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Starting this month, each family member will be creating at least one blog post monthly. The idea is to give the kids choices about what they would like to write about as well as provide work samples for their portfolio.

I hope everyone will enjoy seeing their creations! It would be a BIG help if their readers would leave constructive comments on their work. Thank you!

Here are the instructions I wrote for the kids to help them choose a subject:

Family Blogazine

Each month we will create a magazine together. It is up to you to decide what aspect of the magazine you wish to create. We will also include original illustrations and photographs.

Here are some ideas:

First person experience – Write an article about something you have experienced. An example of this would be an article about going to a museum. Explain what you liked and disliked about the experience, as well as your general opinion about it.

Biography – Write an article that gives interesting details about the life of another person, living or dead. An example of this would be an article about Abraham Lincoln, Lady Ga Ga, or a family member.

Instructional article – Write an article that tells the reader how to do something interesting. An example of this would be an article explaining how to pack and prepare for a fun camping trip.

Recipe – Write an article that describes and lists instructions for an original recipe that you created. An example would be a recipe for a smoothie that describes how you thought of it and why people should try it.

Movie, Book, or Game review – Write an article that describes the positive and negative points of something you have seen, read, or played. An example would be a review of Little Big Planet, including what you like about it and dislike about it. You would also include your general opinion of the game and express why you think your reader would or would not want to play.

Fictional story – Write a short story about anything you like!

Poetry – Write one or more poems about anything you like in any style you like. You can draw illustrations for them, if you like.

Humor – Write a funny article about anything you like. For examples of this, check out Dave Barry. Another option is to create a collection of original jokes.

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Part of being a Mean Mommy, as you may have already discovered, is the presence of rules that are consistently enforced. Because our little rapscallions consistently break said rules, I felt it would help if we had a contract with each other.

I started searching the net, looking for other examples to draw from. I found an outstanding set of rules written by Micheal G. Conner, Psy. D on www.crisiscounseling.com. I really felt that the points he makes in his article would hit home with our kids, so I edited it for our personal use. Here is the result, re-written in language that our 6 and 7 year old kids can understand:

♥♥♥♥♥♥

The Truth About Families…

Truth Number One…Children are not grown-ups or parents. Children are never the boss of their parents. Children have some choices and some freedom but only what their parents say is OK. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children how to survive and be successful.

Truth Number Two…Children have the right to healthy food, a safe place to live, education, health care, and clothing. Parents do not have to give their children anything else, including toys. Parents do not have to be generous.

Truth Number Three…Children are expected to follow directions and listen to their parents. Parents may sometimes explain the reasons but don’t always have to.

Truth Number Four…Children are not allowed to hurt anyone or try to make anyone to do anything. Children have consequences and lose some freedom, choices and privileges if they are not following the rules. Parents have to control their children more when their children choose not to follow the rules.

House Rules…

1. No Profanity. I will not use “grown-up words”. These words are also called “curse words” or “bad words”. I will use other words to express my feelings.

Reason: Using grown-up words can sometimes be unkind and disrespectful. Most people think grown-up words are ugly and they will think badly of you when you use them. It can become a bad habit to use those words, and you might become a potty mouth!

2. Be Respectful. I will be courteous to family members and guests in our home, treating them with respect at all times. There will be no rudeness, putdowns or insults. When I meet people I will say hello, introduce myself, and make guests feel welcome. If I hurt someone’s body or feelings, I will try to understand how they feel even if I don’t think I did anything wrong. I will always apologize.

Reason: Polite and courteous behavior is necessary in order to be successful at school, work, in friendships, and marriage. People do not want to be with someone who is not nice to them!

3. Clean Up After Yourself. If I spill or break something, I will clean it up right away. If I make a mess while playing or working, I will clean it up and leave it the way I found it. Messes in a family area will be cleaned up when I am finished. Messes in my room will be cleaned up before going to bed.

Reason: This behavior is necessary to get along with friends, roommates and your wife or husband. When you have a job, your boss will expect you to clean up after yourself.

