Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dining with a toddler



Today the fam and I hit a new hip restaurant for lunch. I’ve gone there a few times solo and have really enjoyed their vegetarian options. Although they don’t boast an organic menu, they do have healthier options for dining out, “pure clean food,” which is why I thought it would be a good choice for our family. 

The kids menu was only okay, heavy on the cheese – but there was a side of apples instead of French fries, so I ordered my Bear a grilled cheese and I had the mushroom flatbread (which I have had in the past and still love). Pat had the Chicken BLT. When our lunch was delivered to our table I was sorely disappointed in Bear’s kid meal. It was "grilled" white bread, doused in oil, and what appeared to be Kraft Singles (more oil) between each bleached slice. 

This is a common occurrence in eating out at restaurants for us. The “grown up” food is great! High quality ingredients! Then the kid’s food is subpar and cheap. I feel like I should know better by now. My little guy is certainly capable of eating anything we eat; I just look to the kid’s menu out of obedience, or looking for smaller portions so we aren’t wasteful. I have no one to blame but myself because I decide what goes in his body.

I really do love these little restaurants popping up. Locally owned shops that have character and the drive to succeed in a shitty economy, but man am I disappointed that their quality of food stops at 5 years old. I looked at the menu again to look for Mom & Bear approved items. Perhaps these will pop into your head when you are cringing at the “Chicken Nugget” choices on your favorite restaurant menu:

  • Hummus Plate
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Vegetable Wild Rice
  • Seasonal Fruit
  • Side of avocado

You may have to mix and match some items to get a meal for your kiddo, but you won’t have nightmares about what toxic ingredients you have allowed your child to ingest.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Root of Us

It's been a while. In this while, I have been on a wandering path. There are so many things to talk to- to explore, but the most important at this point is food. It is the root of our well being.

In several heartfelt emails to one of my longtime friends, I have shared that, in food I find spirituality. I have thought about starting a new blog based around this. On my passion for healthy, organic, non-gmo foods. I thought if I could start a new blog, in a new space, I would be able to effect more people. Educate more people. Help more people. But then I realized: I don't blog to educate, I blog to explore and learn. The people that I need to help are my family - the people I feed. If people pass through this space and pick up a little bit of passion about what they are putting in their bodies, then I think great. If no one reads this, or is effected by it, that is great too. I am doing my due diligence as a mother, wife, and friend to provide what I believe to be a healthy life to my kin. 


If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen this coming. I have been on a local organic kick and I think everyone should join me! I don't want to be political or overly passionate, but I think it is important and something our generation should not take lightly.


Becoming a mother, and feeding my infant (now toddler) son is what brought a lot of this to light in me. Yes, years ago I read Skinny Bitch and - while I thought it was eye opening - I didn't stick with it.  When I started to think about what I was putting in my son's body, I knew it was my responsibility to give him the best. I also needed to be an example. So I blended and mashed and blended and mashed. He finally can chew stuff without his gag reflex kicking in and we get to try all sorts of fun foods. He often eats what we eat, and 90% of the time it is organic. 

I know he will experience Halloween candy, and Dairy Queen Blizzards, and Gatorade at sporting events, and I might even be the one who introduces him to these things. But the important this is  I am starting the foundation of a healthy life in a healthy home. I don't want to hyper-parent him into gorging and binging on sweets when he is at a friend's house, but I do want him to know what is and isn't good for him. I want him to be able to make good decisions for himself when I am not around. Educating him, and the rest of my family is my goal and duty.  

 

There is much to discuss on this topic - and I will for certain. But in the meanwhile, I encourage anyone who reads this to start thinking about what you are eating. If it turns out that processed, Genetically Modified Organisms are good for us, then I will happily eat crow and jump on the McDonalds bandwagon.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

9 months and counting : Quinoa, Carrots & Broccoli

At Bear's recent 9 month visit our pediatrician said "He can eat anything now." He then corrected himself by saying not to feed him citrus, nuts or honey, but everything else is fair game. This made me feel a little braver when it comes to Bear's food now. I motivated me to be a little more creative than mixing a sweet potato puree with an apple puree. (This happens to be Bear's favorite). It also encouraged me to move away from cereal as the only "thickening" agent.

