Monday, October 15, 2018

Whole30 - Day 1

I thought since I'm trying this Whole30 thing, and I REALLY want to commit to it...I am going to start blogging about it. I am nervous & excited. I have never stuck with anything for 30 days...I don't know why this time is any different, but I need to reset my body. I've had terrible tummy troubles lately and really throughout different periods of my life. I have bad habits. I love cheese. I just want to reset things.

I'm not saying I'm never going to get another slice of cheese or bowl of yogurt or rice or pasta or drink another diet coke...but I *do* want to give this a fair shake.

So - Day 1

Over the weekend I did a fair amount of research on the Whole30, read the rules, made lists, pinned a bunch of recipes to my Whole30 board and yesterday I set off to the grocery store to stock up. Boy did I stock up! Our fridge is packed with fresh veggies, fruits & lean meats. The pantry is stocked with crushed tomatoes, canned pumpkin and Larabars. 

Today was a bit different because Dahlia & I were both feeling under the weather this morning. I had a TERRIBLE allergy attack (hmmmm, will these get better on Whole30??) while AT the grocery store and was sinus-y, dizzy, sore, sweaty - blech, it was super fun. Dahlia's stomach was hurting & she threw up in the night. Lack of sleep and all that sneezing left me in a bad state this AM. So we stayed home to rest & feel better.

During the late morning, Dahlia came to me & asked if we could make egg fritattas. I love this kid! I said yes of course. We used the recipe she got from a cooking class she took last spring at the Co-Op. We opted for sausage & bacon (hers only) and I did onions, red & orange peppers & spinach in mine. No cheese! Amazing! I made about 18 of them so I'll be able to grab them all week. They were yummy.

Snack time was harder. I was going to indulge in the almond butter I bought but realized at the last second that it has SUGAR in it. Grrrrrr. I guess I didn't read the label good enough on that one. I was going to eat it anyway but my Whole30 Buddy, Amie, scream texted "DON'T!" and I reluctantly put it back. I'll eat it in a month I guess. So instead I had regular almonds & an apple.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon (after napping) making Ghee! Ghee is a type of clarified butter. Often used in Indian cooking. I followed instructions for using my InstantPot. Boy the house smells really good when you're just melting 1 1/2 lbs of butter. Later it was a bit putsy, but it is delicious! I think I will really enjoy being able to have a little "butter" now & then. Ghee is Whole30 approved because the milk proteins are removed from the butter.

When August got home from school, we worked on making apple cider.  Our neighbor Jim brought hims some apples from their tree a few days ago and he's been really wanting to make cider. We had a sample recently at the Harvest Fest at their school and he's been wanting some ever since. So we sat & peeled apples and chatted. It was very nice. We found one worm. Ick! I put the apples in the crock pot, threw in some OJ, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves (both whole & ground) and started it up. Seriously - between the melted butter and the apples/cinnamon my house smelled AMAZING. 

August kept popping outside so he could come back in and smell the delicious fragrance "fresh" again. I pretty much figured it wouldn't really work as we don't have a press, but we gave it a shot. When we strained it it really just looked like apple sauce. So we tasted it (delicious) and then used the immersion blender to smooth it out a bit. Yum!

Tonight for dinner I made sausage stuffed squash - so delicious. The filling consists of sausage, onion, celery (me? eating celery? what?) and apples. The recipe calls for Panko & cheese but I left those out as I'm being a good girl. It was very very very good. I will make it again but will add roasted pine nuts at the end. Mmmmmmm. I had some green beans too because I wanted to try the ghee on them. Delish!

So that was day 1. I didn't cheat. In fact when prepping some noodles for August, I put some in my mouth out of habit and then spit them right back out! I'm a dork. But I didn't cheat. Sparkling water is helping my Diet Coke craving but luckily I didn't get a headache today from lack of caffeine. Whew.