4. No Hurting. Any family member who screams, hits, bites, pushes, breaks, or throws something in anger will take a mandatory quiet time out on their bed for ten minutes, then apologize, and then talk about it.

Reason: When you have a job, your boss can tell you not to come to work, or you get in trouble, or you may even be fired for bad behavior. Destructive and violent behavior is a crime and you can be arrested, go to jail or be fined. Giving yourself time to stop being angry will always help you solve problems in a good way.

5. Respect Property. I will ask before I borrow or take something that belongs to someone else. Borrowed things must be put back where they belong and be in good condition.

Reason: Friends, co-workers and family members don’t trust and will feel angry towards people who break or take things without asking. Stealing is against the law.

6. Respect Personal Space. All family members must get permission to go in someone else’s bedroom. If the door is closed, knock and wait to be let in. If the door is open, you must ask for permission to go in. Parents may go in without permission if the door is open or after they have knocked.

Reason: People expect others to respect their privacy at work and in their homes. Our bedrooms are our personal spaces and need to be respected at all times.

7. No Ugly Behavior. I will not get out of responsibilities or consequences for breaking house or school rules by pouting, whining, acting like it wasn‘t my fault, crying, being rude, or angry. I will not argue with my parents. I know that they value me, my thoughts, and my ideas, but arguing about it will not change their minds.

Reason: Trying to making others feel bad to get what you want is not acceptable behavior. When you are a grown-up, bosses don’t want people who act like this to work for them. Teachers will not pass you or give you better grades. People do not like to have people who act like this as friends. Making a point and discussing ideas with others is a very important skill to learn, but arguing is not a good way to do it.

8. No Hijacking the House. If I am upset, unhappy, angry or annoyed I will give myself a time out in my room so that I can calm down. I am not allowed to hijack the house with my negativity. I will talk with my parents, teachers,  or family members if I need help with a problem.

Reason: Friends, teachers, husbands, wives and bosses expect people to work their own problems out and not try make others feel unhappy, too. Bosses will fire you, your husband or wife might ask for a divorce and your friends won‘t want to be friends with you anymore.

9. Be Responsible At Home. I will complete my chores and daily responsibilities that my parents tell me to do. If they ask me to do something, I will do it the first time they ask without complaining.

Reason: Bosses and teachers will expect me to finish my work and assignments so that I can get paid or get my grades in class. Bosses don’t pay for half efforts and work that isn‘t finished. People don’t get paid for showing up – people get paid for working. Complaining to your boss about what they ask you to do is the fast way to get fired!

10. Be Responsible At School. I will complete my classwork and homework as assigned by my teacher. Mommy and Daddy will supervise my homework to insure that I am receiving the education I need.

Reason: The parents’ job is to help their children by guiding them and teaching them good homework management skills. It is not their job to give them answers or do their homework for them. It is also their job to make sure their children go to school.

11. Get Involved In Family Time. I will attend family dinners and family activities unless excused by a parent. I will interact, be polite and respectful. I will try my best to have a good attitude even if we are not doing something I enjoy. I will ask to be excused before leaving the table or any family activity.

Reason: Social activities, creating friendships, communication skills, cooperative and polite behaviors are essential skills for workers, bosses, parents and owners of business.

12. Tell the Truth. I will always tell the truth. Lying will only get me into more trouble.

Reason: Lying makes people not trust you. When people don’t trust you, they don’t believe what you say. People don’t like being friends with a liar. If you lie to your boss, you will probably get fired.

13. Be Your Own Boss. I know that I am the boss of what happens to me. I choose my actions, thoughts, and feelings. No one can make me feel anything that I don‘t want to. I am the only person who can control who I am on the inside. I know that making a choice to behave good or bad is the same thing as choosing good or bad consequences. I know that I can choose to be happy and enjoy privileges or be sad about getting in trouble.

