Friday, January 31, 2014

Five on Friday: Eating God's Rainbow!

Happy Friday! What a week! It's been freezing cold and Carl's been out of town all week. I am thrilled that Friday is finally here. Cheers to the Weekend. I am linking up for Five on Friday - 

Here's Five Steps to Eating God's Rainbow!

Our preschool does an amazing job of encouraging the children to eat a variety of foods. They use the language - eating God's rainbow to make it kid friendly and it works like a charm. Peer pressure can be a marvelous thing. I am thrilled with the impact this little initiative has had in our house and how much more fun it is to pack lunches.

Start the Night Before: Packing lunches used to be a mundane chore for me. Now, it is something I really enjoy doing because it makes my kids happy especially Evie.  Lunch prep begins while I am getting dinner ready because I am already cutting fruits and veggies. I add in the protein in the morning most of the time unless it is a quesadilla because it is fine overnight. Lunches are always two or three kinds of fruits to get lots of rainbow colors plus two or three types of veggies. 

Conventional or Organic?: I only buy conventional produce with the exception of carrots and salad greens.  Mostly, because we eat too much produce to justify the cost. I read this article yesterday which made me feel much better that we do not have to eat organic produce . . . released some mom guilt. Protein sources include sandwiches, chips/hummus, bagel with cream cheese, cheese/crackers, leftover pizza, pasta with Parmesan cheese, yogurt parfait and chicken nuggets.

Bagel with veggie cream cheese,  Simply Go-Gurt, bell peppers, carrots, kiwi, strawberries, and blueberries. 

Hummus and Pretzel chips, apple sauce, snap peas, carrots, bell peppers, black berries, blueberries, strawberries

Quesadilla, kiwi, blackberries, strawberries, snap peas, sweet peas, carrots 

Turkey and Cheese, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, snaps, bell peppers

Pictures of this weeks Lunches: Evie is thrilled to take her lunch everyday! I took pictures of her lunch every morning this week so you can get an idea of what her lunches look like - much different than last year. No goldfish, crackers, granola bars etc. She eats plenty of those things just not at school because they are not part of God's rainbow. Evie is a rule follower just like her Mama and she would die before taking a chocolate chip granola bar to school. It cracks me up and makes me proud all at the same time. Henry gets what Evie gets most of the time but he still eats granola bars or Pirate Booty. He does not eat enough fruits and veggies to fill up yet. Henry needs protein and carbs!

How Eating God's Rainbow Works? After lunch, the teachers mark each color on the rainbows for each child  - that's red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. We get a pass because indigo and blue count as the same color for this activity. Trust me, it's hard to find blue food! I've paid way too much for blueberries for my precious little rainbow maker.

When the rainbow is filled up, the children go to Ms. Katie's Treasure Box - this is BIG! She's the Music and Wellness teacher and these kids think she walks on water. The Giraffe class hides their desserts when she walks in the room. Not Evie since she does not have any desserts but the ones who do hide them because they want to please Ms. Katie so much. Ms. Katie is just one of those amazing teachers that really gets kids and kids get her.

CHOCOLATE: Don't worry - chocolate is still is a food group at our house! Oh and for the record breakfast and lunch are our two healthiest meals of the day - it does downhill after that! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up!

We had a wonderful weekend. Best part is everyone was healthy for the first time in three weeks! It was a pretty low-key weekend. I took about three pictures but it was still fun.

Friday: We had a nice family dinner that everyone ate which is always wonderful.  Just pasta with chicken and veggies. Simple and healthy. Ice-cream sandwiches for dessert - Evie's choice. Carl and I are really noticing how much easier life is getting as our children are growing up. Evie is such a terrific big sister - a real mother hen to Henry and Henry wants to be a big boy but still has some baby in him.  It's a really fun stage and we are certainly enjoying it!

