Saturday, May 26, 2012

Big Boy Bed

Oliver finally got a big boy bed.  What a change from when Madeline got hers.  It took several months and a party to work Madeline up to sleeping in her bed.  Oliver helped me take down his crib and crawled into his bed as soon as it was set up.  Madeline spent the next 30 minutes organizing his stuffed animals, pillows and blankies.  

For the most part he stays in his bed with the threat of his paci being taken away.  And speaking of pacis, they have to stay in his bed now.  This big boy stuff can be pretty hard sometimes.  

This is his first night in his bed.  He started with a few toys.  But, by the time I went back in to check on him, he was sleeping on top of the entire contents of his basket.  The best part of him of him being in a big boy bed is that I can cover him up and kiss him right before I go to bed.  Neither of which I could do with his crib tent on.    

He usually stays in his room when he wakes us. (Although I have found him in Madeline's room with the door closed)  But, he does like to stand in his doorway, with the door cracked open, waiting for us to come out in the morning.  It can be a little freaky to see a little boy quietly staring at you as you wake up in the morning.  But, we are proud of our big boy. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What We're Eating

Last Week's Dinner:
Monday:  Lime Chicken Tacos - We ended up not eating these the week before since we left town early on Friday
Tuesday: Chicken Packet with Lime and Cilantro Marinade served over quinoa.  I absolutely loved this.  It was almost like a Chipotle dish once I added black beans and sour cream.  Lucy loved it too.
Wednesday: Pork Tenderloin with roasted veggies.  (A Pampered Chef recipe)  This is super yummy with a rosemary rub on the pork and veggies
Thursday: Baked Cheesy Chicken with whole wheat breadcrumbs.  I was going to make some.  But, I found some at Whole Foods.  
Friday: Cheese Pizza  I found a pizza sauce that works for our rules at Whole Foods.  I had a hard time finding mozzarella cheese.  So, I just shredded up some cheese sticks.  Everybody must have been missing pizza pretty bad because Madeline ate 4 pieces, Oliver had 3 and Lucy had 1.  It was super yummy.  I think we might have pizza night every Friday now.  

We also discovered snow cones last week.  My little Ninja blender made perfect snow and we just topped it with organic grape juice concentrate from Whole Foods.  I mixed a can of concentrate with 1/2 can of water.  The kids were super excited about them.  I just put them in cups last week.  But, I found some snow cone cups at Target this week that will make it even more authentic.

I also made a yummy Nutella substitute.  There is an entire avocado in it.  The recipe called for almond butter.  But, I only had peanut butter.  It is really good.  But, I think I like the almond butter version better.  Although, I can't complain too much about something that tastes like a reeces' cup.  

Here's this week's dinner:
Monday: Dinner with our neighbors.  Kristin made a whole chicken in the crockpot with mashes potatoes.  Very yummy.  Andrew is already requesting it again.  
Tuesday:  Spaghetti and salad -  I found a spaghetti sauce at Whole Foods that works for us as well.  
Wednesday:  Ribeye Steak, Baked Potatoes and Cheesy Zucchini Rice - Andrew requested steaks this week.  So, that's what we did.  
Thursday:  Fajitas with homemade tortillas
Friday: Pizza

I also made some granola this week.  I used coconut oil and butter instead of the vegetable oil.  And I omitted the sunflower seeds.  They just don't seem to fit into my idea of granola.  Anyways, it's perfect for breakfast and also on top of some yogurt as a snack.  

I just realized that I say "super yummy" a lot.  It just seems to describe our food a lot. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Here's Lucy at 8 months.

And here's Madeline 4 years ago at 6 months in the same outfit.  

Monday, May 21, 2012


Andrew and I both did AWANAs when we were younger (Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of me.  But, Andrew is pretty stinkin' cute) and knew we wanted our kids to be in it as well.  So, one reason we chose Derwood Bible Church, before we even had kids, is because of its AWANA program.  Now, 7 years later, Madeline got to be a Cubbie!    
She did such a great job memorizing her verses and working in her book.  To say she loved Cubbies would be an understatement.  She was always so excited each week to go.  And she would spend the rest of the week singing whatever songs they had learned while there. 

Well, after a wonderful year, she finally had her awards ceremony on Wednesday night.  And the whole family came out to celebrate with her.  Oliver was excited that he would finally get to go to Cubbies.  He wanted to go so badly all year long.   

I think there were about 30 Cubbies (3, 4 and 5 year olds).  And their leaders were awesome.  They are like celebrities when we see them at church.  

Jacob and Madeline are the best of friends.  Jacob lives down the street, so they got to carpool each week.  They are hilarious in the car together.  

We got to meet Luv E. Lamb, Ern E. Elephant and Cubbie Bear.

Then Madeline got her Year 1 book award.  (A Cubbie bear to go on her vest).  This is her book group.  They were the monkeys.  

Mrs. Weber was her leader.  She taught kindergarten all day and then came to Cubbies.  She has been working with Cubbies for 14 years.  We are so thankful for people who are willing to invest in our kids.    

Then we got to celebrate with cake.  Yes, the kids got to break the rules and eat a little celebratory junk.  What kind of parents would we be if we made them stare at everyone else eating dessert?  

