Running in the morning

I got up this morning to run before Ed left for work.  I’ve been thinking that’s my best opportunity to exercise, but quite frankly, I do NOT want to get out of bed!  He made it a little easier on me by decided to go run too.  Of course, we couldn’t go together and leave the kids in the house alone!  But just knowing that he was getting up earlier too and getting out there to run inspired me.  I ran 2 miles.  Well, I ran 1 mile, then ran/walked the 2nd.  It was hard, I felt so out of shape!  But when I got home, I felt so good for having gone!

Up and energized, I made the kids breakfast burritos… sauteed some spinach and carrots (finely shredded and diced) in a wee bit of coconut oil until they were nice and soft.  Threw in some eggs, pea shoots and micro greens and scrambled it all up.  Heated up some refried beans, added a little cheese and threw it all in a whole wheat tortilla.  Made pina colada smoothies to go with and they were set.  What a healthy breakfast!!!  The kids were excited to see something new and they devoured them.  Yay!

The best part about my run this morning was the feeling after – One of the main reasons why I haven’t been running lately was total lack of motivation.  I no longer want to run.  Used to be that I craved my runs and I’d be really grumpy if I went too many days without a good, long run!  But now, I can’t seem to find that desire anymore.  Running used to make me feel good, but I seem to have lost that feel good feeling.  Well, a few hours after my morning run, I noticed I had that little endorphin high that I used to get.  I felt great!  I felt energized and I wanted to move!  Yay!  So happy to have had that feeling again!  It’s just the motivation I needed to try and drag myself out of bed again tomorrow!


I exercise today!!!

ha ha ha … not that I would normally call what I did exercise, but for the purpose of the challenge, and more importantly, for the purpose of getting me back in the habit, I exercised!  This morning I did a yoga video.  Not nearly as relaxing as usual when you have 2 little ones trying to do it right next to you, but hey – it was cute to watch and they are learning a healthy lesson 🙂

Then, because that wasn’t quite good enough, when it was time to pick up Michael from school we decided to walk.  I walked the first (uphill) half mile there trying not to step on the whiny toddler who was begging me to pick him up.  I walked the 2nd half mile home with same whiny toddler on my back.  That’s got to count for something, right?  And man!  It was hot!!  When did that happen?  Had to give the kids popsicles when we got home – they were all red faced!  (healthy, fruit popsicles, of course!)

This heat is reminding me that shorts season will be he sooner than I thought.  Better keep up with the exercise if I don’t want to be hiding in jeans all summer.  :-/

Catch up, throw up, and what’s up next…

Catch Up

Wow!  How easy it is to skip a day and then end up skipping several!  Well, to catch up, this past week’s pledge was to let my children decide for themselves exactly HOW MUCH to eat.  They didn’t get to decide what to eat – they ate what they were presented – but they got to serve themselves and eat as much or as little as they’d like. The only rule was they had to eat at least 3 bites of each thing served.  If this is going to be a rule I keep in place long after the challenge is over (and isn’t that the true goal?) I need to at least be assured that they will still take a taste of everything.  I really, REALLY, don’t want to raise picky eaters who won’t even try something new.  They don’t have to eat a lot, but I’d like them to always eat some.

So!  How did it go?  Well, they were thrilled!  LOVED being able to serve themselves as much or, as most often was the case, as little as they wanted.  They ate less than I normally would have expected them to eat for sure.  I’m not sure if this was because they were testing me to see if I was for real with this challenge, or if they really didn’t want that much.  Probably, it was they didn’t want that much of what I was serving. In any case, they ate as little as they chose and they didn’t go hungry. Snacks weren’t even an issue.  I had expected that if they weren’t eating enough at meal time they’d be filling up on snacks, but they really didn’t. They simply ate less.  Hmm.

While I wasn’t completely comfortable seeing how little they were eating for dinner, I kept reminding myself of a few things:

  1. They were being offered only nutritious foods, so even if they snacked later, or even had dessert, it was all a good choice.  They were eating healthy.
  2. Dinner time was so relaxed and happy!  I loved how it eliminated the stress of constantly telling them to eat!
  3. There is a very valuable lesson they are learning here, one that I personally lack: the ability to stop.  They will stop when they feel full, unlike myself, who will continue to eat until my plate is empty.

