Saturday, February 27, 2010

Food, To Go or To Not Go the Organic Way

In life, I think we tend to go in wide loops as a society. Sometimes we veer off of those loops and maybe start on a new one. An example of this would be, in my grandparents' generation a lot of them smoked and drank through out their pregnancies and it seems most of our parents turned out just fine but the industries realized that there were detrimental side effects and started a trend to removing those two habits from a pregnant woman. A second example, would be when my kids' doctor first started practicing medicine (30+ years ago) it was okay to start feeding a baby rice cereal at 2 weeks of age! They found, though, that the feeding of rice cereal early on could cause digestive issues so they moved it to the age we know now, 4 months.

I was blessed and had a mom who stayed home with us. She cooked us dinner every night. We ate tacos, spaghetti and a lot of times our normal meal was some sort of meat, a starch, a veggie and a salad. My husband ate similarly to this. His mom worked a little more than my mom did outside of the house but she was there to make dinners at night as well. I was able to help peel potatoes, throw a salad together, make my own tacos, etc while I was growing up. I had a mom who taught me the basics of cooking.

But as in anything our society started its way down a loop. This loop began in the 60s with the movement that women were equal to men and could do what a man did. There have been a lot of positives and negatives that have come out of this movement but one thing that came out of it was homes where both parents worked.

As we looped into this 2 parents out of the house cycle the food industry came through for us! They made so many items that are boxed, canned and frozen where if you just add water or stick in the microwave or oven after a set period of time you have a whole meal. How wonderful was that and still is for these people who work 40+ hours a week and then have to go home and think about dinner. When I worked 2 days a week, with my husband working 60 hours a week and having 2 small children those were the nights we tended to grab a pizza or find something easy. Thankfully I am blessed in another way where I have a husband who cooks as well! So if he had energy he would make dinner. Even while I was working we never ate boxed anything but we would go the frozen route some. I think when you're used to making items from scratch, especially potato items, you never go backwards to boxed. It's just NOT the same! Anyway I'm getting off on a tangent.

Now we're seeing a new trend. Or at least in my circle I am seeing a new trend. Most of my female friends are stay at home moms too. I think this tends to happen we hang out with people who are in similar circumstances to ourselves but because of my Facebook world, I see a lot of everything in my friends on there. Friends who stay at home, friends who are single parents, friends who work but in a lot of those friends I am seeing a trend towards organic, vegetarian, and other healthy diets that do not come from boxed or frozen foods. So as we start to trend to a society who is realizing that processed sugar really isn't that great for us we are seeing changes.

Trans fat is being removed from a lot of foods, we are going from white flour to whole wheat. So the industry is all ready starting to make some positive trend changes. We still have Doritos and Chipsahoy cookies that are readily available to consume. But since we are a nation founded on the principals that we are free then people get to decide how healthy or unhealthy they want to be. I do believe that people need to educate themselves and make decisions on what they learn. If they decide to eat a diet riddled in processed, fatty, sugary food that is their prerogative.

I think sometimes it's easy to think that THEY want us to be fat and eating whatever THEY put in front of us. I then wonder who THEY are. My opinion is THEY move slowly but THEY move in the directions we move. And some of us are moving in a direction where we want fruits and vegetables free from pesticides, we want meat free from hormones and antibiotics. I know some people will say look at the meat industry, it took the book, The Jungle, to make some changes but really the meat industry hasn't progressed too well. And I don't disagree with that sentiment. I'm not sure that that particular industry has a lot of interest in changing. Thankfully, though, we have options, people choose to go vegetarian and others can choose to buy meat from stores that only sell organic, hormone/antibiotic free meat. We pay more for it and may always pay more for it but we have the options. But I see the food industry as a whole, as an industry who is giant and slow moving but that it does follow in the direction that the majority of us are going.

I think buying and going organic is pricey and not always an option for everyone. But I do think even if a household has 2 parents who work out of the house that you can make decisions on how to eat better. People can cook a bunch of meals over the weekend and freeze them or people can choose easy meals to make. Eating well and from scratch only has to be complicated if you want to make it complicated. Throwing a fresh salad together with rice and a meat, if you eat it, is easy and doesn't take long. Costco sells 1 pound of organic salad for $3.69 here and it can last a whole week for a family. It is yummy, high quality lettuce and costs less than 2 of the bagged pre-made salads the grocery store sells.

