December 31, 2015

2015: A Year in Review

To say it's been a busy year would be laughably understated. I'm sure 85% of the world's population would say the same of their 2015.

It's also been the most joyful year of my life. Adding Babs to the mix makes everything better. Certainly not easier or quicker, but definitely better.

We put a lot of miles on 'ole Subey with six road trips of several hundred miles apiece.

We changed up our lifestyle. I traded in my 9 to 5 office job for a 24/7 work schedule, and freed us up for all the adventures we've been on. Taking that first step was the hardest part, but now the ball is rolling for much bigger plans.

I got my first tattoo! Hey, it's a milestone for me. Finally summoning up the balls and making the time to do something I've always wanted; something just for me that has no value other than being pretty.

Reflecting on 2015

Our own shortcomings are always easiest for us to see, and I have the bad habit of focusing on what's lacking in my life rather than taking the time to be grateful for all I have and have done. So that's my resolution for 2016: be grateful.

To that end, I also resolve to continue my (intermittent) practice of:

Morning Meditations

As with many of the good things in my life, this one was prompted by Mr. Go, who goes out of his way to find new, better ways of operating. Boy, do I love that guy.

I tried meditating with music, silence, using the app Headspace (which is only free for 10 days, but great) and listening to guided meditations by Tara Brach.

The last one works best for me because my brain is always wandering. Having someone telling me what to do and keeping me on track helps immensely.

Meditating is something that pops up again and again in books and podcasts as one of the best things you can do for your happiness. Cut out the chatter and static in your brain and learn how to focus on the present.

Be Here Now 2k16!


December 16, 2015

Feeding a Toddler and Yourself (Without the Stress Headache)

First, let me say, don't overthink it. The "experts" will tell you: just feed the kid what you eat. Don't make them their own special food or you'll create a picky eater. It's a nice goal to strive for, but if all they'll eat for dinner is cereal and bread, they're still probably going to grow up to be perfectly well-adjusted adults. So chill out.

we love cantaloupe now
We stopped making Babs her own puree several weeks ago, but I still get her lunchmeat, string cheese and do special steamed veggies just for her. I dial down the spice on our dishes on the off chance she'll eat a bite.

97% of the time she won't even put it in her mouth. But sometimes she does!

Here are some of the things that have worked for us:

Things that look like puree are usually pretty safe, such as pumpkin and sweet potato pie (sweetened with honey, a good way to trick her into eating eggs), and mashed lentils.

Chicken soup has carrots, so she recognizes those. And once she gets it in her mouth she realizes we're not actually trying to poison her, and will eat the accompanying chicken and celery too.

Chicken Curry, photo courtesy of Everyday Paleo by Sarah Fragoso.

Instead of pie or puree, cut the sweet potatoes into fries and bake them--the perfect finger food.

Every time you put something in front of them, it makes it more familiar and more likely to get eaten. And even if she loved broccoli that one time but hasn't touched it the 17 times since, don't get discouraged. Keep offering her the good stuff, and most importantly, show her that you like it too!

Make it a Game

1, 2, 3
Take a spoonful of your food and encourage kiddo to do the same. Count "one, two, three" (bounce your spoon to the count of course) and then take a bite. Make as big of a show as you can without spilling everything.

Ask your toddler to smell the food. If you can get it close to their mouth on the pretext of "sniffing" it, they're less likely to be averse to you shoving a spoon at their face.

Name that Food
Ask your toddler to identify the food on their plate. "Can you show mom where the carrots are?" Ask them what color it is,  "Are the carrots blue? They're not?" Finally, ask them if they can take a bite.

Eating off a 'big girl' fork or spoon also makes food seem much more interesting and can get your foot in the door.

Toddler and You Meal Plan

We subscribe to the Paleo diet, which basically just means everything is natural. Here are some Paleo meals that have been a hit with everyone involved.

Chicken Curry Soup (from this A++ cookbook)

Red Lentil Curry

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Potato Fries

Broccoli & Mushroom Frittata

They all contain things we'd introduced to her time and time again, sometimes with success, sometimes not, but offered in a different way makes it seem different without being too new and scary.

Good Luck!