Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From Picky Eaters to Not-As-Picky Eaters

I wish I could say my kids will eat anything and everything but, ahem, we're not there yet.  However we are moving in the right direction!

Can I get an Alleluia?

We were sitting at dinner and I was watching the kids eat their chicken, and salad and cauliflower-mashed potatoes (just throw a chopped up head of cauliflower in the pot with the boiling potatoes ~ instant added nutrition), while hearing them rave about the simple meal, and I thought about how far we've come.  

JP & Andrew, so cute!
Eamon & Gammy
I think they ate mashed potatoes and rolls this Thanksgiving.

Our oldest is a great eater, always tried everything and rarely complains about any food I serve.  But the next three were quite picky, and we grew accustomed to making them typical kid meals - chicken nuggets, hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, pizza.  I would bribe them to eat their pizza so they could get ice cream, whatever it took!  There were times I was just desperate to get food - of any variety - into their bellies.

Maggie Moo and her incredibly sweet teeth.
I would see other kids eating soups and salads and casseroles and wonder what on Earth had happened to my children.  Where did I go wrong?  I decided to reclaim their taste buds.  

Reclaim our whaaaaat?
We stopped buying a lot of processed foods and started cooking real foods just for health reasons.  I made sure to add at least one vegetable to dinner and fruits throughout the day.  We cut back on sweet treats for dessert, and give them things like fruit smoothies, yogurt, and sliced fruit instead.  We stopped giving milk with dinner, and instead gave them water so that they would eat more food.  Milk is now served as a before bed filler-upper.  Cuz you know they're gonna say they're hungry.

The kids would always eat a couple of veggies like corn and broccoli, so I kept adding those to their plates while adding in sneaky nutrition wherever I could.  Ground turkey instead of hamburger, pureed veggies in the meatballs, sauces and soups, flax seeds in the muffins, spinach in their smoothies, bone broth in the gravy, whatever I could do!  I figured I could make them eat healthier without them even knowing so that they were growing accustomed to the tastes.  I started making soups that I knew they would like the flavor of (like Bacon Cheeseburger Soup) knowing I was able to get in all sorts of veggies.  They loved it and I couldn't believe my kids finally ate soup!  

Eating a fancy meal of Chicken Cordon Bleu.

Slowly, we started adding more vegetables and new foods to their plates instead of trying to hide it.  We would rationalize with them "You love sour cream and onion chips, so you actually do like the taste of onions!" or "Spinach doesn't even have a taste, it's like an invisible superhero!"  Gradually they just adapted and now I can serve them such a wide variety of food (except seafood, I haven't won them over in that department yet, but this Lent it's my goal).  I don't even have to puree all the veggies and hide them anymore, they will (mostly) eat it even if they spy a chunk of tomato or pepper or onion.  I also have them help me in the kitchen, or ask their opinions when I meal plan, and they love feeling involved and seem to eat better.

It's also become so much easier the older they get, but even my younger ones are eating much wider variety than my older ones were at the same age.   And if they choose not to, well...they don't get anything else.  It's their choice, I'm their mom not their short-order cook!  But I will still give them a cup of milk before bed, because I'm also fond of sleeping :)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Career Aspirations

You wanna know my ultimate dream job?

To be a stay-at-home mom...

 When all my kids are in school.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Finding Sanity in 7 Quick Steps

After 36 years of life, I know what makes me feel happy and sane.  Here they are in no particular order...



Can't beat that natural high that comes from working out.  It's time alone, getting healthy, clearing your mind and working off those calories.



I'm not much of a sweets person, as too much sugar can make me anxious, but I love me some fatty dishes.  I try to eat healthy 80% of the time, but the other 20% is for full on indulgences.  And I don't feel guilty at all.  Treats are for enjoying!



We love sending our kids to our parish school.  I look around on social media and see so many moms who are so sad to be away from their chickadees for the day, and I may be a terrible mother, but I do not feel that way at all.  Sending my kids to an awesome Catholic school was always our dream, and we all thrive on it.  It just works for us!



Phil and I love to get out a whenever possible.  I'd rather pay $100 a month on a date/babysitter than spend that money on marriage counseling.  Date nights are fun therapy!



I know I just said I spend money on date nights, but for pretty much everything else we do, I try to find the most inexpensive option.  Home haircuts, home cooking, cheap family entertainment, sales and coupons,  I truly enjoy getting a good deal, it's like a sport for me, and I'm competitive!!



The kids over the age of 4 have a list of chores that is their duty.  Once a week, we can say "Everybody do your chore chart" and the house gets pretty much all cleaned.  It's awesome!  Of course during the week it's Phil and I who have to do all the daily cleanups as they have hardly any time between school and sports and homework.  But on the weekend, the house gets a good scrubbing!



Any chance we have, we try to get out of the house and do something together as a family.  Usually it's something active like a family walk or bike ride or swim at the beach.  We look for free things to do like going to a park or the library or a playground or Mass or Adoration orConfession.  Sometimes we just splurge and get ice cream!  It's always at the end of a day filled with family time that I go to bed super happy and fulfilled, no matter what we did together.

And that's a wrap, here's to hoping you find peace and happiness this weekend!  Go see Kelly for more quick takes :)