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

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Yeah for Conor!

Conor has had a banner week so far . . .

First a phone.

Then he found out that he received an academic scholarship to high school.

Way to go, Conor!

Great things are in store for you!

Conor to me when I told him about the scholarship:  "So what you gonna get me?"  Gotta love those 13 year old boys.  Sigh . . . 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's a Review!

I am a member of SheSpeaks (, a web community that offers women the opportunity to test products, services and content.  I love this site as I usually receive something to test six to eight times a year.  I have received pens, food products, make up, financial services and television show previews in the past.  Even better, I receive very little email from them; I usually have to go to their site to see what is available.  Other than filling out some short surveys, there is no obligation on my part.  What's not to love?!

Several months ago, I enrolled in a program to try Perdue chicken nuggets.  I was sent a free product coupon and a silicone bake pan.  But try as I might, I could not find the product anywhere near me.  I tried Kroger.  I tried Giant Eagle.  I even braved it into WalMart (knowing full well they would reject my coupon and embarrass me greatly in the process - yes, I would be that person in the check-out line).  No luck!  I even emailed SheSpeaks and received a reply back (! - love that site) that they were working on getting their products in Columbus.  Sure, sure . . .

Last week I was trolling the frozen food aisle at Giant Eagle and, lo and behold, there was the elusive bag of Perdue chicken nuggets I had been so diligently searching for.  Being the coupon crazy person that I am (I would never throw away a coupon for a free product) I was able to retrieve the coupon from my purse and purchased those nuggets!  Yeah!

The elusive nuggets!

I chose the General Tso's Chicken, knowing that Chinese is always a big hit with everyone.  (That, and Patrick became sold on his high school based on the General Tso's chicken in the cafeteria the day he visited there.)   The bag was $7.99 and said it served 9, which should be perfectly sized for my family.  Some rice and edamame to round out the meal, and mom would be a rock star!

Not so fast.  As I'm putting the bag away in the freezer after I got home, I become a little concerned about the actual amount of chicken in it.  I guess if I am feeding 9 three year olds I might be okay.  But five boys was not going to be pretty.  (Cut to Patrick gnawing on Rowan's leg.)  I panic, and several days later, as I am trolling the frozen food aisle at Kroger now (notice the theme here?), I find a Kroger brand bag of General Tso's chicken that I purchase.  Also for $7.99.  Also serves 9.  (No picture, though.)

So now, not only do I have a review, but also a comparison!

Perdue chicken, brown rice, edamame
First the Perdue:  The chicken was baked, all white meat, no trans fats and large chunks.  Bake in the oven, flip, bake some more.  Very easy to prepare!  The flavor was very good, but I felt the chicken was a little dry as the flavoring was baked on the chicken.  There was no "extra" sauce.  But, several of the boys claimed this to be their favorite, stating that they liked the fact that the meat was more flavorful.

On to the Kroger brand:  The chicken was also baked, all white meat, but much smaller chunks.  Bake in the oven, flip, bake some more and then toss with the included packets of General Tso's sauce.  Also easy, but with an additional step.  I thought the flavor was just as good and I liked the fact that there was additional sauce on the chicken that overflowed onto the rice.  Their chicken was tempura battered, so it had a nice crunch to it under the sauce.  I felt that it was more similar to the General Tso's you would find in a restaurant.  Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of this plate.  The Kroger brand beat out the Perdue brand by a vote.

On a side note, thank God I bought the additional bag of chicken!  I had only a small lunch sized portion of leftovers that was happily procured by Patrick for school the next day.  Gosh, these boys can eat!

I rarely purchase frozen prepared meals for our dinners, as I tend to make most of our food from scratch.  I would definitely consider both of these options, Perdue chicken nuggets and Kroger brand products, though, as a quick and healthy dinner, especially for a busy night.  The price is definitely cheaper than fast food or the local Chinese take-out.  A great alternative!

And now go on over and check out SheSpeaks! 

Disclaimer:  All opinions are my own.  Other than the coupon for the free product from Perdue, I was not compensated for my work.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What's for Dinner - Week of 2/21/11

I had a major mom coup last week:  I served salmon to all of the boys for dinner. 

My back was to the wall.  No other options.  No kid food in my back pocket to bail me out . . .  and they liked it!  Most of them even had seconds!  Total success.

Now, I am the first person to say that when it comes to feeding children dinner that you should only have one dinner option.  Or make that two . . . take it or leave it.  For me, it has been a matter of survival.  If I offered other options or acted as a short order cook, I would literally have six different meals I would have to make.  (I am assuming that Mark would throw me a bone and let me cook him what I was eating, but I may be just assuming!) 

Let me jump off my soapbox, though, because I used to have one exception to that rule, and that was fish.  I started off serving fish when the boys were younger and I would call it "white meat".  They caught on eventually (Patrick has a keen nose) and began to revolt.  So, I would usually cook hot dogs or chicken nuggets to serve alongside. 

Recently, I started cooking extra fish, as some of my more adventurous eaters began asking for "bites".  Well, the bites became bigger and soon I started not having enough for Mark and my main course.  I took the plunge a couple of months ago and cooked tilapia for everyone and they loved it.  In fact, I ran out of it!  Slowly but surely, I have been working other fish into my plans with great success.  Score!

