Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's Yummy. It's Healthy. It's Brrrrrrreakfast!!!! (and snack)

Let's start with the yummiest of the two.  Snack!!!  
Ohhhh... I love this snack!  
I love it mostest for my girls', though- knowing how super high in protein, and all natu'ral it is.
It's way tastier than a standard packaged 'protein' bar, and much more cost efficient, too.

So here are the ingredients (and instructions): 

1 cup of honey
1 cup organic lowfat peanut butter
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (not the pre-packaged kind-do real kind)
3 scoops vanilla protein powder
1 cup dried fruit

*Heat honey and peanut butter on medium head until warm and runny, 
take off heat and mix all the other ingredients, allow to cool, and form into balls 
(or bars, or circles, or.....)




Let's get down to business.... it's a school night- so we gotta make this quick.

I took my 'rolled oats' and toasted them in the oven for about 15 or 20 minutes
after sprinkling them liberally with cinnamon.  

Since I had my oven hot already- I toasted the walnuts, too.  
(Some cooking show says that makes them 'nuttier').  
Hmmm?  
Making nuts even nuttier!?!?!  How Do they come up with this stuff??
(They're right, though.  Those walnuts were SUPER nutty when I was done with 'em!)

A) I'm a rule breaker.  First and foremost, I don't "follow directions well".....
Having said that, it was a friend that mentioned the use of 'chocolate' protein powder (instead of the vanilla) 
So....  I'm not taking all the blame for this! 
(Wish I could- it was a GENIUS idea!!  Chocolate is way better!)

I love Jay Robb protein powder.  It's the best.  No kidding.  
It's also the priciest (no kidding).  However, for some strange reason- the Brown Rice Protein is significantly less expensive.  Same amount of protein, a slight variation in nutritional content- but for the most part- I'm looking for protein.  I get what I need from this stuff.




I just saved you the trouble of comparing ingredients (kind of)



Peanut Butter is best when served Organic.  Finances cut deep when going 'green' and when I need to, I go with Smart Balance.  It's natural, it's whole... (I had a COUPON!)  
And I stocked up.
By the way- in case anyone else out there has the great idea of 'nuking' the peanut butter to get that 'last little bit' out of the jar- I wanna go ahead and offer this 
public-service announcement:
Peel. Off. All. The. METAL. remains from the lid.  
Or? 
Catch your microwave on fire....? (Not that I would know ANYthing about that....)


Ahem.  Moving on.



Raw honey is the new sugar.... 
No.  No it's not.  
But! I have heard that raw honey is the best.
(My option for honey actually has nothing to do with the fact
 that I actually have an AUNT SUE, and it was 
her daughter that gave me this recipe- 
when I chose my 'brand' from Kroger this week.
  
It was simply the fact that it was Raw, Wild, and Natural.... like me!)

 Rule breaker... rule breaker.... break me a rule...  (name-that-song-)


My beautiful, amazing, awesome (eldest) daughter has a very low tolerance for nuts.
She's NOT allergic- she just doesn't like the way they 'feel' when she chews them.
 (I can respect that)
I had this mix in my cabinet, and a light bulb when 'DING' when I saw it hanging out behind the walnuts.... 
I "blended" (food processed) this mix together and stirred it in with my honey/peanut butter melt for an extra little 'somp-in some-en' extra.  


And here's what you get!!!!   Gosh.  It was such an easy recipe.  
Imagine rice crispy treats.... it's gooey, it's..... 
ya.. it's just gooey- 
that's the only comparison really.
I spread my 'mix' into a cake pan so that when it cooled I could cut it into little bars.

Worked out great.









Let's make breakfast the "quicky".

I blended (in the blender) eggs, cottage cheese, spinach, garlic, and onion.
I 'greased' my cupcake tins.
I poured the 'green egg' mix into said cupcake tins.
I topped with sharp cheddar cheese.
I baked at 350 degrees for 15-20 mins.

VOILA!!!

Easy- Healthy- "Green Egg Muffins".
They don't 'look' pretty, but my kids thought they were "CoooooL!!!!"



This one is for Joshua.  
Same mix as above- pour into glass pie dish  (no crust).
Cut up broccoli into teeny tiny pieces.
Add to 'pie'.
Top with cheese.
Bake at 350 LONGER than 20 minutes.
(I used a knife as my timer... it comes out (mostly) clean- I take it out of the oven)




And there ya go.  
Breakfast is a hit.  Snack is a hit.  No improvising for Mommy THIS week.
Hallelujah!!!  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Body, Mind, and (different) Internal Organs- Round 2

I decided to write this for all the Mommy's out there that try to be tough, suck it up, and ignore what their body is screaming at them.  There's a fine line between "tough" and "stupid".

I crossed that line... and it could have been a costly choice.

Yesterday was a normal day.  I woke up at 5:30 AM, packed lunches and cooked breakfast, I fixed the girls hair, and made sure we had book bags, water bottles, and happy hearts ready for school.

I walked Zoe-girl to her class, "Kiss Kiss, have a good day! Muah!" and followed Kyla on to her class, "You look like you're not in a happy mood. What's wrong?" (I'm still nervous about leaving you.  I gonna miss you, Mommy!) "You'll be great! It'll be fun. I'm coming to your class tomorrow, you'll see me every Thursday.  Have a great day, baby!"  and then I toddled along with Leah back to the car to head home.  I was tired, but that was to be expected- 5:30 AM comes much too quickly after a midnight bedtime.