Reason: In our lives, there are good and bad consequences for everything. People who choose to be mean to others will have no friends. People who work hard will have the chance at better jobs. People who treat others with respect and love will be respected and loved.

We have read and discussed these Family Truths and House Rules together as a family.  I understand the purpose of these rules is to help our family work together to create a happy and healthy home.  I understand that these rules will also help me to be to be a better person and be liked and respected outside of our home.  I promise to always try my hardest to make good choices and follow our House Rules so that our family can be strong and happy.  I understand that there are always consequences for my choices. If I follow the rules and make good choices, I will have more freedom and privileges. If I do not follow the rules, I will have less freedom and privileges will be taken away. Mommy & Daddy will always make sure that the consequences are appropriate and expected.

___________________________________________________
Daddy
___________________________________________________
Mommy
___________________________________________________
Derrick
___________________________________________________
Kaitlynn
___________________________________________________
Peyton

♥♥♥♥♥♥

We sat in the living room together as a family, and I read the rules to the kids. After each one, we talked about it and came up with examples from our daily lives. The signed contract was placed on a clipboard where the kids can get to it and read it if they want to. So far, it has been great knowing that everyone understands the behavior that is expected of them. I plan on going over it again every so often to help reinforce the fact that respectful behavior makes us a stronger, happier family unit.

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Pirates!

Our second Family Friday theme was much more successful than the previous version!

Our pint sized pirates swabbed the deck and hoisted the sails for adventure first thing in the morning….

Breakfast…

We started the day with Cannonballs & Monkey Fruit – yum! I made the cannonballs by cutting the tops off of six banana nut muffins and “gluing” them together with peanut butter. I kept this one super simple by using Simply Organic’s Banana Bread Mix. We loved it! I added a little extra banana, cinnamon, raisins, and some chopped pecans. The “cannonballs” were surrounded by slices of “monkey fruit” and drizzled with honey. The kids, of course, found it hilarious that I called the bananas Monkey Fruit.

Lunch…

What else for lunch but pirate ship sandwiches? This idea comes from Family Fun’s Cookbook. I have an older edition of this great book, and it is definitely a go to recipe collection around here. There are some really cute ideas! To make these ships, I cut a section from the top of a sandwich roll and removed some of the bread inside. I spread the inside of the rolls with mayonnaise and our favorite Boar’s Head Honey Mustard, then filled them with a slice of tomato, butter lettuce, and Boar’s Head Ovengold Turkey. To make the sails, I used slices of Boar’s Head White American cheese that I’d had thick sliced at the deli counter. To make the sails stand up, I inserted plastic cocktail swords into them and stood them up in the sandwiches.

To round out their lunch, they also had “Pirate Punch” (papaya, pineapple, and coconut juices mixed) dried tropical fruit and Pirate’s Booty. Arrrrr!

Craft…

Our little pirates dressed up in their seaworthy garb, provided by Gramma who came to visit with us again. It was time to decorate maps to their booty. We used poster board, foam stickers, markers, scrapbooking stickers, and some brewed tea for the antique effect. My map showed them the way to a real cache of chocolate coins!

Dinner…

Our crew dined on Meatloaf Treasure Chests!

I used my Grama’s Meat Loaf recipe, pressing the mixture onto the bottom and sides of disposable foil mini loaf pans. I filled the centers of the loaves with baby carrots (the tiny microwaveable size) cut into coins, baby green peas, and white corn. I put a pat of butter on top, then covered the veggie “treasure” with more of the meatloaf mixture, mounding it up slightly to make it look like a treasure chest. It was so much fun to cut open the leaf and watch the treasure spill out!

For dessert, I served Floating Chocolate Chip Meringue Islands. Melted vanilla Haagen Dazs ice cream was the ocean, and I planted some plastic palm trees into the meringue islands. Soooo good!

Next Family Friday….Halloween! Boo!

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This week, Derrick will be visiting his Mom and Kaitie & Gracie will be home. So we will be having a Pizza & a Movie night with some baking, too!

