I’ve been struggling lately with breakfast. The boys go through so much cereal it’s crazy and let’s face it…it’s not like store bought cereal is that healthy for them. I need something quick and easy for them in the mornings. Something that doesn’t take a lot of brain power on my part because I am not a morning person and it takes me a bit to fire on all cylinders first thing. I tried this recipe for baked oatmeal this morning. The boys gobbled it up!
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar + 2 tablespoons for top
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup raspberries (I used thawed frozen blackberries).
- 1/3 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I didn’t add these, but I will next time)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons buttermelted
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 ripe bananapeeled, 1/2-inch slices (I omitted this too)
1. Preheat oven to 375°F and generously spray the inside of a 9×13 pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the berries and half the chocolate. (Save the other half of berries and chocolate for the top of the oatmeal). In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla extract.
3. Add the oat mixture to prepared baking dish. Arrange the remaining berries and chocolate on top. Add the banana slices to the top then pour the milk mixture over everything. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture go throughout the oats.
4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is nicely golden brown and the milk mixture has set. For an extra tasty top, sprinkle a tablespoon or so of extra brown sugar. You can place brown sugar on top before baking or add when casserole is finished baking and broil for a couple of minutes.
5. After it has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge. When ready for breakfast, heat in microwave for 1-3 minutes, or until warmed through.
So in looking back over the recipe this morning, I realized I completely forgot the butter. Oops. It tasted okay without it. I had some blackberries I picked up at a local market last week so I used those. I think it would be good with strawberries, peaches, raspberries etc. I didn’t use the banana because they’re really not my favorite although the boys thought they would have been good too, so I’ll probably just add them to half the pan next time.
We sprinkled ours with a bit of cinnamon and sugar before serving. The best thing I liked about this dish is that I baked it last night and we heated it up this morning. It was super easy, warm and very tasty!
So about a week ago I shared my goal for this year. In 2014 I want to Find the Joy.
I have prayed each morning for God to help me Find the Joy in each day. And I’ve had a week…with some great days and some not so great days. It’s been a tough week.
It started with me getting sick. I mean sick….with influenza. Fever, cough, achy feeling yucky. And of course it was right after my dearest husband had to go back to work after break. So last Thursday I drug myself out of bed…barely and tried to make some semblance of the day. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck, backed over and then hit again. As I’m laying in the recliner with half an eye on the baby and the big boys watching TV (I totally admit to TV time when mom is sick)…I remember my goal…Find the Joy. Seriously? What joy is there in being sick? In feeling so exhausted and rotten that you’re not sure how you’re going to make it? This was going to be way harder than I thought.
But then lunch happened.
We’d joined my brother’s family for supper the night before and my sister in law sent home leftovers! They might have been hotdogs and brats, but they were easy to heat up…throw a piece of fruit and some carrots and we’ve got a meal with minimal effort. That was my joy. Easy lunch…blessed by leftovers. For me that day, it was something simple, something I would have overlooked before. My joy for day 1 was hotdogs.
Friday brought a broken fever and a bit more energy (which means I totally over did it that morning). Thankfully my in-laws were willing to pick up the big boys and watch them in the afternoon for me so I could get some rest. And my afternoon was filled with things like this…
And so it goes. I’ve been purposefully finding my joy each day. Little things and big things (like having a warm home on very very cold nights).
And then my morning started this morning at 5am…with my son next to my bed…”Mommy, I don’t feel good” New sheets, a drink and emergency barf bowl just in case, along with a 3 year old brother who woke up in the process and said sickie 5 year old all cuddled in bed together. As I snuggled with them…exhausted before the day even started…I sighed heavy…Find the Joy.
And I did. Fitful sleep for another hour or so. While he dozed on the other side of the bed his hand reached….searched under the blankets for mine. I lay there with his palm resting in mine and I found Joy knowing mine was the hand he was looking for. Even in his early morning fever stupor he searched me out. And I thanked God for the blessings cuddled around me and sleeping in the next room. The blessing of children and family.
And I rested.
If you’d have told me when we first got married I’d have 5 boys…I would have laughed in your face! When we got married we knew we wanted to have a big family but I though surely I’d have a girl in there some where!
So here I am…mom to 5 boys who are 11, 9, 5, 3 and 9 months. And I love it! *Almost* every single minute of it. (Remember that Finding Joy post?) I can’t tell you how many times people comment about our brood of boys…either they are completely shocked that anyone would intentionally have FIVE children! Or they’re shocked that I’m still sane after having 5 boys (and you should see the looks I get when I tell them I’m homeschool them!)
