Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snack Ideas for Growing Boys

*Norman Rockwell*

I have 8 boys, and feeding them has been such a learning experience for me.  I'm going to also do a post on meals, but since boys (especially teenage boys) tend to be hungry ALL.THE.Time, I wanted to focus on snacks first.
Despite the fact that my boys are always hungry, I do not allow grazing at our house.  I think set snack times are a better idea than constantly grazing, at least for our family.  I could go into this, but I think for now I'll just focus on the snacks.  I do my best to make sure most of the snacks are good for sustaining boys for several hours.  Sugar, just causes the kids to get cranky and then to be starving within the hour.  I learned that the snacks I've shared below really do help them feel full, balance that blood sugar, and provides them the fuel they need until meal time.

*I buy DOZENS of eggs.
Boiled eggs are a staple around here.  Loaded with protein, they really fill up a hungry boys stomach and they are not expensive.  *A tip for getting the peel off eggs easily.  I always boil with 2 tsp of baking soda plus a dash of salt in the water.  When I store the boiled eggs in the refrigerator, we always run the egg under tap water to sort of 'shock' the shell into loosening for easy peeling.  If we take them on picnics, I do this before I pack them.  They almost always peel easily.

*I buy bulk carrots, I keep 3 or more peelers at the ready.
Sometimes I let them peel their own, some boys just wash the carrot and eat it without peeling.  Sometimes I not only peel them, but I also cut them into sticks.  

*Celery in bulk, peanut butter too.  

*Apples, lots and lots of apples.

*Popcorn, I purchase a 50 lb. bag of popcorn once a year.  When you break it down, the cost per pound is less than a dollar.  We air pop it and also pop it on the stove.  They love this as a snack.

*Hummus, with veggies, or with pita chips

*Pumpkin Bread

*Banana Bread

~all the quick breads & blondies - I will add flax flour and use half whole wheat when I want to bulk it up.  

*Granola - sometimes I make this with more honey and make granola bars, other times I let them pour almond milk or dairy milk over this.  (this is one of the more 'sweet' of the snacks)

*Large bags or buckets of peanuts or sunflower seeds.  They especially love this in the months where they can be outside and just toss the shells into the yard.

*I generally have large bags of grapefruit or oranges, clementines etc... Citrus does NOT fill them up, even with all that fiber.  When we have oranges, it is usually accompanied with something substantial, like cheese.

*String cheese is fun, but buy large blocks of cheese.  It is cheaper, and the slices can be thick to give them a substantial portion. (I do also buy string cheese every once in a while as a treat)

*We also have peanut butter sandwiches or turkey sandwiches for after school snacks when I know dinner is going to be late.

A note on bread - buy the WHOLE WHEAT or WHOLE GRAIN, this sustains growing boys much, much longer!  Ezekiel bread is even better, but who can afford to spend over $5.00 a loaf regularly.

I just typed this out quickly, without putting too much thought into it.  I know as I remember other snacks I'll edit the post.  Please feel free to add ideas in the comments too.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Lately, I have had a difficult time managing real life as well as social media.  I love social media, I love making friends through the blogging world and enjoying seeing everyone's posts on Instagram and Facebook.  It is a joy to see so many friends on a daily basis, and I love it.  I'm inspired so often by all that I read, see, and enjoy.
Life around here is buzzing along and wonderful too, there are not any problems, life is good we are enjoying living our Catholic faith, family life and of course theater. 
 I have noticed at different times since the internet came into our everyday lives that sometimes I manage the balance just fine, and other times I can't.  I am currently in a place where I need to tip the scales towards home, hearth, and family.  I honestly don't know why sometimes it all works so smoothly and why sometimes it doesn't.  Rather than try to continue to sort it all out, I'm just going to be a little quieter around here, on facebook and on Instagram.  I'm not going anywhere because soon, the scales will tip again and it will all flow effortlessly.  When I'm struggling though, when I know there is an imbalance, then it is time to pull away from the media.  
I look forward to seeing everyone again real soon, until then I will be praying for all of you!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Master of Ceremony - #9

*I'm finding my blogging time being limited lately.  I love visiting blogs and sharing on my own, but we seem to have a lot of 'life' happening around here.  I'm not sure how much I'll be around, but we are all doing fine if my posts are a little fewer and further between.  We are just in the midst of less online time for now.*

This weekend it was #9's turn to be Master of Ceremony.  He planned hamburgers for us to enjoy and wanted for us to make S'Nores (S'mores).  It was cold and windy, but I really wanted to follow through on his request so I brought out the Sternos and they worked perfectly for indoor S'Nores.

