Wednesday, August 31, 2011

peanut, peanut butter...

last night coen and i whipped up a batch of delicious peanut butter cookies. this post isn't really about the cookies, as much as it is about my assistant pastry chef. the cookies were really good though, and i suggest you try them if peanut butter cookies are your thing. here is a link to the recipe, soft peanut butter cookies.

now, onto the important stuff. coen loves to help me in the kitchen and i love it. everyday duties become learning experiences. it is fun to watch the wheels spin in his head. 

i promise he wears clothes, he just sleeps naked baby (with diaper) at nap, cause it gets too stinking hot! 

um yes, his lip is resting on the bowl. 

what do you mean i can't lick it?! 

the reward for all that hard work! 
(apologies about the small section that is sideways. although it's not really MY mistake to apologize for, ha!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

over the moon!

scott & michelle got hitched!

scott called this afternoon to announce he and michelle's
surprise wedding in zion national park.
it wasn't a surprise to them, it was perfectly planned and quite sneaky.
but mostly is was beautiful and perfect and totally them.
we love and adore these two, and i know it goes without saying,
but they were perfectly made for each other.

congrats you crazy (sneaky) love birds.

Monday, August 29, 2011

love and logic: i love your good choices!

a couple weeks ago i blogged about giving kids choices. i told you, (my loyal blog readers) that i was going to share some of my experiences with you. while i have daily success with offering choices, something bigger has happened and i am excited to share it!

once we got through the initial sleep training phase, coen would go to bed without a fuss. he would play, giggle, sing and chat after i placed him in his crib. i would listen to his playful squeaks on the baby monitor until he sweetly drifted off to sleep. it was heaven.

well, at about his second birthday he began to protest. all was good through our bedtime routine, but as soon as i shut the door he would break into a 5-alarm protest cry for 30 seconds to a minute and then go to sleep. i fed into it for a while, and it wasn't pretty. at first i thought maybe he was teething, then perhaps his ears hurt, or maybe just maybe he is scared and needs one more goodnight kiss. none of this helped, it all made it worse.

i am embarrassed to tell you what happened next. it became a battle of bribery. now, before i go on you may be thinking the very same thing my wonderful husband was saying the whole time, "it's only 30 seconds...who cares?!" i can't explain it, it just made my skin crawl. i found myself holding my breath as i walked out of his room, it just made me so so mad. okay now, back to the bribery. i started to bribe him with jelly beans if he didn't cry. when one jelly bean didn't work, i upped it to three. go big or go home, right? when that flat out failed, i started to threaten to take away all his sleep items. one by one. but did i? of course not, he would never go to sleep without them.

embarrassing, right? but totally honest. after all this i decided to join my husband's train of thought. i decided if i didn't draw attention to it surely he would get bored and give it up, eventually. there was no clear end in sight, and we kinda just got used to it. it wasn't like he was crying himself to sleep (been there, done that), just this horrific protest cry that never lasted more than a minute.

enter: love and logic. hand the problem back to the child. give them a choice. 2 weeks ago i started this dialog with coen when i place him in his crib. he hasn't cried since.

me: coen, can i sleep in your crib?

coen: (giggling) no, you are too big!

me: i am? that's a bummer. who gets to sleep in your crib?

coen: (still giggling)um...just lamby, nordy and coen.

me: what lucky ducks! where can mama sleep?

coen: (pointing to the wall and still giggling) mama sleeps over there in mama's bed!

me: oh, that's right! well, i am very tired and need to go to my bed now. you have two choices, you can be a sweet happy boy or a crying sad boy?

coen: (super giggling) i want to be a sweet happy boy.

me: you do? that is such a good choice, you sure make good choices. do i get one more kiss from my silly sweet happy boy?

seriously, that solved it. the first 2 times i used this dialog he actually chose to be a crying sad boy (i found that hilarious) and i finished it out by saying that he was sure a silly crying sad boy and asking for one more kiss. he was giggling too hard to actually cry when i left. he yelled as i shut the door, and that was it. after those first couple times, he switched his choice to being a sweet happy boy and now he starts giggling as soon as i place him in his bed. he looks forward to the dialog just as much as any other part of our routine.

i put him in control of the situation. well, as in control as i was willing to let him be. i wasn't ordering him to not cry, i tried that remember? i simply let him decide how he was going to react, but i was leaving either way. he thinks he won, i know i did. love that logic!

happy parenting!

