Monday, June 15, 2015

why my timer is my best friend.

Let's start off this post with an understatement.

Being a mom is hard.

Oh I know! Let's make it even better.

Being the mom of a threenager is hella hard.

With this, I've come to realize that you can't do everything on your own. The whole "it takes a village" thing is completely true. And in our village, lives one of my best friends, the digital timer. Since he's come into our family (about a year ago), he has proven himself incredibly useful. And not just in the way of letting me know when my cookies are done baking, but in being unbiased and standing firm even when Makai might very possibly be possessed. *insert devil emoji here*

Ok, but for real, the timer is awesome and probably one of my most used tools as a parent. It helps reduce fights, helps us stay firm and consistent, helps us appear fair, and helps me remember that I have something in the oven. Here are some examples of when Timey (the new name I just gave him) has proven the most useful.
  • Time outs. 
    • Instead of a vague time out, I'm able to give Makai a definitive amount of time and stick to it. And on the plus side, some of the anger is diverted from me to the timer since it's up to the timer when time out is over. 
  • Screen time.
    • It's much easier to limit computer and iPad time when the timer is involved. Makai and I can decide on a set amount of time that he gets to play, set the timer, and he's free to use until the timer does off. 
  • When he isn't done playing.
    • If I use the timer to limit screen time, sometimes the timer will go off and Makai "isn't done playing." Using the timer allows me to stand firm and explain that we agreed on "only 5 minutes" and that we're all done. Sure there's still a bit of whining, but there's definitely a reduced amount of arguing. 
  • Bedtime.
    • As I've ranted before, bedtime can be a struggle. Just saying "It's time for bed" almost never goes smoothly. I've found much better luck in talking Makai through any transitions that are about to happen (ex: We're going to get ready for bed soon! It's almost time to take a bath. etc.) This is where my good ol' pal Timey helps out. No matter what Makai is doing or trying to negotiate, I can say "in 10 minutes, we're going to brush our teeth and get ready for bed." I set the timer, Makai presses "start," and we're good to go. 
Of course, Makai is still a threenager and is basically crazy, so fights and tantrums are still a constant, but I think that Timey definitely helps reduce a good amount of them. And even if it didn't, I feel like I can stay more consistent with our methods by having something I can always turn to. It helps me stay firm by keeping to the set amount of time no matter how much tantrum-ing is going on - a minute will always be a full minute. And I feel comfort in knowing I'm being fair because he gets plenty of warning and we talk through and agree on how much time is going in. Additionally, after Timey started showing up, Makai started trying to figure out a way to use him in his own favor.

"Come on mom! Just 5 more minutes! I'll use the timer!"

I haven't decided if this is a good thing yet, but I'll report back when I figure it out. In the meantime, let's revisit this threenager sitch and lightly touch on how insane my son is.

Makai has gotten to a new level of nuts which I can only pray is a completely temporary phase. But what is slightly terrifying is he's gotten incredibly clever and bold. Now when he's angry for reasons I literally never know, he is so much more purposeful in his disobedience. Sometimes, even before I get upset at him, he will stomp up to me, look me in the eye, and try to hit me. OH HECK NO. Or if I to tell him to stop stomping, he'll raise his foot as high as possible, stare me straight in the eye, and just leave it up there. Like he's threatening me. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's crazy! He just looks at me as if he's saying

"I'm about to stomp SO hard! Look at me! I'm about to do! I'm gonna do it!"

Every time he does that, I have to fight back my chuckles of sheer disbelief. How is this my offspring? How can something SO mean come from me? Do I do this? I don't think I do this! There is no way! Or if I catch him doing something he doesn't think he should be doing, he'll get mad at ME! "I wasn't doing anything! I just need privacy! Give me a minute!"

I mean.... what?!

Or sometimes, Mark and I will just be sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing and Makai will walk up to us and just throw a toy across the room. Completely unprovoked! And then there it is. The next 30 minutes of my life is going to be spent fighting with a 3 year old.


According to other sources, this doesn't go away until he's 5. FIVE! Needless to say, Timey will be very much used until then. I've toyed with the thought of having one for each room with how often he's needed. Would that be weird? I guess it might be weird.

Meanwhile, here's what this kid looks like most of the time:

And yes... he's missing a shoe. We take a shoe when he kicks our chairs. 

