Friday, May 28, 2010

Mom Tips

I LOVE Mom Tips!
I so enjoy listening and talking with mom's about what makes their life better or easier and getting wise advice on everything from discipline techniques to healthy cooking.
I need women in my life to give me their mom tips because for one, I (shall I say the word... hate) or maybe reallllly dislike, reading parenting books. I read my bible and fiction, other than that I get about 2 chapters into any type of "self-help" book and am totally bored. I learn best by just hearing some wise advice that I can apply immediately.
Like when my girlfriend shared that I could try pinching the back of Nehemiah's hand when he does something naughty as a new discipline technique that works well for her son. Might sound harsh to some parents, but my kiddo is tough and needs creative discipline, so I was open to trying it. Wow. Worked like a charm. And this technique works great at the store or at home. Now I can say, "Do you need to be disciplined Nehemiah?" and he will point to the back of his hand and say no and actually stop doing the naughty behavior. That was a good mom tip for me.
I had a lady at Wal-Mart try to give me lots of mom advice and I didn't heed a single word. You know what will work for you and what won't. Her best advice was to water down my kids pop. Since we don't give our kids pop, which yes, I did tell her and she was completely shocked, that really wasn't going to go into my "put that into practice" file. (I will say that they have shared it with their daddy and tried Pepsi or a cherry limeade, but I have not had any kind of pop (besides the yearly frosty mug root beer) in about ten years. But in general I would take a stand that children should not have pop or sugar drinks. Stick with types of milks, 100% juices and water. And even then, we do water down their juice, 50/50.)

All that winded intro to say, I feel like I finally have a mom-tip that I want to share. This has radically changed my life for the better. Over the last month our breakfast routine has drastically changed and I must share it with you because this may help you as well!

Baking in bulk for breakfast.
We all know that we eat leftovers for lunch or dinner, but for some reason I have never done it for breakfast. Well, not anymore! I used to stick to the routine of cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, waffle, then repeat, but now I have much more to offer because I am baking in bulk and freezing it.
Here are some whole wheat apple cinnamon muffins (3 whole apples inside). I made up the recipe (I use allrecipes for inspiration, just type in apple muffins and put together one that will work for your family) and I served them warm with cream cheese.
Breakfast pizza. One of the kids favorites! I use a basic whole wheat pizza crust recipe (no salt though because of the added meat on top) and top it with egg, sausage, cheese or anything else I feel up too. We eat it that day and usually have about 20 squares left over. I freeze it in a bag and then for breakfast we can put it in the toaster or microwave/oven.
My super favorite. This is great leftover from the fridge. Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal. I posted a full description of my love for this on my blog.
Make waffles or pancakes and double the batch and freeze them. Pop into toaster, cover with peanut butter, banana's, nuts, honey, all natural fruit preserves, what-have-you and enjoy! This way you know what is in these puppies. No oils (I use apple sauce), no preservatives, whole wheat, added good stuff like wheat germ or flax, I love to mash up banana's into them, add berries, or the best we did last week were boil then mashed two whole sweet potatoes into the waffles and covered with my maple glaze! Oh yes. I think fruits/veggies should go on the plate but I am also all about being sneaky too!
Ham and cheese bake. Or make a quiche with broccoli, my kids looove quiche! Cheese (you can add cottage cheese too) and any veggies or meats and they are wonderful reheated. I usually use Great Value deep dish frozen pie crusts for mine if not from scratch. They are the only ones without partially hydrogenated oils.
About baking in bulk for sweets. Yes, these are "healthy" as sweets go. But we have eaten these over the last week and I feel good about it because I know the ingredients and they too have oats in them and apple sauce.
For some really yummy things, still bake in bulk and share with neighbors or freeze for when your body is screaming for a thousand calorie dessert. We made a delish marshmallow bake. When you are baking healthy 75% of the time, who cares about the rest right?! These have graham crackers, coconut, sweetened cond milk, butterscotch chips, marshmallows and caramel, then baked. See what a naughty sweet reward for all that healthy cooking!
How else has this helped me in the mornings?
Making fresh fruit smoothies every morning with breakfast for the kids and myself. My body almost has to have it now since doing it almost every morning during the Daniel Fast.
Not cooking/preparing something has freed up my time to blend up some fruit and serve it each day without feeling rushed or stressed. Next on my list is a juicer. I would love to juice!
My favorite is a version of a smoothie is this recipe. I omit the sugar and throw in pineapple and an orange. Sooo good. This morning I did -o.j. water, ice, frozen mango, 1/2 banana and some yogurt. Wow, amazing. You can add oats, nuts and protein if you so wish.
I feel good about getting our mornings off to a right start and serving healthy from scratch breakfasts with fruit smoothies.
We will continue to add to our repertoire (I have seen stuff like full veggie omelets, haven't served those yet) and we love nuts and granola, so that is next on my list to home make as a snack and as a breakfast cereal.

