25 Signs Your Child is not a Toddler Anymore

I get to spend a lot more time with my kids over the summer.  It hit me the other day that the boys are really not toddlers anymore.  It was kind of a sad and surreal moment for me.  Like how did this happen without me realizing it?

20180721_101604

It’s something that I want and yet don’t want at the same time.  I mean, things are a lot easier with them being less dependent on me for everything but at the same time… I don’t know, it’s just weird.  I don’t think that it was any one thing that led me to the conclusion that they are out of that phase.  It was more of a mix of different things.  So here are 25 signs that your child is not a toddler anymore.

  1. When you let them help you with the dishes or other chores, it actually saves you time instead of adding more time to the task.
  2. When they run up to you crying and you ask them what happened, the story that they tell you is intelligible and coherent.
  3. When they brush their teeth on their own, you walk away believing that their teeth are in fact cleaner than when they began.
  4. Their drawings actually resemble what they say they drew.
  5. They can buckle themselves into their own car seat.
  6. They stop constantly eating things that are not food
    (i.e. crayons, rocks, spiders, socks, etc.)
  7. The people they mention in their prayers at night include people outside their immediate family.
  8. They don’t cry for haircuts anymore.
  9. They stop growling at strangers in Wal-Mart/Aldi, etc.
  10. They stop caring as much about what color plate they get at lunch.
  11. They don’t use their spoon to drink water out of their cup anymore.
  12. They can actually sit through an entire 30 min episode of a show.
  13. You can let them eat their lunch on the couch.
  14. They realize that it doesn’t make sense that the characters in Veggietales pick things up when they don’t have hands.
  15. When they can sit still enough that cutting their fingernails doesn’t feel like you’re going to dismember them.
  16. There are several activities you can no longer do indoors because too much stuff gets broken. i.e. soccer, kickball, wrestling, coloring, eating anything spherical, etc.
  17. They understand your sarcasm and respond in kind.
  18. Having them clean up their own spills, messes, toys, etc. does not take significantly longer than just doing it yourself.
  19. You can trust them to get dressed and remember all the essentials.
  20. If they’re in a different room and you don’t hear them for 15 seconds you don’t automatically assume something has been destroyed (Again, with Izaiah, this doesn’t actually apply…we always assume something has been destroyed).
  21. They can actually chew gum without just swallowing it after 10 seconds.
  22. When you pitch the wiffleball and then flinch because that sucker might be coming back at you pretty fast.
  23. When they just climb over the baby gate so you leave it open.
  24. When naps become an “if” not a “when.”
  25. When they remember medications that they need better than you do.

Like I said, it kind of a bittersweet feeling that at least two of my kiddos are no longer toddlers.  I’d like to here some of the things that your kids did or signs that you saw to show you when you knew yours weren’t toddlers any longer.  Please leave any stories in the comments section.  As always, if you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog by clicking in the lower right corner.

Mexican Chicken Cornbread Casserole

So let me start by saying that I had to look up how to spell the word “casserole.”  Spelling has never been my strong suite.  If you have ever come over to have dinner at our house, chances are pretty good that you’ve had this dish.  It’s a staple of our family so I thought that I would do my first recipe on the blog.  This is one our favorites.  It’s a little spicy but not so spicy that the kids don’t eat it.  I’ll throw in some modifications to it at the end so that if you make it, you can adapt it to fit your own tastes.  Let’s start out with what is in the dish.

Ingredients

2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can of black beans (drained)

1 can of cream corn

1 12oz bag of frozen corn

1 4oz can of fire roasted diced chiles

1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)

1 package of taco seasoning

1 package of sliced mozzarella cheese

1 8.5oz box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 egg

1/3 cup of milk (whichever milk you want. I use whole milk)

 

Step One

Preheat the oven to 250.  Boil the chicken breasts in a large saucepan until they are cooked thoroughly and then pull them apart using two fork.  The chicken should separate into small stringy pieces.  Place the pulled chicken into a large mixing bowl.

Step Two

Add the beans, cream corn, frozen corn, chiles, tomatoes, and taco seasoning into the bowl with the chicken. Mix it all together thoroughly.

Step Three

Spread the mix into a 9″ x 13″ glass pan.  Place the slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the mixture.

Step Four

Prepare the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix according to the directions on the box.  Add the mix, egg, and milk and stir together.  Usually, I use a fork to do this and it works pretty well.  Spread the mix on top of the cheese slices.

Step Five

Bake the casserole at 250 for 45 min.

Step Six

Increase the oven temperature to 400.  Bake the casserole for an additional 15 min or until the middle of the cornbread mix is baked through.  If the edges start browning too quickly, decrease the oven temperature to make sure that the cornbread is cooked all the way without burning.  Stick a fork into the middle of the dish.  It should come out clean.

Step Seven

Eat the food Tina!

 

Here are some additional options.

Vegetarian (Not absolutely Vegan)

Substitute 2 cups of brown rice for the chicken.  Brown rice and black beans in combination with each other provide all the essential amino acids to create a complete protein.  When preparing the brown rice, try adding lime juice or lemon juice to water for a citrusy flavor.  I’ve found flavoring rice by adding things to the water can go a long way in creating unique tastes without adding a lot of additional calories.  If you are a strict vegan, then use a vegan cheese and a vegan cornbread mix.  I have never used it, but Jiffy does have a vegetarian cornbread mix with directions on how to and what to substitute to make vegan cornbread.

More Spice?

If you’re like me, you like a little heat in your meals.  You can add some heat to this one pretty easily.  You can simply add red pepper flakes to the casserole mix.  You could add some fresh diced jalapenos to the cornbread mix.  Or you could substitute a hotter pepper for the fire roasted diced chiles.  One time I made this, I added diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce because ALDI doesn’t have the fire roasted diced chiles…I liked it a lot.  The rest of my family couldn’t eat it.

