The Northcutt Family blog

This is a crazy, beautiful life we lead. "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" -John 10:10

Friday, February 10, 2017

Easy Breakfast Ideas!

Breakfast.  "The Most Important Meal of the Day."  No pressure when you're in charge of fueling little ones before they head out for the day! Especially if you have picky eaters ;-/

Exhibit A....Reaction when told to eat ONE bite of chicken (at age 3)

I feel like one thing I can (semi) ;-) control is what my kids eat, and giving them a good, brain-healthy breakfast is what I like for them to eat before school.  But, let's be honest, I would be OVER.THAT. in a week if I cooked them a full continental breakfast every day!  So, here's an easy way to make a single, short-order breakfast.  Because, of course, they can't all eat an egg the same way. I have a child who will only eat his eggs if they're all yellow, one who will only eat them if they're piping hot, and one who doesn't eat eggs (yet!).  For my one who doesn't eat eggs, she eats a whole grain (Eggo of course) waffle with peanut butter and syrup.

Simple "Fried" Eggs
1-2 eggs
PAM, Coconut Spray, or a smudge of butter

Spray/Melt butter in a small sauté pan.  Crack an egg in the pan, and break and spread the yolk with a fork. Sprinkle on S&P. (Now, for my one who likes all yellow, I've discovered that I mix, with a fork, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk in a bowl and then pour that into the pan).  Let cook on 1 side for a couple minutes and then flip to the other side.  Voila!  Serve with some toast. **

**Real-life truth - after they eat eggs, they most likely pick Eggo waffles, and then they'll have toast after that if they're still hungry.  My kids LOVE them some Eggo waffles and some (what I call "fake") syrup.  This is our freezer, stockpiled with their favorite Eggo judging-  you know we're just trying to survive the morning craziness ;-)

Finding something to eat for myself that is healthy, filling and quick is annoying to have to do everyday too! ;-) I'll either make the "fried" egg meal for myself (with some spinach and cheese) or I'll make this oatmeal:

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cashew milk (or regular milk, almond milk, etc.)
1/2 banana mashed
1-2 TBS of protein powder (non-flavored)

Stir together:
2-3 TBS nonfat greek yogurt
sprinkle of cinnamon
splash of milk of choice
teaspoon of stevia

Cook the oatmeal in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  Mix in the topping.

What are your go-to breakfast meals for kids or adults?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Favorite Children's Books!

One of my goals as a mom is to promote and instill a lifelong love of reading.  I love to read and I want my children to love reading as well.  I think that some kids have an inborn love of it, and some have more of a reluctance to it, and so we have to really reach and pull it out of them, but we can!  One of my kids doesn't just love all books - he likes to read, but only things that interest him.  I think of a true reader as one who can pick up any kind of story and enjoy reading it.  So, I've had to work hard at finding books that will keep him reading.  With that said, here are some of our favorite books and my thoughts!

First - I ordered some books from a friend who sells Usborne books, and I learned a couple of tidbits that have stayed with me.
       *Books at the breakfast table promote reading
                     -YES!!!  I've started keeping a basket of books on our kitchen table and all the kids will grab a book when they're at the table!  ***We've had to tell them, "this is dinner time, we're not going to read during our dinner" (because family dinner and all that) ***Real life truth - I actually have a stack of books on the table and they're not in a cute basket, and it can actually get a little messy with them everywhere but I've had to just let that go #basketgoals
This was, obviously, not a "family dinner" night so they're able to read while they eat

       *Don't stop reading aloud to children!  Around 4th grade, many parents stop reading out loud to their kids, but reading aloud to older kids is very beneficial!
                    -The boys sleep together and we read to them every night, and this just encouraged me to keep doing that!  We usually alternate between a book of their choice (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), and my choice (one that they wouldn't pick up on their own)

Sooooo, here are some of our favorite books!!!  (I feel like I should note that I'm not getting any kickbacks from these recommendations, so you can fully trust the motivation behind recommending them is not to receive money!)

One more thing....we've also started listening to audio books in the car - usually I pick - I just get them at our library.  (The only issue I have with getting them at the library is that they can be scratched and that can ruin the whole "book!"  But, you can't beat free!)

