Summer Bucket List for the Family

Finally, warmer days are here to enjoy as a family.

Enjoying ice cream cones on the first day of summer. www.simplymoms.net

We are pretty simple people so we enjoy those simple moments in life.

I hope you will enjoy our ideas for summer fun.

  1. Go out for ice cream.
  2. Visit family
  3. Beach
  4. Build a sand castle.
  5. Purchase a swing set
  6. BBQ at least once a week.
  7. Visit our local library
  8. Take the city bus into the next big city over for the day
  9. Roast Marshmallows
  10. Do sparklers
  11. Go watch fireworks
  12. Attend a wedding ¬†ūüėČ (My son is getting married)
  13. Purchase a pool for the kids and use it!
  14. Play water balloons with the kids
  15. Make a huge colored ice block for Little Miss Toddler to play with on a hot day.
  16. Have a water gun fight with the kids.
  17. Have a bonfire.
  18. Maybe get a new pet.
  19. Pick up the yard as a family
  20. Go to an amusement park
  21. Visit the ocean
  22. Plant something
  23. Play badminton as a family.
  24. Teach the kids to play horseshoes.
  25. Purchase a fire pit and put it to use.
  26. Visit all the local playgrounds and some out of town as well.

Simple ideas for summer fun with children and family. www.simplymoms.net

 

Tell me what will you do with your summer?

Tell us what you will be doing in the comments below.

Love Jennifer

 

 

 

The Month Of May

I know, I have been absent¬†with nothing to say. ¬†Sometimes the Internet has days weeks and months where it feels like it is weighing me down. It is strange I know. ¬†Something that if I want this blog to work I need to sort out and get over. So this afternoon I am just going to share some photos from my May ūüôā

My sweet Trev on his bike at the park

Trev, hard to think my baby will be 16 in October! We were out enjoying one of our very few nice days!

little Miss Toddler Picking Flowers at the park

Little Miss Toddler at the park picking flowers.

50 years old and can still peddle a bike.

Hubby Peddles away on Trevs bike!

Stormy days

Storms and lots of rain was the theme all the month of May

We welcomed a new granddaughter to our family . <3

table setI finally replaced my round table and folding chairs with this new to me set. Yay!

Memorial Day was celebrated with a small parade that passed by our front door.

So that is our month in a small nutshell. Tons of rain here in New England. I will be glad for warmer sunnier days!

Pretty Much Fool Proof Lasagna Simple Version

If you are looking for fancy, complicated superbly homemade lasagna you may want to continue searching.

This is how I have made Lasagna for 24 years for my large family. It is simple and we all can agree that we like it. Finding something that a family of ten all liked was a challenge so I stuck with it and changed very little over the years. It does not include onions we do not care for them but they could be added along with anything else you like.

One major change I did make over the years was that I switched ricotta out for cottage cheese. I have a son that hates ricotta but likes the cottage cheese and the rest of us like it as well.

Lasagna simple recipe www.simplymoms.net

What you will need:

2 pounds ground beef

Green pepper chopped

Onion chopped (Optional)

Salt and paper to taste

2 Jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 box Lasagna noodles

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Large container cottage cheese

Lasagna ingredients

Brown the ground beef, chopped onions ( If you are using them ) and chopped green peppers together in a large frying pan until the ground beef is cooked through. Once cooked drain the ground beef well. We skipped the onions because no one here likes them.

Chopped Green Pepper

 

Chopped green pepper and Ground Beef

Return to the pan once the ground beef is drained well and stir in the sauce. Heat until how though out and set aside. ** I noticed my sauce was slightly watery. So I added a small amount of parmesan and mozzarella to thicken it up a bit. Boil water in a large stock pot for the lasagna noodles. I add a couple tablespoon of oil and salt to my pasta water.

Adding in sauce

 

Once the pasta is cooked. Drain it and cool it off with cold tap water.Just so they are easier¬†to handle. Now you can start layering your lasagna. As you will see Little Miss Toddler joined me. She loves to help. ¬†I really don’t mind. Though I did have to keep telling her to keep those little feet away from the dinner we were making.

I lightly oil my lasagna pan. Some people do not. I do.

The first layer is pasta. I am not fussy in the way I lay them down. If you want to be fancy have at it .

pasta

The second layer is the meat sauce. I put mine on pretty heavy.

and then…. You guessed it another layer of pasta. Sometimes I will do a thin layer of mozzarella¬†over the meat sauce this night I didn’t. The cheese holds the lasagna together better for slicing.

Layering lasagna

Over this layer, you will layer on the cottage cheese and then a thick layer of mozzarella cheese.

