Thursday, January 31, 2013

Healthy Habits #4

Stay healthy during the cold, flu and all the other sicknesses this season!

A lot of people have been sick this winter.  So I thought I would share a few of my best healthy habits for staying well.

1. Hand Washing (Seven Times or More)- It's a big, duh, right? You're saying to yourself, but, "Renee, I learned that one in kindergarten, thanks for nu-thin!" You want to know the rest of it?  A few years back during a winter flu epidemic, I read an article that said folks who wash their hands seven times a day or more are 20% less likely to get sick than the average person.  I thought, that's good enough for me.  I tried it.  I made it my policy to wash my hands every time I passed by a place to wash.  I also started wiping down shopping carts and carrying hand sanitizer.  I never miss an opportunity to wash my hands.  I feel that I, personally, have caught a lot fewer viruses. 

2. Don't Eat Out - After college, grad school and a few years of marriage, my husband and I stopped eating out.  We were poor and exhausted parents.  There was no time or money for eating out.  When we stopped eating out, we stopped getting sick as often.   Food prepared by others in dining facilities, where masses of other people eat, it is no wonder how we were getting sick.  I do not even like to eat out anymore.  I am usually disappointed.  I like fresh tasting food.  There's nothing like a home cooked meal.

3. Zinc - a little boost from a zinc supplement at the first show of symptoms does help reduce the severity of the illness.  That's why there are a plethora of zinc supplement products on the market.

4. Drink Water -  Heat it up.  Make it warm and add honey and lemon.  It will help you body heal and produce more antibodies.  If you have a sore throat, chest congestion or the like, the honey, lemon and warm liquid helps loosen phlegm and soothe a tender throat. 

These tips are so simple, yet work.  Feel better, okay.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When The Babes Are Sick

Extra time to pray less abbreviated prayers this morning.  Let's do it. (Of course, there were at least three interruptions. Oh well, it got done.)


"Kristiana, don't eat your boogers.  Boogers are your body's garbage."

"But, they're so green and yummy.  My belly likes boogers."


"What are you kids doing in the bathroom with the water running?"


"Oh, e-VER-y-thing is wet and bubbly!  Well, let's clean it up and not do this again, mmm-kay?"

At least they're all squeaky clean now.


"Mommy, I made it to the toilet in time!" :-) 

"Oh, good.  Turn on the fan will you?"


No, gym time? No problem.  Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred--my old friend…Oh wait, now I remember why I wanted a gym membership.  The dog crawled underneath me while I tried to do pushups.   [Pause the video put the dog out. Restart the video.  Cue screaming baby.] "Waaaaaah, pick me up! Pick me up! Pick me up! I'm suddenly very hungry!"  

"Ha, ha, baby.  I am much more immune to baby cries than I was four years ago.  You can wait and watch mommy jump squat."

[Wild toddler screaming from the next room.  Pause video.  Break up the fighting.  Put two year old on the toilet for a potty break.  Change slightly soiled underwear.  Wipe up projectile piddle pool. Restart video.]

Pushup, plank, lunge, jump, sit-up. Done and sweaty.


Second coffee, homemade granola bar and blogging? Yes, please.


Put on kids' music.  "Ew, the armoire is extremely dusty! Well, I guess I have some extra time today."


No home school?  Can't go anywhere.  This mommy is a little bored. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Healthy Habits Post #2

Over the summer I visited a family with many kids.  One of the mom's budget saving tips was to eliminate fruit juice.  Her kids were only allowed water or milk.  If they wanted fruit, they had to eat whole fruit.  As soon as we returned home we implemented this practice.  We cut out fruit juice and flavoring in the kids milk.  Of course there was some dissension at first, but after the first month they stopped asking and complaining and now they eat whole fruit daily.  They also drink plain milk regularly. 

Fruit juice is full of sugar and sometimes dyes.  It is obviously better to eat whole fruit or home juiced juices.  On a related note, we cut out fruit snack a couple years ago.  They kids started asking for fruit snacks and sugary cereal ALL the time.  That's all they wanted.  I just told them we could not have them anymore.  If we cannot do it reasonably in moderation and it is causing stress, we just will not have it at all.