Picture Books - these are typically books that I read to my 4, almost 5 year old, but my big kids still enjoy listening!:

--Dragons Love Tacos - oh my goodness, such a cute book!!!  Especially for any taco lovers :-) And, bonus - read it on a night you make tacos and you just made yourself a Pinterest Mom! ;-)

--Chester's Way - Oh, how I love this book!!!  Chester and Wilson are friends and have their own way of doing things - for example, they always use hand signals when riding their bikes - and then Lily comes along and she has HER own way of doing things, like, carrying a squirt gun in her back pocket just in case, and always wearing disguises.  It's just cute, cute, cute!!!

So far, I have loved all of Kevin Henke's books!!!  We love:  Sheila Rae, the Brave, Jessica, Chrysanthemum and Lily's Purple Plastic Purse

--The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home - Favorites in our home and also promotes creativity with crayon drawings!

--If I Built a House - We stumbled upon this book at the library because it's written by the illustrator of the Mercy Watson series, and he's a fabulous writer!  My 7 year old LOVES this book!  Totally fosters creativity and architecture.  :-)

Early Chapter Books - these are great for your newly independent reader as he/she breaks into the chapter book reading!  

--The Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo- Hands down my favorite early chapter books.  Good gracious - buy all of them!!!  I have started reading these aloud to my 4 (almost 5) year old and she loves them!  They're witty, cute story, great character development, and colorful, fun illustrations! It's a great book for boys and girls.  

--Hey Jack series - Perfect for a boy!!  I could only find these at book fairs and other sellers off Amazon, but then finally found them from Usborne! 

Books to read aloud - these are books that your kids might not pick on their own, but the stories are wonderful, and I read these aloud to our 7 and 9 year old boys.  My 9 year old will often finish it on his own, but then listen as we read them each night.  This is a valuable time to read them books that YOU want them to have read!

--The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - my boys were so reluctant for me to read this to them, but it is a FABULOUS story and they are loving it!!!  (We are currently reading this). They don't want me to stop reading it at night.  I know it sounds like a strange story, but I promise, it is SUCH a good one!  Kate DiCamillo is quickly becoming one of my favorite children's authors!!
(Next up to read is The Tale of Despereaux because, Kate DiCamillo)

--The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - classic!  We actually listened to this as an audio book in the car so all 3 kids could listen.  And, Brynn actually enjoyed it, and the boys LOVED it! Reid (9) asked for the entire Narnia collection for Christmas.

--The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh - So, this one surprised me - we had to read this last summer for our summer reading requirement for Jace before 1st grade, and I thought this would not be enjoyable, interesting, etc. But, I was so wrong!  SO, SO well written, and the story-telling is amazing!  I would say that this would probably be geared for the pre-k-1st grade age, but my oldest listened along and could enjoy it as well.

--Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - This book got my kids into Roald Dahl - they love his books!!  After reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we then did audio books of The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.  Love finding authors and book series the kids love because then that means more books they'll like!

Here are a couple of sites to help you choose what books to read to your kids....
     -50 Books to All Kids Should Read Before They're 12
    -Mensa's list of books for kids to read- ages Kindergarten to Third Grade

Monday, July 28, 2014

Disney World 2014

I knew if we wanted to have a successful trip to Disney World I'd need to do some massive planning to tackle this beast.  Fortunately, since this was kind of a work trip, the hotel, airfare, and park-hopper tickets were already purchased and planned.  I emailed a friend who is a Disney guru and she got me started.  First, I needed to plan out our days and what park we'd be at each day.  I based my planning on what days there would be Early Magic Hours, and then looked at this crowd calendar.  Next, came planning our dining, and making reservations.  We made these about 4 months in advance.  We chose Prime Time Cafe, Chef Mickey's, Hollywood and Vine, and Crystal Palace (but we didn't end up going to Crystal Palace).  After that, I waited a bit.  As it got closer to the trip, I started reading Disney sites, blogs, and any sites with tips for making our Disney trip a success.

