Sock Snowman

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007 is giving all of the folks on his Christmas list homemade gifts that he found on Pinterest. Yeah. He’s my kid, I know.πŸ˜‰

This one may be my favorite yet because it turned out so much better than I thought and was so very simple.

The original pin has a great, easy to follow video and you should totally grab some socks, a bag of rice and make yourself a snowman while you watch Elf tonight.

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Turkey Pot Pie

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‘Cause I had a bunch of leftovers from our Thanksgiving Feast this year. I followed a basic chicken pot pie recipe (and added taters, Precious) and used a prepared pie crust.

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007 helped me cut out the pastry into festive fall leaves and we just placed them atop the itty bitty personalized pies.

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He also assisted me in brushing on an egg wash.

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We baked them until they browned and bubbled. (And Cat circled the kitchen asking when they would be done.)

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007 ate two.πŸ™‚

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Crispy Baked Fries

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I’m a big fan of the potato. It’s probably because I’m Irish (a few Fitzgeralds and a boat ride ago). In any case, my cute little family loves fries to go alongside, say, a tasty burger with a pretzel bun, a black bean burger or even a handful of chicken in the shape of dinosaurs.

But no matter how hard I tried, I could not get my taters crispy and I really, really hate to fry food. No, not because of the heath factor (sorry) but because it’s so darn hard to get the smell out of my kitchen (and my hair).

So, when this blog boasted crispy fires from my oven, I started peeling.

I learned that the trick was to soak my taters in water !

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I followed the directions and PRESTO! Crispy fries.

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The Gem Jar

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Many of my readers are familiar with 007 my spirited, loving, creative eight-year-old helper. He is such a joy in our lives. Recently, 007 was diagnosed with ADHD. During a meeting with the school counselor, I asked for strategies to help 007 learn to be more self-governing. I knew this smart little guy would make good behavior choices if he could just remember just what they were. She directed me to Pinterest (ha!) to read some ideas about self monitoring.

That’s where we found this article that helped immensely. I can honestly say that our house is a more peaceful one because of our Gem Jar. I know there are a lot of parents who have difficulty with an “incentive based system” and that’s okay. This is what works for my family, for my kid right now.πŸ˜‰

Before we introduced the jar, we took a few days to learn about the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22 and printed out this cute poster. We talked about how when fruit is squeezed, you find out what is inside, like us and our character. What character we have inside comes out. Then, we asked some questions, tough ones:Β  What kind of character do we have? What do we want to be like? What fruit of the spirit is difficult for us sometimes? So, how can we work on it?

Enter: The Gem Jar.

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It helps us to focus on the areas that 007 identified as a difficult: self control and patience.

The concept is simply, really: reinforce good behavior until good behavior is the norm. Each time 007 performs a desired behavior, he receives a gem to put in his jar. After the jar is filled to an agreed upon height, a prize will be given. (ie. A trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, having a friend over for a day, going to Sky Zone or an indoor pool. Notice they are experience based rewards and not thing-based.)

As he plunks the gem in there, he tells us why he’s receiving his reward. For example: “I got a gem because I didn’t complain about doing four pages of handwriting” or “I got a gem because I waited for Mom to be done with her phone conversation before I asked a question” or (my favorite from this week) “I’m getting a gem because I recognized that I have more than one parent and I can ask Daddy questions too.”πŸ˜‰

Little by little we saw great improvement in 007’s behavior and it wasn’t because I was doing time outs or yelling at him, it was because he was recognizing his own behavior and monitoring it himself.

We did lay some ground rules, though (in case you’re wondering)

  • Once you receive a gem, it’s yours. Nobody takes it out. That great moment is frozen in time.
  • You can’t ask for a gem or draw attention to your goodness to get a gem. That will result in no gem earned.

The whole family loves this system. Sometimes, when Cat does something sweet for 007, he’ll go get her a gem, even though she doesn’t have a jar, just to show her that he noticed.

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control: they are gems in our jars, friends.

Homemade Soft Tortillas

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This post is especially for my beautiful friend Emily. She’s a personal hero of mine.

Sometimes, meal planning in our house is like the Food Network show Chopped. Ok, I have ground beef, and, um, cheese, jelly beans and maybe some lettuce and I have half an hour. What can I make? Tacos. But, oh, I don’t have shells or taco seasoning. No problem! Here is a great (and easy) recipe for taco shells. Trust me, they are easy.

The dough comes together nicely and is a little bit sticky.
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I cut it into pieces before I roll them into balls.

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Cat rolled them out with my non-stick rolling pin. I know there is a great tortilla press that I can purchase.Β  Maybe I’ll put that on my Christmas list.πŸ˜‰

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I warmed up my cast iron skillet and popped the expertly rolled tortillas on for a few seconds.

Then, I place them in a damp towel.

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My family likes them way better than the store bought variety.πŸ™‚

Oh, and if you’d like to make your own taco seasoning, I use the recipe here.

PS. I ate the jelly beans while making the tortillas. You know, ’cause that’s great for me…

Chameleons Looming

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007 got on the Rainbow Loom Train a bit late in the game. He made bracelets, necklace and rings for the whole family.

I remember a few times trying to exit the house, getting stopped by that sweet little face that would ask why I wasn’t wearing his latest creation. I held back the response “Because Mommy I feels like Mr. T” and instead, just snapped another on my wrist. These are fleeting moments thatΒ  I wish I could capture in a jar.

But, my jewelry box overflows with rubber bands. Does this thing make anything else?

And then I discovered that IT DOES.

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I plunked 007 in front of this blog and he was INSTANTLY hooked. (No pun intended, I promise.) His first creation? A chameleon with a nod to Pascal, our favorite Disney sidekick.

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He named it “Camry” and he’s talking to it right now while he does his handwriting.πŸ˜‰

Waking Up: Pretzel Rolls

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It’s been a while since I’ve felt creative. Until recently, that is. I can’t even say what snapped me out of it. It was like waking up from a dusty dream. Bam! Ideas, colors, recipes- things were inspiring again and I had the energy to be inspired. So, friends, here I am again at Pinning Summer.

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I can think of no better way to come out of hiatus than with the baking of bread.

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This is a fabulous recipe for pretzel rolls from the folks at Food Network. Seriously, y’all, if you have the time, make these ASAP. (Go here for the recipe.)

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These are great with a burger, deli meat or simply on their own. Cheers, friends, we’re back!πŸ˜‰