Category Archives: My boys

Father’s Day at Wild Horse Pass- part 2

Click here to read part 1.

Later in the afternoon we picked up the older boys from the Adventure Club where they had been enjoying cookies and playing Wii. As they began to pitch their I-duwanna-leave fits I reminded them about the water slide and we were rolling.

Bummer about the slide: There is no lifeguard at the top. It is a great slide and my kids (and I) had a blast on it but the many kids in line to use the slide were left to their own judgement on an appropriate length of time between riders so I saw my kid shoot out the bottom once only to have a rather large tween girl land right on top of him. Once my kids decided to go down together, stand in the middle of the slide and wrestle we were done with that activity.

Dried off and hungry we prepared for our Ko’Sin evening dining experience. The restaurant was a bit fancier than I had anticipated and very beautiful. While we waited, Jack noticed this “nest” hanging from the ceiling. The highlight of this restaurant is definitely the kids menu. Kids items were prices just as reasonably as you would find them anywhere else and came with a bowl of fruit, followed by their entree and then dessert. Wow!

The adult menu is priced in the $20-30 dollar range, quite steep for me. Allen had the Pan Seared Marinated Pork Porterhouse Spiked with Mole ($28) while I ordered the Oven Roasted Game Hen ($28). My culinary trained husband called both dishes “crazy yummy and unique”. We shared bites and ooohed and awwwed but I will admit to being jealous of Jack’s burger at the same time. Jack ordered the cheeseburger ($5.25) off the kids menu which included everything you see here. Wow. I was glad we didn’t order an appetizer. The other boys got macaroni and cheese ($4.25), their standard.

I will hand them this, Ko’Sin knows how to treat a kid. After their plates were cleared the were each served a bowl of chocolate mousse covered in cookie crumbles and garnished with a couple of gummy worms. You guessed it: worms in the mud. Now, that’s what I’m talking about. Allen and I shared a piece of the most beautiful Big Fat Chocolate Cake I’ve ever seen which we didn’t even come close to finishing. We were happy campers!

After dinner, we retired to our room and woke up on Father’s Day to go to church with my family in Ahwatukee, quite conveniently located just down the street from the resort.

Bottom line: We had a great time last year at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa’s LEGO Mini-Build but this year they outdid themselves. We would definitely do it again and have recommended the package to our friends and family. Thanks Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa!

Disclaimer: We were hosted by the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa for the weekend and by Ko’Sin restaurant.

Father’s Day at Wild Horse Pass

We were lucky enough to spend another weekend at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa this year for their LEGO Mini-Build family package and I wouldn’t have thought it possible but this year was even better! For one, we spent an extra night at the hotel this year giving us extra time to swim and enjoy the resort. Secondly, Stephanie Heckathorne (the brains behind the LEGO Mini-Build family package) and the LEGO team threw in some extra games and activities at the actual LEGO build which made it an even better experience for the kids.

We arrived at the resort Friday night, unloaded our things and headed straight down the the pools we grew so fond of during our stay last year. Then we turned in early with visions of multi-colored LEGO bricks dancing in our heads.

I knew better than to worry about breakfast Saturday morning. The snack spread at the Mini-Build included fruit, granola bars, cookies, chips and breakfast bars… a little something for everyone in my posse.

I even let my kids go for the sugary drinks that early in the morning. Hey, what is vacation good for if you can’t throw your every day dietary guidelines and restrictions out the window?

When things got rolling each boy sat down with his own commemorative LEGO barbecue grill kit with one brick engraved with the place and date. Why a barbecue grill? Why, in honor of Father’s Day of course!

Once finished with their barbecue grills, the kids participated in the LEGO free-build on the floor (out of which came some phenomenal LEGO sculptures) or in races to see who could build the most LEGO men in a given time period. My William had no trouble keeping up with the big boys and Chris wasn’t much behind him! As a bonus, each of my kids went home with a super-cute green LEGO tractor which they put together in our room later.