Saturday: I woke up with the kids because Carl was up way too early every day last week. He needed to catch up on his sleep. We all enjoyed a lazy morning at home. Nothing too exciting! Henry was thrilled that we made pizza for lunch. He must be growing because he is eating us out of house and home. It is unbelievable how much food this kid can put away.  

While Henry napped, I took Evie to Toys R Us to use her "ticket" that what she calls gift cards that she received for her birthday. It went really well at the store and she quickly made her selection. Her mood quickly changed when we returned home and buyers remorse set in. Evie was not happy with her Frozen doll and wished that she had bought the Barbie pool. We had lots of drama and it took some major conflict resolution and girl talk to get her to calm down. It was also an exercise in patience for me. I decided it was a wonderful learning opportunity and talked to Evie about how the same thing happens to me sometimes. Evie was all ready to take back the doll and the torn up box to the store.  We discussed how Evie has more than enough toys and it is important to be grateful for what you have so Evie made a list of all the toys that she loves. then we cuddled and then we said a little prayer and ate chocolate. After that, she felt better. Thank goodness because I was exhausted! Evie is working "jobs" to earn money to buy the Barbie pool although she will probably forget about it before she earns the $15 that the pool costs. 

Taylor, our amazing babysitter, walked in the door right as all this was ending. YAY! Carl and I were so excited to head out the door for a delicious dinner at Jimmy Kelly's - filet, baked potato and salad. Sounds good to me! Dessert . . . why not! We sat next to the fire and it was so nice! Carl enjoyed the boat show afterwards and I love that he loves it so much. It is really fun to see the amazing boats. I would love to have one of the super nice Cobalt boats but we live 30 minutes away from the lake. Carl would be thrilled for me to agree to just move to the lake to solve that logistical problem. It would be nice to unwind after a long day with a quick jaunt out on the lake but we both love the convenience of life right outside of Nashville.

Sunday: Our kids slept late surprising since that never happens when they have a sitter. Guess they really are growing up! We made it out the door for church in a record 23 minutes without any tears or screaming  - that's progress! Henry made a new friend at church that is his age and it is amazing how different they are in size. We took a meandering drive after church and Evie was able to recall with surprising accuracy the last time she took that route and who she was with - Evie has such a wonderful memory. We made quick trip to Bojangles before coming home. I left to meet a friend at a design event held at Ethan Allen - so fun! We learned lots of design tips and tricks and ate lots of yummy food. It was such a pleasant afternoon. My friend even won a door prize- not me but I never win anything. Going to events like that always make me want to come home and start all over with my house but that's not exactly realistic so I am just sticking with my plan to do two or three small changes per room each month. After our workshop, I headed to the Apple Store for my first Mac Book training class and learned so much but have lots left to learn. I am blogging for the first time from my laptop so that's a start. Sam was very patient was me - I am pretty sure he thought I had no clue at all with computers until he found out I had a blog and then Sam decided that I must at least know a tiny bit about computers maybe just not Mac computers. Oh well, I am going back for another class in a few weeks and already have three questions on my list -now that I know a little more -I know what to ask.  Carl had a blast with the kids while I was gone and I made some chicken chili when I got home since everyone else was starving. We played outside a bit since it was our last warm day for awhile. Brr, the high is 19 on Tuesday. Nashville is beginning to feel like the Frozen Tundra again.

Hope your Monday is magnificent. I know ours will be. Henry starts gymnastics with his friend Anderson and he is so over the moon excited!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five on Friday!

It's been a super busy whirl-wind week. I have made a conscious effort to slow down next week and just enjoy life at home a bit. We had a terrific week - it was just a bit too busy. I am doing a quick re-cap for my Friday Five this week.