Adding cheese to the lasagna

As you can see my little helper has arrived.  Over the cheeses, you will add yet another layer of pasta, over that meat sauce and again a layer of pasta.

Toddler adding pasta to lasagna

last but not least you will be adding mozzarella cheese to the top. We like lots of it.

Toddler adding cheese to lasagna

Place your lasagna in a 350-degree oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. I like to serve mine with fresh bread and a green salad.

Lasagna and a green salad

 

I love the fact that cooking brings my children and Granddaughter into the kitchen. Skills like cooking are very important for children to learn. Even the youngest toddler can help out with simple tasks. My children have always enjoyed eating what they cooked.

Teen son helping brown the ground beef for lasagna

Is there anything different you do with your lasagna? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Love Jennifer

Chores and how to Successfully get the Children to Help

It often gets asked on the Simply Moms facebook Group how do you get your children to do chores? How much do you pay them to help out? Why won’t my kids clean their room and messes?

Having personally been through many stages of parenting. I have raised that child who does not want to lift a finger, the one who cleans everything in sight because they have OCD tendencies and all those in between.

Chores and getting children to help. www.simplymoms.net

I have been successful however in getting every child in my home to help out right down to Little Miss Toddler.

  1. Start when they are very young. 

    While a two-year-old will not have anywhere near the skills of your six or twelve-year-olds they can still help out with small age appropriate jobs and they should. This starts a firm foundation for life of understanding the value of being part of the family unit.

  2. We do not pay for chores.

    No-one pays mom to wash everyone’s dishes or wash clothes that everyone wore. We do not pay children for daily chores they are simply part of being a family and always have been. That has been our rule from day one. We pay with thank¬†yous and I love yous.

  3. There are no assigned chores.

    We do things as they need to be done. Some days my son doesn’t mind dealing with the trash and other days he would rather go out and snow blow. ¬†I tend to just call on the children as things need to be done so they are not stuck doing the same thing day after day. ¬†It keeps the monotony at bay.

  4. Together is always more fun.

    If the yard needs cleaning you will find most of our family out there together cleaning. Even small things like dishes or cleaning a room are always more fun with help. Like the old saying, many hands make for light work.

  5. Make a game of it.

    Often times I will set a timer and we will race to see who can do the most. Or have a little one Play basketball with laundry that needs to be tossed in a hamper. We even incorporate learning with Little Miss Toddler such as asking her to pick up all the green blocks or pick up all the round toys.

  6. Give the whole family a reward for those big jobs.

    When the barn needing cleaning at the end of the weekend we all had a big cookout to celebrate. It’s not the same as a set allowance per chore it is more a celebration of coming together and working hard.

  7. Hold that Wifi!

    For the older children who love their computer time and such, we simply shut down the Wi-fi until things are done. Even as an adult I find it easier to get things done if I am no longer “connected”. It is a great incentive to get things done.

  8. Keep the rules simple.

    I have always taught my children you use it you put it away. You drop it you pick it up. It keeps it simple and them accountable for themselves.

  9. Cut down on things.

    As a family, we have cut way back on the clutter in our lives. It makes it far more easy to clean not only for myself but for the children to help out as well.

  10. Have a place for everything.

    If your children know where things go it will make helping with chores and be cleaning up after themselves much easier for you and them. When I need my can opener I know just where to look. Because everyone in the family knows where to put it after it has been used. A place for everything and everything in its place.

How do you get your children to help with chores? 

Be sure to stop by our parenting group for more on this topic from moms like you!

Love Jennifer

 

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This week we have linked up with The Homemaking Link up.

Moose Burger Homemade Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella

Pizza on a Saturday night? Why sure!

About a week ago we were gifted some frozen moose burger. I have been kind of looking at it wondering what exactly to do with it. I am not against trying new things but I have been under the weather and didn’t want to create a meal that would end up in the trash. So I decided I would take my fresh mozzarella¬†(Way better than the shredded stuff in the bags by the way) and make two pizzas. One moose burger and the other ham that I knew my two pickier boys would eat.

I didn’t get too many good photos because Little Miss Toddler decided that she would like to help by flooding my kitchen washing dishes. ¬†I was afraid she would drown my camera so I had to work quick.

Making Homemade Pizza Crust. Simple Recipe www.simplymoms.net

I made homemade crust.

You could too it is simple but this is a kitchen aid recipe so I used my big stand mixer.

You need:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 2 TBSP oil I use olive oil when I have it but vegetable oil works fine too.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups of flour

In the bowl dump the warm water and yeast together; stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the oil, salt and two cups of flour. Start the mixer on low speed and watch for it to become a ball of dough as it mixes. If it is too wet add in a fourth of a cup of flour at a time until the dough comes together. Pour a bit of oil over the dough and rub it over the dough ball and set it back in the bowl to rise until doubled. Once doubled punch it down and spread on and oiled pizza pan using your hands to spread it out evenly. Poke it with a fork to prevent it from bubbling while it bakes. Place in a 450-degree oven for 5 minutes and then add toppings.

Homemade pizza dough recipe

For toppings, we used pizza sauce, browned moose burger, fresh sliced up mozzarella, and ham.

Then I simply put it back in the oven for  5- 10 minutes until the cheese was melted and bubbly.

Pizza with moose burger and fresh mozzarella and homemade crust www.simplymoms.net

I will tell you I tripled the crust recipe. I assume it makes one 14-inch pizza depending on how thin you spread it out. I made more because we wanted leftovers and we are still feeding a pretty big family. (Six people) Tripled it made two large baking sheets of pizza with a thick filling crust.

Baking homemade pizza

Do you make pizza at home? What toppings do you choose?

Love Jennifer

 

The Word Friendly and Why I Had Stopped Blogging

I joined up Mama Kat’s Writing’s Workshop about a month or so ago. When I joined I was writing pretty regular and getting to know some of the pretty friendly people that also blog and join her link up. ¬†I have known what the prompts were this week for a while now and just keep drawing a blank. Even still as I sit here my mind is just totally frozen. In fact, I have barely¬†blogged at all. But I picked a prompt¬†the word friendly.

So, really no blogs from me this week.

Why?

 

Because of life. Life just threw up all over me and I have not been feeling friendly, happy or like blogging at all.

I have been filling my mind with things like playing Ring Around The Rosie with little Miss Toddler. I sing she sings she holds my hands while jumping wildly on my bed and then we all fall down just so I can hear her laugh. Her laugh that makes everything right in this sometimes very, very messy unfriendly world.

I have been cleaning in a circle like I often do when I am stressed because my ADHD like symptoms show up uninvited when my world brings me for a ride that leaves me hanging on by a thread. This really mean the house is cleaned sub-par for my mind is hyper-focused on other things. So many things get started and left while I trail off to the next.

I wouldn’t call it depression. Maybe frustration that there are certain things in life that I can not fix. Or that nagging feeling I get that tells my mind something is off in life or coming at me and it eats away at me until it finally happens. By the time it happens, I am relieved in one aspect¬†it did, it’s over and now it is about just getting back up and dusting myself off. Righting all those wrongs.

I have decided though it is time to just breath. Let things be and get back to being friendly, and doing the things that make my life have more joy and stop letting life sit so heavy¬†on my shoulders for a while. Breath in … breath out. Ahhh much better already… right?

 

So while this is a lame blog post it is the start of pulling my boots back on by the straps. Therapeutic¬†perhaps? ūüôā

 

Tell me, when life does you wrong how do you bounce back?

And I will leave you with some happy moments from my week in case you have been missing our photos.

 

Boxes are a great place to sit for a toddler

Box with a Toddler in it
Little Miss Toddler playing Tablet in her box.

 

Turkey
Turkey for dinner because it is a comfort food and man does my oven need a cleaning. Yup real life.

 

Then go on over to Mama Kat’s Writer’s ¬†Workshop and link up with those fine friendly people that make me smile each week. ūüôā

 

 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Breaking The Ice

There was a lot of melting happening today and with the melting, icicles were falling off the roof. I have to tell you I was a bit afraid one of our Miniature Poodles would be hit or even killed by all this falling ice.

Maine Ice hanging from roof

So I went out and did what any loving dog Mama would do. I went right on out there and started throwing snowballs at them. This, of course, intrigued my 15-year-old son who wanted to know what his crazy Mom was up to. I am sure I looked rather funny out there in my pajamas throwing snowballs at the house. So he did what any good son would do.  He joined in.

Breaking The Ice

I cherish these moments¬†with him. I know they are quickly slipping by. He is a sweet boy, with a laugh and a smile that bring joy into a somber room with ease. He reminds me in many ways of my “Dad”. He goes at life with this curiosity¬†and excitement that makes you want to sit there with him and figure things out too.

So we hit all the dangerous crazy huge icicles. The dogs can now safely wander out and do their business.  I guess that sorta makes us heroes LOL.

 

As a side note, mid afternoon it was hardly cold out hence the t-shirt for in the moment play.

