We have fun

We’ve been having a lot of fun around here.

Abby likes to pull everything out of the cabinets.  It’s pretty hilarious to see her carrying things that are bigger than she is.

Yes, she emptied out ALL the pots and pans by herself.  And, yes, she tore into that box of granola bars with hungry vengeance.  She leaves me lot of little surprises like this.  I have since had to relocate the snacks above the fridge.

Sophia has been painting.  She is slowly coming around to the fact that there are more colors than just pink.

These girls are my pride and joy.  We have so much fun together.  I love when I can remember to play with them.  Remember that a messy house is par for the course.  And, remember that they are a precious gift.

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Butternut Squash Pancakes

We were getting dinner ready to go tonight, and I pulled some frozen, diced butternut squash out of the freezer as a vegetable side.  I was feeling creative and came up with something kill-ah!  Oh, let me tell you.  These were amazing!  Everybody, especially the girls L-O-V-E-D these!  I’m just going to jot down what I did here.  Feel free to edit as you like.  I HOPE you try these!

Butternut Squash Pancakes

Ingredients

10 oz bag frozen, cubed butternut squash

1 egg

1/3 c. of whole-grain pancake/waffle mix (no sugar)

1 t. of splenda brown sugar

1 t. canola oil

1 T. milk

dash each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg

pat of butter

Directions

Microwave squash, covered in a microwave-safe bowl for about 4 minutes or until squash is cooked.  You may need to stir half-way through.  After 4 minutes squash should be very tender and squishy.  Using a mesh colander, drain and “squash” out excess water.  Return to bowl.  Mash well and add egg, oil, milk, sugar, and spices.  Stir until egg in well-combined.  Add small amounts of pancake mix, stirring in between until desired thickness of batter is achieved.  Coat a nonstick griddle or large frying pan with cooking spray and heat to high.  Add a pat of butter.  When sizzling and butter is melted, scoop pancake batter with 1/4 cup scoops onto griddle.  Fry each on med-high, flipping when bubbles begin to form around the edges.  Fry an additional 2 minutes or so until lightly browned on each side.  Serve with the tiniest drizzle of real maple syrup.  Should yield about 6 small, but hearty pancakes.

A love affair with cauliflower

Yes.  Cauliflower.  Before now, I’ve never gotten into it… It lacks color, doesn’t have a lot of flavor on it’s own… fairly unpopular as far as vegetables go… But, my mind has CHANGED!

If you’ve been over to our house for a meal, then you’ve probably had some sort of soup.  If you’ve been to our house quite a few times, then you’ve probably had my potato soup.  I can make a MEAN potato soup.  Rich and hearty.  Make you want to take a nap afterwards.  And, there for a few years (at least 10), I couldn’t get enough potato soup.  Well, since we’ve been having so much success with the South Beach Diet, we haven’t had any white potatoes and definitely no potato soup.  Sad.  I know.  But don’t worry, I don’t lay awake at night missing potato soup. 😉  Here is a secret recipe that will knock your socks off if you haven’t had potatoes in a while!  And, it may even knock your socks off anyway.  Simple, healthy and oh, so tasty: the magic cauliflower.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

T olive oil

medium onion, chopped

large head of cauliflower, florets and stems cut into small pieces

32 oz chicken broth

1/4 c. sour cream

1/4 t nutmeg

sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

chopped green onions

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onions and fry 5 minutes.  Add cauliflower, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Boil for 15 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.  Transfer to a blender and puree in batches.  Return to pot and add sour cream and nutmeg.  Whisk or stir to combine thoroughly.  Serve hot with sprinkles of cheddar cheese and green onions.

Yum-oh!  It is fire-y delicious without all the starch and heaviness of a potato soup.

 

For South Beach Dieters: This is a phase 1 recipe if you use reduced-sodium chicken broth and low-fat cheese and sour cream.

Confessions of an emotional eater.

Emotional Eating.  So many of us do it, right?  In fact, who doesn’t?