A long time ago I had read that children would often need to be introduced to a new food many times (I think they had said something like fifteen!) before they would start to like it.  I would have to say that I agree with that.  Sometimes it doesn't take so long, other times (mushrooms, beans, fish) it takes much longer.  Keep at it and you may turn your picky eaters around!

Now to the meals . . .

Monday:  General Tsao's Chicken, rice, edamame
                  More on this later this week.  Chinese is always a hit here!

Tuesday:  Omelets, hash browns, fruit salad
                 This meal was pushed back from last week.  I love breakfast for dinner!

Wednesday:  Moroccan Chicken, couscous, baked sweet potatoes
                  This sounds yummy.  More recipes from The Six O'clock Scramble.

Thursday:  Fettuccine with Chickpea Sauce, zucchini and tomato saute, bread
                 Ditto the source.  Sounds good, but the boys will be bummed that it is meatless.

Friday:  Dinner out for the Blue Jackets game!

Saturday:  Breaded Tilapia with Garlic-Lime Sauce, rice, green beans
                  Hopefully my success with fish will continue.  Everyone has enjoyed tilapia in the past.

Sunday:  Pizza out for baseball meeting


Have a good week!

I am participating in Menu Plan Monday over at!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finally . . .

Conor is running with the big dogs now. . .

"867-5309.  For a good time, a good time, call!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Forced Sporting Events

pre game jitters

After dragging multiple little boys to various bigger boys' sporting events for many years, I always said that paybacks would be in order.  Unfortunately, that is rarely the case.  Usually because the biggers have their own things going on.  More often, though, because Mark and I enjoy the rare opportunity of watching one of the youngers unencumbered.  A lot of times, it is just not worth the "smack talk". 

What ever happened to "brotherly love"?

Liam and Rowan

Aidan had a basketball game on Saturday at the very respectable hour of 12:30, ensuring that all boys would be awake for the day.  The bribe was thrown out there that lunch would be "out" if they came to the game.  So we had a full contingent of Quinlans for basketball!

Mark and I went to a fundraiser for Patrick's baseball team Saturday evening.  We "won" a spin bike.  It now occupies a spot in our basement.  Mark jokes that it will be good for drying clothes on!  I loved spinning classes before I started running full time.  I may have to work that back in now that we have a bike.

We ate my salmon meal on Friday night.  Yes, Wednesday was too crazy, as I had predicted earlier in the week.  It was a big hit, with even Rowan having seconds!  He did scrape off the topping, which was similar to an olive tapenade.  Very yummy!  I'm so proud . . . I have now gotten the children to add salmon to their repertoire!


Liam's attempts with my camera

 Why can't I get my pictures to line up?!  Ugh!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What's for Dinner - Week of 2/14/11

Ah, it's Valentine's week.  Unfortunately, in this household of boys it is rather anti-climatic.  Thankfully, Mark remembered and got me a very nice gift.  I also remembered, but one rather small boy, who shall remain nameless (Rowan), ruined my surprise with a total guess.  Drats!

Funny enough, I was at Target on Monday and it was quite humorous the number of men who were in the card section.  I've never seen quite so many men in one section of Target before!  Nothing like waiting until the last minute!

I made two, yes two, heart cakes for Cake Bingo at school yesterday.  They were very pretty; I wish I had remembered to take a picture before I sent them off.  Not a single boy of mine won a cake to bring home though.  Of course, if I had made one for home, all four boys would have come home with a cake!  There was enough candy to make up for the lack of cake.

On to the dinners . . .

Monday:  Ravioli Lasagna, green beans, bread
                 I always rant about how much I love lasagna.  This is soooo easy to put together it almost makes me never want to make another traditional lasagna ever again.

Tuesday:  Tangy Flank Steak, mashed potatoes
                 My children love steak.  The weather has been getting nicer; I am looking forward to putting this on the grill!

Wednesday:  Zesty Baked Salmon, rice pilaf, asparagus
                 We have a crazy night on Wednesday.  Hopefully I will be able to pull this meal off.  Hopefully it will go over well.  Everyone has been liking salmon lately.

Thursday:  Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches, chips, crudites
                  I bought these on a whim from Market Day last month and they were a huge hit with all six boys.  I don't get it, but I am going to score major points by having them again this month.

Friday:  Omelets, hash browns
                  Breakfast for dinner!  Yeah!

Saturday:  Baseball Silent Auction/Dinner Fundraiser

Sunday:  Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser
                   Easy weekend!

Enjoy the rest of the week!

I am participating in Menu Plan Monday over at!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Diet Coke

Just about everyone who knows me knows that I am addicted to Diet Coke.  Addicted being a mild description of my dependence upon that liquid caffeinated beverage. 

In Jamaica, there is no Diet Coke . . .

. . . only Coca Cola light.

Doesn't it just sound better?! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Oh, Jamaica . . . how I miss you!

The view from our balcony!
I even took the four girls out for a sail.  It was a little rougher seas than in this picture.  We got very wet and ran over a school of snorkelers!  (That's a story for another day.)

We spent a lot of time at the pool.  The swim up bar was in the small pool at the top of the picture.  The water was much warmer in that pool.  I wonder why?

What a gorgeous place!  Look at those beaches and that view!

A Bob Marley
Did you know that Bob Marley turned 66 last Sunday (02/06/11)?  We drank a few of these in honor of him.

I want to go back!  It is 13 degrees and snowy here.  Brrrrr.....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011