He ended up losing both. 

Short sleeve chambray shirt - Old Navy

Star Wars tee - Old Navy
Denim roll up shorts - Joe Fresh at JCPenny
Sock - Puma
Car Seat - Britex

Saturday, June 13, 2015

currently eating: dirty brown &black rice with shrimp

You know how life just gets in the way of things and then you don't accomplish any of the things you wanted/thought you would? Well my life has gotten in the way of things and blogging has very obviously become one of the things have not been accomplished. At this point, I'm going to stop considering myself a blogger. Cuz let's be real. After a few months of non-blogging, you've just gotta stop fooling yourself.

But in spite of all of that, I'm going to at least TRY to blog... sometimes. I mean, I paid for the URL. I might as well kind-of use it. And at this point, since it's been so long and my last few posts all had lame excuses as to why I haven't had time... I'm just going to not acknowledge it anymore and pretend I've been blogging this entire time.

While I never really get a chance to cook anymore (on account of being disgustingly busy), I will say that I at least try once and a while. Mark can only cook so many times in a week and eating out is starting to make my wallet ache. But after the 5th round of TJs frozen orange chicken, you've just gotta try something new.

In comes the SkinnyTaste recipe blog. I don't use them as often as I'd like, but I do love perusing for some inspiration and ideas. All the recipes are pretty healthy (or at the very least healthier versions of things you love) and some of them are so simple to make! (She also puts in all the nutritional values and Weight Watchers points if your calorie/point counting. That's how you know she's legit with the skinny in her name.) This particular night, I went for the Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp. I made a bunch of adjustments based on what I had and knowing that I wanted this to be a bit meatier, and it still came out ridiculously satisfying. (But I will admit that my picture doesn't look nearly as appetizing as SkinyTaste's picture) So here's how it went:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1/2 cup black rice
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/8 + 1/4 tsp cayenne - divided
  • 1/8 + 1/2 tsp paprika - divided
  • 1/8 + 1/2 tsp thyme - divided
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp extra light olive oil
  • 1/2 extra large yellow onion - diced
  • 3 stalks of celery - diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 lb of 83% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb of jumbo shrimp - peeled and cut into 1/3rds
    • (medium shrimp is probably better but this is what I had in my freezer)
  • 1/8th cup of ground chia seed
  • 3 scallions chopped 
  • a hand full of baby spinach - sliced into strips

  1. Cooked brown rice according to directions (I used my rice cooker) with chicken bouillon, 2 bay leaves, and 1/8 each of cayenne, paprika and thyme.
  2. When the rice is almost done cooking, heat a large saucepan on medium heat. Add beef, pepper, and remaining paprika, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Drain fat. (I use a metal strainer to get as much out as possible) Set aside.
  3. Wipe down saucepan and heat olive oil. Add garlic, onions, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, celery and 1 bay leaf. Saute on medium-low heat until soft (about 5 minutes). 
  4. Combine the cooked beef and add in shrimp. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. 
  5. When brown rice is cooked, toss in cooked beef and shrimp until mixed well. 
  6. Cook black rice according to directions. When cooked, add black rice, scallions, spinach strips, and ground Chia seeds into mixture. Toss until well combined.
  7. Serve and eat until you explode with Cajun tasting goodness.
(note: I'm sure if you mix the brown and black rice and cook together it will taste just fine, but it will look a bit discolored from the black rice. Since I used my rice cooker, the extra step didn't take too much more effort, and I ended up with a nice looking mix of grains. I'm considering quinoa for the next round. - Also, if your don't have cayenne, paprika, and thyme, I've cheated with cajun seasoning mixes and it turned out just as yummy)

My favorite part of the recipe is how much it makes and how easy it was to use for meal planning during the week. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I've got a weird thing for mason jars (and by "weird thing" I mean a totally practical love because I could use them for basically everything and their airtight). So I broke out the above into a couple of 16 oz mason jars and kept them ready in the fridge to grab and go! Gourmet tasting, home cooked meal on the go. How is that not a total win?

Ugh. Time to go. I've got a threenager yelling at me and I'm seeing a time-out in his future. 

Monster pajamas  - Carter's at Target

Coolest reward chart ever - KetonKids
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