But, no amount of planning could have prepared us for what was to happen at Disney.  We got a full day in on Sunday, visiting 2 parks with a rest time in the middle of the day.  Monday we spent at the hotel pool, and then went to Chef Mickey's and a Pirates Pals voyage Monday night.  That's when I started feeling sick.  I couldn't get out of bed on Tuesday and just stayed in bed ALL DAY.  Matt took the boys to the planned parks.  I went to the park on Wednesday morning but had to leave early to get back in bed.  Finally, on Thursday, I went to a Care Now.  Four hours and a chest x-ray later, they determined I had a small strain of pneumonia.  (We didn't know at the time, but I also had the flu and that's what turned into pneumonia!)  Matt, once again, took the boys out for that day.  Friday came, and Matt and Reid started feeling sick so off they went to the Care Now.  Both tested positive for the Flu.  What????  We were pretty rough trying to fly home on Saturday!  This was definitely a trip we won't forget!  Thankfully, we left Brynn back to stay with grandparents, and we were so glad she wasn't with us.  Now we're just trying to recover and get our strength back!!

We stayed at Disney's Boardwalk Villas

Monday, March 31, 2014


I'm joining the crowds who are using Instagram for resale and selling (mostly) our clothes!  Please look me up and follow and make sure and tag a friend if it's something they'd be interested in!!!  Thanks so much for taking a look!!!

User name:  thenorthcloset

Friday, March 28, 2014

Make Believe Truth

Seems like there are a lot of "truth tellers" in this world today.  People who say they believe in the truth, but what they believe in is their own version of the truth.  If truth is whatever you believe, then it seems to defy the definition of truth which is:  conformity with fact or reality, and a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle or the like.  So, I can say 2+2=4 and that's a true statement.  But, someone else might say, well, I believe that 2+2=5 because I really feel strongly about that.  And then it seems like in today's world, if you feel strongly that 2+2=5, then that's your own truth.  How can we even trust in what is true then?  How can we find solid foundation if our foundation is constantly shifting with different definitions of what is true?

Says something about our human nature that we all want something to hold on to, a stronghold, a foundation, something to drop our anchor on and rest.  Maybe that's why there are so many lost souls searching for the "truth" and loosely hanging on to something that might appeal to them as they claim they've found what is true! only until the next "truth" comes along.

I can believe that the Bible is true because I really feel strongly about it, but then I become just another person claiming that my truth, what I believe in, is true because, well, because I said so.  But truth has to be grounded in evidence that you can't contradict and not based on one's feelings.  So, how do we know the Bible is true?  (Here's a great article, written way better than me and lots of great information)

First, some facts about the Bible - the Bible is a collection of 66 books, written over a period of about 1,500 years by about 40 authors.  It was not written directly by God, but by people divinely inspired, "God-breathed"

Once you believe the Bible to be true, then answering questions based on the Scriptures is reliable and can be trusted, but until you see the truth of the Bible, that "goes in one ear and out the other," because you don't believe the Bible to be true anyway.  We have to look at physical evidence, reliability - both of which are more than just words, but point to the validity and truth (that word again!) of the Bible, which has been researched by people WAY smarter than me.

**There have been copies of the manuscripts found throughout history and these copies show that the Bible has been transmitted accurately, in fact, the scribes who copied the manuscripts followed a pain-staking process to copy accurately and rightly.  There's the original translation of the Bible - Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek - and our English translations come directly from the original translation so it's not like information gets "lost in translation."

**Archaeological finds have proven again and again that the Bible DOES correspond to historical data - check out these finds...

**There's also the internal evidence - the bible was written over many centuries by different authors - and the messages and truths found in the Bible are cohesive, coherent, and consistent.  It reminds me of the writing activity I used to do as a kid - someone would start a story off and write for a period of time and then you would  pass it on to the next person and they would continue the story, only having read your part.  This keeps going until the end of the story- think about that new story, not even close to what you were thinking when you originally started it off! So, imagine a book taking 1,500 years to write, and the main idea/s is the same!

