Friday, February 25, 2011

school lunch bites!

I can't take on one more cause. But I want to. I really want to.

This is what my first-grader's lunch tray looked like on Tuesday. I was at the school and stopped in to say "Hi" and this is what I saw:

I about threw it away and took him home for a sandwich. I was angry.

It is a fried chicken patty on a white bread bun with a cup of ketchup and a cup of fry sauce, a serving of french fries, chocolate milk, green jello and some sort of cookie. I asked him why he didn't take any veggies or fruit--he is my healthiest eater. He said that there weren't any veggies and he didn't like the fruit they had.

At our school, the kids get to pick from two choices. This day the other choice was nachos. Fried corn chips with fake cheese sauce on top. Also at our school the kids get to choose what they put on their tray. I understand that if they are forced to take fruit and veggies a lot is wasted. I get that they have to, to a certain degree, feed the kids food that they will eat. I get that it is my job to teach good eating habits. But, this is what American kids are eating, and for a great many of them this is the "best" meal they get all day.

We do a few home lunches every week. We look at the lunch menu and the kids pick the days they want school and the days they want home. After seeing that tray, the kids had home lunch every day after that.

In a three-week period there are three types of corn dogs offered--breakfast corn dog, mini corn dogs and regular corn dogs. Every Friday is pizza day. If you don't want pizza the other option is a "munchable" which one day consists of a soft pretzel and cheese sauce. Cheese sauce is another recurring theme on the menu.

I am recommitting to doing home lunches. I can do a lot healthier, and for $1.75, probably cheaper than school lunch. The hard part is just getting it done with the craziness of getting four kids out the door in the morning. Maybe I just need to print a copy of that picture and hang it up on the fridge for motivation.

Last week the school did a sort of "Bring Your Parents to Lunch Day." Jessi and I brought lunch and Mike came.

We saw the first-grader first.
Then the fourth-grader.

Then the fifth-grader.

I try to eat with them (I visit with them while they eat) at school once a month, so it wasn't that special that I was there. They were thrilled to have Dad come.

I am now collecting ideas for good home lunches. If you have any, please share.

I've been forgetting to post my gratitude.

1. Even though sometimes it's crap, having enough food to eat. (Maybe gratitude shouldn't start with an "even though.")

2. Having the opportunity to be involved at the school.

3. Health.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

for Valentine's...

Back in 2008, I made this scrapbook page for Mike. I framed it and it sat on his desk at work. The kids have grown a bit, so I decided to update it.

I made this one digitally and swapped it out for the old one. All of the pictures except for the ice fishing one are from 2010.
I like that he can look at it during the day and remember why he is there.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

V-day Mix Tape

Every year I make Mike a mix tape for Valentine's. It is fun to document some of the songs we (I) loved that year.

Here is the Valentine's 2011 playlist:

When You Say Nothing At All is "our" song, so it is always the first one on the list.

Kelly Clarkson always must appear on the list, and so must Justin Timberlake.

Some are old. Some are new. Some are on there just because I like the music. Most are on there because of the lyrics. Some are more of a joke--Justin Beaver (Jessi will not call him Bieber.) And some are meaningful.

Dynamite is our dance song of the year. It is an anthem for control freaks everywhere--not that I am one or anything...

"I throw my hands up in the air sometimes
Saying AYO
Gotta let go
I wanna celebrate and live my life
Saying AYO
Baby, let's go."

The New York song represents our trip there last year. It was cool because I found the video on youtube before we left and then when we were at the Yankees game they played it and Jay-Z was there. I do love me some rap--it's just hard to find good clean rap these days.

The Beatles usually make an appearance on the list. Life Goes On is the one I picked for this year.

"In a couple of years they have built a home sweet home,
With a couple of kids running in the yard,
Of Desmond and Molly Jones."

Then I let each kid choose one of his or her favorites to add:

Andrew: Fireflies
Bev: Down
Christian: Battlefield (It's so funny that he likes this song. I think he thinks it's about a real war--not love.)
Jessi: Liberian Girl (She loves anything Michael Jackson. We think it's pretty cool he did a song about a girl from Liberia.)

Watching You. I like some country music. This one is a little twangy for my personal taste, but the message is perfect and makes me think of Mike and Kiki.

He said, "I've been watching you, dad ain't that cool?
I'm your backaroo, I want to be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We like fixin' things and holding momma's hand
Yeah, we're just alike, hey, ain't we dad?
I want to do everything you do; so I've been watching you."

reading routine

This is what it looks like around here before bed:

Usually Bev and Andrew read in bed, but sometimes I like us all to be together so we meet in the family room.

Mike and I trade turns listening to Christian and Jessi read. I am also trying to listen to the older two. I only succeed every once in a while.

Starting in January Jessi got to start bringing reading books home. This was a major accomplishment. It is not the easiest thing for her, but she is really enjoying reading.
Christian is not so enthusiastic about reading. He reads well, but doesn't love it. We're working on that.
I have to make this kid stop reading. One night last week I tucked him in and told him he could read for 10 minutes more. I stayed up late and did some laundry and when I took his laundry to his room at 1:00 a.m. he was still reading. He just finished Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites.
Bev (and I) love the American Girl series. They are fast-reads for her, but they are her favorites. Every time she finishes a series she has lots to share with us about that time in history. She will often come and find me to read me a section of the book that is particularly good.
I go through phases with reading. I have three books I am kind of reading right now. Mike only reads occasionally--and it has to be a really good book if he's going to read it.

I love reading to the kids. As they get older it is harder to find time to get everything done and still have story time. When Andrew and Bev were little I was religious about storytime. We would cuddle in my bed and read several books and then sing Primary songs. Jessica and Christian don't get it every night--I need to do better with that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday visit and precious pictures

I love that we now have 9:00 church. I guess it's more correct to say that I love the 12:00 part. It has been great having the entire afternoon just to be together.

The kids miss their grand Sunday morning breakfast, so Mike now does it after church for lunch.

A few weeks ago Grandpa got out of the hospital. We were finally able to go for a visit. I took my camera and decided to get a picture of each child with Grandma and Grandpa. I know that these will always be precious to us.

Grandma and Grandpa are such important people to us. We are so glad Grandpa is home.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

after school

I used to hate Monday back when I was employed for a paycheck. I grieved the end of the weekend and the return to the grind. I now love Monday. It is the only day we don't have activities after school. It is the only day I have a free afternoon at home with Jessi.

This Monday, the kids got home from school and Bev pulled out her paints. She loves art. She made a beautiful picture about reading the scriptures--something our family is trying hard to do.
Christian and Jess did homework at the counter while I did dishes. Lately they are into Lincoln Logs. I love it when they pull out toys they haven't played with in a while. Jessi makes homes for Polly Pockets. Christian loves the train.
When the kids got in the car after school, Andrew immediately pulled out his library book. Today he chose a book called, Cooking the Italian Way. He had gone through the book and put sticky notes on the recipes that he thought each person in the family would like best. He said that he wanted to help make Italian dinners all week.
We decided on pizza for the first night. He wanted to make the dough from scratch. I made a quick trip to Harmon's to get some yeast. He mixed it and kneaded it. The kids all got to make their own pizzas. Christian made his a "meat-lovers."

Life seems so crazy busy all the time. I just love it when we are home, together, just hanging out.

1. Days with no place to be.

2. A washer and dryer that keep up with ALL OF THIS LAUNDRY!

3. Slushy Diet Pepsi straight from the garage.