My Kids Don’t Want Toys; What?!

Christmas Lists - My Kids Don't Want Toys

Christmas Lists

Every year, like most children, my kids put together lists of the things they want for Christmas. Each list has always remained very similar to the previous years. Ava almost always wants American Girl dolls and all sorts of goodies to go with them. Jack sticks to Ninja Turtles, Hotwheels, Star Wars, and video games. Cadence prefers Doc McStuffins and Minnie Mouse. They’re predictable kids who’re easy to shop for. That’s why this year threw me for a loop. My kids don’t want toys this year.

I’m sure that last sentence confused you as much as it did me. My kids, ages 4, 7, and 9, do not want a single toy. What?!

A New Theme – My Kids Don’t Want Toys

I asked them this year to create their lists. What they gave me blew me away. It started with Ava. Her’s was the first list I read. She asked only that I redo her bedroom. With a new theme being requested, she decided that she was getting too old for character themed everything. The theme that she wants is something that focuses on Paris. Even though she’s never been there, she has big dreams of going there some day. The City of Lights, to her, is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I can’t even disagree with her. Paris is always a good idea.

The thought, though, that she was tired of her room being so heavily focused on Disney’s Frozen was shocking. She’s “too old” for it? How can a nine year old be “too old” for Disney?

Of course, since her and her sister share a room, I had to talk to my youngest daughter first. Like Ava, Cadence wanted new things for her bedroom. I showed her pictures of what Ava wanted just to be sure. She was in total agreement. Paris in, Frozen OUT!

Having talked to both girls about their Christmas wish lists, I moved on to my son. To my surprise, his list mirrored theirs. My son, who always wants superhero this, Star Wars that, wanted his room redone. The theme? Hunting. He’s seven. A Mossy Oak lamp with antlers around it, a bear rug, curtains.. He wants the whole nine. According to him, he is also getting too old to have a character based room. That includes my beloved Star Wars.

Growing Up

Their Christmas lists and mindsets ushered in new themes entirely this year, both literally and figuratively. I still haven’t processed the idea, because it means they’re growing up a bit and trying to figure out who they are. Still though, I’m obliging their requests and fixing up their rooms for Christmas. After all, they’re “too old” for character themed anything.

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Favorite Recipe: Spiced Chili

Spiced Chili

 

Spiced Chili Recipe

I love chili. Honestly, it’s probably one of the best things about this time of year. Super simple in terms of preparation, it is a comforting meal that warms you up instantly. Cooking wasn’t really a thing in my home growing up. Mom worked all the time. Dad lived a few states away. My sister usually threw together some Hamburger Helper and that was what we ate. My grandmother’s house was where you went for awesome food. This recipe for spiced chili is one that I learned on my own and it’s a favorite around here.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 16 oz. cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans chili ready diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

 

Directions

In a large skilled, cook the beef and onion over medium until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook about a minute longer. At this point, you can either drain it or leave the fat in. I leave it for flavor. Transfer the mixture to a 5 quart slow cooker. Stir in the beans, tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, and all seasonings; I place the bay leaves on top rather than stirring them in. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Discard the bay leaves prior to serving.

This can be served with shredded cheddar cheese and crackers, though I prefer my own bowl with tortilla chips. It is also delightful with a bit of sour cream on top. You could also serve it in a baked sweet potato. This is something different that I tried recently and it was both delicious and incredibly filling.

This recipe yields around 12 servings. The total time from start to finish is 4 hours and 20 minutes.

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