Saturday, January 8, 2011

Healthy Snacks for the Kiddos

I LOVE to cook and make things and bake. I think it's some of that southern tradition that is ingrained in me along with the whole being a woman thing.

In my hunt for new healthy recipes to match my 2011 goals of eating more healthily ( don't know if that's a word but  I like it) I found a few things that my kids actually love to eat that are really good for them.

Peanut Butter and Honey Toast aka PBH Muffin

Whole Wheat Toast or English Muffin
1 Tbsp Peanut butter (The purest you can get to it's natrual form is always good)
1 Tbsp Raw honey

I usually spread the peanut butter on the toast and top it with the honey and slice it in fours so little fingers can handle it. I usually do this for a quick breakfast or a snack and serve it to them with an apple or a banana.

Another one that they love is

Yogurt - healthy style

1/2 cup nonfat plain  Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp of raw honey
1 or 2 Tbsp of granola
1 handful of berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)

I found these two out while making my own snacks, breakfasts, lunches and dinners and they wanted to have a bite. I'm sure there are more to come!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A precious memory for a mommy and her little girl

My role as a mother is one of my favorite roles. There are times I don't like being a mom, like when my kid smarts off of me and what he says makes complete sense and I'm left with no argument and no wise advise to toss to him. There are also those times for me when a child wants to sit on me, hug my leg, wants me to lay with them, or needs something RIGHT that VERY second, and all I want is to be alone in my dream home office writing away.

Then there are some times where your child grabs your heart and forever imprints an image and a story into it. I had one of those times when I had the opportunity to take my little girl to a Christmas party and then to a spontaneous trip to visit Santa.

The day was a dark, cloudy day. Both of my boys were sick together and I had been taking care of both of them all day long, making soup, saying sweet nothings to them, and entertaining Jessica because her play mate was down and out. It was the long awaited day for my mom's group's Christmas party that myself and a few other moms had spent weeks planning. I was already a little down because the boys were sick and I knew Zachery was going to miss out on some fun stuff just because he was sick. I spent an hour trying to figure out what to wear, or more so trying to squeeze into pants my ass would not go into and finally figured out something that would do. Jessica had been a crab pot all day long for whatever reason, so getting her dressed was just like getting me dressed, it TOOK forever. She wanted to wear these fluffy boots so I put her in a pair of jeans and a cute t-shirt. Well, three minutes after having the fluffy boots on she wanted them on and her princess dress on. This dress is a hand-me-down from her cousin and she has been infatuated with it for DAYS. She wanted to wear it every time she saw it. So, we put the "princess" dress on with her "princess" shoes and headed out to the party.

The party was a great time. I had the opportunity to enjoy some great one-on-one time with Jessica. I learned how advanced she is and how much curiosity she has to learn and to do new things. I also learned she is shy like me but if she finds someone or something she likes to do, it puts her at ease. Her knack is doing something with her hands, so we made our way to the craft stations after chatting it up with a few mamas. I got to watch her decorate a cookie and SAVOR every bite of that cookie covered in sprinkles and white frosting. Next, we headed to paint some ornaments that a few of us mamas made from scratch. Jessica picked an snowman ornament and decided she needed to have every color offered to her from red, to blue, to gold, to green, to white on her little snowman, TWICE. I watched her meticulously paint her snowman and make it her own. Finally, we went to the last craft station where there were outlines of snowmen to make out of cotton balls, buttons, pipe cleaners and glitter. She wanted to put every little detailed cotton ball, button, googly eye on herself, where she wanted it. It came out really well and she asked me to write her name at the top. Her requests and her attention to detail just amazed me.

At the end of the party, we had a book exchange and had asked the mamas to wrap each book so the child would think it was a gift. When it was time for the book exchange, Jessie went to the basket and picked out a book wrapped in Santa paper. I thought this was especially cute because all during the day she had been saying, "Mama, I gotta go see Santa." The party ended and Jessica and I walked out with all of her little crafts she made, an experience where she had to be her sole little self because her brother was not there, and her new gift.

When I in the car, I got the bright idea of taking Jessica to see Santa. Some people may think, "What? You didn't take both kids at the same time?" Not this go round. I did later, but for I wanted to share her first Santa experience with her so I could watch her. I wanted to see how she handled a stranger who holds the magic of Christmas in his hands. We went to the outlet malls in Anthem where Santa has a house and right beside the house is the tallest Christmas tree at least in the state and maybe in the country. Jessica immediately saw the Christmas tree as we pulled up to the mall and gasped in her little voice and said "Mama, look, a Christmas tree...the tallest one like Dora's tallest mountain." I said "Yeah, isn't it pretty. Right next to it is Santa's house, see?"