Here is this week’s menu…

Monday:

Lunch ~ Apple Swiss Turkey Sandwiches and Smart Food white cheddar popcorn

I found this recipe in the “Good Food Kids Love” mini recipe mag from “Taste of Home”. I’m a sucker for their recipe books! They always have plenty that I find interesting. This turned out to be a delicious sandwich! All the kids ate theirs. I love finding new sandwiches – the same ones over and over again just get boring!

Dinner ~ Chicken Stuffed Shells

I saw a few stuffed shells recipes while I was going through my cookbooks doing this week’s meal planning, and I decided to make my own with ground chicken. Gracie is not a big fan of most meats, but she loves poultry. So, this one’s for her! This dinner disappeared fast! Memo to me…cut up the shells for the kids next time. They ate the stuffing and picked up the shells with their fingers!

Chicken Stuffed Shells

1 pound package of ground chicken

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning (I like Emeril’s)

1 cup of minced carrots (I like to finely chop shredded carrots)

1 medium onion, diced small

1 celery stalk, diced small

2 cloves of garlic

salt & pepper to taste

homemade or jarred tomato sauce

12 large pasta shells

Parmesan cheese

olive oil

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Add olive oil to preheated pan. Add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Sweat the veggies until they are soft, then add the ground chicken, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken through while mixing the ingredients together. Add about a cupful of the pasta sauce to the chicken mixture, stir to combine. Stuff the pasta shells and arrange in a dish, then cover with sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Tuesday:

Lunch ~ fruit & cheese kabobs with cinnamon yogurt dip and pretzel sticks

This lunch could not be any easier. Wash, cut, and skewer grapes, strawberries and cheese cubes. Add some cinnamon to vanilla yogurt, and you’re good to go. Just make sure to pack enough skewers to fill ’em up.

Dinner ~ beef, bean, and avocado tacos

Any variation on a taco theme is a huge hit at our house! Here’s our version of tacos. I like the Garden of Eatin’ taco shells – make sure to heat them in the oven a bit before you stuff them. I like to brown the ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning, then mix in a can of refried beans (Amy’s are my favorite). I stuff the shellswith the beef & bean mixture, two slices of avocado, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, chopped black olives, finely chopped green onions, and sour cream. Everyone’s favorite salsa is served on the side. These get wolfed down faster than I can take my first bite!

Wednesday:

Lunch ~ Crunchy Vegetable Spread with a fruit cup

This recipe is also from “Taste of Home”. I modified it, using green onions and a few different pepper colors. I also added a teaspoonful of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. This was accompanied by Publix Greenwise’s new wheat crackers – they are really yummy like Wheat Thins, but without  the hydrogenated oils – a major plus in my book!

Dinner ~ Honey Glazed Chicken & Carrots

Yum! This recipe is from Pillsbury’s “Hamburger & Chicken” mini recipe mag. I tried to find it online for you, but can’t. So, here is my modified version of the recipe:

Honey Glazed Chicken & Carrots

DSC_0015

Wide egg noodles

olive oil

8 chicken thighs

3 – 4 slices of uncured bacon

1 medium onion

1 package baby carrots

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used a nice Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

DSC_0016Cook an appropriate amount of the egg noodles for the number of people you are serving. Turn the oven on broil. Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, on a broiler-safe baking sheet. Oil, salt and pepper the chicken. Broil the chicken until the skin is crispy and the internal temperature reaches 175°.

While that is cooking, preheat a large pan over medium heat, then add the bacon and onions. Once the bacon starts to render, add the carrots. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the honey, vinegar and thyme. Stir frequently until the sauce thickens, then add the cooked chicken, skin side down. Lift the pan and shimmy the chicken around in the sauce to get it good and covered. Place the egg noodles in a serving dish, then place the chicken on top, skin side up. Pour the carrot mixture over the top of the chicken.

Try not to eat it all on the way to the table!

