Monday, April 18, 2011

NAS JRB Air Power Show

Because of Mike having so many classes during the week lately, he was able to flex off this past Saturday.  We took the opportunity to have a fun family day and bring the kids to the 2011 Joint Reserve Base Air Power Show.  Cool doesn't even start to explain it.  We spent the entire day out there and didn't even get to 1/2 of the military planes they had on the tar mat.  The actual show was awesome, with the grand finale being the Blue Angel's.  The boys just couldn't believe it was the REAL Blue Angel's!  So, we left with an awe of jets, a killer sunburn (thankfully only momma!), and a new goal for Anthony: to be a fighter jet pilot!

Gunner Anthony (notice the Park Ranger hat!)

Gunner Jake

Mary being sweet... as usual!

Anthony confiscated Mikes hat and he was left with the play Park Ranger hat... very, very cute!


Windy City?

Just a short post to show you the result of crazy straight-line winds mixed with living on top of a hill: our humongous play fort was blown down!  Thank God it was during nap time so none of the kids were outside.  Any muscle men wanna volunteer to come lift it back up?  We pay in beer :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beans, Beans, the magical fruit...

Don't worry, this is NOT going where you expect it... rather it is taking a much sweeter turn.  In our house, beans are not merely a healthy, protein-rich dinner food, but are literally a sweet treat.  No, I don't make bean-flavored candy... when added up in a big enough quantity, beans equal that respite we enjoyed on hot summer days as children (and still do now!)... ICE CREAM!  Lost?  Hang on, let me explain.

In some classrooms, like my niece Maddie's, children acquire marbles when they do a good job, for some, it's check marks... well, here in our house (thanks to the big bag of beans I use as pie crust weights which have been baked so many times, no amount of cooking could resurrect them), that coveted item that any given child will do ANYTHING for is the lowly, humble bean.

I can not tell you what I have gotten accomplished with the promise of a few beans.  The children will turn from unruly goof-balls to straight as arrows big-helpers in 1/2 of a second with the luring of a few measly beans.  Of course, this only works because they know that 500 beans equals a trip to get ice cream, thus bringing us full circle... it truly IS the magical fruit!  I can hear you now: "500 beans, you big meanie, that's too much!"  

Slow your roll, let me explain the system: the primary winner of the petrified bean is Anthony, and the primary way he wins them is through doing neat, thoughtful, concentrated school work.  In one day, between our reading, writing, and arithmetic, he can easily earn 100+ beans... IF done correctly, neatly, and in a timely manner (messy writing gets re-done, without beans).  That boy will write 2 full pages (remember he's in pre-K!), and finish with a beaming smile ready to count his beans.  (As a double-whammy for me, I use the counting for English and Latin practice, as well as tens place and units place practice.)  So, I am certainly NOT mean... if he does well in his studies, he has the potential to earn, for the WHOLE FAMILY, one ice cream a week... 100 beans PER ice cream).  With that being said, we average an ice cream every 1.5-2 weeks :)  Hmm, now that I think of it, once Dominic gets old enough I'll need a bigger jar!

The pride beaming in his face when he gets to tell the whole family that we are getting a treat because HE did so well in his studies is priceless... only the rays of the August sun could rival it.  Today is the coveted day.  His bean jar is full, and as soon as Daddy gets home, Anthony gets to treat his whole family (minus Mike, poor thing gave up sweets for Lent) to a ice cold cone... oh Happy Day!

So proud to "buy" his family ice cream!

Jake is ready to go!

Mary knows a full bean jar = ice cream!

Today's ice cream was Chick-fil-A Ice Dream- yummmm!

I need to eat HOW MUCH protein?!?!

Well, as many of you know, I am expecting our fourth child in July... sweet baby Dominic Kilian... who is sure to make a grand entrance a week or two early (a girl can hope, right!!).  During my pregnancies, I have been advised to get lots and lots of quality protein... up to 80-100 grams per day!  Doesn't sound like much?  Just read that label next time you grab a yogurt... you will find eventhough a healthy snack, it touts little protein when comparing it to the magic *80 grams* number... sigh.

Enter here: creative cooking.  I would like to share some of my recipes that help bring my total daily number up while providing a nourishing meal the whole family loves.  To start things off, the most important meal of the day: Breakfast!

"Cheesy, bumpy eggs"- so named by my old man Jacob by the 2 qualities he likes best in eggs... bumpy (scrambled), and cheesy!

