Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Worst Part of My Job

I lOVE that I am able to stay home with my 5 kids; especially living in O.C., CA where most everyone has to work. It is a tremendous blessing for which I am truly grateful. I treasure the moments.

However, I do have to confess there is one part of my job I just do NOT enjoy and I have to do it at least 3 times a day.... it is time consuming and requires MUCH planning and preparation AND THEN at the end of it all.. major clean up time and for what? There is no reward. It may be enjoyed for a minute or two but then it is quickly forgotten. And then, when I'm all through, I have to start the whole process all over again.... yes, it is cooking and meal planning, UGH! I'd really, honestly rather clean toilets, showers, do the laundry, anything but cooking!

In fact, before I got married, I was very open with the fact that I HATE to cook. I guess I expressed that opinion quite a bit (feign shock,) cuz a year after I was married my mother-in-law told me how Danny was so relieved I ended up being able to cook so well after all the carrying on I did (still do) about how much I hate to cook. He thought he was going to have to sign up for a cooking class! I said I don't enjoy it, not I couldn't do it.

I mean really, think of ALL the time and effort that goes into it. First comes the hard part, we have to sit down and PLAN OUT what we're going to eat for at least 3 times EVERY day and that doesn't include snacks, which, like all good moms these days, involves a lot of brain power in trying to make sure they are NUTRICIOUS as well as convincing the kids they are DELICIOUS!

NEXT, we have to check all the sales at our favorite grocery stores and coordinate that with coupons. We have to find a time of day where we can go to the grocery store. That's not as easy as it sounds. To take the kids; Pros, I can do shopping at a reasonable time of day... not many other PROS to this. If I take the older kids, well, they have their own list they want to shop for which usually isn't anything on my list. Tyson, just HATES anybody else directing him or pushing him around. He does not do strollers, shopping carts, car seats, etc. very well at all. (Reminicent of Kierstin) Hence, most of the time you can find me at Stater Brothers on Saturday night at 10:00 doing all my major grocery shopping (no shocker to see at least 1 member of my ward there too).

First thing in the morning, figure out what to make for breakfast, eat in a rush so nobody's late. Then clean-up. Can I enjoy the clean kitchen? For about an hour and then, it's time for LUNCH! Granted, this isn't as involved when the kids are at school but when they aren't,another big MESS! Couple hours later... you guessed it.. the WORST meal is dinner. It usually is the most time consuming at a time when I have the least amount of time and then, more mess!!! UGHH!

Really the hardest part, is deciding WHAT to eat AND THEN hearing from at least 3 out of the 5 kids how they DON'T LIKE what it is you've spent all this time planning and preparing for them.
Unfortunately for my poor kids, they eat it or don't eat. For all those people that complain that they have to fix 3 different meals for everyone in their family cuz they don't like the same thing... I have to tell you... there is absolute TRUTH in the statement that you have to offer the same thing to a child at least 10 different times before they try it. I have found this true. Some of my kids' favorite things started off as "ewwww! Yuck!! NOT this again!" (especially true of my enchilada bake, now their fav.)

Think of all the worthwhile things I could do with my time if I didn't have to use it in meal preparation! I'd have hours! Sorry dad, I can't do my family history, I have to feed my family! Seriously, if they come out with a wonder meal replacement pill, sign me up and can it taste like chocolate?

HOWEVER, I know this is a fact of life and it's important to take care of our bodies so I do try really hard to make 3 square nutrious meals every day. AND I do really try to make lemonades out of lemons so the PROS: I do make sure that we eat breakfast and dinner together. Scriptures at breakfast and good, stimulating conversation at dinner. I DO see the value in that. We've had a lot of really great teaching moments at meal times. So I guess I will suffer through it.

So, I think it would be fun to hear from you what your family favorites & old stand-bys are. I LOVE it KRISTIN, that you post yummy new recipies you've tried. You've inspired me. I'm always looking for new ideas if they fall under the 30 minute prep time category. (I love 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray). Here are a few of my QUICK and easy stand bys...

Green Enchilada Bake
Corn Tortillas
3 cups cooked chicken
16 oz. can green enchillada sauce
3 cups cheese, shredded (I use cheddar/mozrella combo)
1 can black olives

in 8 x 8 square pan layer as follows; half of chicken, tortillas, cover with some sauce, half of cheese, tortillas, cover with some sauce, rest of chicken, tortillas, cover with sauce, top with rest of cheese and olives. Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes, until heated through. Serve with rice.

Talapia Fillets
SUPER EASY & One of My kids Favorite dinners!
(this is a great starter fish for kids as it isn't super fishy tasting)
However many fillets you want
(I usually buy the flash frozen kind in freezer section, just as nutricious)
season salt OR Lawery's fish seasoning
1/2 cup O.J.
1/2 Cup water

Put fillets in baking dish. Mix O.J. with water and pour over fillets (the water helps keep the O.J. burning out) put little dabs of butter on fish and cover with seasoning. Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes depending on # and thickness of fillets. Fish is done when it is flakey and not milky. I serve it with red potatoes steamed with butter & basil & fresh steamed spinach with butter & lemon (no joke, my kids like this too)

Teriyaki Chicken
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
YOSHIDA Terrikyaki sauce (not in asian section, usually by condiments)
sticky rice

Cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and cover in a saucepan with the sauce (this is the BEST teriyaki sauce). Cook until done and serve with sticky rice and brocolli.

