Monday, November 28, 2011

Spending QT with each kid

It's important to spend alone time….with each kid, that is...

"I don't even like you anymore." "You don't love me."  I will always encourage my daughter to share her feelings but really, those words were hurting.  She is only 5 so I know I have a long road ahead, one full of door slamming and evil eyeing. But I also know my daughter well enough to recognize that she needed quality mom time.  (Or maybe I needed a little Skye time.)

A few weekends ago, my husband and our son went with his dad to Dallas for the Buffalo Bills vs Dallas Cowboys NFL game.  (We are die-hard Bills fans.) And that left an opening for me to organize a "get to know my daughter again" weekend.  I didn't tell her that, just my fellow bus-stop moms. 

My goal was to take time (which I would have more of with only one kid in the house) to understand her little angry outbursts by calmly and tenderly reminding her that I love her.  Of course, I spindled that in while we went to a movie, got a pedicure and giggled throughout the house. That was the plan at least.  And things were imperfectly awesome! As I hoped, I learned a few things along the way, and I wanted to share them with you:

1.  I need to give up some of my control.  I sometimes hover over little tasks…like pouring the cereal and milk.  What's a little mess…especially when she jumps at the chance to clean it up.

2.  I need to let her make more decisions in her life….not so much whether she should have swedish fish for breakfast, but maybe what shoes she wants to wear or what coat is warm enough for outside.  (She will find out quickly, and learn more if I let her make those decisions…and yes, I might just throw a heavier coat in the trunk just in case: )

3.  Although time-outs work sometimes, I think tender words of understanding help her to figure out for herself how she should speak to me and what behavior is appropriate.  One night I said, "Skye, I know saying those words to me doesn't make you feel good and it isn't going to get you what you want."  She was exhausted, but quickly came around so I could read her a book while she fell asleep on my shoulder.

4. I have a determined, tough, hard-headed little girl on my hands that is also very tender, compassionate and sweet.  Fun combination. These can and are all great qualities, I just have to recognize her, for her, and let her be! 

Now if I could just figure out how to get around this obsession with the perfect pony-tail…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spreecast: Favorite Holiday Foods!

Trish & I had a wonderful Spreecast today on "Mom-Sense" sharing our favorite holiday recipes, and we wanted to make sure you could find all the great recipes we discussed, so we decided to post them here. Try 'em out, and let us know what you think!

You can also watch the archive of our broadcast on Spreecast: "Favorite Holiday Foods"
Bon Appetit!

Summer's Recipes
Cheesy Biscuits! -- Betty Crocker & Bisquick

Biscuits are so versatile! Serve them for breakfast with butter and jam or for dinner in place of bread or rolls.
Prep Time
Total Time
2 1/4
cups Original Bisquick® mix
cup milk
  1. Heat oven to 450ºF. Stir ingredients until soft dough forms.
  2. Turn onto surface dusted with Bisquick mix. Knead 10 times. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Cut with 2 1/2-inch cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 9 biscuits

Sue Bee Honey Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Watch Summer make this recipe for Sue Bee Honey here!


1 cup Sue Bee Honey
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a bowl, mix Sue Bee Honey, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, oil, pumpkin pie spice and pepper.
  3. Transfer to a large baking dish and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Stir the potatoes to expose the pieces from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Turn heat up to 450F and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake --

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Ready In: 2 Hours
Cook Time: 30 MinutesServings: 20
1 (15 ounce) can canned pumpkin puree
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 teaspoons milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1.In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, 2 cups white sugar, and oil. Add eggs, and mix well.
2.In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and beat until well blended. Pour batter into a greased 15 x 10 inch baking pan.
3.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool.
4.In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter or margarine, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, and mix well. Add milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cake, and sprinkle with nuts.

Trish's Recipes
Watch Trish make the recipe on Fox LA here


  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Summer&Schwinn: Catch the Rays While They Last

  • It's fall, and the days are growing shorter. Find out why you should take advantage of the sunshine on your bike while you can in my latest Schwinn Ambassador blog!