I have my lunch prepped for tomorrow, my egg fritattas for breakfast, some snacks and a delicious dinner planned for tomorrow night.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crafternoon: Yarn Sticks

My 'sample' yarn sticks and the calm before the storm.
I work in a great place. A place of learning. A place of exploration. A place of inspiration & community. It makes me so happy when I get to plan something that brings a little bit of all of those together. One of my favorite most recent forays has been Crafternoons. 

2 of 3 beautiful sticks a pre-schooler & her mother were working on. They planned on tying them together to make a mobile. This was so pretty. 
Crafternoons is a aft/craft program aimed toward pre-school through elementary aged kiddos. I try to tie projects into a book, a specific artist but sometimes I just follow my gut & go with a project that looks fun & fits my budget (this project was essentially, free). 

We made Yarn Sticks. I didn't know if they would like it. I didn't know if it would capture their imagination and I didn't know if it would hold their attention. But boy did it.  Kids & parents alike enjoyed searching through the yarn bin, the beads, the pile of sticks I had collected the night before. I was so impressed & amazed with their beautiful creations. The color combinations, the layering, the use of beads (or not). And the stories the kids came up with...what were they going to DO with their sticks? Where would they display them? And the parents "Why haven't I thought of this before?"

A student picks just the right beads to finish off her project. 
It was validating & very fun. We had over 70 people at this program! And all with a few collected sticks, some donated yarn from staff & some very hands off guidance from me. I'd call that a win-win. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Seasons Are Changing

Oh boy - it's been a while.

I've been thinking about reviving this format for quite some time. And I haven't really been successful in the past, but maybe it's a good time to make a change. A new season arrived (early) the other day (ugh winter - TOO SOON!) and a new month is right around the corner.

A friend of mine let me know she is deactivating Facebook in the coming days. I think it's a great idea. I think I should do it. I'm sick of it but I am afraid I will NEVER EVER KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING IN EVERYONE'S LIVES or see cute pictures of their craft projects or get new recipe ideas or or or or or or....

It's stupid. I feel like a damn addict. I don't NEED Facebook. Facebook has just made me FEEL like I need it and for that I hate it. So should I take a break? Will I be happier (probably)? Will I miss seeing my friends/family/etc's posts? Can I just cut back? Or does it have to be cold turkey? Would I feel better if I posted here more often & had the luxury of just writing whatever's on my mind in a more meaningful way?

I don't know.

Seasons change.

Maybe change is needed.

We shall see.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Well, I guess I'm winning the Eating Lottery this week. Aside from the taquitos incident, this week has been EASY!

Tonight - potluck/picnic at August's pre-school. His LAST EVENT at Pre-SCHOOL - FOR.EVER. AND EVER. *sigh*

I digress.

So the kids had:

August: some plain crackers, a handful of cheetos, apple juice and a cookie (not homemade - one with all sorts of crap in it).

Dahlia: some meat balls in marinara (about this I was COMPLETELY SHOCKED!), fruit salad (various melon & one grape), cheetos, crackers, the same "fake" cookie that August had and a brownie with apple juice.


At least EVERY OTHER SINGLE KID THERE was eating the same thing.


Okay - tomorrow on the menu plan - MICKEY MOUSE WAFFLES and bacon. Yup. It was Dahlia's turn to pick a meal. So be it.

We will load up on vitamins & cantaloupe, won't we......

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Ugh - been failing at the whole feeding my family well thing since the first post.

Last night I had a birthday dinner with some girlfriends that I went to. I made the kids some Star Wars Mac & Cheese (I always add a little greek yogurt these days for extra creaminess) and green beans. I'm not sure what Steve ate. I had a delicious bacon-cheeseburger with fries. I don't often eat red meat so when I actually want it, I indulge. It was good.

Tonight I worked late; I had a soup on the meal plan and it was 80+ degrees all day so in no way did I want to consume, nor make soup. I suggested spinach strawberry salads - that got no one excited, except for me. Steve ended up eating up frozen leftover Chinese (yes, he reported that it tasted as good as that sounds....blech) and the kids had leftover dinner from last night. I never did get around to making that salad....I ate what was left on August's plate after he magically disappeared from the dinner table, and reappeared on the trampoline. Hmmmm....oh and this was AFTER 7pm. Clearly parenting wins all around here tonight!

(also - THEY'RE STILL AWAKE. It's 9:32 and granted it JUST got dark here but oh my gosh. Sleep already!!!)

Now it's time for me to make broccoli slaw salad & zucchini brownies for a potluck tomorrow night. That sounds good, doesn't it?


I did have one food BIG TIME success this week. on Sunday I prepared 6 yogurt parfaits - essentially this plain greek yogurt (or vanilla) (actually 3 of mine had "honey" yogurt in them); topped with rolled oats; topped with cinnamon; topped with ground flax; topped with sliced almonds; topped with frozen blueberries; topped with canned pineapple. Let them sit overnight and OH MY GOSH - super yummy. Stir it all together in the AM & walk out the door with your new grab-and-go super healthy breakfast! :) I will be making these again! (also I am particularly proud that I made enough for Steve & I to grab-and-go a few times this week AND that I am using recycled peanut butter jars for this endeavor!

Monday, May 25, 2015

French Kids Eat Everything

Last autumn a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he was looking for people, parents in particular, who were willing to read Karen Le Billon's books about getting your kids to eat & have a healthy attitude about doing so. Not just to "eat" but to eat things that are GOOD for you; that have layers of tastes & textures. Having a well-rounded palette and not being expected to be catered to.

Hi, my name is Carrie and I have two small children. ONE who is particularly challenging when it comes to eating anything other than "Creamy Macaroni" or frozen nuggets & fries. *sigh* The other one isn't far from that mark either but at least gives an effort and occasionally finds something new that he loves.

YES! I want to take this challenge. I want to read these books, implement ideas, try new things, blog about it - perhaps correspond with the author? Sure! Sign me up.

And then...the holidays.

And then....randomly, suddenly and unexpectedly we bought a new house.

And then....we had to move and pack and then unpack and GAH!!!!!!

And now...

Now is the time.

I've read a few articles about getting kids to eat lately - what to DO what not to DO blah blah blah. The internet is basically a place where you can find supporting evidence for whatever side you are on of any specific topic.  Crowdsourcing via social media helps sometimes (the online version of a parental support group at times) but I was/am interested in trying some things that WORK by someone who has written, studied and thought a lot about it. Oh and applied it too. That matters.

I will not deny that I am a "picky" eater. I have issues with texture; my stomach (& tastebuds) don't really care for hot & spicy things; I have never been a huge fan of sauces or dressings. As I have become a parent over the past 7 1/2 years, I realize though that I want to be more adventurous with foods. I want to teach my children to eat a healthy variety of foods. And while I'd love to say - sure that bowl of Doritos being washed down by a Diet Coke (my total addiction - something to work on) is FINE! I know that it is not. I know that food is the answer to so many of the problems in our current society. Food is medicine. Food is life. Food is fun. Food is entertainment. Food is....I could go on and on.  I did not eat (& like) a tomato until I was IN MY THIRTIES for crying out loud. I know now that my parents weren't trying to torture me by making me try different foods, but rather they likely wanted me to enjoy them as much as they did! (although the liver thing? I can never get past that...).  When our daughter Dahlia was born, I promised my husband that I would not influence her in a negative way about foods. Even if it is green peppers which is clearly the work of satan. Dahlia adores green peppers (much to my chagrin) and I am pretty darn proud of that. I have even eating a few green peppers over the years. Shocking.

Tonight....ugh....tonight. I have been trying to pepper our weekly meal plans with a variety of foods - different cultures; meat vs. no meat; new recipes or old ones; crock pot, baked or get the idea. I want there to be "fall-back on" favorites but I want there to be new stuff too. Plus I work at the library and the lure of cookbooks cannot be denied.

So, I made Beef and Bean Taquitos tonight! They are from Beth Moncel's "Budget Bytes" - she is also the author of the blog by the same name.  I have been reading her cookbook all weekend and enjoying the idea of eating whole foods while stretching your food budget. In fact there are several recipes from her book on this week's meal plan.

These taquitos are pretty basic - beef, black beans, a few spices. Corn tortillas, rolled up. Boom.  I thought it would be a good "different" sort of fun version of a taco for my kids.


First, let me say that I think my kids were drunk on high-fructose-corn-syrup from being at their Grandparents for an overnight last night. Holy crap. Talk about belligerent, small-obnoxious people. Wow. I don't mind the giggling, but the spitting of food, tooting and mouth bubbles get to be a bit much. At the first sign of this behavior I should've just declared it a popcorn and grapes night, popped in a movie and poured myself a glass of wine. BUT NO - I had to cook a new recipe.

For my money, the recipe was lacking. I would've added some crushed tomatoes in with the meat and some cumin into the spices. Or at least some cheese.  Well, whatever. My first time making taquitos. I was proud of myself and I thought they were good (served with fresh lettuce, tomato, cheese & greek yogurt (in place of sour cream)).  But August only nibbled the crispy edges and he and Dahlia both ate copious amounts of watermelon.

When dinner was over (ie: when Steve and I finished) Dahlia asked if she could have a healthy dessert. I informed her that she just ate half a watermelon and was still jacked up on HFCS so she was probably good. Tantrum #1. Of course I AM NOT FAIR AND THIS IS THE WORST NIGHT OF HER LIFE. "Can't I even have yogurt??" No, you licked the bowl clean and didn't even use it on your taquito...I think you're good.

She stormed off, laid down on the carpet and carried on with a tantrum of epic proportions. I knew she was tired. I knew her system was off after a weekend of Grandparents (3 sets!) and friends. I let her fume. I let Steve go after her. I let her fume some more. I let her beg me for yogurt. I refused.

I felt sort of terrible, but at the same time....COME ON - eat the food given to you. I will not become a short-order cook. I will not always provide you with a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. I will not bow down to YOU.

Damn, it was hard.

We were reading and she kept freaking out about being "....SO HUNGRY I'M GOING TO DIE. I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT UNTIL MORNING.....WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH." Huge dramatics. I tried to explain to her that this is it. From now on, you eat (or at least try!) what's given to you. I'm not going to give in to her demands any more. Try try the very least. I promise to always have something on the table that you love. Something healthy and plentiful.....but you must try!

I think she was stunned. I think Steve was stunned too...."but what if she is really hungry...?" I said, I'm sure she is but she has to learn to eat what is presented, not what she wants all the time. She's seven for crying out loud!

Eventually I calmed her enough (lots of cuddling and soothing speech going on) and told her that if she was truly starving in 30 minutes she could come into the kitchen and I would give her something to eat. I knew that she would be asleep in about 30 seconds but she readily agreed.

That was 2 1/2 hours ago.

I did it. I stayed strong.

I don't want to be a jerk about this food thing because I KNOW how horrible it is to be forced into eating something that you truly don't like. I get that some people don't like certain things (ie: me + cilantro - NASTY....or me + the texture of raw onions = vomitous!) and I will not push this to cruelty - but we need to start being ore open minded. (myself included)

Now, I need to read this book. This is important for my sanity and for our family.

More culinary adventures tomorrow...oh no, wait. I have dinner plans. Heh. Popcorn and grapes for the kiddos then?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SHAPES Storytime

Wow - I guess I'm not keeping up with my storytime blogs. I will try to do better. I'm considering relocating these posts so I can share them with my Storytime crowd.

We started by talking about SHAPES just a little bit as a precursor of the Storytime to come. I wanted to let the adults know that SHAPE recognition is very important as an early literacy skill and it is the beginnings of reading. We talked more about it throughout today's Storytime.

