Posts by ktschoger

How To Get Your Toddler To…..

I’m sure anyone that is a parent has now heard of the book “Go the F*ck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach. If not, here is an excerpt:

Go the F to SleepJust my type of book

We have an almost 4 year old and this was very pertinent.  45 minutes of “Please can I have some ice chips” and “Just one more hug and one more smooch, mommy” (who can pass that up?) and “I  have to go potty again.” (x3)

And like most Pre-Schoolers he had also picked up some really nice potty talk at school, with an emphasis on “poop” and any derivative there of.

I think the straw was drawn when he called me a “Stinky Poophead” after one particularly long day. Which at the time was probably an accurate description of me.

But still. I knew something had to be done.

Like I said, I have almost 4 years under my belt with this one and I’m slowly learning about this boy of mine.

He loves a challenge and I used that to my advantage.

Here’s what I did.

Grant is very goal-oriented (wonder where he gets that from?) and so I searched for some reward/incentive charts knowing that if I set some rules on that chart and rewarded him for that good behavior that maybe we would be able to break his habits. (Because taking things away from him and Time Outs were not working.)

I mean hey, we flat out bribed him while potty training and that turned out well. So….

I found a two good sites on Pinterest for behavior/reward/incentive charts. These are the links leading to the two best sources (that I found) that allow you to search by gender, age, grade, type of chart etc. (here, here)

I will admit, I did customize them a little bit in Photoshop because I am sort of Type A. (But my Photoshop skills are beginner at best so it is nothing fancy.)

I set rules and cut and pasted in the rewards he would work towards. (Chosen by both him and me.)

This was important for him because he could now physically see what he was getting, it wasn’t a promise, it was a goal!

space reward-incentive-chart-012That second prize in there, that is a pirate periscope…’cause I know you were wondering

Frog Reward Incentive Chart

Let me tell you, this kid set the table, helped me unpack the groceries, and put things away for me upstairs…without me even asking. He started being very helpful with Brody, the potty talk is all but gone, the whining is at a minimum, and best of all 97% of the time he will not leave his room after we have tucked him in at night.

Boo-F’ing-YA!

It took him about a three weeks to get through each chart; some days earning up to 3 stickers, a few days earning none.

But finally this past Friday Grant’s hard work paid off and he placed his last sticker on his chart which earned us a MOVIE DATE!

{Quickly, about me and movies…we don’t mix. I fall asleep immediately. The last movie I went to in a movie theater was “Marley and Me” on 12/31/08 when I was 6 months pregnant with Grant. I bawled hysterically. And I had already read the book.}

But today I broke that streak and we went to see “Meet The Croods”

Meet The CroodsIn 3D no less! (If you’re going to do something for the first time, do it big folks)

The movie was incredible; really funny, amazing graphics, great story. I recommend it to everyone!

And I didn’t even fall asleep.

Redneck Waterbed

It feels really strange writing this as I look outside to a raging snowstorm. But with the official launch of Spring this past week, I felt this would be appropriate.

Last year around this time I found this doozy of a pin (from The Mommies Made Me Do It)  and decided that it was something that we should do when Kel Dos and her family came out to visit over Memorial Day weekend. (Although she was a little more PC with hers calling it a Giant Sensory Bag.) Let’s just call a ‘spade’ and ‘spade’.

Redneck waterbedRedneck Waterbed

Everyone, from the babies (now full-blown, walking, talking toddlers) to the adults had a blast!

Redneck waterbed B

and we even played with it in the morning in our jammies.

redneck waterbed in jammies

And here are a few other things I learned while assembling this atrocity:

  • Do assemble in the same spot you plan on playing with it. Moving this thing is rather difficult. We are talking 100’s of gallons of water, it is heavy. We learned this the hard way.
  • Do not assemble on the grass  if it is dewy, or has been recently watered, or slightly damp, etc. Wetness makes tape un-sticky. Un-sticky tape creates area for leaks. We learned this the hard way.
  • Do not try and assemble if it is windy outside. Or even a slight breeze. We learned this the hard way.
  • When taping, make sure the plastic is stuck on the tape perfectly (which is damn near impossible) but any wrinkles in it will cause leaks. We learned this the hard way.
  • Make sure the ground is level or else the weight of the water bladder will pull it down whatever slope it is near. We learned this the hard way.
  • If your grass is lush and green before this, it probably will, maybe die a little bit in spots if it is wet underneath and it gets to hot outside (ok, so it may or may not have burned some of our lawn. A little re-seeding and some TLC for a few weeks and it was back to new.)
  • A colossal amount of water is used to fill this up so make sure you are not on water restrictions where you live. However, when disassembled, it did water the entire lawn rather nicely, so not a total waste.
  • This also takes a long time to fill up. Really long. Like, hours long. So plan ahead. We learned this the hard way.

HOWEVER a pain in the a$$ this was to put together…Dos and I decided that it was WELL worth the hassle and I would totally do it again in a heartbeat. I think it lasted about 2 days before I used it as a lawn watering device.

However, only in the spring and fall. I would not do this again in the summer. Too much of a grass killer in the summer.

This would be great for those 60-70 degree spring days when it is too chilly for bathing suits…

045

although, not according to this kid

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ah, St. Patrick’s day. Another religious holiday us American’s have dedicated as a National Drinking day.

Because who doesn’t want to drink green beer with their eggs at 7am?

I can no longer participate in many “traditional” St. Patrick’s Day festivities (see, here). My days of drinking green beer are over (which is fine because ARTIFICIAL FOOD DYES! AHHHH)

and my momming days are in full-swing (which is fine because I love this shit):

St. Patrick's Day RainbowI swear, I only helped Brody a little

So, from my semi-Irish family to you:

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow and Leprechaun Face Hand

Be safe out there friends. If you drink, don’t drive. And if you drive, don’t drink (or just designate your gluten intolerant friend as the DD.)

DIY Haircut

It may have been the fact that we were kind of snowed in yesterday. (However, it was the poorest excuse for a “blizzard” I have ever seen.)

Or it could have been that my husband threatened to take buzzers to Brody’s luscious locks.

But I cut his hair last night.

This is what I was expecting:

Unhappy BrodesPigtails & Crewcuts – The only place you pay $17 to make your child cry

That isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone.

I figured I could do it myself, save the $17 (+tip).

I mean, I have experience cutting my guy friend’s hair in college, maybe a boyfriend or two. But I will admit, I never had a clue what I was doing. (Sorry fellas.)

I found this pin, How To Cut Little Boy’s Hair Like A Pro:

How To Cut Little Boy's Hair

The blog that this pin liked to, heavenlyhomemakers.com also offered pictures. Typically, watching a YouTube tutorial would have done it for me, but I found that a lot of the tutorials were either for some over-priced, awful time-saving, hair-butchering product or made by non-professionals that admitted they didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

If I am taking scissors to my child’s head, I kind of want to know the right way to do it so that I don’t have to go back to Pigtails & Crewcuts and spend $17 (+tip) to humbly apologize for butchering my child’s hair and now he is going to spend the next 15 minutes in this Police Car Chair screaming and flailing while they try and fix it.

My process:

Step 1: Strap in chair, with bowl of freeze dried corn (I know, weird right? But the kid goes bonkers for it), and Veggie Straws. Place in front of Disney movie (Mulan was the movie of choice last night.)

Step 2: Spray, cut, comb (frantically), refer to chart occasionally. This does not seem too hard. This is going well.

4 minutes later.

Step 3: Enlist help of Matt to hold Brody’s head which is now bent over so far, it is in his own lap (apparently he doesn’t like me combing his hair anymore and oh my word does this kid has a lot of hair.) This is not easy. This is not going very well.

Step 4: Repeat step 2 for next 5 minutes, while trying not to snip the little fingers that are now trying to swipe my scissors away from his head.

and done.

Here is a before of our moptop:

059 btw, recipe for this delicious dish coming this week. Both kids scarfed it (and it contained kale!)

but seriously, look at those bangs, they were almost down to his eyebrows.

and after:Brodes, after haircut{Post-Snow “storm” sledding}

I will admit, there are probably a few areas that I will trim up as I see necessary in the upcoming days, but I am pretty pleased with my first pass through. I mean, it looks pretty straight, no one lost an ear or got poked in the eye and I saved $17 (+tip). I say, success.

Chia Fresca, aka Nature’s Red Bull

Yesterday I ran for the first time in a month.

I was practically forced into my workout gear by Matt (I love how supportive he is!)

I have been battling a little something going on 6 weeks now and although I think about working out on a daily basis, I just haven’t felt like it. I did not want to go. I stalled for a good hour and half.

But.

I drove my ass to the gym, dropped the kids off at (free) child care!

And I ran 4 miles.

With these modified intervals (6 minute warm up at 5.5, 1 minute at 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, and then back down to 6, repeat 3x.)

and it didn’t suck.

it was kind of AWESOME.

just runand it is not because I am some sort of super woman (that is just something I tell Grant), it is because of my new obsession, chia!!!

chia frescaLooks like a mosquito infested mojito……

But is it not, it is nature’s Red Bull! aka  Chia Fresca or known to the Tamahumara People as iskiate. (And for those of you not up on your Northwestern Mexico Native American tribes, these folks can run. Hundreds of miles, for fun. With the aide of their iskiate, of course.)

I had some for breakfast.

I made Matt drink it.

I made Grant drink it.

Chia Fresca anyone?The Driods may be coming, but they are not going to catch this kid

And then he asked for more.

Seriously.

It may look gross, but this stuff is good!

Tastes kind of like Limeade, but with little jelly seeds in it.

And I like those jelly-like seeds. Kind of reminds me of tomato seeds. (and I love tomatoes!)

So, if you have an aversion to texture (like, tomatoes or tomato seeds), probably not the best drink of choice.

chia seedsThis from the girl who told me eating raw chia seeds “tastes like dirty water” and look like “bugs in a bag”

My point of this all though, is this stuff works.

I just didn’t want to stop running, I felt like I could run forever.

And I haven’t run in forever (only 2x in February) so it should not have come easy to me. But it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. (although my knees and ankle were not happy about it.)

Btw, you are running it when you are at an 8 on a treadmill.

I totally attribute my new energy drink, ch ch ch chia fresssss-CA!

However, it is not advisable to drink this (and especially do not give this to your child) in the evening or before bed (or nap).

Not that I have personal experience with this or anything.

How about you? Have you gone “Tarahumara” with your workouts and have you seen a difference?

You’ve Decided to “Go” Gluten-Free, Now What?

Not that I am an expert at this gluten-free thing. at all. BUT, I am a recent devotee and having successfully moved myself and two toddlers to a gluten-free diet. during the holidays. while traveling. I feel as if I have a little bit of varied experience with this so far. I kind was forced to dive right in on trying to figure out how to live “normally” again. I have also been hit up by friends a few times in the past 4 months “So, I am going/am thinking about going/HAVE to go gluten-free, can you offer me some good brands/snacks/recipes because whatthef*ckdoIdonow?”

Most recently I got that text from my BF Kelly (aka, Kel Dos). Her daughter, my Goddaughter just got her Gluten Intolerance test back.  I won’t go into details, but this little Ginger* has been sick since she came out of Kelly’s womb and long story short, her test showed up for just what I suspected, gluten intolerance. She scored twice that of “normal” levels for Anti-gliadin IgA. And so now Kelly is freaking out about snacks and school and food and just life in general because lifestyle changes are challenging and well, that is the first thing people do when they are advised to go gluten-free; freak the funk out. I did.

Freaking-Out

The first thing I hear is “I don’t even know where to start”.  Well, neither did I so I hit up  Pinterest (duh) and searched “How to Go Gluten Free” and found “Gluten Free Goddess” ‘s blog. This gave a good place to start, I recommend you read it for yourself.

Here are the top things that I wish someone told me about going Gluten-Free:

  • You cannot be “kind of” gluten free. To feel and see the real effects of a gluten free diet, it is all or nothing. Even a crumb can send you running to the bathroom and/or into the fetal position for hours if you are Non- Celiac gluten intolerant or Celiac.
  • Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, farro, malt…and for the die-hards, oats and quinoa have similar properties and some of the gluten intolerant folk can’t digest them either.
  • Gluten is hidden EVERYWHERE! Start reading labels if you don’t already. Here are some products you might be surprised to find gluten in: Soy sauce, mustard, BBQ sauce, ketchup, malt vinegar (anything with malt or barley), potato chips, soup, salad dressing, your Thanksgiving turkey, french fries, canned soup, lunch meat, candy, beer, fast food (it is not real food anyway, you shouldn’t eat it.),  fake flavoring (like that sprayed on chips and crackers), wine coolers and other malted beverages, artificial colors and food dyes (did you know that these are ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES in over 100 countries outside of the US?) In fact, it is best to just avoid all processed foods altogether.
  • Give yourself a two week “wheat break.” It takes your wheat-addicted taste buds that long to adjust the different flavors and textures of “alternative” flours. No bread, bagels, “replacement crackers”, pasta etc.
  • When you do decide to dive into the world of gluten-free baked goods always, always toast your bread.
  • Gluten-free pasta will crumble into a billion tiny pieces if cooked too long. It still tastes fine, unlike wheat pasta that kind of disintegrates or becomes starchy if overcooked.

It is daunting at first but what you are really doing is setting yourself up for  some good ‘ole “clean eating” and by day 3, the pain in the ass that it is to plan and cook and not know what the hell you are going to make for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…it will all be worth it. It is absofrickinalutely amazing how much better you will feel. Ask anyone who has made the choice, they will tell  you the same thing. And the best part, it is almost a guarantee some of you will see weight loss.

wheat bellysexy wheat belly

It has to do with inflammation, read more about that here, here, and here.

The next question I am asked is “what are some brands you have found that you like?” so far here is the breakdown:

Bread:

I have tried Glutino, Rudi’s (sold at my Costco), both are fine, but my kids dig IN to some grilled cheese when it’s on Glutino’s Multigrain Sandwich Bread. Also garners the “Gluten-Eater Seal of Approval” from Matt. Rudi’s is ok, but it’s easy and cheaper for me to buy, so that is the stand-by bread for when we don’t have any of the good stuff.

glutino multigrain sandwich breadI also found a pin from InspiredEats.net (and lives in my neck of the woods, apparently!) “Udi’s Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread – apparently the best GF sandwich bread that does not need to be toasted”

udi's gluten free sandwich breadKel Dos and my Ginger were our taste testers and it passed the “grilled cheese test” with flying colors.

Kel Dos text

Snacks:

Glutino brand is pretty spot on when it comes to their snacks crackers and chips and pretzels, oh their pretzels! I think they taste better than regular pretzels. They are pretty crunchy and don’t have any weird texture or flavors. Matt approves of these as well. They are about $6.99/ 14 oz. bag at our local store but I found if you in bulk through Amazon   you are buying them for about $4.99/ 14 oz. bag. ($2 savings/bag and I like that.)

glutino pretzelsAlso getting a thumbs up from Glutino: Tortilla Dippers, Potato Crisps, Pretzel Sticks, All snack crackers.

I would save the calories and pass on the following from Glutino, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate vanilla wafer cookies (aka fake Oreos. I found another brand of fake Oreo’s that are awesome, but can’t remember what brand they are. Will be sure to update when I find them again.)

I also found Private Selection Sea Salt Rice and Bean Chips are delicious and get the Gluten-Eaters Seal of Approval from my good friend, G. (Private Selection Labels can be found at Kroger and affiliate stores.)

Bagels:

Hot damn, do I love bagels. In high school, every single morning (if I made it on time) I would buy a bagel from the caf (they were shipped in from a local joint in my hometown, Elaine’s Bagels. Holy moly are those the best bagels I have ever had in my life. And I miss them.) When I was working in downtown Boulder prior to birthing my nuggets, every morning on my way to work I would stop in at my local coffee joint, The Cup and I would order a toasted sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese and a large Yerba Mate (yeah, I don’t drink coffee, but I love the owners and baristas.) I love bagels. I love them and I miss them.

I have replaced them with an ok, gluten free rendition from Udi’s. Really make sure these are toasted and eat them while they are still hot. I mean, nothing can replace the deliciousness of a NY style bagel so this is just something I will live with.

Save the calories on Glutino brand bagels, they are hard and gross.

Pasta:

There really are a lot of gluten free pasta out there and it’s kind of preferential. I really don’t care if I am eating corn or quinoa or rice pasta, but my neighbor across the street, she is very particular and often times I am on the receiving end of products she doesn’t like. Not a bad deal, right? So my recommendation is to try out a few and see what you like. My other recommendation is not to eat gluten free pasta when it is cold. I found out the hard way that it is just gross. And lastly, corn pasta needs a little extra loving in the water (or sauce) as I have found that it takes a long time to cook through. I have served my family crunchy spaghetti more times than not lately. Hmnmm, a foodie that can’t cook spaghetti…..

Spices mixes :

Make your own, there is so much filler crap in most of those packages and it is cheaper to make your own. Go to the bulk section of your natural grocery store and stock up….or, you can be as lucky as me and have access to Savory Spice Shop in Boulder.  I found some great homemade spice recipes on Pinterest. You can also search by the specific spice mix you’re looking for, taco mix, Greek Seasoning, Cajun Seasoning, Steak Seasoning etc.)

Flour, Baking mixes and Xanthan Gum?:

THIS was my biggest fear. I had just figured out high altitude baking and now this? And what in the hell is xanthan gum? Fear not! Bob’s Red Mill makes a very versatile gluten free baking mix. (and is sold at my Costco!) I use it as a 1 to 1 ratio and typically add some amount of xanthan gum to it even though it already has it in the mix. It’s what I used for my gluten free chia blueberry pancakes.

and xanthan gum, btw is like a “gluten replacement” to add volume and viscosity to baked goods and breads (and this kick ass cheese sauce!)

(EDITORS NOTE: After posting on Facebook, one of my favorite gluten-free friends left me this comment: “I use the Bob’s Mill General Purpose for savory recipes, as I find the presence of garbanzo flour to lend itself best to things like quiche. King Arthur’s general gf flour is great for pie as it is less savory, but so is the price.” Thank you Vicky for that great advice! Always great to hear from others with experience!)

ALCOHOL! also known as, “Oh no, I can’t drink beer.” You are wrong! You can, you just have less choices! And really, let’s look at that as a good thing because who really needs WALLS and WALLS of choices of beer when you really just need one little section.

99_bottles

I found a local craft brew called New Planet, they make a Raspberry Ale that I really like.

also check out this pin – 5 Gluten Free Beers Worth Trying by Food Republic. I have had the Omission Pale Ale, it was a fine pale ale, as far as they go. I don’t really like them particularly, so…

Also, there are a variety of hard cider’s on the market, Woodchuck makes different flavors; they’re good, but too many or you’ve got a belly ache on your hands. Most hard cider’s are gluten free (Hornsby and Harpoon’s are NOT, beware).

Liquor is iffy, as some vary brand by brand. Like gin for example. I love me some Bombay Sapphire but not anymore! I read somewhere it has gluten in it, I read somewhere that it doesn’t. I’ll go by what my belly tells me and that is “Girl, why are you doing this to me?” and so, it is no more. A simple google search of  whatever your product is + “gluten free” after it should come up with enough search results for you to make your own judgement call on whether or not to eat it. Also beware of the mixers put in your drinks. For example, I’m going to assume a lot of margarita’s are made with a bottled mix unless otherwise noted. Stay away from that crap, seriously, margarita’s are not supposed to be bright, lime green anyway.

It is also important to note that us folk that can’t tolerate the gluten, have difficulties with artificial sweeteners, coloring (!), and flavoring. You wonder why kids are so insane at birthday parties. It’s not the sugar, it’s all of the chemical dye pumped in them from the food coloring. THESE CHEMICALS ARE ILLEGAL IN SO MANY OF OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. Do not eat them, do not feed them to your children, it is poison.

I also get this a lot – “How did you know you’re kids had gluten issues?” After I got my initial recommendation to go GF I read up on what some symptoms could be, it made perfect sense.

It started when Grant was about 9 months old he laid his head down on some carpeted steps and cracked both of his front teeth. I thought that was really weird, but I have always had bad teeth (despite my almost obsessive flossing and brushing) so I thought little of it. Turns out people with gluten issues tend to have bad teeth/weakened enamel etc. When he was 2 1/2 he started Pre School 2x/week. He missed his first day because he was puking and from that point on until 13 months later he had the “stomach bug” approximately 13 times. He had big, dark “allergy shiners” under his eyes, but tested negative for all allergies. Diarrhea, rashes on his bum, skin issues on his face, congested nose, sleeping issues, behavior problems (from an otherwise very nice little boy), lashing out, mood swings. I know the latter part sounds like a typical 3 year old, but not mine. I pulled the gluten and less then 3 days later my little Nugget came back. The rashes and dark circles and belly cramping and mood swings and sleeping issues…everything went away. Brody was different, he was only 16 months when it was pulled from his diet and I saw NOTHING other than this…..His teeth are super sensitive. Since he started teething his teeth bleed. If he bumps his head and he has something in his mouth, you can expect bloody teeth. Like they are not properly secured in his little skull. He also chipped both of his front teeth when he bonked his head another time. So, the enamel issue raised a flag for him. Recently we gave him some gluten to see what would happen, you know, to see if he really was intolerant or if it was just me. Yeah, he is, and it really crushed his belly, and he definitely let us know about it for the next 3 days, and it was rather unpleasant. ‘Nuff said. Kids are not supposed to be sick all of the time even if they are in day care, if they are I would look deeper.

“What do your kids eat for snacks? And what about Cheerios, aren’t you in prime Cheerio time with your youngest?”  Currently in my pantry for snacks, Go-Go Squeeze, Clif Kids Organic Z Fruit Rope, Lara Bars, apple cinnamon rice cakes, dried fruit, freeze dried fruit (my MIL is a THRIVE representative), Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels, Pirate’s Booty, Veggie Straws, popcorn (air popped, not bagged). They love to dip the pretzels in hummus, tzatzki, yogurt dip (mix in a little cinnamon and honey and it’s a dip!) peanut butter etc. Also, of course, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt (buy Greek and mix in your own fruit, jam, granola, chia seeds or try this doozy of a recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough greek yogurt, it is amazing!). Or if they can come up with something healthy, I’m not one to say no. Sometimes Grant wants to make muffins or bake something, I’m all for it! It’s definitely not as convenient but I make my own with individual snack bags and vacuum seal them. 15 minutes of prep saves a lot of time when you can just grab and go and not have to worry about it on your way out the door. I always have snacks on me. Always. My boys can turn into ravishing (whiny) dinosaurs in a blink of an eye.

As for my Cheerio replacement, Amazon Subscribe & Save to the rescue again. I have Nature’s Path Organic Whole O’s, Gluten Free Cereal, 11.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6) delivered to me every 3 months (it saves about $0.84/box this way.) They are made of rice, have a slight sweetness to them (they are not bland) and are very crunchy. Neither of my boys care that they aren’t eating Cheerios, it’s not a big deal. In fact, I like them better, they are crunchier.

Whoa. Bet you didn’t read that in one sitting.

So now, for your benefit, I shall end this long-haul of a post but will leave you with this little teaser, coming soon: How To: Travel Gluten Free and some Gluten Free apps. Yeah, I know…so exciting.

*Names are changed to protect identities, but appropriately nicknamed “Ginger” due to her incredibley awesome, Strawberry Shortcake red hair.

ginger's dont have soulsPS – I LOVE Gingers, LOVE them.