Recipe: Christmas Oatmeal (Chocolate Pomegranate Oatmeal)

It’s hard to come up with new and exciting breakfast ideas for my kids.  Something that will fill their little bellies and keep them full until lunch.  We definitely eat a lot of eggs and peanut butter oatmeal… foods with protein.

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I decided to mix up a festive “Christmas” oatmeal for breakfast this weekend.

Christmas Pomegranate Chocolate Oatmeal (makes 1 bowl)

1/2 c Quaker oats (I used about half regular oats and half quick oats. I like the mixed texture and the heartier reg oats)
2/3 c water (my husband usually makes the kids oatmeal with almond milk or reg milk)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 heaping tablespoons greek honey yogurt
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds/arils

Mix oats, water, cocoa, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Microwave for 45-60 sec.  Stir together.  Top with yogurt and pomegranate arils.  Serve immediately.  I loved the contrast of the hot oatmeal topped with the  cold yogurt and fruit plus the light chocolate flavor.

The kids loved that it had chocolate and yogurt.  Two of their favorite things!

Disney Adventures

At the end of October, our family went on a great Disney adventure.  We spent two days at Magic Kingdom and a day just hanging out at the pirate-themed Disney Caribbean Beach Resort.  And it was all awesome.

We were careful to use our FastPasses and if we didn’t need them because the line was short, we cancelled them and saved them for later.  We lucked out on Splash Mountain lines and probably went down 10+ times in two days.  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and Tomorrowland Speedway were also favorites.

Basically on Day 1, we tried to hit everything at least once and even got to do Splash Mountain with no line about 4 times.  Then on Day 2, we just made sure we did all our favorites all day long – like the Raceway – that the kids got to drive around over and over.

The kids had a ball and did so awesome.  They are 6.5 and 4.5 y.o. and although we left the stroller in the car as backup, we didn’t use it.  Day 1 they were high energy all day.  On Day 2, they made it about half the day and then there were some line meltdowns by the younger one but you could tell both were exhausted. (So were mom and dad!) According to my Fitbit we did about 8 miles on Day 1 and 6.5 on Day 2, so definitely a lot of on the go time for two little boys.

They’ve already asked if we can go back!  I think we’ll go again in a few years and by then they’ll probably be ready for Hollywood Studios.

Side story: Landon (6 yo) was terrified of the Splash Mountain ride the first time we went down – it was our 4th ride of Day 1.  He started crying after the big hill.  We bribed him with a funnel cake to go again and this time I told him to try holding his breath on the big hills – so he’d have something to take his mind off of it.  So, after that, for two whole days, this boy was a breath holding machine.  Every ride I’d look over on the “scary” parts and he’d be cheeks red and puffy, holding it in.  But it worked! And you can see in the pics below that by Day 2 on Splash Mountain, that boy had his hands in the air on the big hills!  (His first few ride pics are at the very bottom of the page.)

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Landon holding his breath on the rides:

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Missing the lasts.

It’s hard to know when the “lasts” will occur with my kids.  Some things are on a calendar – like the last time they’ll be part of the preschool Christmas pageant (this Friday) or the last First Day of School (we still have a ways to go for that one).

But some lasts you can’t estimate.  When is the last time they’ll ask me to come tuck them into bed, or the last time they’ll sneak into my bed on cold mornings and snuggle between Dean and I.

With those kinds of lasts, you go about your day and then like a bolt of lightning it hits you – when was the last time ___(insert moment)__ happened.  You rack your brain to remember the last time it happened… when they last asked you for help with their shoelaces or zipping a jacket.  As my boys grow and become more independent, I often find myself thinking about little things I love and how much longer I’ll get to have them.

  • believing in Santa at Christmas
  • giving mom kisses and holding her hand
  • checking their teeth after brushing
  • getting excited to put up Christmas decor
  • unsolicited hugs from Brooks – he just comes up at random moments with arms wide open
  • asking to watch a cooking show with mom
  • packing their lunches
  • sweet, innocent prayers together
  • wanting to go on bike rides with mom
  • sleeping with their special blankies

There are so many sweet Landon-isms and Brooks-isms that have already passed.  Landon no longer says “valinna” (instead of vanilla) and no longer carries Chubby around everywhere.  Brooks stopped kicking stuffed animals out of his bed and his dino obsession is waning.

And it leaves me wondering what will be next to go.  I hope it’s not holding mom’s hand!

Recipe: Mexican Tilapia Ricebowl

Don’t you love when you throw something together and “test it out” and it turns out delicious.  It’s a happy surprise because when you’re not going off a recipe – anything goes.  I’ve definitely had a few failures this way, but sometimes we get an unexpected success that the whole house loves.  And our house loved these Mexican Tilapia Ricebowls

The great thing about a rice bowl is you can pick and choose what you put on them and make them somewhat customized.  Like a salad bar.