Monday: It was MLK Day so we celebrated with a day spent with my two favorite kiddos. We started the day at My Gym at their open house. I had planned just to get a membership to have on hand for birthday parties and summer camp and such but guess what - you have to sign up for a class to get the membership. Oh well, Carl and  I have been discussing that Henry needs an activity so Henry is now enrolled in gymnastics for the next 8 weeks. I figured by then it would be warm and we could go to the park and the zoo instead of being cooped up inside all the time. After that, we headed to Pump it Up to meet our friends, the Lennings and the Hans for a morning for some jumping fun. Henry spent the first part of his morning laying on the floor sucking on a lollipop - and we wonder why we have strep!  Thank goodness, I used a coupon for his admission because he definitely did not get my moneys worth out of his visit. Evie ran into some friends from school too and had a grand time running and jumping. It was a gorgeous day so we played outside when got home took a quick nap and then walked over to the park. What a wonderful day and such a tease for spring! I had such a fun day with my kiddos. It's rare to have a day with both kids home from school so it was a real treat. Just for the record, lollipops are not the norm - they were just captured twice that day!

Tuesday: We all headed to school and it was a cold, blustery day. Evie seemed a little lethargic at school so we headed to see our good pal Dr. Brooks. He diagnosed Evie with strep throat. A bit of a surprise since she did not have a single symptom other than being a bit blah but we had strep last week so it was not a total shocker. All four us ended up on antibiotics within one week! YIKES. That's a record for us! Carl earned major brownie points because he changed sheets and filled humidifiers while I was at the pediatrician and then cooked dinner and kept the kids while I picked Evie's prescription. All four of us headed to bed early that night!

Wednesday: We had an unexpected day at home since Evie was still recuperating! It was nice to have time to catch up on some chores around the house and for Evie to rest a bit. Evie's friend, Leah, dropped off a birthday gift which really cheered up Evie! That Doc McStuffin Shirt was the perfect birthday gift for a little sickie and the mermaid sticker set kept her busy for a bit. We did go to the YMCA for dance and a quick workout for me that night since it had been 24 hours on meds. Mama needed to get out of the house since Carl had a work dinner.

Thursday: Back to school for everyone! It was a wild day. After school, I went to a Stella & Dot party, a dance at my school ( talk about adorable - seeing all those kids dancing around) and then Mom's Night out at 55 South - YUMMY! It's Nashville Restaurant Week so it's a great time to try all the Nashville Original Restaurant's at a terrific price.  That was a LOT of running around. Then, I came home to catch up with Carl a bit. What a day!

Friday: Evie and Henry are really into gymnastics these days so we headed to a gymnastics lesson with our MOMS Club and then to the YMCA with some friends. Just planning to take it easy for the rest of the day. It's about 20 degrees - perfect weather for cuddling up for a movie with hot chocolate.

Carl and I are looking forward to a date night tomorrow to another restaurant that is participating in Nashville Restaurant Week - Jimmy Kelly's and then our annual visit to the Boat Show. We love checking out those fancy boats! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Stay warm and cozy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up: Sunshine and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

It's been a spectacular weekend here! Sure, hope your weekend has been great too. Friday, we started off the fun with a play date with The Porter family. Evie and Jacob have been friends since they were little babies and now the siblings play too. I made this delicious soup for lunch and we celebrated birthdays with miniature cupcakes for dessert. It's definitely worth making if you love tomato soup. I'll be making this one again soon. Not much better than a playdate on a cold Friday morning!

Carl came home a little early on Friday because he had strep throat! Three out the four of us ended up on antiiboitics. YUCK!  Luckily, the meds work quickly and everyone is feeling much better.

Saturday was a low-key day. I had a little cabin fever by the end of the day. It's so hard being stuck inside on all these cold days but anything under 40 degrees is too cold for outside play for me. Our kids have watched way too much TV and have exerted energy in some very creative ways. Spring, hurry up and come soon.

Sunday, everyone slept late until about 7:30 and we rushed out the door for church. Picture quiality is pretty bad but at leaast I was able to capture the moment. We stopped by Brugger's on the way home and then Carl took the kids outside to play for a bit. That gave me a chance to change sheets and disinfect a bit. It felt great to see and feel the warm sunshine. Everyone needed a little Vitamin D.

