Friday, April 23, 2010

Green Smoothie recipe # 2 (also lactose free)

1/2-3/4 cup orange pineapple juice (I used Simply Orange with pineapple)
1 handful spinach (I used walmart brand, which was $1.98 for 10 ounces as opposed to fresh express that was $2.78 for 6 ounces and organic which was $2.98 for 5 ounces)
3/4- 1 cup frozen peach slices (I used whatever kind Walmart has in their frozen section.)
1-2 tbsp agave nectar (to taste)

I tried this recipe the other day and loved it. The shade of green was a bit disconcerting at first, but the flavor was fantastic and we all know good tasted really helps you get over looks weird fast. I'm thinking about getting the orange-mango juice from simply orange and getting frozen mango and trying that. I'm not sure what other kinds of greens I'll experiment with next, but I think its safe to say I'm hooked on green smoothies. . .

Oh, and even Joey (my picky hubby) liked this smoothie. I was shocked. I though he was just saying he liked it to spare my feelings, but he drank 1/2 a cup of it (which was all I gave him because I didn't expect him to drink it) and said he liked it. . . I drank this after the kids were in bed, so I don't know if they'll like it or not, but Joey liking it makes me brave enough to try it on the kiddos.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shaking up Pizza Night a bit

We've talked and talked about pizza, but here are a couple options we haven't talked about.

An alternative to pizza crust is tortillas. Joey and I have used tortillas in place of pizza crust to make a fantastic thin crust alternative. You use the tortilla just like any other crust, put tomato sauce, cheese and toppings on and bake until cheese is melted. The best part is you can pick different sizes of tortillas for different sized appetites (taco sized for younger kids, soft taco size for older kids or burrito sized for adults).

Another alternative, also incorporating tortillas, is pizzadillas. You put cheese and toppings in a folded tortilla, cook like a quesadilla and dip in pizza sauce. Yummy.

Either of these options allows each person to choose their own toppings and have their own customized entree and you can have your kiddos help make their own with either of these options.

A final option, which doesn't make individual entrees, but is still yummy and you can still have the kiddos assist in preparing is pizza pasta. You take elbow noodles or ziti noodles or really any kind of noodles, tomato sauce, motzarella, and whatever toppings you like, toss them together and bake on 350 for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated with cheese melted.

Just thought I'd post these pizza night alternatives as I'm sure I'll be using them once Joey's in basic. I doubt I'll really want pizza once a week, but pizzadillas and pizza pasta are great ways to have pizza night but also mix it up a bit and give it some variety.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

1 pkg of 2 pie crusts
1 can cream-of-soup (or prepare your own, see cream-of-soup recipe)
1 pkg mixed veggies, steamed and drained (I like Cascadian Farms organic frozen mixed veggies) or 2 14.5 ounce cans of mixed veggies drained
2 chicken breasts
chicken broth (optional)

Boil chicken breasts in chicken broth and water or just water for about 30 minutes or until done. (I like to boil my chicken for chicken pot pie with my chicken for chicken ziti to make the most of that chicken broth, but you can always refrigerate and reuse it).
Remove pie crusts from box and let sit out to thaw while cooking chicken breasts.
Chop chicken breasts finely.
Steam veggies and drain.
Make cream-of-soup.
In large mixing bowl, mix cream of soup, diced chicken and veggies.
Press first crust into pie pan, fill with chicken/veggie/soup mixture, moisten top of bottom crust, place 2nd crust on top, use fork to flute crusts together.
Bake on 375 for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown on top and bottom.

All my girls love this. Its "chicken pie" and we eat it for dinner one night and lunch the next day and then its gone and they are asking for more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HFCS free all natural ketchup

My best find at the grocery store this week is Hunt's All Natural HFCS free ketchup. Its hard to explain how excited I got, but I got really excited. The only thing on the label I'm not sure about is the last ingredient "natural flavors". I don't have a clue what that is, but none of the other ingredients throw up any GMO, GMF or artificial ingredients, preservatives or flavorings red flags and we don't have to worry about the mercury in the HFCS now, so I'm totally psyched. I've always bought whatever ketchup is on sale, but I'm a Hunt's gal now!!!

And just in case you're wondering "why is high fructose corn syrup so bad?" After all, there's a commercial that says HFCS is fine when eaten in moderation and we all know that commercials never lie. . . Refer back to my original posts regarding GMOs. HFCS is not only derived from GM corn, but it can also contain mercury. If we don't want to use mercury thermometers, where the mercury is separated from us by glass because it might break and expose us to mercury, then its probably a bad thing to digest, right? Right. There is a link to the article I'm referring to in my post regarding avoiding GMOs in our foods.

Got MY BNC Order In. . . Did You Get Yours?

I finally decided what to order. I ordered 4 miracleans (and got one free for a total of 5), 1 minty window wash, 2 citrus toilet sprays, 3 hardwood floor cleaners and a spray air deodorizer.

If anyone's interested in ordering, the coop is open for orders until 4/22 and it has reached the highest discount level of 30% off retail plus a free miraclean ($8 retail value). So get those orders in before the coop closes. It'll probably be another 6 months before the next coop.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 bell pepper per person you are feeding (we needed 4)
1 lb ground meat per 4 bell peppers (we used ground venison)
old bay seasoning
Mexican cheese
Sour Cream
1/2 onion per pound of meat
2 mushrooms per pound of meat

Cook ground meat with old bay seasoning until browned.
Chop onion and mushrooms and add to meat with salsa, cook a few minutes to soften onions and mushrooms and allow flavors to combine.
Pour meat mixture into mixing bowl and add cheese.
Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove top of bell peppers, hollow out and rinse.
Fill peppers with meat mixture, packing down so there are no air pockets. Cover with cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is crispy.
Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, put in a bowl and add sour cream.

Sour cream, onions and mushrooms are optional as is salsa. You can also customize this by adding Italian seasoning instead of old bay and mixing with spaghetti sauce instead of salsa and using motzarella instead of Mexican cheese to make it an Italian meal instead of a Mexican one.

The best thing about this meal -- all my girls ate it!!!! Evie wanted to be fed (for the attention) as usual, so Joey fed her, but she ate it all (1/2 a stuffed bell pepper) and so did Addy. We just gave Izzy the meat mixture as the bell pepper would be too hard for her to chew as it was still a bit crunchy (which is how its supposed to be) and she ate all her meat and mushrooms, but the onions were too big and crunchy for her, so when I make it, I'll chop the onions smaller and add them to the meat when I start it browning.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Non-Green Smoothie Recipe #1 (lactose free version)

I made non-green green smoothies for the girls for snack yesterday and they were a hit. Pretty much.

I didn't follow a recipe, just threw stuff in, but I'll try to guestimate.

I used about 1/2 cup of water and a big handful of spinach (it filled up my blender), blended on "liquify" setting until it liquified, then I added a banana, 7 fresh strawberries, about 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries and blackberries, about 1/2 cup of frozen peach slices, and some honey and blended until smoothe. It was a dark purple color (which I told the girls was from the combo of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries). They all liked it. Except Evie kept picking out the scratchy parts of the blackberries. So now I'm thinking its a texture thing, like the same texture as broccoli, which she won't eat. Also, she likes me to "feed" her like I "feed" Izzy (hold the straw for her). Its an attention thing.

Today, I'm going to try the yogurt, milk, peaches and spinach and honey and see if they will drink a green green smoothie.

Let Me Sit With My Baby

Let me sit with my baby
And play for a while,
And forget all
my unfinished work
with a smile,
For every tomorrow
holds work to be done,
But lullaby moments
and peek-a-boo fun
Are life's tender treasures
meant just for today,
For babies grow up. . .
and the years
slip away.

