Category: health

Friday Favorites – My New Breakfast Routine

Breakfast Just Got Easier

Oh boy do I hate breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like eating breakfast; it’s just that I have two picky eaters who protest everything I make. The amount of time it takes me to cater to their morning desires and get them to actually eat, I have very little time left to make my own nutritious breakfast. With school starting in just a few weeks I am already worried about making sure everyone has enough time to eat a healthy breakfast before the bus arrives. Including me!

I have some crazy food sensitivities so now I have to watch everything I eat. I often make all my food from scratch (not requesting any medals here moms. I’d quickly give up having to grill my own chicken for a fast food chicken sandwich any night). Not being able to eat gluten, dairy, soy and eggs makes breakfast a big challenge for me. I have the best luck with whole food smoothies, but oh man that takes a bit more time than I have in the morning. Yes, I can prep ahead at night for the entire week, but that is another to-do on my already lengthy list. What I need is simple, quick, easy and nutritious.

When Kathy from Kick Ass Healthy Moms contacted me directly to sample some gluten free, dairy, soy and egg free products I was super excited to give them a try! It is everything I am looking for- fiber, protein, vitamins, free from my trigger allergens and very convenient to use. There is very little prep time involved which is key for me!

isalean shake

Kathy and I spoke over the phone for a quick no pressure consultation to discuss my dietary needs and my lifestyle. I joined her Facebook welcome group so I could meet other moms like me and get some tips about including healthy eating in my busy day. Together we came up with a plan to get a healthy breakfast and pump up my energy! We agreed to keep in touch via email. It was reassuring to have Kathy available at any time to ask questions.

I’m not big into weight loss shakes, but if that is your thing then trust me these products will work for you. I lost 8 lbs. in the first month by following the weight loss methods (and not a lot of exercise). I replaced two meals a day and ate two snacks. I love how low maintenance it makes my breakfast routine! I just rip open a packet and whirl in my drink blender with water and ice and I am done. I can drink it while I’m making breakfast for the kids.

isalean shake mix

Each shake packet carries 250 calories and is packed with over 20 grams of plant based protein and 8 grams of fiber. As much as I love my whole fruit and berry smoothies- these shake packs keep me feeling fuller for longer; which is exactly what I need to keep up with two busy kids. I also notice I have less sugar cravings (you know that gotta have afternoon treat). I plan to continue with the shakes simply because they are such a quick way to get a nutritious breakfast together for me in the morning. All the ingredients are non-gmo and there is nothing I can’t pronounce.

Isalean greens

Kathy also sent me the Greens powder. On its own it tastes…well, wild. As in I am eating from the wild. When I consulted with her about my disappointment in the taste she suggested adding a half a scoop to my morning shake. So much better!!! The point of the greens is to help supplement the amount of green veggies you get in a day. Adding into my morning shake gives me one veggie serving at the start of the day. On those days I am running around crazy and I forget to eat, or I don’t have enough time to plan, I am covered with my initial serving of greens. A friend of mine shares that she even puts it in her kids smoothies on the days they are especially picky about eating.

isalean supreme

This right here is my liquid gold and I love it! If I drink this one alone as a 1 oz. shot it is also has a potent taste. Pouring it over ice and adding cold water creates a slightly sweet green drink that I actually like. I savor this as my mid-morning treat. It is also a great way to ensure I am drinking enough water in my day.  (Something I am always working on).

Isalean supreme shot

The b-vitamins, herbal blend; juice and fruit extracts give an extra anti-oxidant boost as well a natural energy boost. There is no caffeine added to this, but I am telling you it gives me a better energy boost than a cup of coffee.  If I have a really draining day I drink a second around 3:00 p.m. to get me through the rest of our crazy day.

There were some other goodies included in my sample pack like the 5 hour energy shot full of b-vitamins. After drinking it I felt more awake and alert. My mental fog wasn’t as thick. I’m not saying that’s a cure for mommy brain, but I definitely noticed some of that lift. Kathy also shared some dark chocolate and Isalean bars that were so good!

