - unfortunately he didn't stamp on paper. He stamped all over the family room carpet and even the couch. Thank God that the geniuses who make art supplies for kids have come up with washable ink. It took quite a lot of scrubbing and a run with the carpet cleaner, but we eventually got all of the blue ink out of the carpet and off of the couch.
Two important mommy life lessons were learned in the solving of this mystery.
#1 Don't trust a quiet three year-old.
#2 Don't leave art supplies within said three year-old's reach.
All in a days work as Detective Mommy!

This post is part of Alphabe-thursday

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Believe in Santa

As a child, my grandparents hosted a big Christmas Eve party at their house. My numerous aunts, uncles and cousins filled the house with noise and excitement. After dinner there would be a knock at the door and who would be there with a big red bag full of gifts? Santa!

My memories of Santa visiting us on Christmas Eve are some of my most precious. Even after, around age 9, I accidentally saw Santa come to the back door to get the gift bag from my grandma, I still pretended to believe in the magic of Santa.

The tradition ended the year that I was 18. My beloved grandfather died that year and we tried to continue with Santa but it was never really the same. At Grandpa's funeral a man we didn't know came up to give his condolences. I looked at my mom and said, "His voice is so familiar. Who is that?"

She didn't know. Then we realized - it was Santa! You see, Grandpa never told anyone who Santa was; not even my grandma knew. It turns out he was a co-worker and friend of Grandpa's who had agreed to be Santa back in 1976 and continued every single year.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2010. Just a week ago I walked into my living room to see my 7 year-old daughter and 4 year-old son looking at the Christmas tree with a friend. This friend is my daughter's age and her family does not celebrate Christmas because they are part of a different religion than ours.

It has never been an issue in the past but I lost my cool when I heard these words come out of her mouth in a loud, argumentative voice:

"Santa's not real! My mom says he's just a guy in a costume and your parents give you the presents."

As you can imagine I had quite a bit of explaining to do and I also had a serious conversation with her mother. All I ask is that others respect our traditions and allow my children to have the same Christmas joy that I grew up with. For now, my kids still believe in Santa and I hope that the magic continues for many years to come.

Mason and Emily visiting jolly Ol' St. Nick on her 3rd birthday in 2006. 
This post is part of Alphabe-Thursday Holiday Blessings

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Push Pin Art

Looking for a way to keep your kids entertained this winter break? I found this fun and easy little art project and it kept Emily and Mason occupied long enough for me to put Ryan down for a nap, take a shower and get dressed. That's a winner in my book!

Push Pin Art

What you'll need:
Push pins
Colored construction paper
Simple drawings with a dark outline (see photos for example)
White paper
Black marker

Dot-trace the outlined drawing onto the white paper. Tape or staple the dotted outline to a sheet of construction paper. Have your child (who is old enough to carefully use a push pin) lay on the carpet or a soft surface. Then they punch tiny holes to make the outline of the art. When done, remove the white paper and display the construction paper on a window to let the light shine through the holes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holding Onto My Joy

I recently came upon an interesting article through a friend on Facebook: You Cannot Steal My Joy by Elizabeth Duffy.

The gist of the article had to do with staying positive while raising your children. It really hit home with me. The author has a friend who never yells at her children. I find this amazing. Never yells. Seriously? Never?

As I read on, there were a few key points that struck a chord with me. Duffy says that her friend tells her children when they are throwing a tantrum that it is fine but she's going to continue what she's working on and she tells the child, "But you're not going to steal my joy. It's mine, and you can't take it."

Wow. How mature and calm. So I was inspired to try a similar tactic with my four-year-old tantrum thrower. I didn't do so well but I'm going to keep trying.

Duffy continues the article with her thoughts on other areas of life that can steal our joy - especially during the holiday season. This article is a good read for anyone with children, in a relationship, or with co-workers or family members who might try to steal their joy at times.
Joy thief in action. Thankfully he gives back much more than he takes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Four-Year-Old's Favorite Joke

Mason loves to tell this joke. Over and over again.

I can't help but laugh every time, not because it's that funny after the 50th time but because of the smile on his face.

"Knock, knock."
"Who's there?"
"Banana who?"
"Banana who?"
"Banana who?"
"Banana who?!?!"
"Orange who?"
"Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Here's the comedian cracking himself up. 

This post is participating in Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursday

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Target Toy Coupons

What a deal! If you are like me and haven't started any Christmas shopping at all yet, then you might be able to use these coupons. I found a couple of 50% off coupons for toys my kids put on their Christmas lists, like the Littlest Pet Shop and $5 off an Easy Bake Oven. Yippee!

Here's the link to the coupons. Target Toy Coupons

You can select the coupons you want and print them out at home. There are 32 pages of coupons, which include everything from toys to food to household items.

**Note -- Some of the coupons expire TODAY (11/24/10) but others are good until the middle of December.

I came across these coupons on another blog I follow that has coupons and hot deals: A Little of This, A Little of That.

Happy shopping to you!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homemade Pizza

One of the most fun meals my family has made in a while is our own homemade pizzas. I made my own pizza dough for the first time and it was surprisingly simple. It turned out to be just as tasty as any pre-made dough I have bought.

The best part was when the kids helped mix up the dough and roll out their own pizzas. We made little individual pizzas so they could add their own toppings. This works well for us since we have one veggie lover and one cheese & sausage pizza connoisseur.

I found this recipe on a cooking blog called Anna Maria Volpi: A Passion for Cooking

Basic Pizza Dough

1 tbs. active dry yeast or 1 oz. brewer's yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
3 1/2 c. flour
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

There are pictures and steps on the original website, but basically you just activate the yeast in warm water for 5 minutes, then add the yeast, olive oil and salt to the flour. Mix together, knead and form a ball. Place the ball of dough in a bowl covered with a towel in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Then punch down the dough, roll it out on a flour surface, and top it with your favorite pizza toppings. I baked our pizzas for about 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.