Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Date Night

Saturday afternoon Mark took me out to celebrate Valentine's Day. (Good thing we did it early cause we've had sick kids since Sunday. Things are finally starting to turn for the good around here and we look to be on the up) He refused to tell me what we were doing or where we were going. He's only words were that we would be outside and then going to eat. So I was to dress warm but nice. Not all that helpful but that's ok. Turns out he took me ice skating in the near by city of Elkhart. It was wonderful. It's started to warm up around here. Suppose to be in the 40s the rest of the week. On Saturday it got to up to low 30s. So it was actually quite perfect, especially for ice skating. After we tired we walked along the paths by the river before heading to dinner. We went to a wonderful sushi bar called Stirred. It sits right across the river from the place we went ice skating. So we got to walk. We got there right after they opened and were lucky enough that they had one table left. Mark said he was going to get a reservation, but as they are not open during the day he could not get a hold of them away from home. I've decided not to tease him and just be grateful things worked out. :) Stirred is really a wonderful little restaurant in one of the old downtown buildings. The space has exposed old bricks and old stained glass windows. It was cold due to the age of the building but they have places space heaters around to help combat the cold. The food was delicious. We had their Valentine's Day special. It included cheese fondue with bread and fruit, your choice of sushi roll, your choice of hazelnut chicken or medallion filets and than dessert.  I choose eel for our sushi rolls (my favorite) and we had the medallion filets with sauted mushrooms. Everything was wonderful. The sushi was great. I would love to go back and just gorge on sushi. It really is sad my husband doesn't like it more. The filets, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus were tender and just melt in your mouth. And for dessert we had mint chocolate cheese cake which was deathly rich. It was the perfect Valentine's Day dinner. And a magnificent date. Oh how I love my husband and his surprises. They don't come often, but they are always filled with love.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- Feb 7th

This Monday comes with a cold for Mama. Ugg, I hate colds. And I hate feeling so drained. I think soup is in order for tonight. The vegetable soup and the rice casserole from last week (both out of The Vegetarian Mother's cookbook) were pretty good. I really liked the soup recipe, and it's so easy to substitute other veggies. I didn't end up making the bean and nut loaf. And it almost seems too much work for me to consider it this week. It's amazing how my mood on Monday will effect what I plan to cook for Friday. Anyhoo. This is the menu plan. What are you planning to eat?

Monday: Cheeseburger Soup with biscuits
Tuesday: Winter Squash Sausage Pasta, side veggie
Wednesday: Lentil and Potato Stew
Thursday: Sweet Potato and Black bean Burritos
Friday: Homemade Hamburger Helper
Saturday: Mark is taking me out on an early Valentine's Day date (kids will be at their grandparents house)
Sunday: Breakfast or other simple meal

For more menus visit Organizing Junkie. There are many wonderful links to menus and recipes to be found.

Word play

Yesterday's car ride to nearby South Bend was spent with Ian's word play. Ian and Cai were in the back saying short words that Ian would then tell Cai the beginning letter. Suddenly Ian says, "car is bar if you put the b for c" Mark and I were awestruck. This started the beginning of rhyming words.  Ian would find a word and then change out the first letter to make a new word.  Car becomes bar. Pet becomes let. Not all his exchanges worked. But it was amazing to hear how many words he did create. Along with all the nonwords he came up with. I think he spent 8 minutes or more with this word play. And again Mark and I were blow away by his capacity to absorb information and apply it. Oh the joy of words!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

C-A-T that says cat

I've notice many times the influences preschool has on Ian. Some good, some not so good. All a sure sign that I'm no longer the only constant influence on in behaviors. However, despite behaviors and influences that he might not get if not at preschool, I am also constantly reminded how much he is growing and learning. This morning was one such instant. We had the chance to enroll Ian in the extended day program, This means on preschool days (Mon, Wed, Fri) he stays from lunch and than another hour of more structured kindergarten readiness learning. First semester the kids learned to identify, write and sound out the alphabet. The weeks after Thanksgiving were dedicated to learning the difference between short and long vowel sounds. January was filled with writing and small word recondition. In the past several months I've watched and listen to Ian sound out letters  he sees. He especially seems to pick out I, A, N and the letter C. Which he and Cai have come to arguments about whether or not Cai starts with the letter C. For some reason (and I highly wonder if it is just Cai wanted to disagree with his brother) Cai insists that his name does not start with C. This of course sends Ian into a fit, but that's another story and not nearly as enjoyable. Ian and I have spent many minutes while in the van sounding out small words trying to figure out how they are spelled. Lately Ian always spells out the stop signs we stop at. I understand that many of the words he recognizes are due to other factors he is picking up on, such as the stop sign. But he is learning and it is so very exciting. This morning was one such time I just couldn't help but be proud of how much he is learning. A favorite book from the library right now is Fiddle-I-Fee by Melissa Sweet. The boys sing it around the house. This morning, while I was still lounging in bed not really wanting to escape the warm covers, the boys were singing/ looking through this book. The inside cover and first page are covered in colored words of the different animals in the song. Ian pointed to the word cat and said C-A-T that says cat. He then went on to sound out pig and duck. We worked on sounding out goat, goose, dog, cow, and sheep. Several times he would turn to the page with the word to see what the picture was, but I found it impressive that not only was he trying to sound out the words, he could find the word on another page and link it to the picture of the animal. I was very proud of this achievement. Before I know it he is going to be reading. And if his love of stories is any indicator, I think he will be an avid reader. It's all very exciting.

Menu Plan Monday- Jan 31st

Late in posting again. I'm telling myself that it will surely be overlooked. ;) Last weeks meals went over well. The Potato- Kale Quiche from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook was wonderful. I ended up making it a crust-less quiche using the egg and baking mix mixture from a recipe in Simply in Season. And everyone devoured the Curried Lentils and Cauliflower from Feeding the Whole Family. My mother and stepdad were here from Wednesday night through Thursday night. They left early Friday morning. They too enjoyed these meals with us. Thursday night Ian, Cai, Mark and my folks played Dinosaur Train board game. Aiden decided he was too cranky to allow me to play, thus I spent the time putting him to bed. But everyone else had a grand time. I think by the time my folks left my house on Thursday they were exhausted and sore from hours of chasing boys around and playing basketball in our basement. Of the fun. Several of this weeks meals will come from the above cookbook. This will probably be the last week (for awhile at least). I have to return them to the library  We'll see how this week's cooking goes actually. I need to go shopping, but a big winter storm is suppose to hit tonight and I'm not sure I'll get the chance to get out tomorrow. All depends on the weather. Well here is the plan at least.

Monday: Speghetti and meat sauce with peas on the side
Tuesday: Chunky Vegetable Soup with biscuits
Wednesday: Kale and Rice Casserole, side veggie
Thursday: Bean and nut loaf, homemade fries, and veggie
Friday: Peanut Butter Noodles (half made with sunflower butter since Cai doesn't tolerate peanuts well)/ First Fridays!
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Supper Bowl Sunday party

For more menus be sure to visit Organizing Junkie.