A delicious treat

Here is something simple yet delicious for you to try for a treat next time you are hungry.

  1. 1 packet of granola
  2. 2 tbl crunchy peanut butter
  3. Jar Chocolate Fudge ice cream topping
Mix the peanut butter and the granola thoroughly
Put wax paper down over a cookie sheet
Spread the Mixture evenly into the cookie sheet over the wax paper
Warm the Fudge for one minute in the microwave
Pour the entire jar of fudge over the top
Cover with wax paper and put in the fridge for an hour
Pull all of it out of the pan; remove the wax paper and cut into squares
And then of course- EAT!

The Power of Bad Choices and the Addictions that Bind Us

This is not a post about drug addicts. Or any other addicts. It’s about a lifestyle – health connection. And in my mind I keep relating it to drug addicts but it would take too long to properly connect it all in one post. So I will preface this post by saying that it’s choppy and jumpy. And that you will never hear me pass judgment on anyone who can’t stop doing something they should stop doing, because even though I have never tried a single drug in my life, I can relate to people who have and have difficulty stopping. 

I do not feel “good” today. I don’t mean because I have a sinus infection. I mean that IN GENERAL, these days I do not feel good. I have aches and pains inside and outside of my body. I’m tired a lot. And if I don’t take my supplements I am a cranky, moody, hot tempered version of myself that I don’t even recognize. I don’t have to feel this way, but I guess I choose to.

See, I know what feeling good feels like! I have been in tip top, feel good, almost in another dimension physical, mental, and spiritual shape. I could wear whatever I wanted. Eat whatever I wanted. Had a glowing smooth complexion and didn’t wear make up. I could see and hear things before they happened and feel the vibrations of everything living around me. But I didn’t understand HOW good it was. I knew I exercised more and ate better than most people but I thought that was just the secret to my great abs. I just assumed that all the other stuff was normal. That my expensive skincare products were taking good care of my skin and that everyone could meditate and have an open mind and connection with the universe. Wrong.

You know how I know it’s wrong? Because I feel so bad now. Even using the expensive skincare products and believing and knowing “the secrets” of the universe – My skin is still blotchy and it’s a wonder I can touch my toes – forget about any earth energy or vibrations! Ever since I adopted my kids and immediately lost track of my nutritional beliefs, I gradually transformed from a happy, optimistic, energetic, healthy person to an unhealthy, sore, grouchy, tired one. Turns out the food we feed our kids is not really healthy. Macaroni and cheese does not rid my body of toxins or improve the flow of my chi. Cap’n Crunch does not provide long lasting energy and mental focus to make the most of my day.

This morning I had a piece of frosted crust cherry bread with jet puff on it for breakfast. I don’t even LIKE that kind of food. But it’s here and it’s cheap and it’s easy. It was on the clearance rack at Kroger and was half the price of the bagels. I’m really busy at work this week because I couldn’t get work done while the kids were off school for Christmas. Jet puffed bread took no time to make and no time to eat. Perfect. Not. Did I even consider the calories in that mess before I ate it? The fat, the carbs, the cholesterol, THE SUGAR?! It’s all I can think about now! No, I sure didn’t think about any of that. Just made another bad choice.

Now understand, I am not simply talking about weight management here. Although I’m sure extra weight is a factor in some of the aches, pains, and sluggishness. I’m talking about overall functionality of the mind – body machine. I need a tune up. I know you know what I mean.

Getting from there to here I have had time to experiment. For instance, for years I continued with pricey beauty regimens but the condition of my skin continued to decline. When I returned to different versions of my healthy lifestyle for very short periods of time – things got better. My skin glowed. My hair got thicker and prettier. And I had less pain. Fewer headaches. But every time I made those changes – I changed back. And the poor health returned.

Instead of making a commitment to living well I yo yo diet and pump myself up with supplements. I know that I can treat a migraine drug free, but it’s so much easier to pop Advil. I can’t fit into my dancing pants anymore, but who cares? I don’t go out dancing anyway.

