Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Took the 30 Day Gallon of Water Challenge

How did you do? No, really, let’s focus on you so that I can hide my failure just a little longer. In general, I really am terrible at following through with diet and exercise programs. Sure, I start off with gusto and all of the right intentions…but after a few days my discipline begins to wane. What’s strange is that I really am not a quitter. I have an amazing talent called being stubborn, which helps me to be firm in things. 

But somehow, taking care of my own body isn’t a top priority.
I ensure that my kids take a vitamin every day. Me? I haven’t taken one since I was pregnant and had to. I make sure the kids get lotion on their dry skin. Me? I’m walking around looking like an alligator because who has time for lotion? I peel and cut up fresh veggies and fruit for my kiddos. Me? I’m eating processed, pre-packaged food because I don’t have (or won’t make) time for that….sigh.

So it was with this 30 day, gallon of water a day challenge. I started out strong. I got my husband involved, I got a reminder app for my phone, I even kept track of my intake on the refrigerator door; for a few days. My point is that I definitely failed at drinking a gallon of water each day. I actually don’t think that I was able to take in a gallon any of the days. I came close many times!

My justification is quite elaborate: I have 2 sets of young twins that keep me from sitting down and chugging water; aforementioned kids drink my water, fight over my water, backwash food into my water, and throw tantrums when I won’t let them drink it. So really, how am I supposed to find time to keep walking to the counter and drinking my special forbidden water that my kids covet? Oh, and I’m forgetful.

BUT, I will tell you that I drank enough water to learn some things. I realized that when I don’t drink enough water in a day, I wake up the next day with sore muscles. I mean, it actually feels like my muscles are contracted and dried out. Without enough water, I find myself exhausted (more so than usual). Also, my lips feel like they are going to crack and fall off my face. My skin overall is much more dry and itchy when I don’t imbibe tons of water. Conclusion? Drink more water! It will make you feel better and have more energy.

I mean, go figure. Our bodies are mostly made up of water, so I guess it makes sense that we need to replenish that on a daily basis. The main thing that I learned was that I need more water throughout the day. But I may not need a gallon. 64oz seemed to be the key amount for me; less than that and I felt the consequences. So how did you do? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for doing this challenge with me. 

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Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Get Your Toddlers (or Any Age Children) to Eat Their Vegetables; Yes, Even Twins

When my first set of twins were babies they would eat anything, and I mean anything. The only food I introduced that they didn’t like was cucumbers…go figure. But, alas, as they got older and their taste buds developed further, they began to reject more and more foods.

Eventually, it got to a point where they began to have issues with the texture of foods. I can’t even pinpoint how many textures they dislike. But I know they don’t like “stringy” foods such as string beans, turkey, chicken, noodles, etc. However, they also dislike all the other veggies I have provided in the last 6 months.

So this meant that I had to become very creative in how I presented these vegetables to them. For their nutrition yes, but also to save me from a personal breakdown at mealtime!! So below you will find some of my tried and true methods:

  • Egg Scrambles. These always work for us! All you do is crack a few eggs into a bowl, add some milk or water, and scramble them in the bowl. Then pour the mixture into the pan and continue to scramble them with a spatula. When the eggs begin to cook and slightly puff up, you add your cooked vegetable and cheese (the cheese is optional but really helps). If you don’t want to cook your veggies, just make sure you dice them up into very small pieces (but if they are not cooked at all, they may be too hard, and your little one may pick them out). *A side note here, eventually my kids began to catch on to me and pick out as much veggies as they could. But never fear! I was prepared. To fix this, I would puree a batch of mixed veggies and use that instead of whole veggies. They no longer had anything to pick out.
  • Bread, muffins, or cookies: grate up almost any vegetables, like carrots, zucchini, cucumber, squash, etc. Or puree them. Then, insert these veggies into any bread, muffin, or cookie recipe and cook as usual. You can make a huge batch and then freeze some. These are fantastic for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Don’t think that you have to put this into a sugary sweet recipe! You can use applesauce instead of sugar to sweeten, but also, you can use savory items like cornbread as well!
  • Sugar or honey. Yes, I just wrote that, and even I cringed inside just a little. I am that mom who doesn’t allow my kids to have excess sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, icing, etc. However, I want my kiddos to eat their vegetables. So sometimes I will put a small amount of brown sugar, raw sugar, or honey on things like carrots, sweet potatoes, or corn.
  • Cheese! Yes, cheese is the answer to most of life’s problems and then chocolate fixes the rest haha! But let’s stay on track here. Vegetables. If I melt cheese on any vegetable they love it. But who doesn’t? If they have a dairy allergy, try the cheese substitutes.
  • Smoothies. Recently smoothies have been a life saver for me. You really can throw anything you want into a blender, along with some juice and the kids will drink it up. Especially my kids. I only give them milk and water to drink, so when I offer them the exotic flavor of a smoothie they are so excited! I also let them drink it out of an adult cup with a straw (that I hold of course). My most recent smoothie accomplishment? I made a smoothie that consisted of frozen fruit, 2 bananas, 1 pear, frozen broccoli, fresh kale, and orange juice!! They loved it! Go figure, even frozen veggies work. Score!

