Buddy Turns Three!

It was Buddy’s birthday on the 22nd and he turned three years old! For his birthday we kept it pretty low-key. We mostly just hung out during the day and talked about how gigantically big he was now. When Husband got home from work, we had Buddy’s favorite food. Breakfast food with syrup.

Buddy LOVED his waffles, french toast and pancakes for dinner!

Buddy LOVED his waffles, french toast and pancakes for dinner!

After that we opened his gifts from us and anyone who shipped gifts to him from far away. He loved them all, especially his new tag reader! (And holy amazing, I’m in love with that tag reader!!!! That thing is an amazing tool!)

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Oh, and my mom sent glow sticks. BIG. HIT.

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The next morning Husband and I set up for Buddy’s birthday party. Due to my exceptionally poor last-minute planning, I didn’t have any games or awesome themes, but 22 people still ended up coming to our humble home and it was a fantastic party!

I know. Coolest cake ever!

I know. Coolest cake ever! And I mixed some red velvet cake in with the vanilla cake and it tasted pretty amazing!

He's just so photogenic!!!

He’s just so photogenic!!!

You know he's excited when the tongue comes out!

You know he’s excited when the tongue comes out!

There were lots of kids here to help open presents and eat cake and snacks and it was a really fun time! At the end of the day, we were all exhausted and passed out early. Now Sunday is here and we’re staying in our jammies and watching a few of Buddy’s new movies for a full-out recovery day!! I think that’s my favorite part of hosting parties. That, or the leftover snacks. ūüėČ

Nutty-O Bars

Finally, a snack experiment gone right!

This little experiment started out when I noticed Buddy walking around with marshmallows in his snack cup.¬†Yeah… No idea when he got those or how many he ate…¬†I went into the kitchen to find the marshmallow bag had been hideously murdered and the marshmallows were scattered all over the counter.

“Well…” I sighed, “I guess I have no choice but to make a delicious treat now.”

Normally I’d have just made rice krispie treats, but we didn’t have any rice krispies so I went with the next best thing. Cheerios. Then I pulled out our half empty containers of walnuts, sliced almonds and crushed peanuts.¬†I threw the cheerios and nuts in a giant bowl, microwaved up the marshmallows and 3/4 of a stick of butter and mixed them all together like I normally would do with Rice Krispies.

After mixing them, I pressed the glob into a pyrex dish. Voila – Nutty-o bars!¬†I have to say, they turned out really good! It’s not super sweet or anything. It just tastes like cheerios and nuts with a hint of marshmallow. I think it’s really good and the kids can’t get enough of it.

Cheerios, walnuts, pecans, peanuts and marshmallow

Cheerios, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and marshmallow

Chili From Heaven

YOU. GUYS. *flails hands wildly in the air*

You have to make this. You have to!

After mentioning my hankerin’ for chili this morning, Husband hopped online and started hunting for a chili recipe we’ve never tried before. He found a random website listing their¬†ten best unique chili recipes. We narrowed it down to two and decided to just make them both and freeze what we don’t eat. I am SO glad we did because good lord are these so amazingly delicious! And they’re so distinctly different that it’s almost impossible for me to pick a favorite.

And before you say I’m full of it and I’m exaggerating, Buddy ate three bowls and Peanut and Bear ate two bowls each. Everyone knows how condescending a two-year-old’s tastes are! I think this speaks for itself.

For the sake of making this post quick and painless, I’ll just provide the link for each of the chilis that we made. If you’re interested, you can click on the link and read the recipe yourself.

We chose:

  1. Smoked Turkey Mango Chili
  2. Jerk Chicken Chili

In a world with a-thousand-and-one kinds of chili, I’m pretty sure Husband has found my two new all-time favorites! After a lot of deliberating, I decided I liked the Jerk Chicken better. But had I not had that, the mango still would have had me seeing stars.

Make them and be amazed.

Left: Turkey Mango - Right: Caribbean Jerk

Left: Turkey Mango – Right: Jerk Chicken

Super shakes!

Buddy used to be such a good eater. Key words, “used to”.

Recently he has started to rebel during mealtimes. I know exactly why, too. He’s become a majorly independent kid. He wants to do everything he possibly can by himself. As overwhelming, irritating, and sometimes completely infuriating as this can be sometimes, I love this and I encourage it. I want him to have a strong will and be able to have the confidence to take care of himself later on.

I typically let him take the reins and make the decisions like “take a nap now or in five minutes” or “put on your boots or your shoes”. I let him put on his own pants and underwear and shirts. I let him buckle himself in his car seat and brush his teeth and I’ll check both after he’s done and tell him he’s a very good boy to take care of himself. If he can’t get something, he asks for help. But if I try to force my will on him, he freaks out and melts down.

Unfortunately for him (and myself…), I decide what goes down at meal times. I want to keep all three kids on the same eating schedule. We eat together as a family and we all eat the same thing. I don’t cater to specific tastes. Period. ¬†there’s no negotiating with me on that one.

