Monday, October 31, 2011

Italian Roasted Pumpkin Seeds With a Twist

Tonight we finally got our Halloween pumpkins carved.  My four year old is now at the age that she can be involved in the whole cleaning and carving process.  Now my house smells like pumpkin because I have pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven.  If you've never saved your pumpkin seeds for roasting, it's super easy and I'm going to show you how to make this yummy, healthy snack.

First, you'll need to separate your seeds from the pumpkin guts (pulp).  I put two bowls in the carving work area, one for pumpkin guts and one for seeds.  As you are cleaning out the inside of your pumpkin, you need to separate the seeds from the pulp.  The ends of the seeds stick to the pulp, so some squeezing might be in order.  This is a perfect job for the kids because it keeps them away from the knives and mine really wasn't strong enough to scrape the inside of the pumpkin yet.  

Preheat the oven to 300F degrees while you put the pumpkins seeds in a strainer and rinse them off, making sure to get the remaining pumpkin pulp off the seeds.  Oil a cookie sheet and spread the pumpkin seeds in a flat layer on the cookie sheet.  Pour the seeds out onto the oiled cookie sheet and flatten into a single layer of seeds.  Some pulp may remain in the bottom of the strainer while rinsing, but it usually sticks there and doesn't come out while you dump your seeds.  Just pick out what does end up on your sheet.

Now, this is where some people differ when roasting pumpkin seeds.  The Food Network says to first roast your seeds bare for 30 minutes, pull them out to season, and then cook them for another 20 minutes.  I tried this method tonight and I just about burned the seeds.  I only put them in the second time for a few minutes because they were already so dark.  They would have burned to a crisp had I cooked them 20 more minutes.  Maybe I overcrowded the oven with two sheets so if you try this method just watch your seeds.

Instead, I usually oil, salt, and pepper the pumpkin seeds before placing them in the oven and I only cook them for a total of 15-25 minutes until they are golden brown and crunchy.  If you aren't sure about doneness, try one!  I oil and season them right on the cookie sheet.  We are not big salt users around here, but I use the salt liberally with pumpkin seeds. You can season to taste.

Tonight I did two different batches.  One regular oil, salt, and pepper, and one batch of Italian seasoned.  I oiled the seeds, then covered the seeds in salt, McCormick's Garlic Bread Sprinkle (garlic and Romano Cheese), and garlic powder.  We are garlic lovers, in fact, we eat it raw and roast it with everything, so you might prefer a lighter coat of garlic.

I brought my husband a plate with both varieties and he liked the new Italian seasoned better.  I prefer the Italian too, but they could use some more salt.  It's past Kaylie's bedtime, so I'll have to wait for her taste test.  Check my Facebook page for her opinion.

Here are some other seasoning options from The Food Network's Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe:

Sweet - Cinnamon and sugar
Italian on left, salt/pepper on right
Indian - garam masala; mix with currants after toasting
Spanish - toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after toasting
Italian - grated Parmesan and dried oregano
BBQ - brown sugar, chipolte chili powder, and ground cumin 

How do you toast your seeds?  Or do you do something different with them?  Brittle perhaps?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

WAT-AAH! Challenge: Review and Giveaway

We recently took the WAT-AAH! Challenge. Keep reading to find out what happened when I gave my daughter, Kaylie, the option to drink juice or water. You'll be surprised by the results.

What is WAT-AAH!? WAT-AAH! is the first and only premium water drink for kids. WAT-AAH! is available in 16.9oz and 10oz varieties:

• Ultra purified water!
• Immune boosting zinc!
• Absolutely No sugar!
• Tastes like pure clean water!

• Pure spring water!
• No sodium!
• No chemicals!
• Absolutely NO sugar!
• Tastes like pure clean water!

• Ultra purified water!
• Kid-friendly electrolytes!
• Absolutely No sugar!
• Tastes like pure clean water!

• Ultra purified water!
• Bone-building magnesium!
• Absolutely No sugar!
• Tastes like pure clean water!

• Ultra purified water!
• Energizing oxygen!
• Absolutely No sugar!
• Tastes like pure clean water!

