Thursday, September 11, 2014

Meatball Soup.... AKA Italian Wedding Soup

Autumn is in the Air!

We are enjoying the cool evenings and delightful breezy afternoons.  Tonight we are cooking up a family favorite, which says a lot for my typically picky, five and three year old kids. You may know this soup as Italian Wedding Soup, but at our house it is called Meatball Soup!

“Meatball Soup”  AKA Italian Wedding Soup

2 large cans of chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 cup dry Acini de Pepe noodles
1 small bag frozen meatballs
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup frozen spinach
1 Tbs of Italian seasoning
(salt and pepper to taste)
My Diva Helper in the kitchen

The soup in the making!

Buddy and Diva helpers!

Boil chicken broth in a large pot. Add chopped veggies. Simmer until veggies are cooked through. Add meatballs, dry noodles, and Italian seasoning until noodles are tender and meatballs are cooked. Simmer until ready to serve. Top with Parmesan cheese and serve with crackers.

Sometimes we add canned chicken or any other veggies we have on hand that need to be used up.  Enjoy!

Do you have any favorite fall recipes?  Please feel free to add a link to your blog if you would like to share your recipe!

Happy Autumn Time!

Coffee With Us 3

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Little Kids Riding a Big Bus

So happy and excited that they literally ran to the front door of the school!

The kids are back in school and it is a bit quieter at home with out them in the morning.  My kids are so happy to be in school, and I am so happy they are in school!

The first time Lil’Miss got to ride the bus she sang, “ I’m on the bus, I am on the bus, I’ m on the bus.” As she jumped up and down finding a seat.  She was so excited she could hardly contain herself. 

All last year when Bean went to school, he got to ride a bus. She was so bummed that she didn’t get to ride a bus and had to ride with mom in the van to her preschool. Every day I got to hear about how sad she was that she didn't get to ride the bus so last winter we braved the cold and took the city bus to the other side of town to do some shopping then came home just so she could have a chance at riding a bus.  Our own special little field trip. Some photos from our fun little trip...

Bean's bus last fall

And there he goes!

Waiting for the bus..

A very cold winter day!

I see the bus!!!

Hooray for the bus!

We rode past the state capitol and marveled at how we could see the tops of the cars.

Now ever day she beams and waves out the window as the bus pulls around our corner and heads on its way to school.  She jumps with equal excitement when she returns home.  Bean is content and happy, and cool as a cat that he is on the bus as well.
Bean with his teachers on his first day of school.
One of my great college roommates lives near me and our daughters get to be in the same Kindergarten class.  I hope they become friends.

Here is a flashback to my first day of Kindergarten.  I happen to attend a school just one mile from my kid’s school.  I was much more shy than either of my kids, but was equally happy to be able to go to school and ride a school bus.
I am the one in the center in the lavender dress.  Flash back 1983...

Happily Riding to School… on a bus!

What are your memories of the first day of kindergarten???

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Village Children

Counting down the days until school starts.  Lil’Miss will be in Kindergarten and Bean will be in the developmental preschool program at the same elementary school.  Summer has been fun, but let’s just say, momma needs a break from her two oldest.  Some days they challenge me to my wits end!

It takes a village to raise a child.  A saying that I have taken to heart since I have begun to have children.  Perhaps it is my inner hippie coming through, but I am sure it is the nature of my children that I sometimes frantically call on the village for help. I can not do it alone.

Sweet wonderful children, but not your average littles.

Church for example… I look around the congregation and see kids quietly sitting with their families, sometimes there are some kids who are wiggly or toddlers squaking but they at least have breaks of quiet sitting. We attempt to sit quietly in church Lil’Miss is shouting out crazy things she observes and loudly asking questions like why the lady behind us has three chins… and Bean is either climbing over and under the chapel pews or perhaps wandering/jogging up or down the isles.   Needless to say we stick out a bit.

Thank goodness there has been improvement and growth.  Lil’Miss used to be a screamer.  She used to scream a lot.  Now that she is older she does a much better job at expressing her frustrations or sensitivities with words.  Her first three years of life were VERY challenging.  Her outbursts may or may not have contributed to hearing loss I experience now.

Bean also has his challenges but we have also seen a ton of growth.  At 3 ½ years old he has just begun to really talk. He now is now a little bit less climber-ish and is learning how to understand directions and request of others.  I am grateful for his growth but each day is challenging.

How to put it to words….?

Lil’Miss: Obsessive compulsive, impulsive, hyperactive, helper, friendly, distracted, sweet, passionate, compassionate, ….