picnic in the park

this afternoon coen and i headed out for a picnic lunch in the park. it had been awhile since we played at the park and the whole time i was asking myself, "when did he grow up?"

he ran around like he owned the place, he is two after all.
he owns all of it.

i told wes that, i wished i could stop time right now
and keep coen in this stage forever.
wes told me that, i say that in every new phase.

love this...
busy, silly, loving, compassionate,
talkative, imaginative, kind, well mannered,
quirky, perfect little soul.
being two is busy, but oh boy is it fuuuuun!

i'm diggin' it

fall is my favorite time of year. sure, i like the chilly fall weather. but mostly it is a season of transition into the holiday season, and i love that. this time of year also reminds me of our wedding, and next to the day coen was born, it was the best day of my life. i am struggling with fall this year, however. the days aren't going to grow shorter, the chill in the air won't last quite as long, and i am not sure how a pumpkin spiced latte will taste...iced. at first i planned to jump on a plane for a fall get-away, soak myself in all things fall for a week or so.

of course, i would still love this. but we are planning another mainland tour over chirstmas, so it just seems a bit excessive (and expensive!). it got me thinking; every time i miss something from home, i can't just run back there to experience it. first of all, i have a very nostalgic memory and the honest truth is, most of what i crave isn't a reality. second, it's really the people i miss, not the weather. we get more rain here than any place we have ever lived, yes even seattle. so i have "fall" weather days all year round, they are just mixed with lots more sun filled days. lastly, fall happens...even in hawaii. it's true, and i am excited to create fall memories and traditions in our new home. with that said, my mind has gone fall and these are some of the things i am digging for this, my most favorite season.

freshly sharpened pencils.
i can't help but browse through the school supplies.
it is refreshing.

pinterest. have you experienced it?
an online catalog of all your favorite things.
it has changed the way i organize my recipes.
i feel inspired to try out new things.
don't hesitate, follow me!

pumpkin love.
we actually have a pumpkin patch
on the island. can't wait.
i have been telling coen all about dressing up.
he asks me to look a costumes online everyday.
that, makes my heart melt.

quinoa salad. yum.
thanks to pinterest, i have been trying out new recipes.
such a good picnic lunch.

chicken coops.
currently we are designing a perfect coop.
i have lots of ideas, but not totally sure
what route we will go.
the important thing is, early next year
we will have chickens!

of course, these two!
i dig them the most. they are really great.

some days i feel guilty about how good coen is.
really, he will play all day by himself.
i know this is good, but i need to play with him more.
even if he doesn't ask for it.

we are also looking froward to more visitors this fall and if things go well, a full house for thanksgiving. our summer trip was very much needed, but the best part was coming back and felling like we were home. what are you looking forward to this fall? if you have any good fall recipes or ideas get on pinterest and pin 'em, do it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

the darnedest things...

this child kills me. i wish i could record him all day long and post a live web stream of the things he come up with. or better yet, bottle a teeny tiny bit of him up and tuck it away for future days, when i long for these moments again. for now, i will just share a few of them and you will have to imagine it coming from his cute little self.

after picking out a new airplane toy at target he says,
"i am going to take this home and show it to my friend, daddy!"

while staring at a bottle of water that had a flower on the label he says,
"IF the flower is in the lady's hair, then it means that it is a
big airplane with big engines and it goes really fast."
(referring to the hawaiin airlines logo)

while we were dropping wes off at his car he says,
"thanks for driving, daddy."
(um, you mean thanks for riding?)

when someone asked him where he was when he bumped his head he replied,
"oh, in the national park"

when he asks us where a certain toy or object is,
and we replied that we don't know he says,
"well, just keep looking."
(thanks for the encouragement)

this morning he was yelling for me from upstairs, "mama! mama! mama!"
i came running to the balcony, he looked down at me and says,
"i just want to snuuuuuuuggle you!"

every time we pull up to our house he yells,
"look! coen's new house!

i ask, "coen are you going to go play with daddy?" he answers,
"yes, daddy is a great daddy."

when we walk into a group of people and they say,
"hi coen!" he replies very quickly,
"i'm just doing pretty good."
(in case they were wondering.)

some of his current catch phrases that we hear all day long in various situations:
"that is unacceptable!"
"it's okay if i poop."
"hello, customer!"
"i've got a great idea."
"i want to be a sweet boy."
"i just want to relax"
"i want to do like mama dos"

when life goes bananas

make banana bread!

okay, here's the has been one of those weeks. i have promised myself since monday that we were not going to leave the house. ha! it must have been opposite day and no one told me. so not cool. well here it is thursday, and thanks my wonderful husband who got up early to deliver coen's stool samples to the lab in hilo, (i told you it had been quite a week), i am curled up with a cup of coffee and some unbelievable banana bread.

last night as a stared at the pile of ripe bananas in my fruit basket, i decided it was time to test out another banana bread recipe. fyi: the last one went horribly wrong. (unless you like smokey banana bread, i do not.) so this time i did something very different, i pulled out a cookbook. it has been a very long time since i have baked or cooked straight out of a cookbook. everything is online now, and thanks to the magic of pinterest i can organize all of my online recipes in one spot.

i am glad however that i pulled out this recipe. it is call unbelievable banana bread and it is well, quite unbelievable.

unbelievable banana bread

1.5 cups macadamia nuts
2.25 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
.75 cups vegetable oil
2.25 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
.5 cup buttermilk*
2 cups very ride mashed bananas

position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
put the mac nuts (or any kind of nut for that matter) on a baking sheet and roast until lightly brown, 12 to 15 minutes. after 6 to 8 minutes shake the pan and rotate to ensure even browning.

spray 2 9 by 3 inch loaf pans with cooking spray

stir together flour, kosher salt, cinnamon in a medium bowl, set aside.

combine the oil and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. beat on low speed until combined. add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.

stir the baking soda into the buttermilk* in a small bowl. add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer, followed by half of the buttermilk*, and mix on low speed until barley combined, 10 to 15 seconds. repeat. scrape down the sides and mix in the remaining dry ingredients. add the mashed bananas and nuts and mix until just incorporated. do not over mix.

pour the batter into the prepared pans. bake until the bread in golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about one hour. transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool 5 mins, then remove the loves from the pans and let cool on the racks for at least 10 minutes before serving. enjoy!

*easy buttermilk substitute
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.

place 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup.

fill the cup to the top with milk.

let stand for 5 minutes, then use what is needed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

this is how he rolls

have you ever traveled through the airport with a toddler? you know the game; child in stroller (your only chance at keeping them contained), toting carry on bags (full of toys and goodies to keep them busy), car seat swung over your (husband's) back. it's overwhelming when you have two sets of hands, doing it by your self is pure chaos! since flying is our only option to get back to the mainland, we have gotten pretty good at it. i remember the first time i flew with toddler coen i was super freaked out. psh...he is a rock star traveler. i actually prefer flying over loooooong road trips (except for the cost), and every time we fly i come up a way to make it just a little less stressful. drum roll please...

mainland, usa summer 2011...i have you to thank for this

i always felt like the worst and most awkward item to get on the plane was the car seat. i wasn't willing however to just check it with our baggage. (travel tip #1 is to always keep your toddler contained in their car seat when flying) so we rigged up this nifty set up, and let me tell you; it. was. a. life. saver. coen loooooved it, and he got so much attention as i pulled (and sometimes pushed) him around the airport. oh, and in case you can't tell exactly what is going on, his car seat is attached to a rolling carry on suite case... genius!

so this is how we did it. (and yes, i am quite aware that you can buy wheel/handle attachments for britax car seats. they cost almost $100, so we wanted to find something a little more... affordable.) we bought a luggage strap for less than $10, (it's neon green) and looped it around the suitcase and through the slots where the seat belt would go if installing in a car or plane. you will need to tuck the side latch system straps into the same slots so that they don't drag on the floor. after you have the luggage strap securely tightened, take the top latch system strap and place it over the top of the suitcase connecting it to the luggage strap. there you have it... tip 'em back and away you go!

a couple tips:

-if you need a stroller at your destination, check it. this system acts at your stroller and car seat in one for the airport.

-make sure your carry on suitcase has a handle that locks when it is extended up. i found it easier to push coen at times, and if the handle didn't lock when extended it would have been impossible.

-the luggage strap needs to be REALLY tight.

-you will have to unhook everything to get through security, so practice it a couple times. we had it down to an art. when i was flying solo with coen on our last trip, a women actually said that she was amazed and impressed. we totally rocked it.

- don't attempt to pull your child down the aisle of the plane attached to your suitcase. those aisles are very narrow, their fingers are quite little. it doesn't work well, take my word for it. they can get out and walk in front of you, while you pull it behind you.

