Apr 28, 2016

Perks of Having Kids in the Kitchen

We joke in my family that our son's whole life revolves around food. It's not very far off from the truth though. He's always hungry and he eats just about anything. Except American cheese, the kid won't touch it with a 10' foot pole. #foodsnob

It's no surprise to me that he loves to help me in the kitchen. I call him my little sous chef. At six he has some serious knife skills and he knows how to make basic things. I'm pretty impressed with his ability to make perfectly seasoned green beans even though we've deemed him not old enough to put the pan into the oven yet.

It's also no surprise that my son would rather watch cooking shows that cartoons. Who needs Paw Patrol when you have The Pioneer Woman? Last year he got to meet his cooking idol and he still talks about it.


So tonight when he asked if he could make macaroni and cheese for dinner I should have listened a little better. Yeah, yeah, just a minute ok buddy was my response.

I found him in the kitchen a few minutes later boiling water for the macaroni and cheese. I wish this surprised me. But as tired as I am tonight, I just let it go and decided the kids could have mac and cheese for dinner.

The best part was that all I had to do was drain the water. It's too heavy for him and call me crazy but allowing my child to burn himself isn't something I want to happen. Mark did everything else, including measuring the milk and heating up the corn. His sisters were happy with dinner too, especially Isabella who really didn't want pulled pork tonight!



I could get used to having a kid that cooks dinner.

Apr 21, 2016

Teaching Confession

I confess....
There are days when I don't think I'm going to make it through the school year.

I confess....
Wednesday was one of those days. It started with a parent slamming the door open (which would have hurt someone if they were standing f.y.i.) and storming into the room screaming. Not exactly the way to start the day when you teach preschool. Did I mention it's also special ed?

Awesome.

I confess....
It threw the entire day off. The. Entire. Day!

I confess....
We just couldn't get the kids back and it didn't help that all three of us (the teachers) were already crabby.

I confess....
And then we have a day like today and it was awesome.

I confess....
The kids were extra sweet today and 11 out of 14 napped! Say what????? Kids that never and I mean never nap napped.

I confess.....
It's probably because they were trying to make up for Wednesday. #LiesITell

I confess....
Tomorrow we have our family partnership day when we don't have class and we have a playdate with their parents somewhere in the community. It's my favorite day of the month.

I confess....
I just might make it to June with my sanity in tact if we have more days like today.

What are you confessing this week?

Mar 22, 2016

Emergen-C Review and Giveaway

My family lives a healthy active lifestyle. Generally speaking of course. I try my best but there are some times when life happens and I'm not eating as healthy as I should. As a mom to three kids and a preschool teacher it isn't good when I'm not eating right. That's when I start to feel run down so I'm always looking for ways to support my immune system. Trust me, I need all the help I can get being surrounded by little ones all day. I was sent a sample of Emergen-C Immune Plus to facilitate this review as a member of Smiley360.



There are times in my life when I know I need an extra boost to my immune system. This time of year with so much going on at school and with my kids' activities is one of those times. It's the perfect opportunity to give my immune system a boost.

Emergen-C Immune Plus comes in a chewable tablet. I was sent the Orange Blast flavor which I really liked. It tastes like citrus and not chalky at all unlike many other supplements.  I liked that this supplement has other vitamins besides C. You will also get Viatmin D, E, B6, Biotin, and Zinc with Emergen-C Immune Plus. Emergen-C is available at your local big box or drug stores, so you can easily pick it up when you're out shopping. There are other lines in the Emergen-C family that are safe for kids, but this product is for those over the age of 14.

Learn more about the benefits of Emergen-C immune Plus on their website. Want to try Emergen-C Immune Plus for yourself? One lucky reader will win a bottle to try it out. Just enter the giveaway on the rafflecopter form. Contest open to US residents only. Good luck!


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I recieved this product for free from Smiley360 in exchange for my honest review. You can join Smiley360 at smiley360.com 

Feb 18, 2016

How Taking Trips Change After Kids

I remember when Brett and I took impromptu trips before we had kids. We cold be out of the house in less than an hour. Now that we have three kids it takes several lists and hours of preparation to go on the trip. Mostly because we stay places where we can cook so the packing has really gone up a notch. Here are how things are different now that we have kids.

How to Pack Before Kids
Clothes, Toiletries, and Shoes. You are finished.