Honestly, I think it can be super overwhelming to be a parent whether you have girls, boys or a mix of both. I am so thankful for other parents who offer insights, share lessons learned and in general give parenting “hacks” we can all benefit from. I want to share a few resources we’ve found helpful along our way.
One of my favorite books is Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys By Hal and Melanie Young.
Hal and Melanie are the parents of 7 children, 6 of those are boys! I’ve had the privilege of hearing them speak at several homeschool conferences and I’m always encouraged by them. The book is entertaining and full of practical tips from dealing with bickering and fighting to how they handle guns and playful wrestling.
Something I’m learning as my boys get older is that sometimes they can be a bit angry. Anger is something one of my boys really struggles with. He comes by it honestly. He’s a son of Adam so struggles with sin as we all do. And his mom and dad have both been known to lose their temper more often than we’d like to admit. The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo has been our go-to book when it comes to this issue in our home. I’m only about half way through but it’s challenged me and given me practical wisdom for dealing with this issue.
Another great book by Lou Priolo is Teach them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training
I didn’t grow up in a home where scripture was woven into our daily conversations or lessons being taught so it’s been a challenge for me to figure out just how this looks in practice. This book helps formulate that picture for me and while it’s still a work in progress in my life, it’s helped me implement scripture in to daily lessons.
For some comedic relief I’ve really enjoyed Boys Will Be Joys by Dave Meurer.
There are days when stuff happens here at home and I can only shake my head. Sometimes I don’t think anyone will believe the craziness that’s gone on here. Like the night we found gum in a belly button or the fact that one of my children often forgets to take off his pajamas before getting dressed in the morning. Boys will be Joys had me in stitches one minute and in tears the next. He gives a few pointers along the way but mostly it reminded me that even with all the craziness that goes on…boys are delightful and bring so much joy to our family.
Trust me, I by no means have this whole thing figured out but I’ve learned a few things and I’ll be sharing those in the coming weeks, but these books have been a good start when it comes to resources for just what to do with these creatures we call sons. Do you have some resources you’ve found helpful in your parenting journey?
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It’s a new year…we have all of 2014 bare in front of us, with all the hopes and dreams we carry laid out…waiting.
Most people have a list of things they want to accomplish in the New Year. The optimism of the fresh year makes us silly with goal making. We feel as though standing on this cusp of fresh starts we can do anything. Our lifelong “to do” list is suddenly attainable. And for some it might be, but truthfully…I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has actually kept their resolution for the year. Including myself.
I’m a dreamer by nature so the New Year is kind of exciting to me. I like to dream about what the next 365 days will hold for me and my family. On this first day…I’ve often made a list a mile long of all the things that seem so possible. And I dream. BIG.
And then at some point during the year, sometimes before the first week of the New Year is over, I get a reality check. One of my kids barfs on the floor, we get a bill in the mail and I remember I’m no Cinderella.
I’ve been tempted this week to make my list. To do my dreaming. But this year I haven’t really. Sure, I have my secret Pinterest boards that guard my dreams, but those things aren’t making it on my list. Instead…I have one thing. One mantra this year. One goal. One prayer.
Find the Joy
That’s it. To Find the Joy.
In the mundane. In the piles of laundry, the routine of everyday life. In the moments that pass by each day un-noticed and underappreciated.
I want to Find the Joy in the minutes, hours, days and weeks that make up my year.
I stop sometimes and realize that my life is flying by, my boys are growing quickly and it hits me that I’ve wasted time. I’ve wasted time wishing them out of diapers, wishing them to sleep through the night. I wasted time on Facebook reading about someone else’s life in the virtual world. I’ve wasted time complaining, worrying, yelling and trying to control what happens to me. And for the most part…I don’t get to. I’ve spent so much time looking at what’s wrong, what (and who) needs to change that I forget to Find the Joy in my day.
So that is my goal for this year. To Find the Joy in watching my children grow and learn (even when it’s messy, trying and not how I would have done it in the first place). I want to Find the Joy in my small house instead of complaining about the drafty windows and the lack of space. I want to Find the Joy in the midst of trials, when I’m grasping for direction and answers…I want to find it tucked there in the middle of the ashes and junk. That little nugget that reminds me God’s hand is in it all. He is in control and He is the source of all my Joy.
Find the Joy
This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.