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Saturday, December 31, 2011

21 Day Transformation

Tomorrow marks the first day of 2012.  For some reason the transition to a new year seems to invite change and this year I'm more excited than ever to get started.  My husband recently introduced me to a blog called Mark's Daily Apple.  At first I was skeptical about Mark Sisson's paleo talk.  Eat like our ancestors and live better.  I thought of it as the latest trend and maybe it is.  But the more I read about living a paleo lifestyle, the more I realize that it makes complete sense for me and my family.  Let me explain why.

After the birth of my little Beaner, the weight shed off like a dog losing his winter coat (yes, you can hate me).  Nursing her for as long as we have (and continue to do) has allowed me to maintain the perfect weight for my size (yes, I can hear your sighs).  Despite being this perfect weight, I am plagued every day by a lack of energy, poor muscle endurance and cravings for carb infested foods.  This has made me realize that weight means nothing if your body is in poor shape.  I don't have the energy to play with my kids like I want to. I don't have the energy to exercise and I don't have the energy to foster the important relationships in my life. Something has to change.  Living a Paleo lifestyle isn't just about the foods you eat, it is also about nurturing the environment you live in and exercising your body in the way our ancestors did.  Mark Sisson has a book called the 21 Day Transformation which directs you in making changes to your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle.  I could write on and on about what a Paleo lifestyle means but I'd rather you check back with me as I take this journey over the next 21 days.

Over the next 21 days, I plan to eat a minumum of 80% Paleo which is recommended.  As this is not a restriction diet, that 20% allows you to be flexible in making this transition. I hope I can be 100% but I will aim for 80 so as to not risk failure.  As for my family, I plan to work on transitioning the children to this diet with some changes.  My Rooster only likes carbs and sugars. It does not work well for him.  He has poor energy and other problems from this diet.  I plan to switch his diet to Gluten and Casein free while working toward Paleo.  Generally when a family makes this change, the children are forced to as well because that is the only food around.  I plan to stop buying all those non whole food items that are terrorizing his little system.  Meanwhile though, I need to make sure he still gets food.  This will be my greatest challenge.  My girls are much easier eaters and the baby Beaner prefers Paleo foods already.  If you have read some of my previous posts, you might realize that my Rooster has a strong food aversion making this transition even more difficult.  My sister in law turned me onto the notion that certain kids can crave foods that they are allergic or sensitive to.  I believe that Rooster is sensitive to gluten and sugar and therefore craves it even more.  Just my theory.

So these are my goals for the kiddos.  During this 21 day challenge, I would like Rooster to eat one vegetable and two fruits that aren't disguised in his food.  Right now apples are the only produce he will eat so this will be tough!  For the girls, I would like them to add two additional vegetables to their current list and make sure they eat a vegetable for every lunch and dinner.  I would like any other foods to be Gluten and Casein free.

I start my challenge on Monday (Jan. 2nd) so check back for updates.  In the meantime, I made my kids a Paleo breakfast this morning and was beyond ecstatic when my Rooster ate an entire coconut flour pancake packed full of protein and fiber along with some bacon.   Bear only had a banana but she isn't a morning person.  My Beaner prefers eggs and wouldn't try the Paleo pancakes which is fine with me.  Successful meal in my book!

So tell me what you think about this Paleo change?  Aren't these cute faces worth a healthy lifestyle?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Finding the Person Within: A Mother and Daughter Journey | Mark's Daily Apple

I just wanted to share this story that my husband sent me. As we search for ways to help our two oldest children with developmental challenges, it is a reminder that so much of their struggles likely comes from their diet. It is so hard to change their diets one that eliminates those mainstream foods in our society but the benefits far out way the struggle. This article just motivates me to work even harder on this. On a personal level, I've struggled with fibromyalgia since a car accident in 2000. When I eat a whole food diet and exercise, I am symptom free. Currently, I struggle with daily pain and mental fog. With the winter blues approaching, eating a better diet will be my key to controlling these symptoms and regaining my energy. If you struggle with any physical problems from allergies to muscle pain, I encourage you to look at your diet and see where you can eliminate artificial sweeteners, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and additives. They hide everywhere! Those dill pickles you put on your hamburger have yellow dye. Those crackers you eat probably have high fructose corn syrup and those sugar free cookies are full of poison for your body. If your child struggles from any physical or behavioral problems, changing their diet will likely have a huge impact on controlling their symptoms. Isn't it worth a try?