Last night he had quinoa, carrots and broccoli. No mush. Just regular ol' people food. He did great! I am so happy that we are braving some new flavors and new textures.



Ingredients

Quinoa
Organic whole carrots
Organic frozen broccoli

To make

  • Wash and cook the organic carrots (leave the skins on for more nutrition). I baked my carrots for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Meanwhile rinse 1/2 cup quinoa then add to 1 cup of boiling water, Reduce heat to low and cover for about 20 minutes.
  • Boil about 1/2 cup frozen broccoli until thawed, 5-8 mins
  • Finely chop the veggies as to avoid a choking hazard. Mix with quinoa.
  • If your little one still wants some much, add some organic apple sauce or pears.
This is easily tossed into a food processor for younger babies who still are on Level 2 food.

See! Easy peasy! It all works nicely together. This is also an easy way to incorporate healthy eating at the grown up table! This makes for a great side dish!

Health Benefits

Carrots - Full of Vitamin A. Good for eye health.
Broccoli - Vitamin A, C, Folic Acid, Calcium & Fiber. Broccoli is also labeled as a "cruciferous" veggie. This means it can lower one's cancer risks. Excellent!
Quinoa - Ah the "Super Food." Protein, Protein, Protein! (It is the perfect protein with all 9 essential amino acids), Iron, Fiber, Lysine, Magnesium, Riboflavin (B2), Manganese.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Standin' on the Corner....

... In Winslow, AZ. You know the song. But did you know Winslow has a festival, just for being mentioned in a song? Well, They do! My favorite neighbors have a mobile pizza oven and were signed up to be vendors for the Festival. And I signed up to help them! 


Thursday night after work, Bear and I jumped into Neighbor J's Ford and we headed off into the sunset to Winslow. We were headed for a weekend of pizza, madness and cooler weather. 

The two babes slept soundly in the backseat with me until we hit some silly potholes about an hour outside of our destination. Do you want to know a fun car activity? Sing "The Wheels on the Bus" over and over and over and over and over... It is the only song to calm my little guy. Little M wasn't soothed... or she was singing along... who's to know?

After a restless night of sleep in a new place, we were up with the sun and headed to set up the pizza oven. The babes stayed behind with Little M's grandma, Mrs. C., and they were SPOILED with toys! Bear has never seen so many colorful toys in his life! I knew he was in good hands. Our hosts are the kind of people that want to take care of you. That are happy to clean up your messes and happy to cook every meal and clean up the dog poop in the back bedroom that your dog may or may not have left for you to step in. I stepped in it. It went in between my toes. Mrs. C. wiped my foot off while I stood on one foot holding Bear all the while. They are the hosts that have lived in this teeny town their whole lives and can tell you the history and the gossip all in the same breath. I was in heaven.

The Festival was less than I expected, but we all know how I am with my expectations. There were not many vendors, but we lucked out by being stationed by the beer garden. What goes better with beer than pizza? There was live music playing most of the time and we had lots of repeat customers. It was fun getting to know the folks of this little town. Even the crazy lady who threatened me with "meeting [my] maker" because I wouldn't give her a piece of pizza. Tip: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar toots.

Joe slung dough, while Pat turned the pizza in the oven. Joe's sister was the prep gal and J and I worked the "front of the house" by taking orders and moola. We danced in the dirt to the music - interpretive dancing mostly, our backs hurt, there was literally blood, sweat and tears. (The tears came from the deliriously tired laughter late at night). I climbed fences with buckets full of pizza dough (Shout out to the hippies that helped me with that- we gave them a free pizza). My dear neighbors made a name for themselves, and I had one of the best weekends of my life.

