The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

The Best Snack Ever

I used to keep a bag of almonds with me at all times. In my desk drawer, in a cupboard at home, in a bag in my purse, definitely in a bag in my backpack when travelling. Almonds were the perfect snack for me, until I realized my body no longer tolerated them. It was an incredibly sad day.

With no almonds to snack on, there has been a void in my snacking life. To be honest, this is mostly fine. I try to eat enough in my meals that I don’t need snacks, but every once in a while a meal falls short. There is a store in the skyways that sells food that is right up my alley. Lots of paleo, gluten free, dairy free stuff. I’ve tried a few things, but they’ve all fallen short and they’re expensive. Except one. Dang caramel sea salt coconut chips. I like coconut, but mostly in things, not by itself. But these chips? Pure heaven. So good and so addicting!

On Pinterest I came across a recipe that looked like copycat Dang chips. Could it be? I pinned them and figured I would make them at some point. When we were at Whole Foods last week Caden asked for coconut chips from the bulk bins. It was such an insanely random request I said yes, and we made the chips when we got home.

They were so easy and quick to make. You melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and mix with a sweetener. I did 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. When I make them again I think I’ll heat those up too, so things are a little runnier and coat the chips better. Toss the chips, sprinkle with salt a few times, and bake on a parchment lined pan for 10 minutes or so, turning them every few minutes. We let them dry for a few hours, and then everyone devoured them. Both girls loved them, which I love because they are a good, healthy snack. I took them to work and my coworkers agreed they could easily pass for the Dang chips. Winner!

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A List

Tuesday night I headed upstairs to go to bed and thought “Is that voices I hear?” Why yes it was. What time was it? 10:23pm. Once the girls go to bed I leave them be. For the most part they chat and read their books, and fall asleep somewhere between 9 and 9:30. That’s fine with me. But 10:23pm? Oh no. I separated them – the ultimate consequence, they hate sleeping alone – and told them there would be further consequences in the morning.

As I got ready for bed I knew exactly what the consequence would be. A list of chores to keep them busy all morning. No tv isn’t really a consequence, they’ll just play together, they don’t need the tv. But chores would be a win for everyone!

I got up a little before 7:00am, threw on my workout clothes, then went to the kitchen to make a list of chores. I listed all the chores I could think of that I thought they could do on their own. Then I threw the lights on in their room, and woke them up extra early.

Upon hearing the plan, Caden took one look at the list, saw the first item was ‘Get dressed’ and headed back to their room to find clothes. Delaney threw herself on the couch moaning and groaning about how early it was. When Caden came back out she asked me “How do we know if we’ve done a chore?” I told her to cross them off, but some of them would need to be done by both of them. She said “I will make a C in a square and a D in a square and we can check them off. Then she started in on the next task. As I told this story to my coworker she laughed and said “She really is your mini me isn’t she?” Ha! Yes, she is.

When Delaney came back to the living room she wanted to work the list in her own order. Caden was having none of this and forced her to do the chores as they were listed so she wouldn’t be ahead of her. This totally highlights both of their personalities so well. Caden is very organized, very responsible, follows the rules, and goes in a straight line. Delaney is a bit more roundabout and creative. They both get the job done, and work best as a team.

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Another Plan towards eating more vegetables

I’ve tried a few different ways to get the girls to eat more vegetables. I tried introducing a new vegetable each week and making it a variety of different ways. We quickly burned out on that because there seemed to be a lot of waste, and it was just too much cooking. Last year the girls made a list of new foods they wanted to try. The plan there was to have a few bites of the new food each night, to hopefully safely introduce the girls to new flavors. We did fairly well with that until summertime I think? And then life got in the way and I completely forgot about it.

Last week I was watching the pilot episode of Dinner at Tiffani’s (love, love, love the show!) and they were talking about foods they hated eating growing up, but loved now (brussel sprouts!). Nathan Fillion commented that as a kid he could have 3 foods on his Do Not Have to Eat list. If that food was served, he didn’t have to eat it. The foods on his lists could change, after dinner, which meant that if carrots were served he couldn’t quickly change his list so he didn’t have to eat them.

One of the time honored issues we seem to have is that I either make something the girls want to eat, or I make something I want to eat. Any sort of vegetable beyond edamame or corn fall under the “something I want to eat” category. I’ll be honest, a lot of nights I just don’t have the time or energy to pull together a main dish and a vegetable side, but on the occasions I do, it’s always slightly soul crushing to have the girls moan, groan and argue and never eat a bite of it. The list seemed like the perfect idea!