- laugh when you hang too many carry on items over the handle of the suitcase and your child tips back. they might be a little scarred, but it really is quite funny.

oh, and please share your travel only seems fair.

happy travels!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

love and logic: opportunities

children's mistakes are their opportunities

how much better to get wisdom than gold!
to get understanding is
to be chosen rather than silver.
proerbs 16:16
two rules of love & logic: effective and simple

rule number one:
adults must set firm, loving limits using enforceable statements without showing anger, lecturing, or using threats.
here are some examples:

-please feel free to join us for dinner when your room is clean.
-would you prefer to wear something nice to church or go in your pajamas?
-feel free to join us in the living room to watch some television once your chores are finished.
-you are free to use the car as long as your mother and i don't need it, once you have deposited the insurance deductible in a savings account, and as long as i don't have to worry about alcohol or drugs.

let's be honest, some of these seem a bit intense. the idea is that if you start using enforceable statements at an early age, then they are accustomed to it when the situations have higher risks.

rule number two:
when a child causes a problem, the adult shows empathy through sadness and sorrow and then lovingly hands the problem and it's consequences back to the child.
here are some examples:

-oh what a sad choice you made.
-oh how sad. that never turns out very well for me when i do that.

the truth is that love and logic parents seem to have very limited vocabularies and respond with the same phrases over and over, locking in the fact that you love them and feel sad when they make wrong choices.

there are a couple other points that fall under this rule as well;

-neutralize your child's arguing. if you child drags you into a battle, you are often ruining their chance to learn this bigger lesson. the book says that consultant parents, "blow in, blow off, and blow out...but they never blow up!"

-consequences can and often should be delayed. it is okay to acknowledge that something needs to be done, but that you are going to have to spend some time thinking about it. this is helpful when you are in the car, and really can't enforce the proper consequence. but also giving yourself time to come up with the perfect consequence is more beneficial than throwing something together in the heat of the moment. plus, letting you child sweat is out a bit ends up being part of the solution.

where does that leave me?

i am really good at giving coen choices. all day long coen is picking between, "this" or "that." i have even caught him giving his stuffed animals choices in the playroom, and a few times he has even offered ME up a couple choices. he responds really well to this parenting style, and i enjoy helping him learn to make good decisions everyday. i need to get better at using enforceable statements. i like to think that these statements are needed when there really isn't a choice, or the choice is really a form of discipline. often in these situations, my choices turn into threats...and that's not good! so i guess i need work on my enforceable statements. i'll get back to you on how it goes. happy parenting!

flash back

enjoy this look back...
july 2009, our backyard in bellevue, washington.

july 2011, baby beckett's house in kirkland, washington.

fav, beautiful fav

endless hours in the playroom
fabulous after dinner clean up
inquiring mind, expert snorkeler, & bubble guppy watcher
it's no wonder coen made up this song just for you,
"oh fav, beautiful fav."

thanks for coming, get back here soooooon! xo

rain forest adventures

these past couple weeks hilo has lived up to it's reputation as, the rainy side. lots and lots of rain. it is a constant reminder that we live in a lush and beautiful rain forest. i have said this before, but i actually love the rainy weather. the nice thing about rainy hawaii weather is that it's 75-80 degrees outside. so you can enjoy the warmth of summer and the beauty of rain all at one time. the nice thing about our house is that it is up towards the mountain, so you can even cuddle up under a blanket at night. it's a beautiful thing. the only time that rain can be a downer is when you have company. this is when i want it to be clear and sunny so we can beach it all day long. that wasn't the case for much of my aunts visit, but we couldn't stay inside all day, so we headed out for some exciting adventures, rain or shine.

touching bamboo at the pana'ewa rainforst zoo.

hiking down to aka falls. (or in coen's case, being carried)

and always a favorite that never ever gets old, thurston lava tube!

who loves hawaii volcanoes national park?
they do! they do!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

island road trip

we may live on an island, but it's a big one. the island changes vastly from the east side to the west side. from here to there, and everywhere in between it is really pretty amazing. did you know that if measuring from the bottom of the ocean to the peak, mauna kea volocano is the tallest mountain in the world, measuring more than 33,000 feet! it's above sea altitude is 13,796 feet, ranking it up there with some of the biggest mountains in the united states. we really live on a big gigantic volcano. is this as fascinating to you as it is to me? i hope so.