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Mexican Tilapia Ricebowl

3 cups of dry rice (white or brown) – prepared according to package instructions
coconut oil/olive oil/veg oil
6 tilapia filets – if frozen, thaw first
1/2 med onion – chopped
1 can chili beans in sauce
1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
Pear Corn Salsa – recipe below

Prepare rice according to package instructions. (I like to add a little cumin or seasoning into my rice to give it a little extra.) In a separate skillet, put a few tablespoons of oil and then start to pan fry your tilapia with the onions.  Cook about 3 mins per side until it’s almost cooked through.  Be sure to season with salt and pepper.

Once tilapia is nearly cooked through add chili beans, black beans and enchilada sauce. Add cumin. Cook for about 5-7 more minutes until beans are heated through and fish is cooked.

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Then top with Pear and Corn Salsa.

Pear and Corn Salsa
1 pear, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed.  I serve with corn at room temp, not warm.
3 tablespoons of onion – small dice
3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro – chopped
splash of Girard’s Champagne Vinaigrette – enough to wet the mixture but not soak it.
Juice of half a fresh lime
S&P to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Since we were making this to bring to my brother’s house and they don’t do diary, we didn’t put any cheese or sour cream on top but I bet that would be a tasty addition.

Miscellaneousness

As I mentioned last week, our life has been hectic lately.  Well, this post is going to be just as hectic.  Some random stories and highlights from our life lately:

Landon was out of school for Election Day so he went to the polls with Dean and I.  We talked about the voting process.  Then that night, we participated in a much more delicious vote that the kids actually cared about:
Which cupcake is the best?

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Brooks loves to look over at the glassed-in parent section whenever he’s doing his lesson to make sure we’re watching him.  I love watching him get more confident and capable in the water.

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Somebody decided they needed a haircut, so they took it upon themselves to give one spot in their head a nice tight trim.  He was supposed to be in his room for timeout. Oh, Brooks!

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Brooks had to disguise his turkey so he wouldn’t get caught and eaten for Thanksgiving.  He wanted to do a crocodile but we couldn’t figure out how to do that, so we went with a rainbow/leprechaun theme. Mostly because we wanted to use sparkle glitter and glue and that seemed to fit. The best part though, is when I saw them hanging in the hall and noticed the name Brooks gave to his turkey:  “Turtle the Leprechaun”  Seriously, I wonder what it’s like to be in his brain!🙂

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We were recently in the greeting card section of Target. I was checking out the funny cards and the kids were picking cards and asking me over and over to read them outloud.  I did a few and then told them to just let mom do some quick reading of her own so we could get out of there.  While I was reading the cards, Landon started reading a few on his own.  And he can definitely read now…

He starts outloud, “Have a g-ood damun birth-day.”  His eyes get wide as he looks over at me.  “Mom, what does that word say”, pointing to ‘damn’.  I confirmed that it was, in fact, damn.  He replied, “well, mom, I’m not going to read any more of these cards. I don’t know if they have more bad words.”

That’s a lot of random miscellaneous-ness for one post🙂  And obviously, we’re totally nailing this parenting thing:/

Halloween recap: stick ’em up!

My kids are obsessed with police.  Brooks has been asking since the spring for REAL metal handcuffs.  Not plastic ones like kids have but police ones so he can “lock people up”.

When he had to answer the question and draw a picture of where he’d go if he could drive, he picked the police station.

If we’re out driving and he’s having a hard time getting his last buckle snapped, he’ll say “mom, don’t drive yet, I don’t want the police to take me to jail for not having my buckle on.”

My boys are constantly playing jail and bad guys.  And I can’t tell you how many “things” have become police objects.  Paper clips bent into little metal guns.  The collar from a stuffed animal turning into cuffs.

You can imagine how excited they were the day before Halloween when I pulled out their new costumes.  They had no idea I’d bought them cop outfits:

These sweet boys can arrest me any day of the week.

A blog break + my husband rocks

If you check my blog regularly, you’ll note that I’ve been on a little blog hiatus.  When things get hectic, to-do’s quickly fall off the list and blogging is one of those things.  (So is cleaning my toilets.)  Between kids sports/activities, bible studies, work stuff, vacation and other things, I just haven’t made the time.

But I hope that one day my kids will look back on this blog journal of their life, so it’s time to get some stuff up again!  I don’t know how regularly I’ll post – I’ve definitely slowed over the last year.  When I started blogging, it was 4-5 posts a week, every week.  But when you see crazy things happen to people around you, you remember that life is short and instead of spending time recording my kids, I made a concerted effort to just be with them.  To stop pulling out the phone to capture a shot and instead take a mental image.  As a result, posting slowed to a couple posts each week.

But a few people have commented recently asking about the blog and while it takes time to post, it’s also so awesome to go back and remember stories and funny things.  Certain pictures immediately draw me back to that day/moment and usually bring a smile to my face or cause a chuckle.

I also just want to take a moment to say that my husband is awesome.  While things have been balls to the walls crazy lately, he is a rock.  When I had to stay late at work and miss the kids’ events, he’s rocked swim lessons and baseball practices solo.  When I put too much on our weekend plate, he – without complaint – helps me check them off.  He’s handled more dinners than normal and I am just so thankful for him.  I appreciate all the little things he does each day and I love that my kids get him as their role model.  He’s a great husband and dad and I know they’ll be awesome husbands and dads one day as a result.