Evie and I headed off to the Nashville Children's Theatre to see Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. I am not sure who was more excited. I am a HUGE Kevin Henkes fan and find his books appealing to all children. The adaption of the book was amazing and Evie and I both had a blast. It was defontely one of those afternoons that I will always treasure. Evie took my hand when we got there and told me she loves doing things for the first time with me and that this was her first play. Raffi came along for the ride too. What a fun afternoon! I look forward to going back to see Lyle the Crocodile in a few months.

The rest of our day was spent watching movies, playing birthday and making cookies. It was not the most exciting weekend but it sure was filled with fun with our family.

Hope your week gets off to a wonderful start! We are looking forward to MLK Day - no school means another chance for fun with friends.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five on Friday: Birthday Edition

It's Friday again and time for Five on Friday - Birthday Edition.

Evie loved celebrating her birthday! What a fun and special day it was for her. A BIG thank you to everyone who sent messages, called, sent gifts and thought of our sweet Evie on her birthday. Evie woke up about 7 ready to celebrate. She was thrilled to be 5! 

Dunkin Donuts: We broke our Krispy Kreme tradition this morning and went to DD. Evie was set on sending donut holes for her class snack and I knew DD was the best place to get them. It was a big deal for us to get out of the house by 7:45. We barely make it out by 8:45 on a normal day but we did it today in the name of donuts.

School Love: Evie's teachers did such a terrific job of making Evie feel special on her birthday. They had a birthday banner outside the classroom, a birthday certificate, a classroom job for her, a gift, sang her Happy Birthday, and gave her a special headband to wear. WOW! Those Giraffes really know how to celebrate! I loved being with her at snack time on her birthday. It's always fun to see Evie in her element at school and see how much attention she received for her birthday. Evie has never been to school before on her birthday so this was a real treat.

Library Card: Evie finally received her library card. She listened solemnly while the librarian explained the rules and all that jazz to her. Evie promised to bring back the books in excellent condition and on time. It was adorable to see her sign her name on the back of her card. This was one of the best parts of Evie's entire day and something she has looked forward to for months.

Presents: Daddy got home early and not a moment too soon. Evie had just been debating if she could just show Daddy her presents if she opened them before he arrived. Carl really wanted to see her open the presents and made it just in time! Evie has been dying for a "pink puter." It's all we have heard about for weeks. We were on the fence about what to do but then there was a flash sale on Amazon with a pink kids tablet at an AMAZING price. Decision made! Evie opened all her other gifts first - a bag of treats from Henry, Brave the movie, a Ken doll and some clothes. She was so disappointed after opening the last present and it was the one with the clothes because she just knew it was the "pink puter." Evie was thrilled to find out there was a present hiding behind the pillow on the couch. Oh dear,  I cannot imagine how devastated Evie would have been without this pink computer.

Burger Up: Evie's teacher Ms. Corrinne works at an amazing farm to table burger restaurant in 12 South. Evie has never been there or even heard of it until meeting Ms. Corinne. Once Evie found out about Burger Up from Ms. Corrinne, she knew this was the perfect destination for her birthday dinner. Carl and I were happy to oblige because it is one of our favorites too. It's a tad too fancy for Henry but he was perfect. Henry loves Ms. Corinne too and kept calling it "Corinne's restaurant." We had a delightful dinner and Ms. Corinne pulled out all the stops for Evie. Brownies with ice-cream and candles plus a kitchen tour! Impressive. Evie will always remember this special night.

We came home from dinner and watched the home movies from Evie's first few days of life. One of my favorite birthday traditions.  It usually makes me teary but I have embraced Evie turning 5 and decided that it is not so bad. Evie was teary tonight and seemed to really understand how much she has changed in the last five years. It's always nostalgic to look back and see how we have grown and changed as a family. I know one thing for sure - I am so thankful for our Evie Claire and her special day! 