Because he can’t control the meals, he refuses to eat his vegetables and it usually gets to the point of screaming if we try to force him. I get so frustrated because I want him to eat at least one decent meal a day so I know he’s getting the good stuff into his body. He just refuses though. Once in a great while I can get him to eat something healthy, which is nice, but I’d like the ease of mind knowing he’s regularly got a couple of servings in him.

Today I was cleaning up after a successful (and rare!) lunchtime and I meandered into the living room to play with the kids for a little bit. I happened to have left the TV on earlier and I looked up to see a guy standing over a blender with a whole smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables around it. He was promoting the blender, but I was interested in the fruits and veggies.

Duh!

I’ve made these shakes a million times before for myself, why haven’t I done this for the kids?!

I went into the kitchen and immediately got to work. I pulled out all of the fresh fruits and veggies we have in the kitchen and picked out three fruits and three vegetables and tossed one of each of them in the blender.

bananas, apples, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes and oranges

I didn’t peel the apple, I just cut out the core. I peeled the orange and tossed the whole thing in. I cut the carrot in half and tossed it in, unpeeled. I pulled the leaves off of the broccoli and tossed an entire head in. I threw the tomato in whole. I dumped in some orange juice that was leftover in the fridge and added a bit more water and turned on the blender. I left it on for about three minutes to make sure the carrots were completely pureed.¬†When it was done, I poured the green slime out for all three of the kids in their bottles and gave it to them.

SMASH. HIT.

They seriously loved it! Buddy was a tad apprehensive about it being ¬†bit thicker and a little grainy, so¬†I told him it was a banana shake. He’s absolutely crazy for bananas so he didn’t even question it after that. He sucked it down. The girls chugged down ten ounces each in a matter of minutes.

Buddy loves his "banana" shake!

I’ll be doing this more in the future. I’m thinking it’ll be a once or twice a week treat for them. That way it stays exciting for them. The great thing about these “super shakes” is that you can seriously put any fruits or vegetables in it. So long as you have enough fruits in there, it’ll taste mostly sweet. Especially bananas! Bananas have a way of overpowering almost any other tastes.

Once I get it growing in the garden, the first thing I’ll be adding to this is spinach. I couldn’t ask for a better super food to add to their weekly diet. I highly recommend adding spinach to ALL of your future shakes. Read this webpage to find out the health benefits of eating spinach!

though I didn’t prepare anything beforehand, it still only took me about five to ten minutes from start to finish. The most I did was rinse the food in the sink and cut the core out of the apple.

If you’ve got a picky eater, this is totally the way to go! (I would still recommend serving the foods at mealtimes though so your kids still get in the habit of eating their fruits and vegetables on their own.)

Mac-n-Cheese Muffins

I get a monthly subscription of Parents Magazine. ¬†Inside is always an arsenal of health advice, funny stories and household tips. ¬†I’m a big fan of the magazine. ¬†I usually read it cover to cover and soak in all the information regardless of what age they’re aiming at. ¬†Most likely, its forgotten in a matter of days, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll come out with a super drug like the one in Limitless¬†so I can be a for real SuperMom, not just a wannabe. ¬†For. Real. ¬†That movie was awesome. ¬†Oh, and it’s got Bradley Cooper as the main character. ¬†Cha-ching!

Back to Parents Magazine. ¬†Spread out through the pages is always a handful of delicious and healthy meals and snacks you can make for your family. ¬†I always find at least two or three that I think look awesome and I want to make it for Buddy but, I’ll be honest, I’m just too lazy to give it a try. ¬†This month though I came across something that I immediately decided I had to make for Buddy.

Mac-n-cheese muffins.

Basically, these were the directions:
*Preheat oven to 375*
*Finely dice up some turkey breast and fry it in a Tbs of oil until it’s browned.
*The magazine had you make mac-n-cheese from scratch (probably b/c it’s WAY healthier). ¬†Boil your own pasta and add your own cheeses. ¬†I did regular mac-n-cheese from a box and added mozzarella and¬†Parmesan. ¬†(give me a break, it’s way easier)
*Spray a muffin pan with butter/oil and coat the tins with bread crumbs. ¬†(I didn’t have bread crumbs, so I used my usual method. ¬†Make two slices of toast, then rub them together and voila, bread crumbs.)
*Mix mac-n-cheese and turkey and scoop into muffin tins.  Top with some healthy veggies (magazine did cherry tomato halves and broccoli, I did broccoli and carrots)  Throw some more bread crumbs over the top of that and a little bit of oil over that.
* Put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes. ¬†Let cool, then remove them from the pan and you’ve got yummy little muffins made of mac-n-cheese!

It’s seriously delicious. ¬†I think I’ll be doing this WAY more often… the only thing I’ll change is I’ll add much less oil at the end. ¬†Buddy ended up eating two for lunch which is unheard of.

Mac-n-Cheese Muffins!

Buddy with his favorite hat and his new favorite snack