Sunday, September 12, 2010


What motivates you? Actually, what motivates your children? That is what we are trying to figure out here this week. It's not that things aren't ever getting done. It's the struggle to get it done. The reminding, telling, okay, nagging, to get it done. I don't want to do any of those things. It doesn't allow for building relationships when I feel like all I do is remind, tell and nag. It concerns me because we are getting to the point where the rubber meets the road. In two years, A1 will be at college and have to take care of things on her own; school work, job, room, clothing and her health care. Is she ready? Will she do it if I am not there or will it just slip?

I am admitting to the contribution that I made to the problem. I have sinned in not "training them up..." and am reaping the consequences of that. While they were little and not in school they both had to help with things in the house. They would pick up their toys, help fold the towels, put the Tupperware away. The sweeper didn't work at that age and actually not until they were bigger, the 30 foot hose on the central vac was hard enough for me to whip around let alone the kids. Then came public school. They were busy with homework every night and activities afterward. The toys weren't in the front room anymore, they were in their rooms, rooms that I cleaned because they didn't have time. They would help by picking up and put their dishes in the dishwasher if it had dirty dishes in it. I did, however, ask that they be responsible for cleaning the upstairs totally in the summer. Like most tweens and teens, adults too, without accountability it wasn't always done.

Now I'm trying to re-establish habits that I let slack off. I haven't had much success since they've been home this, headed into our 4th year. Mostly because of lack of consistency and follow-up. Also, feeling like they just don't have time to do it with all the school work that they have each day. My view has changed finally on that issue. Now instead of them picking up and me cleaning their room and the upstairs of the house which is the school room and loft with their bathroom and bedrooms, it's on their list. I've even included some of the kitchen duties and laundry. It's past time for them to learn and for me to be obedient in my job as their mother.

After Andy and I sat and talked, while the kids were at youth group, the family sat down with the kids and explained what we thought we needed to do. The example was taken from Sunday School Class and tied into the system we had come up with. We knew also that to motivate them for now and to encourage them to do a good job we would have to work in a reward system. So back to tokens for school and chores done, extra tokens for those monthly chores that have to be done, but are not part of daily/weekly living. The regular reward for getting things done before supper is TV time that night. The TV doesn't happen here until school is done typically and that will stay. We weren't quite sure what kinds of rewards they would want to earn with their tokens, besides some extra internet time and maybe purchasing some books for them for fun. So after their input the list expanded to includes the above plus the following: iTunes, Ice Cream Trip, Pick out Movie to watch by self on Netflix(parental approved), spending cash, swim time for laps, trip to the downtown library on a Saturday, A1 added for her-nail polish colors and/or getting her nails done, A2 wanted flight time, but that one will be a lot of tokens since that is very expensive. Tokens will be withheld for Mom having to remind, tell, nag and for yucky attitudes as we stressed we are to do our work as to the Lord. The biggest consequence for not getting schoolwork finished by Saturday Night is the ability to go to all youth group activities for the up-coming week will be taken away.

So that is their motivation, for now. I foresee a lot more praying throughout my day as I remember to keep my cool while checking things, if I get arguments about having to redo them. The hope is that they will take ownership of it fairly quickly and will not need the external rewards for all the work. I'm not saying that we won't occasionally surprise them with a thing here or there, but first we need to get to where a job well done is its own reward. That they will not only take responsibility, but ownership for the things expected of them. Y'all will be excited to know that writing for this blog is one my list for the "chores" to do every week. My motivation is that I'm doing what God expects me to do, "train up my children."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

After my bout of insomnia this very late last Saturday night or early Sunday morning, whichever your perspective is of 3 am, I had posted on FB about my family reaping rewards of fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast from my lack of sleep, I was asked for that recipe too. This time when I duplicated it, I took pictures for you to see. You are going to want to slip off your rings as your hands will get goopy with this recipe.

The dough is not my own recipe, but is found in the Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book. I just love this book and the other book they have Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It is absolutely the easiest bread to make and worth your time to hope over and check it out. I just used the basic dough master recipe. They do have sweet roll dough recipes too.

First for your benefit I've laid out all the ingredients, other than the dough. You will need butter(or oil-typically I use canola or safflower, however, we are out right now so they get butter, not a big deal), sugar, cinnamon, almond meal.
The almond meal is just almonds that are ground up very fine, not to the point of almond flour. I do use this like almond flour though too. This adds some extra protein to the rolls and some calcium.

I take a chunk of dough out of my dish and roll it out into a rectangle. The approximate size of a 9 x 13 pan.

After melting about 2.5-3 Tablespoons of butter in the microwave, I pour that over the dough and spread it out, yes, I use my hands, they've been washed first.

Follow that with a scant 1/4 cup of sugar sprinkled over the top.

Cinnamon goes on next.