After Kids
Make lists of what clothes you'll need everyday. Pack back ups in case of accidents and excessive spills. Research if there is any possible reason you need a bathing suit even though it's January, bring it anyway. Pack first aid kit, medicine, hair bows, toiletries, loveys, baby blankets even though your kids are in school, snacks and more snacks, toys, DVDs, tablets, books, a cooler, and enough drinks to ensure at least 4 bathroom breaks.



Road Trip Snacks Before Kids
Grab some food at the gas station. You're not all that worried, you can stop if you're hungry.

After Kids
Strategically plan out sugary snacks versus healthy snacks. You know you can't feed them pure junk or you'll pay later but the junk is what actually bribes them to get through 20 more minutes. Decide that Fruit Loops aren't that bad and chocolate covered raisins are basically fruit and call it a day. Bring enough food to last a 12 hour trip when you'll only be in the car for 4 hours. You can never be too careful.

Getting the Car Ready Before Kids
Gas. Check tires. Load up and leave.

After kids
Hook up the portable DVD player. Make sure the DVDs are close enough to the passenger seat to change them out on the drive. Fold down one seat to fit all the crap you need for a single weekend. Marvel at how much crap you need for a single weekend. Arrange car seats to ensure everyone can see the movie but they're not on top of each other now that the seat is folded down. Arrange the snacks so the passenger can hand them back to the kids but the kids cannot reach them. Give up on making everything fit comfortably and focus on making everything fit.

Bathroom Breaks Before Kids
Oh look we are getting gas or some food, now is a good time to pee. -Adult Logic

After kids
Oh look we are in gridlock or the middle of nowhere and 15 minutes ago when we passes a gas station and mom asked if I needed to pee wasn't quite the right time. Must pee now mommy! -Kid Logic

The Trip Before Kids
Listen to music and talk to your spouse. Ahhh isn't this lovely?

After Kids
Oh my word why are these kids so loud? I have Inside Out on, why are they fighting? Here have some fruit snacks, candy, anything just please stop bickering! Ne we aren't there yet. No, still not there. Why are they crying????

Sleeping kids are rare, don't count on it. 


Hotel Arrival Before Kids
You arrive excited and ready to hit the ground running. Ooo look, they have happy hour, don't mind if we do!

After Kids
You've been to hell and back but you made. Thank goodness you packed a bottle of wine, you're going to need it soon and there's no way you're making it to happy hour. But first you have to check in and unpack about 100 bags so that wine will have to wait.

Now if you'll excuse me I have one more load of laundry to do before we leave for our trip.



Jan 26, 2016

Ten Things to Smile About in January

January was a pretty good month for us. 2016 is off to a much better start than 2015, the main difference is that my husband is not unemployed this year. That was a stressful time last year and I'm glad it's behind us.

Here are 10 things that are making me smile this month.

1. My husband and I did better on our no processed foods challenge than we ever have in January. We made it to the 23rd before we quit. I'm convinced we would have made it to the finish line if we hadn't lost power during the snowstorm. It was just too much for me at that point.

2. The memory of our power going out is already wonderful. The power went out at 11pm and we moved two mattress into the family room and slept in front of the fireplace. The kids took that as a sign to wake up and party so I was very tired in the morning. I decided to change my attitude since I couldn't change the power situation and we ended up having a fun day. I was very happy when the power turned back on in the afternoon.



3. Watching my kids play in the snow is always fun. We don't get very much snow in NC so it's a treat when we do. The even mastered the snowboard which is huge for my son with Cerebral Palsy.

After our sled broke they used the cookie sheets.

4. My younger daughter is the daredevil of the family. I got the progression of her wiping out on the driveway which she declared was the "best crash ever mommy!" I just love her! She is so goofy and willing to try anything new.



5. After a few snow days and the district taking away one of my days of spring break as a make up day, I was very happy to go back to work today. No more snow please. My sanity cannot handle losing my spring break this year. I almost lost my mind last year.

6. My son was the picked for the Wall of Fame at school. I was able to switch my lunch to celebrate with him and my husband made it too. We are proud of this little guy.



7. I took my sweet Molly to Duke Lemur Center on a mommy/daughter date. We had a great time even though it was below freezing and most of our tour was outside. Just look at that excited face before we left, priceless.




8. After our power went out we had several friends reach out to us and offer a place to stay. Two even called me after I didn't answer them on FB. We may not have family here in NC, but we do have great friends.

9. Mark and Molly had their homecoming days this month. Born in November, they finally came home from the hospital in January. On different days of course just to keep us on our toes. I love celebrating their homecoming days and remembering just how tiny they were at 6 and 7 weeks old.




