Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Well, the Mama Guilt is on overload today.  My buttons are like a brand new touch mouse pad….so sensitive.  I am not sure what is going on, but Jakob and I have been battling for weeks.   We have our good days, and good moments, but for the most part we are not liking each other very much.  There are just a few behaviours that drive me up the wall, WHINING and BACK TALKING are at the top of that list.  Jakob has always been a whiner….he thinks that if he whines he will get what he wants. Not so much.  For some strange reason he has now decided that back talking is the way to go as well.  Again, not so much.  There are days that my tolerance for his behaviours is pretty high, but these last few days that is not the case.  I have spent more time yelling and arguing with him (I know, arguing with him is not the way to go), than I have loving on him.  This makes me feel so guilty.  I understand that this is just a few days out of a (hopefully) long life together, and that I shouldn’t let it get to me, that we all have these days….but it kills me.   

I want to have fun with my boys.  But it is hard for me to have fun with them when I don’t feel that they deserve it for acting poorly.  I am in a catch 22 position.  And here we are thinking about driving to the Jacksonville Zoo on Saturday….and Jakob has been misbehaving in school and he and I had a huge blow out this morning walking to school.  Do we still go?  Will he consider it a reward for his bad behaviour?  Or do we suffer for it too and stay home, knowing that it will be a rough day of whining that we didn’t get to go?

I need help.  I need a way to hold back my anger and not let this take over.  I need to figure out how to explain to Jakob that this behaviour wont be tolerated and that it is just disrespectful to talk to us like that.  I need to get back to parenting with love, not a raised voice and punishment.  I am taking any advice you may have for me.  Lay it on me, books, strategies, things that have worked for you, bribes, anything….please.  I feel desperate at this point.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy Pistachio Day


Did you see these?  I tweeted and FB a sneak peek of their deliciousness…

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No?  Well head over to She’s Becoming DoughMessTic or Food Holidays to see my guest post and get the recipe.

Make these….the recipe is simple, the end result ah-mazing.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

As I have said before, if there is a recipe I can make instead of buying snacks for my boys I try to make them.  Not that it is always cheaper, because sometimes it definitely isn’t, but because I like knowing what is going in them, and I like to be able to add that special ingredient….LOVE.

My boys love granola bars.  Aiden especially.  Plain old chocolate chip granola bars.  So I looked up simple recipes and found one.  It is pretty great, claims to be chewy, and they are chewy.  But they are rich, sweet, and delicious.  Aiden really enjoyed them. Jakob said they had a weird flavour, and I am thinking that the honey I used in the recipe must have been it… is a local honey, very fragrant and quite delicious, but definitely a strong flavour.  Aiden asked for milk with these, just like he does when we eat chocolate chip cookies.

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Recipe: (Adapted from Allrecipes)

Chewy Granola Bars

4 1/2 cups of Rolled Oats

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

2/3 cup  Softened Unsalted Butter

1/2 cup Honey

1/3 cup Packed Brown Sugar

2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (this is where we can mix it up….change it to raisins, nuts, peanut butter chips, dried cherries, etc…you get the idea!)


Preheat oven to 325 deg.  Lightly grease one 9 x 12 inch pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla, butter, honey, and brown sugar.  Stir in the 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan.  Bake at 325 deg for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then cut into bars.  Allow the bars to cool completely before removing from the pan.

Store in a sealed container.   Yields about 18 bars – depending the size you want.

I will be making these again for sure….with a milder honey. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monkey Monday

Today Jakob’s class sang a song during this month’s PTSO meeting.  I think it is just a ploy to get parents at the meeting, but I could be wrong!  (not)

Here it is….he’s the one on the right, second row, the one that can’t stand still….

And don’t for get to “Brush your teeth…..”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Supper and a National FOOD holiday!


Happy National Pie Day!!  I know, holidays for food.  But did you know that each day of the year is a holiday for a different kind of food?  Check out my friend Susan’s blog for a daily round up for each special food’s holiday.  Incredible, right?