I know that eating more natural and leaner foods will make me healthier, happier, and more successful in every aspect of life. I also know that my present lifestyle, though not necessarily life threatening, is holding me back and will shave years off my life. I have known this for 5 years – and still haven’t changed.

So you see? I too am making bad choices every day that affect my health, my life, and the existence of people around me who depend on me. But nobody judges me as harshly as a drug addict who really only made ONE bad choice – to try drugs – and got hooked. I adopted an easy unhealthy lifestyle because life got hard and I was looking for shortcuts. That’s a big factor in addiction. So why is the drug addicted mom judged so harshly? I understand that the outcome of her actions may be more severe. But the path she took to get there likely took no more heinous action that taken by you or me in any bad choice we have ever made. But the glue of her addiction is an infinite amount stronger than whatever has a hold on you or me.

Take a minute to think about your vices and bad habits. Have you tried to quit? Why haven’t you been successful? And what about the food you eat? Do you always make the right choices?

 

 

 

Sacrifices and Such

As mothers and wives we make sacrifices, don’t we ladies? We prepare food to please the household, give up girl time/me time if it means someone else can do something important to them, our tv viewing changes, we give up Eminem for Kids Bop, and we never take the last donut. If you’re like me you don’t really mind because none of those things makes you as happy as does the happiness of your family. But when they’re gone and you find yourself alone for a day or two in the house – You can get wild and have whatever you want! For me this weekend, while Hubs & kids went tubing to give me some time to catch up at work, that meant CHICKEN NACHOS! Mmhm. With lots of spicy pepper, onions, scallions, and cilantro. Not your “family” nachos at all. And ohh yeeeahhh –

I blackened the edges of the chips just a little bit.  Is your mouth watering? Mine was! Too bad my V3 was still going strong and only let me eat a few bites. Barely made a dent in it! Just wait til Mama’s mojito time later. I’ll make up for it then.  😉 What tiny things have you given up that didn’t fit in with family life? 

 

Sun Tea – the Easiest Chore for Lazy Summer

Thank you to cogdogblog for letting me borrow this awesome pic til I find mine! :)

In my household the adults are almost as excited for summer vacation as the kids. Why? No homework, and later bedtimes and rise times. After all those months of being on such a strict schedule it’s a relief to have some breathing room in our routine. I learned the hard way though that a flexible schedule still needs some structure and activity.

It may seem mean to some to have summer chores lined up for every day right from the beginning but without them, the kids don’t know what to do with themselves. They overdose on video games, stay in bed, raid the kitchen and waste food out of boredom, and eventually start fighting with one another and complaining. I don’t know about you but I am not on summer vacation and I cannot work under those circumstances. I wish I could play with them and entertain them all day but I can’t. I can, however, give them some daily responsibilities. When mixed in with scheduled fun activities, it reminds them NOT to bicker and complain about being bored, since Mom always has something for them to do. To keep them engaged and not waking up feeling like Cinderella every day, though, I try to make their to – do lists interesting by making rhymes and throwing in fun tasks that make them feel needed and accomplished.

The favorite summer chore is making the sun tea. It is very easy to make and the kids like being involved in making something that Dad and I enjoy and look forward to drinking every day. I write the directions out in the middle of the chore list so they can pretty much handle it on their own – it makes them feel independent – but I am nearby in case there is a question. I will include the directions that I write for my kids right below here so that you may share with your little Cinderellas. Don’t forget to modify the specifics to suit your household. :)

How do you keep your kids motivated & active during the summer> Do they have a favorite “chore?”

Drew & Sari’s instructions for sun tea

The iced tea pitcher is at the top right of the pantry. Bring it to the counter by the sink.

Rinse the pitcher out with cold water by filling it up once and dumping the water out.

Put 2 scoops of sugar from the big black spoon (that’s 1 1/2 cups) in the bottom of the jar.

Now fill the pitcher almost to the top with cold water. Don’t worry about the exact amount, you can’t get it wrong. I aim for just below the neck of the pitcher.