Thursday:

Lunch ~ Good ole’ pb&j with a cheese stick and carrots & dip

Dinner ~ Rock Stars with Confetti and Bow Ties

Family Fun’s Family Cookbook has a recipe for pasta with veggie cut outs. I like the idea, so I just changed it up a bit.227 Bell peppers tend to be very heavy on the pesticide, so if you can’t find organic peppers, make sure you wash them thoroughly with veggie wash!I like the way this recipe turned out, so it is very likely to make a reappearance on a future Family Friday Rock Star theme.

Before dinner, we baked a batch of Immaculate Baking Company’s vanilla sugar cookies. I love that they are dairy free and have nothing at all icky in them! I mixed up a quick glaze of powdered sugar and plain Almond Breeze and sprinkled some Let’s Do Organic sprinkles on the top.

Rock Stars with Confetti & Bow Ties225

1 package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 zucchini

1 large yellow squash

1 medium to large carrot (or a big handful of shredded carrots)229

1 box of bow tie pasta

1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

olive oil

Cook the bow tie pasta according to package directions. Using a star shaped mini cookie cutter, cut the veggies into star shapes. No need to throw away the excess – just dice it into “confetti”! Preheat a large pan over medium heat, then add about a tablespoon or so of the oil and chicken. Cook the chicken, then remove it to a plate. Add a bit more oil if necessary, then add the veggie stars and confetti. Cook until desired doneness, then add the chicken back into the pan with the Italian seasoning and cooked pasta. Stir well to combine.  Rock on!

230After dinner, we enjoyed the cookies we made with some ice cream!

Well, mine was made with Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream. It’s delicious!!!

Baby Caroline is dairy sensitive, and I don’t do soy, so these products are perfect for me. Their coconut milk yogurt is awesome, too!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s goodies… See you next week! :o)

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I got the idea for this extremely fun tradition from a book called Friday Night Bites: Kick Off the Weekend with Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family, by Karen Berman. I can’t say I’m excited by the recipes in this book (I may end up using one or two), but I love the format and the ideas! I read through it and decided to modify it to suit my family and what I wanted to get out of this new tradition, namely family time that creates memories for the kids.

For our first Family Friday, I chose the Under the Sea theme because I wanted to see how everything worked out with a relatively simple concept to plan. Besides, I had pretty much everything I might need on hand – perfect in case of potential hiccups in the idea.

I used an old, blue bed sheet for our tablecloth. On the table, I placed a vase with pretty, blue, wavelike swirls and gave one of our betta fish a new home inside. On either side of that, I put the two dolphin snow globes that Kaitie & Gracie’s Nanny & Granddaddy gave them. Scattered on the table were the seashells that I found on my scuba adventures (pre-kid years). On the walls, I hung some lithographs from when I’d pre-purchased “Finding Nemo” at the Disney Store years ago. I even hung balloon “bubbles” from the chandelier!

We were even lucky enough to have my parents over for dinner! Here’s how the day went down…

Menu:

Breakfast ~ seaweed omelets with apple boatsuts turtle breakfast

uts breakfastTo make the seaweed omelets, saute about 2 cups (or more, depending on how many people will be eating) of chopped baby spinach in butter, then add 1 1/2 beaten eggs per person. Cook gently on medium low heat until the eggs are almost done, then add 1 slice of muenster cheese per person.

The apple boats are just slices made with and apple corer/slicer. I serve the kids breakfast most days with Carnation Instant Breakfast (either chocolate or vanilla) mixed with our local raw milk.

Lunch ~ peanut butter and jellyfish puzzle sandwiches with goldfish crackers

Simple, but super fun! I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, then pressed a fish shaped cookie cutter into the middle of each sandwich. Then, I cut through the middle of all four sides to make it look like puzzle pieces.

Goldfish crackers (a mix of pretzel and original flavors – two of the only ones that don’t have artificial colors or MSG!) are a natural match!

