Saturday, May 31, 2014

Please DO Hide the Veggies

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that I am not the only parent out there who has one (if not more) picky eaters in the household. Frustrating, right? Over the years I have had to get creative in finding ways to get a little more veggies into some of my childrens' diets. Now, please remember that I am in no way a professional when it comes to dietary needs. I just thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts as a mother who happens to enjoy cooking very much.

1. If you find a vegetable that they like, please let them have it often. Do not use it as a substitute for all other vegetables, though. Keep making and trying new vegetables as often as possible. As much as my daughter loves carrots and would probably eat them almost every day, I know that her little body needs many more nutrients than carrots alone contain. Variety is important.

2. If your child comes up to you at an odd non-meal time and asks for a healthy treat, like a vegetable...stop what you are doing and get it for them. (I do not mean run to the store and buy it quick. Just if you have it on hand already ;-) My daughter discovered that she likes V-8 juice. What?! Yup. I had a pack of the small low sodium cans from Costco a while back and let her take a sip of mine one afternoon, fully expecting her to make a face, spit it out on the floor and be otherwise upset about it for a while. She surprised me. She loved it. She had her own can and has since requested it here and there. Baby Girl wants a V-8? Baby Girl gets a V-8. How can I argue with that?

3. Don't force it down their throats, so to speak. Just keep putting it on their plate. Night after night after frustrating night. They might whine or complain but once they see you are not giving up...they just might take a tiny bite. Key word "might."

4. You should eat the vegetables too, by the way. This will show your child many things. They will see that you are not giving them anything that you yourself wouldn't eat. I have had to explain to my kids many times that I do not cook gross food. I mean, come on, why would I make something yucky for dinner? I don't want to eat anything that tastes disgusting. See look, Mommy is taking a bite. Ooh, mmm, it's so good.

5. On the other hand, I hate peas. I hate 'em. Blech! But I eat them anyway. Everyone is allowed to have things that they don't like to eat. I just prefer they take a fair bite, chew it and swallow before they state their opinion on that. My children know that I have a strong dislike for peas and they see me eat them anyway. They have asked me why I make peas if I don't like them and I have explained to them that peas are good for me so I should eat them. I also let them know that just because I do not like something does not mean that I should not make it from time to time for the other people in the house that do like them. That would be unfair of me to eliminate them altogether.

6. There is a rule in my house. All the kids get a plate of food that is portioned appropriately for their ages. The 15 year old gets a bigger plate of food compared to the 4 year old, obviously. If they want seconds of the parts of the meal that they liked the most than they must eat all of the food from their plate first. They don't get to eat the chicken and the stuffing and skip the veggie and then get more stuffing. If you are hungry enough for seconds than you are hungry enough to eat your veggies, too.

7. Do not be a short order cook. Beside the fact that, "Who the hell has time for that crap?!" I feel it sets a bad precedent. Do it for them once and they WILL remember. "Hmm, if I don't like dinner then Mommy will just make me a PB&J. Whoopie!" Sorry kid, that's not how life works and it's really not that healthy. PB&J's are delicious and all but we probably shouldn't live off them. Just sayin'.

8. Explain yourself. One of my children is the pickiest eater in the whole wide world. Well, maybe not the whole world...but it can get pretty bad. I need him to know that I am not making all of these foods just to specifically torture him for pure parental pleasure. There really is a reason for it all. The biggest of those reasons is love. I love him. It is important to me that I teach him healthy habits for someday he will be all grown up and venture out into the world and will choose for himself what he wants to eat. Why do you need carrots, son? Vitamin A for your eyes. Meat? Protein and iron for healthy blood. Dairy? Strong teeth and bones, my Love. This is all simplified, of course, and there is much more to these foods and groups than these child-friendly explanations...But it's a start to the communication on food.

