An Unexpected Parenting Lesson

Let me share one thing you don't know about me with you today: I am a BIG fan of Michael Jackson. His music and his person touched the world in a tangible way. You don't have to believe me; but let me assure you that no other western artiste's music is known in even the more remote villages of my country (and a lot of other third-world countries too)

Something happened yesterday. My love for MJ overcame my disdain for tabloid news and I ended  up looking at some trial photos on TMZ. This one stuck a chord with me. Taped on a door in his room, Michael had written this "Discipline with love. No violence ever"



Because in the end, just like me, he was just another parent hoping to get it right. I get! Regardless of what else you think about Michael Jackson, do you get it?!

Netflix Canada Picks for Toddlers

It's been a year since I posted about our "commercial-free" approach to TV for the girls. Since then, we've had to increase the variety available to the girls so apart from the shows on iTunes (Cat in the Hat and Backyardigans), we also got a Netflix subscription. 

Netflix Canada is nowhere as robust as Netflix US, but there's a decent enough selection of kids' shows available. Here's a listing of shows the girls love and request for regularly - so far we've avoided Dora and Diego for which I am eternally grateful

Leapfrog Phonics Farm - My favorite and a great aid to the girls' alphabet learnings. I wish there was more than one episode available on Netflix

Caillou - Some preschooler kid with the most-patient, non-yelling mother ever.  Definitely a TV mom.

Harold and The Purple Crayon - a kid who draws things with a purple crayon and brings them to life. It's ok I guess

Pingu (1986) Poster  Caillou (1997) Poster  Harold and the Purple Crayon (2001) Poster

Pingu - a penguin who makes strange sounds. I don't get it but apparently Spice does because she's just full of belly  laughs watching this

Sesame Street - Only  watch a couple of times. I personally can't get over the fact that Mr Snuffleupagus is no longer imaginary. I mean, what is this world coming to!?


5 Minute Breakfast Muffin CheatSheet

I consider muffins to be a backup breakfast for the girls in my house - in other words, when the task list is longer than the hours in the day or they're hungry-grumpy; I whip up my special 5-minute breakfast muffins and voila!

Disclaimer: This "recipe" is not going to win you Pinterest accolades. It's more of a get-food-and-calories-into-dem-bellies thing.

Items Required
1.  Mini cupcake maker (I got mine with credit card rewards a few years back and I've seen them on sale in Target for $10-15 around mothers' day)
2.  Quaker Low Fat Muffin mix (It's important to get the low fat version which only needs water to be added)
3.  Water



Mixing (1 minute)
First time around, make the muffins as per instructions on the packaging. I needed to do this because I had no idea what the texture of a muffin mix looks like. Once I got the texture and volume figured out, it was time to throw in some fixins to increase the calories and nutrients per muffins. A few tricks I've tried include


  1. Replace water with whole milk, yogurt, applesauce or mashed banana
  2. Add frozen blueberries - the mix has to be extra thick when using frozen fruit
  3. Add marshmallows - totally over-rated experience plus it made cleanup harder
  4. Add raisins - a winner
  5. Add Bob's 7 grain mix for fibre - needs some soaking before baking so the cupcake is not too gritty
  6. Add flaxseed for fibre, protein and calcium
  7. Add spinach - you know the old sneaking veggies into food trick? Didn't work. I think I may have been too heavy handed with the spinach because the girls will not touch the spinach-infused muffins
  8. Add cocoa powder or ovaltine
Baking (10-15 minutes but you don't have to be there)
Spoon and bake in the cupcake maker. One thing about this is it doesn't brown the top of the muffin and that takes some getting used to


Verdict
When I get it right, the girls can down 4 muffins each with a lot of glee. When I get it wrong, they won't take more than a bite 

Bonus
I usually make a few batches and store some in the freezer for other mornings. Defrosting is a cinch.

Double Bonus
The girls call the muffins "cupcakes". I look forward to them growing up and telling thier friends that I'm so cool I let them have cupcakes for breakfast. WIN!

Why do I call these 5-minute muffins? Because they usually require less than 5 minutes of my attention - the time it takes to mix, spoon in and take out.

There you have it. One of my few and favorite meal planning tricks. Sharing with Kristen of We are that family
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