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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Parenting - working through frustrations

As I am a first time mom, I am going through each stage for the first time. Things will be different for future children, and stages will prevent their own challenges, but at least by then I will have experienced something in each stage.

My daughter is currently 16 months old. We are testing the nap issues currently the most. She likes to lay awake and talk through nap time. It frustrates me as I know she needs her sleep and I know how it affects her later if she doesn't get her nap. I know a few days of missed naps means more work for me later to get rid of the fatigue that sets in quickly. Of course she does not understand this. She does not know why I work so hard to get her to actually sleep at nap time. Or why it is so frustrating to me when she fights it.  This is something I am working hard at to maintain my cool and not let my frustration out on her or where she really sees it. This is a work in progress.

Another fun part of this stage (though we are really only in the very beginning of this one) is the tantrums, especially in public.  Luckily, so far there have not been many public tantrums, but I most definitely am not wearing rose colored glasses with the belief that my child will never act out in public. That is a given for every child, no matter how well behaved they usually are. While there have not been many public breakdowns yet, I am sure I will get plenty of looks through the years when they do occur. I am of the mindset that the child has a breakdown and the parent does not fuel the fire by giving in. If in the grocery store and a child throws a fit because he/she wants something and was told no, the answer will stand and they can throw their fit till they give up. I will not give in but will follow through with what I said. Yes, I guarantee plenty of people will stare at me and wonder why I do not give in just to make my child quiet down. Or wonder why I don't just give up on the trip and try again later, leaving my cart and walking out. I will not give up or give in. If the child is screaming, he/she can have their fit. I would like to hope that after only a few of these fits, when they see I don't give in, they will take me at my word and the fits will slowly decrease and finally go away. It would be nice if it works that way, but I won't give up. People may stare if they wish. But I will follow through with what I told my child(ten) rather than giving in just to make them happy and quiet down for the sake of saving myself embarrassment while in public.

By following through, my children will learn I mean what I say. They will learn that I am the parent and what I say goes. They will not run my household because I allowed them to by letting them get their way all the time. Allowing children to have choices is fine. I will give my children two choices (both of which I am comfortable with) and they can decide from there. For example, if while shopping my child begs for a sugary cereal, I will give them two cereal options I am comfortable with and they can pick one of those. Or they can choose nothing. I will not give in to the sugary cereal they want that is not healthy for them just to avoid a tantrum and embarrassment on my part.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning


So I have made my own taco seasoning twice now and love it! I feel healthier eating this than the stuff found in packets because there is no junk in this. Rachael Ray has been inspiring me to make more of my own things rather than doing the 'quick and easy' grabbing the pre-made things from the shelf at the store.

I found a couple different recipes for taco seasoning here and here. I somewhat combined these and came up with this version I have used. My husband has not noticed the difference (or if he has, he has not mentioned it) of my homemade stuff versus the pre-packaged kind.

Here is what I used:
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp (overfilled, not level) or 1/2 Tbsp Paprika

When I use this in my beef, I add about 1/2 cup water to the beef and use about 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of the mix. This seems to work out well for me. I am in high elevation, so I don't know if this would change for lower elevations or if some alterations need to be made.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

I wanted to post this, though today was not the first time I have used this recipe. I ran into a problem a month or so ago when I needed cream of chicken soup for a recipe but didn't have any. I didn't want to run to the store, so I started searching for a solution. To be honest, I cannot remember where I found the recipe online, but I wrote it down and have it on hand. I have altered it some for my own use and still need to make more adjustments as I am in high altitude and all recipes have to be worked on a few times to get them right here.

The basic ingredients are:
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 c milk
1/2 c chicken broth
salt/pepper to taste

* I also add other seasoning based on what I feel like that day. Usually it is a dash of onion salt/powder, and a dash of garlic powder/salt.

* I have been adjusting this some to thicken it up, and have been adding about 1 Tbsp cornstarch as well. I think I still need to add a little more and cook it longer, but it works out fine as is, it just isn't quite as thick as I would like.

So to make this, melt the butter on medium heat till melted, then whisk in the flour and cornstarch. Once this is bubbling, take it off the heat and add the milk and chicken broth (and any other spices) till mixed, returning to heat. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring frequently until it thickens. That's it!

This is so easy to make, and uses ingredients almost always on hand at home. It is simple, without any extra junk. I like that I can make it at home and not have to worry about what I am feeding my family. I have used this in a cheesy, chicken and rice casserole I made when my parents came to town. I made it today to use in my recipe for beef stroganoff. It works well and tastes great. My parents didn't even notice any difference. My husband usually can tell when I change things up (like when I tried to use plain yogurt in place of sour cream), but he has not noticed this change either.

I love being able to make things for my family that are good for us and are budget friendly. Whether that is food or crafting, this is what I enjoy doing.