After only a few days I had more energy to keep up. I felt more alert and less mental fog. And after two weeks I started to release weight and just felt good overall. I still really love eating whole foods, but the shakes, the greens and the Ionix Supreme are exactly what I need to supplement those difficult mornings with. As a mom I often neglect my own needs, like eating a meal, to satisfy the needs of my family. I don’t have to do that now!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

No financial compensation was made for this review. Promotional products provided with compliments by Kathy LaMarr and not Isagenix directly, in exchange for this review. All thoughts and honest opinions are solely my own. 

 

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Things No One Tells You About Motherhood

Things They Don't Tell New Mothers

Once people knew I was pregnant the stories of motherhood began flying my way. I was told I was going to fall head over heels in love my baby (and I totally have). Everything that my baby does will be adorable (I somewhat agree). I was told to take all the medications that were offered at delivery time (I never got any medications as we went directly into delivery upon arriving at the hospital). How I would love the cuddles, giggles, the milestones, cute outfits, tiredness and body changes. What I was not told about was the realism of motherhood.

Once I had my daughter I was not ready for what was about to happen. The true experience of motherhood was nothing like what I had been told. I do not want you, my awesome blog reader, to go blindly into motherhood without knowing the untold stories of motherhood.

Tiredness. Yes, I have experienced it in the past and I was told about tiredness. I would gladly take tiredness. However, since the beginning of my pregnancy I have been EXHAUSTED! My body went through 9 months of growing a baby while on bedrest. You would think I would have gotten a lot of sleep. My husband naively asked why I was so tired all the time. My response was you grow a human for 9 months, have it ripped from inside you and as your body is trying to heal you become a 24 hour vending machine. Walking away…grumble, grumble, ask my why I’m tired…grumble, grumble…

Childbirth is not as painful as the horror stories you hear.  I had my daughter without medication. Before it sounds like I am bragging, let me say she was a fast delivery where there was no time for mediation. The worse part was the “ring of fire” as her head pushed out. This is coming from a woman who has multiple health issues and takes numerous pain control medications.

The Heartburn never goes away! My heartburn was so bad that I had to see a specialist who scheduled me for surgery to remove my gall bladder. I had excruciating heartburn that caused me to double over in pain. The only way I got the slightest relief was by having to make myself throw up. This was horrible in itself. I was told that gallstones were a common issue for women after childbirth. Even after having my gallbladder removed I am still on prescribed medications for the heartburn.

Stretch marks everywhere. I have stretch marks on places I never thought possible. My toes and feet swelled three times their size during weeks 36-38 and then swelled more after giving birth. It hurt to walk for weeks. I now have stretch marks on my toes and feet. I also have stretch marks on the back of my neck, armpits, butt, hips, and arms, stomach….EVERYWHERE!

Time alone ceases to exist. You no longer have time to read that book you just got into. You now read The Very Hungry caterpillar a bajillion times. No more quiet refreshing showers, now you have to find ways to drag in some baby contraption to hold the child and toys to keep her happy while you quickly shower before she screams uncontrollably. (P.s. keep the shower door ajar so she can see you for a longer shower). Gone are the days of peeing in peace (have you read my Mommy Potty Chaos Post?). Ironically as I write this I am in the dentist’s waiting room using my “alone time” to finish this post.

Overwhelmed is the new normal. I used to juggle a million things very successfully. Now I can’t seem to get through one morning without losing my composure. I was once told I come off as unfazed…where is that person now? Balancing household bills and squeezing out money for baby needs, housework that never is caught up, friends are put on the back burner, finding time to buy groceries. Now the baby needs more attention, other child needs attention, your needs don’t count. Don’t forget the husband needs attention and by the way your legs would embarrass Chewbacca, a fact that my husband let me know by buying hair remover cream “so it can work while you do other things.”

I was never told these things could become part of my daily routine! I think that as our babies grow the sting of the events we deal with are covered with fluffy cute loveable moments. We forget the pregnancy struggles and how hard it was to walk, breathe, and function. We forget the “ring of fire” during birth. As sleep patterns form we forget the length of exhaustion. We also forget those unimaginable monster mommy moments we dealt with.

I do promise that when a naïve young woman asks what motherhood is like, I will share the horrid untold stories of motherhood. I will not sugar coat a thing. It will either make her stronger in knowledge of what is to come or make her think twice about becoming a mother.

