Adventures in feeding, parenting and generally managing a household of five boys

Adventures in feeding, parenting and generally managing a household of five boys

Monday, January 31, 2011

And The Celebration Continues . . .

Ahhhh . . . the joy of bringing in your favorite treat to share with your classmates! 
Happy Day!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Rowan!

My baby is six tomorrow!

We celebrated Rowan's birthday today.  Tomorrow is looking like it's going to be a crazy day, so we decided to take advantage of a less crazy today.  Rowan was all about getting presents a day early, so no complaints from him!

My children usually choose to have ice cream cakes for their birthdays, but Rowan chose for me to bake his cake.  I am not the best baker, despite the fact that I like to cook.  It is probably lack of practice more than anything else.  Mark and the rest of the boys just don't eat baked goods.  I, on the other hand, would eat only baked goods if given the chance.  So, I stopped giving myself the chance.  Funny enough, Rowan was very into decorating his cake.  Frosting looked good, but the candy "Happy Birthday" looked better.  Then we had to add his name.  How about a lot of sprinkles? 

A cake only a six year old would love!

Rowan chose the dinner of Raising Cain's chicken fingers, french fries and steamed artichokes.  Rowan had to keep reminding me all day that he got the red plate today!  It's a little birthday/special day tradition in our family.

Red plate special!

Lots of off key singing, makes for a very giggly boy!

Can't stop laughing!

It's amazing to me how big they are all getting, one birthday at a time.

Happy Birthday sweet Rowan!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I am a Winter Warrior

I started running about five years ago.  It was an easy way to exercise with two children in tow (or pushed, in reality). I ran in a couple of 5Ks, but nothing really serious.  And I always stopped once the weather became bad; the children's complaints didn't help much in that regard.

A couple of years ago, I began training for a half-marathon.  Egged on by my good friend, Erin, I made it to all of our group runs and successfully completed the half-marathon in October 2009.  But, we trained over the summer, and honestly, it was awful.  If it hadn't been for my commitment to Erin, I would never had made it.  The humidity, the heat, the HEAT  . . . Yuck!

After the half-marathon, I decided to keep running and train for another.  Thus, I began running in the winter.  And, I loved it.  Crazy, huh?!  I loved being all bundled up and getting warm as I ran.  I loved having something to look forward to on those dreary Columbus winter days.  I loved the fact that I didn't sweat, or at least, didn't feel so awful sweating.

Now, there are a lot of downfalls to winter running.  Slushy, slick spots, the fear of falling, and the fact that the snow is always coming at you, despite the various directions you may turn are all no fun.  But I will take it any day over laboring to breathe in 90% humidity.  It also helps a little with the winter weight gain that we all struggle with over the holidays.

Someone in my running group shared this funny video that explains just how crazy we all are:

Honestly Sam, I don't envy your beautiful, warm, San Diego days!

It's 12 degrees and snowing . . . I'm off to run.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's for Dinner - Week of 1/24/11

We had an early wake-up call this morning from Aidan.  It seems the stomach flu that has been making the rounds has officially paid a visit to our house.  Yuck!  Despite usually being very good, Aidan was unable to quite make it to the toilet.  He somehow managed to cover EVERY surface in his bathroom, with the exception of the ceiling.  Truly amazing!  I guess he thought that the bathroom needed a deep cleaning, because it got one at 5am today.

Now that I've got your appetites up . . .here's what's for dinner at our house!

Monday:  Baked Artichoke Pasta, roasted carrots
                 A carry-over from last week.  It is supposed to taste like the hot artichoke dip that used to be sooo popular in the past.  I hate cooked carrots, but love when they are roasted.  So sweet!  My new favorite way to cook all veggies.

Tuesday:  Pizza, salad
                 I have a mystery shop assignment which means free pizza!  Bonus!

Wednesday:  Cobb salad, oranges, bread
                 Also a carry-over from last week.  A good meal for tonight, as Mark and I have to run 6 miles this evening.  At least dinner is supposed to be cold!

Thursday:  Pastitsio, salad
                 This recipe was in the paper this weekend.  It is from the "ThreeManyCooks" blog.  Looks wonderful.  Essentially it is a Greek variation on lasagna.  I love lasagna!

Friday:  Leftovers
                 I think the Pastitsio will be calling my name.  I'm sure it is even better the next day.

Saturday:  Spaghetti Dinner
                 Our Church is having a spaghetti dinner.  Darn, no cooking!