Finding the Person Within: A Mother and Daughter Journey Mark's Daily Apple

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Daylight Savings

Tomorrow we fall back an hour.  Or do we?  I have yet to hear a single reminder about this event.  One of those things that you know is true but want validated.  Anyway, who out there has trouble adjusting to Daylight Savings with their kiddos?  Call us lucky but we rarely struggle with this.  A bit in the Spring but definitely not in the Fall.  On school nights our kids go to be at 7 and are out by 8.  On weekends, maybe 7:30. So we thought we'd let them play until 8-8:30 tonight. Well that backfired as it was after 9pm by the time they were all asleep.  I do believe though that tomorrow they will sleep in a bit and be totally adjusted!  In the Spring time, we just make sure to wear them out extra hard for two days and they usually do fine with the earlier bed time. So what do you do to make this transition?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creative Juices

One day I was creative and then one day I was not.  What happened? I know what did it.  Responsibilities, lifestyle changes, expectations, stress, etc.   Our minds become so clouded with our day to day chores and responsibilities that it can be hard to keep those creative juices flowing.  Then steps in a six-year-old.  This age totally amazes me. Not only are they competent but they are creative.
Rooster loves to make books.  He makes a new one every day about whatever is on his mind.  The other day, it was how a pumpkins grows. The day before that it was the Beaner's favorite things.  This past month me and Rooster decided we were going to start making books together.  Our first one, about a boy who doesn't want to go to school, should be done soon and placed on Amazon for purchase.  How exciting!
So today Rooster comes up to me and says "can we write a book about Nothing?"  Brilliant my little buddy.  One of the greatest television shows of all time is about Nothing.  So that is our next book.  Shortly after that,  his creative little juices surfaced again.
We had been given playdoh to make as a birthday party favor (another brilliant idea from a great mom).  I made 3 different colors.  After Rooster was done playing with it he wanted to store it.  His sister gladly smooshed all three of hers into the ziploc baggy I provided but not my Rooster.  He didn't want his colors to mix.   I refused to waste 3 bags and told him to just set them in and be careful.  Not good enough.  His creative juices told him to staple down 3 columns in his bag thereby creating pockets for his playdoh!  Why didn't I think of that?  Because I was too busy worrying about the muffins to make for school tomorrow, changing a diaper, clipping coupons, cleaning up playdoh, etc.  To be 6 again with such great ideas!  Here's a picture of the playdoh.  What do you think?

Check out this giveaway!

In my last post, I talked about saving money for Christmas by winning many of my kiddos gifts.  Well, I'm here to tell you about a very generous blogger with lots of low entry giveaways.  I recently won a giveaway from A Little of Everything and I can tell you they are super easy to enter!  So head over and check out Courteney's fall giveaways!  Her button is over there on the right.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Christmas shopping already?

Every year around this time I start thinking about how to spoil my kids for Christmas. Growing up, Christmas was a magical day for me. My parents were generous but not overloading with our gifts.  I believe much of the magic I remember was based on the festivities around the holidays.  The smell of holiday cookies, the wrapping of gifts for relatives, the bells jingling at the stores, sitting on Santa's lap and my favorite, the great lengths my parents went to proving to me that Santa existed.

Now with kids of my own, I struggle with maintaining a balance between my desire to buy my kids every toy available with the need to be practical and teach them the true meaning of Christmas. I want them to wake up that morning with a big smile and feel like the unwrapping of gifts is never ending.  However, it makes no financial sense to spend boat loads of dollars on young children who really do not need all that much.  So this season, I've been on a mission to get as many of their gifts for free as I can.  Yes, free!

So here is my progress so far... In the past three weeks, I've won or obtained free the following:
My Little Firefly (pretend fireflies in a jar), a large butterfly net, a whale whistle and a $25 Amazon gift code.  I also won some free organic skin care for myself. You have to pamper the provider you know.  Yes, this is only a start but I haven't put much time or effort forth yet either.  So how do you do it?  By entering online contests through Facebook and blogs.  I have also won a very cool tent and a Melissa & Doug rolling suitcase through this method.

Personally, I use Money Saving Mom.  I love her giveaways because all you do it put in your name and email address and hit enter.  I have not won anything from her yet but the cool part is, after the winner is announced, everyone with giveaways links up and there you have a great list of giveaways to enter.  I am very selective when I enter as it makes no sense to win something we don't need.  It does take some effort but when I'm winding down at night, watching a little television, why not be productive?

How about you? What do you plan to do to save money this holiday season?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Extreme Coupons - Whole Foods

If there is one store that can blow our grocery budget, it is Whole Foods.  I love shopping there, love their products, their customer service and small size.  It is easy to spend money with all their well marketed products.  It used to be impossible for me to walk out of there spending less than $100.  That simply doesn't work with our grocery budget.  Today, I was determined to maximize my coupons and spend less.  I think I succeeded...let me know what you think.

My grocery bill total before coupons was $70.23.  After coupons it was $55.28.  I then applied a Living Social  Deal of paying $10 for $20 worth of grocery which brought my grand total to ...


Can you see me doing the coupon dance over here??

This is what I got...

Some of the higher cost items were baby shampoo, produce and tuna.  For the bars and cereal I doubled the store coupon with manufacturers.  So there it is!  Let me know what you think!

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to catch a squirrel...a 6 yr old's tutorial

I just love age six. They are so creative, so determined and so capable. Rooster, my six year old just loves to create traps for anything that moves.  He has tape sticky side up across a piece of food in his room to catch a fly, a fake pond in the backyard to catch a frog and now a squirrel trap.
Ever wondered how to catch a squirrel?  Well, according to a six year old, you start by collecting a bucket full of acorns.