Since the older boys were headed to the Adventure Club after the Mini-Build, Allen and I took Jack on a boat ride down the river. Last year the boats shuttled folks to and from the old casino, now you can ride out to Rawhide and we even picked a group of out-of-towners up from the golf course.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about our adventures at the pool, the kids’ first trip down a water slide and our review of the Ko’Sin restaurant at Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa!

And be sure to check out last year’s trip here!

How-To’s Day: Roasted garden roots

Our five-year-old Christopher (on the left in this photo) doesn’t eat veggies. Or anything else even remotely healthy but especially veggies. So, we put him in charge of the garden. He weeds and plants and waters and takes great pride in his little plot of green.  He still won’t eat most of the fruits of his labors but he will at least taste it. This is the same kid who won’t even lick his broccoli for a whole bowl of ice cream. That’s progress.

Christopher’s latest harvest, a whole bunch of root veggies, seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a few vitamins and minerals into his body that he is surely missing. Here’s how we did it:

Ingredients:
Potatoes
Beets
Carrots
Garlic
Butter, salt & pepper

Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and line your cookie sheet with foil, shiny side up.

Step 2: Cube all of the veggies, no smaller than an inch, no bigger than an inch-and-a-half. You decide what ratio of potatoes to beets to carrots you want and cut up enough to fill the cookie sheet. One cookie sheet easily feeds our family of five.

Step 3: Peel and cut six to twelve cloves (according to your taste) of garlic in half and distribute evenly amongst the veggies.

Step 4: Cut a cube of butter lengthwise and then into pats and spread out the same as the garlic. You can use as little as a half a cube or a whole cube if you want them good and crispy. Add salt and pepper to taste — more than you would think you’d need — the potatoes suck it up.

Step 5: Roast on the center rack for 20 to 45 minutes depending on how done you like them. We do two pans for company (as seen above) and it’s important to remember to rotate them to get good browning on the top and bottom pans.

These are great to cook ahead of time if you need to put other things in the oven. Just crank the oven up to 500 degrees about 5 minutes before dinner and throw the veggies in the oven until they’re sizzling.

Disclaimer: If you know us at all, you know my husband gets credit for this recipe. If you don’t, you know now. Thanks Allen!

Pancake day!

I’m sure IHOP was excited to see me and my friend Lori coming through the door with our nine boys on Tuesday for free pancake day. But if we threw them for a loop it didn’t show. The fundraiser benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network drew a huge crowd and the house was packed before we arrived but we got a table in pretty good time.

The restaurant opened the whole back room just for us which we had to ourselves until other moms started showing up with their after-schoolers in tow. We were our waitresses first table of what she assured us would be a very long night as she gracefully filled our water glasses and catered to our crazy children.

The boys were jazzed. What kid doesn’t love pancakes? They played with their food, swallowed the contents of sugar packets and flavor tested most of the syrups while Lori and I engaged in grown-up talk at the only open end of our table. It was an awesome diversion in a bland school day and the IHOP staff was great! Thanks IHOP!

For more information about the Children’s Miracle Network and other upcoming fundraisers, visit cmn.org.

How-To’s Day: Dino cupcakes

Your child wants a dinosaur cake for his (or her) birthday but you’re not quite as excited at the prospect of hours of  cutting, frosting and decorating a cake in the hopes that it will somewhat resemble a prehistoric creature.  These cupcakes  I made for my son’s party require far less fuss with a totally rockin’ result that won’t disappoint!

You will need:
One foil-covered baking sheet
One full batch of cupcakes
White frosting
Green food coloring
coconut flakes
chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo style)
1 super cheap dinosaur gift set (I found mine at Walmart in the cheap toy section)
dinosaur eggs (jelly beans)

1. Crush the cookies and set aside. Transfer coconut to a ziploc bag and add a few drops of green coconut. Shake, smoosh and mix until coconut flakes are fairly evenly green.

2. Frost mountain cupcakes with white frosting or dye it brown, (the tall mountain in the above picture is 2 cupcakes stacked on one another) and then roll them in cookie crumbs.