okay, that was my geology rant for the day, maybe my husband is rubbing off on me. we wanted my aunt to see as much of the island as possible, so we took a weekend road trip to kona. it was a very busy and fun weekend filled with island flair. we drove around the south side of the island, soaking up the beauty along the way.

first stop: whitting beach park for a
picnic lunch, turtle spotting, and lava rock throwing.

stop two: the painted church for some, um Jesus!
this little church packs some amazing history, you should read about it!

stop three: greenwell farms coffee tour for some, 100% kona coffee tasting,
cat snuggles, and learning about the art of coffee growing and roasting.

stop four: the kona brewing company. need i say more?

stop five: keauhou bay resort for some
fruity drinks, floating, and swimming pool fun!

for some, lunch, shopping, and napping.

stop six: kahalu'u beach park for some
snorkeling, snorkeling, and some more snorkeling.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

fun with fav

my aunt is visiting us for a couple weeks and it is oh so much fun to have her around. we haven't had great weather, but we are heading to kona for the weekend in hopes to find some sun and enjoy the resort life for a couple days. we did enjoy a day at punalu' sand, big waves, sea turtles and sun. ah, the good life.

go fav aunt... snorkel like it's your birthday.

Friday, August 12, 2011

love and logic: positive self concept

responsible children feel good about themselves
even children make themselves known by their acts,
by whether what they do is pure and right.
proverbs 20:11

a love and logic parent knows that kids learn best and are responsible when the feel good about themselves. from a very early age we can give them a chance to to develop a much needed positive self concept. all too often the questions and phrases we say to our children are backed with negative messages. this happens without us even understanding the impact it might have on our child's self esteem. here are a couple examples the book gives;

when we say, "what are you doing that for?" the child hears, "you are not very competent."
when we say, "if i have told you once i have told you a thousand times." the child hears, "you are pretty dumb, and your neurons work sluggishly."
i think most often the damage is done in a more subtle manner. we tend to bark orders and demand power. why? because we are parent, gosh darn it! however barking orders at our children gives them no chance to think for themselves and the hidden messages are saying things like;

you don't take suggestions
you can't figure out the answer for yourself
you have been told what to do by a voice outside your head
i mentioned in my previous post, that love and logic parents offer choices and encourage their children to think for themselves. in addition to this, a love and logic parent needs to understand the three-legged table of self concept. the idea is that the building our child's self concept can be compared to a three-legged table. all legs must be strong and stable for the table to stand, if one leg is missing, goodbye table. our child's table is built through the implied messages we give. here is a quick overview of the 3 legs;

leg one: i am loved by the "magic people" in my life
our love for our children must always be unconditional. all to often parents hold back on showing love in hopes that it will make the child behave better, or break bad habits. sometimes we use all our "love" in trying to get our children to do their homework or chores that the real love gets put on hold. these children tend to believe that true love is dependent on their achievements. love and logic parents express there love unconditionally, showing the child, "there's a lot of love here for you regardless of the way you act here or anywhere else." when children really truly feel loved by the magic peoples in their lives, they set out to prove that their magic people are right.

leg two: i have the skills i need to make it
children to need to know that they have the skills people their age need to be successful. they must feel confident that they can compete with other kids in the classroom, on the ball field, or anywhere that kids interact. our children must know that within themselves they have everything they need to succeed. these powerful like skills are best learned through modeling. i loved this quote in the book, "don't get too uptight if our children don't always listen to us, but tremble in fear that they see what we do." our children are eager to model the tasks they see us doing, and often we are quick to judge the quality of their work. we must be good models for them, and not discourage them if they come up short.

leg three: i am capable of taking control of my life
many parents expect their children to be responsible for themselves. however, these are the same parents that are forever informing their kids when they are hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, or even when they need to go to the bathroom. when we give orders our children, they don't have the chance to think for themselves and feel like they have little control over their lives. love and logic parents make it a goal to give their children every opportunity to think about their choices, and the natural consequences that go along with them. the result is giving them ownership (with limits based on age) over their lives.

where does that leave me?

i love the simple model that love and logic suggests for parents to build their children's self concept. coen is at such a "helpful" stage, always wanting to watch me and copies my every move. it is so cute...yet, at times very frustrating. when i think that these little moments could be HUGE moments for building his self concept, it makes me want to slow down and swim in the experience with him. in fact, i love getting down on his level and seeing life his way. something i do not do often enough.

happy parenting!