The More We Get Together - song with signs

Shapes that Roll by Karen Nagel/Illustrations by Steve Wilson
This book was a lot of fun. We had a great time moving (a little) like the shapes or making them with our hands, talking about all the different shapes on the pages, and guessing some of the more unusual shapes. The bright colors & slight textures of this book make it a really eye-catching fun book to read.

Next we read The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds/Illustrated by Julie Lacome. This took basic shapes & turned them into other things. I could see the little wheels turning in their mind as each page revealed something new made by turning or adding different shapes.

After that book we sang the "Circle Song" - to the tune of Have you Ever Seen a Lassie

Have you ever seen a circle, a circle, a circle?
Have you ever seen a circle, which goes round & round?
It rolls this way and that way, and that way and this way.
Have you ever seen a circle that goes round & round?

We made arm circles during the first two lines, then rolled our hands to one side & the other for the 3rd line and back to arm circles for the last line. This was a big hit (& so simple!). We sang through it a couple times since it was so short.

For the first  literary aside we talked letter knowledge. We also about the importance of being able to differentiate things (such as shapes - why is a square different from a rectangle different from a circle, etc). Distinguishing "alike" and "different" is a skill that needs to be learned. This helps when young readers begin learning the alphabet and are able to tell a small 'h' apart from a small 'n.'

Next up was Perfect Square by Michael Hall. I'm just dying to do this book as a craft project, but maybe someday I'll have more room! (I also want to do shape snowmen, shape houses, etc etc etc....) We had some distractions during this one of little ones not staying on the rug but the kids who were listening were really into it. They liked figuring out what the window was becoming and sort of were in awe of all the different things.

The 2nd literary aside I talked about going on a shape scavenger hunt with their kiddos. Whether it's a walk outside (stop sign, mailbox, sidewalk squares, etc) or in the house (cereal box, windows, books, bowls, picture frames) etc. Trace the shapes in the air with your finger. Shapes are everywhere!

We did some YOGA today! It was so fun. and I'm wearing yoga pants - BONUS! We made different shapes with our bodies....we did the SQUARE (rag doll pose), the CRESCENT (crescent pose), TRIANGLE (downward facing dog), CIRCLE (flower pose) {imagine yourself seated in a bubble - sphere}. RECTANGLE (plank pose) and the STAR (star pose). This was super fun. Most of the kids really got into this. I enjoyed doing it too. I'd like to incorporate more ways to use our bodies! (credit to Miss Meg - great website!)

We read Windblown by Edouard Manceau. I did a flannel board along with this. SUPER easy - just a few shapes. I would then arrange them on the flannel board before showing the picture in the book to see if they could guess what "animal" I had made. You have to use your imagination a little bit on this one! (this would make a fun craft project too!)

And lastly we read I am Blop! by Herve Tullet. What a FUN book. It's silly & abstract but the kids loved it. I photocopied some pages of the "blank Blops" and let the kids fill them in afterward with patterns, colors, etc. They really enjoyed that.

The last literary aside was about the first letter in your child's name. We talked about that a bit last week (how that letter is THE MOST important letter in the alphabet). I just asked that they expand on that and continue pointing it out in signs, labels, books, etc. And to talk about what types of shapes make up that letter (for example - a capital A sure looks like a triangle!)

We closed with If you're Happy and you Know it! which is always popular.

Overall it was a really great storytime. The kids were into it (even with some distractions) the parents participated and it was fun! The Yoga was my favorite part. We had 46 in attendance.

The Books 
Windblown - by Edouard Manceau (with flannel board)
Shapes That Roll - by Karen Nagel/Illustrations by Steve Wilson
Perfect Square - by Michael Hall
I am Blop! - by Herve Tullet
The Shape of Things - by Dayle Ann Dodds/Illustrated  by Julie Lacome

Additional books we didn't get to:
Same, Same by Marthe Jocelyn, Tom Slaughter
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature -by Joyce Sidman/Pictures by Beth Krommes (I love her illustrations!
It looked like Spilt Milk - by Charles Shaw