9. Let them help. Have them help pick out the produce at the store. My kids love to do that. I remember my oldest always wanted to pick out and bag the tomatoes. He knew to check each one for bruises or mushy sections. He enjoyed it very much and was always proud of his picks. Even more so when sweet old ladies would stop in awe and tell him what a great job he was doing helping out his Mommy. If you grow your own, let them help you in the garden. It might be tough having them underfoot sometimes but if they want to help, let them. And cooking. It can be a pain to have literally too many hands in the kitchen, small inexperienced hands at that, but if it helps to get them excited about the vegetables, do it. This is actually something that I personally have to work on. I need to get mine into the kitchen more. I don't want them to be helpless in the kitchen when they move out of the house someday and I told my oldest that it sure would impress the ladies if he knew how to whip up a couple simple dishes like spaghetti or something. He laughed and rolled his eyes a little bit but I am pretty sure I saw a sparkle of interest in his big brown eyes.

10. You'd be surprised at how many meals you can sneak veggies into. This is my favorite way to get the vegetables into their tummies. Seriously, you should try it. Making tacos? Well, why not finely chop some celery, bell peppers, and onions? Throw in a cup of frozen kernel corn and a can of dark red kidney beans while you are at it? It is delicious and way healthier! The kids most likely won't notice because it tastes so darn good. have just stretched out that pound of ground beef by a lot. Win-win! Try it with any pasta dish, casserole...just try to make the veggies complimentary to whatever you are having.

Maybe you are making homemade soup. You can put tons of veggies in soup. Many veggies get all mushy and fall apart in the broth, but they are still in there. When I make Wild Rice Soup I add way more carrots and mushrooms than the recipe calls for. There is no reason we can't. I do the same thing when I make Zucchini Bread or Carrot Cake and many, many other dishes. I am thinking about sharing more recipes on my blog but I will get to that later.

Here are a couple website links I found that may be helpful when trying out and introducing new vegetables to the kiddos. and

Good luck and have fun with it! Peace.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Join the Body Image Movement!

There is an amazing and inspirational woman 10,000 miles away that I would like to introduce you to...Taryn Brumfitt. She is a wife and a mother on a mission with a very important message. And she is trying her hardest to get this message out to the whole wide world with Operation Global Change.

I could not have put this better myself, so I chose this clip from her website

We can be very hard on ourselves where our bodies and images are concerned. Sometimes we forget who else might be listening. At times, we can be so focused on the negatives that the positives, that far outweigh those negatives, get sort of lost in the mix. We need to take a step back and prioritize our lives. With the Body Image Movement and the example being set by the determined Taryn Brumfitt...we can change the world.

Taryn is trying very hard to raise enough money to fund her documentary regarding this very movement. I have watched the trailer and am very excited to see the finished film when it is released. You can watch it too: Brings tears to my eyes. Her strength, devotion and tenacity are truly something to admire and I wish her all the best from all the way across the world in Minnesota.

So why am I telling you all of this? This is my way of helping Taryn in her efforts in spreading her message globally. By following links from this blog post, you too can join thousands of people (including celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell, who just donated a thousand dollars to the cause yesterday!) in creating a more positive body image and also donate to the documentary fund, if you would like to. You do not need to send money to be a part of this. Everyone is welcome, no matter what. There is a website, a Facebook page and the trailer link on Kickstarter. Please take a moment to check it all out and I hope you will find it as inspirational as I do.

Oh yes...there is one more big mission to accomplish. Taryn wants to get her message to Ellen Degeneres. How can you help with this? Follow this link and you can help us get Ellen's attention.  Let's make some noise people!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014: A Love/Hate Relationship

If it wasn't for a couple of pretty great things happening in the last couple of weeks, I would have told 2014 to stick it where the sun don't shine, take a flying leap off of an extremely tall bridge and pound a significant amount of sand. Pardon my rant and forgive me if I am vague in my explanations of just how poorly 2014 has treated me so far. Just because I am a blogger and, therefore, share a little too much information at times...doesn't mean I always get to tell you all everything. I wish I could, for me...not you (smirk). I enjoy blogging and writing in general even more so. It feels good to get things out and refresh my brain every once in a while. But, some things I have to keep close, private and sacred. Not just for myself but for those who I care for deeply and would hate to disrespect in any way, shape or form.  So, there it is.

