Just between us girls..

Growing up I was a bit… well not fat, more heavy; thick. I was always the biggest of my friends and I knew it to. I mean how sick is it for a ten year old to compare herself to her friends and think that there must be something wrong with her? But thats where I was and thats what I thought.

Enter puberty, for the most part I thinned out. I grew taller, got boobs, and went from being one of the biggest to being, average. But for some reason I could never get it out my head that I was too big, too soft, that I needed fixing. And that was hard… is still hard.

And I tried, really hard, to fix myself. I counted every morsel entering my mouth. I worked out, alot. But you know what? No matter how much weight I lost I never felt ok.

Its a scary thing to hate yourself.

I feel though that my saving grace, was food. As Ive said before (in an earlier post), I love food. I never really could give up the joy that cooking, baking, and melted butter really bring. Man I love butter.

And then I read a book, Food Rules by Michael Pollan. It’s a list on how to approach food and eating. And it really hit me- eat real food. I mean REAL food. No diet food. No fake food. No processed, sitting on a shelf for 2 years food. And I really had one of those “duh!” moments. Of course, real food because thats what my body knows how to process. Thats what my body knows what to do with. If I just pay attention to my body it will get to the place where it is supposed to be. No guilt, no pressure, no straining my body to be what it can’t be and shouldn’t be. Eat when I’m hungry, eat only real food, and move as often as possible. It really should’nt be rocket science should it?

from mairakalman.com

So thats my goal. Eat real food. Eat when Im hungry. And move. Thats it.

And you know, for once, I love my body. Honestly and truly. And I love that.

Life is amazing isn’t it?

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Mess Free

There are just some days when I am not in the mood to clean up a mess. Chock it up to hormones, screaming kids, or not enough coffee; but there are days when I just need an art activity that is easy to put together, and has virtually no clean up.

Enter- Ziploc Painting!!! DaDaDa!

This is one of my favorite cranky nanny, rainy day, crazy kids activities. And it’s SOO easy.

All you need is a freezer style ziploc bag, paint, and tape.

Pour the paint into the bag, close tight, and tape onto any flat surface (highchair, table, floor, etc.). My favorite way to do this is to tape it to a low window. That way the sun shines through the paint and it looks like stained glass.

There are several directions to go with this activity. You can either just pour one color in- tape it down- and let the kids at it. Or you can put a few different colors in and talk about mixing colors (ie. blue+yellow=green). Or you could even place a piece of sturdy paper, such as cardstock, into the bag; and when the kids are done squishing the paint you can take the paper out to dry.

This activity is great for all ages depending on which variation you choose. I’ve done this with Baby Miss (1 1/2) at it’s most simple form, but also with Little Miss (4yrs) by mixing colors and working on writing letters “in” the paint.

Let you imagination go wild!

Shake it!

So I had some plastic easter eggs floating around and decided to make some shakers for baby miss. They have been a huge hit and they were super easy. I gathered rice, beans, and kosher salt (the big kind) and spooned some into the eggs. Then I taped them shut using packing tape.

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The best part is each filling has a different sound so its been fun for her to categorize them by same or different. We have also worked on matching the eggs by color. The possibilities are endless! I love easy and open (meaning multiple ways to play) toys for kids. It lets their imagination run! 🙂

Color lesson

So I was perusing through the Target dollar section the other day (LOVE IT!) and I noticed that they had lots of fun craft supplies. I was drawn to a bag of brightly colored pompoms. Why? Who knows. So coming home I was trying to think of something to do with them. And it hit me! If I was drawn to their bright colors, I bet baby miss would be too (shes 20 months now)! I figured there had to be a way to work on color recognition with them. So I came up with a game. I placed 5 sheets of construction paper down, 1 for each color of pompom. Then I had baby miss match the pompom to the paper.

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Thats it! Its that simple and she loves it! In fact we’ve played it everyday for awhile now.

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And after the first few times with lots of help and guiding she has gotten very proficient at her colors. Yay!

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My attempt at answering, “Whats for dinner?”

Imagine this… you come home from work and open up your fridge. You know exactly what you are going to make and have all the ingredients. And in fact you know exactly what you will be having for the rest of the month and have your shopping lists all ready for your next grocery run… yeah me neither, but a girl can dream right?

In fact this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I go crazy when I come home with no idea of what to make, my tummy’s rumbling, and Mr. Right is grumbling that there is nothing in the fridge. I was always of the idea that I should just buy whats on sale and create dinners from that. But you know what happens more often then not, I make pasta 3 days that week and half that food I bought gets tossed. Not exactly frugal is it?

So heres my plan, ready?

I now have a Whats For Dinner binder. Dinners are split into two sections, Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. I went through all my recipes and picked 30 for each season as well as 15 cold month sides amd 15 warm month sides. I printed out each recipe and put in binder sleeves.

Then for each season I created a monthly calendar and corresponding shopping list. In the front of my binder I house my a blank calendar of the current month. I make sure to note any special days where dinner will be different (ie birthdays, date nights, etc.). Then all I do is “fill in the blank” on my calendar following my preset list.

Ive been working on my binder for several evenings now and am all set for “Fall” to start Sept 1st.

I will be posting free binder printables and pictures soon so you can all share in my journey of taking back dinner!

*UPDATE*

Autumn Meal Plan

Winter Meal Plan

Spring Menu Plan

Summer Menu Plan

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Up next on my organizational journey? Easy breakfasts for crazy mornings…you know, everyday. 🙂

A Merry Welcome

I don’t know what it is about front doors- but I LOVE them. I love the fact that  they are the first impression of your house; your “inner-sanctum” so to speak, that people receive. It’s the place where we announce to the world that this house is a place of fun, family, and happiness… at least that’s what I want my front door to say. It’s been a bit sad lately. It’s been, pretty much a door; nothing more. But I was bound to change that, and am still working on it. Here is my first ever handmade wreath.

It was actually very easy. I picked up a styrofoam           wreath at my local Michaels, as well as two skeins of yarn, some ribbon, and a “bunch” of silk flowers. I picked yellow and blue for summer- but this could easily be changed for any season.

I tied the yarn onto the wreath and started wrapping. It took me about a 1/2 hour to wrap the base twice (make sure to do it twice to fill in any gaps). Then I tied on the blue, made some “x’s”; but you could just as easily do stripes, go all the way around, or anything else you may fancy!

The flowers I just cut from the stem and hot glued onto the base. I tied some ribbon on and hung it on my front door.

Voila! $10 and 45 minutes later and I finally have a front door I can be proud of. : )

Soon I’ll be working on a fall version of my yarn wreath as well some cute planters.

I love food!

I love food. I love eating food. I love talking about food. I love food dipped in chocolate.

Growing up I was never a picky eater. I was always the first one to clean my plate, and I reveled in the thought of finding a new recipe, gathering the ingredients, then devouring it- preferably with friends and family.

One of the reasons food and I get along so well is it seems to be the all around equalizer. Everyone eats. It is an activity that all humans from the past, present, and future do. I love that thought. Food brings everyone together for a time unequaled by any other activity. When my family is sitting around the dinner table, enjoying a meal that we worked together to make, and conversing; I feel a complete sense of calm. For that moment, everything is right in the world. Through each meal we learn a bit more about ourselves, our companions, and our humanity.

And it’s humbling. It is such a primal activity. It’s not that we choose to eat, or that we enjoy it (though those can be entwined in it), but we HAVE to eat. At some point each and every day, we must take a moment to lower ourselves to our most basic need. And with that, we all become one and the same.

I also love the fact that food keeps you connected to the earth, life cycles, and the fragility of it all. Not in a Mother Earth, worship the ground type way; but more in that it keeps us from taking for granted that which sustains us. Yes, we can plant it, nurture it, and a harvest it (and I love all of those); but we cannot control how much rain our crop gets or the sunshine. Ultimately there is a point where we have to release control over the greatest need that our bodies have. We just have to trust that the seeds will germinate, grow, and flower to produce our sustenance. There is a faith to it. I love that.

Like I said- I love food.