    Summer & Schwinn: Catch the Rays While They Last

    Days are getting shorter my friends, and if you haven't noticed, bike riding outside is limited. So…I’m here to remind you to get out and feel the breeze – even if it is a bit cooler than mid-summer.

    Don't take the sunshine for granted! Throw on a jacket and enjoy it.

    Figure out a time during the day to hop on your two-wheeler and catch a 15 minute joy ride. It’s such a fabulous way to break up the humdrum of your day...

    Read the rest on the Ride Schwinn Facebook Page.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cleaning out the closet

I must confess, my daughter has too many clothes. Most of them weren’t bought by me, as we have wonderful hand-me-downs, and we both love them! Hand-me-downs were my favorite when I was little, and my daughter shares that excitement for them…it’s immeasurable. She’s also a bit of a pack-rat, like me. Thus, too many clothes = Too Many Choices, which often equals a meltdown before 8 a.m.  We planned to change that this year…

Skye started Kindergarten this year.  So, the week before school officially began, I made a date with her to go through her closet. It was almost a mini-shopping spree as we tried on all her clothes. I had a two-fold plan: 
  1. Weed out the clothes she had outgrown
  2. Commit to wearing what we were going to keep.
My daughter was a trooper and tried on everything I asked her to.  We celebrated when pants were too small, cheering because she had "grown SO much".  We made several piles…the keepers, the hand-me-down givebacks, and the giveaways.  She wanted a fourth pile that she could sell at our garage sale, but I convinced her we should give them away.  

It was tough to convince her to give away a few items that she LOVED, but in the end I told her we needed too so we could buy new school clothes.  That worked like a charm, and I was delighted.  It was a smooth process with absolutely no meltdowns. Only a few tears came at the end as she laid her head on the giveaway pile and said good-bye to her old clothes.  But it didn't take her long to bounce up with a huge smile at the prospect of filling up the holes in her closet with lots of 6-T's!

An now, with winter right around the corner, it's time to do it all again.

She's so big now…

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Get thee to the Games!

Don't be intimidated by the hype and the stories. If you want to go to the Olympic Games in London, England, next summer, YOU CAN DO IT. And I am here to tell you how. As I have said in this blog many times, my family has been an Olympic fan forever. It stems from my dad, Mr. USA, seriously…Before his house burned down, half his wardrobe was red, white and blue.

Our first Games were LA and everyone told my dad, "The traffic will be horrendous. You will never find tickets. Don't bring the kids, it will be so unsafe." So. Not. True. We found tickets. Many of them right outside the venue. And we drove to all the venues without worry…even parking right outside the LA Coliseum for Opening Ceremonies.

We hear the same thing before every Olympic Games. "Tickets are impossible to get. Hotels are ridiculously expensive. Who wants to deal with that?" If your kids are 8-15 years old, this is your opportunity. A trip to the Olympic Games will be the most unforgettable and amazing family adventure EVER. So here is how you do it…

  1. Go online right now. Airline tickets have just opened up to get over to London. Investigate going earlier than the start of the Games. Maybe even flying into a neighboring country and taking a cheap Ryan Air flight in or the train. Get creative. 
  2. Buy a few tickets for the sport you REALLY want to see. My dad did this for swimming. Other than that, pick up tickets to a few random events (not finals) that are cheap. You don't need to see an athlete win a medal to get catch the Olympic fever. Some of my favorite events were wrestling and boxing and water polo. Here’s a link from Team USA for U.S. ticket information
  3. Get creative with housing. Do you know someone who know's someone who lives in London? Investigate a house swap. Check the train so you know some convenient locations to stay outside the city. (Last minute, there are always rooms so if you can be spontaneous…it can be advantageous.) 
  4. Be prepared because once you have a ticket, you are IN. And you will likely be away from your hotel/flat all day. After you are in the circle of venues, you will want to soak up the action, from morning till night. Be ready to get caught up in the excitement! Here's more info from Visit London 
  5. Be patriotic! I don't care what the world thinks of Americans, I love this country and it makes a difference to U.S. athletes to see red, white and blue and hear "GO USA!" So be proud and Wave your flag!