Thanks for the great questions, friends! I look forward to answering them. Here is the first round!
What are your favorite dinners to cook?
Easy is key in our family! I do my grocery shopping on Monday and use that afternoon to prep as much as I can for the week. Some of our favorites include chicken fajitas, chicken fried rice, crispy chicken and spinach salad, homemade chicken noodle soup (hallelujah crock-pot!), and baked crispy chicken, rice and veggies. And, I always keep a frozen pizza handy, just in case (California Kitchens Margherita Pizza is the kids' favorite!). I love to cook, but I don't have a whole lot of time to dedicate to it with a burgeoning belly and two toddlers "helping" me! Hopefully as they grow older (sniff, sniff) I'll be able to spread my wannabe gourmet wings. Until then, I try to keep it simple: whole as much as possible, throw in a veggie, and done.
(To make my chicken "crispy", I butterfly-cut chicken breasts and slice them apart completely. Then I slice them again to make four pieces. After pounding them with a meat tenderizer, I brush them lightly with butter [mmm, butter] and dip them in a traditional bread crumb/panko bread crumb/parmesan cheese mix. I bake them for 50-55 minutes at 350.)
Do you have favorite books that you recommend for surviving (enjoying!) the toddler years?
Ah, yes. When it comes to the matter of discipline (training and teaching), I love and highly recommend Don't Make Me Count To Three by Ginger Plowman. I love this book because it focuses on training your child's heart, not just their behavior. Love it. Another book that I'm about halfway through is Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick. In the section I've read, I love how it focuses on making our children aware of their need for a Savior as early on as possible. It teaches that when kids find themselves in disobedience (hitting their sister, disobeying Mom, etc.), we as parents can encourage them to pray for God's help--after all, being kind to your sister is just plain hard sometimes. So, when they plead, "I can't do it!" we respond, "You're right! We need God's help to be kind--He can give us the strength to do it." Any kid can learn to behave, but making them aware of their need for God is imperative. And, on a final note, I've never read this book but have heard that Loving the Little Years: Mothering in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic is great, too.
Great questions! Have a lovely day!