Thursday, September 23, 2010

So, What Do You Eat?

I get that question...a lot. There seems to be a perception that if we are eating clean foods, then we must be tree-hugging, tofu-eating, make-your-own-clothes type of folks. Nope, not us. The hubs and I both work full-time (and then some) for Fortune 500s, so we really don't have the time to fuss over complicated meals. I included the photo above, because if you are struggling to get a balance of vegetables and fruits into your kiddos, I highly recommend you check out these sneaky recipes. Bonus: I picked up the book this week at Kohl's, as a $5 "Kohl's Cares for Kids" special. My kiddo has been eating pumpkin pancakes with flaxseed meal, wheat germ, and protein powder added in, and the best part is he has no idea I packed all of that into his morning pancake. Victory!

Planning is critical! I think there's also a misconception that if you practice clean or organic eating, you must be skinny and fit. Again, not true here, although it would be nice. The fat and calories of a fresh avocado count and stick to you just like sitting down with some chocolate chip cookies (although the avocados are a healthy MUFA fat). I'm trying, again, to lose weight and the old adage of "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" rings true. Or, as my friend Amber's dad told us, "Follow the 7 Ps- Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance." Well, he should know; he is a retired Marine Corp General. Ooh-Rah!

To that point, I take time each week to plan out our menu, sample here, and shop for the necessary goods. I like this menu format, as it breaks out each meal, prep that is needed for the next day, and upcoming notes. It seems silly I list "milk" at each meal for the little guy, but it's a great reminder if I'm not home and the hubs has dinner duty (we do try to eat every dinner together, at the family table, but it is not always possible). The lunches listed are C's- I usually will eat a small portion of leftovers from the night before, or something light. However you start to make improvements, just rememeber you don't have to make a radical change overnight. Thing big, start small, and all of those small changes add up for a greater impact!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mmmm Mmmm Good!

It's been such a busy couple of weeks that, sadly, I've neglected one of my favorite outlets- this blog. Someone even reminded me that I never finished blogging about vacation (will do). So, while I play catch up, let me share a little gem...

Darling son used to eat all types of healthy and exotic foods- he'd try anything at least once. Within the past year, he's become somewhat picky and it's been a battle getting the right balance of fruits, vegetables, and "eating the rainbow" into him. About 6-7 years ago we went to clean eating; organic, real food that is not processed and is purchased from local farmers and growers as much as possible. Our home is probably as chemical free as it's going to get, and if the hubs wants to sneak a box of Twinkies or something like that, totally his choice. I just ask that he stash them somewhere the little man will not find them. He also sneaks in fried chicken, but again, totally his option. I get many questions about personal care products that are chemical free, so I will try to post a list this week of what we are using, and more importantly, why. In the meantime, I've declared war, a silent war. If my son can wage the battle of turning his nose up at fruits and veggies, game on.

I've decided to sneak as many fruits in veggies as possible into his foods, and the first battle was a victory. He had no idea! Last night I played up the fact that it's the first day of fall today, so let's have a harvest breakfast. What he thought were pancakes were actually multigrain pancakes made with soy protein powder and a cup full of pumpkin puree. And not only did he eat them, he asked for seconds, which the child never, ever does. In hindsight, I would not have placed the pecan halves on top of the pancakes (he removed them), but I should have chopped and added to the batter.

Last week I was able to trick him into spaghetti squash being spaghetti..."This tastes a little different from spaghetti mom." To which I replied, "Oh, it must be a different brand." Yes, it's deceptive, but so far, so good. Tonight's menu? Spaghetti squash, cauliflower coated chicken parm, and tomato sauce full of finely diced zuchinni, carrots, peppers, onions, and mushooms. Stay tuned; I will be posting recipes and results.

Spinach brownies anyone?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Night Leftovers

Hello Friday!

We survived the first week of school, or, more like C survived neurotic mommy. I'm finding I have to up my organizational game between packing lunches, permission forms, homework, teacher notes, emails, booklists, library books not disappearing, getting the right color on him each day of "Brown Bear," registering for this and that, fall ball, and remembering to get the little man off the bus. Yes, you read that last one correctly. My mom used to pick C up from preschool after lunch each day, so it's a big shift in routine to meet the bus later in the day.

About school, it's only the first week but we are very pleased with our school selection. Being an educator in a former career life, I agonized (literally since C was born) over where he would go to preschool, how young he should start, what schooling we should do at home, what the best option for formal schooling would be, and so on. As this year neared, we'd already looked into every private option in a 25 mile radius. Neighbors and friends encouraged us to give our local school a try- private feel, public funded, and while it's only the first week, you know I've been up there stalking every aspect of it and I am very pleasantly surprised. Our district is known for being the best in this area- many move here just for the schools, so it's nice to see it's living up to all of the praise we've heard thus far.

What are your kids learning? We recently received an invitation to preview "Family Life" curriculum with the school counselor, so last night we headed out for the meeting. Any takers on how many parents showed up to understand what the school is teaching their kids about sex ed. K-12? Bueller? Bueller? Three. You can bet M and I wanted to know what they'd be talking about in Kindergarten, and again, we were pleasantly surprised. They are very conservative in their curriculum and approach, which aligns with our values. However, I'm still shocked that more parents are not taking an interest in what sex ed. their kids get starting in Kindergarten. For the record, at this age they teach good touch/bad touch, saying NO, and telling an appropriate adult.

Have older kids? Do you have any idea what their texts and IMs mean? Check out this article and the databases embedded within- very enlightening.

I'm so annoyed with myself- on a recent trip to the lake I jumped in without properly sealing my underwater camera, which leaked, and hazed the lens on the inside. This is also my everyday camera, so now I need to find someone who can fix this (in all my free time) and I fear the cost may be high. Also bummed about it since we are headed to the beach this weekend and I won't have my handy little camera.

Life is good- I'm headed to the beach this weekend, our favorite island spot. And as much as I love my little guy, this is a weekend just for me and the hubs- his birthday gift to me. So, bring on the beautiful weather, warm water temps, reading a book, a good dinner, looking for shells, and walks on the beach without hearing this all weekend. Sweet! And C has something to look forward to as well; my parents are taking him on a weekend adventure to the mountains and to explore caverns. Many thanks to my brother for house and dog sitting.

How to enjoy the leftovers:
1. Write out all the random thoughts swimming in your head that don't quite constitute a blog entry of their own.
2. Copy and paste the Leftovers photo onto your post (copy photo, upload to your post).
3. Link back to The Simple Life.
4. Enter your blog name and the permalink to your post into the comments section.
5. Visit all the other leftovers and leave your love over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The First Week

Where has this sweet little babe gone? (August 2008, age 3 1/2)

Two days of Kindergarten down and I don't know who is more tired, the little man or me. It's been a mix around here with school starting- excitement and hesitation, bliss and sadness, joyful and tiring. Right now, mostly tiring. I'm exhausted, but I'm not the only one. C was used to coming home from school at 1:30pm four days a week, and 3pm one day a week. Now he gets on the bus at 8:30am and I don't see his sweet little face again until 3:45pm! Here's what he had to say:

How was the first day? "Fine."
What was the best part? "Recess."
What was the worst part? "Mason cut his hand and some girl wouldn't stop crying."
What do you like about your teacher? "She teaches me things."
How was lunchtime? "I want to buy lunch like the other kids."
Why are you so sweaty? "Mr. PE had us running around a gym."

And there you have it. Today, he came home and I asked "how was your 2nd day?" to which he rolled his eyes and replied. "I survived." Where does he get this stuff?

On another note, fall ball started tonight, church/choir is on Wednesday nights, a school event is tomorrow night, and piano is now scheduled for afterschool on Fridays, plus more ball scheduled for this weekend. Somewhere in here I'm supposed to fit swimming back in to C's schedule, plus the basics of working a 45+ hour week, grocery shopping, cleaning house, laundry, meal prep., exercise, etc. Will I ever read a book again? Did I mention I'm exhausted?

Ready to go...all kids in this class had to wear brown shirts the first day of school (yuck!) for the "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" story.

Off he goes!

Riding the Big Cheese!

Settled in at his desk.

We survived!

Roses for Mama

Ready for Day Two. I had to pinky swear I'd not make him wear these shorts EVER again.

A beautiful sunset closed out our day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

It's been a week of surprises thus far, some good and some not-so-good, and it's only Tuesday! C's face sums it up. Let's start with the positives...

Dentist appointment was this morning and C wanted to dress himself (now that I should have snapped a picture of!). Button down shirt, athletic shorts, field explorer vest, pirate treasure pouch tied to vest, knee high socks, and cowboy boots. Natch, right? What? You don't leave the house looking like that? The field vest has many pockets and I noticed they were all bulging. When I questioned C about it, he told me that it was full of money. For what? He thought his cat should have a new toy and he wanted to pay for it with his own money. That's a first for C. When tucking him in tonight I noticed the plug out of his piggy bank and not much left inside. He did, indeed, use his little stash to buy Salem a new toy this morning. Sweet, sweet boy. Redeems him from some of his not so sweet behavior yesterday, but in his defense, a 101* fever will grump you up.

Great report at the dentist for C, but really, how did I totally miss the fact that his upper 6 yr. molars are in? And how did I get told I need to switch to Sensodyne? I've got a few sensitive spots and my dentist explained it as natural with aging. Whoa buddy, who is aging? Four tubes of Sensodyne in my free goody bag later, it must be me.

Our weekend was overflowing. You know that expression "I wish you enough."? It was one of those times where your cup of joy feels totally filled up and that is "enough." Between Friday night's dinner party and Sunday night's cookout, I got to spend quality time with some amazing and genuine women. Fantastic time with friends and family at the lake this past weekend too- hoping it's not so long between visits. Yes Mitch, that hint was for you and Kristin; let's get another weekend on the calendar, our place or your's. And I'm dusting off the Cranium box. Warn Kobe!

I've got a basket full of fresh picked peaches sitting on my counter. YUM!

I guess the upside to your hubs leaving a pot boiling on your stove when you leave for a weekend away is that the house did not burn down.

The not so welcome surprises...

That pot is burned to a crisp and the kitchen still stinks from it. And that was not a cheap pot.

The 101* fever, stuffy head, sore throat, sleepless nights, aches and pains, and cough that have made the rounds through our home are still here. Boo! Go away!

Some folks need a in a turn-on-the-frontal-lobe-in-your-brain kind of filter. I fully recognize that most people have NO IDEA how long we've struggled with infertility and that it took us almost 5 years to welcome our miracle babe. And for that reason, I can put my feelings aside and think of where folks are coming from when they ask if we are going to have more's a natural question, to a degree. Yesterday, it was my old softball coach's wife, today it was the dentist. What surprises me is how often the question arises, almost daily, but again, I think it's a natural curiousity, making small talk, etc. So I can say in all honesty, I'm not put off by the questions. For those who don't need to know the details and ask if we have other children, we usually respond with something along the lines of "not yet, but we'd love to." For those we are closer to, we give the high level summary...because it's not for lack of desire that we've not expanded our family.

Those responses by us are usually met with empathetic responses, which is great, but I think my favorite response was that of my dentist, who we've known for 26 years now: "Well I could think of much worse than being or having an only child." Me too! So, back to the need for a filter. My understanding and empathy ends when those who know the intimate details and minutae of our infertility, even if with the best of intentions, make the most brainless of statements. Rest assured that "it's a good weekend to make a baby" and telling us that we need to relax while on said weekend does not magically make a viable egg and sperm appear. FILTER! Don't you think if it were that easy we'd figured that one out in the past 5 years since C was born? With all of the specialists, experts, and fertility drugs? Would you tell a blind man it's a great weekend to see the fall foilage? The paraplegic it's a nice day for a walk? Really, learn to use the filter! I was slackjawed when that one came hurling my way about a week ago. And it's not the first time I've heard this ridiculousness from this individual, who is very much in the know with our situation, which makes all of this even more astounding. Yes, sometimes I think "speechless" is the only word to describe this exchange. No, wait, there's one more: FILTER!