Sunday morning we all sat in the living room of our gracious hosts and drank coffee, reminisced about the weekend. I hope that I will be invited to help them again next year! 








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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Winterizing Wardrobes

Now that the days have been 100 degrees and under, for like 3 days straight, I realized it is time to start winterizing Bear's wardrobe. Also, we are going to visit my sister in Little Rock, which is about 30 degrees cooler there. 

I have Fridays off so Bear and I hit up H&M, which is a GREAT place for kids clothes. They have a section of organic pieces : 3 for $12. I can't buy second-hand clothes for that price! I generally have a rule about paying too much for his clothes that he won't wear in a month or two, so I love being able to find little fashion forward pieces for him.  



I bought these little mustard yellow jean at Baby GAP when Bear was just a few months old. I knew he wouldn't be needing jeans for a while because of our scalding summers, so I bough 6-12 months. I pulled them out a few weeks ago. As you can see, past the adorableness, they are squeezing his little baby belly a little too tightly. 

So, here's a tip: don't spend $24.99 on a pair of baby jeans. 

H&M has them now for $9.95 if you can find them in your wee one's size. I unfortunately could not, therefore, he now has blue pants.

But if you think that striped onsie is cute, well, that I got as part of the 3 for $12 deal! Major Score!

Monday, September 23, 2013

In need of distraction : Teething

My little guy is getting his first tooth! Bottom left! He hardly lets me look at it, but cannot stop me from sticking my finger in his mouth to feel it. As exciting (and frightening) as this time is for me, it's really hard on Bear. He whines most of the day, and wakes up 3 times during the night. 

Yesterday he woke up from his afternoon nap and nothing would make him happy. It broke my heart, and made me reflect his mood. I thought enough is enough! So Pat and I loaded the crying boy into his stroller and went to the park near our house.

As it was the first day of fall, and tempuratures were remarkably under 100 degrees, the park was swarming with children. Bear LOVES children. He loves to watch them, and interact when he can. His mood immediately changed for the better. I could still tell he was in pain, but he was distracted enough for a little fun.

We put him in the swings for the first time ever and I really think he enjoyed the first couple pushes! Then we put his little feeties in the sand! He wasn't so sure about that... But was intrigued.

After we left the park we gave Bear a bath and got him ready for bed. Another great form of distraction were his books. And he really loves books! He likes me to read them over and over and over. Then he tries to turn the pages... Which he is getting better at.


Today I bought Natural Orajel to try out. I hope it gives my little Bear some peace tonight. I hate to see him in any sort of pain or discomfort. And, as my dear father said, "All this AND the damned tooth will fall out and [I'll] have to pay a buck for it!"

 




Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting back to our roots

On Tuesday Pat cancelled our DirecTV. After a moment of OMFG that was a knee-jerk reaction, I was really happy he did it. (Um, hello? Sister Wives Season Finale is coming up!?!?!?) 

Now, I don't plan to be the hipster who says, "Nah man, we don't have cable," and then go home to stream stuff on Hulu+. I totally plan on having Hulu+ and enjoying every minute of it. But what streaming vs cable provides is a consciousness in my TV time. I am not going to sit in front of HGTV to watch another House Hunters just because it's on. I have spent far too many evenings wasted in front of 60" of garbage. 

Not to mention the commercials that are not child friendly. As an adult, I think they are pretty clever. As a parent I think they are totally inappropriate. Have you see the one where the little boy asks his mom how the baby got in her belly? Well, I don't think that should be presented by an insurance agency. Just sayin'.

Anyway, when Pat and I first moved in together, we didn't have cable. We didn't have a visible TV at all. We spent most of our nights on our teeny tiny back porch drinking wine, playing dominoes, and talked about things that really mattered. We were productive and in-tune with one another. 


I am looking forward to that again. We both know we function better as a couple without the boob tube working its way in as the third wheel. 

Now we can focus more on our family, our house and our hobbies. And, we are saving an additional $70 a month. I'm not going to scoff at that!