If the Bible can be proven reliable and trustworthy, we can believe the truths found in the Bible and believe them to be true/real.  And that is where we can find a foundation with which to build our lives on that will not shift with the changing winds of truth.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Go To Cardio Work-Out

Honestly, I would be completely ok if we could just skip January and February and go straight to March after Christmas.  There's just not much good that goes on in these 2 months.  It's cold, there's a lot of sickness and I get allergies like crazy!!  So, with all those things, it's hard to get to the gym - I know, I know, I could work out at home and I do sometimes, but for me, personally, I just like the gym.  I need the vibe inside that forces me to push myself.  I like to do both weights and cardio and on my cardio days I'd much rather push myself for a shorter amount of time than do a long cardio session (unless I'm walking with a friend and then I could walk forever!).  So, I found this workout and I like to use the cardio portion (I do other strength training programs on the other days), and it's just the best interval cardio workout.  I also like it because you can completely customize it to your level - so I went to the gym today after not really working out for a couple weeks so I needed to take it down a notch.  Here's the workout and then how I do it.

Treadmill Interval:
5 mins warm-up
Interval set of 60 seconds walk, 30 seconds jog, 60 seconds sprint - complete this interval circuit 10 times (or a few more if you're really feeling it that day)
5 mins cool down

What I normally do:
Warm-up (3.5)
60 secs at 4.0
30 secs at 6.0
60 secs at 8.0

When I'm just not feeling it and need to take it down a bit:
Warm up (3.5)
60 secs at 4.0
30 secs at 5.5
60 secs at 7.5

Or, I may even cut out the jogging part and walk a little bit longer before I sprint (especially if I'm sprinting faster)

If you're just starting out, this will be a tough one, so instead of jogging and sprinting, just increase your walking speed and work up to the running.

Do you have a Go-To Cardio workout??

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Staying Fit through Pregnancy

Here's my disclaimer - with the boys' pregnancies, I felt great.  No morning sickness, just extreme tiredness which only lasted the first trimester.  By 12 weeks, I was back in the gym, working out at my normal, only slightly modified, ways.  So, it's really easy for me to tell you to work out throughout the pregnancy and don't let it be an excuse to slack off.  BUT, Brynn's pregnancy made me eat my words.  I was throwing up sick up until 15 weeks, and even though I stopped throwing up then, I never did get back my energy or that normal feeling back until the day I gave birth.  So, I didn't work out nearly as much, and when I did, it was all I could do to just walk.  I still gained about the same as I did with the boys though, maybe because I wasn't eating as much?  Anyway, so take everything I say with a grain of salt because EVERY pregnancy is different and EVERYbody is different and handles pregnancy in a unique way.

With that said, here's what MY opinions are on staying fit through pregnancy.

1.  I think one of the best ways to stay fit and make it easier to lose the baby weight afterward is to keep your weight gain in check.  However, I also tend to think that bodies have a "setting" that determines how much weight you'll gain during pregnancy, and you might still gain 40 pounds even though you do everything "right."  Plus, it's fun to indulge in your cravings - just don't go overboard.  Basically, just keep yourself and that precious life growing inside of you healthy.

2.  Keep up your work-outs.  Grain of salt, remember?  I was running with the boys' pregnancies up until 26/28 weeks, and even after that, I still lifted weights and did cardio.  With Brynn's pregnancy, I read that working out could help with morning sickness, but dang if I couldn't get up the energy to go do anything!  If you're able, work out, and if not, go easy on yourself and make a commitment to get back into working out after you have the baby.

3.  Enjoy your pregnancy!!!  Enjoy feeling the baby move around inside you, the maternity clothes, the comments from others, the baby bump, all of it!  (It was a little hard to enjoy it when I was sick, but I had to keep telling myself that it was temporary and that the end result would be worth it).  Once that baby comes, it will be hard work, sleepless nights, drained energy, and a soft middle, so enjoy your 9/10 months while that miracle is growing!

Now, for some pictures, because it's always more fun when there are pics involved.  ;-)

Pregnant with Jace

2 weeks before having Brynn - you can see that I'm a little more "swollen" with her pregnancy ;-)

Maternity pictures taken by my uber talented friend, Cara

Thanks Cara for capturing this time!

My next post will be losing the last 5-10 pounds and final thoughts plus some good work-outs that I like!!