10. And last but certainly not least watching the Broncos win. That game was awesome and there may or may not have been screaming at the TV involved.


Jan 11, 2016

Changing my Way of Thinking About Clean Eating

Every have a thought or read something that just punches you in the throat? When you know a truth bomb has been dropped and you can't keep your same way of thinking anymore.

This was my truth bomb this morning when I wanted to break my no processed foods diet. 



Damn. Double damn now it's time to make a green smoothie and not eat the peanut butter english muffin that I was craving.

Now I've never been one of those moms who never takes care of herself. I've showered every single day of my life. I don't think it's selfish to drop my kids in the childcare center and workout at the gym. I try to eat healthy most of the time but queso and peppermint M&Ms are irresistible for me.

But twice a year when my husband and I give up processed foods I really struggle with eating and wanting to cheat. So much so that we've never made it through January. Not once. The longest we have lasted is 16 days. Pretty darn pitiful.

Well today is day 11 and it's cold and miserable out and I didn't want a green smoothie for breakfast or eggs which are my only breakfast options. I'm not much of a breakfast eater, I don't really like the majority of breakfast foods.

As I was thinking about cheating on my diet that truth bomb was dropped on me. I wouldn't cheat on my husband, why would I cheat on myself?

That's when I knew I had to change my way of thinking about this diet. I need to stop focusing on what I missing out on like queso and focus on why I do this challenge in the first place. I want to reset my eating habits, cook for scratch to remind myself that it's not that hard, and drink more water. While yes I end up losing some weight that's not my motivation. I want to eat better.

I'm glad I had this realization today because if history has taught me anything it's that week three is the hardest. That may sound crazy but it's true. By week 3 I'm sick of cooking and dying for a Diet Dr. Pepper.

I'm hoping my new mindset will help me get through the rest of the month.

Jan 6, 2016

Tips for Giving up Processed Foods


Twice a year my husband and I swear off processed foods for an entire month. July is easy! So easy with all the delicious fruit and veggies in season it's easy to give up processed food. But January, well it's pure hell and we've never made it through the month without quitting.

Perhaps this is our year.

I've learned from our past months on what makes me want to quit. For one thing we tend to have an all or nothing mentality with this challenge. One Diet Dr Pepper consumed and we just quit. So this time around we are trying hard not to cheat but we aren't going to let that derail us this time around.

Unless a snow storm closes school for a week, then all bets are off. Mommy can't handle a week at home with the kids without sugar or wine. It's just not going to happen. I'm not that strong.

I'm 6 days into the challenge and I have resisted the biggest temptation. My daughter was picked for terrific kid at school which means she got a special lunch with mom and dad. Of course she requested pizza, that we had to bring to the school.

And have the car fill with that delicious smell. Oh pepperoni. Oh the gooey cheese.



Y'all I didn't eat a single bite. It's was so hard to resist that pizza, especially when a sweet little girl offered me a bite. But somehow I did and I'm proud of myself for doing it.

Perhaps this really is our year.

If you're going to give up processed foods I have some tips for you.

  1. Meal planning is a must! I'm not talking about dinner, you need to plan all your meals and snacks. And keep something on you at all times that you can eat so you're not tempted. 
  2. Use your Crock Pot to make big batches of soup for lunches. It's the perfect lunch and really healthy with very little effort on your part. 
  3. Misery loves company. I couldn't do this alone, I need my husband on board so we can encourage each other. 
  4. Change your routine. When does your sweet tooth rear it's ugly head? My husband and I are terrible snackers after the kids go to bed. We are walking the cul de sac at night instead. That's a double win since we are getting extra exercise. 
  5. Focus on eating real food, not low fat or no carbs. Personally I think it's hard enough giving up processed foods without trying to add something else to the mix. The good news is that real food is generally lower in fat and carbs anyway. 
  6. Find at least one restaurant you can eat at. You will get insanely sick of cooking, especially if you are the only one in the house that cooks. Salads are generally a safe bet if you skip the dressing and croutons. But ask about how the meat is cooked since restaurants are famous for adding mayo to chicken. I love going to a Mexican restaurant for a salad since the salsa can be used in place of the dressing and beans can be substituted for meat. 
  7. Water infused with fruit will save your taste buds. Drinking plain water gets old fast, especially when you don't drink anything else if you don't like plain coffee or unsweetened tea like me. 


Have you ever given up processed foods? Tell me what has helped make you successful.
 
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