He also planned a game of Monopoly - which was a lot of fun.  I have to be honest, as much as I love board games...I do not really enjoy Monopoly, but I was #9's partner and that made all the difference.  It is hard not to enjoy someone getting such a thrill out of landing on Community Chest almost every single time it came up on the board.
This photo is while setting the game up, even the big boys came in on the fun!
Later we watched an old Disney - we actually watched two this weekend.  One also for our Wonderful World of Disney night on Sunday as well.

Saturday night we watched -

I have always enjoyed this movie, but had a whole new experience listening to my older kids say things like "yes, take the little girl out of the big city causing asthma and bring her into the wilderness where she can be chased by wolves, bears, and cougars" - they had me laughing all night.  We really do love it despite the reality check they kept giving it.

On Sunday we enjoyed this one - 

Too funny!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sunshine Award

Patty @ Reasons for Chocolate, bestowed upon me this blogger award and it made my day!  I've never been given a blogger award that I can think of!  The rules are:

1.  Use the award logo in your post.
2.  Link to whoever nominated you.
3.  Tell us 10 pieces of information about yourself
4.  Nominate fellow bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogsphere
5.  Leave a comment on the nominees' blog to tell them of the award.

Ten Things:

1.  I played trombone in jr. high.  I'm a short person (like not quite 5 ft tall small).  So when we all stood in line to select our instruments, my dreams of being a world famous flutist were swirling in my head. Then some obnoxious boy started taunting me about needing the smallest instrument because I may not be able to lift it.
This of course led me to selecting the largest instrument I could reasonably handle and dashed those flutist dreams away (I am in touch with the term 'cut off your nose to spite your face').  It all ended up grand though, I have NEVER had so much fun as being in the brass section.  We rocked it, swaying those trombones and I had one of the best experiences of my jr high years.  In the end, I was so glad that kid taunted me!

2.  I can put the priss in prissy - I'm sorry to admit it, but I am that girl and if not for my boys I would be even more so.  I love fishing, camping, hiking etc..but, I have pink Carhartts 

and if I can make something quaint, charming and cute - I'm going to.  It is by the grace of God that my boys have mellowed out what I"m sure was always 'eye roll' worthy girlishness to other girls.  Sorry friends, thanks for putting up with me all those years.  Lynne - I'm talking to you Doll!

3.  Speaking of Lynne and Doll - I have a dear friend who I've been friends with since before we were capable of speaking.  I can see us in the church nursery giving each other the 'are you thinking what I'm thinking ' glance.  We both devoured seedy V.C. Andrews novels all through school.  We ate that trash up, and to this day refer to each other as KD or LD or just Doll  - in reference to those horrible, HORRIBLE novels. 

4.  My brother and I hated each other growing up.  I don't mean simple sibling rivalry either, it was hate.  I think I have PTSD from this when my kids argue, seriously!  He is by far my most favorite person in the world now, other than the my husband and children.  So that you can be sufficiently jealous of the brother I got in life let me just show you who is a great deal like - the similarities are uncanny (my brother is possibly more brilliant though) *those who know him know this is true*!
and my brother is better looking!

5.  I have an unreasonable love of Nacho Cheese Doritos.  So I don't buy them very often, if ever.  I think it is the MSG in them, but once I eat one then I must eat the whole bag, and buy another bag, and steel them from my children, and why or why are there not anymore.  Then I wake up from what can only be referred to as a Nacho Cheese coma and have a Nacho Cheese hangover full of deep regret and start googling if there are support groups for others like myself who cannot control themselves when it comes to this particular snack food!  Thanks to #2, I am able to control myself in social situations - just not in my own home.  

6. I had an Uncle who hoarded and collected frogs (not alive) of all kinds.  When he died, my Dad inherited the frogs (seriously, I have a stuffed frog playing a banjo somewhere in this house).  When my Dad died, my brother and I inherited the frogs. We fought over those frogs "No, there yours - No, there yours" and at some point the subject dropped.  Then we began sending each other frogs, and it became a joke between us.  I collect frogs now, and love them (but not as much as my Uncle did).  In fact when I found this blog:  The Princess and The Frog Blog, I went crazy over her bathroom and want to put this wallpaper in ours too!