Open 14 tea bags being careful not to break the paper tabs off the strings. If you do it’s okay. It just makes it easier if you don’t. :)

Gently take hold of the tabs and strings so that the tea bags are hanging in a bunch and dip them up and down in the pitcher of water a few times. Each time they will go a little deeper as they get heavier from soaking up water. After 3 or so gentle dips, leave the bags floating on top of the water.

Put the lid on tight.

Pick a sunny spot outside on the back deck, like the patio table or the the grill counter.

Set the kitchen timer for 4 hours.

When the timer goes off, bring the tea in, gently stir it up or shake the jar a bit. Now it’s ready to pour over a glass of ice and enjoy. Thank you.

$5 Off ROAST-e Order – Mama Has a Coupon Code!

As I have experimented over time monetizing my blogs, I have settled on making money for content, not ads. I feel it gives me more control to be able to adapt certain keyword links into sincere blog posts, rather than accept money to actually advertise for a company by putting their banner up, regardless of whether or not I like the product or how ugly their ad is. This is still the case. HOWEVER. NEVER SAY NEVER. THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO EVERY RULE. And so on.

This, by the way, is not a paid post. If I’m yammering on about how much I like something, it is sincere. I don’t do paid reviews.  Unless I was asked to SAMPLE and review something I have mad passionate love for like say…. Adam Lambert or Moscato… I would accept those jobs of course, but disclose that it was paid. :)

I think that Groupon ad is so PRETTY! lol. I think it enhances the scenery AND I think Groupon is a cool company.  Have you ever read their ads? I have a clear memory of me sitting at the doctor’s office where I worked in my 20s-30’s, reading over tons of boring technical optical stuff. At that time I was considering going back to school for technical writing and I remember saying, “why does everything have to be so boring? I could write this manual and make it fun!”  Of course I talked myself out of the field. (surprise!) Over the years, though, lots of companies have taken on more personality in their text. Groupon is one of the best.  I don’t know WHY they haven’t hired me yet.  But that’s something different.

So Groupon is fun and pretty. Whitesmoke is a grammar correcting program so that represents me I feel, too. And like I said. I like aliens. But the real reason for my update is Roast-e! I decided to run their banner because I like coffee and I liked their style of communication and the way they described their company to me.  I gave them a tiny square ad spot. I am going to go bigger I think now that I’ve researched and sampled the company.

Using my own banner link so I could see what happens if someone clicks through, I scanned the products, coffee, coffee makers, and accessories… and plugged in two criteria. “Organic” and “Fair trade.” I was actually looking for direct trade but clicked the wrong button. Anyway, was given a selection, made my choice, put in the discount code the company gave me, and checked out with PayPal. You can use any method of payment, but I love PayPal so that was a bonus for me. Got my coffee two days later and am drinking it right now. Actually, it smelled so good it woke me up this morning when Tim brewed some at 3am before work. Or maybe it was the bean grinder that woke me up first. REGARDLESS. It smells good. And now I can confirm how good it tastes. I even dropped a swirl of organic agave sweetener in instead of sugar. I’m feeling all kinds of good right now.

It really was a good experience from beginning to end. The product passes my test.The website is pleasant and user friendly. The company is really interesting too. Their social conscience is enhanced by their apparent use of a social business model. Two of my favorite things. AND with the $5 off coupon code, it was financially satisfying too. And now they tell me I can pass the discount on to you! There is a 10% first off first order code on the website but don’t use that unless you place a big order. You know, do the math is all I’m sayin. BLOGME5 is the code for $5 off.

Enjoy!

The Post Feast Fast

Oh boy is my belly full. All that stuffing and biscuits & gravy is my weakness and leave me feeling like a lump.  know you know what I’m talkin bout. Pants are tight and energy is low. With Thanksgiving vacation coming to an end it’s time to get body and mind back into productivity mode.

But how?

For me it’s the post feast cleanse colon fasting that gets me feeling good again. Detox is beneficial year around as our bodies are loaded with sludge accumulated over time due to our daily routines of not eating right. Add the indulgence of a lot of heavy food in a short period, as is the case at a time like Thanksgiving, and our bodies are working over time to process all the gunk. No wonder I’m so sluggish.