I know I have been putting a lot more thought into what I'm putting in my mouth. Some days I just don't care that I'm not eating as well as I could. I will buy that bag of Doritos or make those chocolate chip cookies. But overall, my family is eating yummy meals that I or my husband put together. And it's making me more picky and it's easier to put those Doritos down if they don't taste good. So my hope is that as a society, we are on a loop towards health and knowledge and that it will help our kids not become obese with type 2 diabetes. And it will help those who are obese have hope that they can live a better, more healthy life and get some of that weight off! I don't want to be known as the most fat nation there's nothing positive in that.

And remember as I write this I am an over weight person so I'm not judging. I struggle daily with what I'm putting in my mouth. I struggle to get myself and kids outside to get some exercise and fresh air. I am down 9 pounds this year and am excited about that so I am looking to give and receive encouragement to continue to live a healthier life style.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I have 3 kids. My eldest is the pickiest creature I have ever met, my middle one will eat anything sometimes he just needs a little persuasion and my youngest is breastfeeding so we haven't come to food battles yet.

I know my eldest needs to change his eating habits. He eats fruit and maybe a dozen variations of meals. But as he gets older instead of opening and expanding his horizons he's getting worse. An example, he now won't eat the eggs I make him because they have white in them. He has cut cheese out of a lot of food ie no cheese in a burrito and when he would eat eggs, no cheese in it. I am TIRED of making a meal for my husband and myself and then either a variation of that meal or a second meal for my kids. Even though my middle child will eat what we eat if he sees his brother eating something else he wants what his brother has.

Before I decide how to go about changing my eldest's eating style, I am getting him checked for allergies. According to my doctor, friend, and other doctors, sometimes when kids are picky it is actually for a reason not just for obstinate sake. It could mean they have an allergy. Kids are sensitive and they may start to correlate not feeling well with a food and so they remove it from their diet by refusing to eat it. This next week we'll get his blood drawn and a few days after that I'll have an idea on if there are any internal issues going on.

If not, at that point, I'm going to ask for ideas on how to get kids to expand food horizons! Part of why I chose to not push it earlier on was he is incredibly stubborn and it was a horrible battle. I don't want to dislike my child and I just saw that coming with how much he dug in and refused to eat what I was serving. On the other hand, if there are no allergies, it may have to come to that point. So I'll research and take suggestions because I want my kid to be healthier and have a more well rounded diet. And I want to cook what I want to cook and know he'll at least try it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daily Routine

Another thing that has been on our mind is the schedule! I have realized there is a significant difference between Jonathan and myself. Jonathan could play Legos for hours growing up. He would get lost in his room and build magnificent structures. He has thousands of Legos. When Jonathan is at home he can spend so much time sitting on the boys' floor putting together their Geo Trax train or building a castle with their blocks.

And then there is me. I would probably have been labeled with ADD if not ADHD as a child because unless I was sitting down reading or watching tv I had to be on the go. I would be at the grocery store with my mom as a small child and she would say can't you stand still for at least a few seconds? I am someone who likes to go! And as a parent of small children you would think I would be entertained by running around after them. It isn't that I'm not it's just I'm not entertained by building a train or putting Legos together. And I think maybe entertained isn't the right word. I feel like I don't have that piece Jonathan has where he can visualize this whole creation and then do it. He loves to buy more and more tracks to the Geotrax because Jonathan can build it bigger and bigger. When I start to build it, I always end up with the track not meeting up or my eldest son telling me I'm not doing it right.

Lately as we're trying to reduce our grocery budget and get a better handle on life, spirituality, budgeting, health, etc. I've realized that if we don't have a playdate or something then in the morning the boys tend to be in front of the tv and me in front of the computer. I am trying so hard to be more active outside BUT (and I find this amazing) if I don't get us out on a walk then I take us all to a store because of a need to get out of the house. And really it is so much easier to go on a walk, I mean who wants to drag 3 kids into a store? That is a recipe for annoyance and disaster but instead of getting my boys on their bikes and my daughter into the stroller I drag them across town to Target to buy those 2 things I forgot but then end up adding 8 more things to the cart and before you know it I've spent too much and have kids who are whining and annoyed.