4:00 in the afternoon.  I’m sitting with Abby.  She’s having a snack.  I’m sitting with her silently worrying about something I cannot control.  I’m carrying the burden for a loved one.  I can’t take away this loved one’s pain.  I can’t magically make things right.  I can’t give my loved one a do-over.  I can’t make everything right and happy.  I can’t do anything.

I decide to pour myself a bowl of cereal, I didn’t eat much lunch… I’m thinking about how nice it is to have a baby.  No judgement.  She isn’t judging my bowl of cereal at 4 in the afternoon.  She’s actually excited about it.  I share some with her.  I’m not really enjoying this bowl of cereal. I continue with my worrying.  Now, I pour myself a second bowl.

Waaaait a minute.  I’m not even hungry.

Abby’s still not judging me.  I reach into the cabinet and get Sophia’s leftover Cheetos.  I share some with Abby. If Sophia woke up from nap right now, she wouldn’t judge me either.  She would just join me, thinking we were having a party.  Isn’t it nice being alone with the kids?  I can do whatever I want… and, no one will judge me.

Except for there’s this tiny fact that I’m teaching my children with my actions.  I’m teaching them to reach for food to comfort them when they’re worried.  I’m teaching them that eating is a good way to try to make yourself feel better.

Dammit.

I roll the Cheetos back up and put them in the cabinet before Sophia wakes up. I know I don’t need to go hide away in a closet to “emotionally eat” in order that they won’t see me…  That’s hardly satisfying… and I’m not THAT kind of emotional eater.  I’m just a normal emotional eater.  I eat when I’m worried.  I eat when I’m bored.  I eat when I’m lonely.

My babies are always eating. ALWAYS.  It’s so hard to tell when they’re actually hungry or just bored or just wanting comfort.  Sometimes Abby rolls all over the floor crying with one hand in her mouth because she’s SO hungry.  Sophia will eat 3 breakfasts for an average person and turn around and ask for a snack not 2 hours later.  I’ve been constantly saying “yes” lately.  Ya know, “choose my battles.”  Keep them happy so that when I really have a point to make it will be heard.  Help Abby sleep all night. (Overfeeding her at dinner really helps with that.)  I keep limitless snacks in my diaper bag for outings.  But now, outings are turning into a 24/7 snackfest.  Right when we get in the car, the kids are jonesing for the next carb load.  Abby’s hollering, pointing to the floorboard at the empty containers, and Sophia’s hollering about wanting candy.   I’m rewarding with food.  I’m pacifying with food.  I’m stuffing, stuffing, stuffing.

My girls don’t have a weight problem.  They’re babies.  They’re perfect sizes.  Sophia eats pretty well.  She eats some vegetables.  She eats fruit like candy.  But, when I tell her it’s time for lunch, sometimes she’ll yell at me: “I DON’T WAAAAANT LUNCH! I want a SNACK!!!!”  Hmmm.  She seems to know the difference.  And, Abby… well…  she’s had a hard life.  And, I’m coming to terms with the fact that re-training her spoiled little brain is going to be difficult.  And as soon as I feel a little less pity for her, I’ll give in less and stop giving her animal crackers for dinner…

Shew.  I’m being hard on myself.  I realize this.

I’m not, though. I realize what’s going on.  I’m aware of my personal struggles with food.  I understand the potential problems that my daughters will face.  I realize that my children are little imitators.  I realize that (almost) every drop of food that goes into their bodies is food that I’ve paid for and chosen for them to consume.  I AM responsible.

There’s a bigger issue here.  Food.  This is no new issue to our culture.  As a society we struggle with emotional eating, with feeding our emptiness and our anxieties and our multiphrenia with something sweet, salty, oily and quick.  The bigger issue isn’t food, though, it’s the hunger that we’re feeding.  And, the food that we’re feeding that hunger isn’t going to make us ULTIMATELY satisfied.  We may be satisfied for a few moments, an hour if we’re lucky.  But, ultimately that snack, those Cheetos, wasn’t what my body craved.  It craved a meal. Not an actual meal, but a metaphorical one.  In this case I needed to lean on the Father.  I needed to trust Him that my friend would be okay.  That, though I couldn’t take care of my friend, I could trust that He will.  And, I can trust that He will take care of my friend in just the way that He sees best.