There are elaborate detox procedures you can have done, and all kinds of products ranging from high in price concoctions to home made remedies. Just do some research and find what fits your needs and budget. I’m a big fan of the Hollywood 48 hour Miracle diet (please notice, not a paid link. I very rarely endorse for pay.) because it is cheap and easy and not entirely disgusting. I will follow it up with a couple days of eating raw fruits, nuts, and veggies and drinking juice.  I am not at all an expert so please do your own research – what works for me might not be what’s right for you – but I will advise that if you’re new to juice fasting, you should plan on a day or two of the raw fruits, nuts, and veggies BEFORE your juice fast too. It will be easier on your body and make it easier to stick to your fast.

Fasting has become increasingly more popular since about the mid 90s – mainly for weight loss, but general detox is so good for clearing out your system and your mind. Do you detox?

So Much to Love About Easter

Easter has always been a favorite holiday of mine just as Spring is my favorite time of year.  Refreshed! Fresh! Reawaken! Rebirth! Anew! Renewal! New beginnings! Hope! Feast! Joy! Rejoice! Reborn! Celebration!  Family! Love!  These are common words surrounding Easter.  How can this single time of year invoke so many different feelings and such happiness?

The religious significance of Easter is at the heart of its celebration.  In Christianity Easter represents the resurrection of Christ.  What better reason to rejoice and celebrate than the rebirth of your saviour?  Part of the beauty of our world lies not only in its variety of landscape and environment, but in its scope of people, culture, tradition, beliefs and religion.    Even though religious beliefs may differ, rebirth and new beginnings are a common theme.

Change of Seasons is a powerful factor in human spirit and mood.  Your lifetime of experiences, good and bad, has been accompanied by a consistent and predictable cycle of weather and landscape.  The light of the day, as well as temperature & smell of the air are a much ignored backdrop in your life, that serves as a reminder and enrichment of memory in days and years to come.  The senses and joy you felt that hot day in June when you exchanged vows will return every June, even when thoughts of your nuptials are not at the front of your mind.  Likewise, the rainy gray day in October that you lost a treasured loved one will come back to you every year in the form of October’s typical rains and uniqueness of temperature as summer’s warm breeze reluctantly makes way for the cool of fall.  Springtime is the most powerful change in season for many as the burdens and confinement of a bitter winter are replaced by blooming vegetation, warm sunshine, and a renewed vigor and inspiration to wake up, get busy, and live life.

The Feast.  Abundant dinner and celebrating with family and loved ones is the tradition of many holidays.  Whether motivated by the celebration of Jesus or general renewed spirit of mankind, people are inspired to “break bread” with their neighbors at Easter.  Bread for Easter is found in abundance in many forms at every dinner table.  Rolls, braided Easter bread, Easter bread rings, even biscuits & gravy and banana bread encourage us to forget we ever even heard the word “carbs” and embrace the smell, flavor and contented fullness that only bread can deliver.

Yes there is so much to love about Easter.  Set your diets, worries and job stress aside for the day and focus on what’s important.  Real life won’t let you wander too long.  Let Easter’s spirit of renewal, hope, and starting over inspire solution to your problems, relief to your worry, and the reminder that you can return to your healthy recipes and workouts tomorrow.

Over Spending at Christmas

No matter how many times I say, “This Christmas I am going to be more reasonable.” I always over spend. Nothing like a little recession to tighten your holiday shopping budget, though, am I right Mamas? But we still love to shop and we want desperately to give our most precious ones the gifts their little hearts desire. Just please tell me, why do our precious ones want such expensive stuff?

Before I was a Mom I was an Auntie. I had a niece and a nephew and there is where I learned how fun it is to spend ridiculous amounts of money on little people whose wide eyes and screeches touched the very core of my heart as they opened their gifts.

Then came more nieces and nephews. Cha-ching!  Then as they got older the wish list’s of their heart’s content came with higher and higher prices. Cha-Cha-Ching! I now have nieces and nephews ranging from 3 to 15. The boys all want video games which are not at all cheap. And the list of my sweet angel 15 year old niece now contains things like Coach purses and Ugg boots. Considering I now have kids of my own to shop for in addition to the rest of the brood, I haven’t been able to shop off her list for years.  It is more sad to me than her because she would probably trade her gifts from me to spend a day together just me and her like the old days, and that of course makes it even harder!