Your mom-tips are appreciated, so please share!
And if you have great breakfast ideas (or meals in general) please share those too!

Some of my favorite cooking blogs:
Lynn's Kitchen Adventures (used her idea for my own baked oatmeal)
Finding Joy in my Kitchen (tons and tons of things)
Debbie Does Dinner (her squash bake will be made soon)
Angie's Healthy Living

Working on... Titus 2:5, "Be self-controlled and pure, be busy at home, be kind..."

The Perryman's

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Beginnings and Endings

Beginnings. Adoption news...
Last August we shared how we started the process of adopting our third child. We felt deeply that God placed an older child in our hearts though a domestic adoption, so we headed in that direction. (Even though at times it seemed easier and more comfortable to stick with international adoption or even pursue pregnancy, but it was clear we were in the right spot!)
At first we thought maybe 5-6 years old, but then felt we should open our homestudy to children age 5-18 and opening our home to only children and sibling groups.
We waited each month to be matched with children and in March we attended an adoption party and visited with many children available for adoption. After much prayer and waiting, we have been matched with a child who was at the party and had our first visit... yesterday! Surprise!

We met one another half way, which happened to be in OKC. We went to the zoo and had a wonderful day. Our sweet "K" just turned 12 years old this month. She is an only child. She is half African American, half Native American and very beautiful. She has been in foster care for about 4 years and is very ready for a forever family. The kids all enjoyed one another too, holding hands and playing through out the day.
We have our first overnight visit next week (2 nights during the week). The plans after that will hopefully look something like this: An extended weekend visit (Friday-Monday). Then a full week. Then move in for 6 months. Then adoption. This is a typical smooth plan and we are praying this is indeed the child in our heart and that we are the perfect family for her as well. We hope to share many pictures of our time together, but for now we are showing them cautiously.

During this process we have been swimming up-stream, so to speak, with our decision to go out of birth order and to adopt an older child, but even after much negative feed-back, our hearts were still open to building our family through an older adoption.
Things were said like, "Why would you do that to your perfect little family?" Cause you know, adding children will ruin your life. Or "It is so awesome that you are saving a child like that." Yes, oh yeah, that's right, all parents look into their children's eyes and think they have saved them! I think every parent knows that the child is the best blessing in their lives, not the other way around. Or "OH, I didn't know you were adopting a child that old, that will be hard."
Hard for you maybe, because you haven't been prepared for that. But we have. It's rather like being called to live in Africa, that would be hard for most, yet God calls people to do that too! (One of my bestie friends ever. Read up on that blog. Washing clothes in the tub and hanging them to dry. Loving on the lost Kenyans. Serving wholeheartedly through tears, homesickness and yet having a deeper joy and peace unmatched at any other time in your life. That obedience is beautiful.)

The good of the situation is that as we slowly share the news of meeting her to a very selected few, we have received blessings unmatched from those who get it. I had one friend mail me a check so that we could go splurge as a new family and do something wildly fun without thought of expense.
Another friend preciously said, "My 80 year old grandma just said that God is still working on her. We know He is working on you and me. I know He can do a mighty work in her. Do not anyone tell you its too late because she is 12." Ahhh, honest, encouragement, making the elephant in the room a non-issue. And our community group at church said they want to throw her an adoption party when the time comes. Oh the blessings!
We do not know at this point how all this will play out, but we are excited for this ride and are thrilled to be adding to our family. (And note to my hubby, please say we are not done yet!) We do thank you for your love and support and will continue to keep you updated!

For "K"... (pics to come...)
"I will come to you and fulfill My gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. " Jeremiah 29

We had our last Vietnamese lesson last Sunday and they had a huge celebration for all the children. Avi Joy had her first cotton candy and snowcone. They played so many games for the first time, like the ring toss, balloon darts and ping pong ball toss into vases. They had face painting, a dunk tank, a gift shop, Jupiter jump, bingo, ball toss and TONS of Vietnamese foods and sweets. We had pork, noodles, egg rolls, Pho, rice and fruit. It was weird that the rice tasted like I was in Vietnam. How exactly do they do that??