Then use that same bucket for your trap by propping it up with a stick over the acorns.

Then draw some pictures of squirrels, cut them out, and use your mother's wooden clips to secure them to the ground.

Then wait... and hopefully, you'll catch a squirrel! Here is another view of the whole set up.

Don't you just love the creativity and imagination?  I wonder what he'll try to catch next?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reflecting on the Invisible Mother

A mother I love and respect recently posted an article called the Invisible Mother on facebook.
This was such a thought provoking article in many ways.  It really caused me to think about how I raise my children now as the pillars for the rest of their life.  It also struck me just given the state of our household right now.  We have the dreaded stomach virus taking over our house.  I never really knew how strong a maternal instinct was until the first time I dealt with a sick child. You just want them better and they expect that you will do that for them.  But what happens when the invisible mother becomes ill?  Suddenly, the things she does every day becomes very visible.  Babies melt down crying for their mother's hand, and the house starts collecting all those things mother used to put away.  Sometimes I think we get ill just so we will slow down in life and take inventory of what is really important to us.  I know for me, I'm ready to get back to being the invisible mother next week and building that important foundation for my kids.
Did anyone else read this article?  Thoughts?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crazy kids

Now that school is in full swing, let's talk about what to do with the kiddos after school.  I don't know about anyone else's kids, but my two are just plain crazy after school.  No need to sugar coat it, they turn into little monsters I don't even recognize.  There is absolutely no emotional control.  I'm guessing this comes from trying to be good all day long and complying with strict rules.  They walk in the door and immediately start fighting with each other.  Then there is melt down after melt down.  So what's the solution?  Anyone have luck with any particular strategy?  My thought is to continue the strict schedule/rules once they get home. I'm generally a laid back, fly by the seat of my pants kind of mom but that simply isn't working for them.  I'm thinking they should get home, eat their snack, do a fun activity with mom, work on chores, dinner, fun time with dad, then bed.  What do you guys think?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kindergarten days

There I go again.  Taking off from you guys and acting like I have something better to do.  Truth be told, I rather be talking to you but I've got noses to wipe, diapers to change, and Homework ...what's that? Homework to do??  Ok, only a few random assignments, but there is another form of "homework" that comes when your child starts kindergarten.  Nobody tells you about this one.  You just think you'll get up, maybe brush your teeth, pour some coffee, pack a lunch and give them a kiss goodbye... then freedom!  Nope.  That's not what happens folks. 
Let's start with lunches.  Back in the day, my mom would slap a PB&J, maybe leftover meatloaf sandwich (yes, I was embarrassed but their good) or if your my mom, Jelly Bean and PB sandwich (she was fun).  and guess what?  we would eat it!  Not these days.  Actually maybe it's just my kids.  First, it needs to be well balanced or you might get the imaginary label of a malnourishing mom.  So you have to cut up some fruit for the kid - X2 here.  Fork out a fortune for Gogurts because all the kids have them - X2.  Make something of substance in a sandwich -X2.  Oh wait, Rooster informs me that he doesn't like sandwiches in his lunch. Open up a can of creative juice and pack that kid a pumpkin flax seed muffin with some cream cheese.  Add some milk and make it all fit in those tiny lunch bags.  Ahh, lunch is ready.  But wait, they need breakfast and you need to pack them a mid day snack, balanced of course.  Open more creative juice because they are too tired to eat and it's not practical to refrigerate the afternoon snack. 
Then get them dressed, teeth brushed, hair combed, everything in the car and off you go.  You get home, do some cleaning and you need to bake a snack for them because they will be starving when they get back.  You get them home only to find more mail in both bags then you receive in a week at home.  Do they want to dance? swim? girl scouts? PTA? buy a shirt? sell a candle?  Phew, I don't know about you moms out there but kindergarten is wearing me out!  Then there is the new attitude that comes from being good in school all day...
So how are your first days of school going?  Teachers?  Seasoned moms?  Tell me it gets smoother!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breastfeeding...where's the applause?