Sunday:  Rowan's 6th Birthday!!
                 Check out this menu (chosen by the birthday boy himself, of course):  Raising Cain's chicken fingers, artichokes, french fries and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  I had to step in and suggest the restaurant chicken fingers . . .he was making noise about fast food nuggets (ew!). 

It is such NOT good timing to have a birthday three days before I have to put a bathing suit on.  Moderation, right?

Here is a picture of the recovering sicky-poo, complete with waste basket next to the bed!  At least we both got naps today!

Have a good week!


I am participating in Menu Plan Monday over at!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Ha!  I fooled you!  (I meant the figurative kind of housekeeping.)

Just a few things that have been on my mind . . .

My nails update:  Shockingly, much better than I expected.  My left hand looks wonderful, but growing out.  My right (dominant) hand, which endures all the abuse, is the worse for wear.  I have broken two nails and severely chipped another.  It is truly amazing to me that they have lasted this long though.  I don't get another mani until next week, so we will see how they fair for the rest of the week.

Left, looking good!

Right, a little rough!

My mother just sent me some fingerless gloves she knitted.  Love, love, love them!!

Thanks Mom!!

And lastly, a very cool thing.  There is a website for book fans, not dissimilar from Facebook.  It is called goodreads (  You can see my widget to the right.  You can get book reviews, book suggestions and, better yet, keep track of books that you have read and books that you want to read.  You can also connect with your friends who enjoy books!  Check it out and feel free to friend request me.

As far as being MIA . . .the children had a snow day last week, on Friday.  So, they went to school a total of three days last week.  My hat is off to those who homeschool.  I don't know how you do it.  They would eat me alive!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's for Dinner - Week of 1/17/11

This week started off with Martin Luther King Day and the day off of work and school for all six of my boys (yes, Mark is included!).  Since we spent the day skiing and snowboarding, it essentially became a "lost" day.  Funny how quickly a day becomes lost in the week!  I already feel behind the eight ball and it is only Tuesday. 

Thankfully, I know what is for dinner . . .

Monday:  Out to dinner
                  This wasn't really planned, but we were all really tired from the days' activities.  The children won out!

Tuesday:  Leftovers
                   I feel like I perpetually have leftovers!  But when I make smaller amounts we never have enough.  Funny how that works.

Wednesday:  Chicken with carmelized onions, couscous and grapes
                   The following are more recipes from my favorite cookbook, The Six O'Clock Scramble.  This recipe is essentially adult chicken nuggets.

Thursday:  Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos, green beans
                   Mexican night!  Quinoa (keen-wa) is much healthier than rice, but easy to sub in for rice.  The children have eaten it by itself, so shouldn't be too upset with it in a burrito.

Friday:  Maryland Crabcakes, corn, English muffins
                   Everyone likes crab and they love cocktail sauce, so it should be a hit!

Saturday:  Baked Artichoke Pasta, carrots
                   This is described as being similar to a hot artichoke dip.  Yum!

Sunday:  Cobb Salad, oranges, French bread
                   If nothing else, it includes bacon and cheese!

I have referred several times to "my favorite cookbook".  I love this cookbook for several reasons.  The recipes are family friendly but are somewhat outside the box, allowing me to expose the children to different foods.  The recipes are organized by season, allowing me to utilize seasonal fruits and vegetables, and hopefully be more cost effective.  Best of all, the five weekly recipes come with a shopping list, allowing me to streamline my grocery shopping!  Score!

I first became aware of "The Scramble" when I was using their weekly grocery planning service at  It was a life saver for me when I first became a stay-at-home mom.  My only regret is that I didn't find it in time for me to have used it while I worked.  Check it out!  Contact me if you have any questions.

Have a good week!


I am participating in Menu Plan Monday over at!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Aidan is a Boarder!

Today is Martin Luther King day and the boys (Mark included) had the day off!  What better way to practice peace and non-violent resolution of differences than skiing with thousands of people on a hill.  Truth be told, I had to keep reminding myself of this practice with regards to my own children (Rowan!)!

The big news of the day is that Aidan has officially crossed over to the other side.  He is now a snowboarder.  Sniff, sniff.  Before long it will be me skiing all by myself (insert evil laugh).  Only two more to go!

Aidan initially spent a lot of time on the ground.

Aidan shredding on the mountain!

We had a beautiful sunny day with warmer temps and great snow!

In the second picture, Mark (top right) and Liam (red coat) are in the background.  Rowan, of course, is nowhere in sight!  Oh, that boy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zombie Rowan

This is what a fourth grade boys basketball game will do to you!