Avi Joy had her last day of dance and then had her recital this weekend. She was a bumble bee and did SO great up on stage! We were proud. She has come a looong way from just standing and observing her class dance.
Held at the new BAPAC.
The final bow of the whole dance company.
Running backstage to her grandparents. Both of our families were able to come watch her performance- thank you so much!
The last day of school! There was an award ceremony and I explained that she would be given an award for some type of character. I told her something like, most patient, best listener (which is what she got last year) or most friendly. She told me her award would be for "being the cutest." I told her that was not quite an award. Even though each child received an award, mostly based on character qualities, what did Avi Joy get?? Best Dressed. Basically, she was right.
Her "graduating" class. That just cracks me up.
Creative dancing. No skirt around?? Well, use a dish towel. Tuck it in and spin!
God has made everything beautiful in its own time. There is a time for everything. Ecclesiastes 3

Thoughts on food over on internationalblend!

The Perryman's

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday part 2

Well today is little squirts birthday. Here is my "silly monkey" (from his p.j.'s) hanging out with us at Lowes.
Super ticklish boy.
Miss Joy Joy wore her new princess outfit from her grandma.
Miss Anna. We LOVE Miss Anna. She is Avi Joy's Vietnamese teacher at church. I made her a pair of earrings as a gift for the end of the year. She put them on when I gave them to her, the light blues ones in this pic- that always make me feel good. I get to teach her 4 kiddos (ages 6, 7, 8, and 9) art lessons this summer!
Nehemiah ordered a Happy Birthday treat. "Cell phone in smoothie" boys.
Apple's w/ peanut butter and Dora. Be amazed. And quickly get something accomplished.
Actual b-day pic.
Picking plums off our tree.
Is this not precious. She is a perfect sister. I do not say that lightly. Yes, they fight. And scream and hit. But, she is so loving and patient with his brotherly loud behavior. She always sets a good example for me to follow.
Adam said he looked particularly "Asian" today. As in compared to other days when he looks rather Polish or Russian.
Her lil' toesies.
Playing with friends in our neighbor's yard.
Our family party.
Kiddo's opening gifts.
This is a very serious princess card.
Nene, my step-dad's mom. She always gets the kiddo's perfect gifts. She got Nehemiah's tie shirt for him for Christmas that he wore to his parties.
Throwing his new ball!
Blessed to have both our families stop by to eat and play.
Avi Joy asked for a princess dress and crown. She was not disappointed!
Caramel Monkey bread as their cake.
Bouncing with Nene! Oh the giggles.
Had a wonderful day with Nehemiah today. We took sis to her last day of school and spent the morning at Wal-Mart and then headed home for some cuddle time. He is such a joy in our life and we are thankful for him. He is full of energy and loud- silly, happy and handsome.
I prayed for his birthmother today as I know she is thinking of him today as well. I pray she is comforted by the Holy Spirit and that God gives her peace and restoration.

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." Isaiah 43:5

The P's

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A bit of this and that post...

Want a great craft idea that will surely make someone smile??
When you send a package, let your kiddo's paint on it or make hand prints all over. Having craft time with your wee-ones and accomplishing sending a personalized gift in the mail at the same time.
I know my new cousin will enjoy his present. Little- I mean big, Thomas was born yesterday, 9 lbs 6oz! Congrat's Uncle Robert and Aunt Amy on your first child!
Mother's day was wonderful. I used a massage gift certificate (My favorite way to be spoiled- a good massage, followed by delicious food). My mom came to church with us, then we celebrated at Adam's mom's house with all his family. Avi Joy played her drums as each person arrived at the door- what a grand welcome!
Adam's mom and grandchild, Annabelle.
My sis-in-law, Melissa, with her son, George.
My FAVORITE picture of the week. I walk into the front room and Avi Joy is on top of the bookshelf and Nehemiah is inside it. These are the fleeting days.
My grandma asked how the garden was going... Here it is. Everything is sprouting and we are now eating on our lettuce.
Great grandpa Richard and Nehemiah spent lots of time cuddling.
Had a hankering for some lemonade this week. I had never made it fresh- very good. Had to take it outside so we could pretend it was warm.
Daily reading, still her favorite time of day. We LOVE books at our house. Using a home school curriculum with lots of reading is a must. She now knows how to read 4 words. The order she learned them is a gift to my heart... 1) Avi Joy 2) Love 3) God and this part is not the gift 4) Cat.
Painting some of her gifts from her birthday party.
Making a tent.
Pretty girl.
My four year old!
Another fun activity with Parents as Teachers, Miss Jen. Blowing tissue paper across the floor with a straw and see who wins.
Always singing. She has the gift of song. As I write this, she is at the kitchen table singing, "You, You are my hiding place. You will protect me from trouble all my days." A beautiful song we listen to in the car on a Kids Worship c.d.
Every once in a while like Here and Here, I enjoy posting a series of pics. It really lets you be in the "moment," you know?...

He has a birthday tomorrow!!! Birthday part two posted soon!

"You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." Selah. Psalm 32:7

The Perryman Family