Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to take little kids out to play in the snow - AKA "slow torture"

Moms and Dads, any of you who have bundled up kids, especially toddlers and young children to go play in the snow... you all know what I'm talking about here.

Lets begin...

First, if you're so lucky to have thought ahead and have all of the snow pants, jackets and gloves together and readily available, then this part isn't so bad. Otherwise, you must go frantically searching the house/garage/vehicle, while the kids whine to go out, looking for everything. Tell everyone to go pee! Even if they do, they will need to again once they are dressed, don't worry.

Once you get everything together, now it's time to bundle them up. Oh this part is fun. You begin to break a sweat as you struggle to get their boots on and the snow pants on properly, so that snow doesn't get up in their pants or down into their boots. "Mommy! My socks feel funny!" "My pants are twisted!"

Then the gloves and jacket are equally as fun. You also want these on properly to keep their hands and arms warm and dry. "My sleeve in bunched up! Ahhhhhhhhh!" "My fingers are in the same hole!" "Heeeeelp!"

Lets not forget the hat and hood! You need to keep those heads and necks warm and dry too! "My hair feels funny!" "You buttoned the hood too tight!" "I can't see!" "I'm hot!"

Finally! They are dressed and ready to go out into the snow!!!

"I have to pee!" Take them pee... and start over again.


Ok NOW, an hour later, they are ready to go outside!

Yay! They are having fun! They are diving through the snow and laughing and happy! Oh. Em. Gee... This was so worth all of the trouble! Woohoo!

About 2 minutes later, the youngest will begin to cry because it's too cold. The only thing to do, is to hold him, in his 50 lbs of snow gear, so you can watch the rest of the kids have fun. But then the other toddler is pissed that she can't walk through the snow because it's too deep, so you have the little toddler on one hip (but it really feels like you are toting around a grown man with all of the damn snow gear) while using your other hand to lift her tiny body with the 65 lbs of snow gear through the snow.

Within minutes, a kid is crying that their hands are cold, another gets snow up their sleeve, another falls face first into the snow... 15 blissful minutes in the snow and the little ones are saying screw this, I want to go inside.

The undressing process, while stressful, is much easier than getting them dressed. "Come on guys, you look like you're ready for a nap!"

"Did you have fun!? I bet you did! SNOW IS SO FUN!!!!!"


Well, Mom and/or Dad, you just had one hell of a workout, go eat some chocolate. Seriously, go eat some before you hurt someone.


                                                          Don't they look THRILLED?


When do we get stationed in the South again?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Vegetable/Vegetarian Lasagna

This is my healthier spin on Lasagna that my family loves! Even my meat loving husband (That sounded bad didn't it?). It's obviously not a diet recipe, but it has some good stuff in it. However, it's not allergy friendly for my 8 year old :/.

I like to make this ahead of time and have it in the fridge ready to bake a couple of hours-ish before dinner.

Ingredients

- 1 box of Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles.

- 3 24oz jars of marinara sauce (or roughly 72ozs of homemade etc.)

- 1 2lb container of Ricotta Cheese.

- 6 cups of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

- 1 1/2 cups of Grated Parmesan Cheese.

- 3 cups of fresh Spinach.

- 2 medium size Zucchini.

- 2 medium size Summer Squash.

- Olive Oil

- Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano (dry or fresh, finely chopped) and Basil (dry or fresh, finely chopped).

- Large Deep Lasagna Pan

Preparation

Thinly slice the zucchini and summer squash. Half or quarter the slices depending on the girth of the vegetables (heehee). Saute with roughly a tablespoon of Olive Oil until soft.


While sauteing the zucchini and squash, finely chop the fresh Spinach leaves (I use a Pampered Chef slap chopper thinger) and cook the Lasagna Noodles.

Tip: After draining the lasagna noodles, rinse and lay them out flat so they don't stick together and tear while assembling the lasagna!

Combine the container of Ricotta, 4 cups of Mozzarella, 1 cup of Grated Parmesan and the chopped spinach in a large bowl. Season to taste (we all like things a little different!) with salt, pepper, italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano and basil. Mix together thoroughly.



Assembly

Preheat oven to 350.

Use the large deep lasagna pan.

Pour a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan before laying out your first layer of noodles.

After the first layer of noodles is down, using half of the cheese mixture, spread it over the entire bottom layer of noodles. Liberally poor marinara on top of the cheese (more or less depending on your preference), Lightly sprinkle some shredded mozzarella on top of the cheese and sauce.

Lay out another layer of lasagna noodles, this time laying them in the opposite direction of the first layer (You'll need to cut the noodles for the short direction of the pan). Take all of the cooked zucchini and squash and spread it over the entire second layer of noodles. Pour sauce over the zucchini sauce. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

For the third layer, repeat the first, exactly. Top it off with a final layer of noodles. On top of that final layer, pour a good amount of marinara and then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan. Just remember to alternate the direction of the noodles with each layer you put down. It makes the lasagna more stable.

Cover with foil and bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.