Go nuts for Donuts!

We have been married 7 1/2 years. 

Lance has talked about his sisters homemade donuts for 7 1/2 years. About how she used to make them when he was younger, how delicious they were, how much he LOVED them. 

The other day I got around to asking his sister for the recipe, finally.

Friday night in our house is called "Family Fun Night" We do all sorts of different things...play different games, make playdough, watch movies, it's different every week. This Friday we planned to make "THE Donuts"  together.

We mixed, stirred, made a mess, ate, cut, cooked, ate, dipped, iced, and ate some more! It was great fun!

Now these donuts had quite a bit of hype behind them....7 1/2 yrs worth of build up. Let me just say...they really are DELICIOUS!

Thanks Sabra and Chelsey for sharing the goodness! Now I will pass it along.......

Cake Donuts

3 1/3 cup Flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp B. Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp shortening
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk

1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the rest of the ingredients until well mixed.

2. Stir in remaining flour

3. Roll out dough 3/8" thick

4. Cut into Donut shapes. (we didn't have a donut shaped cookie cutter so we just used a cup and a little lid for the inside circle.)

5. Deep fry in Lard. (I didn't have lard either. We just used grease, the temp was fairly low and they turned out good.)


2 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp milk

Stir together and dip warm donuts into it. Let set on wax paper. 

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Easter ~ WHAT?!

The other day I went to the store all pumped up to buy a bunch of yummy chocolate Easter eggs, chocolate Easter bunny's, pretty Easter baskets, etc. I was very disappointed to find none of the above items. I finally gave in and tried to ask a sales guy where the heck they were hiding all the Easter stuff?! 

I said: "Do you have Easter baskets?" 
He said: "Yes mam" and turned around and handed me a plastic shopping basket. 

Hmmmm let's try again.....

I said: "No No, do you have Easter stuff? You know like Easter bunny?..... Easter Sunday? ......Chocolate eggs?"..... 

All I got in return from all these questions was a blank stare. Grrr so frustrating! I guess they don't celebrate Easter the same way we do. 

I decided not to let it get me down. I quickly bought a bunch of mini size snickers bars, and bags of Hershey kisses and headed out. Next stop: Baskets. I found a perfect set of three and a bunch of craft paints at another local department store. Perfect. 

Today Isabelle and I had a great afternoon painting and creating these beautiful baskets. We had a blast talking all about the Easter bunny and what colors we were going to use where. We chatted all afternoon. We decided that we wanted to do this every Easter. Always making our own baskets to collect our Easter goodies in. What a great tradition. I am already looking forward to next years creations and to spending the time together with my girls. 

Can't wait to watch them scurrying around on Easter morning stashing there loot in their freshly painted and personally designed baskets!

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Here she is...my little "Treat Monster". 

Isabelle has a sweet tooth, big time. We have always had issues with her eating. She is fussy, picky, and she eat's like a bird. It has been a stress in my life ever since she was about 6 months old. It's a battle I feel like we are constantly fighting, it goes up and down a little but it's always an issue. 

There is one thing we have NEVER had to force on her - Treats! She LOVES treats. Her favorite is anything chocolate, she will eat it anytime, anywhere, anyhow. To be fair, I must say, she comes by it honestly. Lance and I both love a good chocolate fix, and try really hard to keep it under control. 

I have been feeling so frustrated lately with her constant asking for treats, all day long! She will say, "Mom, I  am hungry, can I have a snack?" I will ask her what she wants and she'll humm and haa and say "oreos" or "Chocolate Granola Bar" or whatever else we might happen to have around at the time. She does love fruit and vegetables...however she always wants the treats and has to ask for them first just to try and see if there's a chance. She'll argue and push the issue tying hard to win the battle.

As a result of her pickyness and her love of sweets Lance and I have gotten into a bad habbit of bribing her with treats...we use them to get her to eat a substantial amount of regular food. "Finish your spaghetti and you can have a treat." "If you want to have some cake you better eat your taco" etc. etc. etc....it goes on and on. 
I hate feeling like I am forcing her to eat. I felt like she was forming this awful habit of only eating for treats. Food issues are not something I want my kids to develop I want them to have enjoyable, heathly relationships with food. NOT forcing it down your throat just to get the "prize"

It was getting to where she was frustrated cause I was always saying no and I was feeling like the bad guy, always coming down on her. Periodically I would just give in (which is the worst thing to do, I know) because I was so tired of the same fight over and over again. It was always a point of tension and frustration on both sides. It wasn't good. 