This week is National Breastfeeding Awareness week and has me thinking...I know, uh ohh!  Anyway, I'm currently breastfeeding my third child.  My first two were both weaned before 6 months of age due to returning to work when they were three months old.  My career in Michigan required countless hours in court and full days in the field.  I just really struggled with sitting on the side of Michigan Avenue pumping breastmilk.  I felt I had done my duty and didn't mind the weaning. 
Then came my third, little Beaner.  We had since moved to Lexington which was a much more liberal town than any we lived in Michigan.  Most of my close friends make eco friendly choices, utilize organic food for their children and well, breastfeed.  I'm not talking a few months either.  It's not uncommon to be at a playgroup and see a two year old nurse.  When I decided to quit my career and stay home with my kiddos, I also decided there was no reason I couldn't successfully breastfeed for as long as desired by both me and my daughter.  By now, the recommendation was at least one year and if possible, two years.  I was bound and determined. I even took my first breastfeeding class.  The first time I breastfed in public at Sam's club, three different women approached me and commended me for breastfeeding.  My mouth dropped open!  Especially since in Michigan I was given dirty looks for breastfeeding in public on more than one occasion.  So what is my current beef?
Well, here it is.  My little Beaner is 15 months old and happily breastfeeding.  She is my largest child (I raise twigs for kids) which I attribute to breastmilk.  She is a very independent, healthy and happy toddler.  Yet, my support group outside of Lexington often asks me when I'll be done breastfeeding?  It's not uncommon for them to say to my husband, "Is she stilllll nursing?"  My Beaner still co-sleeps and breastfeeds but is so happy! I personally would like my body to my self at times but I really love the intimacy breastfeeding gives you with your baby.  It has truly bonded us so much more than my other two and I only regret that I didn't breastfeed them longer.  I think  I was really expecting when I talked to family and friends an applause for my continuing efforts to give my Beaner the best milk possible rather than being asked when we plan to stop breastfeeding.  My own husband, I love him dearly, but I know he would be glad to see an end to the breastfeeding.  I don't blame him for wanting his wife back but in the end, they are only babies and toddlers for a short time.  Why not give them the best in life? 

So this week, I encourage you to say a word to those breastfeeding moms in your life who might just need that extra applause to keep up their good work.  Just imagine the diseases we could fight with an increased use of human milk?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Only 8 days left until Kindergarten!  Where did the time go?  Is it possible I have two children leaving me for school next week?  Am I really suppose to be this anxious?  The fears are endless...will they starve because they can't open their string cheese? will they even realize they have a lunchbox?  will they forget to go to the bathroom and then be too scared to ask? will they get lost? will they cry?  will they share?  The list is endless...

Then I think about their teacher.  I think Kindergarten teachers have to be saints because anytime I throw a birthday party, I feel like these little rascals wear me out.  How do they do it every day with a smile on their face?  How do they get them all to follow along so they can actually learn something?  What do they do when one is crying? How do they deal with the parents???  Now that has to be a tough one. You have the parents who think their child is the only child and needs special rights. You have the parent who thinks their child is gifted and you can't tell them otherwise.  You have the parent who needs to talk to you everyday about their child. You have the parent who is too busy to talk to you about their child (hopefully not many of those).  And the parent who just can't let go.  I think every parent  may struggle with a bit of each of those but I have resolved that my relationship with their teachers is one of the most important relationships I can foster.  After homeschooling for a year, I have learned how difficult it is to teach the core concepts that build a foundation for future learning.  As parents, I feel it is our job to educate our kids.  Now I have this person, a teacher, willing to do it with me.  She is the one with the experience, energy, and resources to do this job with me and I plan to take advantage of this opportunity for my kiddos.  I look forward to hearing what they learn every day and seeing how I can incorporate this into our daily routine. I look forward to the lists of books to read, math to practice, and projects to create.  I look forward to having two new experts in our lives to help educate our two oldest kids. 
Now, if I could just complain for a minute about the supply list, cafeteria food selection, early start time...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Discovering your niche

If you scan through blogs about blogging advice, one thing is common among all have to find your niche.  That has been my struggle.  What do I love to write about and importantly, what do you love to read?  I have not been blogging lately because I have struggled with that question.  I would love to hear from you.  I have reflected on my previous blog postings and found that I enjoy talking about the silly things kids do but I also enjoy talking about ways to improve our children's health. In fact, I've considered pursuing a career in nutrition.  I was shocked to find that there is so very little information out there on how to increase a child's weight.  Pediatric nutritionalists are usually called in for an obsese child.  What about that child that is super skinny?  Try as they might, they can't put weight on those bones.  How does that impact their self esteem?  I spoke with one adult who struggled with this throughout childhood and was certain it impacted his self esteem.  The other aspect of nutrition that interests me is what should our children be eating?  I'm certain it doesn't include poptarts or cupcakes.  What nutritional benefit is there to adding vegetables to baked goods?  I hope I can give some yummy recipes while I test this out.  Today, try adding a half jar of carrot baby food or puree your own to your pancake mix.  It gives them a cool orange tinge but doesn't change the taste.
Let me hear from you.  What do you enjoy reading about?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dare to dream the dream...

So today, I'm launching my own home business!  What hubby?  Did I forget to tell you?  Well dear, you know that cake you devoured for dessert tonight?  It was delicious wasn't it?  I especially liked the berry parsnip frosting! What's that?  You didn't know there were parsnips in your frosting?  I'm guessing you didn't know there was organic kale, collard and mustard greens in the cake?  Oh and did I mention it's dairy free? You've got to be kidding right?  Well dear, I'm not.  There you have it; our very own home business.  Kidding Cakes!  They are chalked full of vegetables, low on sugar, yet so yummy it is hard to believe.  So get working on that kitchen remodel dear so I can make my next yummy surprise!  

Reality check: So that was my "trying to go to sleep" dream last night.  The cake truly was delicious but the business part is still a dream.  All great ventures have to start with a dream right?  So who wants a Kidding Cake and what vegetable would you like to see in it?  Beets? Carrots?  Cauliflower?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bear again...