  • Pouches. For some reason, my kids still love those pouch to go fruit and veggie pouches. My husband just told me that he read that those pouches often contain mold (like Capri Sun pouches can) so in order to avoid this I bought some reusable, refillable, BPA free plastic pouches. I make up my own vegetable and fruit purees. Sometimes I make a coconut oatmeal pouch for breakfast. You can slip any veggie or fruit into these!

  • Ketchup. Yes, it really is that simple. Allowing my kids to dip their foods into ketchup or BBQ sauce, or even MSG-free ranch, will liven up any vegetables. Or meat for that matter!

If you can think of any other ideas I, and our fellow readers, would love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below! 

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why I Have Decided to Quit the Holidays

Just a note: Wow, it really has been awhile since I have posted. There were the holidays, all 4 of our kids currently have Croup, and oh, having 2 sets of twins under the age of 2 is kind of akin to falling off of the face of the earth. But I am still here lol!

So I haven’t quit, not yet. But I really am considering quitting the holidays. In the past 4 months we have celebrated 4 holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and for us, our twin’s birthday and party. So make that 5 holidays. The only one of those that didn’t include a big ordeal was New Years. But even that holiday carries with it the demand to attend a party and stay up late…I am a 28 year old mother of two very young sets of twins…ain’t nobody got time for that! Or the energy for that matter!

Why do I want to quit you ask? Well, to be honest, I’m just tired and exhausted. I struggle on a daily basis to clean my house, take care of my 4 kiddos and husband, and make about 17 meals for everyone (one meal per person per mealtime in my house.) So when a holiday rolls around all of that amplifies. We can’t travel because of our kids so we have relatives come to us. Thus I am preparing my home for more people, and more grocery store trips, and more meals before and after the BIG meal of the holiday. Then I am cleaning up. Oh, and somewhere in between I am being a mother and a wife and taking care of my children.

I must stop here and say that I LOVE MY RELATIVES! I love to have them visit us and stay with us. I do not love, however, the added pressure of the holidays.

Even Halloween is stressful because I have to find coordinating costumes for two sets of twins of different ages and for us, and then we have to dress them and paint faces and change diapers and feed them and somehow take them all around a neighborhood when it’s freezing out. Have you ever tried to paint the faces of two cranky almost two year olds? Fuhgettaboutit.

I just wish that holidays were simple. I wish that family just came together to just be together. I want to relax and enjoy my company but I can’t. I’m worrying about gift buying and wrapping, grocery lists, bank account balances, making it to church for Christmas Eve services, cooking everything perfectly and timing it so that it all comes out hot together. Did I get all the decorations up? Is my son eating the Nativity scene?! Who just projectile vomited all over her third outfit of the day? Are all the kids dressed in adorable holiday apparel? Does my house smell like baking cookies? We don’t have lights up!! What will the neighbors think?

Those are some of my thoughts. Some of the things that keep my mind spinning and my feet running. The things that keep me from just sitting down and enjoying the glow of the lights on the Christmas tree and a snuggle with my husband. Why? Why is everything so busy and commercialized? I think that I have internalized every holiday tradition that I have seen and I am trying to make sure we look perfect, our home is perfect, and everyone is happy. In doing all of this, I feel like I am missing the meaning behind all of our family holidays.
I recently read Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton and in her book she has a section called Hostressing. When I read it, it was like reading my own thoughts. It is about how hostessing become hostRessing. And how she finally figured out that hosting wasn’t about the host herself; it wasn’t about have a perfect home or meal, but that it was about offering yourself and your home to the people you care about. This struck a chord with me. In the end, she finally decided to host a “party” but she warned all guests to not be fancy, to bring their own dish and drink, and to leave early haha!

So I’m thinking about quitting. Meaning, maybe we will order food next year or go out to eat. Maybe I won’t decorate. Maybe my kids will spend the days in their pajamas…or maybe we will just go somewhere tropical. I am not sure yet what this temporary retirement will look like. But I know that I am tired. And I know that at the next holiday, I will focus on my guests and not my home, food, drinks, music, clothes, etc. I will enjoy their company, and I think they will enjoy a less-stressed version of me!.....I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am not June Cleaver, and that my family is happy with store bought, from a box, stuffing.

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