Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

This recipe is from a Big Fat Binder of family recipes that my mom gave me for Christmas last year.  I love it and use it weekly!!  Thanks Mom!

4 Baking Potatoes
2/3 Cup Flour
6 Cups Milk
1 Cup Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1 Teaspoon Salt (I used seasoned salt)
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Sour Cream (I used Fat Free)
3/4 Cup Chopped Green Onions (plus more for sprinkling on top)
6 Slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used Turkey Bacon)

1.  Bake potatoes.  Peel and coarsely mash.
2.  Lightly spoon flour into a large pot.
3.  Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.
4.  Cook over Medium heat until thick and bubbly (approximately 8 minutes).
5.  Add mashed potatoes, cheese, salt, pepper.  (I also added a few shakes of minced onion) Stir until cheese melts.
6.  Remove from heat.
7.  Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions.
8.  Cook over Low heat for 10 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.
9.  Sprinkle servings with cheese, onions, and bacon.

Makes approximately 8 servings.

Positive and Effective Tools for Discipline

As a member of Fort Bend Parents of Multiples, I had the privilege to hear Patina Sehorn speak about Positive and Effective Tools for Discipline. Because I learned a lot from Patina in that short amount of time, I thought'd I share my notes.

Patina is an educator, mother of 3, and co-author of Answer Keys: Teachers' Lesson Plans for Successful Parenting. (I am the proud owner of an autographed copy of the book!)

Positive and Effective Tools for Discipline

Children are blessings. With Blessings come responsibility.
As humans, we are born to say “No” and “Mine”. We must be taught to share, to be kind and loving.
As a parent, its okay to get it wrong. You have 365 days EVERY year to try again.
Discipline and Social Skills must be taught. If you don't teach them to share and take their turn, the world will, and the world can be nasty.
Social skills should be learned before Kindergarten.
Its our job as parents to set standards, expectations, and limits.

Time Out:
2 Rules of Time Out:
  1. Be Consistent. Show that your words mean something and that their behavior will have consequences. Do not let them slip even once.
  2. Use when being disobedient or not listening.
Both parents must be fully committed to Time Out.
The goal is to teach them to stop, gather themselves, and solve problems.
Time spent in Time Out=1 minute for every year (3 yr old=3 minutes in Time Out).
When a child is in Time Out, do not engage with them. Do not speak or respond to them.
If they are screaming, simply say “If you are screaming, you might not hear the timer go off”.
Your choice sent you to Time Out, that wasn't my choice. While you are in Time Out, I'm going to go about what I was doing before you acted out. Put the child on a mat somewhere where they can see you carry on with your day.
Do not respond to temper tantrums and poor behavior until they are reasonable and calm.
Once the Time Out is over, mentally hit the Reset Button and have fun the rest of the day.
When a child is screaming and upset, it is NOT a teachable moment. Send them to Time Out, let them calm down. After Time Out, ask them why they were sent to Time Out. Explain that you know they are disappointed, but that you know they will make a better decision the next time around.

Do not expect a behavior that you have not modeled, expressed, or taught.
Do not make any threats that you do not fully intend to back up.
Develop your Authority by following through. When you say it, it has to happen. Establish Authority by giving consequences, being 100% (NOT 98 or 99%) consistent, and always follow through.

Natural Consequences: We learn from the things that bother or inconvenience us. If they make a huge mess at dinner, they need to problem solve and learn to clean it up.

Build Trust, Affection, and Confidence by giving them undivided attention for at least 10-15 minutes per day EveryDay. Quality time together can be helping you cook dinner or sitting down to read a book.
Say Yes to Everything! Can I have an ice cream sandwich (10 minutes before dinner)? Yes! Right after dinner. Go ahead and pick out the one that you want and we'll set it aside.
Give them choices. In the bath, ask “Do you want to wash your fingers or your toes first?”.
Don't embarrass them in a public setting. Pull them all the way to the side. Use soft words, don't raise your voice.
Save them from themselves. If they are acting inappropriately, tell your friends that its been a long day and pack up and leave.
Everything going “fine” won't come knocking at your door. You have to work to achieve that status.
FUN is a choice and should not involve you pulling out your wallet.

