Monday, October 20, 2014

A Curious George Pancake-Making Day with my youngest: Individual Special Days part THREE


This is part THREE of a three part blog series on creating special individual days for our kids.

Check here for part ONE and here for part TWO




In my previous blog posts, I shared our tradition of creating a "special day" for EACH of our sons.  I know a lot of parents do this!  It is such a great way to connect and to really get to know our little people.



Titus, my youngest, he has my heart in a really big way! He has the most gentle and sweet spirit.   His day was very similar to Dakotah's day, because it was also time spent in the kitchen, preparing a meal.  I didn't intend for their day's activities to be so similar but Titus has been wanting to read the Curious George pancake book with me for awhile so I built his day around that book.


For Titus' special day, I bought him his favorite individual serving of orange juice as a treat, read his Curious George Makes Pancakes book with him, and we made pancakes and fresh syrup together.  He then served our family fun pancake faces for a weekend breakfast! 



Starting out our special day...



To start, Titus and I read his pancake book together.  These are the moments I dwell on, the ones that prick my awareness, the ones that I long to last forever.


After that, we got busy in the kitchen!   We made a homemade pancake mix from my Southern Living cookbook.  I taught him a little bit about make-ahead-mixes.



It was late summer on this day, so we also made a fresh fruit syrup, using delicious Palisade peaches and summer blueberries.  I already shared this recipe on my "Flowers and Food of our Summer" blog post.


Titus, quietly and diligently working hard.


Then he was ready to make the pancakes! To make it fun, Titus topped pancakes with a variety: blueberries on some, chocolate chips and rainbow chips on a few, and some plain. 




Just like on Dakotah's Special Day, Titus got to set the table outside for our meal.  I really enjoyed watching how they each decorated the table in their own style.  I keep leftover party papergoods.  Titus dug out Curious George napkins from a party I had hosted YEARS ago to use on his breakfast table.  

*See here for more details on using a leftover party box.  And check here for fun ways to use leftover party napkins. 



Setting his breakfast table.  He used his old Curious George for a centerpiece.  It was adorable!



Ta Da!


The old party napkins worked perfectly for this special pancake breakfast!


It was a beautifully bright sunny summer morning for our family to enjoy Titus' pancakes.



Fresh Colorado sausage...


Tall stack!


Titus had an idea to make each of us our own unique pancake face.  This is SO Titus, since he is known as our smiley face boy.  I am quite sure smiley faces will ALWAYS remind me of my  youngest.  He draws about 15 smiley faces on every card he writes and every picture he creates.  He also always does a big closed mouth smile that almost perfectly matches the classic smiley face.


Oh! A not so smiley face...


I didn't get pictures of his other face creations, but we had a lot of fun with them!  We enjoyed some of our pancakes with the fresh blueberry peach syrup!


Claiming minutes and calling time 
with the loves of my life
 is by far my most favorite thing in life. 
 I grabbed lots of squeezes from my youngest one
 as we worked together making pancakes. 

 I know these are the moments that will always remain my favorite,
 even long after this time of raising a family has past. 
 I'm painfully aware of how brief this season is.  
 I know, in the future, 
I will look back even on the not-so-special days with longing.  
I breathe it in with every inhale 
and I only exhale so that I can breathe it all in again.  



This concludes this three part blog series.
See here for PART ONE, Cameron's Library and picnic day.
See here for PART TWO, Dakotah's meal planning and preparing day.

I also shared some of the kids' cooking in the Flowers and Food of our Summer blog post. 




Friday, October 17, 2014

Making a day in the kitchen with my middle child: Individual Special Days PART TWO



This is part TWO of a three part blog series on creating special individual days for our kids.

Check here for part ONE and here for part THREE. 


In my previous blog post, I shared our tradition of creating a "special day" for EACH of our sons.  I know a lot of parents do this!  It is such a great way to connect and to really get to know our little people.


Dakotah, my oreo-cream-in-the-middle, son has always been interested in making his hands busy in the kitchen.  Several years ago we bought him a little chef set.  I knew for his special day this year that I wanted him to plan, shop for, and prepare a meal for our family.  



Dakotah is a very hard worker.  He always wants to jump in and help!  He is curious about everything and experiences life through touch.  Dakotah thrives on order and planning.  Planning and preparing a meal for his family made his day!



He sat down with his own Betty Crocker's Kids cookbook and he picked out his dinner choices.  I also taught him some menu planning and cooking tips before we got started!


The menu he decided on was:
Steakhouse Spuds
Fun N' Fruity Salad
Corn on the Cob
Candy Bar Brownies

After he made a menu and a shopping list, we headed to the grocery store.




Kotah was so eager to jump in the kitchen and get to it!







We gathered our supplies and our ingredients and got to work.



