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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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Beaner's First Birthday-a letter to my sweet baby

Dear Beaner,
It is with tears of pride that I write this birthday letter to you as you leave babyhood and become a toddler.  This year flew by with an unfairness that only a parent can claim.  I still remember thinking you were a boy as I pushed you into this world with all my strength.  I remember the joy when the doctor pronounced "It's a girl" as I new Peanut would now share sisterly moments with you.  I held you tight even as you peed on me as I didn't want to let you go.  You weighed in at 7lbs, 15 oz and were 20 inches long. I remember holding you as we were pushed into the outside world to travel to our home.  The first few months were a blur of constant diaper changes as we discover your malabsorption disorder, frequent nursing sessions to calm your reflux, and long nights of snuggling on the futon together.  It had been so long since we had a baby in the house that everything felt like the first time again.

Before I knew it three months had gone by and I knew my life had been changed forever.  My career of 12 years no longer mattered as I had three lovely kids that wanted a full time mommy.  It was hard to say goodbye to my work days but everytime I saw your smile I knew it was the right choice.  By this time you were babbling to anyone who would listen and had learned to push yourself over from back to front.  Your giggles melted our hearts and your love for water had already surfaced.

By six months you had mastered sitting up and were starting to scoot all over the floor.  We see a determination in your personality that will take you far in life.  You have mastered saying "dada" which you quickly learn to use to your advantage.  By now your love for hugs and snuggles is evident as we continue to bond.  We continue co-sleeping and breastfeeding which has given you such a special place in my heart.

Nine months quickly came and you pushed through your first two teeth while also mastering your crawl.  At the end of 10 months you took your first steps with the biggest smile.

Today, my love, you are a sweet, intelligent, curious, and adventurous one year old.  You are very much a "mama's" girl and poor Peanut can't sit in my lap without a verbal lashing from you.  Your vocabulary amazes me as you begin your two word phrases.  You have truly changed our lives forever.  You have pushed us to define our success through our family values and time together rather than if we can keep up with "the Jones".  You have taught me that my heart is the best parenting tool I have even when others find it unconventional.  You have motivated us to seek simplicity in our lives so that we can free our minds to see the many treasures you and your siblings enrich us with.  I thank you for these gifts you have given us this year and pledge as your mother to continue to encourage and guide you in your growth.  I look forward to nourishing your growing body with mine and holding you close at night until your ready to let go.  My dear Beaner, as you sleep warm in my arms right now, know that you are a vey special girl and I look forward as we push our way into your toddler years with only looking back to remember the fun we had during your first year.
Lots of Love,

Monday, May 9, 2011

15 in 30- Day 15 and the new Couch to Smokies challenge

As I mentioned earlier, today ends our 15 in 30 outside activities.  I thought about taking a break before my next challenge but I'm just way to excited for this next one.  I also don't have much time to meet my deadline.  On May 20th, my little Rooster is going on a backpacking trip with my hubby and his brother in the beautiful Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.  The hike to their campsite is approximately five miles long.  My husband had already surrendered to having to carry my 45lb Rooster but I frankly think it is ridiculous that a six year old can not walk five miles.  Therefore, it is boot camp for my little buddy (only he doesn't know it). 

I will be the first to admit I have no idea what the Couch to 5K program entails. I've heard about it and that is about it, but the name is so catchy.  I have no rhyme or reason for my fitness activities with my kiddos, it is just whatever comes up and gets them moving.  I figure they need at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day to really get an increase in their energy levels (am I insane?) and any extra is bonus.  I'm happy to report our first day went quite well.

We started with a low key activity to get them basically "off the couch".  We went outside with a twin size sheet and filled it with plastic balls (half of my workout was keeping Beaner off them).

Then the kiddos each grabbed an end of the sheet

and shook like crazy!

Bray decided we needed to put a bigger ball on there and I then had to lend a hand to the activity

This activity is great for strengthening those arms or as my friend Kelly over at My Space Without the Distraction calls them "Bingo Wings".  I quote, You know... the sag of skin that flaps around when the old ladies shake their arms up in the air while yelling, "Bingo!"    Check Kelly out if need some workout motivation.  She's quite the funny blogger!

Anyway, Rooster decided he was done exercising after about 10 minutes.  Not quite what I had in mind. He suddenly decided he needed to make a squirrel nest.  That is one thing I love about age six.  They are creative and capable.  Being the smart cookie I am at times, I convinced him that we needed to go on a walk and look at where squirrels lived and gather some acorns.  He bought that one hook, line, and sinker.  So off we went arond the block.  Here is building the squirrel home.  He is gluing acorns to card board.

Once my hubby came home from work, I told him my plans and he immediately climbed on board and agreed it was time for our family walk.

The Beaner is much happier in her new bike than the old stroller she used to get dragged around in

Like old friends, Rooster and Peanut talked about dead chickens for so long I think they forgot they were walking.  They were making dead chickens out of everything they saw because that is funny to a four and six year old.  Next thing I knew, we had walked one mile and they cried when it ended!

All and all, a great day one for the Couch to Smokies challenge!

15 in 30- Day 14/15

Wow, it has been 30 days already since we started our 15 in 30 things to do outside challenge.  It turned out to be much harder than I anticipated for several reasons.  One, the weather.  It did not always cooperate and forced us to enjoy any kind of weather. Two, we are a one car family by choice. My hubby works 1 mile from our house so it makes no sense to have 2 cars.  I, however, do not function much before 9am so if I want the car, I have to be on my game, and take all 3 kids to drop him off at work. I know, I know, "you lazy mama" your all thinking.  To my defense, there is a direct correlation to the amount of sleep I get at night and how soon I get moving in the morning. and our final struggle with outside activities is a half crawling half walking baby! 

Well, yesterday was 30 days so today we are blogging two different activities for you to finish up this series and start our new challenge.  Day 14's activity is water!  We chose the water table that Beaner got for her early birthday celebration.  Talk about squeals and giggles from a baby!  All 3 kids enjoyed this as they love water.  You can use anything.  Fill different bowls for them to play in with measuring cups, put water on a tarp for an instant slip and slide or the good old fashioned hose spraying.  So here are some pics of our activity.  Stay tuned for Day 15's activity as it is also the first activity of our next series!

Aren't they just adorable?