So, eat fruit.  It's good for you.  Mix it up and try the seasonal fruits.  Puree fruits with vegetables in a food processor.  That's the only way our son will eat vegetables--if he can't see or taste it.  I was letting him eat strawberry applesauce cups from the store for his fruit intake, but I just notice the strawberry applesauce has Red 40 in it.  I also found out that apples, strawberries and grape contribute to bed wetting.  I know, the things you find out about food are crazy, but I try not to let it make me crazy. ;-)

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home School Journal: Playing Pretend

During Christmas break I tried to research out fun home school ideas on the internet.  I expected to be over-whelmed, which is why I do not do this too often.  I also feel like if I get too caught up in what others are doing, I might become stressed about what we are doing.  I clicked on one page and found a plethora of articles.  That was enough for this semester.  Maybe during the summer I will look for more.  One of the articles I read talked about taking pictures of things each child does each week and then make a yearly photo book.  It will be like a yearbook, or scrapbook.  I am going forward with this idea.  If I want my kids to have fond memories of their education, I am going to have the photos to back it up.  Here are some photos from the first three days of home school this week:

I often plan a week's worth of P.E. sessions.  I let Alex switch it up if he wants.  Today, his choice was to run samurai sword laps.  He ran at top speed for five minutes.  He was quite winded at the end.  It was hilarious.  He just loves to get up and move.  We also practiced dribbling a basketball today.  He's so fun.




 Kristiana has begun a protest on preschool work.  All she wants to do is color.  So I let her color or play.  This day, I asked her to count and add pattern blocks, but she wanted to "cook" and prepare tea instead.  She made quite an elaborate set up and was quite serious about it.  Serious play mean serious learning, right? 


Alex is a class clown.  Class of one. 


Cutie first grader.


Working hard on the meal.



This day we decided not to do P.E. and built a wooden airplane after reading about how planes obtain lift.

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After school one day, Alex drew this picture for me.  It's a giant chasing a dragon, who is breathing fire on a knight who is saving a queen.  Just look at the picture, you'll see it.

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One of Alex's favorite parts of the day--hugs and kisses.  He's such a loving boy.  


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Smush


Lucy was given a new nickname recently. This one might stick.  We stopped calling her zombie baby because she stopped growling at us.  She babbles at us now.  But, I started calling her "Smushy."  I think it is clear from this picture how she got that name.  Those cheeks are sooooo SMUSHY and kissable.  Smushy sort of has the same ring to it as Lucy.  So she thinks it's a good nickname too.  She answers to it.  All the rest of the family has started calling her Smushy too.  I can see this is going to be embarrassing once she hits her teens.  I am sure it won't last past her toddler years ;-) 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Healthy Habits Post #1

So, I am on a new health kick, I guess.  I think I always am, but for the moment I am a little more serious about it.  I have a specific reason for my seriousness.  Recently, I have notice that our two year old is reactive to food dyes.  Actually all my kids are, but this is the first time that one of them has had directly observable reactions, as in if she gets a food with lots of dye she will have a fit.  But it's more than a fit.  It's an irrational, rage that cannot be control for anything.  My husband did not believe me at first, so he gave her an orange soda.  Sure enough, the outrageous fit started in less than a couple hours.  It's not just normal two year old behavior.  It's more than that.  She has other symptoms of being reactive to food dyes.  She has almost every symptom except eczema.  I looked up information on it and there is a diet program that will help her, but I cannot afford the materials right now.  So for the time being we're going as dye-free, preservative free as possible.  Apparently we are suppose to avoid apples, strawberries and grapes too (temporarily).  Anyhow, going dye-free and preservative free forces us to eat healthier anyway. ;-)

…I love practical, yet uncommon health advice, as opposed to fad diets, or ultra-restrictive diets.  I came upon some interesting health related articles recently and I thought I would share a tip.  Whenever, I come upon good practical tips I will share them, so we can all be healthy.

This week's great health tip is "In Plain Sight."  I read in a magazine article that suggested putting water in a clear glass pitcher.  Put it on the table at dinner.  Store it in the refrigerator so that whenever anyone looks in the fridge they see it.  Apparently, easy access and on the mind will lead to drinking more water.  I decided to try this one.  I have glass pitcher I received as a wedding gift that I rarely use.  I decided to take it out and fill it.  But, seeing as how I have so many gallons of milk in my refrigerator, I just left the pitcher on the counter, in a safe place, with a glass next to it.  Low and behold, the kids and I have been drinking more water.  Amen to that tip.