Then the  grown ups got to hang out while the kids played.

Thanks for taking this picture, Lauren.  It's nice to remember that I was there.  

Oliver got to play his favorite game, "Ashes Ashes."

See, best of buds.  
We are so proud of our little Cubbie!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Sometimes you just have to get your tag fix.  

Real Foods Update

So, I guess an update is in order.  We are 17 days into our challenge and things are going great.  I'll start by sharing a few of the good things that I have seen from changing our diet.  First of all, Andrew informed me this morning that he has now lost 10 pounds.  (It's so unfair).  I have lost maybe 2 or 3.  I am a bit surprised that I have lost any wait since I now eat everything that the kids leave on their plates since I am making most of it from scratch.  I have noticed that Oliver is having no problems converting to a whole foods diet.  He is eating pretty well.  Madeline doesn't necessarily love some of the things like the lara bars.  She still seems to have her mind on donuts and desserts.  But, it is much easier to tell her, "no" since we have these rules.  And there is much less whining about it.  I have even noticed her tastes slightly changing.  She ate some sugar snap peas the other day when she previously wouldn't go near them.  So, I think she will come around.  And lastly, everyone's... um... digestion, is better, much better.  

The one major negative for me is the amount of time in the kitchen.  Although I am enjoying it.  I do feel like I am either preparing a meal or cleaning up a meal for a big chunk of the day.  But, it has definitely pushed me to try new things I never would have.  

When you cut out "sugar" as an ingredient and you have a 4 year old asking for a dessert after every meal, you have to find something to satisfy that sweet tooth.  So, for desserts (and not after every dinner), we have had chocolate tortes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce (pictured below), banana bread mini muffins, strawberry ice cream, apple juice popsicles in these fun molds from Marshall's, and zuccini muffins.  A lot of these recipes use honey as a sweetener or dates.  

Andrew has missed his McDonald's.  So, he has made fries a couple times by just sautéing them in some EVOO.  I think they are great.   

 I've been trying to find some new snacks for the kids.  So, When I found a recipe for some soft pretzels on the back of my yeast packets, I thought they sounded great.  And Madeline and Oliver love the pretzels at the Amish Market.  So, I actually searched online for a recipe using 100% whole wheat and I found these.  Madeline and I made them tonight and they were fabulous.  I made 18 and there still seems to be enough dough left to make at least 18 more.  So, I will be freezing a bunch so we can just pull them out when we want.  

 Some other snacks we have been enjoying are popcorn.  We get a bag of organic popping corn from Trader Joes and just pop them in a brown paper bag.  Then we pour on some melted butter and salt and we have the perfect snack.  It's super easy and cheap.  We also like lara bars.  My favorite are the coconut cream pie.  They are easy to keep in the diaper bag and Lucy and Oliver both love them.  We also eat lots of nuts and raisins as snack.  I am also trying to stock the freezer with mini muffins to give the kids as snacks.  Triscuits are also a good snack.  They only have 2 ingredients.  I really like peanut butter balls.  I found them here and they hit the spot.   

Our dinners have been pretty normal.  I have been doing a few new ones and adjusting our old ones.  I made 100% whole wheat tortillas to go with lots of things.  They are a bit time consuming to make.  So, I doubled the batch so I would be able to freeze some.  They freeze beautifully.  And I can take out 1 at a time, microwave it for 20 seconds and it is ready to go.      

This past week, I went to the mall and knew we wouldn't be able to find something to eat there.  So, I packed up our lunches.  The kids think it is fun to eat out of these trays.  And they ended up eating them in the car on the way to the park after we left the mall.  They are perfect for holding in their laps.  I made them peanut butter and honey sandwiches, a banana mini muffin, strawberries and blueberries and  a little trail mix with peanuts, almonds and raisins.  Lucy got a whole wheat rice cake and fruit.    

So, I think we will keep trucking along with this diet.  Andrew has mentioned doing it for 100 days.  So, it must not be too tortuous for him.  Until next time...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Week's Menu

Almost one week in and we are still alive and well.  Andrew and I have not cheated at all, except for the last few remaining products in our house that didn't seem worth it to throw away.  Like our last few pieces of store bought whole wheat bread and a never ending bag of cheese from Sam's Club.  And I must say that Andrew is doing an awesome job of not complaining.  Especially with his lack of Cokes, I thought he might be a little on edge.  But, he is doing great.  Madeline on the other hand has cheated several times.  She goes to church and Cubbies where, of course, they have snacks.  I just didn't find it worth it to send something different along.  And then she had some cookies and lemonade at our neighbors house.  But, hey, she's getting tons of healthy stuff at our house.  So, a little junk at other places isn't as big of a deal.  We did get lunch at Chipotle today.  It was a nice break.  Since their meat is locally raised, we were able to get yummy burrito bowls there.  Andrew came home and put it in our own tortillas.  We had enough for lunch and dinner.  

And just in case you are curious, here's what we are having for dinner this week.

Monday:  Beef Kabobs (from Rocklands Farm) with red peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes.  I'm still looking for a good marinade to make without any soy sauce or worchestershire sauce.
Tuesday:  Meatloaf from my Betty Crocker cookbook.  I am using oats instead of bread slices.
Wednesday: Tilapia with mango quinoa
Thursday:  Grilled chicken with broccoli, noodles and Alfredo sauce
Friday:  Lime Chicken Tacos with homemade salsa and tortillas
Saturday: Whatever my mom cooks because we are going to Roanoke this weekend for a very special birthday party.  But, she has decided to start eating whole foods as well.  So, we should be able to maintain our diet there as well.

I am also trying a few new desserts.  Strawberry icecream, chocolate tortes and fudgsicles.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Glenn Bakery

Madeline and I did some baking today.  First we made a loaf of banana bread.  I had my doubts that a 100% whole wheat and no sugar banana bread would taste good.  But, it was soooooo yummy.  Madeline had about 2 slices when it came out of the oven and then we all had it for dessert after dinner tonight.  Here's the recipe if you want to give it a try.  

And then I decided to make my first loaf of bread.  (Actually, I have made one before when the PTA brought the Bread Lady to our school when I taught kindergarten and we all made a loaf of bread.  But, that doesn't count.)  I was expecting it to come out like the 100% whole wheat bread I bought at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago; tough, bland and reminiscent of cardboard.  (No offense to Trader Joe's).  But, as that yummy smell of yeast filled our house, I had high hopes that it would be better than that.  Madeline helped me too.  She proofed the yeast, dumped in the ingredients, punched down the dough after the first rise, helped shape it into a loaf and put it in the pan.  Oh, and she greased the pan.  I think that is her favorite part.  Who doesn't love butter and paint brushes?    

And she was excited to try it before bedtime tonight.  We all loved it!  It was sweet, soft and perfect.  It is all sliced up and ready for sandwiches now.  It really wasn't hard at all.  And it is definitely worth making just to have the yummy smell of bread baking in your house.  If you want to give it a try, here's the recipe.  (I followed some of the directions in the comments for making it with a stand mixer instead of bread machine.)    

Things are gettin' crunchy 'round here

As of May 1st, we are doing the "100 days of real food" challenge, except for 31 days instead of 100.  But really, I am hoping it will be a lifestyle change for us.  You can check out the website that is our inspiration here.  We are basically cutting out all processed foods and eating only whole foods like whole wheat, local/organic meats, fruits and vegetables and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup.  This means we can eat nothing with more than 5 ingredients (unless we make it ourselves), no sugar and no fast food.

When I was a baby, my mom put me on the Feingold Diet, which basically removes all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, because I didn't sleep, didn't eat well, my behavior was pretty unmanageable and I was sick with asthma and bronchitis.  When I go back and read in my baby book, my health and behaviors changed almost instantly.  So, I have always known that what kind of food we put in our bodies makes a huge difference.  But, sometimes it is hard to make such a huge lifestyle change.  And sometimes there is almost too much information out there to choose something that makes sense and works for you.  So, the rules for the 100 Days of Real Food seemed to be exactly what I needed.  They are clear cut and they make sense to me.  There just seems to be too much evidence showing the correlation between genetically modified/ processed foods and cancer, ADHD, autism, diabetes and many other health issues.  

So, we are giving it a go.  I don't think it will be too big of an adjustment for me.  I had already been moving in this direction.  I think it will have the biggest impact on Andrew who is used to eating out for lunch everyday.  After the lunch I packed him on Tuesday, I think he was a little scared that he was going to starve this month.  But, after going to the grocery store, I was able to pack him a more substantial lunch yesterday and he actually said it was almost too much food.  So, I think he will make it.  I think I will miss my weekly Chick Fil A outings though.  I mean, they do know me by name.    

I will keep you updated on how we are doing.  And I will leave you with what I had for lunch today.  Lemon Basil Penne Pasta (A Pioneer Woman Recipe) with whole grain pasta (it was leftover from dinner last night) and a spinach salad with some fruit from the kids' fruit salad and almonds and walnuts thrown in.  I didn't have any dressings that fit the 5 ingredient rule.  So, I just mixed up some apple cider vinegar and oil and tossed it on.  It was really good.  The kids had a fruit salad (apples, blueberries, strawberries) and a cheddar cheese quesadilla on whole wheat tortillas from Whole Foods.    


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Scrunchy Scrunchy

Lucy makes a great scrunchy scrunchy face when she is super happy.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

As the Garden Grows

We had some beautiful strawberries growing in our garden.  Unfortunately, something ate them.  And it wasn't us.  

We had some lovely lettuce growing.  

Unfortunately, something ate them as well.  I'm pretty sure I know the culprit though.  I saw a giant groundhog escaping under the deer netting.  I think he lives under our shed.  Don't think "cute little groundhog that you see on the side of the rode standing up on it back legs".  Think "giant rodent".   

We had some lovely broccoli growing.  But, it got nibbled down.  

 This one got nibbled a bit worse.  Not sure how this happened since Andrew laid bricks down around the whole garden so nothing could climb under the netting after the giant rodent incident.    

 In other news, our sunflowers are growing beautifully.  

And we have a pumpkin sprout!

And we have some super cute gardeners.