We got out of the car and while I was unbuckling her seat belt, she said "Mama, I want to take Santa's present." I said OK, thinking that Jessica was thinking that she wanted to take "Santa's present" because it was a present wrapped in Santa paper. We got in the line with only two people ahead of us and waited. She already looked so cute with her princess dress, her present and she was contently waiting to see this man who was gong to give her a present that she SO wanted.

The person ahead of us got finished with sitting on Santa's lap and taking pictures and it was finally Jessie's turn. Prior to her turn I talked to her and told her she had to walk up to him and say hi, then I would put her on his lap and she could tell him what she wanted for Christmas. After that we would take a picture so we could remember her first time seeing Santa. She nodded her little head while I talked to her and after I finished talking to her I said "OK, you ready?" She said "Mama, can I give him my present?" My heart just swelled up and I was so curious as to why she wanted to give her present to Santa. I told her "Jessica, that present was given to you, baby, it's yours to open when ever you want. You can even open it now if you want to." She said "No, mama, it's Santa's present." It popped into my head that maybe she saying this because of the paper. That has to be it because there is no way this girl who drives me up the wall is this sweet. So I tried again to convince myself she wasn't so sweet. I said "Baby, do you want to give it to Santa because it's wrapped in Santa paper? Because it has Santa on it?" She held strong and said "No mama, it's Santa's present."

Ok, determination wins! I told her it was her turn and she could go see Santa now. She walked up to the man dressed in red, with black boots and a fantastic looking beard and sweet, kind, blue eyes, just the way you've envisioned him over the years. She held the present out the whole way during her little walk to him and said, "Here, Santa." Of course, Santa looked at me questionably, and I shook my head and smiled, telling him, it was fine. He asked her "Do you want me to open this now?" She shook her little head yes, so he unwrapped the gift and the book was A Letter To Santa. He flipped through the book and told her thank you. He then scooped her up, put her on his lap and asked her, "So what do you want for Christmas?" I was SO curious what she was going to say because I had been explaining the Christmas concept for days to the kids, how it worked, who Santa was and what he did. We watched Santa movies, read Santa books, made Santa crafts, and talked about what each child wanted for Christmas. Jessica had been naming off a variety of things she wanted but there was one thing that was consistent and I wanted to hear if it was going to be the consistent thing she had been talking about. i wanted to see if she had grasped what Santa was and what he did. Sure enough, she whispered, "Jessie, the cowgirl."

Jessie loves Jessie the cowgirl from Toy Story because, well, she thinks she is her. Every time she saw Jessie, she would say, "Mama, that's Jessie, like me?!" She wanted the doll and she also told him she wanted a Jessie outfit so she could dress up like her.

When she told Santa she wanted "Jessie, the cowgirl" and "Jessie, the Halloween cowgirl" (the Halloween cowgirl is Jessie's way of saying a Jessie outfit) Santa said, "I think we can do that."

Of course, the girls that were taking pictures of Jessica hemmed and hawed about how cute she was and how sweet she was. She made such an impression on them, they gave us two free pictures. I was speechless throughout the whole experience because I was beaming and grinning ear to ear, because I was so proud of her and so very happy for her.

It was a joy to see her first experience with Santa and to watch her make the connection between her imagination and reality. Of course, I was stunned by her innocence and sweetness of giving Santa her gift and hope to goodness she hangs on to both her innoncence and sweetness when she gets older.

I love that little girl with all my heart and consider myself lucky to be her mother. Writing this makes me want to go upstairs and cuddle with her, then I remember how horrible of a sleeper she is. If I wake her, she will be up like I am now, unable to sleep.

Afterwards, we walked out, went to see the Christmas tree and looked at her pictures. She was so curious to see the picture and to remeber Santa. She also wanted a picture with the Christmas tree. So we took a picture, with me still beaming, lost in a trance of sweetness.

Then my phone rings. It's Jeff on the other end.