They made their lists Monday night. Delaney has broccoli soup (served it Sunday night!), asparagus, and brussel sprouts. Caden has broccoli, asparagus and brussel sprouts. Monday we had steak and roasted sweet potatoes. It was nice because I put a small portion of sweet potatoes on their plate and they knew they had to eat it. Delaney even took a second helping! Tuesday night I made a ham, potato, and asparagus hash and since asparagus was on both of their lists, I picked it out. No arguments! They did have to eat their potatoes, but they both did that willingly.

I’m going to do another Whole30 in April, which means vegetables at every meal. I’m not looking to branch out and try a ton of new recipes, but I am hoping that seeing vegetables a lot more often will have a positive effect on the vegetables they like and eat. And, I’m hoping that the list lives on for more than just a month.

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Writing Samples

At parent teacher conferences last week both teachers showed me some writing work that the girls had done. They started out writing all the things they are experts on. Caden said she was an expert at paying which made me laugh. She rocks the checkout at Target that’s for sure.

Caden chose her love of reading and Delaney chose dogs. They brainstormed words they thought of when they thought of that topic, then grouped those ideas. They did a rough draft of their little essay, then thought of exciting beginning and ending sentences. Then they rewrote it using all of the planning work they’d done. I have no idea how quickly this all came together, but it was so cool to see the process! I’ve been doing parent/teacher conferences since they were two years old and it’s so fun to really see their little brains working in this way now.

Delaney’s essay didn’t come home with me, but here is Caden’s.

Do you like to read? Insted of buying a book writ a book. Swish gose the pages! We can donat books to charitys. We can read in head or out loud. I like to read books like fly guy, farisryrs, pands and anmls. Then all can get books back that we donatid. You can read picher or chapter books. I love to read! Reading is fun! Finally we can read books anywhere or anytime. Everyone loves to read! What kind of book do you like?

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Another Week

I’m tempted to not even write about our weekend. We really had no plans, which isn’t good in the spring time when we all want to get out and about. By Sunday afternoon we were driving each other a little bonkers, but we made it through!

I worked from home again on Friday because there was no school, and kicked them outside after lunch. They played outside for about six hours which was amazing! Because from there on, it got colder and colder.

I tried to pull together a playdate for Saturday but no dice. Instead we hit up the cheap movie theater for Paddington. It was cute. For dinner we fried up some sunfish from our Lake Mary fishing last summer. It was so good! I kind of winged it with some cornmeal, rice flour, and a ton of spices. Everyone loved it!

Saturday evening Delaney started complaining that her throat hurt, and right then I knew our Sunday was hosed. Sunday morning I took one look at her tonsils and bundled everyone up for Urgent Care. Luckily there was little to not wait and we were home quickly with another box of popsicles. Out went our plans for church, the library, and a trip to Menards to figure out a new back screen door. Instead we hit the couch and watched Nat Geo Wild shows on On Demand. God bless Dr. Pol.

I love a good homebody weekend in the wintertime, but it’s spring and I’m ready to get out and be social! Unfortunately, I waited too long to make plans. Next weekend, I will do better!

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Ooof

Last week Delaney was up most nights coughing. Actually, she wasn’t awake, she slept through the coughing, but I was up. Sunday Caden got strep throat, and Monday I got a sinus infection. I worked from home Monday and Tuesday, went to work on Wednesday and sat in meetings all day dreaming about falling asleep on the floor. Yesterday morning I actually pulled my calendar up twice just to see what day it was. Thursday? Somehow, it didn’t compute.

To mess up our week further, I had parent teacher conferences Thursday after school, so I asked the babysitter to get the girls off the bus. Normally I get them off the bus on Thursdays because I work from home, but the girls don’t have school on Friday, so it was easy to switch days. Conferences went great! The girls are doing awesome, their reading and math skills are really improving. No one is having any friend issues, so hopefully these last few months of first grade will be filled with awesome.

I came home, made a light dinner (frozen waffles for the win), and settled in to a little March Madness basketball. We were all on the couch watching tv when my dad called. He asked how gymnastics went and Delaney yelled “MOM! You forgot about gymnastics!”

You guys. It didn’t even enter my mind. This wasn’t a normal Thursday! It wasn’t a normal week. I COMPLETELY forgot about gymnastics. I can’t even believe I did that. I’ve never just completely forgotten something like this. I laughed, but I’m so mad at myself! First, gymnastics are expensive. Second, the girls are really starting to get better and now we missed a week.

This sinus infection really kicked my butt. At least it’s Friday, and we have the weekend to pull it together.

