Saturday, April 28, 2012

Replacing Bad Habits with Good

In the aftermath of Screen Free Week, I am trying to replace bad habits with good ones.

I do not text and drive, but do often peek at FB at red lights (probably not much better than texting). So new habit #1, rather than reaching for my phone, I now have water bottle in my cup holder and drink from that rather than checking FB. Much healthier.

New habit #2. I have to earn my screen time just like my kids do. If I want to take time to sit and blog or do anything else online, I need to do my "homework" first. Tidy up the kitchen before checking emails for the day, do some sort of cleaning before going online. Play with my son and Prep dinner in the downtime before picking up his sisters at school.

That's the plan at least. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week 17 Menu

Sunday - Shaved Parmesan Chicken
Monday - Prawns with Marie Rose Sauce - I changed this quite a bit so it was more of a shrimp remoulade over pasta - no avocados.  Still really good, and the kids liked it to, but I left the sauce on the side as they aren't big on rich sauces.
Tuesday - Beef Tacos
Wednesday - Coq au Vin
Thursday - Cajun Chicken
Friday - Weeknight Lasagna Toss
Saturday - Out


It's been a while since I read a Stephen King book, although I loved them growing up. He lost me after Tommy Knockers - too much alien stuff, a topic he usually avoided. But, my Dad bought this while they were staying with us and left it behind for me to read.

This storyline was definitely more up my alley. It's a story of time travel with the idea being if you could go back in time and save JFK from being assassinated would you, and if you did what would the ramifications be.

Overall I liked it.  Jake Epping is an English teacher in Maine (of course, this is Stephen King) is told of a passageway back in time from the owner of a local diner named Al.  The passageway is in his pantry and this one always brings the time traveler to an abandoned mill from 1958.  No matter how long you spend in the past only 2 minutes passes in the real world.  Jake takes a quick trip back the first time, and then agrees to go back for a longer stint to prevent the Kennedy assassination.  Both Jake and Al are aware of the butterfly effect but feel that the potential benefits of saving JFK outweigh those risks.  They feel that if JFK lives so would Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.  If MLK lived, their theory is there wold be no race riots, etc. A snowball of wonderful peaceful times.  Sounds good in theory, but as Jake soon learns the past is obdurate - it doesn't want to be changed.  Little things are no big deal but the more he tries to interfere with watershed moments in other peoples lives (and he handles a couple of personal things before getting to JFK), the harder it is.

Since he has to spend sometime in the past before getting to 1963, he does develop relationships with people in the past and tries hard to keep the truth of where he came from as well as why he is there secret, but as time goes on and relationships deepen that gets harder.

I won't ruin the ending, but I will say I enjoyed the book and was satisfied with ending.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Screen Free Week - my version

Giving up TV was no big deal for me.  I prefer books to most of the crap on TV at the moment, and was in the middle of 11/22/63 at the beginning of the week and was eager to finish it - review to follow. 

As I was planning what I would do with my evenings once kids were in bed, most of my intended projects were a no go as they included a screen - updating photos online, updating playlists on my husband's iPod now that mine is officially dead, blogging etc.  I ended up reading, sewing a little and cleaning my house with that free time, not so bad.

Giving up my phone was harder, especially since I had to check my inbox for any Screen Free related emails.  Still I tried to only open the pertinent ones, and didn't read any of the blogs I follow and tried to not check Facebook.  I have to admit that even though I moved the FB app icon to the final screen on my phone I did find myself checking it a couple of times a day - but far less than usual. 

So what did I learn?

Most of my emails are crap - no big surprise there.  From Monday to Friday I received 148 emails.
One a day from the Gap even though I can't remember the last time I shopped there, unsubscribe
I get daily emails from Michaels and while I only shop there occasionally I still want those.
I did unsubscribe from quite a few other services, but had technical issues with some I tried.
When all was said and done I had 38 emails that I considered worth saving.  Pretty crazy.  I have disabled the new message notification on my phone, as up until now I feel the need to check every message as they come in - even though most obviously are not worth saving.  I figure if I designate certain times to check my messages, rather than checking throughout the day it'll go much quicker and I won't be wasting as much time checking my phone.  