Ooh, yeah the dentist is calling. I wonder if I ask nicely they will sedate me so that I can also get some sleep while I am here?

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Friday Favorites – Eir NYC

Friday Favorites Fresh Eir

Happy Friday All!

As you know by now my Friday Favorites are products I personally use and love. I don’t want to review products for the sake of having a review. The products I share have to fit some purpose in my life so I can give all of you an honest review. That being said, here is my favorite products this week!

I received a full sized product of Fresh Eir by Eir NYC. A friend of mine gifted me with an amazing subscription box and this was one of the products inside! What do I absolutely love about this one? It’s organic, eco-friendly and versatile! The Fresh Air canister is made of recyclable stainless steel and is aerosol free. I have used this all around the house and in my car as an air freshener, but now I carry it in my car kit to use as a hand sanitizer. This has been a life saver at the park and I just touched some random sticky stuff, or after handling the pump at the gas station. I have also used it to spray down the soccer gear and the laundry hampers. The instructions say I can also spray on my body as a freshener… just a tip for those “shower free” days. 😉

Fresh EIR NYC

The witch hazel, aloe and sage essential oil blend smells great! I am not clogging the atmosphere with aerosol spray and my home smells and feels fresher! $20.00 for a canister is a bit pricey, but really worth it when you can use it in so many places. Interesting fact about the name, Eir is the Norse goddess of healing. All EiR products are made naturally to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Included with the Fresh Air is a sample of Uplifting Butter. The blend of coffee infused coconut oil, rosemary and cypress essential oils is supposed to help combat cellulite and water retention. Fun fact about me, I have quite a bit of cellulite covering a rather large surface area. I wasn’t sure about this tiny sample. I would need an entire vat to dip myself in! Ha, ha!

EiR Uplifting Butter

I did try it out and although I did not notice dramatic results, my skin did appear a little smoother over time. It also smells really good. Like a day at the spa good. I received a 1/2 oz sample, but the full product is sold in a 4 0z. tin for $35.00. With more ounces I might be able to target some larger areas. 😉 You can find the entire line of hand whipped body butters on their website.

I also really love that this company is based out of Brooklyn, NY. So this is technically a local company for me and after searching their stock list I find there is a store close by that carries Eir products. Looks like it’s time to go shopping!

The links contained in this post are for your convenience and I do not receive any compensation if you use them. The products reviewed in this post were gifted items, so no financial compensation was provided for this review. The opinions expressed in this blog post and exclusively my own. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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The Benefits of Getting My Kids Out and Moving

The Benefitsof Keeping My Kids Moving

When my kids get exercise they are a lot less whiny and a lot less lazy. When we sign them up for sports, they have a place to focus their energy and make new friends. I have four boys, and all of them but my two-year-old play soccer. That doesn’t stop him from trying to cross the white line and see if he can help his brothers out every Saturday, because he loves to kick the ball around. In the winter they play basketball.

With school getting out soon I need to step up my own game and get them moving each morning. Most days I try to take them for a walk or to the park before the sun makes the slides too hot to play on. Every time I decide to have a lazy day and let my kids watch Netflix, I pay for it. They spend the day arguing over everything and they don’t want to do anything. Sometimes when they get like that I make really dumb decisions and take them to the store just so we can get out of the house. That right there is proof that once you have kids you lose brain cells. Letting them run around outside is more likely to snap them out of their orneriness.

If I can preempt the drama by getting them outside first thing then my kids are more pleasant to be around for the rest of the day. I’ve tested this time and time again—because I like lazy mornings—but the results are always the same.

I read over this study showing how exercise benefits boys academically (in addition to saving me from excessive whining). It concludes:

Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1-3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys.

Interestingly, the academic benefits of exercise was not as significant in girls. The full study can be found here.  But if you just want a run-down of the parts you actually care about, go here!

I don’t need a study to tell me that when my kids have a physical outlet for their energy they are a lot less cuckoo, but it was encouraging to see it actually helps them become better learners.

Other than participating in sports, here are a few activities that will give your kids some exercise: run through the sprinklers, go for a bike ride, play “Just Dance” on the Wii or XBox, jump rope, hula hoop, or play a good old-fashioned game of tag!

How do you keep your kids active?