For the main dish he made Steakhouse Spuds.  


Steakhouse Spuds How To:
Coat potatoes with butter or shortening and sprinkle sea salt on them.  Bake the potatoes.  
Season and grill a steak to your preference.  Fill a 13x9 in pan with the baked potatoes.  Cut slits into potatoes.  Drizzle ranch dressing and BBQ sauce over potatoes.  Add sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, cooked bacon crumbles, and sliced steak to potatoes.  Warm in oven briefly.  Enjoy!




For dessert he chose Candy Bar Brownies, loaded with lots of goodness!  Make your favorite brownies, frost with a can of frosting, and top with a big assortment of your favorite cut up candy bars! 






Dakotah's favorite part was setting the table.   He did an awesome job without any help from me!   I was absolutely impressed.


He used rubber bands to hold the napkins together...


It was a beautiful summer night for our family to enjoy Dakotah's carefully prepared meal.


His Special Menu


Let's eat, family!


Dakotah did an excellent job in the kitchen, we loved every bite.



I appreciate the one-on-one time I get to spend with my boys.  I wish I could have moore of those minutes! ;)  They are treasures for my soul.  I relish these moments as I get to peek into their hearts, seeing their aspirations, hearing their thoughts, and connecting on levels that we can't do in between homework and soccer practice.  Our children are already people, even if they're kids, with their own ideas and perspectives, and I am eager to learn who each of them are!

 Cooking with my middle was such a solid way to connect with each other. 
 Daily life is a rush and we don't often get to HEAR one another above the clamor.  
If we intentionally set time aside, 
those treasured minutes are worth much!  



This is a three part blog series.
See here for PART ONE, Cameron's Library and picnic day.
See here for PART THREE, Titus' special pancake making day.

I also shared some of the kids' cooking in the Flowers and Food of our Summer blog post. 







Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hey, Who's That? Getting to KNOW our kids with "special days out" PART ONE



This is part ONE of a three part blog series on creating special individual days for our kids.
Check here for part 2 and here for part 3.




I know a lot of parents with two, three, or twelve kids set aside certain days to spend one-on-one time with each child.  Our family does that every few moons too!  It's so good to spend individual time with our littles so we can truly hear them and know them.  We call these times "special days".  Usually we have our special days in the summertime when our schedules are lazier. 

  These days don't need to be Disney World scale, just simple activities draw us close.  Last year for Cameron's special day we went to lunch, then went to Wal Mart to make a custom ID chain at the pet ID tag kiosk.  This ID Tag kiosk is such an inexpensive, unique, and quick way to deliver some fun!


 This summer, I started our special day period with Cameron.  I try to plan a day for each son that fit their interests, love languages, and personalities.  For Cameron, we had a take out picnic together and we took a trip to the library.  

Cameron enjoys meaningful, focused conversation.  So I decided it would be good for us to grab some lunch and head to a quiet spot in the park to picnic and chat.


Comfort food to go!


The way Cameron's mind works is extremely intriguing to me!  I am always left in awe of his ideas, philosophy, and viewpoint.  Getting to really know my kids is one of my biggest delights in this little life we have.

Mama and her teenager

After our bellies (and heads!) were full, we headed to the library.   Cameron is a giant bookworm.  For real.  He will read at any opportunity.  Books are his passion.  (Check out this fun vintage bookstore birthday party I threw for him a few years back to celebrate his love of books)

Ready to scavenger our way through the library to find some treasures!


Cameron made a list of books he wanted to check out.  We use the book Honey for a Child's Heart to find good books.  It is an excellent book list resource and I highly recommend it! 

Cameron's List

I dusted off my dewey decimal system knowledge and took advantage of our time there to teach Cameron some library searching skills and how to's.  

His treasure finds!

Nothing makes Cameron happier than a stack of good books.


This photo is especially endearing because it is a shot capturing exactly what Cameron does!  He will skip the chair to read.  He does this often, wiggling his way into a position to read, anywhere at anytime. I wish I had pictures of every uncomfortable he has been in just to be able to open the cover of a book!  Love him!



Shhh...

A day at the library with my oldest delivered a quiet, cool calm in the middle of the loud free days of summer.  I appreciate the one-on-one time I get to spend with my boys.  I wish I could have moore of those minutes! ;)  They are treasures for my soul.  I relish these moments as I get to peek into their hearts, seeing their aspirations, hearing their thoughts, and connecting on levels that we can't do in between homework and soccer practice.  Our children are already people, even if they're kids, with their own ideas and perspectives, and I am eager to learn who each of them are!  



This is the first part of this three part series.
See here for PART TWO, Dakotah's meal planning and preparing day.
See here for PART THREE, Titus' special Curious George pancake making day.

I also shared some of the kids' cooking in the Flowers and Food of our Summer blog post.