I had 27 blogs that I followed.  Some are the type that post daily others more sporadic.  After a week I had 138 posts to read (or probably 118, one blogger had the unfortunate problem that one of her posts reposted about 20 times).  Of those 118 I have 7 that I kept as I want to comment or print something.  The rest not so interesting.  I've unsubscribed from a couple, but also have moved the icon off the front page of my phone so I won't be as tempted to check for new posts.

This has been my worst addiction for a while, and really I don't know why.  I don't play any of the games, but I find I check it compulsively, and post a couple of times a week.  So what difference did it make when I only checked once a day?  Really, none.  The same posts were still there, some interesting, some not so much and most I didn't comment on.  So the moral of the story, move this off my main page and check at a budgeted time just like the emails. 

So now that I've dealt with the trees, what will this do for the forest? Looking back I often found myself checking my phone instead of interacting with other people - my kids, other parents at pickup, etc.  Not good.  If I want to enjoy my kids, and give them the attention they deserve, I need to put the phone down.  If I expect to make any new friends, which I would like to, I need to be approachable, not be attached to my phone. As with any addiction, it won't be easy, especially since there are legitimate reasons to use it, but I definitely have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Week 16 Menu

Sunday - Biksemad
Monday - Rigatoni alla Vodka 
Tuesday - Kid Food - Chicken nuggets and soup
Wednesday - Almond Chicken Casserole
Thursday - Meatball Soup & Grilled Cheese
Friday - Pizza
Saturday - Fried Rice

Not a super exciting week but since I was working on Screen Free Week, I didn't have a lot of time for cooking.  Hopefully this coming week will be more interesting.

Screen Free Week

National Screen Free Week will be taking place April 30-May 6th.  It used to be known as TV Turnoff week but given all the technology options that we all have these days, it's been expanded to include video games, computers, tablets and smartphones,

Due to various reasons, my daughters' school chose to have Screen Free Week two weeks earlier. A neighbor and I were asked by the PTO to organize school events for the week.  Up until now I haven't done anything with the PTO, but with a second grader and kindergartner at the school, I figured it was time to volunteer for something, and I figured this was a great fit. I don't let my kids have a lot of screen time, as I expect them to do homework first, and prefer that they play, read, or do something creative rather than watch TV.  I don't think all TV is bad, but I do believe that most kids get too much screen time, and not enough of the things I listed above.

One of the statistics I found on Screen Free Website states that according to Nielsen ratings, preschool children spend 32 hours a week with screen media.  That works out to 4.5 hours a day!!!!  When my daughters were in preschool they attended three mornings a week for a total of 9 hours a week, which around here is typical.  According to that stat kids are spending 3.5 times more time watching a screen than they are attending school. That's crazy.

I know as kids get older it's tougher to limit screen time as they do have legitimate needs for computers to complete homework assignments, but like anything, if you set good habits from a young age, they will continue as they get older.  I allow my kids 1 show (that they all have to agree on) after all homework is done.  Most days it doesn't happen, as time often runs out after activities and homework and that's just fine by me. 

Ok, time to get off the soap box.  So what did we plan?  Our only guidelines from the school were that people wanted something interactive.  If you just have the kids come and watch a show, it's not that different from staying home to watch TV.  We had a small budget but were lucky that most of our "vendors" volunteered their time.

Monday Night we had a fitness night.  We had two yoga classes (split between younger and older kids) as well as a Tae Kwon Do demonstration including some students from our school as well as adults.

Tuesday we had story night and science night.  For story night we reached out to room parents, senior readers, and community members - fire fighters, police officers, school district superintendent, and asked them to read to the kids for about 10 minutes (1 or 2 stories).  We were overwhelmed by the response.  We held the event in the school library and had the librarians preselect some books for readers, but also encouraged readers to bring their favorites.  We ran the event from end of school til 8 pm and kids came and went as their schedules allowed.  We took a break in the middle for story night.  We had arranged for High Touch High Tech  to handle the science portion of the evening.  I had used them two years ago for my daughter's birthday party and they were great.  They had two different instructor-led experiments for the kids to do - making silly putty and growing crystals.  Then they had tables where the kids could play with tornado tubes, static electricity and flight.  This event had our best turnout.  Our school has about 650 kids and we had probably about 150 kids show up. 