Jeff: "Baby, what are you doing?"
Me: "Taking Jessie to see Santa."
Jeff: "Oh. (Pause) Are you going to be home soon?"
I can just see this pitiful man with his lip poked out just a little.
Me: "Yeah, I'm coming home right now, why? Are you guys ok?"
Jeff: "Yeah. (Pause) We're hungry."
I visualized my husband in pj pants, a hoodie and my son sitting next to him with his thumb in his mouth in comfy pants and a hoodie too, playing video games the whole time I was gone, not paying attention to anything because they were so miserable. 
Me: "Why didn't you guys eat?"
Jeff: "I don't know."
Me: "You guys are sitting in the dark too huh?"
Jeff: starts laughing "Yeah."
Me: laughing "You guys are pitiful! Sick, hungry, sitting in the dark, poor thing. What in the world would you do without me babe?"
Jeff: laughing "I don't know.I didn't even know it was dark."

Back to reality! Duty calls! Jessie and I went home that night both of us changed. She saw Santa for the first time and I was more in love with my daughter than I have ever been.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I didn't really want to make any resolutions for 2011 because it's just so cliche but I feel sometimes doing cliche things can really improve your life, especially if you make them your own. Creating goals for me keep me active and healthy in my mind and in my heart. Here are a few things I plan on doing in 2011.

1. Run a full marathon! Some people call  me crazy but I know what my body is capable; so much more than what we put it through. Last year I had the goal to run a half marathon and am still working on it due to my illness that struck me in August, but I'm not dwelling on not meeting that goal. My body needed that time and I look at it as a curve ball that I didn't expect...isn't that what life is about?

2. Do something to better my children's life and my husband's life EVERY DAY! My children and my husband are my top priority and I want them to feel loved by me, every day. If that means making them laugh, taking a risk, and not getting something done that I FEEL needs to be done, then so be it.

3. To be present in life and to better myself. I often find myself in my mind way too much and this distracts me from my own life. There are also some changes that I need to make to be a happier person that are simple and very do-able, including becoming an early riser again, meditating and finding out what spirituality is for me, and not isolating myself from people and the world because of my own insecurities. I also need to be healthier and not do things for convenience. It is important that my children have a positive role model in their life and I feel the way to do this is to live it by being healthy mentally, physically and emotionally.

4. Get that body back in shape girl! I fell off the bandwagon during the holidays with going to Disneyland and having a tendon flare up because of running too much. Yeah, running too much. So I rested for the past two weeks and still didn't eat so well, so my goal of losing 22 pounds is going to be delayed just a touch but it starts today!!

5. STOP PROCRASTINATING!!! I am the QUEEN of procrastinating and seriously need to change that habit. I read something the other day that was profound to me when it came to procrastination. I read it in The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He feels that when you live in a negative state of procrastination, greed, hatred and laziness, that people are actually dwelling on  a period in the their past or dwelling on their future, hindering people to actually act on the action they need to act on. We often think about how painful facing that certain situation was or how painful it can be for us and do not want to face it so we procrastinate, are lazy and feel hate, greed, and anger. Rather than dwell on those emotions and allow those emotional states to hinder your actions, change your frame of mind and recognize what your doing and how you allow your mind to control your thoughts rather than facing those fears of doing something that's uncomfortable. That's what I plan on doing. It definitely will take some practice but I think it's definitely do-able!

6.  To see the world. I love to travel and have not done much of that in a few years. I want to do more of it!

7.  To use my voice more! I often hold my tongue in certain situations where I should voice my opinion, my thoughts, or ideas; sometimes out of fear and sometimes out of a self imposed respect I have put on a person. My goal in this life is to help people to live a better life by sharing experiences, thoughts and ideas. If I can't voice them, how can I help people? So, I commit to write to my audience more, talk to my friends and my family more, and to be more confident...period.

8. Work on my top priorities. I currently am not working on my top priorities. I find myself getting distracted so I can stay in my mind by cleaning the house, organizing something and doing something to keep my hands busy so I'm not focusing on what is important to me. I look at it as a lot of time wasted. I don't want to waste my time in my life. My house might go to shit and and it may be cluttered but if my kids are taught, my husband is happy, my friends are loved, and people are helped, I feel success. I get nothing out of my house being clean except for two minutes of satisfaction because let's face it, I have two toddlers, and twenty years down the road when they are living their lives, I can enjoy a clean house if that's what I need.

My intention of writing this is to make myself accountable and to share it with others in hopes to give whomever permission to live their life the way they want to, to create, to accomplish, and to dream so that we become better in 2011! CHEERS!