More Cheese Please?

Because who doesn’t like more cheese in their life?  You can add a cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the cornbread mix before you spread it on top.  It adds more cheese and more flavor but also more calories and more expenses.

 

Well, that’s all for the first recipe.  If you actually try it at home, please comment and let me know how you liked it or if you needed to make any modifications (i.e. cooking times and temps, etc.)  If you did anything else to change the recipe with ingredients or something, please comment as well with what you did and how it turned out.  Hope you enjoy this.  As always, please follow the blog by clicking on the link in the lower right hand corner of the page.  Thanks for reading.

20180718_183107

Who am I?

It seems for the last couple months especially, my entire newsfeed on FB, most Snapchat stories I follow, and most of the national and even local news have been focused on the racial divide that is still overwhelmingly pervasive in the United States.  I’m going to be completely honest and say that this is one of the things in life that simply weighs the heaviest on my heart.  It saddens me to see people so divided and hateful towards each other.  I was speaking with one of my best friends about it and he said, “It just shouldn’t be such a struggle to not hate each other.”

One of the things about the entire issue that has continually bothered me the most is the Christian Church’s part in it.  I’ll put a caveat in and say that some churches are better about it than others.  However, as a whole, the Church has fallen woefully short in the area of speaking out against systemic racism and race issues as a whole.  It has been damningly silent on these topics and even pushed back against groups trying to pursue true equality and take a stand.  If I had a quarter for every Christian/ Pastor that I heard say, “No, all lives matter…” but I digress.

So long story short, I was thinking about this whole issue the other day and, as I am sometimes want to do, I wrote a poem about it.  The rhythm and meter is a little bit odd I’ll admit.  I was listening to a song called “Love Letters to God” by Nahko and the Medicine People when I first started thinking it.  So if you listen to that song, you’ll get a feel for it.  Either way listen to the song.  It’s really good.  Well, without further ado, here is the latest rambling of my inner thoughts.

Who Am I?

 

When time began

I think that race was never part of God’s plan

But then we went and screwed it up again

And sadly then

hate and judgement

We started setting connotation to pigment

To think the skin makes the man that’s not intelligent

It’s a figment

Of imagination

To think that anyone is lesser a creation

Their star a smaller part the constellation

The human nation

Cuz who are we

Without the breath of the Almighty?

We’re laying lifeless underneath that tree

And can’t you see?

For what am I

But brown dust underneath blue sky?

My life and worth is from the Lord Most High

I wonder why

For who are you

To judge a brother by his color or hue?

With the same blood same soul imbued

And that’s the truth

In His likeness

Many colors but one palette now that’s priceless

A perfect picture of creation at its finest

Be the kindness

Stop the hatred

Just love God and one another that’s what He said

And give yourself for your brother that’s what he did

Stand united.

Love radiate

Instead of bringing others down elevate

And true love to one another demonstrate

It’s not too late

It’s not too late

It’s not too late

 

Well.  There it is.  I hope you can understand the place where this is coming from.  As always, if you like what you read,  please follow the blog by clicking on the link in the lower right corner of your screen.  Hell, even if you don’t like it, please follow anyhow.

June Recap

Happy July everyone!  June was a ridiculously busy month at our house so it’s literally been over a month since my last post.  Here’s a quick recap.

I turned 31…not really a big deal.  Just another year.  However, I have titled it my “Offspring Birthday.”  If you remember the song “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” by Offspring, there’s a part that says. “He’s gettin a tattoo yeah he’s getting it done. He asked for a thirteen but they drew a thirty-one.”…corny I know.  It just popped into my head one day and I ran with it.

Speaking of running.  I completed the first, and most likely last, 50 mile race of my life.  My good friend Alex Woody convinced/coerced me into doing it with him.  To his credit, he hung back with me until about mile 32 before he took off.  I finished in 12 hours and 34 minutes.  To me, the only important part of that sentence is the first two words. I finished.  Coming into the race, I was only running 2-3 times a week and my longest training run was 16 miles.  My second longest training run was about 5 sooooo…. yeah.  Finishing was an accomplishment in and of itself.  I don’t know where I’m going next as far as training.  However, I do know that for the rest of my life, I can now say that I completed a 50 mile race.

Anya also had a birthday in June.  She is an insanely active baby.  This is probably a survival skill given to her because of her older brothers.  She is at least as energetic, if not more so, than either of the boys.  Our house is never quiet and still.  Until Joshua’s next birthday, we currently have a one year old, a two year old, and a three year old.  It’s fun, exhausting, frustrating, and amazing all at the same time.

Work-wise, HSA Denison Elementary is sadly closed down for good now.  It’s been really hard for me.  I’ve spent the last six years pouring myself into that school and that student body.  It really hurts to leave.  However, I am staying with the same company, Concept Schools, and transferring to one of our schools on the east side of Cleveland.  I am excited and nervous at the same time for the opportunity there.

I also got an Instagram.  One of the literary agents to whom I sent my books wrote back to me saying that he loved them but that I didn’t have a strong enough online platform for him to represent me.  One of the ways of building that online platform is through Instagram.  You can follow me at @erik_steidl if you feel like it.  Actually please do.  Also, if you’re reading this blog and haven’t actually followed the blog yet, please do that as well.  There should be a link it the lower right corner of your screen.  It will then ask you for an email address and send you a confirmation email.  Sometimes it goes to Spam though.  It is still a huge dream of mine to become a published author of children’s books.  I’ve been working really hard with editing, networking, and doing consultations to accomplish this.

Well, that’s basically a recap of where we are in life right now.  We hope and pray that your lives are amazing and blessed.