7.  I have had my shyness (yes, I can be) mistaken as snobbishness (so not me).  When I see groups of people all talking and enjoying themselves, I do not feel comfortable interrupting.  It isn't low self-esteem it is more of a 'they'd rather not be bothered by me' thought process, and I find it hard to explain.  I realized at some point in my 30's I need to overcome this because I'm sending the wrong message, but I'm still not there.  I love visiting with friends and being social, but have realized that I need lots of down time at home with my own children and husband or I get fragile and frazzled and in that state - I make the 'do not bother them' assumption too much.

8.  I'm going to borrow one from Patty because it fits me too:  I can type like nobody's business!
(I have no idea what is printed on this, I just love the illustration)
I don't know what my typing speed is now, but I was at one time over 100 words per minute with less than 2 mistakes!

9.  I spent a year not eating meat and getting VERY healthy.  I juiced every day (but never meal replaced) dropped several medications and lost over 70 lbs.  I changed my whole way of eating, and even though I still have High Blood Pressure and some other health issues (blood clotting disorder).  I feel better in my 40's than I did in my 20's.

10.  I speak in movie quotes - with my kids, we can go on and on and on.  We truly love movies!

Okay, now to nominate fellow bloggers and here goes my #7 because  even though I was happy to be nominated, you never know how others will respond.  Oh well, here goes anyway.  If you want to play along great, and if not - absolutely fine as well!

1.  To Karen Childress who I gain more and more wisdom from every time I read her blog or speak to her.  She is a wealth of information, about raising a large family and about homeschooling or really anything.  I love her no nonsense, common sense style!

2.  To Laura at Peace, Love & Joy + Boys.  I wish we had met long, long ago.  We are new friends, but I feel like I've known her my whole life.  Her blog is new, but trust me - there are good things to come from her.  Wonderful friend, Mom, Wife, and a blessing to all who know her!

3.  Sharon at My Treasured Gem's is such an inspiration from cooking, to knitting, to homeschooling and just love, love loving her family!

4.  Lisa at Searching For Balance - I've known Lisa since I was forum moderator/administrator for Sense & Sensibility Patterns .  I enjoy reading about her life as a librarian, knitter, New Englander, etc..etc.. Lisa is a real friend, even if we've never met!

5.  Wanda at Re-Inventing Mother, can I tell you how wonderful it is to count Wanda as your friend.  Her blog is full of knitting magic, her love of her children and grand children.  

6.  Leanne, at Teacht Duigan.  Leanne and I have been a part of several theater productions together and even traveled to see theater productions together.  She has a heart for adoption and foster care, she inspires me greatly when I see all she and Alan do for the children that have been blessed to know them and be cared for by them.

Thanks again Patty - this was so much fun!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

~Capturing the context of contentment in every day life~
~Every Thursday at  Like Mother Like Daughter~

My very dear friend, Laura made this Minestrone soup for her family one evening. She knew I would love it, so she put together a little lunch sack with this soup and some delicious bread.  I have the BEST friends!!  I absolutely LOVED the soup and it looked so pretty in the bowl.  The recipe can be found here: Winter Minestrone - and she made this meatless, so it will be a great addition to our Friday meals!

Chowder Fest was a blast!  We loved this so much!  The kids had the best time sampling the chowders and then voting at the end.  Two of the ones we loved got into the winning categories, Druthers & Stadium Cafe!
Even more than the fun we had in New York, I was happy to be with my husband who I miss so very much!
We also took the kids inter tubing at West Mountain Ski Resort.  We all enjoyed this so much!

Although this picture, once zoomed in, shows that someone isn't necessarily happy!  
He actually was though, just terrified as they zoomed down those hills!

Gotta love hat hair after a day on the slopes!

I was finally able to travel to the Shrine of St. Kateri Tekawitha.  I have a niece named Kateri, and I have always loved the story of this very special Saint.  We also went to the Shrine for the North American Martyrs.    One other special visit we made was to St. Clements for Mass.
A friend of mine is related to him, and it was really nice to get to read about this Saint and share this photo with her via Instagram.  

Please join Leila for this weeks PHFR at LMLD!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Winner of the For Goodness Soap Giveaway Is......