I want to teach my daughters to lean on the Father.  I want to teach them to lean on Him for comfort.  To trust Him through difficult times.  I’m not sure I know how to do that.  But, I do know that thoughtlessly stuffing my worries with food is no shining example.

Sophia Princess

I just finished a little creative project during nap time today.  Sophia LOVES pink and LOVES princesses, and she’s always asking for more pink and more princesses in her room.  I compromised with her.  Rather than buying her some generic picture to hang, I decided to paint one for her.  Her requirements: She must be blonde and she must be wearing a pink dress.  (AH!  My daughter’s probably going to be a cheerleader, too!)

She says it’s “Sophia Princess.”  We’re going to hang it close to her bed.  I don’t consider myself an artist or even a very creative person, but this sure did boost my self-esteem.  I’m pretty proud to create something beautiful and meaningful for my daughters.

FREE-DOM!

 

You may be saying to yourself, “Yah, what’s so special about that picture?  It’s just two kids playing outside…”

Yah, but can you see where I am?  I am inside! They are playing outside together while I’m working in the kitchen, looking out at them through the window over the sink, listening through the open sliding door.  Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this?  All the elements are perfect:  The weather is warm enough, the girls are finally old enough, and they are enjoying and entertaining each other!

AH. FREE-DOM!!!!

 

Get moving

I have inconspicuously entitled this post because I’m slightly embarrassed to blog about what I’m about to blog about…  Bowel regularity.  We all suffer from it, right?  But, it’s not dinner conversation… usually…

Here’s the thing, I think I’ve found a cure for constipation.  WOAH.  Big claim.  We’re still testing it, but it’s been a few weeks, and it’s been amazing.  Let me tell you the secret.  Oh, this feels weird. The thing is, I want you to try it, too.  AND, I want you to tell me, anonymously if you want, if it’s working for you.  This is just TOO easy.  Here’s the thing:  I’ve suffered from irregularity and constipation for years.  Years.  Like 15 years.  Two pregnancies didn’t help this. So, this is a big deal for me.  I’ve altered my diet, I eat SO much fiber.  And, I’m just still irregular.  I’ve tried Activia…  I’ve tried Metamucil…  Bleck.

Here’s what we came across a few weeks ago. I happened to catch a documentary called “Food Matters.”  There was a brief comment made about this simple “cure” for irregularity.  It’s also known as water therapy, I’ve learned from other sources.

Simply, this is it: Immediately upon rising in the morning, before you do ANYTHING, drink 1-2 liters of water.

Sound crazy?  Crazy simple?  Right when you wake up in the morning drink 1-2 liters of water, as quickly as you can, and stop when you just can’t take anymore.  Wait a few, maybe 30 minutes, before eating or having coffee.  Trust me, you probably won’t feel like eating immediately.  That may sound like a lot of water, but a liter is just 1 large Nalgene or Camelback bottle (or a standard issue hospital thermos).  With a straw, it’s really not a problem for me to down 1 liter.  I drink more if I’m feeling particularly thirsty.  I don’t drink much more than 1 liter in the morning because more than that makes me feel queezy.  And 1 liter worked for me.  If you find that it doesn’t work, increase the amount you drink toward 2 liters until you see a result. Trust me, you will.

So, first day I tried it.  Bowel movement within an hour.  It’s been the same almost every day since (maybe 2 exceptions.)  It gets the bowels moving quickly and efficiently.  It increases movements to not only every day but more than one a day.  Crazy right?  No fiber, no laxatives, just water.  Another person I know, who will remain anonymous, has also been doing this and has seen insane results–up to 6 movements a day.

It’s supposed to be healthy to poop a lot, right?  Curious?  Let me know?  If you try it, tell me your story.  This is a test.   Is it healthy?  Does it really work?  What a simple cure.