Amber Amber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and the author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting, which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

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Friday Favorites: Top Picks for Summer Skin Care

SAFE SUN

Did you know the first official day of summer is June 20th? But many of us are already enjoying some fun in the sun now! I spend hours outside in the back yard, or at local parks with my kids. I want to be sure each of us is protected from sun damage or sun burns. I am really careful about what I put on our skin. I also like products that multi-task and save me a little time.

Before I share my favorites here’s a quick word about SPF. The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, estimates how long you are protected against sun burn. For example, if you know your skin starts to redden after 20 minutes in the sun, a product with an SPF of 15 will keep you safe approximately 300 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the SPF the longer the protection time. But it is important to apply properly and reapply in time to get the most benefit from your sunscreen.

Here are my favorite can’t live without summer skin care items:

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 

I rely on my tinted moisturizer for a casual coverage that evens my skin tone. Using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF protects me  from damaging UVB and UVA exposure. I personally like Mary Kay’s CC cream with an SPF 15. The coverage is great and it is light weight enough for me to wear while at the park with the kids, running my errands or even working up a sweat at the gym. Not only does the SPF keep me from burning quickly, but it is the first line of defense against aging. (Sun damage = wrinkles). You can locate a Mary Kay rep online and purchase for $20.00.

cc cream

Lip Balm with SPF 

My absolute favorite is Kiss My Face Lip Treatmint with SPF 30. This water resistant lip balm keeps my lips smooth and tastes amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a sunburn on my lips just standing at the park with my kids, or playing outside in our yard. Too much sun exposure to your lips can cause dehydration and aging. The antioxidant formula re-hydrates and heals dryness. I also love that it is gluten free and cruelty free. Kiss My Face also has a really great line of organic lip balms that I buy for my girls to enjoy. You can purchase online for around $2.50, or find in most retail drug stores.

kiss my face lips

Sunscreen with SPF 

I go with Kiss My Face Organic sunscreen. It is gluten and cruelty free and made with 87% organic ingredients. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means I can run through the sprinklers, or take a dip in the pool with the kids without worry. It is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may seem pricey at $13.99 a tube, but worth the peace of mind I get knowing it’s less chemical exposure for me and my kiddos.

kiss my face sunscreen

Sun Protection Tips:

To get the most benefits from your sunscreen you should apply 10 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes that long for the minerals in the cream to settle into your skin and create a barrier of protection. I apply my tinted moisturizer and lip balm as part of my morning skin care routine so I am set for the day. I try to cover the kids just before we leave the house, or before they leave for school.

Getting a little sun isn’t a terrible thing. It is actually medically necessary to get enough sun to help our bodies convert proper levels of Vitamin D. We only need about 15-20 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for good health. You want to be sure you are protected during the peak times of day which is 10 am – 3 pm. That is when the suns rays are most intense and you are more likely to get a sunburn. If you know you will be out in the sun for longer, say a day at the beach or at the pool, be sure to cover up and use your sunscreen!

Product links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

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Interview With A Parent of A Child With Autism- Meet Kaitlin and Parker

rd autism

As we close out Autism Awareness month I want to share with you one more story. Meet Parker. His mom Kaitlin lives in my area and we are part of the same mom’s group on Facebook. I am grateful she is allowing me to share their story. It may sound familiar to you, or you may know someone who is currently going through a similar journey to find a diagnosis. Feel free to share this story with them: a real mom with a real struggle just like theirs.

Autism Awareness

How old was Parker when he was diagnosed?

Parker was 18 months old when he was diagnosed on the spectrum of Autism. I knew in my heart prior to the diagnosis. I think with knowing something was going on prior it was easier for me to accept. Two developmental pediatricians and a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and still follow him.

 

What has life been like after diagnosis?

Everything I read about was so different than actually experiencing it. We began our journey receiving services through Early Intervention (OT, PT, Speech, Special Ed) and working with a licensed social work therapist (LCSW). All our services were in home so it was like a revolving door sometimes. It would be three services a day. We would make strides with speech and have some new words for a little while and then they would just disappear, like he forgets he learned them. One day they were here and the next they just disappeared. He had a lot of sensory needs. He would love being rocked, squeezed tight and disliked certain textures and loud noises scared him. Every day I learned some new.