For me and the 3 kids (increase eggs by 3, other ingredients as well, when Mike is home):

-6 organic, hormone-free eggs (there is a difference- try cracking a regular egg, then one of these- the shell says it all!)
-1/2 cup cottage cheese (I LOATHE cottage cheese, but you can't taste it in this recipe!)
-1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix eggs, salt and cottage cheese, put in pan with melted butter (we use the real stuff... mmm!) and scramble until ALMOST done.  Add cheddar cheese and mix just a bit more.  With these eggs, if you cook them trying to make them look dry, they will turn into stiff, inedible, crumbly gross-ness swimming in lots of liquid from the cottage cheese... so cook just until done, not dry.

"Hulk Muffins" - named by me to make the kids like them... b/c they are green :)

These were inspired actuallt by Mike, wanting to eat dairy-free... I took the liberty to add extra veggies and cheese- I believe you can never have enough cheese!

- 12 eggs, scrambled well
-1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped small
-2-3 handfuls of fresh, organic spinach
-1 zuccini, cut up
-1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped small
-1/4 red bell pepper
- few slices nitrate-free bacon, cooked and chopped
-couple of handfuls to cheddar cheese
-sea salt and pepper to taste

Place veggies and bacon in food processor and pulse until very small pieces, add to scrambled eggs with other ingredients, and pour into cupcake pans.  Bake at 350 for about 20 mins, or until set in middle. Voila!
These can be refrigerated and reheated for on-the-go meals.  If your kids don't like the Incredible Hulk, give them another name :)

More to come... it's almost pumpkin time for me :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Things

One of the most marvelous things about childhood is how many "firsts'" you get to experience... and so close together.  One day you can have your first time watercoloring, the next your first time baking bread, the next your first time typing... it is endless.  I think this is why children are full of such joy, such wonder. Like the other day when the kids found the first ladybug of the season and spent the next 10 minutes examining it, letting it tickle their skin, and ever-so-patiently waiting their turn to hold it... I have to remind myself the darn grocery store can wait... they will never have THIS moment again.

Well, today was a BIG first for them... today they water skied!  After watching their brave cousins Samantha and Madison ski like champs, they boys decided that today would be their day.  In their true fashion, Anthony insisted on the wetsuit (thank you for sharing Maddie... or is it Maddy now!) while Jake was okay with going in just shorts (I swear... Anthony is what is going to save Jake during their teenage years... eeek!)  With the gentle and patient instruction of their Uncle Dave, and their Dad within arms reach, they took that big brave step, another first, under the competent driving of Uncle Bubba (that'd be Michael for you non-Texan's!).  I can not tell you... nor will I bore you with, every little detail of the pride overflowing from this little mama's heart seeing my babies be so brave!

So, here they are... and here's to hoping you can take a minute to become like a child, finding wonder in something ordinary. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blog Attempt #2

OK, here it is... our second attempt at keeping a blog! We don't get to see all of our family as much as we'd like, so we want to provide this blog for our family and friends to follow what in the world the Short's are up to these days. With 4 kids 5 and under, we're an exciting group, so you can look forward to such riveting subjects as: home school humor, mom's newest bread recipe, updates on Anthony's school progress, CrossFit, homemaking topics, new additions to the clan, Catholic family life, and in the near future... farm life ;). We hope you find our posts enjoyable and we look forward to entertaining you. If you like, you can "follow" us with e-mail notifications so you don't miss even one adorable picture.
For our first funny story: 2 weeks ago, Anthony got to go to Home Depot with Mike (alone!), they stopped at the convenience store and went in (rare...we usually pay at the pump... actually I can not recall a time we have ever gone in). Upon entering and seeing the plethora of candy, sodas, slushies, and snacks, Anthony exclaimed "this is a great store of JOY!" Yes... to us an old germ-filled corner store, to a 5 year old... heaven! Hope to see you around!

Computer Wiz!

Along with Anthony's studies in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, and his science co-op, we started typing lessons today with Mavis Beacon keyboarding... my boy types an astounding 1 word per minute! But really, I was impressed at how fast he picked up the lesson (he did "a,s,d,f" today with his left hand. Even I can not type with my left pinky! He has been asking for some time now to learn to type, so today was the great, long awaited day. He gets to do his typing lessons after he finishes his academic studies... a great way to finish the academic part of the day... with a big smile :)