Friday, April 20, 2012

Day Four- We Cheated

Yesterday I kind of cheated and fed the kids (and myself) some processed food.  But really, what else am I supposed to do with all those chicken tenders and tater tots in my freezer?  I can't just throw them away, and nobody wants a half-eaten bag of frozen food!  So, yes, we did eat those things for lunch, and I did feel a bit guilty.  And while I'm confessing things, I might as well let you know we also had Coldstone ice cream last night.  And it was GOOD. 

We did behave for breakfast (fruit smoothies, whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter) and dinner (leftover jambalaya), however.  Remember how Ben didn't like jambalaya the day before?  Well, I told him that the first person done got to have a chocolate and he put a whole bowl of that stuff away faster than anyone else (except Scott, who pretty much finishes dinner before I finish chewing my first bite every night!).  So it turns out he didn't not like it; we just had a battle of the wills and he won.  I learned my lesson there!

So I guess that this week my thought process is that even though I realize processed food is no good and maybe even poisonous, and even though I will try to avoid it as much as possible, sometimes some good old frozen deep fried chicken parts and overly-processed ice cream are just necessary!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rainy Day Fun

Today was one of those annoying days where the kids have colds and it's raining out and I'm feeling guilty for having let them watch tv for the last three days straight, so I decided to break out "Fun Mommy" and do a few activities with the boys.

First, I broke out some Post-It Notes.  I showed them once that it was ok to stick them to the walls, and they took off with it!  Ben actually went across the room to find his own wall:

Caleb stuck a few on the wall, then thought it would be cooler if they were on his belly.  Then he watched Sesame Street:

Without any prompting, Ben got the box of crayons (yes, that is an old wipes box.  They are PERFECT for holding crayons!) and started drawing on his Post-Its:

While the boys thought this was pretty awesome, my mistake was keeping the tv on.  This activity lasted about 10 minutes before they all lost interest and tuned back into Sesame Street.  Oh well. 

While they watched Sesame Street, I assembled these:

They are bug sensory bins!  I've been collecting fake bugs from the dollar bins at Target and the Dollar Tree for quite some time, and today I thought it would be good to assemble them.  The green stuff is dyed rice.  I found a blog on Pinterest that told me you can squirt some Purell and green food coloring into a Ziploc bag of white rice, so I did that.  I enlisted a couple assistants to help me mix it up (they did so well with taking turns!):

Caleb thought the "rub the bag on the dog" method was most effective.

I then filled the bins, quietly set them down on the floor, and took a step back.  This is what happened:

Ben came running over to see what I was up to.

He immediately started digging through the bin, putting insects into the net.

Then I quietly set a muffin tin down next to him.  Almost immediately, he started sorting his bugs into the wells.  I love that it was all on his own!

Quietly examining his bugs with the magnifying glass.

Caleb wised up to what Ben was doing and came to join in the fun.  I thought it was neat that he started using the magnifying glass, too.  Especially since he never saw Ben doing it.

I also got some bug masks and aprons.  Ben was the only one who actually wore his.

After several rice spill incidents, I moved the whole operation into the kitchen and put a sheet under the bins.  Caleb thought it was neat to fill each well of the muffin tin with rice:

This activity would have kept the boys a lot busier a lot longer, but we had issues with toddlers throwing the rice.  I'm trying to teach them that it's not ok by immediately removing them from the activity when they throw.  So far, it hasn't worked with any of our sensory bins, but I'm hopeful that one day they'll be able to play with them without making such a mess!

Real Food Wednesday

Yesterday was an interesting day for the boys as far as "real food" goes.  For breakfast, we had homemade granola with strawberries cut up in it.  Ben ate just a little, Caleb ended up with a NutriGrain bar (just about the most processed breakfast he could have), and Ben ate about  five bites of his before declaring he was finished. 

Lunch was popcorn (everyone loved that!), grapes (only Caleb likes those), berry smoothies (another universal favorite), celery with peanut butter (nobody ate it), and homemade cheesey crackers (not a hit.  I think I need to make them thinner and bake them longer).  The good news was that both boys seemed satisfied with what they did eat and didn't ask for anything else.

Dinner was homemade jambalaya.  Oh. My. Goodness. That was the most delicious jambalaya I've ever made (nevermind that it was the only jambalaya I've ever made...)!  It was absolutely delicious, and Scott, Caleb, and I gobbled it right up.  Ben was not a fan (he doesn't like anything "mixed up" like that), and ended up just eating a piece of whole wheat bread with butter on it.   We at least made him try one bite.

Snack yesterday was supposed to be cheddar cheese on Triscuits, but I didn't have Triscuits so instead I used Ritz crackers.  I know, I know, they are incredibly processed.  Sometimes, though, frugality wins out over healthiness and I just couldn't bear to let a whole box of Ritz go to waste.  When they are gone I will get Triscuits.  Ben loved his crackers but not his cheese, and we kind of forgot to give Caleb his snack because he woke up so late from his nap.  The boys also had apples, which they love to eat whole.  The only thing that bothers me about giving them whole apples as opposed to sliced is that they never eat the whole thing.  It is, however, much easier than having to slice them!

According to our meal plan, today's breakfast is smoothies and toast.  I'm pretty confident they'll do fine with that.  Lunch will be pb&j on whole wheat and some kind of sliced fruit (probably the pear that is about to go bad).  Again, I'm confident they'll do fine with that.  Dinner, however, is jambalaya again, and I'm wondering what we should do for Ben, since it has been established that he does NOT like it!  I hate making two dinners, but I hate even more being woken up at 5:45 am by a boy who is STARVING.  Maybe the boys can have eggs & toast or something...

All in all, I'd say our first few days of not eating processed foods have gone pretty well.  The boys aren't asking for junk, and Ben is even asking if certain foods are healthy for them.  And, the best part of all: Ben is having a much easier time going to the bathroom!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Crunchy

So I came across this recently and decided to give it a try.  Mostly because Ben has been having constipation issues since he was born, but also because I'm a bit grossed out by all the chemicals we eat.  I'd like to get my family eating a little healthier, so I've accepted this challenge.  So far we are on day 3, and it's going well, although I must admit that yesterday I was craving something processed so I ate one of Ben's Peeps. 

Yep, we're getting crunchy.  Soon I'll start keeping chickens and possibly sheep so I can make my own wool and knit things.  Of course, they'll be dyed with natural dyes that I find in my backyard.  Until then, though, I'll stick with these yummy homemade cheese crackers.  The really cool thing about this is that I spent about $80 on groceries last week.  I'm not buying organic produce quite yet (that stuff's expensive!), but sticking to basics and making everything from scratch just seems... simpler.  And simple is my main goal lately.

So, we'll see what happens.  I'm not opposed to eating processed stuff at other peoples' houses (for the love of God, someone PLEASE invite us over!), but in our own home, these boys will eat only non-processed foods.  Or at least as much as possible.  I'm not too firm in this.

Over the next few days I will document what we've eaten and the boys' reactions to them.  I'm interested to see what happens!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In case it hasn't yet been made abundantly clear, I just need to say that I live in a house full of boys.  My children are four and two years old, and then there's my husband, and of course the dog is a boy.  I kind of feel gypped because we got rid of the girl dog and then got a boy.  That's when I became outnumbered.

Part of living with all boys means lots of boy messes.  Any mother of boys who are toilet trained can attest to this: they almost NEVER aim correctly.  There is almost ALWAYS pee somewhere on the toilet or on the floor near the toilet.  And it's not just the little ones that do this, either.  I'm fairly certain Scott does it too, but I don't have a way to prove it short of busting out my CSI skills.  Anyway, I digress.  The point is, I'm surrounded by testosterone and I love it.

Why do I love it?  Because Benjamin has started calling me "Your Majesty".

That's right, the boy knows how to treat a girl.  He can consider me royalty all he wants (although most days I feel more like a servant than royalty).  I am totally ok with that.  In fact, I encourage it.  Not only will future girlfriends swoon over his romantic ways, but he understands his place in this house.  I ask him to hold something for me, and he says, "of course, Your Majesty".  I tell him we need to turn left when we're out on our walk, and he says, "yes, Your Majesty".   Every command or request I give of him is met with "yes, Your Majesty".  I am loving this.  Of course, I usually answer with something like, "thank you, Your Highness", and he gets a kick out of that.  But that's ok, he can be the prince.

Because Mommy is the Queen. 

Never forget that, sweetie. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Car Wash

Sooooooooooooooo, it's been almost a month.  I really didn't mean for it to be so long, it's just that life kept happening and every time I thought of something cute or funny or just neat to blog about it was the middle of lunchtime and there was NO WAY I was going to be able to touch the computer, let alone open it up and write on here during that time.  So now it's 7am and in the next thirty minutes I will be bombarded by children who want things like food and "boy shows" (which, by the way, are what we call cartoons around here).   But I just wanted to show you real quick what Ben and I came up with last week.

Welcome to the car wash!  I'm not sure really how this idea came about, but I thought it would be fun to fill one container with soapy water and one with plain water, then he could wash his cars.

As you can see, there are sponges in there.  I thought that the car wash was too plain.  I meant for him to scrub the cars with the sponges, but then he realized he could drive his cars around them and it would almost be like an automatic drive thru car wash.

He was so happy that I made this for him.  He played for almost an hour!

"But Mommy, where will we get more bubbles?"
(of course, the bubbles went away after a while in the soapy dish.  I had to froth them back up again for him.)

Completely occupied!

I haven't tried this with Caleb yet, but I have a feeling he'd love it too.  And he'd probably splash in it and make his brother really, really mad.   But Ben has been asking for this every day, and it's a great way to keep him occupied while I do important things around the house, like play Angry Birds or Words With Friends  (another post on that to come later...).