Brady-boo is 5!

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It’s hard to believe our little B-Man has been with us 5 years already. We’re so incredibly blessed that this is the boy God chose to be our introduction to parenthood. He’s sweet, funny, so smart, and just plain easy to parent.

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We’re constantly amazed by Brady’s abilities to analyze situations, think about how the world works, and question everything. He loves to learn, build, and create. He’s even tempered and genuinely innocent at heart.

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He loves to please and cares so deeply about others. We couldn’t have picked a better big brother for Nolan and are so thankful for his loving nature.

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We did a little 4 year old exit interview for Brady and here’s how he answered:
How old are you going to be?
5
When is your birthday?
June 21
What’s your favorite color?
Red
What’s your favorite food?
Hot Dogs
What’s your favorite show?
P.J. Masks
What’s your favorite movie?
Firefighter Dusty (Planes Fire and Rescue)
What’s your favorite book?
“Rescue Vehicles”
What’s your favorite song?
“Cake by the Ocean” and “Bubble Toes”
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A police officer
Where is your favorite place to go?
La Cocina (Mexican restaurant by our house)
What’s your favorite animal?
Gato
What about Albert?
I love them both.
Who’s your best friend?
Sophie
What’s your favorite number?
5

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We’re so proud of Brady and his unique little personality. While it’s bittersweet that our first born is becoming such a big boy, we can’t wait to see what big things are in his future!

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Happy Birthday Brady! Thank you for making our job as your parents so fun and rewarding!

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Bars- Kids Cook Monday

Happy New Year! And yay for getting back to our weekly Kids Cook Monday adventures. Today we got in the kitchen and whipped up an easy, healthy, sweet snack.

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We used up a super ripe banana and combined it with some wholesome oats and fresh strawberries. This is a perfect sweet tooth fix or quick breakfast idea. Here’s how me and Brady got cookin…

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We gathered our ingredients-

2 Cups Old fashioned oats
1 Cup chopped strawberries
1 ripe banana (mashed)
1/3 Cup of Milk
1 Tbs. Oil (vegetable, canola or coconut could work)
2 Tbs. Maple Syrup
1/8 tsp. salt (to balance the sweetness)

Then we followed these steps-

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Wash and chop up about a cup of strawberries. (you could use frozen!) 20160104_140157.jpg
  2. Mash up one big ripe banana (this gives the bars lots of sweetness) This is a perfect job for a little helper.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine mashed banana, oats, syrup, oil, milk, and salt. Mix it up until it’s all nice and moist and then add in the strawberries.
  4. Spread oatmeal mixture into a greased pan. 20160104_141800.jpg
  5. Bake at 300* for about 20-25 minutes. (Until golden brown and not too wet/squishy when you cut into it.)20160104_144818.jpg

These are slightly sweet with bites of tart strawberries. If you like your treats a little sweeter, try using a banana that’s even more brown or adding a little more maple syrup (you could even substitute honey!) Make sure to store these in the fridge since it does contain fresh fruit.

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Hope these healthy treats make your 2016 a little tastier!

‘Tis the Season!

We’re loving the Christmas season around here. The Smiths are the type of people who listen to Christmas carols a little too much, decorate way too early, and head to the mall in the peak of crowds. We love spoiling our kids this time of year, but we’ve made a conscious effort to teach our boys the joy of giving. I’m not gonna lie-it’s a little tricky when so much focus is given towards, “what are you going to ask Santa for?” and “how many days until you get to open your presents?” Our hope is that they will learn that giving and doing for others can bring as much enjoyment as receiving gifts some day. After all, there’s nothing quite like putting a smile on someone’s face to make your heart happy.

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Like this charitable act. “Put your heads in those things so mommy and daddy can get a good laugh!”

 

Since the boys are only 2 and 4, it takes a little creativity to think of ways to get them involved in the act of giving or doing for others. Here’s some of the ways we tried to get them in the “giving” spirit this year…

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We donated money to the Salvation Army red kettles.

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We made cards and artwork for our friends who donated money to our St. Jude fundraiser for sick children.

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They delivered cards to all the kids in their class.

 

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They picked out and purchased a toy for the Toys for Tots bin.

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They each went shopping for a Christmas present for their brother. (Dollar Store finds- gotta love ’em!)

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They went shopping for presents for Albert and Gato.

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We made cards for the mailman and trash collectors.

 

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The mailman’s surprise.

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The trash collector’s gift and card.

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We brought a small gift for each of their teachers. (Contemplated the ol’ alcoholic gift for Nolan’s teacher. Bless her patient heart.)

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They gave a small treat to each of their classmates.

And probably the biggest sacrifice this Christmas season was cleaning out their old “baby toys” and donating them to a local ministry thrift shop. This was the toughest part for Nolan- he insisted that those were HIS toys. He had a hard time letting go (but was more willing once he realized that made more room for new toys!) We also gave away all of their clothes that they outgrew recently and donated food to a food bank- thankfully that was done with a more generous heart. It was so touching to hear Brady’s thoughts about how much he cared that other children might not have all of the things that he has. Kids can be amazingly empathetic.

I hope this is the start of raising children who have a love of doing things for others. While I still fully intend on taking part in all the sparkly, indulgent, over-the-top Christmas traditions, maybe, just maybe, it will be done with a charitable mindset that rubs off on our kids!

Kids Cook Monday- Snack Time!

Today we cooked up a healthy snack! Toddler world is consumed with constant demands for something…mostly snacks. Recently I’ve been in search for high fiber snacks for B to help with some of his tummy issues. I came across a recipe for Roasted Chick Peas and thought I’d tweak it and make it with Brady. These came out super crunchy and flavorful much like peanuts. Brady has always loved chick peas (garbanzo beans) whenever we get them at a salad bar so I knew he’d love these. Here’s how this super easy recipe came together.

Ingredients

1 can of garbanzo beans
1/4 teaspoon of:
seasoned salt
cumin
garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
about 1/4 cup Olive oil to coat beans

We simply rinsed, drained, and dried the beans. Then we tossed them in olive oil and the seasonings. Brady spread the beans out on a pan and I roasted them at 425* for about 30-40 minutes (giving them a toss every 15 minutes or so.) They should be golden brown and slightly crunchy. If you want, you can also toss the warm chick peas in a little more salt and sugar for some extra flavor when they come out of the oven!

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These little treats come out nice and nutty and are the perfect sweet and salty snack!

Snow Day!

This is my first post on my new blog! I’m so excited for a new, spruced up website. I thought I’d start by sharing how our family spends a Snow Day. Or what I like to call, “Stay in your jammies all day- day.”

When you live down south, a “Snow Day” sounds very exciting…you picture frolicking in the snow, drinking hot chocolate, and cozily sitting by a fireplace. Somehow that magical image is a little distorted when there’s a 2-year-old stuck inside all.day.long. Anywho, we made the most of it! Here’s a little snapshot of what we did to keep busy!

First of all, I should admit that my hubby was home all day which reeeeeally helped the day move along. Granted, he was working from home, but it was still nice to get a little adult conversation in now and then. You should also know that snow days consist of more T.V. watching than the normal day. Seriously, it snowed ALL DAY, and it was a low of -1* so there was no way we were going to venture out of the house, and there was more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than the average day.

We started by doing a Christmas craft that was long overdue. Every year since Brady’s first Christmas we’ve put his little hand print on our Christmas tree skirt. We finally got around to adding one for this year and putting sweet Nolan’s little hand print on it too.

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There was also a whole lot of “choo choo” time. Brady has now crossed over the obsessive line when it comes to trains. He builds and re-builds his train tracks all day long. I honestly don’t get it, but it makes him happy so we go with it. Also, there’s an episode of Mickey’s Clubhouse called “Mickey’s Choo Choo Express” that was pretty life changing for B. We have it DVR’d and watch it often. Like, a lot.

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Then there was a point in the day where Brady wanted to take his snow tube to play outside, but it was snowing really hard, Chris was busy working, and there was no way I was braving the cold and wind with Nolan. So, we improvised and played with the tube inside. Poor Nolan got put in this inflatable duck. Surprisingly, these inflatable toys entertained the boys much longer than you would expect.

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At one point, things got a little crazy and we had to listen to the entire Chipmunk Christmas C.D. I guess it did feel sorta Christmas-y today with the cold and snow…but those dang Chipmunks really should only be allowed to sing during the month of December. As lovely as their voices are, one can only take so much!

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During nap time, we indulged in some comfort food. Chris and I have been trying new recipes each week and today we had Ina Garten’s Crispy Mustard Roasted Chicken and Basil Mashed Potatoes. Don’t ask me why, but I love ALL things Ina Garten!! This was delicious and completely calorie free- HA!

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Finally, when Chris had wrapped up work, he bravely took on the task of taking Brady outside to play in the snow. They didn’t last too long because it was seriously cold, but it appeased Brady. This is not the greatest picture because yours truly did not want to actually step outside to take the picture. (I didn’t want to get my fuzzy slippers wet!)

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I hope your day was warm and dry (and if you’re one of my Floridian friends or family, I’m sure that’s the case!) and here’s to anyone who has experienced some form of cabin fever with a little one! *Memory making at it’s finest!!*