Dinner ~ Publix Apron Meals Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce and Angel Hair Fresca with puff pastry sea stars

uts pbandj fishI love this tilapia recipe! It is so easy to make, and the ingredients are delicious. Here are my substitutions… I used Emeril’s Fish Rub instead of the seasoned salt called for in the recipe, substituted medium sized pasta shells for the angel hair, and used olive oil in place of the butter this time because Caroline’s tiny tummy is very anti-dairy.

The puff pastry sea stars idea came from the Friday Night Bites book. I used a star shaped cookie cutter to make the star shapes, re-rolling the dough until it was used up. Then, I brushed the tops of the stars with olive oil and sprinkled them with sea salt. The stars baked in a 350° oven until they were golden brown and puffy good!

Dessert ~ shipwrecked fruit salad in canteloupe boats

So easy! I washed the outside of the canteloupe and cut it into eight crescent shaped slices. I used the small side ofa melon baller to scoop out balls from the middles of the slices, creating “boats”. I mixed the melon balls with diced pineapple and mandarin oranges. Each boat went into a bowl, surrounded by the mixed fruit. In each boat, I placed a scoop of strawberry sorbet, then sprinkled the tops of each with shredded coconut.uts dinner 2

Craft ~

I had originally planned a craft to be done after dinner, but we completely ran out of time after dinner. I had a hunch things would not go exactly as planned! The craft was going to be an octopus made from cut-outs of their traced hands on construction paper, pasted on a blue background and decorated. I’m sure I’ll be able to re-use that idea later!

In the future, I hope to be able to incorporate some learning activities into the theme, such as learning about sea animals on National Geographic Kids online. All in all, though, I think it was a great start!

Next up…Pirates!!! Arrrrrrrr!!!!!

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Chances are, the majority of the first readers to stop by here will be friends and family. But, since the random passer-by (Hi, Random Passer-By!) is possible, I’ll tell you all about our family and what you should expect to see here.

Let’s start with li’l ole me… Kimi's Wedding PhotoYes, it’s my wedding picture. Yes, I’m totally made up and looking unusually spiffy. Don’t worry, the real me will turn up soon enough. But I digress…

I was born in Florida and have lived here my whole life. I love it! Well, with the exception of a few unreasonably hot days in the summer and some equally unreasonably cold days in the winter – it’s fantastic. No matter where you go, there are all kinds of adventures accessible within a tankful’s range.

I feel like I’ve lived a pretty interesting life. My lifelong interests include horseback riding, martial arts, swimming, reading, writing, music, and theater. I’ve held a good variety jobs, including bakery employee, veterinary clinic receptionist, horseback riding instructor, swimming pool leak locator, scuba instructor, nanny, and Mom. I like that last one best.

Most of what you’ll read on this blog have to do with that last (and best) job. It has quite a job description! Childcare professional, educator, housekeeper, personal assistant, chef, baker, baby milk maker (moo), bedtime tucker-inner, lullaby singer, referee, defender of the peace, and all-around good snuggler (just to name a few key resume points).

I love my job, and it definitely keeps me busy. Like right now, for example, I have a peaceful, cuddly, warm baby fast asleep in my lap…but if I move her…well, not so peaceful anymore. Moments like this give me plenty of time online, but not so much time for the rest of my job. But seriously now, who could pass up that much sweetness and sugar all in one tiny little package? Which brings me to my wonderful husband…

DSC_0008 This is Adam with our sweet little bundle of honeysuckle goodness (you’ll meet her later). Did I completely cheat by jumping right past his fancy wedding picture into the deep end of randomness? Yep. But the blog is called that for a reason, after all. Anyway, Adam is completely, totally, and in all ways amazing. Not only is he one of the funniest people I’ve ever known (closely rivalled by my daughter Gracie, another one you’ll meet later), but he is the kind of husband and father every family needs. He’s smart, hard-working, motivated, multi-talented, loving, and would do absolutely anything for us. Does it get any better than that? I think not. He is a printed circuit board designer by day and an aspiring movie maker with an affection for horror movie makeup by night. He also once had a gig as a drummer in a punk band. It doesn’t get much more random than that…starting to understand the theme? Let’s move on…