So- we completed the week without any real issues.  Yay me!

Throw up

Ed’s sister, her husband, and their 10 year old decided last minute to take a cruise over spring break.  This plan landed them in a hotel near LAX for one night.  Since we haven’t seen them in 5 years, we decided it would be fun to get a room in the hotel and hang out with them that night and the next morning.  We were all staying at our favorite hotel, the Embassy Suites.  We like this hotel because it is one of the few that allows our family of 5 to be together in one room.  Their prices are reasonable and include a free, cooked to order and continental breakfast each morning, as well as a manager’s reception each night.  The manager’s reception offers an endless supply of free drinks and snacks.  We usually like to get dinner someplace easy and healthy, like El Pollo Loco or Subway, and then eat it in the reception area while enjoying our free drinks 🙂  That’s what we did Friday night.  We ate our healthy chicken and drank our not so healthy adult beverages while the kids sipped Shirley Temples, a rare treat! The snacks at these receptions vary from hotel to hotel, but this night they included chex mix type thing, goldfish, popcorn and nachos.  Oooh, nachos!  (What is it about free food, just sitting there for the taking?  If they were charging for those nachos I wouldn’t even have been tempted.  But sitting there, with all the gooey, yummy cheese, just waiting for me to come serve myself, I couldn’t resist.  We ate way more than we should have of all the snacks.  The kids had a second Shirley Temple.  Later Michael begged to have just a little bit of root beer and I relented.  (That’s 2 Shirley Temples and a root beer for a kid who has had soda probably less than 10 times in his 6 years.)  Now, with tummies full of dinner, soda, nachos, popcorn and goldfish… the kids started running all around the area, chasing each other and having a grand old time. (I know you know what’s coming…)  After a while Michael comes up to me and complains, saying it feels like he can’t breathe.  I told him it’s probably because he’s running around like crazy on a tummy filled with junk.  I told him to sit a rest a bit.  As soon as he sat down, he threw up all over the place!!!  OH MY GOSH!!!!  Any other mother would probably have felt really bad for their kid and taken sweet care of him.  Me?  Well, I did take care of him… I cleaned him all up, helped him change his clothes and all that.  But first I laughed my head off and was over the moon happy that he threw up! I was so thrilled that he was going to learn such a great lesson!!  We are always talking about healthy eating and how our body uses food for fuel, etc… What a great lesson!  He was doing something healthy, exercising, and when his body went to look for fuel all it found was junk and it was so upset that it threw it all out!  Yay!!  We discussed this as I washed him up and he was actually quite interested in the lesson.  He already knows about how he needs to feed his body healthy food, but experiencing the effects of junk food first hand really drove the lesson home.  Nothing I could have ever said to him would have been so convincing!  (And, the next morning, when we came down for breakfast and he saw everyone eating donuts and pastries, he opted for eggs, fruit and yogurt first. He said he’d have a little donut later, if he still wanted it.  Later, when he went to look for a donut he didn’t see one that he likes, so he just skipped it!)

What’s up next?

Hmmm….  I don’t know.  The official challenge from 100days is:

Mini-Pledge Week 3: March 28 – April 3 – All meat consumed this week will be locally raised (within 100-miles of your hometown). Meat consumption will also be limited to 3 – 4 servings this week, and when it is eaten meat will not be presented as the “focal point” of the meal. Instead meat will be treated as a side item or simply used to help flavor a dish.

I don’t think I can do this though, not this week.  I’ve been so busy, I didn’t sit down to read this week’s challenge until just now.  Though tonight’s dinner would fit the criteria, I have chicken on the menu for Tuesday and Thursday this week.  I JUST went to Trader Joe’s this morning.  Had I read this challenge earlier, I would have looked to see what options they have there for locally grown chicken.  Or maybe I would have made the short trip over to Whole Foods, but I really don’t feel like going all the way over there again tomorrow.  Nor do I feel like spending extra money on meat/chicken, when I already have some in my freezer.  Lastly, I promised Michael that we’d eat dinner at The Habit on Wednesday to support his school fundraiser.  We skipped the last one because it was at McDonald’s and I really, really didn’t want to eat there or feed my kids from there. So, this one, I promised we would attend.  So, where does that leave me when it comes to this week’s challenge?  I don’t know.  Yikes, as I am sitting here thinking about it, I realize that it would have started today.  I am not doing so well this week, am I?