My own kids have a Wiion their list this year.  If they both weren’t in agreement on it I don’t think we could swing it. You have to buy the console plus games, plus start up kits, accessory kits, expansion kits, and who knows what else. How could you make that a gift for just one kid?

Another problem I have is REGARDLESS of the cost of the one main gift I love to do GROUPS of gifts with themes and beautiful displays.

I read an article yesterday written by my very good friend about being bipolar and she mentioned the high she gets from getting paid and going shopping and how she actually keeps herself home for a couple days after she gets paid and waits for the high to wear off so that she won’t spend recklessly. I can identify with that, can you?

Mommies SAVING Money

piggy-bank.jpgThe last Mommies Making Money post got some attention and that’s when the idea of a double threat hit me.  Mommies Saving Money.  Making money and saving money at the same time would be fabulous, wouldn’t it?

I’m sure you don’t need me to inform you that this economy is in the toilet.  I’m not a stats person, as far as remembering and quoting them goes.  But I do enjoy looking at them.  I like watching the stats for my blogs go up every month, that’s for sure. And thank you very much! :-)  But I don’t like economical type stats.  Or real estate stats.  You look at them, see the arrows and trends pointing downward and you know we’re in a pickle.  No fun, there. 

When I was single I used coupons a lot.  I used to cut them out for Mom when I was a kid… when I got my first apartment, the highlight of my week was running out to get the paper on Sunday, grabbing a My Favorite Muffin, and sprawling out on the floor of my kitchen/living room/dining room, (It was a small apartment!) and clipping.  It reminded me of clipping for Mom, but it also got me excited about being a big girl and saving money.  Getting the apartment guaranteed that I didn’t have any to spend, so making the dollar stretch became the substitute for shopping at the mall.

Somewhere along the lines, though,I started making more money and having extra to spare.  I didn’t continue clipping coupons or shopping for deals justifying that “my time is worth more money than that”.  What a moron.  I thought I was so smart and evolved, and in some ways I was, but do you ever look back in wonder at your own naivete?

Too bad I lost my coupon excitement all those years ago.  But it’s never too late!  I am getting back to the basics and adding coupon clipping and bargain hunting to my money-making-mama strategies.

Pillsbury has $27.30 worth of savings available in September and it’s all the really good stuff… frozen cookie dough, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pastries, pizza rolls, Progresso products, Old El Paso, cereal, yogurt bars, Yo-Plus yogurt and more!

Kellogg’s has a full rebate on Frosted Mini Wheats right now.

Kraft has Oreo ice cream free with the purchase of $15 of cake goodies.  PLUS they have those super cute Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirts there, sponsored by Jell0, Cool Whip, and Philadelphia cream cheese.

There!  That should get us started.

Do you clip coupons?  Have you always?  Share with us your dollar stretching tips!

 

 

Lunch Time Challenges

  hot-lunch.jpg         

How can you be sure your kids are getting the proper nutrition throughout the day when you send them off to school?  As they get older no one checks to make sure they’re eating anymore.  They could be flushing their sandwiches down the toilet for fun and giving their pudding to a girl they want to impress.  Nobody cares.  I am so glad for school to start back up and for all the relief that this time of year brings.  But now it’s time to worry about a whole new set of issues.  Eating lunch is a big concern for me.  Why do I get so upset and what am I going to do about it?  I am glad you asked!

My Son is 12 and he weighs 62 lbs.  He’s down from 64 lbs at his last physical. My Daughter is 8 and in the 90th percentile at 78lbs.  There is only an inch difference in height between them, despite the 4 years.

My Daughter loves lunch time.  She has been crazy about it ever since the first day of kindergarten when she kept interrupting the teacher asking if it was lunch time because she was real excited about busting out her new Scooby Doo lunch box.  She buys the lunch and, until I put restrictions on her account, bought many of the “quarter extras” available to her such as cookies, cake, ice cream, Sunny Delight, etc.  At the elementary level there are no long lines to wait and plenty of time to enjoy all her food. 