Instead of keeping the plans I had made to meet my dear sweet friends for a swimming pool hang-out time, I decided to stay on the couch with Leah that morning.  We watched Wonder Pets, and Dora, and Backyardigans (Oh, Netflix- I love you!).  Time flew by- and before I knew it, 8:00 AM had turned into Noon.  (Guilt. Leah and I had vegged out on TV for 4 hours???  Amazement. Leah sat still for FOUR HOURS?!?!)

This is when 'it all started'.  I went to the bathroom, and I couldn't... um.... "go".  There was so much pressure and pain, which told me I reallllly needed to... um.... "relieve" myself (#1), but absolutely nothing would happen.  


Weird.  (I'll try again later, I guess)


I stood up- and BAM!!!- "Lord help me!"  Pain. Pain. PAIN.  It was like I had been 'holding it' for hours.  And in that little 1/2 bathroom potty I stayed for an hour.... trying to "go". (Oh, Netflix- thank you for entertaining my little girl!).

Still.... nothing.

It was the strangest thing!  I walked around, got some water, and watched the clock.  I prayed (begged) God to let me "pee" before it was time to leave the house to pick up the girls.

I knew it was something to do with my bladder.  I had been "aware" of some slight pressure in the last 2 weeks when I used the bathroom, but really thought nothing more of it other than the likely need to increase my hydration (which I had been doing).  I even read some information on "Urinary Tract Infections" and took note of all the symptoms:

"Symptoms of UTI or bladder infection are not easy to miss and include a strong urge to urinate that cannot be delayed, which is followed by a sharp pain or burning sensation in the urethra when the urine is released. Most often very little urine is released and the urine that is released may be tinged with blood. The urge to urinate recurs quickly and soreness may occur in the lower abdomen, back, or sides."

After reading the basic symptoms, I decided that I would be just fine with increasing my fluids- I'd yet to reach the severity of the 'infection' status.  I thought I'd be ok.  I didn't have a fever, or any other sypmtoms.

Around 1:00 I talked to my sister, and found myself back in the potty for another hour.  Sadly, after this point, I was beside myself with discomfort, and pain, and pressure..... and it was time to pick up the girls from school.

Desperate people do desperate things- and I imagined myself 'peeing' in my pants during the drive to the school.  How's this for being "real"?  I would have happily dealt with the embarrassment of it, if only to get a bit of relief!  I hijacked one of my 2 year olds' diapers... for just in case.  Really!

Driving the (less than 10) miles to the school proved to be a bad idea.  I pulled over halfway there and cried "God.. help me. Please........!!!!"  Leah was scared to see her mommy crying. "Ew okay Mommy? Ew crying? Whatsa madder?"

I called my husband and (God- you're so good to me!) he happened to be working local (as opposed to an hour and a half away).  I told him I was desperate, and that I needed him to come home NOW!  I hung up, pulled back onto the road,  and made it to the parent pick up line.  The girls got in, and as I was pulling out of the line, I spotted a porta-potty.  I whipped the van beside the porta, and told the girls, "Stay here.  Mommy has to go potty."  They were scared.  I failed the "keep it cool for the sake of the kids" test.  I was crying.

Praise GOD the potty was clean (I wouldn't have cared at this point if it wasn't though).  I sat down (sure did) and I cried and cried and cried.  "God?!  Please!!!!  Help me. Please. Please. Pleeeeaaaase!!!"
(Dribble. Dribble. Oh the pain! But not enough to bring relief!)

I limped, hunched-over,  back in the van and told the girls-

"Mommy's belly hurts. (Understatement of the DAY!) Pray for me, but don't be scared.  It just hurts and I'll be fine in a little while.  When we get home, I need ya'll to be quick to get in the house.  
Take care of your baby sister, and make sure you lock the door."   

They were scared.  I didn't blame them.  I was, too.  My tone was comparable to that of a dying monkey.  Mis-er-able.

I turned my hazzard lights on when I got about 5 miles from my house (so people would know to stay away from me) and soon after,  I got behind "granny". "Granny" was behind a big truck. We were only able to drive about 40 MPH.  I'm crying.  I'm pretty sure that something internal is about to explode.  I'm worried about the girls being scared.  I'm worried that something bad is going to happen if I don't get home immediately!

I did what any other insane person would do.  I layed my hand on my horn- beeping insistently-  and tried to pass.  When granny and truck-driver dude didn't take the hint that I need to get past them- I just gunned it, and continued beeping my horn until I got in front of them.  I'm sure they thought that some crazed teenager had stolen his mom's van.....

I got out of the car, remembering to put it in park and turn the ignition off (not even closing the door) and unbuckled my 2 year old- I got her out of the van, and ran her short little legs (as I sped hobbled) inside the front door.  I hollared behind me to my 7 year old  "Hurry.....  Make sure you lock the door when you come in." And I crawled upstairs to the bathtub.  I knew something was going on with my bladder- but I had no idea what!  I ran a hot-hot-hot bath, and put Lavender oil in it.  And I cried.  And I prayed.

My husband was home soon after, and had gotten instructions from our nurse-friend to do just what I was doing.  Hot (as you can stand it) bath.  Try to relax.  

No. Help. To. Me. At. All.

