A month of breakfast 

Around here mornings can be crazy! We have 3 different schedules and Monkey comes at different times depending on Brit’s school schedule. Anything I can do to make it easier and save time is great! Did I mention I am not a great morning person, so that doesn’t help either. Making ahead breakfast burritos and pancake poppers, freezing them and having them ready makes it so much easier! 

  
The breakfast burritos I make are very basic so everyone will eat them (some of us add hot sauce after hearing.) I just brown some ground sausage, add scrambled eggs and some shredded cheese then wrap in a tortilla. I wrap the tortilla in plastic wrap and store in the bag from the tortilla in the freezer. In the morning I grab one out unwrap and microwave for about 90 seconds. Nice yummy protein filled breakfast before school or work!

  
I have no idea what other people call them but we dubbed the pancake poppers. Basically they are a pancake muffin with sausage in the middle. I have a great pancake mix recipe that I found at Cook Eat Share, we substitute dectrose for the sugar. I made a huge double batch of the mix, then sprayed my muffin tins, scooped 2 oz of batter in each cup using my cookie scoop, then added half a sausage link ( pre-cooked) to each cup pressing down slightly. Bake at 350 till tops are golden and dough it cooked through, about 10-15 mins usually. I ended up with almost 75 poppers. I store them in gallon size freezer bags and pull out the number needed. Again just heat in microwave for about a minute. Not as much protein as the burritos, but it stops them from wanting syrup before school which we don’t allow and is quick and portable. 

Hope this gives you some ideas to make your mornings easier!

Amy

School BBQ and Snickerdoodles

Today was the school BBQ, and with Rebel’s food issues I always find it easier to just pack us a lunch. It is a fun time to go and have lunch at school with your kids, we get to eat outside on the grass or in the lunch room and there is a book fair going on at the same time. How it usually works (and this year was no exception) I meet up with the kids, we hit the book fair and then head outside to eat and they completely ignore me and read books. This year Monkey got to go with me, of course it didn’t even start till an hour after his lunch time and all he wanted to do was run around and play on the playground. But he still managed to do great for the most part. Here they are ignoring me and reading, don’t get me wrong I love they love to read, but maybe add some books for adults so I have something to read too?

Princess and Rebel ignoring me at school BBQ
Princess and Rebel ignoring me at school BBQ

For a treat Monkey and I made some sugar free cookies to take with us to the BBQ. Since it was a last minute decision I needed something really quick, and preferably something that didn’t make a ton. I try to keep a box or 2 of sugar free cake mix around for just these times, I decided to make sugar free snickerdoodle cake mix cookies. These do not taste exactly like regular snickerdoodle cookies, they are sweeter and missing that cream of tarter bite. But for something that can be whipped up and done baking in about 30 minutes or less, they are great. There are recipes all over the web for how to use a cake mix and turn it into something else,  I have done the cookies a few times with different flavors, chocolate is probably my favorite, they turn out like brownie cookies. Yum! Back to snickerdoodles!

Sugar Free Snickerdoodle Cake Mix Cookies

1 Pkg sugar free vanilla cake mix

1/4 cup oil

2 eggs

Combine above ingredients into a dough.

Mix 2 Tblspn powdered Fructose and 1 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl

I use a 1 oz cookie scoop to measure dough, make into a ball and roll in cinnamon mixture, place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

getting ready to mix
getting ready to mix
packing them up for BBQ
packing them up for BBQ

They were a  huge hit!

Now to cool down and rest…for maybe 10 min if I am lucky.

Amy

My Special Boy

All of my children are special, they all have ups and downs, they all have challenges and successes, they all hold a very private and dear spot in my heart, mind and soul, I love each one of them equally. But my Rebel, he faces a few more challenges than most kids, he has a few more things to deal with everyday than most. I have to be honest, I really don’t understand him, I try my best, counselors tell me I am doing a great job, that I am very intuitive to his needs. Some days I feel I do ok, others, like today, I just don’t know what to do. First some background, Rebel has been different since he was a baby. He has always been fussy, temperamental, but what always worried me was his violent outburst. He would throw temper tantrums over silly things, like all toddlers do, but his were different, he was violent, he hit at me, kicked at me, tried to bite me. We tried all the normal things, ignore it, put him in time out, we even tried spanking him, none of it helped. As he got a little older I tried to put him in his room, he would destroy it!  One of the things that really made me realize these are not normal tantrums was that he was completely out of control, nothing I did could help him once he was in the “red zone” he would even destroy some of his favorite things. I spent many hours crying, not knowing what to do. Finally in first grade a teacher suggested we have him evaluated for ADHD. Come to find out not only did he have ADHD but he also has ODD (oppositional defiance disorder) He started seeing a counselor and because I didn’t feel safe when he had an episode we did opt for medication. It took us a while to find a medication combination we felt comfortable with and that works for him, we have an amazing doctor who doesn’t just push drugs. And we keep him at a low enough dose that he still has to learn to control himself, he isn’t a zombie. Our goal has always been and will remain to be getting him off the medication and I pray some day we will get there.