I woke up this morning only to realize I'm still 4 years old.  When will my birthday come?  Mommy says it is still a few months away.  Few only means three so I thought it would be here by now.  I'm so excited for my birthday list this year.  Today while at the grocery store I told daddy I wanted all the colors of suckers and lollipops.  He likes to tell me "no, you can have that" but then I remind him that I want it for my birthday.  That makes it ok.  The last day, I saw plastic grapes at Hobby Lobby that I just have to have.  Mommy said "no, they collect dust" but then I reminded her that I wanted them for my birthday. That made it ok.  I also picked out a beautiful piece of fabric and plastic flowers.  I hope she is writing all this down.  When we went to Target, I saw a Backyardigans DVD and was so excited.  Mommy told me I have too many videos but then I reminded her it was for my birthday.  She said that was ok. I love that I will get everything I see every day for my birthday.  Now, if those few months would just hurry up.  In the meantime, I will have to help mommy around the house so she thinks I'm extra good for my special day.  Last day, she took all my books away (apparently I'm not suppose to throw them).  She put them on the book shelf in our play room.

I know exactly what your thinking!  That looks horribly boring doesn't it?  Well, I fixed it for her while she messed up my room again.  Isn't this better?

While I decorated the play room again, my mommy took all my stuff from my room again!

She appears to be detecting my newest way of getting materials for my room.  When my brother goes to the bathroom, I run into his room, grab what I want, and hide it in my room.  He gets so mad when something is missing and I can't help but laugh.  Mommy caught me once, told me I was sneaky and then decided my room needed cleaning again.  I'm so misunderstood, I think mommy is the sneaky one for catching me.  Wouldn't you agree?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Still here...

Uh oh! Where did I go?  On an adventurous vacation?  I wish.  Actually I am sorta under a personal reconstruction right now.  I wasn't too eager to continue writing about project simplify and decided I needed a blogging change. I hope you don't mind.  I promise to be back and hopefully be more interesting than before.  I'm finding that blogging is a great mental release but only if I blog about what is really on my mind.  These days, it seems to be parenting my four year old.  As a spirited child, she provides constant challenges which seem easier to deal with if I can see the humor and creativity in her.  So stay tuned...I'll be back!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why you should be concerned about your hoarding 4 year old

Do you have a 4 year old who takes everything but the kitchen sink with her wherever she goes?  Or am I the only one?  Should I be concerned?
Bear heading to the park (5 houses away)

I know what you're thinking, "oh, she's so cute taking all her possessions to the park", but I can't get this image out of my head...

Homeless Woman 3 by Stacy Alexander

First, you have to understand the randomness of her possessions.  A bucket to gather berries and stones to build an ant home.  An umbrella because the sun on a 77 degree night is just too hot for my always cold child.  Her dog purse which she unlatches half way there to see if it will walk like a dog and proceeds to get mad when it doesn't. A satchel style bag to put all the BBs she finds on the ground. And the dress.  She wears that dress EVERY day!!  I thought I hid it well from the mornings wash but nooooo, she found it in MY room.  We bought it last month and it is now stained and the hem is falling.  But, it is her favorite dress.  She must wear it to the park because what else would you climb a tree and build an ant's home in?

I love my 4 year old to pieces but please Bear, wear some shorts under that dress and leave a few things home next time.  Did I mention it took 20 minutes to walk past the five houses to the park with all her stuff?
Anyone else have a hoarder at home?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Smoothie revised

Dr. Oz's drink is great in theory but I really don't have that much time in the morning so let's give this recipe from a try. I love all her snack ideas for the summer amd this drink looks very do-able!

Green Smoothie Recipe

(1 serving)
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup kale
1/2 banana
1 cup water
Tear kale leaves off of stems and tear into small shapes. Put berries, kale, 1/2 banana, and water into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Project Simplify-Diet-menu

Well, we did fairly well over the weekend and really enjoyed our produce.  Tonight though, the lack of sleep from a teething baby got to me and I made chocolate chip cookies.  As my husband says, go for the 80/20 rule.  As long as 80% of what you eat is healthy, your doing good.

I had high hopes of having every single meal and snack planned for the next week.  Wow, was that tough!  I originally planned on having power smoothies every morning for breakfast; however, my children refuse to drink them so I guess I have to feed them something.  I'm going to "fly by the seat of my pants" for breakfast and follow this menu for the rest:

Snack #1: Zucchini bread (substitute chocolate chip cookies since I didn't make the bread yet)
Lunch: 1/2 PBJ sandwich, strawberries and apples
Snack #2: ants on a log (cream cheese on celery with chocolate chips-my kids hate raisins)
Dinner: Rooster's pick: Spag noodles with parmesan cheese, bananas, carrots and broccoli
Bed snack; yogurt

Snack: Banana and spoonful of peanut butter
Lunch: Hormel ham slice, string cheese, apples
Snack: Zucchini bread
Dinner: Bear's choice: Whole foods grilled chicken sausage with pineapple, celery and cauliflower
Bed snack: cereal