I try to provide my daughter with healthy drink options, but she still loves her juice drinks. So much so, that we have to monitor her drinks at mealtime or she will suck down the drink before she takes one bite of food. We often have to tell her "enough" and make her put her cup down or take her drink away all together. For the most part, she drinks healthy drinks like milk, water, and a low-sugar vegetable/fruit juice mix. Although, when given the chance, she will choose to drink a high-sugar juice drink or soda.

so, when I heard that WAT-AAH! was challenging moms to provide kids with WAT-AAH! and other drink options, including juice, I was eager to participate. I wanted to give my daughter a new, healthy drink option made especially for kids.

We received four kid sized 10oz bottles of WAT-AAH!, two bottles of WAT-AAH! BRAIN and two bottles of WAT-AAH! BODY. I placed them in the fridge next to the milk, bottled water, and Kaylie's favorite juice/vegetable drink.

I thought that Kaylie would like the water because it was something new. She usually likes to drink water and likes to get her own bottled water to drink, but she never finishes the 16.9oz. bottles we buy. I figured she would drink a bottle and then go back to wanting juice.

At lunchtime, I asked Kaylie to pick out a drink. When she saw the WAT-AAH!, she asked me what it was. I told her that it was bottled water just for kids. She got excited to have her very own special drink and then asked me what each one was, so I explained the BODY and BRAIN varieties to her. She picked the WAT-AAH! BODY. I asked her why she picked it and she said because it was her favorite color, pink.

I was pleasantly surprised when Kaylie drank the whole bottle of WAT-AAH! BODY. I asked her if she liked it and why, and she said she liked it because it tasted like grapes. My child has a vivid imagination, it tasted like water to me!

We usually insist that Kaylie drink milk for breakfast and dinner, then we let her pick what she wants for lunch. That same night at dinner, I left the choice up to her and she chose the WAT-AAH! BRAIN. She again liked it and drank the whole bottle. The next day, Kaylie drank the rest of her WAT-AAH! samples.

Kaylie's WAT-AAH! challenge also came with stickers and a tattoo, which she loved. She immediately decorated her WAT-AAH! bottles with stickers and told me we needed to put the decal on the car so everyone would know that we love WAT-AAH! and decide to buy it at the store.

And what does Mommy think? Would I buy WAT-AAH! for Kaylie? Absolutely. We normally buy bottled water, but not only is WAT-AAH! the perfect size for Kaylie, but she loves the different colored varieties and the character on the bottle. If that helps her choose water over sugary juices, then I'm in! Unfortunately, our local stores do not carry WAT-AAH!, so we will be waiting patiently for WAT-AAH! to come to our town.

Check out the WAT-AAH! website to find out if WAT-AAH! is available in your area.

or enter to win my WAT-AAH! giveaway:

One lucky reader will win a free mixed case filled with WAT-AAH! + WAT-AAH! goodies (stickers, tattoos, pencils, etc...). All you have to do is complete the form below to enter. You will be required to do certain painless things such as liking and following. Some requirements are mandatory to win and some are optional and will earn you extra entries.

Contest ends Tuesday, November 15th. Winner will be chosen by and announced both here and on Facebook. Good luck and thanks for reading!

Since WA-TAAH! just posted this blog/giveaway on the 1st, I have extended the deadline to enter the giveaway to Nov 15th.  Good luck!

Use these links to enter:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How We Avoided A Picky Eater

We took the kids out to dinner Sunday night.  I was reluctant, didn't want to bother people with our screaming three month old and our wild four year old.  I felt a bit better walking in seeing babies and kids everywhere.  I kept thinking about all of my Facebook friends without kids who are all excited about the possibility of the no kids in restaurants ban.  I decided not to update my status or check in my location and just hope for the best. 

The baby was a little fussy at first, so I changed his diaper while Daddy ate his salad and then Daddy got him to sleep while I ate mine.  I was so relieved when he slept through the entire dinner.  Even if he is sound asleep, Jimmie will wake up when dinner is ready.  He arises like he smells a morning cup of coffee.  Usually, I have to try to balance dinner with breastfeeding.  I have my son on a pillow feeding on my left breast as I sit on the couch with a TV tray trying to get food from the plate to my mouth without leaning forward.  I usually find a stray piece of rice in a baby fat roll when I'm changing his diaper.  Or hours after dinner I find myself brushing salt off of his head and face with my hand.  My husband brings me two paper towels now, one for a napkin and one to lay over the baby to catch what falls off my spoon.  It's like I'm pregnant all over again and can't reach my plate.  Except I have to worry about smooshing, dropping, or unlatching the baby.  So, it was nice to eat a hot meal with my shirt on, using a fork, and actually lean over my plate.