What an amazing birthday! Here's to making year 5 the best one yet. Happy Birthday, Evie!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday, Evie!

Dear Evie,

     Your BIG day is finally here - you are 5 years old. A whole hand! You are so excited to be turning 5. It's going to be a big year my friend -graduation, kindergarten, learning to read. WOW! I get excited just writing about it. You have big plans for this year too and tell me all about things are going to when you are 5.

Daddy and I are so proud of you! We love you so much just for being Evie. You are beautiful, kind, smart, loving and hilarious. There is never a dull moment with you sweet girl. It seems impossible to us that you are turning 5. We still think of you as the tiny little baby that you were in these pictures.

Everything is fun for you but you really loves princesses, Peppa Pig and the color pink. Lots of P words but you would have already noticed that by now. You keep up with the color, number and letter for each memeber of the family and even taught Henry his assigned color, numbers and letters.

You like to draw, play outside and organize. I find some crazy things like necklaces layered around your humidifier or your own little clothes hamper made out of a miniature basket. My favorite was when you made a shoe box for all the shoes that belong to your dolls and ponys. You put it right next to our shoe box at the side door.

You love to read and are thrilled that five year olds can get their very own library card. WOW! Of course, we are headed to the library immediately after school. I read you four books before bed tonight because it was your last night of being 4.

It still makes me teary to think about how fast you are growing up but they are happy tears. Sometimes those baby years are rough but the reward comes about age 4. We have had an absolutely magical year with you Evie but this fifth year will be even better.

Daddy and I love to talk with you and hear all the things you have to say. Sometimes it seems like you have perhaps a tiny bit too much to say but we still listen. You are such a kind-hearted little girl. I told you that you were the sweetest girl in your class and you looked at me with the most sincere face and said, "Mama, that might hurt the other girls feelings. All the giraffes are very sweet not just me."

You are an amazing big sister. Always willing to lend Henry a hand from taking off his shoes to getting him a snack. You use your soft motherly voice and patiently repeat yourself. If it gets to be too much, then you go off the wall a bit. It's okay Evie, all Mama's feel that way sometimes.

Your last picture as a 4 year old.
Evie, you are the perfect daughter for our family. God knew exactly what He was doing when He made you part of our family. We could not imagine life without you in it! Happy Birthday to the little girl that gave us our best role in life- parents.

Looking forward to seeing this next year unfold. We have officially entered the big girl years. You are ready, big girl. Let's see what you've got.

Love Always,

Mama and Daddy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Evie's Gymnastics Party!

Evie has known she wanted a gymnastics birthday for months. Saturday was the big day! We were all excited even Henry. He went to bed chanting "Evie birthday tomorrow."
Our friends at Sweet Birdie's Nest designed the invitations and as always they did a phenomenal job. Can't imagine a party without Sweet Birdie's. Thank you Beverly and Heidi!


We arrived a little early and had time to take a few pictures before it got crazy. Birthday parties always get crazy with children involved.

What a fun afternoon! The wonderful gymnastic coaches split the children into two groups and took them all over the gym. Everyone had a ball!  Gymnastics is a terrific way to get rid of some extra energy.

After an hour, in the gym it was time for cake. Evie selected a cookie cake. I was worried it was way too big but it turned out to be the perfect size for our large group.  Cookie cakes are a nice change from cupcakes. Evie sure makes good choices.

Evie loved passing out the favors to her friends. Gymnastics necklaces for the girls off Etsy and whistles for the boys. Both boys and girls received a gymnastics themed chocolate too.

It was so nice walking out the door with our guests and leaving the mess for someone else to worry about. Evie had a ball! Can't believe our Evie is turning 5 on Thursday.

We had the Onello's over for pizza after the party since we never see them anymore. Birthday parties really have become our social life! Evie was excited to open her presents before bed. She sure received lots of wonderful gifts from our thoughtful friends.

What a fun birthday party!