Princess & Rebel 1st day of school after the summer he was diagnosed as allergic to sucrose.
Princess & Rebel 1st day of school after the summer he was diagnosed as allergic to sucrose.
IMG_2591
Rebel and Princess 1st day of school 2 years later.

In my gut I knew there was more to it still, something still wasn’t right with him, not to mention he would only sleep 4-6 hours a night and had huge dark, dark circles under his eyes. I had tried elimination diets with him, taken out gluten, dairy, food dyes and sugar. Nothing seemed to be making a difference. A nurse called me to give me results of a sleep study (which showed no problems) and asked me some questions, does he get headaches? does his stomach hurt? constipation? along with others. Pretty much every answer was yes. She said they would like to run a test for Fructose sensitivity. I had never heard of such a thing, didn’t even know it was possible. But of course it is rare, and so the test is only done in a few labs and takes 3 hours, so the wait list is long. It took us 2 months to get in. During that time I was doing my own testing at home. I didn’t know the difference then between Fructose, Sucrose or Dextrose. So I took him off of it all. And I was meticulous. Things I never thought of (and so had given him on other sugar testing) had sugars in them. It took about 3 days for it to all get out of his body, and then I had this new boy! Now don’t get me wrong, he still has ADHD and ODD, but since the constant headaches and stomach pains were gone, he could get some sleep and he was much improved. Because I am not perfect, we made some slip ups and accidentally gave him some foods that contained sugar, we learned it takes about 24 hours for the sugar to affect him, but then the migraine, and stomach cramps last for about 2 days as his body gets rid of it. We also learned he does not have a problem with Fructose (or single chain sugars) just with Sucrose (or double chain sugars.) He can have limited amounts of sugar alcohol, honey and real maple syrup, but since it all depends on what else he has eaten we tend to avoid them. And when  I say limited, I mean a half serving about once a week, so not really worth it. Therefore, we can’t really eat any per-packaged food, there are a few, but not many. I even have to watch canned and frozen veggies!  He can eat some breads, if they basically only have enough sugar to activate the yeast, which is funny because it seems to be the cheap “marshmallow” bread that he can tolerate, the more expensive “whole grain, wholesome”” breads have more sugar and it can’t eat them. I used to try and make all his bread, but with everything else I have to make and do, I struggled to keep up, and right now it is something I am letting go.

However because of our food challenges I discovered an amazing and inexpensive crock pot refried  beans recipe that we make probably every 2 weeks, (only only that far apart because it makes so much that we can eat it a few times between making it) It is super easy, non fat, vegan and amazing! As a matter of fact I need to go get it started now for dinner tonight! We are having burritos, I also use it as just a side dish, in tacos, as a base to make a yummy thick chili and I have heard but not tried it myself, you can use it as a sandwich filling too.

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Crockpot “Refried” Beans

 from Pennies & Pancakes

*Makes about 16 cups

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs pinto beans

1 large onion, chopped

4 Tbsp. jarred minced garlic

* Up to 2 1/2 Tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

2 tsp cumin

10 cups hot water

* You can use as little as 1 Tbsp of salt. It all depends on how you like your beans.

DIRECTIONS

Rinse the beans in a colander. Pick out any bad beans.

Combine all the ingredients in the crockpot. Remove any floating beans. Cover, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours and on LOW for 2 hours.

Uncover, and remove extra liquid. Leave enough liquid to reach the desired consistency when the beans are mashed. (We like our beans somewhere between the very liquidy restaurant style beans, and the canned version of refried beans.)

Mash beans with a potato masher to desired consistency.

Serve warm. Store in air-tight containers in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks, or freeze in ziplock bags for later use.

Grumpys and Planning

Wow! Unfortuntly today has been more about surviving than thriving. Rebel (Captian decided he liked Rebel better and truthfully it fits him better) caught a stomach bug over the weekend and was still not feeling well this morning. Princess got a blister on her heel, that had popped and she was having an extra hard time leaving me today, so she was crying and not wanting to go to school. UGH! I had Princess soak her foot in warm water with tea tree oil, then bandaged it. Since, it was such a hard day for her to leave me, she has her dragonfly “tattoo” and my dragonfly necklace and there were still tears at drop off. It breaks my heart, I just want to grab her up and take her home, even though I know I can’t.

Monkey is teething, which makes him sensitive and micheveous. If he doesn’t get what he wants he throws a tantrum, even outside didn’t make him completely happy, he gets into things he knows he isn’t supposed to touch. My usual bag of tricks are not making him happy, oh joy!

My plan was to work on some planning for next school year. I would like to put together a daily calendar notebook for Princess and a tot book for Monkey. There are many examples online and some great free downloads. I just need to decide which I want to use or if I want to do a mix. Some things others put in a notebook, I can just do on my calendar board since I will only be doing it with Princess. However, I want this notebook to be something she can do for a few minutes on her own while I am busy with Monkey. Sometimes we will do them together to give Monkey something while I am working with Princess hence, his tot school notebook.

