Monday, October 27, 2014

Make Monday: Make Memories

Believe it or not, I won a contest from our local TV station. KCCI, to be exact.

I know, I'm like a unicorn. Something you hear of, but you've never met. But I won.

We couldn't use the whole package, because the best time to use it was early June, when my husband was working, I was in the midst of a special congressional delegate election, and the boys had scheduled for Cub Scout/Star Wars/Library camps.

But our family really needed to reconnect. And we did.

My husband was off of work early on Friday. Even though the house was a disaster, when he got home, we packed up.

We surprised the boys, all 4, after school, at Grandma's house.

I drove the 2.45 hours to the hotel room. The kids were tired, they were hungry. They wanted to know where we were going. And then we got to the hotel.

We checked in, put our bags in the room, just steps from a restaurant. A 28 inch pizza for $29.99? Cheaper than what we would pay for a meal for all 6 of us.

Yep. A good photo op. The room service information said "it feeds 10 adults". It should have read, "It feeds a Catholic family with 4 young boys."

We did have left overs...but not many.

After dinner, we went to the room and crashed. Daddy in one bed with the middles, me nursing Harry and, the oldest, Liam, with his kicking legs. It's no wonder he doesn't sleep at night!

We woke up, ate breakfast, and went back to the arcade. After about 10 minutes, David and I decided it was time to get the boys outside.

So we visited the sites. Snake Alley....the boys ran both up and down it...

Harry chases his brothers down Snake Alley, "Wait, wait you guys! I have wittle wegs!"

And we even visited the Mississippi River.

I was "Super Mom" when I used a stick to flip a dead fish so the boys could inspect (no touch) it.

And then I thought we should visit a park....and there was a slide that made me nervous. 

But they loved it.

I thought they would love playing in leaves for a great fall photo...

And I thought wrong...

Really, Harry? Really?!?!

Thankfully, we had a great lunch at Big Muddy's...Brendan chose the kid's unlimited salad bar, and he loved it...and this money saving mom loved it! Only $1.99!

After lunch, we decided to see what else Burlington had to offer. It was the largest spine in the world, in honor of Dr. Aunt Sandy Bowman, the family Chiropractor! It is anatomically correct and carved out of a tree! Only in Iowa!

After that, we found the Our Lady of Grace Grotto. The boys loved seeing all of the Geodes and learning about the Stations of the Cross.

When I have a garden, I want this.

We went back to the hotel, played at the pool and crashed....ish.As much as you can crash with one adult and two kids in a Queen sized bed.

Sunday morning, after checking out, we went to an awesome mom and pop restaurant called the Hungry Bear.

The pancake was the size of the plate....and the syrup was in a clear squirt bottle...why I have never thought of that?!?!

And the omelet....we all ate for less than 25, including a $5 tip.

Our boys had so much fun...we made so many memories...

Throwback Tuesday post....that continues our trip....will be posted tomorrow...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Food Friday : Better Than Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup--Using Leftovers!

I wouldn't make that claim if it wasn't true. I have the talent of "back-engineering" recipes, like my mom, and making it better. The trouble is, I don't measure, I just dump the ingredients, taste test, repeat.

We had a lot of left over chicken this week, so I saved it, and decided to make my Chicken Gnocchi soup. After posting pictures, I've been asked for the recipe. It's different every time I make it, but it's still better than Olive Garden.


1 stick of butter
1 bag of shredded carrots
1/2 chopped white onion
3 stalks of celery-diced
Leftover chicken (or two cans of diced chicken breasts)
1 package of Gnocchi
2 cans of chicken broth
2 cups of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes
1 package of frozen spinach
1/2 pint of heavy cream
Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot (I use my dutch oven pot), put the onion, celery, carrots, frozen spinach and butter. Let the veggies cook on medium heat, until the butter is melted and it is all cooked down (about 10 minutes). Toss in everything but the cream, bring it to a boil, boil for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down, add the cream. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding pepper to taste.

Yum! I made this batch to freeze for our elderly neighbors, but, of course, the boys wanted to taste test it. And they LOVED it.

They're eating veggies and they love it. I'm using up leftovers. WIN! WIN!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Wave of Light" Wednesday

Please, light a candle at 7PM and keep it lit for at least an hour, to participate in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Make Monday: Make Your Own Way

*This post is about being a strong woman. A strong woman and mother. Mommy's Recess receives no money from the Ernst campaign or those who fund her.*

In April 2003, I had agreed to work for Senator Grassley as his only person on his campaign staff for 2004.

I had just graduated from Iowa State University in December in 2002, and had worked for Chuck Gipp as the House Majority Leader in the 2003 session.

I had to have health insurance, as a woman. I paid for it, by myself, as a 23-24 year old. But that's just being personally responsible. After all, I had graduated from College, I didn't feel the need for my parents to be burdened by my insurance, be it health, car etc.

Since then, I've met my husband, I've worked, we had a child, we married, I continued to work, he went to Iraq and served his country. I continued to work when he had trouble finding a job.

Thankfully, he found a job, a job he's been at for 6 years. He climbed the ranks. After our third son was born, we could not afford daycare. So I stayed at home. It wasn't easy. It was tough. It still is tough.

I work at home. I am thankful that our boys can go to Grandma's Pre-School, free of cost, while I focus on my work. But I have no insurance, except for my husband.

And now? His insurance, his pay, will be deducted even more because of Obamacare.

Stop the socialism of America. Stop encouraging Obamacare. Vote for Joni Ernst. Vote for any Republicans in your district.

I made my own way. My parents made their own way.

As the 8th great grand-niece of Abigail Adams, make your own way. Make yourself who God made you to be.

All of my ancestors came here legally, new Americans should not have their first act as a citizen, should not be an illegal one.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday: Our Son's School Thinks He is Fractured....

I received an email today, an email no to parent wants to read.

"Hi Sarah!  I just wanted you to know that I have been keeping an eye on Sean's small motor skills and working closely with him on handwriting skills.  If it's ok with you, I would like the Occupational Therapist to pop in for a visit next week just to observe and offer any other activities for me to use with Sean.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks so much!!"

I wanted to write, "He is in kindergarten. He is brilliant, sweet, charming and smart. Maybe he doesn't write his name correctly, but there's no need to have an "Occupational Therapist" visit him. We can work with him. He writes right to left, and it would be better for him to have his parents talk to him, than a complete stranger.

Kids are cruel. If they notice that Sean is being followed by someone that is not from the classroom, he will be teased. He is emotional and strong. He has been since birth. I can imagine if someone teases him, he might react in a manner that may be physical. And his father and I don't want that.

Please, before you bring in an Occupational Therapist, let us work with him."


I responded to the email with, "Please, tell me more. What have you noticed?"

I am waiting on a response. Sean is NOT fractured. He is in kindergarten. He is learning. If you put this stigma on him that he is "different", he will feel that way.

He IS special. He is awesome. He thinks differently.

Maybe it is the educational system that is fractured or broken.

Maybe he won't conform to Common Core.

Maybe he is like his mom.

He goes his own way. He is smart, strong and determined. I am not turning away help, but let his parents help him before you bring in a "specialist."

Edit: I just spent 20 minutes on the phone with Sean's teacher. She is fine with us working with Sean until conferences mid-November.

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