From normal Rowan . . .

to Zombie Rowan . . .

Scary!!  And they lost :(

By the way, the nails are still going strong, five days out!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I am not a girly-girl.  It's hard to be with five boys.  But, honestly, I wasn't ever really one before the children either.  I wear my hair the same way, every day.  I wear the same jewelry, every day.  I pretty much wear a variation of the same clothes, every day.  I don't really like heels; they hurt.  I don't enjoy facials and massages.  I don't do my nails.

Now, I do like a good pedicure in the summer, or if I am going on vacation.  I like the idea of a manicure, but it just hasn't ever worked for me.  I can ruin a manicure, and have, before I even get into the car to go home.  Doing my fingers at home hasn't ever worked for me either.  There is always someone who has to have a bottom wiped, pants zipped, or shoes tied.  And, I am obsessive about hand washing.  It could be my medical professional background or just all those bottoms!  Plus, honestly, I do about 3000 dishes a day and fold like 8000 clothes.  It's just no use!

Well, my friend, Jaime was raving the other day (see this post) about this great manicure she had, with gel nails.  They looked marvelous, and her manicure was almost a week old.  And, she had been doing dishes, changing diapers, and wiping bottoms!  So, I had to check it out . . .

Had to go with red!

I am thoroughly impressed!  The best thing, is that they are not "artificial".  Nothing was glued to my nails, and my nails were not sanded down; so no possibility of infections.  Yeah!

I will keep you updated on the condition of my mani.  I may become a girly-girl yet!

By the way, the boys are going to flip when they see me with painted nails!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's for Dinner - Week of 1/10/11

This has been a crazy week already, and it's only Tuesday!

It's amazing to me to look at other people's meal plans.  So many people plan out breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I thought that I was being so good planning out a week's worth of dinners!  Breakfast around here during the week is usually pretty hectic.  I typically act like a short order cook making everyone's choice, but it's all really easy stuff:  instant oatmeal, freezer waffles and pancakes, poptarts and cold cereal.  Lunch is fairly boring, usually with just myself and Rowan eating PB&J (my personal favorite).  The older ones either pack or buy lunch at school.  Weekends are when those meals become a little more structured.  I will usually cook one "big" breakfast; almost always it includes bacon.  Lunch will be subs or sometimes leftovers.  I guess that by knowing that the children get their choices for breakfast and lunch I don't feel so bad if they don't particularly like a dinner I prepare (I only offer one option for dinner, take it or leave it).  They don't have that long til their next meal!

For this week . . . .

Monday:  Pork Tenderloin, brown rice, green beans
                 Nothing fancy.

Tuesday:  Takeout from City BBQ
                 This is for a fundraiser for our school.  Hard to turn it down when it is a favorite!

Wednesday:  Tortilla Casserole, salad
                  The recipe is from Everyday Food magazine.  It is a "lighter" recipe, but I will add in a pound of ground beef to appease the boys.

Thursday:  Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, french fries, crudites
                  Also from the above magazine.  This is a crockpot recipe.  Bonus!

Friday:  Out to dinner for hockey game
                   Go Jackets!!

Saturday:  Leftovers
                    Lots of goodies to eat up!

Sunday:  Spicy Black Bean Soup, corn muffins, salad
                    Everyone pretty much likes black bean soup here.  The fact that it is labeled "spicy" should make it a hit.

Have a good week.


I am participating in Menu Plan Monday over at!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Manager's Special

I love a good deal!

I play the drugstore game.  I subscribe to the grocery game.  I collect coupons.  I can tell you a million ways to save a buck.  Despite all of that though, my grocery bill stays crazy high.  The five growing, starving, and skinny boys I've alluded to in the past, go through food like water.  But I still look for deals to help out.

I was doing my weekly grocery shopping at Kroger on Friday and the "Manager's Special" markdowns were everywhere!  Bread, meat, and yes, dairy!!

Why, so excited about dairy, you ask?  Well, my five boys and husband can easily go through 8 to 10 gallons of milk a week!  A week!  The check-out people laugh at me every week and cow comments ensue with reckless abandon (don't think I haven't thought about it.  My sister has chickens.  Why can't I have a cow?!).

I actually found milk marked down to $1.29!  Needless to say, I bought as much as my cart would hold.  The crazy thing was that this milk doesn't expire until January 16th (this was on the 7th).  Go figure!

You have to understand though, my boys are biased against anything that is marked "Manager's Special".  They think that it is spoiled or rotten or ruined; somehow further working into my twisted plot to poison them all.  Mind you, I have served beets, eggplant, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts this week; all just further evidence.  (Insert scary music here.)