It needed to change.....but how? I got the answer form one of my favorite parenting books. As it turns out, Isabelle is NOT the only child to ever have this problem - who would have thought? I find comfort in that.  The book is called "Just tell me what to say" by Betsey Brown Braun.

Here's what we did: 

We created a treat bin. Isabelle and I went shopping together and picked out a ton of her favorite treats. Somethings were individually packaged other thing we had to divide up into little ziplocks such as the oreos. Everything in the treat bin is a single serving size. I then explained the rules to her:

"Here are all the treats you can have. You GET to have one every single day! (said with enthusiasm and gusto - leading her to believe she's getting a great deal)" Then I threw in the kicker...."and guess what else?" 
Her eyes grew big..."what?" 
"You get to decide when you have it! One a day, everyday, and the decision is yours! I won't tell you what to do and I won't say no. Once you have had it, that's it for the day" 

She was ESTATIC to say the least....this sounded like a great deal. No nagging mom, no arguing or debating, no sneaking and getting caught and getting in trouble. The power was all hers! 

It's great for me too. I don't have to nag and feel like the bad guy all the time. I get to give my 5 year old some responsibility and some trust. It's all in her hands...on her shoulders. I just stand close by and monitor....it's great learning experience. A great lesson on impulse control.

On the first day of the "treat bin" program she woke up and asked for her treat. It was 6am. I was fully expecting this....she was testing me and the whole thing....seeing if she was actually in control or if I would tell her to have breakfast first. I gladly handed over the bin. With wide eyes, she quickly picked one out and gobbled it up. It was a good learning experience as later on in the day she said: "Wow I sure wish I had waited a bit to have my treat, I ate it so long ago. I can't have another one till tomorrow" She understood the process and that she couldn't have a treat in the afternoon cause SHE CHOSE to have it in the morning. Oh it was wonderful! 

It's probably been about a month since we implemented this process. I have to say things are going 10 times better than I ever expected. The results have been amazing. The stress and tension over food is gone. No more bribing, arguing, worrying. It's all over. 

She never chooses to have it a 6am. Usually it's sometime in the afternoon or evening. There are even days when she has completely forgotten about it. It's so nice to have the issue completely gone. She doesn't realize it but she is actually eating way less treats than she was before. She seems happier and more content. She is handling the responsibility very well and I couldn't be more pleased with the out come.

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Sparkly clean!

Isabelle and Lance had a fun afternoon together......

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not so piggy ~Bank.

A while back Isabelle and I were driving home and she said to me "Mom, I want to have my own money" I told her that was a great idea.......Then I asked her "how did she think she could get some of her "own"money?"

"I dunno".....she replied "Maybe I could do something for you and you could pay me for it?!" B-I-N-G-O...she ain't no dummy.

I was very excited. What a perfect opportunity to teach her about the value of money, hard work, budgeting, spending, saving and more! I talked to her about it all the way home...by the time we got there she was elated about all the possibilities and was an eager beaver to get to work and start raking in the cash!

First task - Raking the leaves out of the back yard....she started with gusto and quickly tired out. she did finish and before I paid her we sat down and made a piggy bank.....not exactly in the shape of a piggy but it'll have to do. She wrote Isabelle's piggy bank all around the top and I LOVE the picture she drew on it. It's of her throwing the money she's earned into the bank. Great depiction of the money actually being thrown.

The next few days were wonderful! She scrubbed out cupboards, put away laundry, raked more leaves and even changed one of Scarletts poopy diapers! (I had to pay out dearly for this last one but it was worth it. Scarlett is about ready to potty train and she is an eating machine...let's just say her diapers are extremely unpleasant to change! don't worry I supervised the whole thing, but it was genius on my part)  

We talked about what she wanted to save for and what she wanted to buy. We told her any bigger purchases she chooses to save for we will pay half and she must save half. Anything else she has to pay for herself. She thought long and hard and decided she wanted to pay for a ride on a mechanical elephant at the local mall and that she would save everything else she earned for our upcoming trip to Canada. She wants to buy something nice there. (I may surprise her with her own wallet to bring her money to Canada in...)

A ride on the elephant costs 10pesos. She carefully counted them, put them in her pocket, and we headed out. She walked right up to the guy collecting the money and said how much for an elephant ride? He said: "10 pesos." She looked up at me with a huge smile, proud as ever, carefully took her 10 pesos out of her little pocket and handed them over.

Even though she has been on theses rides many times before I guarantee that this was the most enjoyable elephant ride ever! Things always taste 100 times better when you have worked for them. I was so proud of her and I could see it in her eye's she was proud of herself. She had earned the money and had paid for and enjoyed the ride. The first thing my tiny little baby girl has ever bought on her own....where does the time go?

