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Like Mother, Like Son

4 Aug

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know when you planned me, you had wonderful visions of your genes melting together into a beautiful symphony of academic achievement, workplace domination, and mild-mannered bliss.  Instead, I fear it’s a cacophony of shenanigans.  Couldn’t you have at least ensured I missed out on Mommy’s ridiculous facial expressions?  I blame you, Father. I blame you.

Sincerely,

Matthew (the disappointed one)

Happy Monday!

Munchkin Meals: Taco Night!

1 Aug

We have taco night once or twice a month around here.  I love how easy it is to throw this meal together, yet how festive, fun, and filling it is! <–How’s that for alliteration?!  Best of all is that after laying out a variety of topppings, everyone can choose what they want, and I don’t feel like a short order cook.  We like traditional tacos, but it’s so easy to switch it up with different meats, toppings, and spices.  Is it a toddler approved meal? Yes! What kiddo doesn’t like scooping their own fun foods onto their plate? And heck, I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like tacos. Matty (now 22 months) is all. over. the. place in terms of eating.  Lately, he’s been really into breakfast–eating a huge breakfast, then wanting little else the rest of the day.  There’s still a few key things I can count on him eating, though–like tacos!

Of course, I add a few tweaks to make it healthier along the way.

Taco seasoning used to be a big fight around here.  Hubby swore he hated it, but he also complained that plain meat was too, well, plain.  He said the packaged seasoning is too salty, and he’s right (not to mention the MSG, preservatives, and in some cases artificial dyes).  So a few months ago, a friend pinned this recipe for DIY taco seasoning, so I gave it a shot.  It worked perfectly, though I did think it needed a bit more salt (weird for me to say since I don’t add salt to much)!

Healthier Taco Recipe

  • 3/4 lb. ground lean turkey
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef (**Just adding a bit of ground beef helps take away the turkey flavor, and gives it the appearance of typical ground beef.  This is important if you have a husband/kids who freak out about ground turkey for whatever reason ::cough cough, not pointing any fingers:: even though it’s healthier)
  • 1 c. finely chopped kale and/or spinach (this shrivels up nicely and you can pass it off as parsley 🙂 )
  • 1/2 c. finely shredded carrots (this isn’t as easy to pass off as “oh, it’s just seasoning…”
  • Brown meat over medium heat (add carrots during this step)
  • After draining, add greens and stir
  • Add 2 rounded tablespoons of seasoning and 1/2 cup water
  • Reduce heat, stir occasionally over a few minutes, then enjoy!

**I usually make 3-4 batches of this (since I use wonky portions of meat), then freeze it. It lasts for a few months (at least), and is easy to thaw in the fridge and heat back up in the skillet.

Serving Ideas

Don’t forget–a “topping bar” makes it even more toddler friendly!

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded Cheese (even just having a variety of cheeses could be a fun way to switch things up)
  • Lettuce (if you’re trying to cut calories, using a large lettuce leaf as a shell works well)
  • Corn (I like oven roasting frozen corn for about 10 minutes with olive oil and seasoning, but usually it’s just the microwave variety…)
  • Sour Cream (Hubby nor I are big fans, but Matthew tried some at Grandma’s and seemed to be a fan)
  • Hard or Soft Tortillas
  • Chips instead of shells
  • Rice
  • Beans (we’re partial to black beans cooked with a bit of cumin)

Pssst. I’m looking for a healthier taco shell recipe.  Preferably something super-quick, or something that can be frozen.  Any tried and true ideas?

Munchkin Meals is a link-up hosted by Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life.  Ever in need of a fun, healthy meal or snack for your kiddo? Click on over to find loads of ideas all put together by other Mamas.

Play Room Inspiration

30 Jul

playroom

Before becoming a Mom, I sometimes scoffed at people who created elaborate playroom for their children.  Make them go outside, I thought, or keep everything contained to the their bedroom, or don’t buy so many toys! Hahahahaha. Oh, you learn so much once you have a child.

Play rooms are great! Fantastic! Everybody should have one!  That being said, we’re currently working on turning the never-used family room into a full-blown playroom.  We have some bigger toys, like our IKEA slide, a play kitchen, and a train/activity table that just keeps getting moved around  because we can’t find the perfect spot for them.  I also want a place to do some more structured activities and crafts with Matthew, as well as have some crafting supplies that he can sit and do independently.

I’ve been pinning ideas for awhile, but here’s some of my favorites.

playroom inspiration

1.  Childhood 101 2. No original pin 3. Playful Learning 4. Pottery Barn 5. Apartment Therapy 6. No original pin

Check out much more inspiration on my playroom Pinterest board, and follow along while you’re there!

Things To Do:

  • Kid-friendly art above mantel (to cover TV mount & jack from the TV that went into the Man Cave)
  • Kid-friendly accessories for mantel and built-ins
  • Arts & crafts supplies storage
  • Off-season book storage
  • Art above play kitchen
  • Play kitchen storage for foods and utensils
  • Art table & chairs
  • Way to display Matty’s art
  • Reading nook
  • Place for big-ass slide
  • Still room for roaming/spinning/jumping/toddler shenanigans
  • Rug to cover bare floor
  • Refinish train table surface (we bought it used and it’s a little beat up/warped)
  • Touch up paint from previous art on walls and tv mount
  • Caulk trim and touch-up nail holes from when it was rehung
  • Curtains

We have a very small budget for this project–I’m thinking I’ll only need to buy a rug, curtains, and supplies to build a small table.  Hopefully we’ll stick to our budget this time.  We’ll see. 🙂

Any favorite play room inspiration pins?  Play room must-haves?

Matty Moments: Crazy Boy

29 Jul

Matty Moments

Normally I feature some of the amazing things Matthew is saying lately.  While we have gotten some great words of wisdom from him lately (Come on, Daddy! Pee pee garage!), I thought I would clear up the misconception that Matty is always a calm, collected, sensitive flower that never makes a peep, is always engaged in activities, and causes no mischief whatsoever.

Exhibit A:

He’s better at make-up than I am.

Exhibit B:

One wonderful morning as I’m stepping out of the shower, Matty comes running into the bathroom yelling “clean”.  He grabs a roll of TP and runs back out of the room. At first I just nod and smile, until it sets in that he is TRYING TO CLEAN SOMETHING UP.  So I run after him.

Let me explain.  He tried to put soap in the dishwasher.  When he spilled that, he got dish soap to try to clean that mess.  When he realized that was a bigger mess, he realized he needed paper towels. Since he can’t reach paper towels, he got TP.  Of course, paper towels get used with spray cleaner, so he sprayed the soap puddle first.  As I intervened, he realized, “Duh, this is a floor mess. We need a mop” (which has yet another type of spray cleaner attached).  All I could do was laugh.  I mean, it was good thinking, and I’m thankful he  tried to help.  But how exactly does one go about cleaning 4 different types of soap off the floor?  Only after scrubbing and mopping and scooping and wiping for 20 minutes did I realize I was still butt naked.  I apologize to all of my neighbors. And yes, he had pants on when I got in the shower.

Exhibit C:

This was taken at 12:30 at night.  Need I say more?

Exhibit D:

I’m not sure who is the bad influence here.

Exhibit E:

Matty’s volume and activity level 90% of the day.

** NOTE: Ignore that horrible mess. We’re in the process of turning that room into a playroom–sneak peek alert!– and everything is getting piled up.  Such is life.

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