My four year old daughter was remarkably well behaved.  She sat by her Daddy picking salad off his plate and eating buttered bread.  She is usually jumping around, messing with the window blinds or wall, bothering the people behind her, and trying to crawl under the booth from parent to parent.  We realized this was probably because we had a late breakfast, skipped lunch all together, and were eating an early dinner.  I mentioned to my husband that we should starve her more often.

When dinner came, Kaylie decided to pick fish off her dad's plate and ignore her chicken.  That was fine with us since fish is even healthier than chicken!  They brought me two giant clusters of steamed broccoli that looked like they came straight from the produce isle, so I offered her a tree and, to my astonishment, she excitedly accepted.  I cut her off a small tree and she ate the whole thing!  She ate three florets off the stems.  I had always offered her trees and put them on her plate, but eating them was a first!  I was so excited!  My husband encouraged her by telling her she was a giant eating trees.  She pretended to be very big.

Although I'm very proud of her, I'm not trying to brag.  I thought, maybe we are doing something right and maybe I can share how we got to this accomplishment.  See, I grew up watching my picky nephews sit at the table for hours with cold food they refused to eat.  The old you aren't getting up until you eat trick.  They would rather sleep at the table than eat what was on their plates.  My husband also slept at the table when he was a kid. 

We decided we really didn't want to take that approach.  We didn't want to make dinner a battle, so we gave her options.  Ever since she first started eating solids, we have told her that she needs to at least try the food on her plate.  We always told her it was yummy and that she needed to try it because she would probably like it, but (and this was key) we also told her that if she didn't like it, she could spit it out.  We would put a napkin under her chin while she tried a bite and if she didn't like it, she could spit it out and she wouldn't have to eat anymore of it.  We didn't want to make her eat something she didn't like but we also weren't going to let her be picky.  We are the bosses, not her, but it's her dinner and she should like it.
Kaylie loves artichokes

This really worked for her.  She would pretty much try everything and anything with minimal protest.  Sometimes, we would have to coax her and talk her into it and tell her how yummy it was and how it tasted and we definitely had to assure her that she didn't have to eat it if she didn't like it, just spit it out.  This was much easier for us than forcing her to eat her veggies. 

She did go through a phase where she wouldn't eat any veggies at all.  I began to give her V8 Fusion Light, which has 1 serving of fruits and 1 serving of vegetables per serving, and the light version has much less sugar.  Kaylie's pediatrician also recommended Carnation Instant Breakfast, which is full of vitamins.  She always liked milk, but loved the chocolate instant breakfast.  The pediatrician said she would give that to her kids and then not worry about picky eating because they got the vitamins in the instant breakfast.  This too worked wonders.  It took the stress off of us trying to get her to eat healthy.  I still offered her vegetables, and she always loved fruit, but I just didn't worry about it.  We combined this with encouraging her to try new foods that she could spit out, and it worked! 

I'm not trying to promote V8 or Carnation, or to tell you to replace food with vitamins or supplements.  It's better to get your nutrients from food when you can.  Every child is different and every situation is different.  Kaylie was still growing normally for her age, even though she was being picky, so I should say it's probably best that you talk to your pediatrician before you try what worked for us.

Now, Kaylie tries new foods on her own.  She asks to try things that we are eating and always tries what's on her plate.  And she can still spit it out if she doesn't like it.  I hope that her willingness to eat a variety of foods is because of the way we are raising her.  I guess I will find out when my son starts eating solids. 

Kaylie did so good at dinner, she deserved dessert.

Leave me a comment...

How do you overcome dinner battles?
Do you take your kids out to dinner?
Do you think children should be banned from restaurants?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Being A Mom Means...

Being a mom means that, even thought you showered this morning, by the end of the day it seems like it's been a week.

Being a mom means you rarely eat a meal when it is still hot.

Being a mom means you usually eat with one hand and pat your baby with the other.

Being a mom means you get excited when your baby poops and pees, until he poops and pees on you.

Being a mom means sometimes you're the only one that can make it alright.

Being a mom means that during an emergency, even though you are freaking out on the inside, you are calm enough to take care of it on the outside.

