Monday, March 30, 2009

The case of the picky eater

Big N is a VERY picky eater. This makes dinner time a challenge and rarely a pleasant event. I refuse to only feed him his 3 favorite foods, which makes for a lot of complaining. Up until recently, the only dinners he would voluntarily eat involved dino-nuggets, oatmeal or mac and cheese from a blue box. Peanut butter and Jelly was the standard lunch fare.

I finally broke down and went the bribery route. I sat down with Big N and my cake cookbook. I told him if he tried a new food for seven days I would make him a cake. We even flipped through the pages together. I went as far as to say it could be any seven, non-consecutive days. I really wanted him to achieve something simply because dinner had become so tedious for the entire family due to his complaining.

Apparently, cake is a good motivational tool.

Apparently, a picky 5 year old has no problem dictating how the bribery cake should be decorated.

Apparently, my son loves cake more than dino nuggets and mac and cheese.

Big N settled on a tic-tact-toe cake very early on. On day one of his quest, he decided the cake should be chocolate and square. On day two, we were told it needed to have white frosting with green Os, red Xs and blue lines. By day there, he made it clear that there would be yellow squiggles, because we needed to use all the frosting colors. By day four, it was very apparent that Big N was motivated to have his cake as soon as possible.

He really gave every new food a try and would decide which parts he liked best. The part that excited us is he would actually finish some of his new foods. These are foods that before would result in a "yucky" with crossed arms and tightly sealed lips.

We found out that he loves anything with corn in it. He will tolerate Quesadillas, nibbling on one or two bites in the past. However, once we added frozen corn in with the cheese, Big N will eat an entire Quesadillas. He even asked for seconds.

He also loves bacon. This one was a well known fact and I may have exploited it. Big N has come to the conclusion that everything is better with bacon. His dad agrees. I came up with a soup involving all of Big Ns favorite foods and he ate two bowls. Big N would never try soups in the past. He even critiqued it and had suggestions.

As you can guess, Big N got his cake. It was a fun evening when we cooked the cake together. We pulled out the mixer and the cocoa powder and made the chocolate cake from scratch. The next night we frosted it with a butter cream frosting. Big N ate dinner without any complaints and we all enjoyed the cake after dinner.

I'm really proud of him for trying new foods. It appears that the cake-as-motivation worked well for him. The best part, even though I haven't promised to make him another cake, he still will take a bite of the new food and that is a 100% improvement from where he was a while ago.

In honor of Big N, a soup recipe using our leftovers was born. Enjoy!

Everything is better with bacon soup

1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
4 strips bacon
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (Big N would prefer that I omit this part)
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 box (32 oz) chicken broth
1 can(10 ¾ oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/3-1/2 bag frozen french cut green beans
1/4 bag frozen corn
1 1/2 Tbspns garlic powder (or to taste)
2 teaspoons dried cumin (or to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Fry the bacon in a large dutch oven. Set it aside to drain on paper towels.

Pour off most of the drippings. Saute the onion, celery and carrots in the remaining drippings.

Dice up cooked bacon.

Once the onions look clear, not brown, add cream of chicken soup, garlic powder and cumin.
Stir this for 1-2 minutes to heat up the soup.

Add chicken broth, mixing to incorporate into the condensed soup, about 1 minute.

Add rice, diced bacon, frozen beans and corn. Bring the soup to a boil. Add salt and pepper.

Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A good day for the dogs

I've always felt that the kids had a great day when they come home dirty or muddy, but the dogs bring it to an all new level.

Pete took the dogs out today and they came back exhausted. I did require a bath for each puppy before they were allowed into the house.

Max, the mud king.

Interview with a 5 year old

Big N is being a good sport and sitting still... for now... for an interview with his mother.

Q: How old are you?
A: 5

Q: What can you do now that you are 5 that you couldn't do when you were 4.
A: Pretend to be a train and pretend to be a pirate. Eat more oatmeal.

Q: What is your favorite food.
A: Oatmeal with raisins!

Q: Can you do a somersault?
A: I CAN do a somersault, but only in the summer.

Q: What do you think are the things we need to grow in the garden this year?
A: Pumpkins! GIANT pumpkins!

Q: What are you looking forward to?
A: Being the splashing guys with Uncle Brian at Grandpa's Vacation house! We will splash everyone and they will get ALL wet!

Q: Do you like Ellensburg?
A: I miss living next to Brenna. I really miss her and her toys. I want to go visit our old house so we can play together.
Q: What is nice about Ellensburg?
I like that we have puppies! I like Mica! I like seeing mommy more. Daddy should work upstairs with you so I could see him during the day.
I want my room to be shiny green! When are we going to paint my room?

After this I got a lecture that our house should have more green and it was very obvious that the interview was over.

I'll end the post with one of my favorite shots. I took this one shortly after his first birthday.
Big N.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little Guy's milestone birthday

Big N is 5. It apparently takes having a 5 year old to realize how fast 5 years will fly by.

1 day old
1 day old

13 weeks old
13 weeks


He has the most beautiful eyelashes
14 weeks

First Halloween

First Christmas

He LOVES the water

First Birthday

Becoming a big brother

2nd birthday

Swimming with Grandpa at Grandpa's "vacation" house.

Dinosaur jammies for everyone

Mukilteo Beach

Summer 2008 - First fishing

Fall 2008

First snow in December 2008