IMG_20160319_085645

As Parker got older he became very aggressive towards others. He was hitting, biting, pulling hair and he would even bite himself when things would get overwhelming for him. It was hard to watch and accept. His activity level was extremely active and very dangerous. Parker has no fear whatsoever so, safety became a huge concern. He is also a runner/bolter. We recently became enrolled with Project Lifesaver with our local sheriff’s department. Parker wears a radio transmitter device that can aid in the location of finding him if he ever takes off.

 

How important is it to have support?

I am a single parent and having support is HUGE! I am thankful for my family who helps when anything is needed. My parents are our greatest support system and I would be lost without them!

 

What advice could you give to outsiders not familiar with autism?

Never judge a book by its cover. Prior to kids I told myself I would never use a backpack leash. But with his safety concerns I have too.

Kaitlin also recommends the following articles to help others understand more about what it’s like to be a parent with Autism.

The Mighty: 12 Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids With Autism

Today Parent: 11 Things Never to Say to Parents of A Child With Autism (and 11 Things You Should)

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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Friday Favorites- Earth Day Roundup

Happy Earth Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate the earth and all the fabulous wonder it brings. Hug a tree, recycle a container or go out and plant something. Here are my Top 3 favorite earth friendly (and human friendly) products I have shared so far in my Friday Favorites series!

NORWEX

Norwex

My absolute top favorite is Norwex. We use the Envirocloth every day and need only water to clean with! This has cut down my household dependence on paper towels, cleaning chemicals that wash into our water supply and I let my kids help out more often too! That saves my energy resources. 😉 I started using the crazy mesh dish cloth I thought would never work and now I am hooked! It cleans better than a sponge and food doesn’t get stuck inside. I no longer have to buy pesticide soaked sponges! That saves me money, our water supply and adds way less waste into our landfill. You can find my original post about Norwex products here.

 

RUME

MyRuMe

I still love my RuMe reusable bag! I carry this tote inside my mom purse where ever I go. It has saved me from using countless plastic bags when shopping for only a handful of items. I can skip the plastic bag at the library too when out with the kids. And I can even use it to carry home a wet pair of pants (don’t ask). It is a great size and rolls up small so I can carry in my purse. It is washable and very sturdy! You can read my original post about my favorite RuMe products here.

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Poofy Organics

Last but not least, Poofy Organics has become our bath time favorite! My girls are still using and loving the Young Wild and Free shampoo and conditioner. I am loving the organic ingredients (entire product is not organic certified) and that it is cruelty free. The products clean really well and smell wonderful! We also use the lice prevention spray in the morning before leaving for school. This also smells really good without being over powering! All products that are good to our earth from start to finish! You can read my original post about Poofy Organics here.

There ya have it! A round up of my Top 3 favorite eco-friendly products I can count on! For me being kind to our earth is necessary to leave behind a healthy world for my children and my children’s children. What earth friendly products do you love the most?

All links to giveaways are now closed. Winners have been chosen and prizes distributed. No financial compensation given for reviews all opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links contained within individual posts. 

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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Picky Eaters Party of Two – My Hidden Nutrition Mac and Cheese

Hello mamas! I have shared before how difficult it is to find foods for my super picky eaters. These girls of mine simply will NOT take even one bite if they don’t want to. So, I end up wasting a lot of food. I try not to make food a struggle at our house, but I think sometimes it just is. Other times I find myself doctoring up their most favorite food on the planet: Mac and Cheese. But, hell hath no fury like a child who does not get the right shaped pasta in her mac and cheese. It MUST be shells NOT elbows. Lesson learned.

Here is how I sneak in a little extra nutrition into their favorite boxed mac and cheese. (Yes, boxed because they won’t eat my super amazing from scratch recipe).

Picky mac and cheese

Ingredients:

Favorite Box of Mac and Cheese

Nutritional Yeast

Winter squash, pureed (can also use sweet potato, cauliflower to go unnoticed)

Avocado mayo (optional)

Why avocado mayo? Well, it’s adding in some extra healthy fats which little developing brains need.

Why nutritional yeast? The nutritional yeast is rich with B-vitamins which my kids may not get enough of because of their limited food choices. Helps sneak in a little extra fiber and minerals too.