Wednesday was art night.  A local art studio hosted an event for 3-5 graders.  As mentioned above, my kids are younger than that so we didn't go, my co-chair did.  This was also the night that the 5th graders worked on decorations for their "promotion party".  I would have preferred we had also had an event for the younger kids, but by the time we learned that the art studio was planning their event for the older kids it was too late to add something.

Thursday was designated as Music Night as the 4th and 5th grade Chorus were performing in their spring concert.

Friday night we designated as family night, encouraging families to come up with their own screen-free activities.  Partly because we figured if any families chose to attend all our planned activities, they would want a night off, and partly because we wanted to encourage families to come up with their own ideas.

Finally, we gave each student and activity log to track how they spent their screen-free time.  We've asked each student to hand in their logs mid week next week and will award the class with the best participation with a lunch time party (date and theme to be determined).  While we offered the activities I listed above, we aren't penalizing kids who didn't participate in our events, we encouraged them to go screen-free with family and friends instead.  I'll be interested to see what the final participation will be.

I'm happy to say that my kids had no problem giving up their screens for the week, but I know from asking my daughters that some of their classmates had a harder time.   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kids Sale

My women's group had their consignment sale this morning. As the years go by I'm getting less for my daughters but selling more too. Overall I ended up tagging about 100 items (mostly clothes) with a total resale value of about $200.

I asked my daughters what they wanted me to look for for them, and all they want are chapter books. Unfortunately, that's the one thing this sale doesn't have a lot of. I got to the sale about an hour after it started, I ended up getting the following things.

For my oldest
1 Gymboree tshirt

For my son
1 pair khakis
1 pair sweatpants
Carter's pjs
Gap sweater
Red polo
Red ls shirt
Bob the Builder tshirt

For whoever
9 picture books
Cranium Cadoo

24.64 - not too bad. I'll be curious to see how much I sell for, this may finally be a sale where I earn more than I bought for.

Tip - if at all possible leave the young kids at home. The entire time I was shopping there was a little girl having a major tantrum while her Mom was trying to shop. I don't know what triggered it to begin with, and I'm not judging the Mom, just saying that these sales can be tantrum inducing for young kids
- long lines to get in
- lines to pay
- a ton of people so very easy for kids to get lost
- a lot of toys, and clothes but as a parent you need to look through a lot to find the good stuff for your kid. This is not a power shopping trip. Even if kids don't end up having a full on tantrum, there is a ton of temptation for them of things to touch and play with, especially since all the toys are already out of their packaging.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Upcoming Reads

This morning I went to Barnes & Noble to return some books.  After a very quick and easy return, I was on my way out the door when I stopped myself.  My daughters were in school, my son was at his drop off class, and I was in the rare position of being in a bookstore by myself.  Why was I rushing out?  I turned back around and wandered the stacks for a while.  I didn't buy anything but added a few potential reads.  I've added them to My Book Nook on Pinterest. If you've read something good lately, please let me know.  I'm always looking for new books to read and am finally making the time to do it again.

Book Drive

Last summer my kids and I donated some books to the Page It Forward 2011 book drive. Up until then, I'd never heard of a book drive and I naively assumed all kids had access to books.

Now my daughters' school is running a week long book drive for the same organization - Bernie's Book Bank. According to the literature they came home with, in a low-income area there are on average 1 book per 300 kids. That would mean 2 books for my daughters' entire school. Among the 3 kids' bookshelves in our house we must have hundreds of books and make trips to the library monthly (on top of the weekly trips my daughters take to the school library). I can't even guess how many books my kids have read at this point, but among the 3 of them, I'd guess it's in the 1000s. The school's goal is to collect 3000 books over the course of the week - an average of 5 books per student. Next weeks weekly project happens to be organizing the kids bookshelves, but I already had my son look at his bookshelf and he found 9 books to donate.

If you have any gently used books that your kids have outgrown please donate them to Bernie's Book Bank or a similar organization (I'm sure there are others around the country). Check out this promotional video from Bernie's for more info on how this works.

As bloggers we all appreciate the written word and I would assume you all share this love with your children. Please help spread the joy of a book with those who can't afford to buy their own or don't have access to a library, supporting book banks like Bernie's or find a book drive in your area.

Looking Forward

My son is starting to potty train and we've been talking about moving him out of the crib and in to a big kid bed as soon as we can afford a new bed for my daughter. I've started thinking of the things I'm looking forward to as they grow up.  Some are in the near future, some a ways away but all good.