Gracie This is Peyton Grace. AKA “Gracie”. Doesn’t she look sweet and pretty, playing in the pool dappled with sunlight? Yep, she’ll cute the “awww!”s right out of anyone, but don’t be fooled! Note the impish grin? Yes, this darling beauty is the quiet stinker of the house and hands-down the funniest kid I’ve ever met. Invariably, Gracie will come up with some perfect little gem of 5-year-old silliness that puts me in stitches. Yes, they will all end up posted here (check out the Twitter feed up there on the right). Her favorite things include horses, swimming, princesses, and any cute animal.

Here’s an interesting fact about my wonderful Princess Grace: she was born with a thumb and two fused fingers on her right hand (complete simple syndactyly). When she was six months old, she had surgery to separate them at Arnold Palmer Hospital, performed by Dr. Birnbaum of Nemours. The results were fantastic, and Gracie has never let it slow her down. She is truly amazing and thinks it’s really cool that she can reach in places the rest of us can’t! If you ask her, she’ll tell you all about how the doctor gave her a heart-shaped scar on her fingers so she’ll always remember Mommy loves her.

Next is my Kaitlynn Beth. AKA “Kaitie”. Gracie’s twin and our tomboy in a tiara. DSC_0170Always laughing, always playful, she can really put a smile on our faces. She’s smart as a whip, but often has her head in the clouds, which can make her challenging sometimes. A natural athlete ( the kid has one hell of a six pack for a five-year-old), she has had her share of bumps and bruises while giving me mommy-heart-attacks. She loves to swim, and is learning how to snorkel. She’s an avid reader and can do so at about second grade level. Some of her favorite things are animals, books, art, and princesses.

DSC_0104My stepson Derrick Orion rounds out the list of bigs (that’s short for “big kids” around here). Cute as a button, our seven-year-old bean pole is as tall as most nine-year-olds. He’s one of those kids that makes you wish the energy he has came in a bottle. Consequently, one of his favorite things to do is run. Fast. His non-stop “play mode” does get him into trouble sometimes, doing homework with him is often like pulling teeth, but this sweet little blue-green-eyed boy doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. Some of his favorite interests include dinosaurs, sharks, reading, TV, and video games (which, to his dismay, are not free-flowing around here).

Last, but certainly not least, our “little”. Sweet baby Caroline Olivia. Born July 30th, she is the newest addition to our random clan. We have no fear that she will grow into her destiny of randomness. She is a mellow, happy baby and is just starting to show us her big smile! She looks so much like her Daddy that we call her his little clone, but when we look at pictures of me at her age , we look very much alike, too! We are all looking forward to watching her grow. Some of her interests include staring at the toys in her bed, Mama’s milk, Daddy’s lovin’, filling her diapers, spitting up, and generally being ridiculously cute.Sweet Caroline

We are really enjoying life as a blended family. It definitely has its challenges, but it’s all so rewarding! The bigs have such a great relationship, and I sincerely hope it carries on into their adulthood.

And finally, I think I should mention the whole purpose of me writing in the first place. I want to record our activities and experiences to share with other parents. I have found that some of the greatest resources are online articles posted by parents who are experiencing similar joys and issues as we are. So, without further ado, the topics that will make it to the blog are including but not limited to…

  • blended families and step-parenting
  • family trips and activities, including reviews
  • natural living choices, including: chemical-free food and home environment, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, delayed/selective/non-vaccination, organics, etc.
  • adventures in public education and supplementing at home
  • our Family Friday tradition, including: themed crafts, meals, and other fun
  • parenting and family related book and magazine reviews
  • movie, TV show, video game, and other entertainment reviews in relation to family
  • recipes and food successes (or failures) with our picky eaters
  • baby and big kid milestones and cuteness (obligatory mom stuff)
  • weekly meal planning
  • and, of course, the gems of randomness that spout forth from the mouths of our babes (and my husband)!

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