Maybe I should make an exercise challenge for myself.  I’ve been complaining a lot about my lack of movement lately.  I got the year off to a good start, but when our construction project started at the end of January, I stopped running (my main form of exercise) for 2 weeks.  Then I got sick and by the time I felt better, I was completely out of the habit and out of shape.  So, yeah, an exercise challenge seems like I good idea for this week.  Too bad I chose to sit on my butt and catch up on my tv shows this morning when I had 2 hours to myself!  Oh well… I am going to say that this week’s challenge is to exercise a minimum of 4 times.  I really want to say 3, but that doesn’t seem like enough.  I am going to keep it simple and just say “Exercise 4 times this week”  I am so out of shape, I am not going to challenge myself to a certain type of exercise or even a certain amount of minutes for it to count.  I am just going to say I have to do something, anything, on 4 different days.  To goal of this challenge is to get myself back in to the habit!

Lots of cookin’!

Ok, so… I’ve been doing lots of cooking!  Yesterday I made the granola bar recipe from 100days but it didn’t turn out as good as I’d hoped.  It seems that my kids like it though.  It does not stick together too well, but they were happy to eat the little chunks.  Today Michael used the littlest chunks to make cereal.  I don’t know how to say this other than to say it’s a lot of chewing.  My jaw got tired.  Of course, I am in the middle of getting a crown replaced and can only chew on one side – that might have something to do with it.  Or not.  Anyway, it seems that the kids will eat what came out, but I won’t be making it again. (And, I am guessing that after one or two more days, they probably won’t be all that interested in it anymore anyway.) Matthew’s speech teacher told me she has a good granola bar recipe, so I will try that when she gets it to me.

I also made this really yummy bread to go with out chili dinner yesterday.  I think it came out good.  It was hearty, one nice chunk was enough to satisfy me, which is unusual.  Bread usually has me coming back for more!

Today I went back to baking and made whole wheat bread, hoping that if I could find a good recipe I can start baking sandwich bread instead of buying it.  I liked this recipe!  It was super easy and it came out tasty!  I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll sprinkle some sunflower seeds or something on top.

While the bread was rising and baking, I made these whole wheat tortillas.

Oh my goodness, I had no idea how easy and fun (the kids loved this!) making tortillas can be!!  Tortillas are something we eat a lot of – burritos and quesadillas are a favorite over here.  Most of the brands in the supermarket have hydrogenated oils, which I really try to stay away from.  I have found ONE brand of whole wheat tortillas that doesn’t have any hydrogenated oils and they’ll probably still be my go to brand in case I need to buy tortillas, but I plan to keep these homemade guys on hand as much as I can keep up with the kids eating them!  They ate half of them while I was cooking them up!  The recipe is so very simple and has only 4 ingredients: whole wheat flour, vegetable oil (I used coconut oil and they came out great!), a pinch of salt and a cup of water.  So simple!  My store bought brand has many more ingredients!  I will definitely be making these again!  🙂

The Food Challenge

I told my kids about this week’s food challenge yesterday.  They were quite thrilled when I told them that this was a challenge for ME. They were even more excited when I explained the whole thing to them.  It has actually been a pretty easy 2 days for me with this challenge, much easier than I had anticipated.  Instead of serving their dinner for them, I put everything out on the table and let them serve themselves.  I remind them that they can eat as much or as little as they want, but they have to have at least 3 bites of everything.  I also remind them not to waste – take a little bit and then go back for more if they want to, but please don’t pile up their plate and then eat only a little bit.  They love this new independence!  Today, Matthew and Emily surprised me by going back for seconds, Emily thirds!  Michael did a great job too – even though this was a dinner he decided he didn’t like the last time I served it, he served himself a little scoop and ate it without complaining once.  I know if I had served him there would have been lots of grumbling while he ate, making for a stressful dinner for everyone.  Tonight was much more enjoyable.  Also, the kids have been snacking more than I’d usually allow, but since they are grabbing fruit, I’m happy!  Yay!  I think this new behavior might actually stick around after the challenge ends!

