Honey Dill Drumsticks

honeydillchicken

I wish I had buckled down and done more life planning a year ago because this is the most efficient I have ever been! Things are getting done around the house and I am getting through my courses quickly! The best part of the planning is that we are not scrambling to get meals made because we’ve done most of the prep work in advance! If you haven’t already had the chance to read this post about how I became important, go read it! Maybe you’ll get some ideas for your own life!

Mini Grain-Free Turtle Pies

turtlepie1

There are no turtles in these pies! I repeat…NO TURTLES!

Turtle pie was (is?) my favourite pie and it’s been one of the only things I’ve wondered if I could make grain-free. I did a tutorial for the original version of this pie a few years ago¬†and you can see that there is a LOT of not so wonderful ingredients in there. I am a little embarrassed that I used to make 2 pies and they would last under 2 days. Wow!

Nut-Free, Dairy-Free Strawberries & Cream No-oatmeal

strawberries_and_cream

Variety is the spice of life…or something like that… I like routine and going with what works. If the kids enjoy a meal, I’m going to make it enough times that they eventually tell me that they can’t stand it. They may not admit that they enjoy trying new things but, the truth is, they need a change up every so often! This is especially true when it comes to breakfast. Eggs are the base for almost every breakfast in our house and I am forced to come up with new ways to get them eating the eggs without them eating plain eggs.

Go check out my blog post (Feeding My Little Omnivores) to see how I’m dealing with the struggles of mealtime.

How I Became Important

iamimportant

The lady on the yoga mat next to me leaned over one day and said “I would love to see your house. I’m sure it is so organized!”. I gave her a confused look and she pointed out my meticulously placed blocks, water bottle, and socks beside my mat. I admitted to her that my house is organized because it needs to be. Our schedule and calendar are organized because, if they weren’t, all hell would break loose. That’s putting it lightly, actually. Without organization, I’m pretty sure the dollar store glue that is holding the last shreds of my sanity would crumble away and I would run away to a deserted island in the middle of nowhere.

My house runs on a fridge calendar with everything from the kids’ activity schedules, the kids’ appointments, the kids’ school events, and random scribbles for the groceries we have run out of. Beside the fridge calendar is a weekly menu plan that includes breakfast, lunch, and supper as well as any baking I need to do for the kids’ lunches.

Did you happen to notice that I don’t mention important events in MY life? Yoga is on Tuesdays, Parent Council is the 3rd Monday or Tuesday of the month, and occasionally I have an appointment that I write down. I have completely forgotten about myself! I write down what the kids will be having for breakfast and lunch but I forget about myself. Some days, after I have made the kids chocolate chip pancakes, I am too tired to make myself breakfast so I shovel down a couple of their pancakes and call it good. Lunch is whatever I can find in the fridge. Sometimes I just eat what the little kids don’t eat.

Aside from the yoga class, I have turned into a sedentary sloth. Activity? Meehhhhhhh….maybe tomorrow. If I’m lucky, I’ll do a couple of counter pushups and bitch that I didn’t get insta-biceps. It’s freaking cold out most days and I don’t want to go for a walk! Oh, the days that it is nice enough to walk are the days that I end up texting my husband with “OMG WHY DO I EVEN GO FOR WALKS????” because the dog wants a fast paced walk while the little kids meander, run, whine, cry, fall,… I end up with a nearly dislocated shoulder from the dog pulling and a sore arm from carrying someone home. (that someone may or may not be doing the wet noodle)

I’ve really allowed my life to become an epic disaster. I’ve put on 10 pounds. I have fallen way behind in my course. I have low energy. I snack because I’m bored. I drink wine and have lattes and eat chocolate and go for fro-yo and….. this became a daily thing!

Something changed for me when I read a blog post from one of my good friends¬†about goal attainment. I was living a life of hope. I hope I can lose these 10 pounds. I hope I can catch up in my course. I just hoped…but hope doesn’t get shit done. Doing gets shit done. I felt so overwhelmed with my lack of doing that the thought of opening up my text book shared me…”why do anything anyway? I’m already behind?”. The idea of cleaning up my diet pissed me off…”I’m already gaining weight, I might as well just drink the last of this wine and OMG CHOCOLATE!!!”.

The post hit me right in the old think box and I realized that there is no way for me to catch up, clean up, lose weight, etc… without tackling just a little at a time. Why can’t I just read 10 pages? Or consciously eat? Or set aside 30 minutes to play Just Dance with the kids? I can! How do I become important in my own life?? I’ve done it!

Here’s how I’m changing myself, one week at a time.

-A weekly plan: Much like our weekly meal plan, I sit down on Sundays and I write a weekly plan. First I jot down everything I would like to get done in the upcoming week. I start with household chores that I have to do…laundry x3, dusting, sweeping, clean bathrooms. Then I add in one or two larger tasks…taking the clothes that are too small out of Anya’s drawers, cleaning the pantry, wiping down living room furniture. And finally, I make myself important by writing down personal tasks….study 100 pages, yoga, swimming, exercise videos, walk.

-A daily plan: I take all of the weekly tasks and split them up by days. I know which days will be too busy to add any more than necessary so I use those days to do a couple of household chores and a couple of personal tasks. (no cheatin

g myself even on busy days!!) On breezy days, I fill up a little more…maybe an extra 10-15 studying pages, the exercise video, AND Just Dance!

-Delegate: The older 2 boys take turns sweeping and emptying the dishwasher. Boy #3 is in charge of dusting/washing windows. They all take 5 minutes and do a quick cleaning blitz. My husband helps prep breakfast so I can be more efficient in the mornings. This part is a little tough on my perfectionist personality because my 9 year old doesn’t sweep as well as I would but I have to learn to let things go. I will sweep once a week to get the corners and I will just ignore the dog fur tumble weed as I walk down the hallway.

