August 31, 2015

Menu Monday Link Up 8/31

Monday came around quick this week! When do you like to get your grocery shopping done? I like to make my grocery list Sunday morning while I have my coffee, and then I usually try to shop on Monday, because the stores are so packed on the weekend. But with Keith working Monday mornings for a few weeks, I had to get it done on Sunday.

Trader Joe's and Safeway were so busy yesterday and I had a lot to get. It seems like we run out of everything (milk, olive oil, peanut butter, etc) all at the same time. It was quite the task to make the list, do the shopping, unloading and putting away, but today I'm glad it's done and all the groceries are put away so we can get on with the week.

Our menu this week is pretty simple! There isn't a lot of chopping to be done or prep work for our meals this week, which is just what I needed. What I love most about Trader Joe's is that I can buy so many shortcut items there to make dinner making much easier. One of my favorites is the mirepoix mix!

| Monday | Lasagna and Green Salad - Making one for us and one for our neighbor. I can't remember the last time I made a lasagna.

| Tuesday | Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup - I'm trying a Mexican twist (my favorite!) on a soup I made last fall. If it turns out good I will be sure to share the recipe.

| Wednesday | Tortellini with Meatballs and Green Beans - I'll be at O's school Orientation, so I need to make something quick before I go. Keith loves tortellini!

| Thursday | Oven Baked Fajitas - Have you made these before? There are a lot of recipes out there, but I usually just toss some sliced bell peppers, onions,  chicken tenders with a little vegetable oil and then mix in my homemade fajita seasoning before baking it in the oven. Sometimes we eat them in tortillas and other time we have it with beans and rice. All depends on what we have on hand!

| Friday | Dinner out or take-out! - By Friday I'm done cooking and we're in the mood to get out of the house or hang with friends.

So what's your plan for the week? If you'd like to link up your menu for the week or even just a great dinner recipe you'd like to share, link up below! Also, don't forget to grab the graphic below to add to your post or include a link back to the link up.

Also, don't forget, I've started a Menu Monday board on Pinterest to share all the great ideas from weeks past. I'll be pinning everyone's posts this week as well!

Now it's your turn! Link up your menu or favorite dinner recipe below!

August 27, 2015

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, a Children's Book Review

Owen is not an easy sleeper. He never has been. His naps, bedtime, wake time and restlessness have always been unpredictable and a complete mystery to us. We feel like we've tried everything, and we're still willing to try almost anything to help him.

We've been reading The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep book (the one that so many people have been talking about) for a full week now. A lot of people, like us, just want to know if it really works.

How does it work exactly? Let me tell you all the details.
  • the book is paper back
  • uses an "improved language pattern that will help your child to relax and fall asleep",
  • takes over 20 minutes to read (give or take depending on how slowly you read, which really, the slower you read it the more effective it is), 
  • has pictures on each page (that you're not supposed to show the child because it will distract them from relaxing) 
  • uses text cues for parents to remind them to read slowly, emphasize certain words, or use certain actions, 
The story is about a rabbit who can't seem to fall asleep. His mother suggests they, including your child who becomes a part of the story,  go on a journey to visit Uncle Yawn who will help them fall asleep. Along the way they meet two characters, Heavy-Eyed Owl and Sleepy Snail, who also try to encourage them to fall asleep. After meeting Uncle Yawn they make the journey home, stopping to talk with the same two characters again. The story ends with the rabitt back at home, asleep in bed.