The article also suggested making water more fun and therefore more appealing.  So put fruit in it, lemon, lime, blueberries, cucumber, cranberry, grapes.  I tried this one too.  Everyone enjoyed the fruity flavor.  After the fruity fun, I put the pitcher in the fridge.  Later, when I poured myself a glass from the fruity pitcher, I discovered that the peel from the lemon and lime slices made the water bitter.  So, FYI you cannot leave citrous fruit in the water and save it for later.



Sunday, January 13, 2013

I Thought I was Tired

We were out a little bit late last night and Annie does not nap anymore either, so I am sure she was a tired little lady today.  At church today, she gave us a run for our money.  She was running between our pew and the cry room.  She could not be told, no, or to sit still.  Eventually, my husband ended up taking her to the car simple because she was being too disruptive.  It was one of those days in which we wondered why we bothered to go.  A few years back, we would have been near tears wondering what we had done wrong.  Four kids later, we know that it is a phase and we will eventually be able to teach her to behave.

The rest of the day she has been her normal self.  But, late in the afternoon as she was attempting to climb onto the sofa to cuddle up to me while I nursed Lucy, she paused and fell asleep on the spot.  Her little toe remained perched on the footstool she was using as a help up.  She remained hanging from the sofa for another ten minutes as I gawked, and told my husband to come take a look, and took pictures to show everyone.  I've had kids drop in mid-play, but never mid-air.  Oh, two-year-olds.



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Home School Journal Entry - Weak and Weary Moments

I'll admit it.  I do feel discouraged in this home school thing sometimes.  I know in my heart that this is the right thing to do.  It is the right thing for us when examining the alternatives.  I know it is the right thing, because it is an expression of our love to teach our children ourselves, good and noble things.  But, I sometimes think how peaceful it would be to have the children off at school and preschool.  I would have time to get the chores done.  I would have time to think deep thoughts.  

I think that they would have the opportunity to do so much more in a classroom.  They would also get to be competitive in good ways.  I would not have to put in any of the effort.  I wouldn't have worry about making things fun while still achieving the highest reaches of education.  I wouldn't have to be stressed about discipline.  I would have to be stressed about how I would fit in cleaning before I had to make the next meal.  I wouldn't have to prove to anyone that parents can do a good job educating their own children.

But, then I remember that that's not what it is all about.  It is about faith and family first.  The road is a challenge no matter what path you take.  The kids would come home exhausted with piles of home work.   They would ask for help and they would have no clue how to complete it.  I would wonder what they were learning all day.  They would talk back to me and then tell me awful stories of filthy things other kids said, and bullying.  I am sure they would tell me wonderful things too but, it would be mixed in with the other awful stuff.  At least, this is what my friends with kids in school tell me.

Why would I question our choice to home school? I guess in weak and weary moments it is easy to second guess. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Four Year Olds Are Fun

I love this kid.  She is so funny. Every day she makes us laugh. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to shop for presents for a four year old.  It was fun when Alex was four and it was fun this year for four year old Kristiana.  We are lucky she did not end up with a truckload full of presents. 

And she seems to have left behind those crazy toddler fits somewhere back in her third year. 

Here she is drinking her milk out of her boot.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Resolution

So in the past I have made a big to do about how I don't need resolutions just so I can break them, and I am awesome just being me. Blah, blah, blah.  But, since I have had a lot of success with them in the past two years, including remembering to take my reusable grocery sacks to the store, I thought that this is not such a bad thing and why not continue the good streak. So here are my resolutions for 2013:

1. Write one icon per month, and read The Way of The Pilgrim alongside.

2. Lose 15 lbs. and finally achieve my ideal weight for the first time in my life.

3. Get my bad veins treated-Then I can have more babies ;-) Just kidding!  Who knows what the future may hold, but lets have a little less suffering, mmmkay.  But, in all seriousness if I want the veins treated I can't be pregnant or nursing at the time.  

4. Pay off one credit card.  I'm not going to hide this dirty little secret.  We have credit card debt.  It's ugly.  We got there while in grad school and we are still digging ourselves out.  Someday.  We will advise our children better.

5. Pray with the kids in the evening as well as the morning.  I pray with the children in the morning, but for the evening we usually sing "O Holy Spirit" and call that evening prayer.  I think it would be better for all to be reflective upon the day and maybe hit on all types of prayer to fully honor God.

6. Go to confession once a month. 

7.  Stay on top of laundry/make peace with the laundry.  I am doing lots of laundry these days and I need to find a way to fit it into my schedule so that it does not feel like the on going beast.  Eliminate some of our clothing? Yes, I think so.

I couldn't think of a good picture to post with this. So...

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