Monday, January 18, 2016

Menu Monday - Trim Healthy Mama 2

Last week was our first full week trying to navigate doing all of our meals on the THM plan, and we had some really big wins. We loved several of the new recipes we tried, and feel really confident that we can make this plan work for us.

I did go through a little bit of detox being off of sugar and Splenda this last week, but I'm over the hump and moving on to greener pastures. It's hard to tell if that's the case because I also was dealing with some sinus issues and possibly some weather related headaches too -- so who knows, but all I know is that this morning I woke up and have been running all day.

I got up and immediately made breakfast -- Chocolate Waffles with Strawberries -- which meant that I ground some oatmeal into flour and used the waffle iron! Yay, ME! I put some mini chocolate chips and sliced strawberries on the boys' waffles, but for John and I - we just used the sliced strawberries and a 1/2 TBS of butter.

Tyler has fallen in love with some of these new foods -- which is amazing -- we are hoping to inch him onto the plan as well in a bit of a modified version. He LOVES the Strawberry Cheesecake Shake -- as you can tell -- since it is an afternoon snack everyday. I try to time it to be around his dinner time -- because they eat much earlier than Mom & Dad do. So we include it as a part of his dinner.

Have a great week and let me know if you're doing the THM plan too! I'd love to hear your favorite meal ideas!
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

International Boys

We've taken to liking some unconventional cartoons in our house -- thanks to YouTube! I'm not even sure how these two stumbled on these cartoons from other countries, but I know that they will watch them in English or any other language that they find... they just don't care. It's amazing. I think it would make me crazy to not know what they are saying.

Masha and the Bear was the first one that Tyler found, and loved it... and it was completely in Russian. I don't think to this date, we've found an episode of this one that has been translated to English.

Next up, we added in Ben & Holly as well as Peppa Pig - which is in English - but is more formal than what we have here in the US. So the boys started saying "quite" a bunch, and instead of vacation they would say "holiday." They also changed Santa's name to "Father Christmas" for a year or two. These boys crack me up!

Somewhere along the way they picked up Tayo the Little Bus from Korea, and literally for months that was all they would watch. It was cute, and had a lot of English episodes -- so they learned a bit by watching it about problem solving and being a good citizen & friend. Doesn't hurt that they are little buses and all sorts of other vehicles -- so it's perfect for a boy. They've also got an app or two that the boys were able to put on their iPads and enjoy.

Finally, we've added Pororo (which they say "Pododo") and they enjoy these cartoons so much too - I'd say it's our newest and most recent Korean cartoon love. These sometimes have some questionable content, but if you don't mind potty humor -- hello, we have two boys -- it's not that bad. Some of them are really cute and endearing. 

The most recent thing they've gotten is the Pororo Penquin Run app -- and I'm telling you these kids are hooked... well, lets be real - the 42 year old kid in the house is hooked too. It's their first real taste of a video game, and they love it. Thankfully, the game works on hearts that you earn over time... so they can play 6 times and then they have to wait about and hour or so before the hearts are fully restored again. So that does help with learning how to be patient. Although, John plays every night after they go to bed -- racks up about 30,000 or so coins, and within about an hour of them waking up -- they burn through all of the coins! It's a vicious cycle that plays out daily.

I'd like to think that these cartoons from all over the World gives the boys a bit of a worldview in learning different cultures, but really I'd just be happy if they learned some good citizenship skills from watching these.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Magic Schoolbus

Tyler tends to be a very quick study on things that he watches from different television shows -- like Octonauts, Wallykazam!, Word World, Bubble Guppies, and Super Why -- so I thought that for Christmas this year we would introduce him to a more science based show.

Yesterday he watched 1/2 of the first DVD in the series and loved it! It was actually really cute to watch how the explained things, and explored. They covered some of the solar system, the digestive system, and all about germs on the three he watched yesterday.

There are 52 episodes in total on the whole series, and I think that he is hooked. I'm excited to show him that Amazon also has a bunch of kits that you can buy to go along with the series and do your own learning experiments. In the meantime, we have a couple of dinosaur dig/experiment kits that I hope we will find time to work on this spring, and we still have our little gardens that the Easter Bunny brought last year that we need to set up.