-Write it down: I never got into counting calories or tracking my foods. I was happy to eat what I wanted, when I wanted as long as I was eating well. That’s all fine and good if everything is going well. Things are not going well. I eat because things are in front of me…so much so that at the end of the day, I have no idea what I’ve eaten! Writing things down holds me accountable to myself when I step on the scale. I can’t be the victim at my own hands anymore and cry to my husband “I don’t know why I’m not losing weight! I eat well!!!”. It’s a lie….a dirty, downright lie! My brain/body connection is messed up and as soon as I sit on the couch, I want a snack. And another snack. And I may still sneak into the kitchen while my husband is putting the littlest boy to bed to grab something else. Knowing that I have to write down what I’m eating (with no intention of counting calories or figuring out my macronutrients) means I won’t have extras. I can’t face the extras knowing that they were for nothing!

-Find myself: Yoga has been one of the best things I could have done for myself. I love every minute of it. (except when people fart…I could do with less farting) I can get into myself. I promise that I will do no harm to my body and I search within for what makes me happy. The other thing that I’ve given myself again is reading for fun. I felt such guilt over reading for pleasure when I was supposed to be reading text books that I’ve forgotten how great it is to lay in the tub for hours while reading.

The results, so far, have been pretty amazing. I am finally finished the text book that had me wondering if I was meant to be in school. I am exercising daily and eating well. Aaaaaaand….I have lost 5 pounds!

My life felt like a series of hurdles that I couldn’t seem to leap over and it wasn’t until I got inside of my own brain that I realized that it’s not a matter of leaping over them. I can pull up my step stool and climb over them. I don’t need to race other people to the finish line. I can take the time to enjoy the accomplishments I’m making without the pressure! I am important!

 

Feeding My Little Omnivores

wylderkalechips

“I have a confession…my oldest child hates eating paleo so much that I am starting to dislike mealtime.”

That’s what I posted on my Facebook page last week and the responses really blew me away. So many parents are in the same boat and it can be the most difficult thing to cope with since we are feeding them three times a day!

When I first started this Paleo journey in May 2011, I did it for entirely selfish reasons. I was sick. I was tired. I needed to change my life or my life would have swallowed me up. It wasn’t supposed to be more than 30 days but the results were so spectacular that I kept going. I pulled my husband in after a couple of months and the kids a couple months after that.

I transitioned the kids slowly and breakfast was the last switch but I’ve found that breakfast is, by far, the most difficult meal. Why? The kids are so freaking sick of eggs. Eggs, eggs, eggs…some variation of eggs, it seems, at every single breakfast! There are days that I seriously feel like picking up a couple of boxes of cereal so that I don’t have to cook a hot meal at 6:30 every morning. There are days that I think about the cereal dispensers that I so coveted while the kids were eating cereal and my mind is drawn to just how easy breakfast could be.

I convinced my oldest into Paleo by promising him bacon and steak for breakfast sometimes. Bacon and steak is old news now…even for me. Boy #2 must absolutely have his bacon crisp or he won’t eat it. The line between crisp bacon and burnt bacon isn’t a big one and, unfortunately, I have served burnt bacon before.

Lunches are getting increasingly more difficult now that boy #1 is in middle school. Their lunch break is 15 minutes and there are 4 microwaves for a school of over 700 kids which means that he isn’t eating his lunch most days! To make this work, we have bought gluten-free bread and he has started taking sandwiches. Factor in lunch time activities taking away eating time for the elementary school duo and we’ve been sending 3 kids with gluten-free sandwiches. It’s an accommodation that I don’t feel very happy about but the kids were coming home with nearly uneaten lunches every single day. I would rather my kids have a sandwich versus not eating for an 8 hour period every day.

Then there’s supper…. 7 people with 7 personalities and 7 different tastes. Every supper is becoming a battle of who hates what! I gave in a little and started cooking some rice and white potatoes once a week to give the kids a break from the usual sweet potatoes/squash/root vegetables. As excited as they were about the idea of having these foods again, the reaction to them wasn’t all fireworks and confetti. It was food. They ate it. It wasn’t amazing.

The most startling reaction to the rice/potatoes was littlest boy who is nearly 3 and had only been eating solid food for a couple of months before we switched to Paleo. He absolutely refuses to eat rice or potatoes! Put a plate of sweet potatoes or broccoli in front of him and he is thrilled but no way, no how, gag it back up if we happen to slip some into his mouth when it comes to rice or white potatoes!

Littlest boy is not necessarily adventurous when it comes to food but he loves all of the things the older boys don’t. Kale chips are a great example. Only 2 of my kids will eat it…boy #3 will eat some but little boy will take down an entire batch as a pre-supper snack!

I often get asked “What do you do when the kids go to birthday parties or a friend’s house?”. What do I do? Nothing. Do I hope that my kids make good choices when they’re away from me? Absolutely. Do I think that they do make good choices? Nope. I’m under no illusion that they eat chips, candy, spaghetti, birthday cake, ice cream, soda pop,… when they leave the house and they have absolutely no reason to hide it from me. I’m okay with that because controlling their food would absolutely swallow me whole and it would make us all miserable.

We are working on restoring harmony right now. My husband and I are both following the Squeaky Clean Paleo plan from Practical Paleo and I am making substitutions where it matters for the kids (ie. Apple Bumpkin Breakfast Bake or Autumn Spice No-oatmeal vs leftover salmon for breakfast). I’ve given up some of the control when it comes to the kids and it’s given me control over my own life again.

Oh..stay tuned for a blog post about how I’ve given myself control over my own life again!

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