Pie Day!  I have many favourite kinds of pie.  I love a great lemon meringue, chocolate cream, strawberry, cherry….etc.  But nothing beats a really great APPLE pie.  It has to be really great.  This past Thanksgiving the Stenzel’s were invited over to the household of Team Wallace for dinner.  It was an honour to be included in their family celebrations.  And of course I wanted to contribute, I begged to be able to contribute.  To show up empty handed would have been awful for me.  Nikki was kind enough to oblige my desire to cook or bake and asked me to bring an apple pie. Just one??  Yup, just one.  So I was on the quest to make the BEST apple pie I could find.  And it would have to be tested before Turkey Day.  Poor Jason.  He a lot of pie that month (though didn’t complain once).  After several different crust and pie fillings, it was decided that The Pioneer Woman’s Dreamy Apple Pie would be what was served at Casa Wallace.  It is perfect.  It isn’t easy to describe this pie.  Just perfect.  I love a single crust apple pie. Don’t get me wrong, I love a flaky pie crust…but this pie doesn’t need that double crust. It has a crunchy nutty topping that is heaven….probably why she called it a Dreamy Apple Pie.

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For National Pie Day, I decided to make mini versions of this pie.  I cut the recipe into thirds and baked them in these really cute mini pie plates I picked up at World Market (did you know I collect pie plates??).  A third fit perfectly….baked them for 45 minutes and they were done.  As all apple pie should be served, I scooped a perfect scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. And then Jason suggested some caramel sauce….a decadent finish, but not necessary.  For Thanksgiving I made The Pioneer Woman’s Maple Whiskey Sauce, which later was named Pie Crack by a certain Wallace.

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I recommend pie.  For any occasion. A simple Sunday Supper, a birthday, a more traditional holiday, but definitely for today….National Pie Day!

Did you make a pie today??  What kind?  Have a recipe to share?  Share a link!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frosting for the Cause


Have you seen this??  No?  You need to.  If you bake, if you don’t bake for that matter, you should sign up.  Do it.  Volunteer to bake, donate what you bake to your local Women’s Cancer Hospice, agree to donate $25.00 to the American Cancer Society or to a Women’s Cancer Research Project of your choice, and blog it. 

I was waiting to sign up.  I knew that Paula had people lined up until some time in March.  But March didn’t work for me.  I wanted to make sure we had time to settle into our new place before I had anything going on.  And today she tweeted that they were almost at the end of April with sign ups.  So I jumped.  I sent her my request to participate (which you can do by going HERE – DO IT!) and she emailed me back with the date of APRIL 25th.  Very Excited!

Now….what should I bake??


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

AboutOne Twitter Chat….Raising Kids

I have recently discovered AboutOne.  It is an online website to “Safely Store and Manage Your Household Information”.  A great site to record memories, scan and keep important documents, and health info about the whole family. And now I am going to be a blogger for them, check it out.  (scroll down and you will see me!) I am going to write bi-monthly posts about Military Life….the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Today’s twitter chat was about raising kids.  Some great questions, some interesting answers.

Question #1: What are your tips for traveling with children? Do you travel a lot with your family?

We use to travel quite a bit.  When we were living in Connecticut we were only about 8 hours from my parents and I would make the drive with Jakob (and then Aiden too) about every three months.  It was a long day of driving, but worth it.  Most visits it would be just me driving, leaving Jason at home, so I had to make sure I was prepared.  Snacks, drinks and toys all within reach.  I made sure that all the snacks were portioned out, and easy to open.  Drinks were either juice boxes or premade sippy cups.  And when Jakob and Aiden were infants I made sure to have water from home, or bottled water, for their bottles so that there wasn’t anything in the water that their tummies weren’t use to.

The other side of travelling with children is entertainment….keeping them occupied = happy children!  DVD players in the car was key for us….the perfect distraction.  Now it takes a bit more.  Both Aiden and Jakob are obsessed with my iTouch.  They love the games (the free apps are awesome), and the videos and sometimes the music.   I have a feeling it will be a lifesaver for our cross country trip to Washington.  8 days on the road…help me!

Question #2:  How much TV do you let your kids watch? Do you limit? What are their favourite shows?

I am guilty of my boys watching a lot of TV.  I know it isn’t right, I know it isn’t good for them….I know.  Enough said.