Thank you so much Sharon B for entering the contest.  Please check your inbox, I've sent you and email!
Thank you everyone for playing along.  I have more fun giveaways in the next few months!!
Please be sure to check out For Goodness Soap, there are some new gift assortments and fun things for Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Guest Blogger - Leanne, from Teacht Duigan

Each of my guest bloggers are local friends or family who have graciously agreed to share a little bit on my blog this week.  I am so thrilled Leanne is sharing about her fun St. Patrick's party.  I have an extra special place in my heart for her and Alan.  When I worked at the County Clerk's office, theirs was one of the first Marriage License I was trained on and when I met her later through the theater, I remembered her because she and Alan were super sweet when they got their license.  She blogs irregularly at Teacht Duigan - and I'm saying that because I'm always encouraging her to blog more!!

My name is Leanne.  

I am married to an Irishman (Alan)– like, he came from IRELAND to marry me.  

He left his gorgeous, green country sides to move to Texas.  Brown grass, crazy weather, ‘Everything’s Bigger’ Texas.  That’s love my friends! When we got married, we decided that we would have a St. Patrick’s Day party.  I mean – he’s Irish…we kind of HAD to.  I make traditional Irish dishes, we teach traditional Irish dances, and have good ole international fun.

Last year we moved into a smaller house.  I worried for months about the party and we even talked of cancelling it.  Then we decided that what better way to celebrate one of our favorite days than with our friends…in our small house.  We invited everyone we could think of, thinking some would come.  My friends – we opened our doors crammed about 50 people in our house.  The line for food wrapped around the living room, down the hall, and into the kitchen!  People ate in the living room, front yard, back yard, and in the hallway.  You know what I didn’t hear one time?  No one said anything about the cramped situation.  They came anyway!

*I was there, this isn't even 1/4 of the people*

Each year we decide on a budget of what we will spend for the party.  This includes any new decorations and all the food.  The first year we did the party I struggled to stay on budget because I was going to do it all.  Last year I decided that I would provide the main Irish dishes and asked people to bring desserts and sides and drinks.  And bring these things they did!  We had so much food (which was good due to the number of people!).  I worried that people would think it rude that I asked them to bring things, but you know what – no one complained.  In fact, I think they enjoyed helping out.

At our party, when everyone has eaten we teach two Irish dances.  My sweet husband plays his accordion and I teach the dances.   This year we were excited to find out some friends brought their own instruments knowing Alan would be playing. They jumped right in with the music making a little band.  Because they had brought their things with them, we were also able to introduce our friends to some of our favorite traditional Irish songs! (I am hoping to purposefully add this bit to the party agenda this year!)  You’d never believe it – but I had worried about the dancing, as our house didn’t have anywhere to teach the dances.  We ended up dancing outside.  In the dark.  We had a ball – and the only thing one could hear was laughter and conversation – no complaints! 
*I have to interject and say how much fun this was, not one thought to any of her worries as a guest*

All of this to say, March is coming.  Oh, I know it’s only January – but my head it already reeling with ideas for our party this year.  I’m already planning menus and bands and dances.  I’m looking forward to inviting friends and deep cleaning decorating the house.  My advice to you (and myself)?  Relax.  You don’t have to be Martha Stuart.  I mean, she’s nice and her things are beautiful and I WISH I had her kind of budget.  But I don’t…and I don’t sweat it. 
So your house is small?  Invite everyone anyway…cram them in and let them spill out.  Let them join in the fun when they bring things (their instruments) - you never know where it will lead!
So your budget is small?  Choose your focus dishes and invite your many friends to have a part in the party.  Assign everyone a kind of dish…or let them use their creative juices.  They’ll be glad you let them have part.
Most of all – have fun.  Don’t try to be perfect…be YOU! 
Oh – and DON’T forget to wear something GREEN!
…an Irish recipes for you to try this year…

Irish Soda Bread:

Ingredients:4 cups all purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon baking soda1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups buttermilk, plus 2 teaspoons


Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour 4 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl.  Add baking soda and salt and stir with a fork to combine.  Add 2 cups of buttermilk and stir with a fork until well blended.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 flour onto work surface.  Pour dough out onto work surface.  Knead dough, working in flour as needed, for about one minute until dough is no longer sticky and forms a smooth round ball.
Cover baking sheet with a piece of non-stick aluminum foil and shape into loaf.  To shape into shamrock as pictured: break dough into 4 pieces.  Shape 3 pieces into hearts and the 4th into the stem. 
Brush remaining 2 teaspoons of buttermilk over the surface of the dough. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning of the bread.  Bake for an additional 18-22 minutes until crust is a deep golden brown.  Allow to cool for one hour before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Please be sure to go enter the giveaway, only 3 more days!!
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