It's an amazing privilege to get to be with them when they are learning and to see their minds working through things. It can also be extremely frustrating because I worry that they aren't picking up enough -- but that is just my worry and desire to do the best I can for them.

My only hope is that James will jump in and watch some of these along with Tyler at some point too. I know he is picking up things, but sometimes it's really hard to figure out what he knows and what he doesn't.
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Menu Monday - Trim Healthy Mama 1

We decided to move up our plan to going full force this week -- so here is our menu plan -- lunches are blank for the first couple of days because I just wasn't ready to plan those quite yet. I'm struggling with figuring out what will make the best plan for lunches at least until we get some leftovers to rotate in for lunches. 

It'll be a bit of a work in progress for a few days/weeks while we get used to this... sort of like remembering to eat every 3-4 hours -- I'm just not normally that regimented -- so I'm going to have to adjust my way of thinking. For instance, I need to go eat a snack here immediately because I completely forgot. 

Part of that is because I feel like crud -- and have all weekend. I'll have to work through that before I gain full control over all of this.

I'm excited to try out some of these recipes this week though, and test out our alternative dessert snacks. They sound pretty good, and I'm also excited to see if I can fool Tyler with the Chocolate Zucchini Cake this weekend. 

I bought a TON of vegetables yesterday, but we load up on those in just about every meal - so I just hope that it was enough. 

I made sure to get some good quality cocoa powder. I've made the switch to Stevia instead of my old standby of Splenda. I'm so glad I did after reading what the worst sweetners for your body are. 8 Best and Worst Sweeteners for your health  -- sad that my old standby is the #2 worst for your health... and I always believed the absolute worst was Sweet 'n Low, but that's actually #3. Making the switch away from Splenda has been pretty easy for me - I got some H-E-B packets of Stevia which are approved for the THM plan and other than some small issues with getting it to dissolve -- it's been great. I will do my best to rid our house from the pink packets too -- but that might take a little longer.

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Friday, January 8, 2016

Books by the Million

These are the books I got from the first two Christmases we celebrated with family. My people know me well, and I got three or four more before all of our celebrations were complete!

Last year, I started one of the Goodreads Reading Challenges -- with a goal of 25 books. Which I promptly forgot about until late September or early October. I'd read a few books in the early months of the year, but only maybe about 10 or 12 of them. I ended up finishing my challenge at 27 or 28 books for the year...

I thought maybe I'd tell you about some of my favorite books from my 2015 reading list.

All three of the books by Melanie Shankle were amazing reads. I read them in order Sparkly Green Earrings -- oh my stars... I've never laughed harder (or so I thought...)
Next was The Antelope in the Living Room -- Now I know I've never laughed so hard at a book in my life. Truly the funniest thing I've read EVER! It's a memoir about marriage, and seriously -- Melanie is my spirit animal. 
 Her latest book, Nobody's Cuter Than You -- is a beautiful portrait of true friendship mixed in with some hilarious stories. I just love the raw emotional journey of living life with these two ladies. I only wish that I find my Gulley one day!
After finishing those books, I read High Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. (aka The Pioneer Woman) I loved this look at how she was set off to move to Chicago, and ended up falling in love with Marlboro Man. It's such an adorably romantic book and I just enjoyed it all the way through.

I finished out the year pouring through the Hannah Swensen series -- I'm on book 7 or 8 of the series, and I love them because each one picks up a couple of months after the previous one ended. So it's like you're living right along with them as their little town keeps trucking along. They are about a girl that owns a cookie shop in a small town, but she keeps being in the wrong place at the wrong time -- discovering dead bodies. They've started making these into movies on the Hallmark Channel as well -- but what's funny is that Alison Sweeney plays the lead character who in the book is a girl with frizzy red hair and is a little thicker around the middle.

These are a few of my favorites from 2015... and now I've got a goal of reading 35 books this year -- but with 12 more Hannah Swensen books at least and one of my all time favorites -- The Women's Murder Club coming out with the next installment in May... I feel like I'll be good on my goal and hopefully a bit over on those numbers. What are some of your favorites?
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