This is where I am certain the Hand of God was on me in these next few hours.  Hubby offered to run to the store for cranberry juice- I was totally cool with it, and thankful for the offer- but then I remembered a study I read a while back about LEMON water being as effective (if not more) than cranberry juice when dealing with the urinary tract. I told him that I'd rather just have lemons and water (but I was also too scared to drink anything for fear of rupturing something since I couldn't empty my bladder).


While he was downstairs, something really strange started happening to me.  I couldn't really see (was I closing my eyes?) I felt dizzy and confused- my hands went numb and I felt as if I couldn't breath.  I knocked on the wall hoping Joshua would come upstairs; I'd have hollared, but I couldn't talk.  I crawled out of the tub and sat on the toilet, leaning my head against the wall- breathing slowly through my nose- wondering if maybe I had just gotten too hot in the bathtub?  I knocked on the wall again- but was too weak to make it loud.

Somehow I made it from the toilet to the bed in our room without passing out, hoping the a/c in our room would cool me off enough to create some sort of coherency-  so that  I could think straight enough to figure out what could possibly be happening to me.  I was laying on the bed face down- for about 10 seconds when something in me was flashing a big "Warning! Warning! Warning!" to the idea of laying down.  I forced myself back up, planning to sit in the tub with the cold shower running over me- to keep me awake.

In the few steps it took to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, I willed myself NOT to pass out- muttering as best as I could "Joshhh.... Help.... Me......." right before I made it to the tub.  The shower came on and lucky (blessed) me it was on the hand held shower head setting.  I sat back a bit in the tub- and held the shower head on top of my head, letting  the cold water keep me as awake and as alert as possible.

My fingers are still numb at this point, I'm having a hard time breathing- I can't open my eyes, and I can't really talk.  I refuse to move- afraid that everything that's going on is a result of something supremely terrible happening internally.  My bladder has yet to release.  The pain is missing- in it's place, this total weirdness that has me concerned that I'm honestly about to die.

Joshua is standing beside the tub asking me something- not sure what- but I remember thinking "Please God tell him what to do- because I can't!"  He asked me a bunch of stuff that I couldn't answer and finally asked  "What do I need to do"??  I still had no idea, I just knew that I probably shouldn't die right there in my bathtub, so I said the first thing that came to mind "call....9-1-1".

He asked me question after question, maybe he was unsure that he needed to get help of the medical kind?-   before I heard him finally say "Is this Hall County.....?" mixed in with "She's 30 years old" (29!!) "I don't know what's wrong" "Bladder" "Numb hands, Hard time breathing" "Ya. Somewhat coherent.  Not really, though."

He brings a towel to me and starts to dry me off (while I'm still sitting in the tub- which has been empty for who knows how long; I'm motionless from fear that something super-wrong is going on).

I became that "pregnant person in labor" that snaps at whoever comes near her because it hurts soooo BAD and whispered madly "Don't. Touch. Me.  Please.  Please don't touch me."

My husband.... (who really has no idea how bad this is for me)  is concerned for my 'modesty'.  He's trying to encourage me to get out of the tub so I could get dressed before the paramedics arrived.  I shooed him away, asking him to go take care of the girls.  (I didn't care if the entire COUNTY saw me nekid at this point!).  My sister was on her way, and Joshua corralled the girls into the playroom.  He came back upstairs with shorts and a t-shirt.  If I was able to say something mean, I'd have told him to eat those clothes.... I didn't want to move.  He managed to get my shorts on to my knees (I wasn't moving!!) and the shirt over my head (how he got my arms in- I'll have to ask him about...).

He tried again "Amber.  Stand up- let's get your clothes on!!!"  (He's never had a baby.  He doesn't know that any single tiny ounce of modesty that a person could possibly have goes OUT-THE-DOOR when a person is in that degree of pain).  I was ready for the paramedics to get there and get me out of misery, and if they had to see every-inch-of-everything-I-had.... I couldn't have cared less.


Again- Joshua coaxed me- "Do you wanna go ahead and stand up?  Maybe try to go downstairs.  It'll be easier for them to take care of you if you do...."  (Inside my fried-foggy brain- I was confused with his reasoning- "We're hoping to make things easier on the paramedics?!",  I wondered)  I had full expectations of those paramedics coming up my stairs with a stretcher so that I had to do NOTHING but be completely still.  The pain was so intense if I moved, but it diminished if I didn't.   I was in COMPLETE "fight or flight" mode.  Not mentally, but physically my body was under intense stress.

Here's what was going on with me in these moments: (According to the doctor at the hospital)


The sudden flood of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dozens of other hormones causes changes in the body that include:
  • heart rate and blood pressure increase
  • pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible
  • veins in skin constrict to send more blood to major muscle groups (responsible for the "chill" sometimes associated with fear -- less blood in the skin to keep it warm)
  • blood-glucose level increases
  • muscles tense up, energized by adrenaline and glucose (responsible for goose bumps -- when tiny muscles attached to each hair on surface of skin tense up, the hairs are forced upright, pulling skin with them)
  • smooth muscle relaxes in order to allow more oxygen into the lungs
  • nonessential systems (like digestion and immune system) shut down to allow more energy for emergency functions
  • trouble focusing on small tasks (brain is directed to focus only on big picture in order to determine where threat is coming from)
All of these physical responses are intended to help you survive a dangerous situation by preparing you to either run for your life or fight for your life (thus the term "fight or flight"). Fear -- and the fight-or-flight response in particular -- is an instinct that every animal possesses.