It all happens to fast....sniff sniff. 

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Isabelle drew a picture of a dinosaur today. 
She then said "This Dinosaur is 33 kids tall" 

She even wrote 33 kids at the top of the page...just so everyone knew how tall the dino actually was.

Love the train of thought. So cute!

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Great Goals

Kids......oh how they grow...

I have really been thinking about my kids and how fast they are growing up. I feel like my time with them, my time to shape and mold them into the great people I want them to become, is so short. The task feels overwhelming at times and I worry about falling short....about failing them. This parenting job is not one I am willing to take lightly.

I have very high hopes and dreams for my children ~ as I'm sure most parents do. I see, so very clearly, their potential. 

I worry about sending them out into the world. I worry about Jr. High School and all the trials it can bring, especially for girls. Girls can be so catty, vindictive and hurtful. Throw that in with raging hormones and you have a recipe for disaster.

I so badly want my girls to be self confident, self assured, focused, motivated people. I want them to have a strong sense of there own ability's, talents, likes and dislikes. I want them to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. 

I do not want them to be "sheep" and simply follow the crowd because they have no idea what else to do or who they are.

I want them to know the value of hard work and the pay off that comes from it. 

I want them to have a secure, strong family and home that they can always turn to and rely on. 

I want them know the feeling of personal achievement and take pride in what they can accomplish and know there are NO limits to what they can do.

So how does one go about shaping and molding these tender young minds.....gently leading them to greatness?? Isn't that just the question of the day!? 

Lately, I have been reading and studying about how to raise children to prevent all sorts of "issues" through out their growing up years. I personally believe there is not one big answer, no secret key, no magic wand or perfect recipe for success. I feel like it is many small things that can make all the difference. Put the small things together and great things can be achieved.

We have started a goal chart, if you will, with Isabelle. We sat down and had a long chat explaining what exactly a personal goal was. Every Sunday afternoon she comes up with and writes down 2 goals for herself, for that week. It's only 2 and she can easily focus on those two things every day. She is really starting to catch on now and it's wonderful to see. She comes up with them on her own usually suggesting them to me sometime before Sunday is even here saying : Hey mom I have and Idea for one of my goals for next week!" She's starting to be able to look at herself and figure out something she would like to improve on.

Every night we have a little chat and decide how she did that day. She get's a super sparkly sticker if she did perfectly, a normal barbie sticker if she did ok and an X if she didn't do good at all. She is the one who makes the final decision as to what she thinks she deserves for the day and I don't argue with her about it. She is very fair and honest with herself. I love seeing the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction on her face at the end of a day when she's done really great. You can see she's so proud of herself, as she picks out a sparkly sticker.

Some of her goals over the last little while have been:
~practice my reading everyday for 10 min.
~play nicely with my sister
~Do what I am asked the FIRST time I am asked
~wipe, flush and wash my hands everytime I go to the bathroom
~practice riding my scooter around the loop everyday to get better balance

I LOVE the goals she made this week. I was so proud of her for coming up with them on her own. They are bang on and she really tries hard throughout the day.

1. Don't argue or complain 
2. Don't say NO to Mom and Dad. 

She always like to draw a little picture ~ of course, cause she's Isabelle ~ In this one she is shown saying "YAS" (yes) instead of no, like goal #2 says. 

Making personal goals, big or small, and actually ACHIEVING them leads to great things. It helps develop trust in yourself, you then in turn gain self confidence. When you are a self confident person you want to grow and achieve so you set goals to better yourself and the cycle continues. You feel proud of yourself and what you can accomplish. Making, setting and achieving goals is a great tool to success.   It is a very good habit to get into. 

It provides focus and purpose to everyday life. It helps one to continually grow, progress and evolve as a person.....always moving forward, always learning.

I have noticed a huge change in Isabelle and myself over the last month or so that we have been doing this. She is such a good girl with a good heart and I am so proud of her! 

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Mom, I cut my bangs!

Oh those dreaded words.

It took 5 years, and 5 months for me to hear them. They came out loud and clear the other day along with the explanation of some glue stuck in the bangs and trying to get it out....oh no.

I honestly thought we were past the point of having to worry about it. We have had the "You NEVER cut your own hair talk more than once" and she always nods in agreement and understanding.

Here is a picture of her with the chunk out of her bangs. We are growing them out and they were just to the point of being able to fit into her little pony.

(Note: Yes, those are cat whiskers drawn onto her cheeks by herself.)

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