Our Flight

20 May

Well, our flight to Arizona was a success. 

Actually, one of the easiest. As easy as it gets for flying alone with 3 kids. 

 There are 2 airports you can choose from if you are in Northern Virginia. I usually fly out of DC because it’s cheaper. 

This time I didnt care and just looked at times and what was more convenient for my husband. 

Halfway to the airport, I said to my husband, “Dulles airport is DCA, right?” Well, no it’s not, I thought my flight was from Virginia, but actually it was out of DC. 

So, that was a nice little surprise/panic. Good thing I randomly questioned it while we were driving. 

But, we had left pretty early because we live so far so we didn’t have an issue. Nice thing about DC is the airport is usually fairly empty when you check in. Which is nice when you are lugging 3 kids and a stroller through security. 

So, this trip, I did what I always do and downloaded some movies on my kindle. But, for some reason, the kids weren’t interested. 

Instead they wanted to play games we already had. No more wasting money on renting them off Amazon. 

While waiting for our first flight, a woman came up to me asking if I was alone. We chatted and she said that she was flying with her family and another family, so if I needed any help, to let her know. 

This is what I love about people. When you are a mom alone with your kids, people seem to be really nice to you. They either feel really bad for you or think you are wonder woman. I’ve never had anyone be mean or irritated with me. Which is nice. 

The first flight was uneventful. 2 hours to Minnesota. Baby slept, I read, girls played on the kindle quietly. 

Minnesota is one of my favorite airports. For me, food choices and convenience make the airport.

Had the best chicken salad there and they had my favorite Bai drink. So, that made me happy. 

My daughter spilled a bag of popcorn all over the floor and made an old man laugh. So, that was fun. 

This flight was also short, 2.5 hours. But, that time can seem like eternity when you have a fussy baby. The girls were great, but my 8 month old was not having it. The only way he would stop crying was if I held him up so he could look at the people behind us. 


The girls were just content playing games, coloring and building blocks. It was literally a miracle. 


We also can’t forget safety on the plane. They might be better prepared than me if something goes wrong. 


All, in all, the only thing I can complain about is the time change. My kids were up this morning at 4:15am and went strong throughout the day. Hopefully this will be the only adjustment day. 

Looking forward to the rest of this trip. 

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Strawberry Jello Shots

19 Jul

I moved to my current neighborhood about 9 months ago. I since have met a lot of neighbors and have become good friends with them. Which has surprised me since we only knew one neighbor when we lived in Las Vegas for 3 years.

Getting to know the neighbors has been great for my daughter as well. She has made new friends and loves playing with the neighbors dogs. It also helps me not go crazy since my husband is rarely home due to his job. It’s nice to have adults to talk to.

Once a month there is a large group of ladies that gets together to eat, drink and play bunco, a great and easy dice game.

I was invite for the first time to bunco last month. It was my first night out since giving birth to my second daughter (who is now 7 months old). I was hesitant and as the night approached I really didn’t want to go. I don’t always do well out of my element.

Early that day I had made Jell-O shots. They are a favorite amongst my husbands family. I gave them to a friend to bring over because I was going to be late (had to get the girls to bed).

I was nervous when I walked into the party, but the moment I stepped in, I was hailed the queen of Jell-O shots. Apparently I made them really strong (it’s just how I always make them), and everyone was excited about them. Who knew a bunch of moms and grandmas would be so excited over jello.

Well, this months bunco night os tomorrow night. I was asked to make more Jell-O shots. I decided instead of using the standard plastic containers they are usually made in, I would try using strawberries. I had seen a Pin on Pinterest and decided to make a go at it. They didn’t turn out super fancy or anything, but they are fun.

Recipe:
I used about 3 packs of strawberries and hollowed out the insides. Then cut the bottom to obtain a flat surface.

I used a package of strawberry jello and followed the directions. It calls for two cups of boiled water and two cups of cold water. Instead of the cold water, I used 2 cups of tequila.

Make sure after you put the strawberry mix into the boiling water, you let it cool down before adding the alcohol.

I then filled the hollowed out strawberries with the jello and put in the refrigerator.

Hopefully they will be well received.