Shows…..Phineas and Ferb, Team Umizoomi, Magic School Bus, most of the shows on PBSKids, and the Food Network!!  LOL

Question #3: Has your child ever been bullied? Have you talked to them about this issue?

Jakob has not been bullied at school.  And Aiden isn’t in school.  Jakob is a pretty popular kid, bit of a teacher’s pet too.  But there have been days that he has come home and said others were mean to a friend, which strikes a convo about how it isn’t nice to be mean to someone.  He knows what is good and bad behaviour, what is nice and what is mean.  He’s a good egg.

Question #4: How do you give your children quality time?

Jason and I try our best to spend some one on one time with each of the boys.  Jakob is old enough to sit through a movie, but Aiden isn’t quite there yet, so Jakob gets some one on one time going to the occasional movie.  Aiden gets special treats like trips to the ice cream shop.  We also do things like taking one out to run errands while the other stays home. 

We also swap out bedtime.  We each take a boy, read or talk, and tuck in.  That way they are getting equal attention from us.

It’s important. We make it a priority.

Question #5: How do you treat yourself?

I am happy to say that I am pretty good at treating myself.  I work dinners out into our budget so that there are days that I don’t have to cook.  I take time with my friends to get our nails done, go out for lunch, or even go to the bookstore for a coffee and poke at some books.  I am lucky.  I have a great husband who understands that “if Mama ain’t happy, no one is happy”.  Jason is great at hanging with the boys so that Mama can have some me time.

I also find a few minutes at the end of the day to reflect.  I keep a gratitude journal and write the highlights of the day.  Things I am thankful for.   AboutOne has a section on their site for keeping track of memories and I am looking forward to adding to that part of my account as well.

Whew….Those are some great questions, and long answers.  It was a great opportunity to hear what some other mother’s are going through, and realizing that I am not alone, that we all have similar things going on, choices to make, and love for our children. I will definitely be participating in the AboutOne chats on twitter.  You can too!  Wednesday mornings, 10 am EST, #AOChat  See you there?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monkey Monday


This is how I spent 3 hours of my day…


at the ER with Jakob.  Unfortunately, he has a massive strep throat infection.  Oh, and did I mention he is throwing up too?!  Yes, fun times here at LBBO.

Sorry I don’t have a more interesting post today, and for the sad cell phone picture.

Hoping for a speedy recovery and some sleep sometime soon.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Our Pooch

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Cannot believe that she is going to be 8 next month….look at that grey muzzle.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Military Monday

Getting ready to pack our bags and head out West.  Time for the Stenzels to conquer a new post and a new state. Jason has orders to report to Ft. Lewis, Washington in March.  We have known about this for a few months now, but I haven’t really let it sink in.  The Army is known for changing it’s mind!  The fact that the movers will be here next month to pack up the house and move all our belongings to the other side of the country has crept up on me. I know, that sounds silly, but it is true the holidays kind of sucked up the time I thought I had. So now the planning begins. 

My first research project was schools.  School for Jakob and Aiden. I *hope* this is our last duty station and they wont need to make another change for several years.  This became a project of looking things up, asking people who had been there, or people who were going there where they were planning on living…etc.  I found out that the waiting list for living on post was looooong.  And the living spaces weren’t anywhere near what we would be able to get for our housing allowance. So we are searching for a house to rent.  And I think we have narrowed it to Lacey, Washington.  Good schools, close to post for Jason’s commute, and close to everything I need.  There are a few great houses that we are looking at – 3-4 bedrooms, great kitchen (a MUST for me), and backyard for the boys to play.  I also LOVE that most of the houses in WA have fireplaces.  I have not had a fireplace in my house in over a decade….I miss it so!

I will say that there are a couple things that I will miss about Georgia.  Definitely not the heat of the summer, that’s for sure.  But I will miss the friends I have made here.  I will miss the neighbours on my street.  The kids all around for my boys to play with.  The support and care they gave me for the year that Jason was gone.  I will also miss the great Company that Jason is in. The guys that he works with are pretty great.  His 1SGT, Hamilton, was amazing.  His Cpt, Cory Wallace, was the best leader I have met.  His LT, E. Olvera, is fantastic.  And the guys under him made the platoon a great one.  They helped bring him home safe and sound, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Getting off topic now. The move is right around the corner.  I need to get on it, stop being in denial of it actually happening and get my butt in gear.  Washington is waiting for us.