The paramedics came in the bathroom.  My eyes are shut, I'm sitting up, hunched over- legs to my chest- hands to my forehead.  Almost in a defensive 'oval'.  

They take my Blood Pressure.   168/112.   I hear them call it, and I start crying all over again.  My blood pressure is usually the epitome of perfect.  NEVER above 120/80... averaging at about 117/78....   The number they call out terrifies me.   
My eyes are still shut.  Who knows how many dudes are in that bathroom with me (eh- who cares?!)  They ask me some questions- I try to answer.  Is Joshua in there, too? I don't know- can I open my eyes or can I just not see?  I don't know.  I bet Joshua knows.  I'll ask him later.

I cry when they tell me to stand up.  "I'm too scared to move."  The main guy- um?- I'll call him "Ken"- got behind me inside the tub.  He lifted me up, and felt my stomach. "Sweetie- it's soft.  Whatever's going on, you don't need to worry about anything rupturing. Okay?"  
I felt a twinge of embarrassment as he tried to help me get my shorts pulled up.  Akward situation- for both of us.  Once I was standing, I didn't want to change positions again.  That's when it hurts the most- they had brought a chair up to use to carry me down the stairs; and like a 4 year old- I cried all over again "I don't want to sit in that.... ..... (but?)...... I'm afraid to walk."
Ken told me that he'd hold onto me, and some other dude stood in front of me.  I held onto the stair rails for dear life and somehow made it outside where they had the stretcher....... more crying.......  I didn't wanna lay down.   


Ken said I could sit on it, and just lay to my side.   I curled up on my side and let them strap me.  My eyes were closed, so I couldn't tell where the ambulance was parked or who all was around me.  
It seemed like they rolled me and rolled me forever!  (Were they parked down the road?!?) I cracked open my eyes to see where I was- and I was still in the driveway.  
They lifted me into the ambulance (ouch! ouch! ouch!) and proceeded to work on me.  


By the way!!!?!?!   Did you know that Paramedics use LOGS as needles to start an IV? 




Ya. That's what if felt like.  Dudes couldn't find a vein.  (see above responses to "flight or fight"- constricted veins)
They tried to get a needle inside a vein on my wrist!!  Look at your wrist.  Bend your hand back away from it.... see that big bulgy vein-looking thing that sticks out?  That's the "vein" they stuck the log needle in.  (Vein- Tendon.... big diff)


The ambulance sat in our driveway for quite a while- my sister sat in the playroom with my children (so they wouldn't freak out)... for quite a while.   Thankfully they were sheltered from the trauma of their mommy being carried away by an ambulance.  Sadly- my nephew didn't get the luxury of that sheltering, and he was mortified.  I didn't know it until later, but he was pitifully upset- running up to Joshua and handing him a silly-band to give to me later.  Sweet, tender-hearted nephew of mine.  


The paramedics finally found a vein on my other hand, and called in my info to the hospital in seek of "orders" on how to administer care.  Morphine and Zofran.   It took the edge off.....  


During the ambulance ride I had another 'attack'.  I felt like I couldn't breath, my fingers went numb all over again- I was dizzy and everything was foggy.   "Ken" assured me that I was taking in oxygen; I had an oxygen tube in my nose.... of course I was getting oxygen.   But I couldn't breath.    I started crying all over again, asking "Do you have any idea what's wrong with me??" and saying "I'm really scared......" over and over.  Poor Ken.  He just sat there- watching my vitals, rubbing/patting my shoulder- He had no idea what was wrong with me.


My morphine kicked in a little better just before I got to the hospital, and inside the little room I was able to think (somewhat?) clearly.  My wrist was KILLING me from the 'mis-stick", I looked over at it, and there was a large piece of gauze wrapped around my wrist- soaked through to the top in a circular figure with blood.  On my right hand, the IV line that is inside my hand was filled with blood.... these guys must've really had a hard time with my veins?!


The nurse helped me get my clothes off and into a gown-  afterward I begged her "Please.... can you get a catheter.......??"   The pressure was still so intense!   Nurse-lady got around to my (desperate) request, and to my complete SHOCK- said to me "Honey, you've hardly got anything in that bladder- only 60 cc's.... "   


My brain is swimming... How is that possible?!?!    If I were to compare the pain I was in- it would be pretty comparable to being in pitocin-induced-labor, at 3 centimeters, just after your water had broke.  (That's the extent of labor pains I experienced before my epidural).  Pretty harsh stuff!  


They scanned my bladder (empty), and took my Blood Pressure again.  This time my BP read 115/60.  (Was it the morphine?)


After taking my blood, and scanning me over.... after administering Demerol, and feeding me a Turkey Sandwich- the doctor came in to explain the diagnosis.


"You have a raging Urinary Tract Infection...... as a result of the pain, you basically had an anxiety attack in your body-  it went into "Fight or Flight" mode....This explains why you were having trouble breathing, why your blood pressure sky-rocketed,  and what was happening to your body.  You were really lucky ........ to have had the symptoms that you had today...  "




This is when it actually hit home for me- It clicked that this scenario was all too familiar for me a few years ago.  But it wasn't me that experienced it, it was my sister.  
My sister went to her doctor with a high fever of 104 and was dismissed with a "Welcome to the Flu Season" casual response.....
A few days later, she found herself in the Emergency Room, hooked up to IV's... fighting for her life.  Septicemia had set in as a result from an undiagnosed Urinary Tract Infection.  Prior to her high fever, she had experienced no other symptoms.