Anyway, I haven't really had a chance to blog this year. As some of you know, I was taking online college courses that started in early January and as much as I was enjoying them, they pretty much consumed all of my spare time, which was a pretty pitiful amount to begin with. All was going perfectly and I was acing both of my classes up until mid April. I hate to say this, but after a couple of things happened that were/are pretty devastating to me...I ended up with a D and an Incomplete. Sigh. I have taken this all pretty well. I feel badly about the way my classes turned out but at the same time I know that life happens and I tried my best. Like my mom says to me sometimes, "Life just gets all lifey on us." It did. It really, really did.

So, one of the bad things that happened is behind me now, over and done with, thank goodness. The other thing...well, it kind of feels like it is looming over me, hovering like a black cloud ready to release it's worst at any moment. Fortunately, with the support of my closest family and friends, I can hopefully make it out all in one piece mentally and emotionally. Time will tell.

On top of school and everything else that a mother of five must deal with, we have spent the last year or so getting our house ready to sell. No easy task with all the kiddos and three pets. But...we did it! (With a lot of help from our friends ;-) We listed our house and sold it in five days on the market. I believe I only had to get everyone out of the house for eight showings. I was dreading that part the most. Seriously, keeping the house as clean as possible and dragging everyone out for who knows how long, sometimes alone if it was during a work day for my hubby. Not to mention having strangers in my home. I had some serious anxiety over this and cried myself to sleep a couple of times during the months leading up to listing. I am so private and protective of my family and our personal space. It was hard to do but I knew deep down that we had to do it if we were ever going to get out of our too tiny house and give the kids more space. We were able to get it all done. Whew!

I guess it is not 100% for sure yet, we still have to get through the appraisal of our current home next week and then have closing day go off without a hitch in June, but these are all normal parts of the process that usually go pretty well. My husband and I also went house shopping on Sunday, found the perfect house, made an offer that was accepted and have that home inspection scheduled for Friday. Fingers crossed all of this just keeps going well and falling into place. I would love the good news to just keep coming in for a while. Really. (But I am soooo excited! The kids are all getting excited! Our new house is going to be so wonderful. And my dog is going to be so happy! I will get into all of that in a later post, though. Hee hee.)

Completely unrelated, since it has been so very long since I blogged, let's play catch up. I did audition for Rent at the local theatre. I did not make it into the show and that is totally OK. I gave it a shot and can cross that one right off of my list. I am looking forward to seeing it this summer, too.

After doing poorly in school, I have not decided if I am going to continue that particular journey or not yet. I enjoyed the classes, the learning and the daily general use of my super smart brain for something other than being a mom. Some of you may understand this...some of you won't. That's OK. It did take a lot of time away from the children and keeping up with the house and I have not decided how I feel about this yet. I am glad I enrolled in January and gave it a shot...I just don't know if it is exactly what I was looking for. I know that I am looking for something but I truly can't pinpoint it yet. Since the twins were born my life has changed so much and I am still trying to If that makes any sense.

I have not accomplished the perfect body. Ha! And I am so very OK with this. It would be nice and all, but I am so content in my own skin. My husband adores me, and I him. My kids love me, regardless. I am 36 years old and not afraid to say it, ever. I own it. Every gray hair, every new wrinkle. It is me, it is who I am and I have lived and earned every single year under my belt.

I am still trying to decide a second song to play and use in my DVD audition submission to The Voice. There is no specific date to send them in by, as they accept them all year long. Right now I have Dreams by Fleetwood Mac ready but I need to have two songs. I am not going to rush it and it is super far fetched anyway. Purely for fun to keep the tangerine dream alive. Although, I have been considering trying to find or start a band again. I have a couple of life hurdles to get through before I give it a go. Part of my problem with 2014 is that I took on way too much and couldn't keep up. I need to try not to do that anymore.

I think that was everything that ya'll may have been wondering. Now, we are all caught up. Hopefully life will calm down soon and the good things will keep coming. I miss having the time to write and when life does allow me to, that will be my first "me time" priority. Writing, creating, making and doing. That would be my personal happy place.