Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thoughts on Food, Planning, and Other Random Things

I haven't done as well as I had hoped in keeping up with this blog lately! We've been busy around here, and April is looking like it will be even busier! I'm looking forward to it, though...between spring weather really truly arriving, expecting several visitors this month, and doing a little bit of traveling as well, it should be a good kind of "busy!"

I've spent much time over the past week or so making my once-a-month grocery shopping lists. I shop at least 2 stores, Costco and Stop & Shop, and sometimes add another if they have a good sale on something. Two things are making my planning much more challenging this month!

First of all, while we've always been fairly healthy eaters, I've felt very strongly the past few months that I should make a proactive effort to cut artificial colors, flavors, and certain additives and preservatives out of our diet completely. I've toyed around with this before, but not long-term. With Joshua's ADHD and sensory issues, and the older boys' asthma, I believe it will make a real difference in health and temperament to finally make these changes for good. I made my plans and started making menus, lists, etc., then the 2nd thing happened!

Jeremy decided (and I completely agree with him!) that it would be prudent to have on hand at least a month's worth of shelf-stable food and water, in case of an emergency. He wants to have items on hand that would require a minimum of preparation, if any at all, in case power is out or whatever. So a nice chunk of our grocery budget for March and April is going towards this project. Unfortunately, many of the items I can find that are shelf-stable and require little preparation (think canned goods) also contain artificial stuff and of course, preservatives. I'm still trying to figure out how to mesh those two things together...food storage and healthy eating!

I am also building up a supply of healthy items that require more preparation, such as grains, beans, and pasta, and stocking up the freezer with meats, veggies, etc. Of course, my freezer is usually pretty well stocked! I'm also trying to put into practice ways that I can rotate through everything so that nothing goes bad. Obviously my canned goods will last a long time, and since we don't currently eat many canned foods, I'll probably hold off trying to rotate them into our menu for a while. But I'm guilty of not keeping a good inventory of my chest freezer, and just using stuff off the top while the frozen mystery roasts languish in freezer burn at the bottom. No more! I'll let you know as I figure this all out! :)

In other news, the boys are all doing well! We're enjoying the spring weather and our almost-daily walks in Riverside Park. The bulbs (crocuses, daffodils, and others I don't recognize) are all blooming in the flowerbeds. I can't wait for the trees to get their leaves again and for everything to green up! Yay, spring!! :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Park Pictures

Here are the promised pictures from the park downtown. This is one of the boys' favorite parks. We don't go often as it isn't exactly convenient to get there, but as the weather gets nicer and we're out more, I'm sure we'll get down there again!

This is a ring of steering wheels and pedals that the children can get on and pedal to go in a circle. The boys love this! You would think the idea of working that hard and not actually getting anywhere would be off-putting, but no, they could do this for hours. Oh, wait...it appears it's Daddy who is actually doing the work, here!

At one point there were 3 other children and 2 other parents at this ride. And, of course, all of our boys! One of the other parents turned to me and made a comment about how there were so many more kids than parents here...why weren't the other kids' parents there watching their children? Then I had to tell him that the other children were, in fact, ALL MINE! lol! :)

Here's Joey running as fast as he can around the playground...

Jonathan and Jordan think I can't see them on this mesh bridge...

Josiah, waiting patiently, hoping he will be allowed to get out of the stroller and play!

Here are the older 4 jumping around on the mesh part, while Daddy pushes on them from underneath trying to knock them over!

Great leaping Jonathans, Batman!

This park is right next to the World Financial Center. To the left of these buildings is Ground Zero, where construction is starting on the Freedom Tower.

Josiah is thrilled to be able to crawl around!

Jonathan and Josiah checking out the view. In the background is the Hudson River, and New Jersey on the other side.

Next, it was off to the sand area!

Josiah experiencing sand for the first time. He wasn't sure what to make of it!

I think he's enjoying this new experience!

Everybody happily playing in the sand together...

Back in the stroller...isn't he a cutie-pie?!!

A sleepy Joey sitting in the stroller waiting for the subway.

They're not supposed to play in the subway stations, but of course it's hard for little boys to resist sliding down the handrails on the stairs!

We enjoyed our day at the park...hope you enjoy the pictures!! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mmmmm! Homemade Frosties!!

The boys and I were in the mood for a treat today, so I decided to try out a recipe from the Hillbilly Housewife website for a chocolate milkshake. Just as she claims on her site, it tastes just like a Wendy's Frosty!! Yumm-o! I just had to share!

By the way, that site has a great section on instant drink mixes that I love. I make the hot chocolate mix and the chai tea mix regularly. They're yummy, easy, and so much less expensive than buying the packets at the store!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bouncing Baby Josiah!

Here is a cute video of Josiah I thought y'all would enjoy! It was taken at one of our favorite parks, which is downtown next to the World Financial Center. The boys' favorite part of this playscape is this open mesh type stuff that is about 7' off the ground...the boys run around up on top while Daddy pushes up on them from below to bounce them. This was Josiah's first time to actually crawl around up on top...I think he enjoyed himself!

I took tons of still photos as well...hopefully I'll find some time to edit and post some of them later as well!

Making Peanut Butter!

This is something I've been wanting to try for a while, and seeing Annalia's post on making peanut butter with her children inspired me to take photos and blog it! Thanks, Lia!

Now that I have my amazing Vita-mix, I've been experimenting with all sorts of great things to do with it! Now, in addition to baby food, hummus, grinding my own wheat, and almost-daily smoothies, I can add peanut butter to the list! But first we had to deal with the peanuts...

I bought them with the shells still on, thinking it would be fun for the boys to shell them. It was, but it was also the BIGGEST MESS I think we've made in a while...and we make some pretty big messes!!

Jonathan, who is allergic to peanuts (not bad allergic, just makes him itchy if he eats them) decided that it would be "safer" to beat them out of their shells with a meat tenderizer. I vetoed that one pretty much right away!

Joey tried several different shelling methods...squeezing really hard...

the "karate chop"... (that's marker on his arm...not wounds, lol!)

Jordan really was having fun...really...

the "relaxed-toes-on-the-table" approach...

the "laying-on-the-floor-under-the-table" attempt...

and finally he decided to just go ahead and use his teeth!

Joshua coined a new word..."demolate." As in "Hey, Jon, want to watch me demolate this peanut?" I tried to convince him that "demolish" was a better choice, but Joshua is already convinced he knows everything!

Ready to be blended...

This picture is awful, but here it is all smooth and creamy!

The first taste-test...yum!

Of course we had pb&j sandwiches for lunch!

That was fun, although I don't think I'll repeat it with peanuts in the shell! Even after sweeping several times, I was still finding bits of peanut shell in random places!! The boys really enjoyed it, though, and the peanut butter was yummy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jonathan's Poem

Jonathan decided to write a poem today about seasons. I think he did a really nice job! Go here to check it out!! (And leave him a comment about it!) :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys!

All of my boys are definitely "all boy," but my little 5-year-old Jordan is especially rough-and-tumble. He's the one most likely to be playing super hero at any given time, pretending a stick is a gun, and trying to do the most dangerous "exciting" activities he can think of. He certainly keeps me on my toes!!

Since here in New York he is supposed to be officially in Kindergarten this year, he is doing some school work, but not nearly as much as his two older brothers. Because of this, he has a good bit of time during the day when I need to work with his older brothers (and keep the 3-year-old from harassing the baby). So several times a week I will let him choose a video to watch.

Usually he will choose a Veggietales video, or one of several Disney videos that we own. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the living room to find him watching My Fair Lady a few days ago. I didn't ask him about it at that time, but when I went back into the room a little bit later, we had this conversation:

Jordan: "Mommy, this movie is BORING! Can I watch a different one?"

Me: "Well, since you've already watched most of it, don't you think you should watch the rest and see how it ends?"

Jordan: "No, it's BORING!"

Me: (getting curious at this point) "Hey Jordan, what made you choose this movie in the first place?"

Jordan: (In his best disappointed voice) "Well, I was going to watch something else, but Jonathan told me that this movie has GUNS in it!! And he LIED!!"

I'm not sure where he gets it, but that's my boy!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Park Fun!

We had a gorgeous day here on Saturday! It was a nice, warm 68 degrees, so we just had to get out and spend time at the park! The boys (and Daddy and Mommy, too) really needed to get out and stretch their legs a little. We walked through Riverside Park, to a playground about a mile away from our apartment. Now, we do have several playgrounds a lot closer than that, but this one is one of the boys' favorites!

Joey climbing...doesn't he look just thrilled to be outside?

Josiah checking out the playground from the safety of Daddy's arm...

Since we did get a big snow storm earlier in the week, there were still some small piles left that hadn't melted yet. Josiah was curious about it, but didn't like touching it!

About to try the slide for the first time...


Jonathan loves his baby brother!!

Joshua loves his baby brother, too!

Who's this little monkey?...Jordan!

Jonathan thinks I can't see him...

I like this picture of Jordan. Yes, he needs a haircut! His hair reminds me of a hobbit, lol!

Daddy trying to get Josiah to look up at the camera...


Mommy going down the slide with Josiah...

I'm not sure what you call this, but the boys all love sliding down straddling it.

Ah, Josiah's favorite part of the playground...the swings!

Is this a happy boy, or what?

The boys call this playground "the dinosaur park" because of these big fiberglass dinos they can climb all over...

Joey loves the sandbox area...

Jonathan made a sand volcano!...

Another shot of a happy Josiah...

And Joey on a dinosaur...

The bigger boys and I raced for part of the way home. We stopped to rest on a bench and saw Joey behind us, valiantly trying to catch up. Run, Joey, Run!! :)

We had a great time playing all together outside. We can't wait until the weather is this nice consistently. Hurry up, spring! The J-Boys want to PLAY!!! :)
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