Snack: Sweet potato bread
Lunch: Gluten Free Cin Raisin bread, butter, applesauce, kiwi
Snack: Ant's on a log
Dinner: Grilled chicken, asparagus, squash, apples
Bed snack: yogurt

Snack: apple slices with peanut butter
Lunch: Zucchini bread, red pepper strips, pineapple
Snack: Pears, crackers
Dinner: Grilled steaks, grilled potato fries, salad, banana
Bed snack: cereal

Snack: yogurt
Lunch: 1/2 PBJ, apples
Snack: sweet potato bread
Dinner: chicken and veggie kabobs, strawberries, rice
Snack: shredded cheese and crackers

Breakfast: carrot pancakes, eggs, and bacon
Snack: Won't need after that breakfast!
Lunch: Surprise muffins, watermelon
Snack: yogurt
Dinner: Buffalo hamburgers, sweet potato fries, broccoli, fruit
Bed snack: crackers

Let me know what you think!  Suggestions?  Changes you would make?  Do need any recipes from this list?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The not so juicy juicer

In my last post, I talked about our love for our new juicer.  I went a little crazy on produce during my last grocery trip, although I did stay in budget.

I have to say we are now a little disappointed in our juicer.  I love the juice but all the wasted pulp, the expense of produce and the amount of juice extracted has caused us to reconsider.  It did not juice our spinach, parsley and kale very good at all.  My kids (aside from Beaner) did not like the apple carrot juice I made.  They loved the carrot juice pancakes but I can do that with purees.  We believe if we are going to juice, we need to spend a little more money on a juicer.  Since we are not willing to do that at this point in time, I've decided to start making Dr. Oz's drink in the morning.  Much easier. Cheaper. Quicker clean up.  Here it is.

2 cups spinach
2 cups cucumber
1 head of celery
1/2 inch or teaspoon ginger root
1 bunch parsley
2 apples
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all ingredients in a blender. This makes approximately 28-30 ounces, or 3-4 servings.

My menu for next week is almost done so I will post that soon.  Anyone else going to give Dr. Oz's drink a try?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reading challenge results

and the winner is....... a tie between Rooster and Bear!  Mommy did horrible with zero checks this week and Daddy only had one.  Beaner was a close runner up with seven while Rooster and Bear both had eight.  They were so cute these past two nights.  They both fell asleep surrounded in books as if they were cramming for a final exam!  Congrats to my little readers!

Project Simplify-Diet-Day 1

I think we made some progress today.  I let the kids finish the donut supply and explained to them that we could no longer buy them because they were bad for our bodies.  Surprisingly, no one cried and the sugar rush that followed reminded me of why sugar is our enemy.  We began next weeks menu with marginal success.

We then went and bought the Jack LaLanne power juicer at Bed, Bath, Beyond.  With the 20% off coupon, it was $80.  I put a link here to show you which one.  I am in love with this thing.  I let my kids make my juice because I figured if they started touching veggies, they might be less scared of them.  The Beaner was all about her cucumber, celery, grape and apple juice whereas the other two wouldn't touch it.  We made daddy a yummy one when he arrived from work and he was quite happy.

My final step today was to make a new rule.  The meat and veggies have to stay on your plate through dinner and if you try them, you get a hole punch in your reward card.  Rooster and Bear were fine with that rule.

Now my bread maker is making Bob Mill's Gluten Free bread which happens to be a great deal at Amazon.  I think it might be time for some tomato juice...

Project Simplify: Diet

I really dislike the word diet as our society has turned it into an image of a food restricting, calorie counting, cardboard eating monster. Personally, I don't want to waste that much of my time thinking about food. However, to make change, it will have to be our focus for awhile.

As part of Project Simplify, we have been brainstorming about ways to simplify our food intake and grocery shopping while nourishing our bodies.  We aim to use food as fuel for our bodies rather than fuel for our emotions.  It is well known that if your overweight, there is a good possibility you are an emotional eater.  If you eat for fuel only, you really can not be over weight.  That being said, you can't just flip a switch.  Changing your eating pattern is an ongoing challenge and for many, an uphill battle.  You may say, "I really do love those potato chips," but the reality is, you can really love raw celery too.  Our bodies were not programmed to like potato chips.  Babies will eat anything for the most part.  If you never give a baby anything but whole foods, that is all that child will grow to eat until outside influences introduce other foods to them. 

So why is this important in our life?  Simply put, our poor eating patterns are having a negative impact on our health, energy, and general well being.  Me and my husband both know how to eat well and we both agree that we feel incredibly good when we do.  When your sleep deprived and stressed though, chocolate brownies are so tempting.

It takes two to three weeks to change a habit.  I've decided the month of June is a good month to do a diet overhaul.  We don't have any trips planned and will be spending a ton of time at the pool.  My plan is to post our weekly menu and grocery list.  One of the biggest challenges will be Rooster.  The kid lives on carbs which means baking for me.  I plan to include the kids in our meal plans so they can be held accountable for what they eat.