The Good
  • The book helps calm Owen down. The story is calming, it uses lots and lots of repetition and encouragement to help children fall asleep. 
  • There are a lot of verbal cues meant to convince children that it is time to go to sleep and that it is ok if they do so before the story is over.
  • Because we read it every night it has become a predictable part of our routine, which helps Owen know it is time to get into bed and relax (not that that always works).
  • There is a letter in the front of the book that tells you how you're supposed to use the book.
The Bad
  • It's really long in my opinion, and takes me over 20 minutes to read to him. Some nights, especially when O hasn't napped, we don't need much to get him to doze off, but I can see why it's so long -- because it's supposed to bore encourage children into relaxation. 
  • The sentence structure is awful. It's hard to read at first because of this, but after a while I got used to it. I guess you have to just settle that this is not some great chidlren's literature and remember that the way it is written has a purpose, even if it goes against everytinng you know about writing.  
  • Here is an example of the text in the book: "--Where are you off to now? asked Sleepy Snail curiously. --I am going down to visit Uncle Yawn, said Roger The Rabbit, because he will help me fall asleep now. How do you, make yourself fall asleep? Asked the Roger" Like I said, the writing it a little awkward and takes some time to get used to. 
  • The word "now" is peppered through the book, and often serves as it's own sentence. I'd love to count how many time it's used, but I don't have the patience to count.
My honest verdict: The book is being promoted as a "miracle worker" that will get your child to fall asleep in a snap, but that just has not been the case for us. Owen is a determined little guy, and while the book does help calm him down and help him unwind, he has never fallen asleep while listening to it. Although, I have seen his eyes get heavy as we read, but it hasn't done much to benefit how quickly he falls asleep after the book is over.

Just like most things with children, it all depends on your child -- and how tired they are. 

Have you tried this book? What did you think?

August 26, 2015

This & That

It's been a little while since I've shared what's going on here with us, besides baby and cooking stuff! It's time for a little update!

On Friday night Owen tested for and earned his yellow belt in his Taekwondo class! We picked the Friday 6:45pm time slot for him to test so Keith could come too, we both love being there to watch his classes and see what he's learning. We were a little nervous for him once we got there and saw what the testing sessions were like. There are only 4 children scheduled in each time slot and while they do some of the test together, they also have to show some of their skills solo. Owen was the only Mighty Monkee (the name for his 3 to 5 year-old age group) in his testing group too. Luckily his teacher stepped in and helped prompt him  for his Sunrise Song, which includes a series of words along with kicks and punches to match. His school is amazing and we could not be happier with every aspect of being a part of the studio. We are very proud of Owen for earning his new belt!

Afterward we went to dinner at Jack's Prime for burgers, fries and milkshakes to celebrate!

The weekend! We celebrated my friend Anne's birthday on Saturday afternoon and it was so beautiful! Her mother-in-law threw the party at Filoli after hours, so we had the entire estate and gardens to ourselves. I've been there a handful of times for the gorgeous Christmas boutique they put on and to explore the vast gardens, but this was totally different because it was just our little group on the property. She had it caterer and the food was absolutely amazing (the artichoke dip was addicting, we all agreed) and the kids had a BLAST running around through their own personal secret garden. It was a great way to celebrate our sweet and dear friend Annie!

I will be through using my current planner at the end of December, so I've started looking for a new one to use for 2016. With only four months left in 2015 I want to get it pretty soon, since I'm usually inputting dates a month or two in advance. And then there the fact that I'm due at the very beginning of December, so I want to have it ready to go with Birthdays and Anniversaries before things get really crazy.

After a lot of thinking, I've decided to go back to the Erin Condren Life Planner (that's a referral link, which means I get a store credit if you decide to place an order), you can see my past Life Planners here. I have really liked my Simplified Planner, but I didn't fill it up as much as I thought I would, and while there are pros to letting each day have a full page, I also really like being able to see the whole week at a glance. I'm placing my order this week and I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the Prism design.

Are you a Walking Dead fan? Did you watch Fear the Walking Dead? The ratings said that the first episode, which aired Sunday night, broke some ratings records for how many people watched the first episode. I thought it was good, so far. I understand that they have to take it slow to develop the characters, and since we already know what's going to go down for the most part, they can take their time letting it unravel before us.

Owen had his first t-ball class with Mini Sports Stars on Sunday morning and it was the cutest thing to watch. We worried a bit that he would be shy (not sure why I ever worry he'll be shy, because her's never been know to be shy!) or not be confident because most of the other kids have been taking the class for a couple weeks, but he did SO well. The coaches and founder, Dan, were really on top of their game and do a fantastic job of corralling, while teaching, the 20 kids in the class. We were proud of our boy and I can't wait to tell you more about it next week!

Tomorrow I'll be sharing my review of The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep! Have a great day!
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