Bean: Runner, climber, hugger, noise clicker, sweet, caring, loving, active, busy, mover.

Back to village children…. So many times I come to church or family activities I and am just ready to crash due to trying to keep up with my active kids.  Often the exhaustion
is as much mental than physical.  Thank goodness there are those ready and willing to help. 

Cousins to play with, helpers at church so I can get a couple hour break, grandparents to babysit and school to send them off to. 

With school starting around the corner I do feel that brief moment of sadness sending my little kids off to the big school with maybe a few tears.  But with the help of our village, my kids get enriched learning and I get a few hours of sanity.

So a shout out to my village people… Thank you, I need you, the hubs needs you, and even more importantly the kids need you!

Happily sending my kids off to school next week!

How is/was it sending your kids off to school for the first time??

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Our Lives... Catch Up

Milling about as the summer is coming to a close.  I had great intentions to blog this summer about the many things keeping me busy, and I just didn’t do it.  I don’t know if it is writers block, or the fact that I have three little ones who love to come hang on me when they hear me clicking away at the keyboard.  Despite my absence, life has been busier than ever! Lots of craziness, lots of goodness!

We have vacationed, summer schooled and I have not let a day go by without one of my projects addressed. It has been wonderful to be able to accomplish some of the things that I put on hold through my pregnancy with Tino.

We have been living in Tiny Home for just over a year and it is a amazing we have all survived in the small space.  We contemplate moving often, but if we don’tmove out of town, we will try to survive another year in our tiny abode.

Since we have moved into Tiny Home…
Attempted at putting in sod in half our front yard twice
Planted lots of plants that have not survived the summer heat and several fruit trees
Removed a tree and some stumps
Updated and remodeled the bathroom at the Teeny Tine House
Painted most of the interior
Done a great deal of re-arranging of our utility room to make it work for the small space.
New screen doors
New to us stove
Added additional lighting to the living room and
Remodeled our tiny porch adding columns and a new light fixture
And just a couple of weeks ago….
I folded and we purchased central air conditioning. Be still my thrifty heart….

Those are just a few of the house projects that have kept me consumed…
the list does go on.

Even with all of the house project we have been able to pay off a mountain of debt

I am loving getting other projects done….
Getting things up on my walls
Hanging curtains and blinds
Decorating my bedroom (or attempting to do so)
Painting chairs, tables, lockers, picture frames, window shutters, bookshelves, a desk, my front door.  Basically anything I can get my hands on!  Yeah, I kind of have a thing for painting!

And then there are our rental homes…. I am just not going to go there. Just think $$$ in the red. Yes, folks being a landlord is such an adventure! uggg...

Oh yea… since we moved in I also conceived a new little one, survived a yet another challenging pregnancy and now have seen this little guy grow and grow  to be a six month old baby, who attempts to crawl by pivoting on his belly and is about to cut his first teeth!

More family news….
-Lil’Miss and Bean both had successful preschool years and have grown so much!
-The Hubs had a first complete year at his new job… that will be ending soon L. The job hunt continues!
-The Hubs also had his first official tax season
-Tino is a charmer and loves to woo the ladies at church with his super cute smile

I am hoping with my older two kids starting up school again in a couple of weeks (Kindergarten and Preschool) we will be back to a routine and I can get a handle on life….setting some …
Blog goals…
Health goals….
Financial goals…
Project goals and
Just trying to figure out what is next in our lives???? Where will our new job be?? 
And will it require an out of town move???

So needless to say, as I have not been blogging, I am living up life surviving and thriving. So there is our happy little update on life in a nutshell!

Happily rolling our way through life!

Hope you are loving up your last weeks of summer, what has been keeping you busy?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Traveling With Kids

Happy 4th of July!  As we are approaching our nations holiday you will often find yourself traveling.  If you are like me and have little ones, the thought of traveling can be daunting. 

I came across this pin, which leads you to this site, and to this day it is my most popular pin.  Follow the link for some great suggestions on travel games.  What caught my attention was the photo of the travel snacks. I loved the idea too, and it tells me parents are out there looking for ways to have smooth travel with kids.

So here is our Snack Box: A small box with sections (found mine at Walmart in the bead section for $4-5) and fill with random snacks.  We put a few healthy snacks, and a few unhealthy snacks, a little salty, a little sweet! Let your kids know this is what they get for the trip, and when it is gone, it is gone.