Why veggie puree? The hidden veggies gives an extra boost of fiber and vitamins.

Here’s how I make it.

Boil macaroni according to package directions.

picky mac and cheese 2

While the pasta is draining, I put in the amount of butter specified on the package and get it melting.

picky mac and cheese 3

Once it is melted I add in the veggie puree and mayo. Once it is all mixed I add in the cheese packet and the nutritional yeast (which I have been able to convince my kids it is a “cheese booster”) and milk. Once all of that is mixed well I add the pasta back into the pot and stir.

picky mac and cheese 4

My kids will eat the entire box together. Some nights this is all they will eat despite me serving their favorite veggies and fish sticks, or chicken nuggets along side of it. Having all that extra stuff mixed inside the mac and cheese is like a little nutritional insurance policy. I don’t worry about what they aren’t eating because I know what little they are eating is still packed with good stuff.

picky mac and cheese 5

I have to admit, some of these ingredients do not seem appetizing on their own. I thought nutritional yeast just sounded so gross until I actually tried it for myself. Also, who puts mayo in their mac and cheese, right? But, none of these ingredients are even detectable when masked behind the cheese. It also helps to NEVER let your kids see what you add into the sauce! Afterall, the secret is in the sauce. 😉

If you have a picky eater making you jump through a lot of hoops to get them to eat, hang in there! Despite my kids desire to subsist on macaroni and cheese alone, they are thriving and hovering in that 80th percentile.

Got a sure fire, tried and true way to get your picky eater to eat their veggies? Please share in the comments below!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Friday Favorites – Fitbit HR Charge Fitness Tracker

Friday Favorites (6)

My husband bought me a Fitbit for my birthday last year. Not because he thinks I’m out of shape but he knows how much I want one. I find myself in need of something to keep track of my bad habits so I can start to create new ones (sounds logical right?). Self care is such a struggle for me and I need all the help I can get!

The step counter is not 100% accurate. Somehow I can walk several hundred steps while driving my car; and I can just wave my hand (because who can talk without moving their hands?) and it will count as a step. Kind of a bummer right? But, that is because I am too focused on the numbers and not on how much fun I can have with my Fitbit!

Here is how I’m loving using my Fitbit HR Charge:

ADDING FRIENDS

Connecting my Fitbit app through Facebook has connected me to other friends using a Fitbit too! It’s like having a virtual support group. Knowing other people can see my activity level helps with accountability.

fitbit app screens

RACES

This has got to be my most favorite feature. I’m not one to compete for the biggest car, or the biggest house or the best of any material goods. But, we set a goal together and I will take you down! I got my first invite to a Work Week Hustle challenge and I was making it a point to go get every little request my family had. “You need a napkin, I’ll get it!” “You need me to pick up that tiny piece of lint all the way on the other side of the house? I’ll get it!” After all more movement means more steps which means I win!

WATER INTAKE

Now, I can easily track how much water I drink each day. I found a 16 oz. cup that I really enjoy using and every time I empty it I just add to the tracker before filling up again. This has actually helped me set a better habit to increase my water intake! (See bad habit identified, new habit created. My system works!).

CALORIE TRACKER 

Using this tracker has been super helpful in making healthier choices. I am a stress eater and I graze all day. All of that adds up and I have no idea why my jeans suddenly have a little less room in them. I know, simple math – calories in, calories out. Since I am horrible with numbers and I don’t have room to carry around a bulky notebook to write everything down this is a handy feature! What makes it even easier to use is the scanning option. I can scan the bar code on the package of my snacks or food items, and if it is in the database it will register the calories for a serving size. If a code is not in the system you can snap pics of the code and the packaging to help add it to the database.

SLEEP TRACKER

This is such a huge help for me! My kids actually sleep through the night but I don’t. I typically sleep between 3 and 6 hours per night. You’d think I’d get more done with those extra hours. But… I’m TIRED! Knowing where my sleep deceits are helps me know when I need to kick my self care into high gear and really stick to routines.

Even though I was disappointed at first because I felt like it wasn’t 100% accurate, I realize now our bodies are not an exact science anyway. Finding a truly 100% way to track what’s happening may not exist for the home user. But, that’s OK. I sure am having fun and enjoying how my Fitbit keeps me connected to my goals!