Being a mom means that you wear old sweats so your kids can have more clothes than they could wear.

Being a mom means there is no more sleeping in on the weekends.

Being a mom means you are the dictionary, the encyclopedia, the thesaurus, and the parental controls.

Being a mom means you have more love in your heart than you ever thought was possible before you had kids.

5 Reasons I Might Get in Trouble When My Kids Start School

We rarely take things seriously at our house, in fact, we are pretty silly. Although this makes for a lot of inside jokes and laughter within our family, I'm beginning to think that some of our inside jokes might not be appropriate for public. Some things might even get me in trouble when my children start school. Here's a few:

The V and P words. As you might have read already, my daughter was taught that her vagina was a vagina, not a "hoo-hoo," "flower," or "va-jay-jay." We tried to curb this by creating nicknames for her, but before I could inform her Mimi, Kaylie came home telling me that boys have a penis, not a vagina. OH NO!!
Apparently, one of Mimi's doggies got excited and Kaylie started asking questions. ICK.

"I'm gonna beat the snot out of you!"
Let me start by saying, our daughter is spoiled. She gets whatever she wants by sweet talking everyone and pretty much runs the house. We do not beat her. We do, however, joke around about beating her. It might even come across as a threat if you didn't hear her uncontrollable laughter while being threatened, "KAYLIE DAWN! Stop stepping on my feet or I'm going to beat the snot out of you!" This phrase has taken on a life of its own by all of us just filling in the blank. I’m going to beat the poop, laugh, farts, Wednesday, Halloween, etc. This kind of play is fine and dandy until you're at the doctor's office with your snotty kids and your husband is misbehaving with your three year old in the exam room. I repeatedly told them both to sit down, so the three year old yells at Daddy, "YOU BETTER SIT DOWN OR I'M GONNA BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF YOU!" She was laughing, so Child Protective Services didn't show up at our door.

Face Licking
. This actually started with my husband and me playing around. It usually starts with a kiss, and then he sneaks in a lick to my face. That signals war. We fight and giggle while we try to hold each other’s arms so we can lick each other’s face. It gets to the point that he'll hold me down on the couch and lick my entire face and then blow the slobber dry to make my face sticky. I can usually stand my ground until I'm laughing so hard that he wins and my ears and entire face are wet and sticky and my face smells like his last cigarette. The only time I can ever win is when he's had a few too many beers and my quickness wins over his wobbliness. When Kaylie was old enough, I was forced to draft her so she’d help me battle my husband. I just promoted her to Private First Class in my licking brigade, but she too has a problem giggling in battle.

Squatting to pee outside
. This one is completely my in-laws fault. When I went to my daughter's room to check on her, I saw my beautiful three year old princess pull her pants down and squat behind her ottoman. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Why are you trying to pee on the floor? Her answer? "Mimi lets me pee on the floor." WHAT!? Apparently, Kaylie was told to just squat and pee outside in the grass while she was in the pool to avoid getting water on Mimi's floor. That's all fine and dandy out in the country, until I hear from Kaylie’s Great Grandmother, "Well, that explains why she got out of the pool at the apartment complex and squatted to pee on the concrete in front of everybody." WHAT!? Mimi decided she would dry her off well and take her inside to potty from then on.

Announcing bodily functions
. My husband and I take full blame for this one. I thought it was cute and funny trying to get my baby to giggle and laugh at farts and poopies. Anything for a laugh. At first it was cute, someone would fart and she would toddle off to her bookcase, grab a scratch and sniff book, then return to freshen the situation, "Here mommy, smell this. It will help." Cute, right? Now, I constantly hear, "I farted." at the dinner table. At least I am always up to date with the condition of the bathroom, "Ewe! Mom, daddy stinked up the whole bathroom!" I can't even take a relaxing shower in our one bathroom without her coming in and telling me that she has to poop and she's going to stink up the bathroom. Gee thanks. Now, instead of providing us with a nice scratch and sniff lemon, she announces and then waves her farts at us. I'm afraid of what my three month old baby boy is going to offend us with. I guess that will be my fault also since I already have him laughing when he poops and I call him stinky. Poor guy probably thinks that's his name.

I also have to add that as I was finishing this blog, my husband was explaining to my daughter how old the chair I'm sitting in is and that he farted on it a lot. Gee thanks. At least we are having fun.