Get on the Same Page:
Write down the consequences for each behavior.
Have a plan for home, public, Grandma's house, etc.
Answers must be the same, no matter if it comes from mom or dad.
If you know there will be a meltdown (wedding right in the middle of naptime) decide in advance who will take the child out to the car for time out.
Life isn't fair. If you have to leave the park because one child is acting out, tell the other child that you will take him back alone after dad gets home (or the next day).
Know your child's currency. Each child has a different currency and it will change over time. When you take away a privilege, make sure its one that will be effective. (Curling iron, cell phone, car, etc.)
Just like the list of consequences, have a List of Rewards (again, this should not involve you pulling your wallet out).
There is no discussion when you say “You are not allowed....”

Car Talk:
Use every minute in the car to communicate with your child. Do not get out of the car until you have discussed expectations and checked for understanding.
Have the children fill in the blanks: “We may not get up from dinner and _____ around the table.” When they fill in the blank with “run”, they have proven that they know what is expected. Hold them accountable.
Do not speak to them unless you have eye contact and they are able to repeat back to you what was said, followed by a “Yes, Mom”.

Right now, our children are like a Savings Account and we are making deposit after deposit. Your return will be seen later in the relationship you have built with your children.

When you are praising them, go All Out! Celebrate their good choices. Call Grandma and the whole neighborhood to let them know about the good behavior.
In times of disobedience, speak soft and slow, using very few words. Be deliberate and specific. Tell them what to do with their hands, feet, and show them what that looks like.

Disrespect is unacceptable and not tolerated. If you give them a specific behavior and they continue to talk, telling you why they thought it would be better a different way, begin to count. Whatever number you get to before they stop is the number of new tasks they must complete. (Example- Counted to 4: 1. wash dad's car, 2. 2 loads of laundry, 3. vacuum the living room, 4. dust all dining room furniture)

The Book:  I haven't had time to read through the whole thing, but when I know I'm going to be waiting (doc office, picking the boys up from MDO, etc) I take it with me.  Its broken down into bite-size pieces, so there's a stopping place every minute or so.  I'm skipping around reading about things I want to know right now, and I'm really learning a lot!  If you'd like to learn more about the book, go here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Goals for 2011

As a new year begins, I've made some serious goals for myself and my family.  And there's no better time to start my first blog!!

As I share my goals with you, I hope that you'll hold me accountable.  I decided on goals rather than resolutions, and have an action plan to accompany most of my goals.  I'd love to hear what you're going to do with 2011!

1.  Become a better Couponer!  If you know me at all, you know I don't go near a restaurant without a coupon in hand, but I had become a little sloppy with my grocery coupons.  So, I threw out the old and started anew.  And I am armed with 2 new resources that my friend Debra shared with me. and
2.  Utilize my Home Control Journal to stay on top of household chores.  If you don't have a Home Control Journal, or have NO idea what shining your sink can do for your sanity, click on over to  In conjunction with my Control Journal, I am also going to write all appointments and events in my planner.  If I don't write it down, it won't happen.
3.  Get the boys' clothes out for the next day when I do my Before Bed routine.
4.  Stick to the monthly budget and balance the budget at the end of each month.  If you don't know already, I use cash for everything and am a huge Dave Ramsey fan!  You can be weird with me by following him at
5.  Work out a minimum of 3 times a week.  If you live around here, we go to the Y!  I'd love a work out date!
6.   And in my quest to have more quiet time to grow in my relationship with Christ, I'm going to make an effort to journal.  I'm starting small in the journaling department, but each day of January I am going to write one thing that makes me thankful for Jon.
7.  Plan a week of meals in advance.  I'm not going crazy on this one, just want to make sure we have several dinner options each day.  And I'd like to get better at inviting friends over for dinner.
8.  Family Night once a month.  We enjoy renting a kid-flick and popping some popcorn, but we've never been intentional, so it rarely happens.
9.  Date Night once a month.  Its so important for Jon and I to continue to build and grow our relationship, so we have decided to plan one date night each month.  It may be leaving the kids at home and grabbing a bite to eat, or putting the boys to bed early and having a quiet dinner at home.
10.  Keep the stairs free of clutter.  I am so bad about stacking things that need to go upstairs on the stairs.  Not only is it an eyesore, but its also a safety issue.  If there were an emergency, we'd have a hard time getting up the stairs in the dark with all of the stuff that accumulates there.

So those are my goals for this year.  Really, they've been my goals for quite some time, but I've never been serious enough to write them down.  I'm organized and prepared to conquer them now!