Yesterday, I decided to push everyone outside their mealtime comfort zone by planning to serve a new recipe that I honestly expected to be disliked by all. I came across this recipe for fish tacos (with a nicer picture than mine too) and thought it sounded interesting.  Over the weekend, I shared the menu for the week with my husband.  He was not excited about the fish tacos, but is a good sport and is always willing to try new things. :)  As I prepped the fish and cooked, I talked up our dinner with the kids.  Thankfully, I have 2 kids who are willing to try new foods and even retry foods they previously disliked.  

The fish tacos were actually very quick and easy to make.  I made the fish spicy for the adults and left out the red pepper on the kids' fish.  I also left out the onions on the kids' tacos and just gave them some of the creamy cilantro sauce the onions were in.   To my surprise, the kids liked the fish tacos and ate their entire taco.  I thought they were good as well.  Brandon ate his without complaint, but I think he would be just as happy if I left them off the menu in the future.  I guess I'll just have to make them for lunch for the kids and I on occasion. ;)

September is always an exciting time around here and this year proves no exception!  Aubrey was born in September 2009.  Then Jackson came along in September 2010.  We enjoyed celebrating their birthdays and the blessings they are in September 2011 and 2012.  This September, we look forward to celebrating with Aubrey and Jackson, AND welcoming a new little one!

We had some bumps along the way, but God has been faithful through it all.  We are so excited and look forward to watching Aubrey administer her mothering skills on a live "doll" while Jackson tests all the baby gear, figures out how to turn the swing into a fun ride, and uses the pack 'n play bassinet as a jumping platform. ;) It's going to be fun!

Hopefully, we will get the big reveal in early May.  We will keep you updated through Facebook and this blog. 

We are on a journey to live healthier.  This has involved many changes and will result in many more.  It is not something we have done overnight.  Instead we have tackled one area at a time and then moved on to another.  This has involved lots of reading and evaluating claims regarding what is healthy, safe, best, etc.  I may blog more about this ongoing process at a later time, but today I want to share a recipe that is great for quick breakfasts or a healthy snack: Breakfast Cookies.  My sister came across it and passed it on to me as a great "kid friendly" recipe that only uses real food!

Breakfast Cookies

3 mashed bananas
1/3 c applesauce
2 c old-fashioned oats
1/4 c milk (I used organic, but almond or coconut milk work as well)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Any mix-ins you prefer such as raisins, cranberries, nuts, dark chocolate...

Bake 350, 15-20 minutes.
Mash bananas.

Add the rest of the ingredients. (I didn't use any additional mix-ins.)

Drop spoonfuls of cookie mix.  Pat down a little. (The cookies will not flatten or spread during baking, so they will hold whatever shape you put them on the pan.)

Bake 15-20 minutes. (Mine needed 20 minutes)  Let cool and enjoy!

Freeze the extras for a quick breakfast or snack you can feel good about.  Just take out however many you need and warm for 20-30 seconds in the microwave.

In our house, each day is filled with learning.  We have fun playing educational games, using technology to reinforce various skills and taking advantage of learning opportunities through conversations and hands-on experiences. They are developing strong social skills and the ability to participate in a structured environment through outings, playdates, weekly story time, Sunday school and weekly Rainbows class.  I have been blown away by how quickly both little ones have absorbed knowledge and developed skills.  

That being said, I am looking forward to facilitating daily lessons in a more purposeful, planned manner next school year.  Aubrey is starting to read and is ready to start basic addition and subtraction.  Jackson can identify 95% of the letters and can count to 12.  He knows his shapes and colors(finally) and is eager to learn more.  Both love to learn about the world around them.  They are capable of so much and make learning together fun! :)

I have been surprised by how many complete strangers have asked Aubrey if she attends preschool.  She just answers with a polite no, but internally I am holding back from jumping in and explaining to them why going to preschool is not necessary in order to master preschool academic and social skills.  There is certainly nothing wrong with attending a preschool and many parents opt to send their children to preschool for a variety of good reasons.  We are opting not to and our children are flourishing despite this neglect. ;)  Seriously though, if you are thinking of helping your child master preschool expectations at home and ensure their readiness for kindergarten (whether that be homeschool, public or private school), there are some great resources out there and tons of free/inexpensive technology sites/apps.  Ultimately, its all about making learning fun and having fun learning together!

Our school year is going to be organized around fun themes (seasons, holidays, social studies/science topics, etc.) with hands-on learning, crafts, basic skills, technology and field trips to support them.  My hope is to post the themes we are focusing on each season, along with resources, ideas and field trips we have planned.  Here are some great resources to get started.

Planning and Goals:
VA standards provided for public school preschool programs.  Provides a helpful overview of areas to focus learning in. 

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist- provides a list of specific skills that should be mastered during preschool in a format that allows you to check off when mastery is achieved.

Milestones by Age allows you to get a feel for what your child should be doing and help select areas to focus on.  Be sure and incorporate the skills they've already mastered too!  We want to keep up their confidence, maintain skills, and allow them to make connections and extend their learning.

Let each child guide your plans.  Provide opportunities for learning that meet them where they are and keep learning authentic and fun

Gathering Ideas:

Pinterest- search hands-on activities or preschool activities

*Google and Pinterest are 2 of my favorite go to places when looking for fresh ideas that support literacy, math, thematic units, etc...