3. Dye the remaining frosting green and frost cupcakes. Roll in coconut flakes.

3. Arrange cupcakes on the cookie sheet. My dino set came with the rocky mountain and trees. Arrange dinos and eggs on cupcakes as you see fit.

4. Party!

How To-sday: 8 ways to keep your kids busy so you can get stuff done

For me, working from home doesn’t mean I have a nanny in the other room watching my babies. I don’t have my husband at home working in the other room. For me, working from home means I am mothering and working at the same time.

So, you might ask, where are my kids when I’m interviewing mompreneurs or neurosurgeons or child welfare program directors? Today I’m going to tell you.

Please note that these methods can also be applied when mommy needs a shower, some space, or to finish the last couple of pages of her book. I will ask again, does this make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. I think it makes me a resourceful mom who gives her children lots of opportunities to grow their independence. At least that’s what I tell myself. So here are my 8 keys to freedom, in no particular order:

1. Play-Doh. Moms don’t love Play-Doh. Why? Because it’s messy, it’s messy and it’s messy. And it travels. I find Play-Doh all over my house; on the bottom of shoes, under couch cushions and smashed into bed-sheets. So I don’t get it out too often. When I do, my kids are glued and I can get through almost 15 minutes of a conversation before I am interruped. 15 minutes! That’s like two-and-a-half days in mommy time.

2. Butcher paper. I keep a big roll of butcher paper in my closet and once every so often (not too often or the shine wears off and you will lose minutes) I tear off a sheet, tape it to the wall and plop a bucket of crayons down next to it. It’s been really cool to see the things my kids have created together this way. Unfortunately, crayon tends to stray off the edge of the paper sometimes but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

3. SpongeBob. I don’t like SpongeBob but my kids do, so we compromise. I don’t let them watch it regularly but once every few weeks when I really need some time. And I get it!

4. Pbskids.org. Or “p-b-s dock ord,” according to Jack. This is brilliant because my kids will sit right next to me, one computer over, quietly sharing and learning for as long as I will let them.

5. Print some coloring sheets of your kids’ favorite things — for mine, it’s dinosaurs or Bakugans — and put them at the table with the crayons. Just google “dinosaur coloring sheets” or “spiderman coloring pages” to find just the right thing.

6. Keep a box of toys up out of your kids’ reach (for me it’s a special set of Legos) to pull down only on occasions when you need their attention completely diverted.

7. Believe it or not, this one really works and is my favorite for obvious reasons: Give your child a wet washrag or two or a small stack of baby wipes and assign him or her to wipe all the smudges off the walls. You will have to point them out in the beginning but this is one of my kids’ favorite things to do and will keep them busy for quite a while. And since they are only cleaning up their own handiwork you can feel like you are teaching them to take responsibility for themselves as well.

8. Popsicle sticks! Popsicle sticks and glue, popsicle sticks and markers, whatever the combination just add popsicle sticks and you’re good. Throw in pipe cleaners and it’s a party!

Once the fun of any of these activities wears off, be ready with a small stash of fruit snacks, string cheese, fruit leather or anything that will give you just a minute or two more to wrap up your project and you’re set!

I know I didn’t think of everything, so I will likely run a similar list again. Work-at-home-moms, what did I miss?

You shoulda’ put a sling on ’em

I am still wearing my toddler in a sling. At two-and-a-half and almost 40 pounds my arms only last for so long lugging him around. But he gets tired of walking. He gets clingy when he misses a nap. He loses his shoes… whatever. And I have to carry him. So, out comes the sling, in goes the kid and we’re all happy.

It’s easy to slide my son in and out of our ring sling all day as his two-year-old will demands so i’ve pretty much shelved my other slings and wraps for now. I’m a huge fan of the ring sling. So, when I saw this video I had to share it. Yes, it’s silly but as a sling-lovin’ mama, I applaud these ladies for getting the babywearing word out.