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Homemade Pizza

18 Jul

I found a recipe for a handmade organic pizza dough on the blog 100 Days of Real Food ( my favorite blog right now).

I added a few extra spices in the dough, but left the rest of the recipe the same.

I couldn’t eat it because I have celiac disease, but my husband really like it and he is really picky.

Here is the recipe that I used:

(Pizza Dough)
2 tsp of dry active yeast
1 cup of warm water
1 tsp of natural sea salt
1 tsp of garlic salt
11/2 tsp of dried basil
2 tbsp of olive oil
3 cups of organic whole wheat flour

*Add yeast to warm water for a few minutes before adding all other ingredients.
After all ingredients are mixed together, kneed the dough to create a smooth ball. Add more water if the dough seems dry. I had to add water little by little till I felt it was just right. If you feel there is too much water, add more flour.
Cover the bowl and put the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I put mine in for 4 hours to let it rise.
When ready, roll the dough out with a rolling pin.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees
I added organic pizza sauce, cooked Turkey sausage and mozzarella cheese.
I baked it for 10 minutes.

This was a really fast and easy recipe. I was excited and proud that I actually made the dough myself instead of buying a pre made dough. I’m glad my family liked it and I will be making this again soon.

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Soy…What’s the real story?

16 Jul

I started my 2 year old on soy milk about 9 months ago. She was having digestive issues and I figured it was all the milk that she was drinking. I have issues with too much dairy, so I wasn’t surprised that she was having issues as well. The soy milk was helping and so I continued her on it.

At a play date one day, I was with two friends of mine. One is a vegetarian and the other is vegan. At the time I was still eating meat. The discussion of food choices came up and I mentioned that my daughter drank soy milk. My vegetarian friend looked at me as if I had a third eye. She then stated that her son drinks rice milk because soy milk was full of estrogen and all sorts of bad things for a person. That night, she sent me an article from a website about the dangers of soy.

I was alarmed. Many of the people that commented on the article had really strong opinions either for or against soy milk and the comments were turning into heated arguments. I began to panic a little thinking I had been doing harm to my daughter. Discussing this with my vegan friend the next day made me feel better because she stated that she also gives her daughter soy milk. I decided to let it go and continued to let my daughter drink it. I had not seen any negative side effects and felt that for the time being, it was okay for her to consume.

A few months later, I came across a Facebook discussion regarding soy milk and the ingredient Carrageenan. This ingredient is extracted from seaweed and is used as a thickening agent for soy milk. Some say that Carrageenan reeks havoc on a persons GI track and should be avoided. It is an ingredient that has been approved in many organic products. Again, this scared me regarding soy milk. My attraction to soy milk stems from the amount of protein in contains. My toddler is a picky eater and does not like meat. I considered trying organic milk again, but was hesitant because of issues she had in the past.

I myself had begun using soy milk in my morning smoothies and had began experimenting with tofu. I had actually made some yummy parmesans pan fried tofu one night. Later, that same night I saw a post from a vegan Facebook page I follow asking her followers what their thoughts were on soy products. Id say about 90% of commenters stated they stay away from all soy products. Those who did consume soy products stated that they will either only consume it if it is organic or fermented, or if they do consume it, they do so in low doses and not often.

I also read something that really made me nervous. Many commenters stated that soy products should be avoided if a person has an autoimmune disorder. I have Hashimotos a form of hypothyroid affecting my thyroid. Apparently the isoflavones in soy products causes the thyroid to function improperly. I read soy should not be consumed if one is taking thyroid medication.

Apparently as a newbie to vegetarianism and trying to eat healthier, I am really bad at fully researching the foods that I am eating. The soy confusion in my life has really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to look into what foods are best for my body as well as my family. I am frustrated because I have been trying so hard to make the right choices and keep running into roadblocks that set me back.

I decided to start giving my toddler organic milk again. So far she is doing well and has had no issues. My lesson has been learned regarding my food choices and I will be doing more research for now on. I still don’t understand soy and all its controversies, but right now I feel that staying away from consuming too much of it may be the better choice.