Furthermore- my Papa died of Septicemia- after having a gallbladder attack, and not getting treatment right away..... he was hospitalized and treated... but he was too sick and too old to fight it.


For my mere {raging} UTI, I was given 2 separate pain medications, an anti-anxiety medication, and a hard-core antibiotic.  


In the past 3 days I've diligently taken my antibiotics, and unhappily taken my pain medication.  I've had more water than I can measure, and 3 liters of cranberry juice.


And.....I've been miserable


(a) because I'm freaked out that my body was infected and I didn't realize it... it's scary to think that I had no control over what happened to me- and that I had no way of knowing it was happening.... and


(b) because I have to take this crazy  pain medication, and it makes me feel all funny and 'out of it', and tired... on top of already being fatigued.


It all still feels surreal.  Like? I have to double check that Wednesday actually really happened.   I never want to experience it again...... 


This is the second time in the past MONTH  that I've seen the inside of those Emergency Room walls.  The second time this month that I've been treated with antibiotics and pain medication for an ailment that offered me no symptoms and no warning.  


I don't know what's going on ............



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"having it all planned out"

Remember those 15 containers that I prepped with love this past weekend?  Organic Vanilla Yogurt. Fresh strawberries. Blueberries.  Yum.

No.

Is it the flavor of the yogurt?  The newness of the 6 AM wake up time? What is it?

My. Girls. Won't. Eat. The. Yogurt!!!

First day of school.  My hand was patting my back allll over!  Oh. YES.  I got this.  I whipped out those beautiful 'red, white, and blue' layered containers and said with confidence "Ok.  Here's your yogurt. When we're done with breakfast, it'll be time to go to school.  Yaaaaay!"

And........ No.

Noses turned up.  Faces soured and scrunched.  "Bleghck!!!  This taste weird, Mommy.  I don't like it."

"It taste weird? Really!?! It's just vanilla yogurt with fruit... how does it taste weird?"

I tasted it.  "It's good! Try it again."  (No-Go.  Nobody liked it!)

No problem.  I'll just turn the unfavorable yogurt (how could they NOT love that?? They've had it in variations ALL. OF. THEIR. LIFE!!!) into a smoothie.  We all love smoothies ("smooth-me", if you're talking to Leah) .  We had 'em all the time over the summer.  No biggie.  I'm certain this will be happily digested by my 3 little miss'.

Nope.

They weren't having it.  (Maybe I need to add some frozen fruit to make it slushy?)

Still Nada.  Didn't help.

Finally (before I lost my good-will and first day of school mega-dose-of-patience abilities) I said in the happiest Mommy voice I own, "Well girlie's? This is our breakfast.  It's what we're going to have to eat (drink) because it's just about  time to leave.  Hold your nose if you need to."

And they did.  (Good girls!!!  They're so awesome!)

I had some organic Kashi cereal that I tossed in a little baggie for the car ride into school (just in case those bellies weren't full enough).

This morning I tried a new variation of the smoothie- one that I named "The Banana Split" (for their word play pleasure; not mine).  I dumped 3 of the yogurt/strawberry/blueberry containers into the blender, added 2 frozen bananas, frozen pineapple and Vrrrrrrooooooommm!!!!!   I also cracked a few eggs open on the griddle (just in case).

Smoothies and Eggs on the table.
Dressed and ready to go girls.
Another gonna be great morning!!!  Whoo Hooo.
They loved the eggs!! (Phew!) but "Yuuck-Eeeee"d the smoothie.

(Again!?!)

I'm pretty sure that 6 AM taste buds are totally different than 9 AM taste buds on kids.  It's just abnormal that they don't love this breakfast.  It's not a new concept to them.  Makes no sense.

I'm not even gonna bother with the yogurt tomorrow.  It won't go to waste, though. I'll use it as an after-school snack (hopefully their 2:30 taste buds like the smoothies??)

All in all- not going as planned on the pre-prepped breakfast.
Lunch is a success.  A friend mentioned the possible high sodium content with the V-8 Juice and Ham.
Noted. And appreciated.  Lemon water was sent today. (They looove LEMON water!)  I'll alternate.

I've already got next week's breakfast (Not Yogurt) planned.  Working on lunch ideas. (Not Ham)

Would love some input on what your serving this week in the lunch box.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just had to share.  God is sooooo COOOL!!!!  I went to my sister's house this morning (to remove myself from being pitiful about dropping the girls' off for their first day of school).  My sis- she's got some incredible things happening in her life.  God is moving.  I love it.  The last part of our conversation was based on the fact that her son was in need of some clothes (summer growth spurt).  She's recently unemployed (another cool "God story" for another blog) and just asked me to keep an eye out.

After leaving her house- I stopped at our local thrift shop.  The guy there knows us (we're frequent shoppers) and knows that I'm often followed my 3 adorable little girls.  But he asked "Hey.  You don't have a boy, do you?"

"No.  I have a nephew, though."

Guy: "OH!  Well? This lady called us a while back, and asked us to save boys clothes for her.  I've called her and called her, but she won't come get these clothes." (and he points to a large garbage back).

"Wow.  My nephew is in need!!  That'd be great."

So he pulled out the sizes I requested, and bagged them up.  I thanked him (profusely!) and he said "Don't thank me.  It's Jesus.  I normally wouldn't have even asked.  I guess the Holy Spirit just prompted me to."

And I told him how AWESOME it is that we just left my sister's house having discussed this very need for her son to get some clothes.

Now? Don't get me wrong.  They are NOT impoverished by any means.  They are just having to be extremely careful in their finances right now.  My  nephew grew completely OUT of all of the clothes he owned- and his new school clothes will "do" for now, but he is in need of an entire wardrobe.  Summer, Fall, and Winter.  That's a LOT to take on.

And the bag of items he was given were good, nice, clothes.

This is basically a testimony to how miraculous God is in providing- but not JUST in providing- but in being so forward in telling us (so directly) that HE Will supply ALL. OF. OUR. NEEDS.

As a bonus, while in there I was looking for a little purse to throw my basics in (now that I don't HAVE to have my 'mom bag' anymore.)  Look what God blessed me with (for $2).


Ya.  My God is awesome.  And He's sweet.  And He gives us MORE than we need, too!!

So thankful.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Healthy Eating: Economical + Green = School Lunch Box Convenient

A friend posted a comment on Facebook regarding an article in our local paper about healthy eating.  Her response to this article was this :

"{I'm} in disbelief that our local paper published an article on packing healthy school lunches and encouraged Nutella, a product full of sugar and saturated fat. Wouldn't it be a better idea next time to interview a nutritionalist rather than a couple of moms and a grandmother who writes a blog?


Agreed, Beth!!  There is a certain naiveness regarding "healthy" food choices. I'm no expert, and I can't claim to be 100% in this area; but I can attest to having a bit of a grasp on what 'healthy eating' should look like.  Nutella? It's a fun treat to have, but (as Beth insinuated) not necessarily an ideal daily lunch option.

This stemmed an idea to share what "we" (Healthy Mom's) are going to be packing in our children's lunch boxes, and what we'll be serving for breakfast in the mornings.

Lord knows I'd love to commit to posting on this subject weekly; to be honest- this may be my first and my last post- but let's hope for the best, shall we?

Here's what's in our fridge this week, prepped and ready to serve on Monday morning (and on through Friday):

Breakfast: (the most important meal of the day)


Protein is an essential start to a good morning.  It offers the body stamina, unlike the sugar-filled/sugar-producing carbohydrate; which ends in a big-fat-crash mid morning.  Having made stake to the claim that I realize this truth- I also realize the importance of a nice balance alongside the need for convenience.


This weeks breakfast? 

Organic (Vanilla)Yogurt- 
 with fresh strawberries and frozen blueberries.


(I've here and there invested in these Rubbermaid reusable containers (varied sizes)  when they were on sale. 
Worthy investment when deciding to "go green" as well as "economical".)

So- I brought out 15 of my (2 cup) containers and sliced up some fresh strawberries into the bottom of the cup.  I added the yogurt (about 1/2 cup per container) and then topped with frozen blueberries.

The prep work was key for me to be certain that I wouldn't find myself rushed in the morning and decide to just give the kids a granola bar or something less nutrient rich.  I did this Saturday night after everyone had gone to bed.  It didn't take long- but it would have been more tedious had all 3 girls been running a muck through the house.

Alrighty.  Now the math:
Yogurt: (2,  32 oz. containers at $3.99 per container) $8.00
Strawberries (16 oz ) $2.00
Blueberries (Maybe $1- Trader Joes frozen blueberries are super cheap- and I used a teeeny tiny portion)
All in all- breakfast for the week, per child, per day: $0.75  *SEVENTY FIVE CENTS*


LUNCH: (what in the world can fit in that lunch bag?)


Balanced nutrition is so important to me, for my kids. This weeks lunch is about as balanced as it gets!

Ham sandwich on 12 grain wheat bread
String cheese 
Grapes
V-8
Cute lil' portion of cookies


Full Confession: I totally did a "mock" lunch bag just to get this blog up before school started. 

 This is part of my pre-prep in making lunch this week.  The containers of grapes are already divvy'd out and stored in the "lunch box drawer" (aka- the produce drawer), along with the string-cheese.  


I'll freshly make the sandwiches each night before school (eventually sneaking in some green leaf lettuce and hummus to the equation), and that bottle of V-8 Juice is my way of green-living-efforts meet budget-friendly-standards by reusing our water bottles for the juice instead of buying individual cans of it.  

(This container is holding less than half of the 1.4 oz (snack sized) bag of cookies pictured)

I bought these little mini containers to use for "dessert".  Through out the year, my plan is to put a small portion (about 1/2 oz. or so?) of M&M's, mini-cookies, or the like- to "sweeten" up lunch time.  Primarily, though- I'll find a dark chocolate or an organic cookie to fill them with- depending on the season. 


In all honesty- I would prefer to lessen the sugar content in each meal.  Yogurt is (of course) a healthy breakfast, but this particular yogurt (Stonyfield French Vanilla) has more sugar than I'd care for- but it was all I could find without getting to go to Trader Joe's for more options.  I like the idea of using a Greek Yogurt much better.  (It's got more protein and less sugar per serving, but it's more challenging to find it in a 32 oz container)


In addition- using 'reusable' containers NOT ONLY allows for  more economical options, as well as being sweet to our environment, but it also allows us (mom's) to see what it is our children are eating at lunch time- telling us whether we need to put less or more into the lunch box, and also allowing us to save food by serving the 'leftovers' (pending a good enough cooler) as an after school snack.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zoe.

My Zoe.  I can't believe she's already a big 5 year old.  And she'll be in Kindergarten in 2 days!!!!

Who could prepare for the fastness of life, when "all of the sudden", the babies are growing into big girls?  I can't.  Kyla is 7, now Zoe is 5, and Leah?- she'll be 3 soon enough.  There are no more babies in this Anderson House.  Just "big girls" and "little girls".  (Where's that tissue box?!?)

It was a sweet day, August 5, 2005, and August 5- this year.  Thankfully, it was a Thursday.  Mother's Morning Out  (Miss Kelly's school, as Leah affectionately calls it).  I took Kyla and Leah to Miss Kelly, so that  Zoe and I could have a little date.

First stop: A Big Girl hair cut.
We went to a place in Gainesville that (I thought?!) offered kids cuts for 'the age' of the kid. (Nah. They don't.)  I called ahead and double checked (hmmm? the answer was "yes" they still do this) and scheduled Zoe's cut in a perfect time frame- right after I dropped off the other girls to MMO.

Suh-weet!!!

So? Zoe got her hair trimmed, and ready for school.

I'm thinking each stylist prices their hair cuts differently at this place.  Zoe's cut was $7-  ..... but later we went back, and Kyla's cut was $15?  It was confusing and I was embarrassed to have gotten caught off guard by the big difference in the price vs. the price we were told... but- Kyla's cut is supremely gorgeous.  All in all, after the cuts and tips- the girls hair cuts cost $30.  Kinda painful for a not-planned-for expense (when we called, my understanding was that it would only be a grand total of $12 plus tip).

But having a new "do" for school is worth it.  And did I mention that they got GREAT cuts?

So, after Zoe's hair cut, I played follow the leader- and let Zoe tell me where she wanted to go.
"Let's walk down here....." (to a boutique sort of place).  I told her that we could pick out a few special gifts while we were on our date; but each little item she picked up, she said something like "This can be for Kyla!!  Can we get this for Daddy? OH! Look!!!!! This can be for LEAH!"  We left having not picked out a single item for Zoe.

 We went to a few more places.  The Children's Place recently opened a little store in town, and that's where Zoe found her treasures (x2).  Her "soul sister" Eliana turns 5 this week.  She wanted Eliana's birthday present to match her birthday present.
A (too cute) bathing suit; complete with matching headband, and flip-flops.  Thankfully!!!! The Children's Place was having an outstanding sale and this x2 didn't end our shopping trip.

What was hilarious though- is that after a few minutes in the store Zoe would say "I'm ready to get out of here now.  Can we leave?" and then she would wander over to something that captured her interest, and a few minutes later say again "Can we get out of this store now?" and so on and so on..... 15 minutes later- we finally left.  Silly girl.

Against my better (economical) judgment, Zoe found 2 little hair bows that she sweetly requested. I had to bite my tongue- they were just little hair-ties, one with a princess crown attached to it, the other with a heart attached to it.  Hair ties!  That's it.  $3.50 each???  It was her birthday... and I sucked it up.  And honestly, I was glad I did.  She was super proud of her "special hair bows" to wear to Kindergarten.  (I couldn't tell you where they were right now, though.  Sigh!)

We went to another store and found a  new pair of shoes, and another set of hair ties (she had to get them- the tag said "Zoe Zoe"- literally.)

It was time to eat- and where did Sweet Girl wanna go?


Ahhh.  A child after my own heart.  Yay!!!
We shared Fajita Nachos (with shrimp!) and Sopapilla (since they were all out of Fried Ice Cream!) and talked and hung out at El Som for about an hour.

After lunch it was time to pick up the girls from Mother's Morning Out, and we left to get Kyla's hair cut before heading home- to get ready for OPEN HOUSE!!!!

Open House will be another blog, on another day (this IS about Zoe, ya know!) But to say that we're so thankful for how great it all went would be an UNDERSTATEMENT!  We are more than pleased with our teachers (so far).

After Open House, Zoe picked Chick Fil A for dinner.  And we had our usual's.  Joshua's dad (Pa) joined us, and the girls had a good time visiting with him.

Through out the day, our family sent voice mail happy birthday songs to Zoe, and text messages wishing her a Happy Birthday.  It was adorable to see her face light up with giddyness after each message or voice mail.

Zoe's the kind of kid that responds so well from a simple SMile.  I can be irritated and have a sour face- and it have nothing to do with her- but she'll still ask "Mommy? Are you mad at me?" and all I have to do, to reassure her that I am happy with her? Smile.  Smile big- and say "Noooo, Zoe- I'm not mad at you at all."  And her little shoulders go up and she smiles a joyous smile all through out her face, and says "Ohhh- I'm glad. I. LOVE. YOU. MOMMY!!!!"

My precious Zoe.  I do love her. She brings so much joy to our house.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Walking Through Those Doors....

I walked through the Elementary school doors this morning ready to take that big-deep-breath of surrender.
"We're doing it.  We're gonna go through with it.  It'll be ok." Sigh........

I pumped the girls up as we were driving (all 10 minutes) to the school.
"You're going to have such a great time when you go to school, we're going to pray that you get the PERFECT teacher... OH!  Look at that playground......"