We will be making a slow transition to eating more whole foods.  This means no processed foods.  It also means that our main fuel will be fruits, vegetables, and meat. The kids will continue to be given dairy, and whole grains as their needs differ from ours but the source of these foods will be scrutinized. I aim to signficantly increase their consumption of produce, nuts, grains, fish and meat. 

We will be the first to admit that this will be a very hard transition.  I look forward to sharing our successes and yes, most certainly, a few failures along the way.  Our first step is to empty our current supply of bad foods.  I had no problem throwing out a few packages of donuts but some of our others, such as cereal, will just have to slowly diminish over time.  I will share some of my recipe attempts on here regardless of their success or failure.  Stay tuned for my attempt to make a gluten free tortilla...

Do you have any healthy snack or meals to send our way?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Project Simplify

As you may recall from earlier posts, we have been working this year on simplifying our household. It seems like a never ending project. In doing so, we have realized we also need to simplify and improve other areas of our life to include our diet, our activities, and our finances.  I plan to blog about each of these areas as we make improvements in hopes that it will help keep me accountable and maybe motivate someone else.  This week, we start Project Simplify: Diet.  So follow along as we embark on this journey.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Break time!

We are taking a little break here at BTE mom to enjoy this wonderful weather with some out of town visitors.  Next week we hope to embark on a new journey in our house and hope you'll come along as we remodel our diets, finances, household duties, health and house.  Stay tuned for more challenges and new series.  Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brotherly Sisterly Love

The great Ziggy Marley sang a song about needing Brotherly Sisterly love but what exactly is that?  I know growing up, my brotherly love was getting peas chucked at me when my parents didn't pay attention during dinner.  The three year difference between me and each of my brothers created a different definition of brotherly sisterly love than that of my two oldest children.  Rooster and Bear are only 17 months apart and their relationship reminds me of what one might see in twins.  They play together all day long and have their own language.  Despite their daily disagreements, they truly love each other.  I often think, "how do I foster this? keep it going?"  I guess my answer is to just let them do it themselves as the result may be ...

as perfect as an ice cold milkshake on a hot day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Murphy Reading Challenge

It's time for another challenge!  We have been in summer mode here for quite some time and with that comes the challenge of continuing to educate our minds.  For the rest of the month we are doing a simple reading challenge.  We have this chart on our kitchen wall.  You do not need chalkboard paint to write with chalk.  It will wipe off any gloss painted wall and since we will be painting this soon, I'm not too worried about wiping off paint.  It's just our names and they get a check mark for every 20 min of reading, up to 3 checks per day.

On June 1st, whomever has the most checks, gets a prize!  So join us and let me know how your challenge goes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Letting go

I was reading through my latest copy of Parent today and came across an article entitled "Keep in Touch"  The sub title read "Spending time apart from your kid is never easy, but these fun tips can help you feel close."  Well, I was all excited to read those tips as I was really missing my Rooster who was backpacking in the Smokey Mountains with his dad, cousin and uncle.  I was quite disappointed to see they were referring to your child missing you rather than the reverse. 

At what age do we really have to let go?  Is it for their first sleep over at a friend's house?  The first day of Kindergarten?   There is something so reassuring about having your own child asleep under the same roof as you.  This is Roosters second backpacking trip with daddy but this one has been much harder on me.  I even had to hug his pillow good night.  Go ahead and laugh.  Maybe it is because the last time my hubby was in the Smokies he had to fight off a bear.  Seriously.  Or maybe it is because they do not have any cell phone reception so I have not heard from them since they left.  Either way, I miss my little buddy and can't wait to hug him again.

Am I just wierdo mom here or do you too have trouble letting go?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


As father's day approaches, I find myself trying to define this holiday.  I discovered that Mother's Day was a holiday that began to honor mothers (as if you didn't know that).  What I found interesting though, was that in the early 1900's, a Civil War Veteran was left a widow of six children when his wife died during child birth.  Suddenly, he became both mother and father during a time when father's were expected to go to work while mothers tended to their children.  Interestingly, his 16 year old daughter requested that the church set aside a day in June to honor fathers like her own, and so they did.  Through the years, a father's role has changed as our society has encouraged dual parenting.  Can you imagine if your father had stayed home with you when you were a child while your mother went to work?  I think we would have drove my father insane but I know some awesome dads today who stay home with their children.  In fact, my own husband stayed home with Rooster from age three months to six months, while I returned to work.  I firmly believe those three months gave my husband a sense of duty as a father and the confidence to parent in my absence.  Of course not all fathers or even mothers have the means or even desire to stay home with their children.  I just would like to see an increase in encouragement from society when they do. 

Back to Father's Day.  This is a day to honor fathers.  I honor my own father usually by making something he will find special.  This year it will be a simple framed photo of the kiddos.  Years ago, before kids, I spent six months knitting a blanket for him and I like to think it let him know how special he is. 

As a mother of young children, I also feel that I need to honor my husband. My children do not quite understand how to honor their father on his special day so it is up to me to guide them in doing so.  As for my hubby, well, he just wants to play golf on his day and that is ok too.

My whole reason for this post is to remind myself and others how important a father's role is in the upbringing of a child.  We often do not realize the impact their influence has on our children.  I know my own husband often feels that his little Beaner only needs her mother.  Although I often am the star in her eyes, I think this video just goes to show that in her short one year of life, her father has already been a great influence. 

How do you honor your father or husband on Father's Day?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Couch to Smokies finishes up with parchuting

Well, like Murphy's law dictates, my Couch to Smokies series did not go as well as anticipated.  I was relying on great weather for many long walks and runs but we have been plagued with rain.  Today I was forced to turn on my creative juices to get them moving and let me tell you, it took a power juicer to get them going.  Something about the rain just makes me want to curl up in bed with a good book; as if I've even been able to do that since having kids. I fought through that urge, poured an extra cup of coffee and decided to have a jumping contest.  Every good jumping contest needs a parachute, right?  This is what we did...

 I started with an old pillow case (obviously I haven't finished simplifying my house since I have random pillow cases sitting around).  I cut the pillow case in half.

Then we painted them.  Sorry for the blurry picture, I guess I moved.

It's interesting to see the difference between the art work of a 6 year old...

compared to his 17 months younger 4 year old sister

After they dried, I was forced to venture outside to get some sticks for the handles.  I used my nifty Pampered Chef scissors to trim them.  I love these scissors as they cut through anything!

We used two sticks per parachute to make two handles.  I just took the stick and placed it on one of the corners

I then rolled it up to see how far I needed to go to cut my handle slit

I then cut a slit just above my roll

I then rolled duct tape (because it holds anything) around the stick to make a firm handle

See, nothing fancy here but it's sturdy

The kiddos grabbed the handles, held the chutes above their heads, and jumped!

Over, and over again

Lots of fun and great exercise! Rooster was the longest jumper but one could guess that given how big he is.  They asked if they could keep their chutes as if I had just created some forbidden toy! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

In the words of a hoarding 4 year old...

Hi, my parent's call me Bear likely because I'm soft and cuddly rather than difficult.  My parent's think I'm a hoarder but I believe they just misinterpret my creations.  I like things.  Lots of things.  My Little Pony, stickers, Llama Llama, and lots of little bows and ribbons.  In fact, I found a beautiful box of pearl bobby pins in my special box the other day.  I'm not sure why mom freaked out about that one.  They sure did hurt when I touched them but they looked beautiful in my walls and stuffed animals.  My parents keep talking about this simple living stuff and frankly it sounds quite boring.  My mom keeps selling stuff that I could use, like candles, her jewlry and most of all my toys!

The other day I made my room the beautifullest it's ever been! Mommy freaked out and wouldn't let me in for hours after that.  Clearly if she had, my room would still be beautiful.

If you look here, you will see how I strategically set up ponyville on the floor in my room.  I put a chair there so my ponies can reach the tea party on my dresser.  The stickers are all the decorations for the pony party.  I don't think my mom minds that I used all her tape to hang up my pictures.  My Pet Shops were also invited to my party.

I had to show my big brother all the fun in my room so we decided to roast some marshmellows I found in the pantry.  I would of shown mom too but she was feeding my baby sister.

Mom eventually came to my party but I think she was grumpy because she kicked me out of my room and ruined it...

At least she left the decorations.  I had also worked hard at pulling down all my dresses so I can pick out the prettiest one for my parties.

You can see how my art desk is ready for party planning.  Mommy didn't like this either...

She calls this pretty...I call it boring.  My desk is empty!

Well, while my mom was busy destroying the beauty in my bedroom, I was able to make the playroom much more suitable for my creative moments.

My mom calls me a hoarder and I think that is a fancy word for party decorator.  Uh ooh, she just found my party invitation!!  How was I suppose to know she needed that to RSVP for a real wedding??  I just can't win!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Couch to Smokies continues

We have been busy these past few days cleaning the house and continuing to exercise. Two days ago, my birthday gift to my triplet nephews arrived. I bought them those sit on scooters we used to use in gym class. Remember those? Here they are at Amazon in case you want one too. 
Gamecraft Safety Guard Scooter Boards /Green

I was pleasantly surprised when I checked out and there was no shipping charge despite not being a Prime item. Anyway, I saw the opportunity and knew my nephews wouldn't mind letting their cousins try them out.  They loved them! I'm sending an early request to Santa to get all 3 kids these.  It is great exercise with endless games you can make up.  That was their exercise for the day.

Yesterday, the mean mommy I am made them walk to our still closed association pool in the hot 85 degree weather. They were troopers and I rewarded their efforts with some frosty treats!

Smart Trike Deluxe 3 In 1 Pink Flowers

Today they were busy climbing firetrucks at a local fire station.

Just as their time was ending at Station 20, the alarm rang and they watched the trucks spring into action.

 Who ever said exercise can't be fun?

*Disclaimer:  Yes, I do get a percentage if you buy a Gamecraft scooter through my link. Don't worry, it won't make me rich and I won't paste links for any products that I don't fully support or believe others would enjoy