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Hanging Out

rope 1

Our bus stop is literally across the street from our house. This is insanely convenient. Our mornings would be a lot more hectic if I had to drive the girls to meet the bus. Many a morning this winter we walked outside just in time to see the bus turning onto our street. Our bus driver is on time every morning which is amazing. I had it down to a science as to when we needed to be downstairs and at what time we needed to get outside.

rope 2

Now that the weather is nicer we head out a little earlier. Partly to enjoy the weather and partly because the bus arrives even earlier now that there is no snow on the roads. We do not want to miss the bus! Luckily our neighbors have this rope swing hanging from a big tree in their front yard. The girls drop their backpacks and run for it immediately.

rope 3

Last year they couldn’t do much except hang from it. This year they’ve figured out how to use the knots and their legs to get them up higher. A little swinging, a little climbing, the bus arrives and everyone is on their way.

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Happy Girl

Spring is always such a tough time for us. The weather is finally getting nice, but it never fails that the girls get sick. As we were driving home on Sunday Caden said her throat hurt, by the time we got home she was running a 101.1 fever. I knew it was strep, but it was too late to go anywhere so we waited until Monday morning and got into the pediatrician. While we were there I had them listen to Delaney’s lungs since she’s been coughing a ton. Luckily it isn’t anything serious, and some otc cough medicine will do the trick. I’m headed to the doctor today for what I suspect is another sinus infection. A sniffly nose Sunday evening turned into a head that felt like it was going to explode by Monday evening. Yay.

annabelle

But you know who is excited about spring? This girl! She is outside nonstop. She cannot get enough of the warmer weather. She’s chasing birds, chasing bunnies, chasing the neighbor dogs, and chasing nothing. She’s so happy to be able to get some exercise and get out of the house! The girls love it because by bedtime she’s exhausted and happily climbs in bed with them. She’s also slimming down a tiny bit which makes me happy. Tiny dogs man. It’s a fine line between slender and sausage.

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Weekend!

The weather has stayed solidly in the upper 50’s and 60’s around here, and as I told a coworker, it makes me think all things are possible! I think if you don’t have kids, maybe the snow and cold doesn’t matter as much in regards to running errands but for me, when it’s cold and gets dark out early, it’s just so much harder to get things done. Having it stay light later, and no one has to have snow boots, hats, and mittens on every time we leave the house? YES!

I’ve been on a bit of a mission to find a good gluten free donut. I love donuts and so do the girls, and I’d love to find a coffee shop that serves good donuts that we can all eat. A nice little Saturday outing you know? Last weekend we headed to a coffee shop in the hipster part of town, only to find out they were sold out. This weekend we tried a different coffee shop and I made sure to call ahead. They did indeed have a gluten free donut. It was wrapped in plastic wrap and had clearly been sitting there all week. Like a dumbass I bought it anyway. Ate two bites and tossed it in the garbage. We will try again. I know Birchwood Cafe does an amazing gluten free donut, but they’re always busy and so we haven’t braved that place in years. It’s time to head back.

After our errands we spent some time outside. We put the snowblower in the shed and pulled the bikes and scooters out. We snuck in a quick bike ride, then headed to see Cinderella with some friends. It is such a cute movie! I’ve seen all the variations of that movie and I love them all. I loved the backstory in this one, as well as the fairy godmother. Go see it!

Sunday morning started out at church. Every year the girls have some sort of milestone. Last year I think we helped out during the service? This year they led the Lord’s Prayer. We aren’t necessarily at Sunday school every week, but we try to get there as often as we can. It’s been good to see their relationship with prayer and God evolve as they get older.

After church Caden and I dropped Delaney off at a birthday party, then headed to the library. As she was picking out books, a woman told me they had two therapy dogs coming in that the kids could read to. Wouldn’t you know, one dog was a golden retriever. Caden read her two books while I got my golden fix in. 



 We packed even more into our Sunday and headed out west to celebrate my oldest niece’s birthday. Seventeen. It’s crazy. The cousins ran around while the grown ups talked, then we headed back home again.

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Sunshine!

I have tried not to bitch about winter this year. Compared to the east coast, and compared to last year, we had an insanely easy winter. We got a little snow early which melted, and then didn’t get a whole lot more. If it weren’t for the 4 inches we got last week the snow would have been melted four days ago. For it to be March 12 and to have no snow and 65 degree temps? It’s amazing.

march 11

It is so nice to ditch the winter jackets and snow pants! They’ve still been wearing their snow boots because there is some snow on the playground, but we now can ditch those too. Now if we could just find the rain boots we bought last year!

Of everyone, I think Annabelle might be the happiest about the change in weather. She spends all her time outside. I need a new back door, and I think I might look for one with a little doggy door to make it easier for her to get in and out. How cute would that be?

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