Food

12 Jul

I went to the grocery store the other day.  I moved to a new state about 9 months ago and it has taken me that long to commit to a single store. There are several in the town we live in.  I have tried them all, but I finally settled on this particular store because it offers a larger selection of produce and has a lot of natural, organic and gluten free choices.

I am not in love with this store, the baskets are horrible if you have more than one child and their aisles are way too small for maneuvering if you have a lot going on. I am also confused by the amount of non food items they cram into their store. I spend a whole shopping trip telling my toddler that I will not buy her camping gear or scented candles. I would also like to give my two cents to whoever thought I would appreciate having a trillion balloons displayed at every checkout.

But, (sigh) I have to admit, their food choices, however more pricey they are, does give the customer the opportunity to feed their family a bit more healthy.  For the sake of my wallet, I have had to really stick to my grocery list and not buy a lot of packaged foods for my toddler. This is of course a good thing, since we are trying to eat less packaged foods, even if they are organic.

Grocery shopping is where I begin to display some anxiety. Often times, when reading all the blogs and Facebook posts out there on organic and natural foods, I see that the author has either left out the issue of price or they continuously tell the reader that the health of their family is worth the cost. I agree with the latter. But, there are some of us who struggle monthly with a budget and when we see that a large container of regular strawberries is $3.99, it is really hard to pick up the same sized container of organic strawberries for $6.99. It took me a very long time of doing research to finally justify the $6.99 box. Yes, I feel my family deserves the best quality of food there is to offer, my wallet does not always agree.

My recent switch to organic and natural foods has a lot to do with me no longer working. When I was working fulltime, I never really felt like I had the time to do any research on the subject. I worked a job that kept me preoccupied both at work and at home. I cared about what my daughter ate, but with her in daycare, I was unable to control the foods she ate while she was there. They did not allow outside foods unless a child had an allergy. Now that my full time job is raising my two daughters and running a household, I feel like part of my new job is to invest in the healthy eating of my family.  (I am of course not saying anything bad about working mothers, I was unable to handle the high stress of my job and anything else that went on around me.)

I have recently become a vegetarian, something I never thought I would do. For some reason, when I breast feed, I either crave certain foods, or there are foods that gross me out.  With my second child, I find meat to be extremely unappealing.  My being a vegetarian is really throwing my husband for a loop. I no longer share in his enjoyment of BBQ and steak house restaurants. Eating out is hard for me because I also have celiac disease on top of being a vegetarian. Oh, and did I mention that I have never liked fish or shell fish of any kind. It’s a good thing we don’t eat out a lot.

When going meatless, I also lost a lot of my baby weight. I was grateful for that. I still take prenatal vitamins because I am breastfeeding and I take a B-12 supplement daily due to the lack of meat. I am thinking of cutting out cheese as well. I don’t drink milk or eat yogurt because of lactose issues, but I love cheese and it has been really hard for me to give it up.

Now that I am vegetarian, I am eating all sorts of foods I have never eaten before.  I actually don’t mind tofu and have experimented with it when making Asian food, Italian food, and preparing it on its own.

This week I made a cheesy quinoa dish.  It was really good and I enjoy the fact that quinoa has a lot of protein in it, about 6 grams for every 1/4 cup.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of Quinoa

3 cups of water

Olive Oil

1 small package of mushrooms (I used baby bella)

2 cups of spinach

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ cup of soy milk (or milk, rice milk, almond milk, ect)

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare quinoa by placing the water and quinoa in the pot and bringing the water to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil (you don’t have to use mushrooms and spinach, any of your favorite vegetables will work well). I like to add garlic salt to my mushrooms for flavor.

Once the quinoa and mushrooms are done I add the soy milk and cheese to the quinoa. I then stir in the mushrooms and spinach adding salt and pepper to taste.

I place the cheesy quinoa into a glass dish and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees. I also will sprinkle a handful of cheese on the top.

I enjoy experimenting with different recipes now that I am not eating meat, my family however,  is not as excited. So far my picky toddle refuses to try this dish and my husband uses his excuse of being on a diet not to partake. He also does not like mushrooms.

I am happy about my food choices right now and am hoping to become more educated on the subject of organic foods and GMOs. I really want to be able to provide the best quality of foods for my family and I am working on getting them to try new foods.