Middle School, however, is different.  The lines are long and the time is short.  My Son complains that if he waits in line for a hot lunch he barely has time to eat it, much less socialize afterward.  Sometimes he grabs something small like a pretzel out of the snack line but the problem is his ADHD medicine is in full effect around the lunch hour not only keeping him focused but killing his appetite.  He is not hungry so there is just no motivation to eat.  He is too anxious to find an open chess table and a willing opponent.

The answer is simple, right?  Make cold lunches.  I got to a point last year, though, where I thought “if he isn’t eating anyway, it is wasteful to make him lunch”.  Plus I was more rattled last year in general and probably looking for an excuse remove “pack lunches” from my daily routine.  So I filled up his account with money assuming he would eat when he was hungry.  Like that old attitude, “it ain’t gonna kill him to miss a meal.  If he’s hungry he’ll wait it line.” 

Bad Mom.

Obviously it is hurting him because he is losing weight rather than gaining.  So cold lunch it is.  It is also time to customize their lunches.  Maybe I wrong to ever be feeding them matching lunches, considering their difference in age.  But the similarity in their size through me off, I guess.

So how do I ensure that he eats his lunch at school? Realize that I can’t and come up with a plan  for getting in the daily necessities.

Our doctor’s appointment was a great lead into a dialogue about eating in general.  She told him that he is almost 13 years old and he looks like he is 8.  (Yikes! Harsh! We usually AVOID those comments!)  She went on to make it clear to him that he is as small as he is not because he is meant to be but because he chooses to be. 

The Langston Food Summit of 2008 was eye opening and productive.

We identified that he is most hungry first thing in the morning and ravenous at night.  Duh!  He skimps on lunch and his meds are worn off by late afternoon.  He is up all night snacking on the wrong things and tearing up the kitchen.  We came up with a simple and encouraging plan.

  • Have a bigger breakfast but don’t simply overindulge on multiple bowls of sugary cereal.  Add a piece of fruit, boiled egg, and raisin toast. (these are from his suggested foods)
  • Pack a small, simple lunch of things that are fast and easy to eat so that he is more likely to eat while socializing, even though he isn’t hungry.  He said he would love celery sticks and peanut butter, a granola bar, and a Slim Jim or something similar.  Sounds more like a snack than a meal right?  That’s okay.  It is more than he was eating before and it really is just a snack.  Read on.
  • Enjoy a big family dinner.  He is a great eater at dinner time, devouring a big salad and pasta or the like.  We eat early because Hubby gets home at 3 or 4pm which is great because having not had much lunch, my Son is usually famished by this time as meds have worn off a bit.
  • Here’s our secret weapon.  A fourth meal around 7pm.  This is usually the time everyone gets a scoop of ice cream or mini ice cream sandwich if homework is done and attitudes are good.  He will still get that reward of course, but first he will have a can of Chef Boyardee and a cucumber or something similar.   

I love Chef Boyardee and mac & cheese and all those convenient dinner helpers now that I serve them as the side dish to big salads and crunchy veggie main courses.  For better or worse, this combination is satisfying to him so he can stop snacking and I can close the kitchen at 8:30 and be confident it will not be covered in peanut butter, jelly, toast crumbs, with feet marks on the counters, when I get up in the morning.

I came to see that I was worrying too  much about this one meal of the day that I couldn’t control and decided to turn it into a somewhat balanced snack.  I have plenty of time after school to make sure he gets his proper nutritional allowances for the day.

As for my Daughter, I received a call that first day of kindergarten being notified that after a morning filled of interrupting the class asking, “is it time yet?” she suddenly disappeared.  She was found underneath her desk with her lunch spread out like a picnic, enjoying.  Things have never really changed. :-)

I hope I was able to get you thinking about ways to solve your eating challenges at home and lunch time.  I would love to hear more tips from all of you, too.  So if you have any favorite strategies, please share!

Thanks to a la corey  at Flickr for the hot lunch photo!