Got a Fibit? Wanna race? *wink*

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

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April 2nd is World Autism Day

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Happy Saturday!

I know, I typically do not post on a Saturday. But, today is an important day to share. April 2nd is now celebrated as World Autism Day and it kicks off a month long celebration of difference and spreading awareness about Autism. Not only are the statistics alarming (1 in 68 are diagnosed), but it is more alarming how difficult it is for autistic individuals and their families to find acceptance and understanding. This boggles my mind because we are so much more alike than we are different.

Years ago, I worked as an assistant in a school for autistic children. I worked in the preschool classroom during the morning and then in the afternoon I worked in the older classrooms. I have witnessed miracles happen and I have witnessed heart breaking sadness for children working so hard to cope. That experience changed me forever. In fact, after two weeks on the job I said one day I would write a book titled, “Everything I Needed to Know about Life, I Learned from Autism.” Later, I found a deeper passion linking parents to therapeutic services for their children. My wish would be that everyone could see autism the way I do- through love, compassion and understanding.

I found this post when I logged onto Facebook this morning. It is written by my friend Erin who is an amazing mom, a “Coastie wife” the owner/designer at Rose Door Designs; and now mother of an autistic son. I agree with her message and I simply love how beautifully she has shared her and her son’s story.

Erin and Liam

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“Today is World Autism Awareness Day. And while I think it’s great (really!) if you want to change your profile pic, Light It Up Blue, or even share my cover photo, those things won’t necessarily make you or anyone else more “aware” of autism. But knowing someone who is autistic might.

My Liam was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in June 2013, just before his fifth birthday. He doesn’t “look autistic;” for many people he “seems normal.” But the more time you spend with him, the more pronounced his differences become…and the more amazing you realize he is. Liam struggles every day in a world that often overwhelms and doesn’t make sense to him. He shows up and he does his best and he fights his way through. He’s brilliant and funny and talented and sweet as can be. He’s my hero.

So today, you can say you know a person with autism. One person. Because every person with autism is unique. There are no cookie cutter signs or symptoms; you can’t spot it from across the room. Autism doesn’t come wrapped in a blue puzzle piece ribbon.

For anybody out there facing an ASD diagnosis–whether it be your kid, a friend’s kid, a family member–IT’S GOING TO BE OK. I promise. You will find your way. There are helpers. Liam has been able to make remarkable progress since his initial diagnosis thanks in large part to the incredible work of some really amazing special educators, regular classroom teachers, therapists, school psychologists, aides, and paraprofessionals. So, to those of you doing that really difficult, really important work: THANK YOU. I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but you make a huge difference in the lives of kids like mine every single day.

If you have any questions about Liam, what autism looks like at our house, or about ASD in general, I’d be happy to try and answer them. It is, after all, World Autism Awareness Day.

Love and light,
One Lucky Mom”

When I asked Erin for permission to share her post she asked me to really emphasize the value of the hard work special educators put into helping kids like Liam, “Special educators are absolutely saints and deserve millions of dollars and their own velvet roped VIP area in heaven. We are so, so thankful and forever indebted to his teachers and aides. They have loved him like their own and have made it possible for us to be better parents.”

I also asked Erin if she could offer any advice about what kind of support she needs as a parent, “I guess the best support anyone could offer me would be to try to understand. Ask questions, be observant, and offer to help maybe (though I’m not big on accepting help! LOL). It drives me nuts when people say things like, “Oh, he’ll be fine,” or “He looks so normal,” or “He doesn’t seem so bad.” It may be true in that moment, but they haven’t seen the day to day struggles.”

I would like to add to Erin’s advice by saying don’t judge a parent by their child’s behaviors. A child struggling to cope in public can often look like they are “misbehaving” and believe me EVERYONE has an opinion on how to handle THAT child. None of that advice is helpful. Instead, ask, “What can I do to help?” “Is there anything I can do to help you right now?” Sometimes just offering help with compassion offers enough room for a parent to take a breath and face that struggle. Sometimes knowing you are not alone in the struggle is all it takes for families living with autism to feel accepted.

autism ribbon

To learn more about Autism and how it affects families visit http://www.autism-society.org/

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

 

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