Eat Like a Kid

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In one of my college writing classes, we read a narrative by Terry Tempest Williams about a boy sitting next to his mother peeling potatoes. The narrative was only one paragraph yet so exquisitely written. We were instructed to write our own narrative involving a poignant food memory. I still have mine:

My mother taught me how to eat grapefruit in our living room one balmy summer evening. She instructed me to cut the large fruit in half between the two ends so there were perfect triangular pockets to scoop from. She even let me use a special spoon with a serrated edge to scrape out the fleshy pulp. She laughed at my persistent efforts, swiping a blush across her brightening face, even though her stomach was always tied with anxiety from the pervasive stress of piling bills. She handed me sugar to sprinkle over the half I held in my sticky, dripping hand. Her face was beaming as I took a spoonful of the bitter fruit, sweetened to enjoyment by a simple touch of sugar. 

Coming across this again inspired me to start thinking about the way we approach food in our homes and how eating like a kid could really be healthy.

1. Make your best memories revolve around healthy food. Wouldn't it be great if our kids had predispositions to eat berries because the family always went berry picking in the summer? Or cucumbers because they nurtured them from seed? Or veggie skewers because that's what you always served at family picnics? Or spinach because that's what turned their "Zombie" smoothies green? I'm so glad my memory revolved around a grapefruit and not a Snickers Bar. I admit, we occasionally ate Oreos by the row, but if you can make an equally poignant memory revolve around healthy food instead of junk food, then by all means try it!

2. Turn away your head when you're full. Something happens between our first bites of food around 6 months of age and adulthood. We stop taking cues from our bodies somewhere along the way. Feeding an 8-month-old is easy. You just feed them until they turn away their heads. As we get older, we fight those natural signals and stuff ourselves until we're uncomfortable. Stop eating when you feel sufficiently full or when you know you've eaten enough.

3. Make food fun. Did your mom ever plant "trees" (broccoli) on a hill (of mashed potatoes) for you? Did your dad ever drive your spoon around like it was a train headed for the depot (your mouth)? Food was fun when you were a kid. I encourage you to make food fun again! Make it a point to try a new food or healthy recipe each week. Toy around with the colors, textures, spices, pairings and presentation. Cut fruit out with cookie cutters. Lick the spoon. Become familiar with the playground. Food should not be your enemy, it should be your plaything.

4. Don't think about food while you're playing. When you're not eating, don't obsess or worry about food. You've never seen a child in the throes of a playground wondering if dinner will come soon enough. Let yourself get carried away with non-food activities. Believe me, when you're busy with an involved project, you won't be thinking about the Girl Scout cookies calling you from the cupboard. Don't allow thoughts about food to control you. You get to control your thoughts!

5. Eat slow. Your toddler isn't allowed to leave the table until he's cleared his plates, and that usually comes about a half-hour after everyone else is finished. We may practice better manners as we get older, but we surely forget how to eat as mindfully as a child. Slow down. Taste, I mean really taste, every bite. Chew it. Put your fork down. Look away from that screen. And take a cue from Junior.

Today I'm So Grateful for...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1. The sound of kitty snores behind me. The quiet rhythm is something you could almost meditate to, if you’re in the right mood.

2. Falling asleep next to a tiny boy, after giving his little neck a few kisses and the sound of his daddy taking him gently to his own bed and taking his place.

3. Calls from a friend who happens to be in town asking if we’d like to join her family at the park. Of course we will!

4. Remembering to add the fresh berry syrup to my oatmeal.

5. A clean oven and microwave. I almost smiled as I heated up the above oatmeal in the freshened-up microwave.

Book Pages: All About Women's Fashion

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't judge this book by it's totally 80s cover. Doesn't it remind you of Designing Women or something?  Hey, I was a child of the 80s too, so I can make fun of it. And look, at some point along the way, it only cost $0.10!


Well, this book is actually a mine-field of fashion apparel information. In fact, I have used the collar index to help with my actual copywriting work on-the-job. And, if I were to ever realize my dream (one of about 264) of being a fashion designer , I could take lots of info away from this little gem.


And shoulders? I didn't even know they had terms for some of these. Oh how these images make me wish I was enrolled in charm school. I probably lean more toward the Gretchen Wilson (I ain't no high class broad) end of the spectrum, but that doesn't mean I sometimes don't covet me some fashion sense.


And the collar types. Swoon. I want one of each! I'm not sure I even knew what a sweetheart collar was when I was on the market for a wedding dress. I just tried on whatever looked amazing by sight.


Doesn't the word "espadrille" sound classy? This book reminds me so much of Jackie O. I'm pretty sure she probably could've written "the book" on high-class fashion.


Paging through this book is like digging through my grandma's 50s-style closet, filled with tweed, gingham and houndstooth. Or the time she pulled me aside to show me how to properly iron clothing. These days, I think we're missing a lot of that grandma-taught-me-how style education. I bet your grandma'd be really touched if you asked her to show you how she used to tie her scarf back in grammar school.

One Skein of Ribbon Three Ways

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I love it when I visit the thrift store and snag pretty vintage ribbons. They don't show up very frequently, but when they do... I swipe 'em.

Ribbon Skeins2, