Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Runners Strength

Today I am cherishing my children just a little bit more, hugging them a little tighter and holding my tongue and using patience as much as I can. When tragedy strikes I usually want to hide in the basement; I am not one to stand up first or run to help, I wish I was but I wont lie I'm not strong enough yet. My heart is lighter knowing that there are better people out there than terrorist. There are stronger people working to pave the way for our future, to help without a thank you.

A favorite blog of mine, Tomboy Style, did a nice profile on the first woman Boston Marathon runner, Katherine Switzer. She ran with a spirit in her heart to finish, not thinking of the implications she would have on women in sports. I have only recently started running myself, accomplishing two 5ks, one this past Sunday. The strength I feel after running is amazing, something I didn't believe when people spoke about it. I feel like I can conquer the world and that life's road blocks are but trivial details along my path to victory. So, I am not surprised that those marathon runners were the first to run towards the disaster and help out. It is a strength I am just now developing that a runner has, a fearlessness. To know that you can run for 26 plus miles without stopping, and then run straight into the smoke to help, to the hospital to give blood is a strength only few will know.

I hope that we do not dwell on all the recent tragedies that have struck our nation.  I hope that like a runners strength we will lift ourselves up and run straight into our disasters without fear and help.

*updated: a runners response

Friday, April 12, 2013

Enjoy Your Weekend

I've been really stressed out with the kids lately, this little list was a nice refresher course to remember the little things. I decided last night to take all that stress and put it to some good use! I emptied out some of our more junk filled cabinets and organized them. It is far from perfect but it was a refreshing start. If you are more OCD about your organization, I Heart Organizing is the best site for tips and ideas.

I have a daughter with BM problems. One of the contributing reasons to why we went to no processed food. Eating whole foods has helped but she still struggles to keep her rhythm in check. I could write novels on the subject but Raising Healthy Eaters addresses the issue nicely.

Two recent posts about independent kids... do you let your kid cross the street by themselves? Do you let your kids play outside?In our neighborhood we are firm believers in letting the kids "do their thang" They play outside with little to no supervision and check in as needed. Yes an adult goes out to check on them, we live on a medium traffic cul-da-sac and I feel confident that this little bit of leeway we give the children makes them better and stronger.

A couple of my favorite bloggers are hosting an awesome giveaway right now from Consumer Crafts, check out their great up-cycle tutorials!  Dana Made It, Make and Takes, Prudent Baby, and Petit Elefant

Do something more this weekend...COOK, CRAFT, ORGANIZE!

You can thank me for it later ;)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Musings about Nothing

I don't know what I'm writing about today.

I had such a wonderful weekend and I just wish that it wasn't over. The week is hard for me, I work full time but I am not very satisfied by what I am doing. The kids are busy with their own schedules and I feel that I am constantly living for the weekend or the three hours I am home from work at night. I know that it is just a funk and that in a week or two I will be busy again at work and motivated, but these slow times make me want to quit my job and stay home with the kids and work on them. These slow times also make me think of the million and one projects that we still need to do at home...uggg

Today I will revel in the fun that was had and try not to plan too much for the fun I still want to have.

Boo the Dog Tower
My kids are obsessed with this Boo the Dog and their Peek a Boo Blocks

Chasing the mating ducks from the pond

Stole Picky Palate's delicious idea for a late night treat since we have let some processed foods into our lives

I think I will make pop tarts this week just to liven things up a bit.

Also I would love to make this passport idea for summer. Have one for each child with ideas that they come up with and I do so we can check them off as we go. They could be adventures as big as going to Kings Island or as simple as painting outside...hmmm

Stay Focused

Friday, April 5, 2013

Enjoy Your Weekend

So how's your weekend shaping up?
I am heading to Indy to pick the kids up from my parents house. I have definitely missed them this week. It was nice and quite around here and bit easier to get things accomplished, but having kids is half the fun! I will judge just for a second, single people or couples without kids cannot complain about having no time. This almost alone week made me realize just how much of my time is preoccupied by those three little kids. 

Whhaaat?! You can freeze an avocado?

There is a lot of space in a small apartment if you style it right.

Made these asparagus this week, kids verdict was don't make them again, shame too cause I LOVED them, back to a drizzle of olive oil with balsamic, sea salt and a squeeze of lime to finish.

Try my yummy recipe for chewy, non processed, like Quaker, oatmeal bars.

We are huge Walking Dead fans over here so this little diddy about 33 frustrating things had us rolling, I always wonder how Carol's hair never gets longer?

And now that AMC has moved on to my Mad Men, season 6 premier this Sunday!

And a nice remembrance of Rodger Ebert...

Enjoy your weekend!

No More Noise! Genius

Do your kids toys make phantom noises? The hubs and me find sometimes we can just be walking threw the house and if you step too hard a toy will go off in the other room. It can be very creepy. Actually Guys With Kids did a whole episode about it.

Some toys are nice enough to come with an off button, very nice. But some sneaky toys have that little pull tab that once pulled you can never turn the darn thing off again! Mister has this lovely Sassy suction toy that is great for popping him into the high chair and keeping him entertained. It spins, it rattles, it sings to him; he loves it. Mommy though does not always love the constant sound of the music coming from it. I tolerate it at home, but I wanted to take this toy on the road with us for our dinner date. The other guest at the restaurant may not tolerate the noise as well as I do...so I fixed it! Genius moment!
I cut off a piece of a plastic bag (paper does not work) inserted it into the little hole and then taped it down tight. Now no noise! He doesn't seem to mind too much and I can always take it back out for him to play with at home.

Another toy Genius moment.

Silence is golden :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: M. in East Hyde Park

Since two out of three kids are staying at my parents house for spring break the hubs and I decided Mister (6 months) would be fine to take out for a much needed date night. The weather was wonderful outside so we decided to walk to one of the local restaurants on Erie.

We are fortunate enough to have at least 6 restaurants within walking distance of our home. We strapped Mister into the stroller and went for a walk. M is a new place that just recently opened. It was the home to a great Chief Owen Maass, but sadly they let him go and I think the restaurant is suffering because of it. When we first ate there we loved it thinking it would be a staple in our date nights. I was hesitant to go there only because of the drama of letting go of such a great chief but the hubs wanted meat, and he knew they had meat.

Our second go around with this place was not as impressive at all :( they flaunt their wood fire oven and yet very little is cooked in there but the pizzas. And our server while very smiley was SO slow, maybe the kitchen was backed up but everything took forever to come out. I'm all for a long meal but then bring out things in order, he ended up bringing our salad with the meal? Ok on to the food...

We each ordered a drink and quickly decided on the daily bruschetta; pea puree with goat cheese and bacon. I actually make a hauntingly similar version of this for parties. Verdict straight from the hubs, "Yours is way better!"

We then ordered truffle fries (not as good as Senate's), the caprese salad (boring), purple gratin (soupy and under cooked) and the pork shank with polenta. None of these items are not something that could be made at home and the flavors were not elevated enough that you would want to pay to go out and get them.
The Gratin is supposed to be what they are known for. A wood fired delicious mix of purple cauliflower and brussel sprouts in a thick cheesy sauce baked to perfection. Sadly we got a soupy mix of mostly white cauliflower and those poor brussel sprouts were so under cooked. I would have sent the whole mess back but our food took so long to arrive that we were famished and we just wanted to eat so we could leave. The pork shank (looked like something Fred Flinstone might eat) was very delicious with the polenta and gravy. It was actually the saving grace of the whole meal. Mister devoured a little pork and cauliflower and we enjoyed just spending time together. Overall I don't know if we will be rushing back. I did like the price point, about $60 for everything, but I would be willing to pay more for better food.

This dinner was good for us in that we took the extra time for just us even laughing over bad service and food. Also getting to fawn over only Mister this week has been perfect. Many dinners remarked at how cute and well behaved Mister was, which always makes me smile.

Photos courtesy of M's facebook page

M Wood Fired Oven on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chewy Yummy Granola Bars

Too much Easter CandyWell Easter is all done and so is our Lenten Promise of no processed foods. It was a much easier promise to keep then I had expected. I think we were already eating pretty healthy, this promise just pushed us to try more new recipes and alternatives to snacking. It was easy to rely on all the premade grocery items available; boxed dinners, mac & cheese, seasoning packets, quick snacks like granola bars, waffles, and chips. You don't realize how much of these items you are ingesting till you take them all away.

I think that was the big revelation, we didn't realize how much snacking we were doing. Everyone in the house was grabbing snacks in between almost every meal. And these snacks weren't particularly unhealthy but they were filling little bellies so there was no room left for the real stuff. I found by the end of our forty days that my Little Man wasn't such a picky eater anymore. I think before he was full at dinner time; now that he hadn't had so many snacks during the day there was more room for him to try new foods at the dinner table. Is he still picky, yes, did he try sugar snap peas, sunflower seeds, quinoa and zucchini, YES and it wasn't even a huge battle. He was hungry so he ate and he spit out what he didn't like, but we kept trying. 
easter cupcakes
Will we go back to processed foods? Hmmm maybe not. I do miss my cereal and I think some chips are ok (craving chips and salsa as we speak) but I liked watching the kids reach for fruit and nuts instead of crackers and crap. Maybe all families should try no processed foods, for at least a week. You might be surprised at how much fun it is.

One last homemade recipe. The kids missed their Quaker Granola bars so we had to find an alternative and while these aren't prepacked perfection they are darn tasty and maybe a new staple in our home. I started with Baked by Rachel's Granola recipe and tweaked it from there to get the perfect yummy deliciousness. I had to replace the rice cereal since that would be considered processed and I think ours worked!
Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars:

  • 1 cup steal cut oats
  • 1 tbl cinnamon
  • 2 tbl brown sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4 tbls butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • handful or more of mini chocolate chips
Heat oven to 400. Grease up a 9x13 pyrex dish and set it to the side. 
Mix the steal cut oats, cinnamon and two tbls of brown sugar on a flat baking sheet. Bake this in the oven for about 20, till you can smell the sugar melting. This will be the replacement for the rice cereal, the baking gives it a deeper flavor and also a better crunch (I didn't like our 1st version with no baking)
baked steel cut oats
Mix the butter, honey, brown sugar and salt in a sauce pan on the stove. You want to melt the butter and just bring it to a quick boil. Add this to your dry ingredients; rolled oats, steel cut oats, almond meal and raisins. 
honey trick
Honey trick: add pam to the measuring cup first and the honey slides right out

Mix everything together well. You want the sugar/butter to coat every inch of your dry ingredients. If they are not coated well they will not stick together. Once everything is well coated press the mixture into your greased Pyrex dish. Add your handful or more of mini chocolate chips and press these in as well. You can use your spoon to mix them in a little but they might start to melt since your mixture is warm. Let the whole dish set in the fridge for at least an hour or longer. Once it is stiff just slid it out of your dish and chop into bars. 

I wrapped each bar in a little parchment paper and put them in a container in the fridge. They are so yummy and delicious I sorta want to eat them all. 

Good luck with your own non processed adventures!

Linked at: