Friday, October 25, 2013

Black lentils with Secret Kale

Black Lentils with Secret Kale

I wasn't even thinking about writing up this recipe except for the fact that all three of my little ones gobbled it right down, and the baby had 3 helpings. The best part is that I included "secret kale" in this dish, so it was a double WIN! 


1/2 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

a handful of kale, chopped extra fine

1.5-2 cups of black lentils 
(I have never used lentils from a can before but I did for this recipe and it made things super easy!) 

For seasoning:

garlic powder





sea salt

black pepper

  1. I added the first 4 ingredients to a saucepan with a bit of olive oil and cooked everything until the onions were transparent.
  2. I added the lentils and spices and then cooked it all for about 8-10 minutes. 
  3. I served the dish to all my kids and they devoured it, easy peasy! 

It doesn't get any easier than that. 1, 2, 3 and you have a healthy and nutritious dish for your family and yourself. I will surely be making this again! I hope you enjoy! 

Thank you for reading! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Peace Out, "To Do" List

Peace Out, "To Do" List 

I was not feeling it today. The last couple weeks have been close to a muddled mess and I have been teetering on a fine line between "organized & on schedule" and "out of control and crying in the corner". The youngest's sleep pattern has been bonkers and I am officially more sleep deprived now than I was when I had an infant in the house, so I am sure that isn't helping much. 

I have figured out a few keys to survival that have made a major difference in my busy life, no sleep and all. I have been strict about setting up a schedule at night for the following day. Even though, like any decent mom, I can assess a situation pretty quickly and make changes when and where I need to, it makes a huge difference to have an idea of the big and some little things that need to happen and when. Look, sometimes we stick to the plan and sometimes the plan needs to be adjusted, but it is definitely helping. 

And then there was today. Adjustments weren't going to help. We needed an overhaul. I knew it right away, we needed to feed our souls a little bit today, find a little balance. So, everything else got scraped. I almost wish we had kept Big Sister home from school to join us, but I didn't. 

Brother, Little Sister and I went to Princeton, NJ to walk the path along the D&R Canal. We know that path, its really easy and quiet and pretty. This was definitely the best decision I made in weeks. Everything seemed a little better afterwards. 

How lucky am I that I could be joined on a beautiful Fall hike with these two hams. Love them so much. 

"I'm walking!!!!" I think by next Spring the stroller will be a thing of the past.  

Sometimes a good hike is all you need to put things into perspective and feel connected to the whole world. The rest of the day was a breeze after having the opportunity to take all this in. 

Thank you so much for coming over to read my blog!  I hope to see you back again. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Am I Doing This Again?

Why Am I Doing This Again? 

Let me set the scene for you: Its Friday night. I am researching how to restore the balance of good and "bad" bacteria in one's digestive tract because yes, I am a ball of excitement and yes, this is really what I consider a fun Friday night. Ok, maybe not "fun" per se, but definitely worth while. (Stay tuned for the post on that topic.) I hit the bed around 11:00. Deep sleep immediately. Somewhere around 11:10 the baby, who is no baby anymore at 19 months, is up and screaming for a bottle. Well I am just plum tuckered out so she easily wins. No contest. I put her in our bed and give her the bottle she is so urgently demanding. Then I did the same thing at 1AM and then again at 3AM. By 4AM I thought she was just going overboard so I put my very weary foot down and decided no, not this time. Although you may be screaming 4 inches from my face, I will rub your back, tell you its ok and share my pillow, but I am certainly not giving out anymore bottles. She was not pleased but eventually fell asleep. 

Then the alarm went off at 5:30 and I think I had a flash of pure rage. I have the whole "getting up and getting the oldest off to Kindergarten" thing down but Saturday is a special kind of twisted. Our kids go to German Language School on Saturdays which basically begins the same time as our neighborhood elementary school does on Mondays through Fridays, its just that German Language School is about an hour away. So, that means Saturday keeps the same weekday routines, just a whole lot earlier. (See what I mean? Kind of twisted, right?) 

I yawned, grumbled a bit, got to cooking, prepped lunches, got the kids up, dressed, fed, car loaded and we set off to school right on time. All was well. Until the traffic, and the detour, and the screaming "baby" (ahem, 19 month old) and the way she Harry Houdini-ed her one arm out of the strap of her car seat... twice, then watching the clock strike the start of class as we were still sitting in the car.....


When I finally got the olders into class I went back to the car with Little Sister, who was now all smiles thankfully. I felt like I was spinning a bit.  It was a whirlwind morning after an eventful night. I couldn't help it, I sat down and just thought, "I need to shake this off. I am getting a big, fancy coffee and going shopping!!" You've been there, right? A little "retail therapy" to fix everything right up? My goodness, I liked the sound of that! And I could really use some boots. I turned the car on and gripped the wheel. I took a deep breath but out of nowhere I had a complete flashback. (Really brain, you couldn't keep this to yourself?) Were this a movie, the scene would turn back to me, late summer/early fall 2012. I could see it pretty clearly in my head. 

Right about at that point I had decided that I needed to make some serious lifestyle changes. I couldn't drop the last 15+ pounds of baby weight, I was out of shape, lethargic and just did not feel well in general. I made some pretty big nutritional changes around that time by doing my first Whole 30 and then easily falling into a Paleo lifestyle. I began cutting out processed foods for the entire family little by little. I began to run and work out at home with my kids around. At some point, as all this was coming together, I promised myself a few big things. I promised that I would do everything I could to inspire my kids to live healthy and fit lives. I promised to encourage them to be outdoors and to love it. And one very specific promise I made in September of 2012, when another year of German Language class began, was no more Saturdays waiting for class to be over while sitting in an over-priced coffee shop or book store or Megalo-Mart. Unless it was raining or storming or freezing to the point that all the layers in the world weren't going to keep you warm, Little Sister and I would wait for the olders outside. I can get a couple of laps in around the park, she might come along for a ride in the stroller or get out and walk herself. We get in some fun, some quality time. We might play on the playground equipment or throw rocks in the water. We collect leaves and point out the busy squirrels. We do all that and more... and its awesome. Its awesome for a number of reasons but the one that stands out for me today is this: It is awesome because I made a promise to myself and I kept it. I didn't fall back into the easy routine of sitting around in a retail shop of some sort, spending money I may or may not have on crap I may or may not really need, just because I might feel like I think I deserve to or I can't think of anyplace else I have to be. The truth is I actually deserve more and I do have somewhere else to be. And way better things to do. I was in a temporary fog brought on by serious lack of sleep, a bit of stress and a whole bucket of a pity party I was holding for myself. Luckily I shook it off before any serious damage was done (to my bank account, of course) and major explanations needed to be made to the husband. I think its ok to forget once in a while why I am on this journey. Its even ok to veer off course sometimes. It happens. The most important thing is to be working to move forward and to stay true to the promises you make to yourself. I am learning that staying true to yourself can feel really amazing. 

So, shopping got nixed. My little spitfire and I headed over to the park and had an awesome 90 minutes in the fresh air. We saw geese, ducks, a beautiful crane that landed in the pond, an army of squirrels preparing for winter and so many dogs taking their owners for a walk. I helped Little Sister name all the things she saw and held her hand while she kicked up fallen leaves. See, definitely more important. 

 Look, I still need boots. I will get them. Just not today.

Waving to the ducks and geese on our walk in the park.  

Thanks for reading everyone! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fall Math Fun

Fall Math Fun 

This is a little project I did with Brother. I used the falling Autumn leaves to teach him tally marks and displaying data on a bar graph. It was a really fun project and he totally rocked it. So proud of my little guy! 

The night before I did some prep: I created the bar graph and decorated a sheet of paper to use for keeping track of our data collection. 
The next morning, on our way to school, we took notice of all the leaves changing color. I led the olders to the question of: What fall color is most common for the leaves in our neighborhood?

Our guesses were red and brown.

After we dropped Big Sister off at school, we used our walk home to begin data collecting to see if any of our hypotheses were correct. We decided to collect 30 leaves. We took only a few samples whenever we came across a big collection of fallen leaves. 

In order to keep track of how many leaves we had collected, we used tally marks. This is a lesson we have revisited more than once and this was a perfect way to apply it. Brother still needs lots of support when counting by 5's but who cares. He will totally get it soon enough.  :) 

Once we had all of our data collected, it was time to sort. Brother made piles of each color.  We then talked about the parts of the graph and showed him a sample of how to put information on a bar graph. 

Then my little mathematician went to task and graphed all the information he had collected. I lent him support for the taller bars but he did most of the work, and accurately even! 

The end result, as you saw above, is this! We could easily tell that our guesses of red and brown were correct and we noticed that we just don't seem to have any orange leaves in our neighborhood. Brother thought this was really fun and I could tell he felt very accomplished once he saw his finished project. 

This is an easy project to prep and a lot of fun for your little ones. If you decide to give it a try, I hope you will let us know which fall colors are most popular in your neighborhood!

Thank you for reading!!!