I look forward to being able to leave the house without having to think about bringing anything other than my keys and wallet.

I look forward to not having to pick my car based on configuring carseats.

I look forward to my kids being old enough that I will be able to leave them at home when I run errands.

I look forward to the day when my kids are old enough that we can get a puppy.  All kids should have a pet, but I want to wait til my little guy is in kindergarten so I have time to train/take care of a puppy.

Of course there are some tradeoffs, some of the things I look forward to, I will lose other sweet things. 

I look forward to not having to change anymore diapers, but I will miss the fit of giggles that kids make when they get a "zerbert"

I look forward to a time when my daily schedule does not have to allow for naps, but I miss the ways newborns fall asleep snuggled up on your chest.

I look forward to the days when my kids will sleep in, but I will miss our morning snuggles

I look forward to the day when my kids can walk to school on their own, but will miss the security of knowing exactly where they are at all times.

I look forward to the day my husband and I will be able to go out without hiring a babysitter, but will miss the little reports of what they did while we were gone.

I look forward to being able to take the kids to the movies, but will miss our story times.

I look forward to the day when I won't have to bring a fully stocked diaper bag with me when I leave the house, but will miss always having snacks I can raid when I get hungry.

I'm sure there are more, but these are the main ones.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Week 15 Menu

Sunday - Burgers
Monday - Pasta Primavera
Tuesday - Wiener Schnitzel
Wednesday -Ham with Roasted Potatoes
Thursday - Order out Chinese
Friday -Tortellini with Pesto
Saturday - Out

Nothing super exciting this week.  Next week is going to be tougher as I have to be at the school a couple of nights for Screen Free Week.  I'd do crockpot stuff, but my kids don't like it.

Art Institute

On Good Friday I took the kids to the Art Institute. My daughter recently finished reading the Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone.  It's a book about kids who find a special passage that takes them inside the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute.  She loved the book as it was very similar in style to the Magic Tree House series that she recently completed.  She was a little disappointed to learn that currently there is only one other book from the series currently in print. Hopefully I can find other similar series to keep her interested while until more of these books come out. 

Each room is from a different time period and location (mostly American and Western Europe) with amazing details.  The exhibit is relatively kid friendly as the have a special step all along the exhibit room, so kids can stand up and peer in to the rooms.  My little guy had trouble seeing but I picked him up so he could look into the rooms as well.  His sisters spent a lot more time studying the details.  The details of the rooms really are amazing, and while there are no people in the rooms, you can almost imagine real people living in them.

After the Thorne Rooms we headed up to the Impressionist as my younger daughter wanted to see Seurat's La Grande Jatte - arguably one of the Art Institute's most famous works.  I've always loved this painting too, as I feel like every time I see it I discover something new (sometimes from eavesdropping on conversations of other people admiring it).  There are a couple of small studies in the same room that Seurat painted in preparation for the main piece and we had fun playing a version of can you find the differences?

After exploring some more we came across this painting.  It's called Fisherman's Cottage and was painted by a Norwegian artist named Harald Sohlberg.  I had never noticed it before, but for some reason this time it caught my eye.  I think it was mostly the light coming through the trees, similar to the photos I've been taking recently. It just looks so peaceful.  The picture I've posted really doesn't do it justice as photos of paintings with good lighting rarely do, but this one from the Art Institute website is certainly better than the one I took with my phone :)

At this point the kids were getting a bit antsy, so we went to the Family Room to play for a while before heading home.  We were there for about an hour putting together puzzles, reading books, building with blocks and playing some of the interactive art games on the computer.  Unfortunately there was no free craft to do that day (I think that may only be on weekends), but the kids didn't seem to notice.

All in all a good day.  I remember as a kid, my Mom often took my sister and I to some of the many wonderful art museums in and around New York.  At the time, I know we complained a lot, but over time we both developed an appreciation for art (and my sister ended up minoring in Art in college).  While I have never really studied art and don't have a real grasp of the different styles and who influenced who, I can still appreciate beauty and am trying to impart that on my children.  It helps that at the Art Institute admission for children is free and the recently opened Family Room gives them a place to get the wiggles out before/after an excursion of "Don't Touch".