I'm finding that getting into a good regimented routine is not an easy task when you're a stay at home parent. When the kids get up at 6:30 or 7, it's easy to just turn on the TV so that I can do e-mail, make breakfast, shower. Then I realize it's 9 or so and they've been parked in front of the TV for two hours. So I'm looking for recommendations on what non-TV watching parents do with their kids. How they keep them entertained in the AM.

I am hoping to have my days work like this:

Get up - maybe have the TV on for 1 or 2 Disney AM shows while I wake up, make them breakfast and shower but I want to reduce my waking up time so that it is 8ish when I'm ready to go!

Then go out for a walk, I feel unless it is raining or we have somewhere to be we need to be out taking advantage of our CA sunshine for at least an hour or 2. We moved to this big community that has 2 parks within walking distance. We can get in a good 2 mile bike ride/walk and play at one of the parks.

Come home and some days try to have some pre-planned thing for the boys to do either an art project, coloring, drawing etc and then on the other days even though I feel like I'm next to useless at it, help them put together their train or help them build a Lego structure.

Then lunch....

Then nap/quiet time so I can have a little bit of me time.

The later afternoons are hard because my eldest doesn't nap but my middle son and daughter do. So my eldest is by that point getting pretty tired/cranky and my middle son is rearing to go! I need again to figure out something that burns some of middle son's steam without feeling like I'm over exhausting my eldest. I would love ideas! We don't have a backyard at the moment but we have a nice organized garage so I will move the car out so the boys can ride their bikes or kick around a soccer ball in there.

Whoever thinks parenting and being a stay at home parent is easy or just a cake job has obviously never done it!

I know if I want to even consider any sort of homeschooling program I have to be on the ball more. I have plenty of excuses to why I'm not, I do have a 5 month old who thinks waking up every 2 or so hours at night is exciting so I'm sleep deprived and it's easy to use that as a crutch. But if I want my life to really head in the direction I see, I need to get over it! Easier said then done but mind over matter right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I am contemplating homeschooling and feeling very weird about it. I have a 4 1/2 year old boy, a 3 year old boy and a 5 month old girl. I just put my 4 1/2 year old into a 3 hour 3 times a week preschool/pre Kindergarten class in January. All ready I'm not liking the attitude changes I'm seeing in him. I NEVER thought I would consider homeschooling and I know we should never say never. Life throws us curve balls all of the time therefore saying never can just make you feel silly later on!

I know part of my problem is the natural hardness of this transition. Most parents put their kids into public or private school and I'm sure this transition can be naturally difficult. For the last year I've been a full time stay at home mom and before that I was a part time stay at home mom. I would think for parents who have a stay at home parent sending your kid off to school is hard. Suddenly the control you had is out of your hands and into a stranger's hands for 6+ hours a day. And with the current state of a lot of our school systems, not only is your child with the teacher but 20 to 30 other kids are too! I'm having a hard time accepting this as something I want for my kids. I want them to have someone who cares about them individually. Now before I go on I want to say 2 things. I don't think just because a household has both parents who work that it means there isn't a hard transition for those parents having their children start school. Secondly, I have nothing but respect for teachers. I think they are underpaid and under appreciated. They do so much for all of us. All of us have had teachers and I am amazed at my friends who have the patience to be teachers also. My problem is more specific to the fact that our schools are over crowded and underfunded and unless my son gets into a Charter program I don't know that I want to deal with the public school system.

So here I am ruminating. It amazes me how many of my friends do homeschool but on the other hand I have a lot of friends who send their kids off to school and have no issues. I know it's a very individual and personal decision making but I think opinions from others are always helpful. To know others' experiences can give you an idea of what you're own may look like. But everyone's kids are so different and my temperament is different from others so I think you don't know until you try. As I think about this feel free to share your thoughts, I would appreciate them!