Monthly Archives: April 2012

When children eat well they tend to sleep better.

When kids get a good night’s sleep, getting ready in the morning for school might go a little smoother. “Where are my shoes?! Oh here they are…”

When school mornings are drama free it’s easier to get the kids out of the door and to school on time.

When kids get to school on time they might be able to get in a little play time before the bell rings.

If kids get just 5 minutes of playground time before they need to sit and learn all about fractions and Presidents their minds will likely better absorb all of that information because plenty of fresh oxygen has just been delivered to all of their brain cells.

When kid’s brains are firing on all cylinders you’ll probably start to notice their grades and confidence levels come up.

When the grades and confidence levels come up mom and dads stress levels can come down.

When the stress levels come down the peace goes up. The laughter goes up and the love that is already there is enjoyed even more!

Fill your children’s bellies with this easy pasta dish tonight and witness the beginning of a wonderful chain reaction.

Well it’s about stinkin’ time!

I don’t know about you but the moment winter begins I patiently wait for summer to return. Don’t I enjoy the holidays you ask? Sure, but wouldn’t they be so much better if it were 80 degrees and sunny outside? I start to get a little antsy for the sun when Spring rolls around, and when it’s still gloomy and pouring rain in April that’s when I start to get down right impatient and mildly annoyed. I get it, I get it, April showers bring May flowers but between you and me I would happily sacrifice those flowers in order for the warmer weather to begin. Thank goodness the flip-flop-tank-top-running-outside-time-to-dust-off-the-BBQ weather is almost here!

Speaking of the BBQ Ryan absolutely loves to grill outside. I think it makes him feel like he’s on vacation or something and that’s totally fine with me! He’s responsible for half of the dinner and there’s less mess in the kitchen for us to clean up. While he’s in charge of the grill that puts me in charge of the sides. I try to keep it simple, roasted veggies and maybe a little bit of garlic bread. If I’m in a creative mood I’ll whip up a salad consisting of the remains in my crisper and possibly whatever pasta or grain I might have floating around in my pantry. Completely inspired by our family’s first BBQ of the season I threw together this roasted cauliflower and orzo salad a few Sundays ago. My carb loving boys gobbled it up and this veggie loving mama smiled as they did.

To me a getaway is a trip that is longer than an overnighter and shorter than a vacation (which is at the very least a week long). There are several types of getaways you can take. There’s the romantic getaway that comes with lots of kisses and cuddles, the adventurous getaway which could end with getting a tattoo, and then there’s my most favorite of all, the relaxing getaway. Much like the romantic and adventurous trips everybody needs to be totally on board with this kind of getaway. All parties involved must be ok with the lack of planned activities which is essential to a relaxing getaway. However naps will definitely be taken and I’m pretty sure tons of snacking will happen. The whole point of a relaxing getaway is to do just that, relax!! Sleep in, let the day unfold before you and trust your instincts when they tell you to eat pancakes for lunch instead of a salad.

Ryan, the boys and I did exactly this on our Easter holiday. We packed our van with treats and swimsuits and headed out to Stinson beach for a few days. There we took family walks on the beach, played Farkle, and Ryan and I even enjoyed a nap one afternoon. This getaway was surprisingly serene given the four little boys in tow. At the end of it we even snuck in a little spontaneity and spent a few hours riding roller coasters and eating funnel cakes before heading home.

Thank goodness for the relaxing getaway, thank goodness for all of my boys.

It can get a little tricky when trying to raise boys to be compassionate and caring and at the same time to also be capable and fearless. Ryan and I want our boys to grow up to be the kind of men that can love, cry and laugh freely. We also want them to be courageous, to have the ability to speak up for themselves and to also posses the extraordinary strength it will take for them to someday lead their future families.

As their mother I naturally want to protect them from all of the bullies, bad words and ugly things they can stumble upon online or on T.V. Unfortunately sheltering them from every hurtful thing won’t help them to develop their own strength against the harmful things of this world. So how do we help suit our boys up for the day to day battles that they come across? We talk openly and honestly with them about life, girls and everything in between. We try not to candy coat things but instead give them real and age appropriate answers when they come to us with questions or concerns. We pray together, we kiss and hug a lot and we try to share a meal together every night. I know these sacred family dinners will slowly start to fade as their own social lives begin to develop and take shape so I try my hardest to get the six of us around the dinner table each night. The food doesn’t have to be fancy nor does cooking dinner mean having to wash a thousand dishes later in the evening. Most of my favorite meals are usually created in one skillet (or pot) which helps make the clean up easy and enjoying a home cooked meal with my boys even easier.

Dinner is not necessarily always about the food. Sometimes it’s about what happens around the food when your family comes together.

I consider myself extremely lucky to have so many wise women in my life and even lucker that those women are also my very dear friends. Not only are these gals a blast to be around but they are also excellent at giving out advice on quite a wide variety of subjects. Keep in mind that good advice is not always the advice you want to hear. For example I might ask a friend “Is this crazy sparkly tank top from Forever 21 a little too flashy?” She might sweetly reply “Yes Melissa, that tank top might be a bit much but it would probably look really cute if you wore it underneath this blazer.” Another priceless piece of advice I recently received from a friend is that sometimes life is totally unfair. Sometimes the cards you have been dealt just don’t make sense and even though you don’t deserve to be in the yucky situation you’re in, it doesn’t change the fact that you still have to deal with the problem at hand. Sure you could choose to ignore it or you can choose to tackle that obstacle and walk away a stronger person for it. Her wise words helped me to choose to the latter, and to also understand that just because something is broken at the moment it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s garbage forever. Sometimes things need to be broken so that they might heal reinforced and sturdier.

A few weeks ago I asked that same friend if she knew of any good cake recipes. Easter is around the corner and everybody likes a pretty cake on the table. She told me about a mayo cake she’s been making for years and how deliciously moist it comes it every time she makes it. Not the answer I was expecting to hear, but hey I was willing to give this whole mayo cake thing a shot. Once again I was glad I took her advice. Thank goodness for wise friends who never want to you to wear silly clothes, live in anger or bake dry cakes!