My last trip was a five hour drive with my kids solo.  I tried the suggested snack box and it was a hit with both my kids.  Lil’Miss loved just looking at her snack and had more fun admiring all the goodies, than eating them.  Bean opened his box up right away and snacked on the candies and saved the other items for later.  Right when we got to our destination he fell asleep with the box on his lap and dumped the remainder of the contents! whoops J It served its purpose and I was happy and we refilled with new snacks when we headed home a couple of days later.

We are preparing for our next trip and I will come up with some new fun snacks for their snack box. Lil’Miss has asked several times when she will get her special snack box.  I think she will have fun helping me put them together.

 Here is a link to my post on travel tags for young kids.  I focused on kids who are nonverbal, but this would be helpful for any child.

Sidenote: I use this general idea still when we go to the zoo or out in large gatherings where I might lose my child but sometimes I don’t want to take the time to print out a travel tag, I just take a piece of masking tape and make a bracelet by sticking the tape to itself and then put in on my child’s wrist.  I put my name and phone number and so if my child wanders or get’s lost, they will have a way to find me.

My sister had a great tip as well. When she is out with her kids at large gatherings: zoo, park, ect. She takes a picture of her child, so she has a fresh picture of what they are wearing in the event that they get separated.  I love that idea too!!

What are your best travel tips?  Do you have any blog posts or favorite websites to share, please do so in the comments below.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tino's Birth Story

I am not sure I know how to tell a birth story with out a lot of details…. So sit down and kickback if you enjoy hearing birth stories!

So on my blog all of my kids get a blog nickname.  Tino’s due date was Valentines Day, and the hubs wanted to name him Valentino.  It just didn’t fit, code for… I don’t want to name my kid after Valentines day.  So to give some validation to the hubs I told him Tino could be his blog nickname.

This pregnancy being my third, it did not disappoint.  It was similar to my first two pregnancies in that I felt sick EVERY SINGLE DAY of the pregnancy.  I sometimes would wake up hopeful, feeling alright then I would start moving and the horrible nausea would begin. 

My favorite part of pregnancy is the labor and delivery.  I love the anticipation, I love to be able to meet the little being that spent so many months growing inside me.  I love that it means I am NO LONGER PREGNANT and I can begin to feel human again!! J J

It is really hard to keep my spirits up while pregnant, and even harder to keep up with life’s duty as a mom and wife.  As each day went on when I was pregnant I hoped and prayed I would go into labor.  Since Bean was born prematurely I really thought it might happen again with Tino’s birth.  I was torn with not wanting to have a child born too early that would require additional medical care and possible developmental delays and problems, yet I yearned to feel semi normal and un-sick every day!

So when I made it to almost 39 weeks, I think I was doing pretty good.  My doctor was surprised I made it as long as I had.  My crazy body had contractions through a good portion of the pregnancy, but that was typical of my two previous pregnancies.

On Monday February 3rd I had a doctor’s appointment.  I was dilated to 2 ½ cm and 90% effaced.  The doctor stripped my membranes which she claimed they were, “barely there”. The doctor and I discussed being induced the following Monday February 10th and I made an appointment as I left, but I was really hoping the membrane sweep would be enough to put me into labor.  She also told me to come in when contractions were 8 ½ minutes apart, due to my quick labor history.

I had my normal contractions off and on through the day.  I kept busy through the day and cleaned the house and didn’t even time the contractions.  Part of me was in denial, if I didn’t time them, I could rush to the hospital and have the baby right away.

My dad had been watching my kids while I was at the doctors and I told him to keep his phone near by just in case I actually did go in to labor.  The contractions weren’t exactly painful, but more annoying.  They continued on and seemed to be getting closer and closer. It wasn’t until after I got the kids to bed, took a bath and went to bed myself that I decided I better time these puppies and see how close they actually were.

They were four minutes apart!  I didn’t want it to be false labor (again) and be sent home, but I also didn’t want to be in active labor and risk having a baby on the freeway! Since

I had passed my doctors recommended 8 ½ minutes I decided we better call Grandpa to come stay with the kids and get to the hospital to see if this baby was on his way.  I was 50% sure they would send me home, mostly because I wasn’t in screaming pain.  You have to be in screaming pain to have a baby right???

We arrived at the hospital at midnight and they monitored me for three hours before they admitted me.  I had progressed from 2 ½ cm earlier in the day to 4cm when we checked in, but once I laid down, labor seemed to halt.  They told me if things didn’t pick up, they would be sending me home.  I am not sure if it was my sheer determination, or the will of my sweet baby but I was having that baby and I was not going to let them send me home.