The final touch to the filling is the almond meal. My kids don't really like chopped nuts on their rolls, however, they will do the almond meal so they get the almond meal. You can make them without the almond meal and they taste just fine too.

Then you roll the dough up like a play-dough snake. This is the only type of snake that I'll get near and that won't scare the liver out of me.

Make sure that you pinch the outside edge to the roll to seal it.

I cut the snake in 1/2 first, then 1/2 again which if you are doing the math-I know you don't want to do math, but I'm a home school mom so math it is-you will now have a snake cut into 1/4ths.

Each 1/4 then gets cut into 1/3rds so that when all the cutting is done you will have 12 pieces.

I used to place these in a 9 x 13 French Corningware dish, however, the last couple times I've used my deep dish Pampered Chef stone.

I place the dish in the oven and set the convection heat to 170 degrees. If you don't have convection, then the regular oven at the same temperature works fine, it may take a bit longer for them to raise. You will want to let them double in size. If the dough is cold it takes about 30-45 minutes. I'm pretty laid back about and don't freak out about the times, that would be why I can't tell you specifics.

When they have doubled, approximately, then boost the temperature up to 350 degrees and bake until golden on top and when you tap them they sound hollow. I think it takes about 15-20 minutes, I wasn't watching precisely as I was busy loading the kids "workfiles". I was also making the glaze for them. This is the hardest part. Not really, but I had to let you think so.

You dump about 1 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl, add a splash(approximately 1 teaspoon) of vanilla or almond, whichever strikes your fancy. This next part is the tricky part, actually this is true.
You need to a just a touch of water as well. Stir this all up and you want the icing to be thick, not a glop that you can't move(see the picture on the right), but thick, like you need to push it off the spoon with your finger or another spoon. If it is too runny then it all runs off the warm cinnamon rolls.

The thick icing will just melt over the top.

The smell wafting through the house by now has worked it magic and the kids are waking up and coming downstairs with smiles on their faces.

If you want to make these fancy you can make the cream cheese frosting. I'll include that here, but without the pictures. This is how I usually make them for birthday breakfasts and holidays. This will make enough for a couple batches and that is with a loaded top. I will fill up a decorating bag or the fancy pump thing from Pampered Chef to swirl the icing on. 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter softened, 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 teaspoons of milk. Place all of this in my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl and whip up until smooth.

Enjoy all and have a great morning!! Oh be sure to make some coffee or hot chocolate to go with these, that makes it even better. I'm hoping that you don't get insomnia before you get to try this recipe.

PS. They are quickly carried off and all 12 are gone tonight.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Breakfast Cookies

This morning I had to quick type in my breakfast cookie recipe to a friend on Facebook. There were other requests for my version of this so I said I would post it here. I don't have any pictures to put with it right now, but the next time I make them I'll get pictures up too.

1 cup white sugar-I use a scant 1 cup
1 cup peanut butter-all natural no sugar added
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cup rolled oats-I use the honey ones
1 cup of mini chocolate chips-original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cup of raisins, however, the kids don't like raisins so we use less mini chocolate chips.
6 cups of toasted oat cereal rings

1st Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

2nd In a very large bowl,(I use the regular Kitchen Aid Mixer and it maxes out this bowl with a single recipe), mix together the sugar, peanut butter, butter, apple sauce, water, vanilla and eggs until smooth. It helps if all butter, including peanut butter, and apple sauce are room temperature. Then add the flour, almond meal, baking soda and salt mixing while adding. (If you are into dirtying extra dishes those can be combined 1st then added, however, it has worked fine for me to not do this.) Mix in the oats and chocolate chips and then carefully stir in the cereal. The cereal is what really pumps up the volume and starts to go over the edges of your bowl a bit.

3rd Drop by 1/2 cupfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Space them out so that there are only 5 per cookie sheet. You then need to pat them down until they are about 1 inch thick.

4th Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cookies are lightly browned at the edges. Check them earlier if your oven tends to run hot. Let stand on the cookie sheets after removing for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Store at room temperature.

Andy likes these with raisins and if I make two batches I will make one batch for him with raisins and a few chocolate chips and a batch for just the kids. A1 will eat the ones with the raisins, just after all the ones with only the chocolate chips. The original recipe said you could substitute the raisins out for chocolate chips or dried cranberries.

With the changes that I made the nutritional makeup changed as well. I only wrote down the following information, but could retype it into my recipe program and check to see other things if you want that. Per cookie 464 cal, Net Carbs(Total Carb-dietary fiber) 50g, Protein 14g

I love having these in the house because then I don't have to think hard about breakfast. They will typically just grab one of these. They also like them for snacks. I don't have cost calculated out per cookie because I typically get the organic cereal and things on sale and/or in bulk.

Enjoy everyone!!