So excuse me while I go peel off some stickers!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Grocery List?!

The boys often complain that I don't buy anything "good" at the grocery store.  I do admit that I try NOT to buy too much junk, not because I am averse to it being in the house, but that I'm averse to it being in my trunk (if you know what I mean!).

I do try to make an effort to ask the children before I go to the store if there are any special requests.  And, honestly, I do try to remember them.  But, as more often is the case, I forget.  I really just forget.  Or, it could be that I avoid that aisle entirely.  At any rate, "I don't buy anything good!"

So, I mentioned that I leave my grocery list out for all to add to.  And so far this method has worked for me; primarily because no one has truly taken advantage of this fact.  Until now. . . .

The waffles, eggs and poptarts are my entries.  Mark added in the olives, hummus and rice cakes (he's trying to be good!).  The flaming hot Cheetos washed down with the four types of ice cream are courtesy of Patrick and Conor.  Followed by the chips with "lots and lots" of French onion dip!  Oh my!

And like any good mother with five growing and starving and skinny boys, I bought it all.  Just please don't ask me to get on the scale any time soon!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seven Springs

We spent the New Year's weekend skiing at Seven Springs.  Great food, great friends, pretty good skiing and lots of relaxing was had! 

I do have to admit that although skiing in the rain has it's advantages (empty mountain, no lift lines, slick slopes), the soaked-to-the-bone aspect was a little less than pleasant.  Thankfully, it was warm!

Some pics from the weekend: 

Top of the mountain

What's a lake doing up here?

Liam navigating the chair lift

Rowan in his favorite position, on the ground!

Conor shredding up the terrain park

The guys chillin'

By the way, a thousand piece puzzle and two OCD women do NOT mix well; we will leave it at that!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ready to Join the Circus?!

My, oh, so talented, husband . . .

And my, oh, so talented, son . . .

This was the half-time entertainment at my house for the Ohio State Game.  Yea, Bucks!

The Lunastix that Santa brought were a big hit.  Maybe we can forgo college!

Eat your heart out Chris!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's for Dinner - Week 1/3/11

Happy New Year!  It's hard to believe that another year has come and gone.  The years just fly by with children anymore.  They keep getting bigger and hungrier! 

One of my goals this year is to continue with the menu planning and posting.  My mother was laughing at me the other day at my organization.  This woman is amazing.  She would grocery shop for two weeks at a time, for a family of seven, off the cuff.  She would push one cart and pull another and manage it all without a list!  I am attributing my inability to do this to the fact that I am significantly older now than she was then; but my mother has always been known for her great memory.  I'm just happy that I haven't actually left anyone at the store yet.  Notice that I said actually left the store, just almost!  Thankfully, one of the benefits of having five children is the fact that they noticed the missing child!  Oh well, not one of my finer moments.

On to the food . . .

Monday:  Leftovers/Smorgasbord
                 I try to make it sound a little bit better than it is by calling it "Smorgasbord".  Sometimes it even fools the younger ones!

Tuesday:  Leftovers/CORN (clean out the refrigerator)
                 I don't know where it is all coming from, but we have a lot of food to kill off!  Again, trying to fool the kids into thinking it is something else.  I'm not sure it is going to work!

Wednesday:  Eggplant Pita Sandwiches/Greek Sandwiches
                 I'll offer a meat option for the children.  They will think I'm trying to poison them with an eggplant only option.  I love eggplant though!  Will try to convince them to try it.  It may work, as Patrick is at ski club this evening.

Thursday:  Roast Chicken, Cheddar and Bacon Stuffed Potatoes
                 We never had this a couple of weeks ago, so it is reappearing on the menu.  I will get the roast chicken from the grocery.  The children will love the cheddar and bacon potatoes.

Friday:  Seared Fish with Beets and Broccoli
                This is from Everyday Food magazine; their "light issue".  A perfect recipe for another one of my New Year's goals . . . lose weight and try to eat more fish.  They have a "grocery bag" section that has five recipes with a shopping list.  It helps make menu planning very easy!

Saturday:  Parmesan Chicken with Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts
                The chicken will be a huge hit.  I am always amazed at how good brussels sprouts are when they are roasted!  Who would have thought?!  More from the magazine.

Sunday:  Steak and Potato Salad
                Enough said!  My carnivores will be drooling.  Ditto the source.

Have a great week!

I am participating in Menu Plan Monday over at!