Around 2am they took me off the monitors and I began to walk in circles around my room.  I walked, squatted and just kept moving.  The hubs ran home to get some items we had forgotten to bring with us to the hospital and I took it upon myself to get this labor moving.  I wanted this baby to come, and I was going to keep moving until the doctors gave me a go and checked me in to have the baby.

The contractions were getting uncomfortable, but that didn’t keep me from moving. I knew they were going to come back in at 3am to check and see how things are going.  I used that hour to get things moving.  They measured to see where I was at and I was only at 5cm.  Since things were progressing (although slow) they admitted me.  I was so happy!  I was finally going to have this baby!!!

At one point in my life I wanted to enjoy the natural process of labor and have natural childbirths.  Somewhere along the way, possibly due to my agonizing pregnancies I changed my mind.  With Lil’Miss I was in active labor when I got to the hospital and in *screaming* pain.  Well, maybe not screaming pain, but very loud moans that would wake you if you were a sleeping neighbor! I got the epidural as soon as I could, and it took a few attempts at that.  Bean’s delivery I had the crazy idea to go as long as possible into labor before getting the epidural to see if I could handle it and maybe not get it.  I was in tears and the nurses were like, “If you are going to get it, what are you waiting for??”  They had a good point.

This labor I had clearly planned to have the epidural, so I felt a little weird getting it with out any tears or screaming.  I was however quite tired.  I didn’t sleep but an hour or two the night prior due to Lil’Miss up all night with the flu, and then labor isn’t exactly relaxing, so I called for the anesthesiologist as soon as he was available (5am).  Both my prior births I was in so much pain I had a terrible time being able to bend enough for the needle to be placed in the right spot and I had to have the epidural done twice.  This time around it was a whole different experience.  I was smiling and joking with the nurses and doctor, total different contrast.  I was so happy to feel that the epidural was working.

I got what they call a “perfect epidural”.  I couldn’t feel the pain of contractions, but I had control of my legs and was able to move them around on the table, which is totally helpful once pushing begins.  I did have some sensation, but it was not painful.  My legs were dead weight with my daughter and I had to have the hubs and nurses keep them from flopping out of the stirrups J. That was all sorts of fun for everyone!

With the epidural in full swing I finally got a chance to rest.  Not really great rest, but was able to close my eyes between doctors and nurses coming in to check on me.  It really slowed down my labor, which kind of stunk, but I was happy still.

Eventually they broke my water (7:30am) in hopes that would pick things up and things were still going slow so we started pitocin at 10:40am with the hopes of a baby around noon! Sure enough around noon I could feel the baby down in the birth canal.  The nurses kept asking if I need to push, I am not sure I felt the need to push, but I did however feel like I needed to wiggle my hips.  I felt antsy and like the baby was ready to deliver. 

My doctor was “taking out a uterus” in one room “and getting a baby out of a uterus” in another room, so it was going to be a while before she would be available.  The nurses held off checking me at that point afraid if they did a baby might just come right out.

At some point when I was resting a woman came into the room and introduced herself.  I thought she was one of the on staff hospital doctors and I didn’t really register what she was telling me.  Later she came in and told me that she was a resident doctor and she would be delivering my baby.  She was a take charge kind of gal and came in like a whirl wind ready to catch the baby soon coming.

My doctor made it back to check me around 1:30 pm and the babies head was down and in the birth canal.  Everyone suited up and we were on our way.  The room was full!  Two doctors, three nurses, one student nurse, the hubs, my sister and myself.  This wasn’t even a high risk birth like Bean’s.

I am pretty sure the urge to wiggle my hips was my body telling me, it is time to push and get this baby here!  As soon as all the staff was ready I was given the cue to push.  And a couple of pushes later, we had Tino!  Like I said, the most favorite part of pregnancy, the very last moments!  I am blessed that the actual delivery goes smoothly, and I am so grateful I can look forward to that time.

There is nothing to compare to the moment a child is born and placed on your chest.  Tears filled my eyes as I saw this precious child enter the world.  This was the first time I was able to hold my newborn for an extended period of time at birth.  My first two children had troubles so they were whisked away before I got to spend time with them in my arms.

Since it's likely this might be our last baby I invited my sister to come and take pictures.  I wanted to be able to have a photo log of the labor and delivery.  Things worked out that she was able to find someone to watch her kids and she got some great photos.  Thank you!

It is amazing to me how instantly after the baby is out of my body how much better I feel.  After months and months of feeling sick, a relief comes!

I am so happy to have our sweet baby Tino here!  Such a sweet, happy, healthy baby!

I love hearing birth stories.  Do you have a birth story to share? Please post a link to your birth story in the comments below.

Happy Baby Loving!