For dessert tonight we made banana ice cream – just threw a couple of frozen banana chunks in the blender with a  small amount of milk and mixed it up!  It was a little more like a milkshake than ice cream, but it tasted good – especially with the swirl of peanut butter we added.  The leftovers went in the freezer, hopefully tomorrow it will be a better consistency.

Too Tired

Ok, well I was composing this post all day in my head as I slaved in my kitchen.  I want to tell you all about the many recipes I made today as well as how the first day of not dictating the amount of my kids’ food intake went… but – I am so tired.  Woke up at 2 am this morning and never did get back to sleep.  😦 So – I am going to go to bed now.  Will post tomorrow, I promise!


The Importance of Junk Food

I could not have said it better myself!  This blog post, from 100daysofrealfood, says EXACTLY what I have been trying to do in my house and teach my children for a long time now.  I was planning on posting about this topic later, but I just read her post and really, I couldn’t have said it better!

PS – I have no idea why, when I paste a link like above, it does not work.  You’ll have to cut and paste until I figure out the problem 😉

Challenge Complete!!

Week one challenge complete!! We did it!

I noticed today that my kids were counting their fruits and vegetables on their own.  They ate an orange and a bowl of frozen blueberries this morning as “breakfast appetizers” while they waited for Ed to make waffles.  I had fun experimenting with recipes for blueberry syrup too!  I took an original recipe, which called for 1.5 cups sugar(!!) and substituted about 3/4 cup honey.  It made quite a large batch, which unfortunately, tasted too strongly of honey.  But the kids loved it! I made a second, smaller batch for Ed and I with no honey, just a little bit of pure maple syrup added.  That one tasted much better.  Next time I try it, I think I’ll just omit the sweetener all together and see how it turns out.  Blueberries are pretty tasty and sweet to begin with!

But back to the kids counting their own fruits and vegetables… at lunch I served them scrambled eggs with spinach and a bowl of applesauce with frozen raspberries mixed in. Michael immediately started counting… spinach, applesauce, raspberries… “Mom – did you cook the eggs in coconut oil?”  Yes, I did. Not sure that counts as a vegetable, but he counted it and was thrilled to have exceeded the minimum requirement!  Then he said, “Just two more vegetables at dinner time and we get our very special dessert!”  Uh, oops. No wonder my kids were so into this challenge! I had completely forgotten that when I first talked to them about the challenge, I promised that if they  made it the whole week I would make them a very special, healthy dessert!  Ha ha ha… oh well.  Whatever the incentive, they did it and did it happily.  And to be quite honest, I think they’ll be happy to continue to challenge, even without the promise of dessert.  Now… what to make?  I have a recipe for spinach ice cream… think they’ll go for it?

Tomorrow starts Week 2.  I’ve decided to go ahead with the challenge of not forcing them to eat everything they are served.  For one entire week, I will simply serve them their meals and when they claim to be full I will not say a word.  I will allow them to stop eating.

I will allow for one small snack between breakfast and lunch and one snack between lunch and dinner, but they must be healthy.

Dessert is usually my incentive for clearing their plates, but it is also tied to how they behave at the table.  If they complain and whine throughout the meal they cannot have dessert.  They must have good manners and a good attitude if they want dessert.  I think I will stick with this rule.  They won’t have to eat everything, but they will have to be polite. Also, in the past we’ve had a rule about having to take at least 2 or 3 bites before they can declare they don’t like something.  I think I may bring that rule back – they don’t have to eat every last bite on their plate, but they do have to take at least 3 bites of everything.  Is that fair?  I think it is a good rule because it make them try things – they can’t outright reject anything.  But I am still not forcing them to eat beyond the point of being full.

I’ve been going back and forth as to whether or not to explain this challenge to the kids or to simply do it without telling them.  I think I will go ahead and tell them because I like to talk with them about healthy choices and I’d like them to know why I am doing this.  I will explain the rules as I’ve outlined them here.