I noticed that there is a Roy Lichtenstein exhibit coming in the summer, so want to head back downtown for that.  Taking the kids to temporary exhibits is always a little tougher as they tend to be more crowded, but I think they'll enjoy his style, and since most of his paintings are big, they'll still be able to see even if there are a ton of people..

Screen Free Week

This week is Screen Free Week at my daughters' school. Another Mom and I have organized events for the kids 4 of the 5 nights, and are asking kids to track what they do instead of using a screen.

In the spirit of the week and to lead by example, I'm shutting off all non-essential screens. No TV time or computer time for the kids (they don't watch that much anyway, so shouldn't be that tough).

For me, I won't be blogging or reading other blogs. I'm ignoring Facebook (the worst of my screen addictions), and will only check essential emails.

I can easily give up the TV, as I love to read, and am in the middle of a good book - 11/22/63 by Stephen King.

Giving up TV will be a little tougher for my husband, but he's agreed to play along provided I let him watch the two Hawks games this week. Hey, a reduction in TV time is better than nothing.

This weekend I'll report back on how we did. Just in case any of you are participating in the National Screen Free Week in a couple of weeks, don't ask why we're doing it early - PTO politics is all I can figure out.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mommy meltdown

Last Monday night was rough. My husband had been gone since Thursday on a golf trip so I'd been alone with the kids since then. They were on spring break so we were all together at all times. We did go on day outings which helped keep things fun, but also required a bit of planning on my part to make it work.

Monday night, after kids being back at school and my middle daughter taking her usual sweet time getting ready for bed, I lost it. I yelled at her, to get moving, which of course had no effect, then I got in her face and yelled some more, which made her cry.

Finally I started to cry too. I told her I don't like yelling and pre-kids I didn't yell. I told her that she had made me into this mean yelling person by not doing what is asked of her, and I didn't like it. We went back and forth for a while and finally calmed down enough to finish getting ready for bed. My oldest gave me a big hug, cause she could tell I needed it.

Once I calmed down I had a more calm talk with my younger daughter about why I get do upset when she dawdles.

I got them all tucked in and went down to our family room and cried some more. My husband got back a little while later and he could see I'd been crying. I told him why and we talked about how our daughter is basically showing classic middle child behavior when she acts out. The bottom line is yelling is not going to change it, respecting her needs and wishes is.

This past week I've made an effort to be more present with her, and do things that she wants to do. Her behavior has improved dramatically. She showers before dinner with minimal fuss. She gets ready faster. She's not perfect and they have missed the story cutoff a couple of nights, but we're getting there. Everyone's back to school and activities now and I felt bad that on Tuesday my oldest had an hour of dance class followed by an hour of soccer practice and the other two just had to come along. Not much fun for them, so I need to figure out a better way to handle that one. I can't really car pool since no one else we know is in both. The soccer field is pretty close to our house, so I may just drop her off and take the other two home or to a playground until I need to pick her up again.

Her big wish for her birthday is rollerskates, and I think the main reason is that her sister doesn't have a pair so it'll be her own thing. My husband and I talked about how she doesn't have many activities that are just hers. Both my daughters take dance and now play soccer, my oldest takes piano and my younger wants to, and as much as I hate to add an extra activity to an already busy schedule, that may be what she's craving, something that's completely hers.

The school is commemorating National Poetry Month by letting the kids read poems over the PA system as part of the morning announcements. My younger daughter immediately volunteered and has been practicing her poem - Hungry Mungry by Shel Silverstein - for the past few days (without me ever asking her once to do it). So things are definitely improving.

Of course now my older daughter feels like my attention towards her has waned, so she's the one getting upset and starting to give me attitude.

Luckily my little man for the most part still goes with the flow, probably since he's with me all day and gets a lot of attention.

As I said ages ago, all my little trees need to be nurtured and feel loved for our little forest to be happy and prosper.

Big Progress on the Feeding Front this Week

When I took my little man to feeding group this past Tuesday, he declared the day "biting day". We had stopped for lunch at Jason's Deli before and they gave him a lollipop. He asked me if he could eat it, and I told him that I'd he bit something during feeding group, I'd let him have the lollipop after. Deal.

When I dropped him off I told the therapist about the crayon incident and our deal with the lollipop. 45 minutes later he came out gnawing on a Twizzler and the therapist told me that sure enough, he had bitten a Pringle.