Some of my favorite sites that I am looking at for their notebooks are:

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Homeschool Creations

1+1+1=1

Tot Time Notebook @ 1+1+1=1

In an attempt to make tonight easier for dinner, I did throw a lamb roast in the crock pot. I loosely followed a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, Rosemary and Garlic Roast Leg of Lamb. I forgot the lemon juice and since I was using the crock pot I added a little white wine in the bottom, plus I didn’t roast the veggies, I made garlic mashed potatoes instead. I think it turned out really well. The kids…well…more for me and Jeremy.

Ready for a better day tomorrow!

Amy

Welcome to my Chaos!

I would like a place to be transparent. A place to be me and share the ups and downs, successes and failures of my life. In honor of that, I will be completely honest, this is for me. I have no dreams of being a super blogger, but maybe a place I can direct others to when I want to share with them a project, recipe or pictures.

Who am I ? Good question! Mostly, I feel defined by my family even though I know there is so much more to me. I have been married to the love of my life for 17 years. We have 3 vastly different kids, Rocket – 15 years, Captian – 11 years and Princess – 7 years. We have also raised 2 of my nieces since they were 12 &13, who are all grown up now with toddlers of their own. I watch one of them during the day while his parents are working. Monkey is almost 2 and very energetic.

(Iain), (Caleb) & Princess dressed for weekend adventures.
Rocket, Captian & Princess dressed for weekend adventures.

So….How I survived the day…

Today started out with a bang! My two youngest were tired and didn’t want to wake up for school. Princess finally agreed if I made pancakes for breakfast she would get up. (Yes, bribery and bargaining are sometimes what I resort to.) Hence, my first recipe share. I found this pancake mix recipe on Pinterest and it is our go to recipe now! For my family of 5 (or 6 if Monkey is here) it makes more than enough for two breakfast (or dinner as the day might be.) Bonus, it is really easy to take camping because you just add water! *Note Captian is allergic to sugar so for the dry mix I use powdered fructose instead of sugar.

http://cookeatshare.com/recipes/homemade-pancake-mix-1539?servings=0&units=us

Homemade Pancake Mix Recipe

Ingredients
  • 6 c. flour
  • 1 tablespoon. salt
  • 1/3 cup 2 teaspoons. baking pwdr
  • 1/3 cup 2 teaspoons. sugar
  • 2 c. powdered lowfat milk

Directions

  1. Mix well and store in airtight container on cupboard shelf.

When I got to the school to drop the kids off, Princess was having a rough time, not wanting to go to school. Some of the kids are picking on her and she is just having a rough time. Sometimes I will give her a special necklace to wear that matches a dragonfly tattoo that i have so we “are connected” through out the day. I had to make something up on the spot today, so I found a pen in the car and drew a heart on her hand, then kissed it sending all my love into it. I then drew a matching one on my hand. She added a smiling face to both and off she ran.

Challenge #1 – Kids up and off to school – Completed!

Now it is time to focus on Monkey’s tot school activities. I am working on colors of the week with him, this week is purple. I am a little bare with the purple toys and activities. But I did find some purple play dough, if I can’t find a color I need I just make it. He is still a little young to really get into play dough, so a lot of times I give him plastic bugs or some such thing to press into it. Today while I went to get he bugs, I saw some glass stones in my drawer! Inspiration struck and we made mosaics. He really liked how the stones felt and he spend quite a while (for a toddler) putting stones on the dough and taking them off. He would hand me stones for mine or I would ask for some making sure to use our manners in order to reinforce “please & thank you” We had a great time.

photo 2
Mine completed
Monkey concentrating
Monkey concentrating
photo 3
Monkey’s completed

Then he went off to play with his favorite blocks, Instant Blox.

photo 4photo 5

Then outside to dig in the dirt and chase chickens!

Challenge #2 – Monkey’s Tot School – Completed!

This afternoon after Monkey was picked up and my kids were all home from school round two began. I mentioned the blog to the kids and showed them, Princess immediately wanted to make her own blog. Ah ha! What a great homeschool activity! So we sat down and started now, she can continue over the summer and into next school year. I will not post her blog publicly, but I love that she is interested in writing.

It always amazes me how activities I create for Monkey intrigue the older kids too. When they started arguing this afternoon I mentioned the mosaics Monkey and I created, showed off a few pictures and they were off and running. Captain had a hard time getting his chores done fast enough. They created for about an hour or so, Princess a little shorter.

Captain working hard
Captain working hard
Princess a little blurry
Princess a little blurry
Princess finished
Princess finished
Captain finished
Captain finished

Challenge #3 – After school activities – Completed!

Next up is dinner and home work. We are supposed to have Boy Scouts with Captain tonight but he has refused to do his homework (oh the wonderful world of ADD & ODD) so we are going to have to miss it to finish up home work.

I hope you ave completed your challenges for today. Tomorrow is another day to thrive!

Amy