I love that poem. I had it on a picture that I hung on the wall, but somehow in the move from my sister's house to our first real house, it got stuck in the garage, somehow got wet, and got moldy. So sadly I was forced to throw it away today, but I just couldn't do it until I put the poem somewhere where I could read it whenever I wanted to. And hopefully someone beside me will enjoy it as well.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quick, easy, yummy recipes and green smoothies

For some reason, blogger won't let me comment right now, so I just wanted to give you guys a heads up that I'll be posting a lot more quick, easy, yummy, tried and true recipes in the coming days, partially because they are wonderful and I like to share and partially so I don't forget how to make them when Joey's gone. Its funny how many times I ask Joey to remind me what temp I cook dishes at, etc, when I'm cooking and I won't be able to ask him when he's gone, so I'll post them on here so if I forget, I can just reference my blog. I'll be using a lot of quick, easy, yummy, tried-and-true recipes while Joey's gone as I think that sticking with what the girls are familiar with and already like will be less stressful for the kiddos than giving them a bunch of new stuff to try, which sometimes stresses my middle daughter out. Not only am I going to add some more recipes, but I'm also going to add a new category that's "quick recipes" so you can find the quick, easy recipes quickly.

I am going to introduce some new stuff to the girls while Joey is here, though. If they like them, then they will be "tried-and-true" recipes by the time he leaves, so we'll be able to stick with them then.

The first thing I'm going to introduce is green smoothies. I've seen people talking about them on Diaper Swappers before, but wasn't inspired to try them until my sister said she was going to try them. I did some research about it today and the idea behind green smoothies (which don't have to be green by the way) is to add green, leafy veggies to your diet without tasting them. In theory, and keep in mind that I haven't tried these yet, spinach has no detectable flavor when added to a smoothie.

My typical smoothie recipe is 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4-1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup frozen fruit (peaches or strawberries and pineapple typically), 1 tbsp flax seed meal and 1 tbsp honey for one serving.

According to my research, to add greens to it you put the greens in with the liquid and blend that together before adding the rest of the ingredients. I also saw that if you add berries to the smoothie, it makes the smoothie a different color besides green (purplish), thereby creating a non-green green smoothie. So if your kiddos freak out at the color green, its rather easily masked.

You can also do green smoothies with bananas in them in place of the yogurt to make them creamy and you can use water in place of the milk to make a lactose free green smoothie, but I'm going to start with what I know that I like, add the spinach and see what kind of difference the spinach makes in the taste. I keep saying spinach because that is what my sister was adding to her smoothies, but in my research today I found you can use any kind of greens, although different greens have different levels of taste. Some are bitterer than others, so you'd have to add more honey/fruit to counteract the bitterness.

True to the creed that variety is the spice of life, my research also indicated that the best way to do green smoothies is not to eat today what you ate yesterday, meaning if you had a strawberry banana spinach smoothie yesterday, then today you should have something different -- different greens and different fruit. But since we don't eat a lot of greens and I'm just starting out and figuring out what recipes to use, etc, and since I just got back from grocery shopping for this week, I'm going to be making smoothies with spinach thru at least Friday this week and then I'll get a variety of greens and fruit for next week.

The best reason to incorporate greens into your diet is because they are invaluable at removing toxins from your body. Kale, for example, has so much fiber that it can soak up several times its own weight in toxins from your body. And less toxins in our bodies is always a plus in my book. Plus, if my girls will actually drink it, its another way to sneak veggies into their diet, which is especially important for Evie, who is very anti-veggie.

So the girls are having their nap time now. When nap time is almost over (since its important to drink them soon after making them to preserve their nutritional content), I will go into the kitchen, whip up a batch of green smoothies and then bring them downstairs for snack time. I'll let you know how it works out for us and what recipe I use (if it turns out to be any good).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baked Chicken Ziti recipe

You're lucky I like y'all. . . and just because I do, I'm going to share one of my favorite recipes with you. I made it last night for dinner and I just ate the last of it today. YUM.

chicken (I use 3 frozen chicken breasts)
1 box ziti noodles
1 box chicken stock (I like the MSG free stuff)
a couple cloves of garlic, diced
1 onion sliced
spaghetti sauce (I like prego)

Boil chicken breasts in chicken broth and water for about 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from water and put noodles, garlic and onions in water and chicken broth mixture. Add water if needed. Boil noodles according to direction on the box.
Shred chicken while noodles are boiling.
drain noodles and combine noodles, shredded chicken, spaghetti sauce and some of the motzarella in 3 quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle remainder of cheese on top
Bake on 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and spaghetti sauce has been thoroughly warmed.

It is unbelievably yummy, tastes great when first made and if possible it tastes even better when its reheated. And best of all, ALL my kids eat it. Even my picky eater middle child. So I hope you and your kiddos enjoy it. Its great with a salad or by itself as the spaghetti sauce has a full serving of veggies in it. You could also add garlic bread, but I never have as I believe there is plenty of starch in the noodles and the last thing my children need is too much starch. Well, that's not the whole reason. I might decide to add garlic bread to the meal for a special occasion, but I wouldn't do it all the time and don't usually have time as once the casserole is done cooking, I just want to eat it all up. I don't want to take time to make garlic bread ;)

Bon Appetit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In The Matter of TV, We Find The Defendent. . .

Well, you can't pass a verdict without hearing the story, so here goes. . .

Before I had kids, I was "never going to let my kids watch tv." (I was also "never going to have kids," but I guess that's another story.) Then, I had Addy. She was such a joy, but a clingy joy. She wanted me to hold her 24/7 and as much as I wanted to do so, I also wanted to make her baby food. From scratch. The Dr. Denmark Way. By boiling fresh fruits, veggies and dried beans then mixing them and blending them together to make her meals.

So round about 3 months, Miss Addy and I began having issues. See, I wasn't aware of Attatchment Parenting at this point in time and she was going through a period when she would not sleep unless I was holding her. I got a baby carrier, but it was one of the ones you could get at Walmart or Target that multitasked. . . It would hold your baby in front of you and kill your back all at the same time. Not to mention, with Addy in front of me, she would reach for the pretty steam floating through the air. So we bought her a few Baby Einstein videos and a play yard (the kind that is like twice as wide as a play pen, a big square with mesh sides so baby can see through) and I would set her up in her play pen with a Baby Einstein video while I made her food. It was "no big deal," was "just a little" TV and was going to help her brain to develop to boot. And thus began our descent into TV Land.

Addy didn't watch much TV before she was 2. Then I got pregnant with Evie and for me, pregnancy is always marked by fatigue, which, combined with an energetic 2 year old ultimately resulted in "just a little" more TV. I was working a full time job, so Lord only knows how much television Addy watched at daycare. She was at an in-home day care and I did not typically see her watching TV when I picked her up, I do assume that a certain amount of TV was watched while she was there. Then Evie came. I stopped working and Joey was working weird hours and Evie was such a joy, but a clingy joy. True to the nature of all babies, she was a black hole for attention and in my guilt at paying more attention to Evie than Addy, I decided to compensate by letting her watch "just a little" more TV.

I never went back to work after Evie was born. I was going to stay home with the kids, take care of the house, be supermom. Easier said than done, though. Most of my time was spent taking care of the house, cleaning, making meals, which is no doubt beneficial to children. They thrive in a clean, healthy environment. And they like food. But I bet you can guess what they did while I cleaned and cooked. See I discovered that if they were parked in front of the TV like zombies, they were not following behind me and destroying what I had just cleaned. Which made me feel more productive.

But at what cost? At the worst point in time, after Izzy was born, Addy was at preK and Evie was the Queen of the castle. All she wanted to do was watch TV. She wanted to watch what she wanted to watch when she wanted to watch it and if it wasn't on, she would throw a fit. So I would record shows for her so I would always have what she wanted. When Addy got home, she would ask for everything that was on a commercial. Any commercial. And that was my breaking point.

In my opinion, television is a tool. It can be invaluable as far as distraction or redirection goes, but it should not be inevitable. If I had known when Addy was born that there would come a day when my children's snowball consumption of TV would cause them to think they are entitled to watch whatever they want whenever they want to and that that attitude would extend to them feeling entitled to also have everything that's in any commercial they happen to view, I don't think I would have ever started them out watching TV.

Even if you restrict their television to only learning shows, there will always be commercials and you can't control what commercials the channel they are watching elects to show. And you have no way of knowing how watching television will change their attitude until its changed and its a lot harder to change their attitude back than it is to avoid influences that can negatively change their attitude in the first place.

We can't protect our kids from everything. Sometimes television provides teachable moments that we wish we hadn't exposed our kids to, but we can take advantage of and get something good out of it. We can try to avoid the bad and gravitate toward the good. For example, I know my 2 year old wouldn't know how to count to 12 in Spanish if it wasn't for Dora. But I still don't want her watching it 24/7.

So now, I am constantly hearing "I didn't get to watch tv yet today" to which I am replying, "well, you don't get to watch tv everyday and you shouldn't expect to." I am still allowing them to watch their Disney VHSs and VeggieTales VHSs at rest-time and they do watch television at other times as well, but these days I am a lot more vigilent to paying attention to the volume of television they are exposed to and their attitudes in the process. I've been having them play outside a lot more, Evie and Addy like to play together on their own in the playroom a lot and they also enjoy playing with Izzy, and Evie particularly likes to help me with whatever work I am trying to do, so there is no longer the need to park them in front of the television just so I can accomplish something.

Nowadays, its harder for me to find the energy to accomplish something in the first place than it is to convince the children not to destroy it as soon as its done. They are getting older and maturing and I would rather teach them not to make a mess these days or to clean up any messes they make than feel like my only choice is to distract them from making messes by letting them watch TV.

So the verdict is. . . that TV is a tool. It can be used for good, or it can be used to produce a bad result much as you can use a hammer to fix something or you can use it to make a hole in the wall. But how can you blame the hammer for any holes that are made with it?

My views on television have changed constantly during my life and I personally still watch a lot of television when my kids are asleep and I am crocheting/knitting, which helps me to relax and is something I enjoy, but is also something that would otherwise be very boring to me. There are a lot of shows I like and even more that I don't like. I am choosy about what I watch and what I allow my kids to watch.

I'm not yet ready to rid my house of televisions and I'm happy with my DirectTV DVR, which enables me to watch my shows when the kiddos sleep, so I don't have to ever choose between TV and my kids or worry about my kids being exposed to shows that are above their age level but appropriate for mine. Not that there would ever be a question about which I would choose -- my kids will always come first no matter what, but its nice that TV can always wait until later and I don't have to feel like I'm missing anything.

Everyone has different views on television and I encourage you to think about what your children are watching, how much television they are watching and how it effects them and their attitudes when determining what your verdict will be and what policy you're going to follow regarding television. Put your tool where it belongs and keep it where you can find it when it can be useful to you. And don't be afraid to revise your policy whenever it needs revision. Policies about television, much like discipline, must always change to keep up with our everchanging lives and continually developing children.

Monday, April 12, 2010

BNC Coop Is Opened!!!!

I have been impatiently waiting for the BNC coop to open on Diaper Swappers. I love Bare Naked Cleaners. They are chemical free, safe to use around your kids and best of all, you get to pick your own scents. Picking your own scents is way cool in my book, but I never would have bought them if they weren't chemical free and green. The cleaners come as concentrates that are mailed to you in tiny plastic packages about 2 inches by 3 inches. You buy your own 32 ounce spray bottles (one for each cleaner) pour in the concentrate, fill to 32 ounces and reuse them when you run out, so you're only throwing away the teeny plastic bags the concentrates come sealed in (unless of course a bottle malfunctions or your dog eats it), which is a lot better for the environment than buying cleaners at Walmart in a spray bottle that you'll use once and throw away.

Jen, the wahm behind BNC, hosts co-ops on twice a year and the coops are so popular that they always reach their maximum discount level, which this time means that everyone who orders through the diaperswappers coop will get 30% off their total order and 1 free miraclean concentrate (used to make 32 ounces of cleaner).

I try to order enough to last me until the next coop. So far, I've ordered from 2 coops and I have yet to order enough to last until the next coop. Unfortunately, I also did not keep track of how much I ordered, so I have no idea how much I should order this time. Well, actually, I was able to find the old threads, so I know what I ordered last time and the time before, but I don't know when I ran out or what I had to order in between, so I'm still not sure what to order this time.

Last time she had a coop it was in October 2009 and I ordered 2 miracleans, 1 citrus toilet spray, 1 minty window wash, 1 spray disinfectant and 2 hardwood floor cleaners. I also got a free miraclean. The time before, the coop was held in June and I ordered 1 spray disinfectant, 1 heavy duty degreaser, 1 citric toilet spray, 1 minty window wash, 1 spray air deodorizer and got a free miraclean. I also ordered a wahm sample pack that I got some hardwood floor cleaner in and fell in love with that. I know I had to buy at least 1 hardwood floor cleaner between coops, but I don't remember what I got in the sample pack. And I don't know how much of each I had leftover when I ordered from the second coop.

So part of what this post is about is announcing the coop. I know I've blogged about Bare Naked Cleaners from time to time and I thought a few of you guys might want to try out these items at a discount. The coop opened today and closes 4/22/2010, so if you're interested in ordering, get your orders in by the 22nd.

The other part of what this post is about is me keeping track of how much I started out with this time, how much I order in the coop, when I run out of products, which I run out of and and how much of what products I have to order before the next coop opens that way I will have a better understanding of how much to order in the next coop or at least have an idea of where to start when thinking of what to buy next time. Its not fun to feel like I'm floundering and don't know what I use in a given period of time. Its actually pretty embarrassing.

So right now, not including what I have mixed in my spray bottles, these are the concentrates I have stored under my kitchen sink:
2 sample sized concentrates of liquid bootie wash (each make 8 ounces of wipe solution)
1 sample size of foaming hand soap concentrate (which makes 8 ounces of foaming hand soap)
1 sample of heavy duty degreaser concentrate (nakes 8 ounces of cleaner)
1 full sized heavy duty degreaser concentrate (makes 32 ounces of cleaner)
1 hardwood floor cleaner concentrate (makes 32 ounces of cleaner)
1 mint window wash cleaner concentrate (makes 32 ounces of cleaner)
1 citrus toilet spray cleaner concentrate (makes 32 ounces of cleaner)
2 miraclean concentrates (each makes 32 ounces of cleaner)
1 disinfectant concentrate (makes 32 ounces of cleaner)

I haven't decided what I'm ordering yet. I got samples of everything in the wahm sample pack I ordered, so I've figured out that the products I really use and enjoy and need to keep on hand are miraclean, citrus toilet spray, mint window wash, and hardwood floor cleaner, so that's what I'll be ordering this time. I'm ordering 3 miracleans (and likely getting 1 free), 3 hardwood floor cleaners, 2 mint window washes, and 2 citrus toilet sprays. My favorite scents are the essential oil scents because they are all natural as opposed to the fragrance oils and my favorite essential oil scents are rose and pink grapefruit, although I am thinking about trying the citrus blend that is a blend of orange and grapefruit. I think its new, I don't remember it being an option before so I may try one of my cleaners as citrus blend but the rest will be rose or pink grapefruit.

So that's my plan. It may change before the coop closes, but I'll probably blog about it again before it closes. Happy cleaning!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekly Meal Planning The Single Parent Way

I've been trying to come up with some meal planning routines for while Joey's gone.

So far, I'm thinking breakfasts will be mostly a combination of cereals, yogurt, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, fruit, breakfast burritos and milk. All fairly easy, all of which I am capable of cooking or preparing myself in a way that I will like to eat it. As opposed to over easy eggs, which I cannot prepare at all and must rely on Joey to make for me. So I'm eating my fill of those while he's still here. . .

Lunches will either be leftovers from dinner or sandwitches with pretzels, chips, fruit, veggies, salads, etc. All quick and easy to prepare, which is always good because I seem to lose track of time between breakfast and lunch and don't always have tons of prep time for lunch when the girls are already "starving".

Dinners are the hard ones for me. I like dinners to be healthy, wholesome, and yummy. Usually, they are hot as well. While Joey is gone, I plan to stick with what I know I and the girls like. That includes lemon pepper chicken caserole, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies/salad, chicken pot pie, turkey/venison burgers, chicken hot dogs, chili, 15 bean soup with cornbread, chicken ziti with salad, lasagna with salad, chicken fettuchini caserole (has steamed squash and zucchini in it) with salad, a weekly pizza night with salad, tilapia with yellow rice and steamed veggies or with baked potatoes/fries and salad, pinto beans with cornbread and salad, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, nachos, and chicken salad sandwitches (for an easy night). These are all great, healthy meals (at least the way I make them) and most of them have the added bonus of having plenty of leftovers that are easy and tasty to reheat for lunch the next day or dinner the next night. Some of them even have an additional bonus of being able to be made into another dinner for the next night.

If you've noticed that most of my meals include salad, that's because its a veggie side that all my girls will eat without complaint. I'd love to experiment while Joey is gone and find new veggies/veggie dishes that the girls will eat, but I think it will be just too frustrating for me if they don't eat what I prepare and then I'll worry about if they are getting all the nutrients they need, etc. I may end up experimenting some, but my mission for while Joey is gone is to provide a happy, healthy, peaceful environment for my kids and having a stressed out mom or a mom who's frustrated because she spent x amount of time trying to make something new they'd like only to have them turn their nose up at it will not help me in my mission. So for now, I plan to stick with what I know.

I'm not sure how I'll determine a weekly meal plan while Joey is gone. Some people do a different meat every night (i.e. monday ham night, tuesday chicken, wednesday fish, thursday beef, friday turkey, etc), some people do a different genre of food every night (i.e. monday pizza, tuesday mexican, wednesday italian, thursday chinese, etc) and some people just pick a certain meal for ever night, but I prefer to just choose 7-10 dinners as options for that week and make sure that I have the ingredients on hand so that come 4 pm whatever I'm hankering for, I can prepare for dinner. That's more pregnant friendly IMO.

So there are my thoughs on weekly meal planning the single parent way. Keep it simple, stick with what you know and what you know you like, always be prepared and be flexible.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pizza Night, Salad Fever

We had our second pizza night last night and it was a success again. Kinda. This time, we had olives, mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, pepperoni, ham, italian sausage and tomatoes. We doled out a portion of the desired toppings to the girls and they put them on their pizzas.

Addy made a pepperoni smiley face on her pizza and put olives in the middle of her pepperonis. Evie had pepperoni, onions, olives, ham and italian sausage. Joey had pepperoni, ham, italian sausage, olives mushrooms and onions. I had onions and jalapenos because I've been craving Boboli pizza with onions and jalapenos.

Evie ate half of her toppings off her pizza while Joey and I were putting toppings on ours. Immediately after the pizzas were put in the oven, she informed us that onions were "YLUCKH". Its her new favorite word. We tried to explain to her that she maybe should have left them off her pizza if she didn't like them, but then we just left it alone, figuring if we didn't highlight the onions on her pizza, she'd forget about them. Which she did.

Joey, Addy, and Evie did great eating their pizzas and Izzy got her own piece (a piece of Evie's with pepperoni and onions and olives on it) this week instead of just having the crust. We've (well, I've) been worried about how cheese will affect her since it seems to stop up some of us and not stop up others, but she had her normal BMs today, and since she ate her pizza slice from the toppings down (toppings, cheese then crust), I know she got all the cheese there was to have on that pizza. So cheese in moderation doesn't seem to affect her badly, which is a relief to me. Constipated babies are not happy babies and we like happy babies.

I on the other hand couldn't eat a bite of my pizza. But I ate well regardless. Since no one ate tomatoes on their pizza and there were leftover mushrooms and onions, we made a salad while the pizza was cooking. It had shredded mexican cheese, tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, sliced onions, sliced olives, and romaine lettuce. The girls complained that they didn't want mushrooms or onions in their salads (including the use of Evie's signature "YLUCKH"), but we informed them that they got to custom make their pizza on pizza night, but not their salads and they could either eat it or not eat it. We gave them their salads while the pizzas were baking and they ate them without complaint, which was nice. I had a huge salad myself, which is good because apparently the bean is not a fan of pizza at the moment :( Which is a bummer for me because I *really* like pizza.

Overall, it was a great dinner. The girls had fun making their pizzas and we all had fun cooking and eating together. I'm glad we're making it a weekly event and I'm hoping each week's pizza night just gets better and better and that the girls and I will be able to hold on to memories of these fun times with daddy while he's in basic. He ships out May 9th, so that is constantly on my mind these days. But we keep on going regardless because what else can you do? If I let it paralyze me, I'll miss out on the good times, like pizza nights. . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Morning Sickness and Liquid Chlorophyll Supplements

Someone in my due date club on Diaperswappers mentioned that their morning sickness was helped by taking liquid chlorophyll. Now, I don't have morning sickness to the extent of barfing, but I feel nauseated all day every day and its exhausting. I had been looking for something to help me out with energy naturally, so when I researched liquid chlorophyll after Willow pointed it out to me, I found that it does help boost energy in some people. So I decided to try it.

I ordered this organic liquid chlorophyll product from, paid for the cheapest shipping option (to take 2-10 days) and got my products 2 days later. Not only have I felt less nauseated and felt like I had more energy, but I've also become more "regular", which isn't easy to do when you're pregnant. And I was amazed by the quick shipping.

It is NASTY by itself. I mix 1 tbsp of it in a glass of water with some agave nectar to sweeten it or I mix 1 tbsp into a cup of apple juice and all I can taste is the juice, although it is a bit disconcerting that it is green. I prefer the juice method, myself.

I will warn you that it is green and will stain if it is spilt. I have found that using a medicine cup helps this as 1 tbsp = 3 tsp and the medicine cup has room to spare above the 3 tsp line, which prevents overflow spillage. I also pour it over our stainless steel kitchen sink. I may order chlorophyll capsules next time to completely avoid the spillage issue. I will also warn you that your bowel movements will be green -- very, very green.

But I definately recommend this supplement for any of you suffering from morning sickness. It worked for me and several other ladies in my due date club, so its worth a try ;)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beware of creepy people online

I'm online way too much. I make a little money online, but most of the time I spend online is recreational to an extent. I do a ton of reasearch, mostly on nutrition these days, but also on anything else I happen to hear about that I'm curious about. I do my searches through the Swagbucks website as I can earn swagbucks that I can trade in for Amazon gift cards, which I think is really cool. I also frequent Diaper Swappers an online cloth diapering and parenting community and Winster an online gaming site that I am a member of. Its a neat site to me because you can help other people as you play games (if you have a piece they need, you can trade with them and vice versa) and its pretty much the only cooperation I get most days. Also, you can trade the points in for Amazon gift cards, which I am a fan of. You can play for free, but I decided to get a membership for myself for my birthday. Its $4 a month to get 300 spins a day that you can use in any of a bunch of different games, plus as a member there are no ads and you can save spins if you don't want to use them that day and you accumulate points faster.

So this is all to say I'm online a lot. I haven't really encountered any creepy people until the other day on Winster. This girl I had put on my friends list (enables you to find your friends who are online so you can play games in the same room with them) found me and started asking me some really weird questions. I had played in the same room with her the day before and she hadn't acted too weird toward me, but as soon as she left the room, everyone in the room said she was trying to get their phone numbers to text them and was being very pushy about it. I kinda forgot about it until the next day when she started IMing me through winster.

First of all, you have to understand that I am a smart ass. I am sarcastic, droll. However you want to call it, that's what I am. And lying irks me. And I also sometimes like doing plays on words. But back to my story.

So she IMs me and asks me if I'm a good person. Since I am a Christian and I don't like to lie, I said it depends on your perspective. If you're looking through God's eyes, then no I don't meet God's standards of a good person. But if not, then you'd probably consider me a good person.

So she asked what I meant by God's standards and I told her that God regards anyone who has sinned as not being good.

So she asked what sin was and I told her it was breaking God's law, the 10 commandments and I gave her a few examples: thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not covet.

So she jumped to the conclusion that I had killed someone and told me she didn't want to talk to me anymore because I was scary. Ummm, ok. I would only consider myself scary if you're a bug in my house or someone trying to hurt anyone in my family, but whatever. At this point in time, I just thought she was a moron.

5 minutes later, she is IMing me again, asking me if I'm home alone. By this time, my creepy alert started going off and I removed her from my friends list, blocked her, and stopped talking to her. Pretty soon, she left the room and everyone else in the room breathed a sigh of relief and said she was pressuring them to get their phone numbers and asking if they were home alone.

So I thought I would write a post, reminding everyone that there are some very strange people online and for safety's sake, please remember not to give out any personal information. Most of the people you meet online are great, but as the book Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers taught my girls (I hope), you have to be careful because the "bad apples" don't always look "bad" on the outside.

So while you surf the net, be safe, avoid the bad apples and safeguard your personal information. There are some real weirdos out there. . . They draw you in talking about general crap and then before you know it, they're asking if you're home alone. (*rolleyes*)