Chicken Pot Pie
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut up or shredded
1 box refrigerated pie crust
3 peeled & chopped carrots
3 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped
½ bag peas
1 can corn
½ C onion
1/4 C butter
2 T chicken bullion
¼ flour
¼ C milk
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Steam potatoes & carrots. Add peas & corn for last 3 minutes.
2. While steaming, in large saucepan, sauté onion in butter, add flour & milk & chicken bullion. Stir into until creamy. Add milk until desired consistency (enough to cover veggies & chicken)
3. Mix veggies & chicken into cream sauce. Salt & pepper to taste
4. Put bottom crust of pie dough into a pie tin. Add mixture, cover with top sheet of dough. Pinch sides together. Cut 4 ½ in slits in top of pie.
5. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until browned.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Father Henry

I have to post this on the blog before I forget about it. I've really been thinking about it lately cuz Danny was just called to be the Ward Mission Leader this Sunday. He's so great about opening his mouth about the gospel. Me, I figure he does enough of it for both of us.

I am very aware of the fact that I am raising 4 (potentially 5) future missionaries. I believe Heavenly Father sent us 4 fantastic future missionaries in the making because Danny is an awesome example. He loved serving his mission in the Philipines and worked very hard there. He speaks of it often with love and enthusiasm. Our sons love hearing dad talk about how the kids would marvel at his white hair and pull at the hair on his arms. How rats would bite his toes in the middle of the night, running away from dogs, eating dogs (and other unmentionable things).

Most especially, I see how they look at dad when he bears his testimony to them of the spirit that he felt when he taught the gospel to these humble people. How they would send their kids down to the corner store (Sari) to buy the elders a drink with the little money they had and feed them the last food in their homes. But mostly how the people would get so excited to hear about the plan of life and be so eager to bring it into their lives and share it with their friends. They know dad still feels the gospel is true because he still is a missionary and loves to share the gospel. He is not afraid to open his mouth. He will often come home from work and talk about how he shared a gospel principle on the jobsite and sometimes we'll teach a discussion inour home with some of them.

Where is this leading? I see this same enthusiasm in my kids. They get their friends curious about God and asking their parents questions about their beliefs. They are not afraid to share their beliefs with their friends.

Not just their friends, but teachers as well. Brian is the first of my 4 kids to really go to Preschool. I'm not against preschool, we just do so many structured thing I haven't really seen the need to do it. However, last year, Brian insisted he wanted to go to school. Not only were all his brothers and sister going but now he learned ALL of his friends were going. He figured he must be missing out. So I signed him up for preschool last year and he LOVED it. So of course we did it this year too.

Last month we went on a field trip to the farm. His teacher, Mrs. Buxton, is very loving and religious woman. She has mentioned how she has had several LDS kids in her classes over the years and she loves how great an emphasis family is in our religion. She is kind in how she says we make good parents. She loves Brian and notices how well he memorizes the scripture verses and seems to really love the Lord. She often says how he is so sincere when he prays. She was curious however, who Father Henry is in our religion. I cocked an eyebrow and thought "I haven't heard this crazy rumor about our church." I asked her where she heard we worship Father Henry. She said, "Well, when Brian prays, he often says Father Henry in his prayers." She said she had some LDS friends and had asked them about it but they didn't know what to make of it. I immediately had it figured out. I laughed as I explained to her that he was saying "Father in Heaven" not Father Henry. She didn't have the benefit of the mommy translation. We both had a good chuckle over it.

I realized that we are being watched though we may not know it and it is important to make sure I am teaching my children all I can. I am glad that Brian's teacher felt comfortable enough to bring it up! It was a teaching moment for me as well as I was able to tell her about some other gospel princples as well. Way to go Brian for giving mom a missionary moment!

Baak Talk is off to a Start!

So, I'm finally getting going on this blogging thing! It's hard to find time and it takes time to figure these computer things out at first. Danny will tell you I'm computer impatient; I click, click, click and don't give the computer time to tick! (Translation; I need to wait for it to catch up).

But I had some time today, so I finally got the most important thing done. I've introduced you to my incredibly, wonderful & entertaining children! Yes, we started off with a beautiful daughter folowed by 4 handsome, vivacious boys! I told Danny we got the perfect girl and then he became fond of cloning himself! They do all come from the same cookie cutter you know!

I can be completely unbiased when I tell you they are the most beautiful, wonderful, brialliant, energetic and entertaining kids I've ever had! Each is a blessing in my life! I can assure you life is never a dull moment around here and our home seems to be shrinking with each passing year! I only pray that I can teach them something of value since I learn so much from them.