I had (almost) all of my documents to hand over to the administration.  Save one.  OH! The one.
The one that caused us unnecessary grief 2 years prior.  The one that led to a nasty-glare from the secretary when I first turned it in.  And inappropriate comments to my daughter (by the teacher).

The Immunization Waiver.

"You know!!! Kids get SICK when they come to school. They NEED those shots!" (Said the mean-old-lady behind that big-tall-desk 2 years ago)

This go 'round I had no waiver.  I needed to get it notarized in order to make it legit.  So? Per Ga.Dept. of Education's Policy (which states that this particular document needed to be on turned in upon entrance to school) I was going to wait to turn in that form at Open House.

I walked through the doors with chipper bouncy steps following close,  beside and behind me.  They. Were. So. Excited!  Into the office we walked, confident and ready!  Out came the words from trying-to-be-chipper-too lips  "Hi. We're here to register for school."
...... and back fired the look.... the one that said "Oh YA!!! I remember YOU! You're a trouble maker..... "

"You'll need to have your birth certificate and your ss card and your immunization records before you can register."  (I have everything I need except the immunization form.  I'll bring that to Open House.)
"No. You can't register with out it." (Ok? Can I go ahead and fill out the forms now since we're here,  and I'll bring it to you in the morning....? I have all the other documents you need.)
"No. You can't do ANYTHING until you have all of the documents."

Out I walked after a (as polite as I could) "Thankyou."
In my car I loaded up my confused little girls- and out I whipped my handy-dandy iPhone.
Safari.
Google.
Ga. Dept. of Education
Phone number in sight.
Tap.
Ring. Ring. Ring.

Sweet-as-honey lady answered the phone and heard the bent up frustration I had been holding in for all of 47 seconds + 2 years-ago prior experience with this particular school.
And sweet-as-honey concurred.  "Of course those forms were not required upon registration, but only with in the first few days of school."
She was sympathetic that we had been turned away. And that our prior experience was distasteful.  And "well? how bout you find another school to go to, inside the county? I don't blame you for not wanting to go there!" (I wish we could- but there aren't any available slots for us.) "Oh, honey. I understand...."

She decided that I (insert southern accent with a twang) "need  to contact your principal about the importance of making this a good school year... and you just let him know that you feel concerned that you were met with difficulty before you were even able to register.  And honey, if that doesn't work, I have a dear friend at the central office- here's her name and her number.  You give her a call, and she'll be more than happy to help you out."

This phone conversation made me feel better.  And then I got home... and the memory of that stinker behind the desk sent anger-bumps all over me, all OVER again.  I called my husband.  And. I. Vented.  My face got all hot and I my tone got all bitter, and I think a swear word flew out of my mouth.  (Maybe 2.... or 3?)

Venting done.  Onto Google.  I read all the rules and regulations regarding the Department of Educations' registration policy.  I printed them out.  And. I. Highlighted!  Ya.  That's right. And circled the words "Upon Entrance".  

And on I went to take my daughters to my sister- so that I could go back into the school and meet with the counselor.  (And a tissue box.)

We talked about the situation- and let me just stop here and add- It's such a good thing I had 10 minutes alone in my car out in that parking lot to PRAY.  I was so torn up with pride and anger that I was ready to shove my little print out in that mean-ol' secretary's face and tell her where she could SHOVE my non-existent immunization forms.

Ya.  It was a good 10 minutes.  I know- I'm super Christian, right? Swearing and talk of shoving forms somewhere bad.... No.  I'm not super ANYTHING.  Those 10 minutes in my car, radio on, praying "God? I'm pretty sure this is what I am suppose to be doing. Did I get it wrong? Tell me now." Those 10 minutes made the next 60 minutes all the better.  Pride- GONE.  Anger- Lukewarm, not boiling.

Moving on.  Counselor and I talked.  And she understood my concerns. (I think it must be in the job description?)  Not just about my earlier mornings experience, but also about the 2 years-ago (trauma) we went through.  She made no promises, but did say that she was 'pulling' for Kyla to get a specific teacher that she thinks would be a perfect fit.  And we talked about Zoe.. and how she would pretty much make her day fun with anyone; but that Kyla's previous teacher was not an option due to past tension.  Sigh.  Feeling good at this point.

And the bottom line is this.  I didn't speak to that secretary again.  Counselor talked with her and came back to me with a "Well? The county page says that it's required upon registration- but the State's page doesn't say that.  I think they may have that policy in place here just to make things easier."

We did NOT register today. (You know? To make it 'easier' on the administration.....)

I will be waking up (yay!) early to take our papers to be notarized, and retry the registration process again.  And? That just gives me one-more-day to pray that we get THE PERFECT teachers for our children.  And pray that I continue to drop my pride and shed some of the bitterness I have.

I'll leave you with each girls' list of things they wanted us to pray for about what kind of teacher they get:

Kyla
*That she's pretty
*And she's nice
*And when I write something wrong she'll say "Oh- look?-I think you made a little mistake right there. Let's try again." instead of "It's wrong! Erase it and do it over!"  (this one made me sad)
*And that she loves Jesus and God
*And that she'll get us to pray before we eat our lunch

Zoe
*I want her to have curly hair
*And be able to climb trees
*And I want her to sing
*And..... that she's nice
*And.........??? I don't know what else....?