 

When Should a Child Do Chores (A Guest Post)

Child_Helping_with_chores

 

Doing chores is something that sooner or later every child should be involved in. However, there is no right moment to start teaching children to clean. No matter the age, all of them are able to take part in the housework, even if it goes about a symbolic participation. While toddlers can pick up toys and fill the dog’s food dish, a 6-year-old can sort laundry and set the table. With patience and positive attitude, everyone can help their child to build the habit of cleaning.

 

If you are a proactive parent, who is determined to familiarize their child with the domestic chores, here is what kind of help you can expect from children at different ages.

 

Chores for children between ages 2 and 3

It is pretty easy to involve children on this age in the cleaning because they accept everything as a game. For instance, if you clap your hands when your child puts a napkin in the garbage bin, they will like that and definitely do it again. The other thing about toddlers is that they are pretty curious and sometimes take the initiative to help even if we haven’t asked them for that. In such moments, the best you can do is to show your child that they are doing something good and you are very happy with that. In this way, you can teach your toddler to put the toys on their place, put clothes in the laundry basket, wipe the exterior of the appliances, dust and other simple tasks.

 

Chores for children between ages 4 and 8

If your child is in this group, you only need to find the right strategy for involving them in the cleaning and very soon you will have a little helper at your disposal. Fortunately, these children are easy to trick. Promise them that you will take them to the cinema or the fun fair and they will accomplish all cleaning duties that you wish. These children are able to cover chores such as making the bed, sort the laundry, sweep the floor, clear the table, etc.

 

Chores for children between ages 9 and 12

These children will fabricate all kind of excuses with the sole purpose of getting away with the cleaning. It won’t be so easy to make a 10-year-old help you with the housework if they haven’t done it before. However, when there is a will, there is a way. If you are persistent enough eventually your child will start putting the groceries in the fridge and the kitchen pantries, vacuum, fold clothes, peel vegetables, change the bed sheets and mop the floor.

 

Chores for children on 13 years old and older

If you have a teenager at home you can count on them for a variety of household duties, such as do the laundry, iron clothes, clean the kitchen, wash the windows, clean the bathroom and much more. Teenagers, however, prefer to be engaged in much more interesting activities than cleaning and you can often be confronted with their refusal to participate in the housework. In such cases cleaners from End of Tenancy Cleaning Agency West London advise that the best thing you can do is to speak with them and explain that the whole family needs to participate in the housework.

 

It is never too early or too late to get your child involved in the housework. Children adapt easily to everything, moreover, cleaning can be a very good way for them to learn what is teamwork and that just like the other members of the family, they also need to contribute to the family life.

 

Bio: Baily loves to help and share her experience. She is a small company owner that provides End of Tenancy Cleaning Agency West London, but most of her time is filled with laughter and cries from her two kids. Having your children help, could be a time saver and a great way to keep them busy.

An Open Letter To The Woman Who Shamed My Son For Trick-Or-Treating

Dear Lady,

I am sure that when you went out and you purchased Halloween candy and you turned your porch light on you were excited to see all the small children with their little goodie bags and their cute costumes at your door.  As were they excited to go door to door and collect treats and show off their costumes.

There is an issue though. My son, the quiet sweet kid that he is looks forward to Halloween too. Yes, He is 15.  He followed all the rules. He dressed up, he had a treat bag. He said trick or treat and I know he was polite to you. However, you my dear where not polite to him. You scoffed at him for being 15. You scoffed at him for going out with the other children in our family and having a fun night. You actually hurt his feelings.

Maybe , next year you should not bother with the candy. You should leave your light off and simply not be bothered by anyone’s child. Halloween is supposed to be fun. There is not an age limit. The boy you hurt, my son. Would hold a door open for you. He would pick something up and hand it to you if you dropped it. He says please, excuse me and thank you. He has a tender heart. Yes, he is 15. So what? And yes, maybe I went a bit over board painting his face but Halloween is about dressing like someone else. You know in fun.

h5

You would rather he be out causing mischief? Egging homes? Toilet papering someone’s trees? Stealing candy from small children? My guess is that is a no. And regardless of weather he went out last night or not he would not do that. I understand that maybe in the past you have had some experience some where with someone’s teen, maybe it was not a good one. Maybe as a teen you were not so nice so that is what you expect?

Regardless… No worries we will skip your home next year. You have been heard loud and clear. All we heard is you don’t see people for whom they are you are judgmental and it is sad. I try not to surround myself or my children with that. I try to let my son be a kid and have fun while he can. The adult years are long ones and we never get to reclaim our childhood years.¬†So next year¬†enjoy those extra five pieces of candy.¬† We did not “need them” we were simply out enjoying a fun night in our neighborhood. My hope is what ever made you so bitter towards others gets resolved in your heart.

Sincerely,

Mom of That 15 Year Old Who Trick-or-Treats