I want to hear from you. Does your family joke around like mine?


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why to Use Nicknames With Your Kid's Private Parts. The Vagina Stories.

I wasn't prepared for the day my daughter started asking me about her private parts. I was in nursing school at the time, so I thought that being honest with her was better than making up some silly nicknames. I remember defending myself with my choice. "That's what it is, a vagina!" Actually, that was pretty idiotic considering I named her backside her booty. Booty is not exactly medical terminology. So, we had her vagina and her booty.

Then the backfire started.

I remember a phone call I had with my mother-in-law. I was informed that while Kaylie was at her house in the bathtub, she had gotten too much soap down there. She was complaining to Mimi about her vagina hurting just as Paw Paw was walking by. Apparently, he wasn't prepared to hear "vagina" coming from his toddler granddaughter.

"Well, that's what it is!" I told her. She agreed. I think she probably knew I’d learn my lesson later.

That wasn't the only vagina conversation I had with the in-laws. On a different occasion, I was picking Kaylie up when I was informed that she had gotten into ants by the pond with Paw Paw.

He tells me, "Yeah, I was getting ants off her shoes and feet when she started crying and saying that there was an ant biting her vagina. I told her, 'Umm, we need Mimi for that!' So I scooped her up and ran back to the house to Mimi."

I was beginning to think that we may need to come up with some nicknames for Kaylie. I was positive when Kaylie dropped the V word in the middle of the grocery store. I will never forget grocery shopping with my husband when Kaylie somehow fell flat on her butt and started crying.

I asked her, "Are you okay? Did you hurt your booty?"

She screamed in the middle of the freezer section, “NO, I HURT MY VAGINA!"

My jaw hit the floor. "SHH!!" I said, as I picked her up and tried to calm her crying. We tried to calm her down but it was no use. She complained loudly about her hurt vagina until we left the store.

I learned some things in that moment. I definitely should have given her vagina a nickname and I'm glad I didn't call her booty her anus! Children don't sugar coat things or whisper because they know that a toddler using the word vagina is a little distracting to adults in public. They call it like it is. Now I wonder if she has taught any other kids the V word.

Nicknames came when I got pregnant with my second child. I knew I needed to act quickly when we found out I was having a boy. Kaylie was three. I could just see her innocently talking about her brother's penis. I explained things to her, told her that mommy called her privates "Tee tee and too too" when I was young and she needed to think of what she wanted to nickname hers. I thought she would stick with them if she were involved in naming them. She liked it, so tee tee and too too it was.

She sticks to the nicknames for the most part, but I still think I might get in trouble later. I foresee either a call from a mad parent or a discussion with a teacher. When I told my mom we did nicknames, it turns out that “tee tee and too too” were my nicknames for pee pee and poo poo! I still got it wrong! But, you know, I'm just not up for another conversation about nicknaming your private parts. We will stick with what we got.

I’ll leave the boy stuff up to Daddy.

I'd love to hear from you. Leave me a comment about this article. Do your kids use nicknames for their private parts? What names do your kids use?

Welcome to Poopies, Boogies, and Giggles

I dedicate this blog to my children, Jimmie (3 months) and Kaylie (4 years), for they have given me more laughter than I can contain.

I'm a 36 year old, stay-at-home mom, who (like every other mom) has been peed on, pooped on, vomited on, and farted on. And even if it's a silent fart, my four year old now announces her bodily functions, thanks to her silly parents. I'm beginning to think this might cause a problem when she starts school. But I'll get to that kind of stuff later, and there's plenty of that!

I'm also a Scentsy consultant, but I won't bore you with those details or try to sell you something here. Instead, I hope to be doing product reviews and giveaways. I will probably start things off with a Scentsy giveaway to generate some interest and will share my Scentsy site then, but I am interested in reviewing products for kids, parents, and everything related to that. But I'll get to giving later.

I am a transplanted city girl living in B.F.E. There is one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. There are two drug stores that both close at 9PM, like everything else in town besides the one McDonalds, the one Jack in the Box, and the one insufficient Walmart. That being said, I spend a lot of time on the internet yearning for the big city, so I want to share my great finds with you. Great finds like how to save 30% on baby products with free shipping and my family’s favorite things.

So, I'm Kacee, this is my blog. I hope you enjoy!