Wednesday night for dinner, he asked to play with food, played with the pretzels for a while and finally took a little nibble. He got a concerned look on his face, but didn't freak out, just moved the piece to his teeth like I told him to, chewed it a little and swallowed :)

Today, we were going to have lunch before the in home therapist arrived, and he asked for pretzels and apple straws. I gave them to him, and he played with them until she arrived. I told her that he was in the kitchen since we usually start with warmups in the family room, and she agreed we would keep him in the kitchen and let him lead a bit.

We ended up staying in the kitchen the whole time, and he nibbled apple straws, broke pretzel braids with his teeth and scraped crackers on his teeth. Huge progress all in one day, so he earned his chocolate cookie :)

We also dipped some of the things in hummus as she is trying to now get him away from all the sweet flavored and on to other tastes.

Finally on the way home from picking up his sisters he mentioned that he is getting tired of pureed bananas. I told him that was fine as there are tons of other things in the world to eat, he just needs to start trying, and he agreed.

Thank goodness we're getting there. He turns 3 in about a month and at that point Early Intervention no longer covers all this therapy and it'll go through insurance (and therefore out of pocket expenses for us). At least he'd probably have passed out of the feeding group though so we'd be back to once a week. Also the one-on-ones with the therapist would no longer be at our home, but at the clinic. Not sure why, but that's just how it works.

Monday, April 2, 2012

He chewed......

A crayon.

My son has yet to eat table food, but yesterday afternoon as I was talking with my oldest in our family room, my other daughter came in and said that the little man had crayon in his mouth. They had been coloring in the kitchen and she looked up and he had pieces of crayon in his mouth.

Ironically, instead of getting upset, I see this as progress. Until now he hasn't chewed anything. All of a sudden he's taking bites of a crayon?

I helped him clean all the crayon bits out of his mouth. Then I brought him into the kitchen and tried to get him to bite an apple straw instead. I tried for about 10 minutes of trying to get him to show me how he chewed the crayon but using the apple straw instead. No luck. Even so, I consider it progress.

And if that wasn't enough, he used the potty 2 times last night. :) My little guy is growing up.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Week 14 project - Consignment Sale Prep

Two weeks from now, my women's group is hosting their semi-annual consignment sale.  This week is time to go through the bins of outgrown clothes and get it all tagged. 

I also use it as an incentive to get the kids to purge their toys.  I help them price everything, and anything that sells, I give them the money for.  Last fall they each earned $9 and they were psyched, even kicked themselves for not selling more.  I look forward to picking up some "new" clothes for the kids at the actual sale.  I still have yet to sell more than I buy for, but even so the savings are amazing. 

With my first daughter, I bought almost all of her clothes new and shunned handmedowns and sales like this, now I love them.  Kids grow so fast, consignment sales are the way to go when getting stuff for your kids.  I posted some tips after the previous sale in the fall - check it out if you're new to consignment sales

Week 14 Menu

Sunday - Shrimp & Scallop Sauté  my oldest daughter picked this one. It was ok, not great and a little pricey with all the seafood. 
Monday - Chicken Stirfry - no real recipe for this
Tuesday - Cheesy Pasta Bake - good make ahead recipe for our first ballet/soccer night
Wednesday - Dijon Herb Pork Tenderloin - my younger daughter's request for the week
Thursday - Chicken w/Parmesan, Prosciutto & Asparagus
Friday - Hamburger Stroganoff
Saturday - Grill? My husband's been gone for 5 days, I'm hoping I can convince him to grill this weekend

If you need ideas for planning your menus, check out Menu Plan Monday for tons of recipes

Chicken with Pasta, Prosciutto & Asparagus in Cream Sauce

I adapted this from a cookbook from Magnolia's restaurant in Charleston. Mine is more of an alfredo, theirs was more soupy.  This is one of my husband's favorites.

1/2 lb cooked farfalle
4-5 slices of prosciutto cut into small pieces
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1/2 in slices
1 lb cooked diced chicken
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
Cracked pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, saute the garlic in oil.  Once tender, add the prosciutto and the asparagus.  Once the asparagus is tender, add the heavy cream and Parmesan.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the cheese is melted and sauce thickens.  Add the chicken and cooked pasta to the pan. Add cracked pepper to taste.  Stir and let cook a little more til sauce thickens.  Serve with more Parmesan.