What is the first thing you do when preparing for a move?  Help a girl out, I could use a great checklist to make sure I am not missing anything!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I always worry about the snacks my boys eat.  I push for the healthier snacks. I push for fruit, whole grains.  And they don’t complain….they love it.  But sometimes I like to treat them.  There are a brand of Organic PopTarts that they really like.  But they are expensive, and not often on sale.  And when they are on sale I buy some and they are gone the next day!   C’est La Vie!

Some time last year I saw this post over at Oven Love.  It was perfect. Homemade PopTarts. Totally up my alley.  And the boys LOVE THEM.  I realized last week that I hadn’t made them in a LONG time.  So I made a plan, read : scheduled them in, and made my boys Homemade PopTarts filled with Nutella

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Pretty cute, eh?

Here is the recipe I followed, though I used 1/2 cup butter….I am not a shortening gal.

Homemade Pop Tarts
(original recipe from Peabody)
For Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp. cold water

For Filling:
Jam (your choice)  Or you can use Nutella like I did!!

For Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
milk to thin

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening and butter and blend with a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands. Blend until mixture is fairly coarse. Add water, 1 tbsp. at a time, gently mixing dough after each addiction until dough forms a ball.
2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a square/rectangle. To about 1/8 thickness. Cut out long strips about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long. Repeat until dough runs out.
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3. Take one pie crust rectangle and lace 1 tsp. of jam on top. Cover with another piece of pie crust and crimp all four edges. Repeat with the rest of dough. Place Pop-tarts on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake for 7-8 minutes.
4. While pop-tarts are baking, make glaze. Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Pour milk slowing until it has a consistency of really thick syrup. 1/2 a tbsp. to 1 tbsp. might be enough.
5. Once pop-tarts are done and cooled, top with glaze. Add sprinkles and serve.

Trust me, make these…..your family will thank you.

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What snacks do you like to make homemade for your family???  Send me links – I am looking for more things to make a healthier version for the boys!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Suppers

Growing up we had dinner together most nights.  Nothing fancy, typical dinners.  My mother expected us home for dinner unless we had told her otherwise.  At dinner we would discuss our day, school. etc….or we would just sit and not really talk about anything.  Typical family dinners.

Jason and I try to do the same, but with more fun! But there were nights when the boys were hungry before we were, and I had fallen into the habit of making them something different from what Jason and I were eating.  I had gotten tired of hearing “I don’t like that” or “That looks yucky”.   I am hoping to turn that around.  We are going to sit as a family – and dammit we will enjoy it! :)  Starting with Sunday Suppers.  I am going to introduce my boys to the old fashioned Sunday Dinners that you read about, or see in movies.  Traditional meals like Roast Chicken, Lasagna, Meatloaf (have never made one in my life), Fried Chicken, Pot Roast… etc….etc….those meals that you take your time making without the weekday rush.

And for these meals I will blog about one component…so Today I want to share a Sweet Potato recipe with you.  Tonight’s menu included  Roast Turkey Breast, Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans Almondine, and Pumpkin Pie.   Mmmmmmmmm…….a delayed Thanksgiving meal.  Perfect for a rainy Sunday dinner.  Fingers crossed the boys will eat it. 

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes

3 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1 – 2 Tbsp Butter

2-3 Tbsp Heavy Cream (or Whole Milk)

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup


1. Peel Sweet Potatoes and slice into chunks.  Boil until tender – approx. 10 minutes.

2. Drain Sweet Potatoes (save water for your dog – makes their dinner delicious).

3. Put Potatoes back into hot pot, add butter, cream, and Maple Syrup.  Mash until desired consistency is reached.  Add more cream if necessary.    Season with salt and pepper.

Simple….but adds a nice touch to Sweet Potatoes.  My family loves them. 

I hope your family enjoys Sunday Suppers as much as I hope my boys will remember them.

If you have any suggestions or traditional recipes for Sunday Suppers, please pass them on….always on the lookout for new things to try/make.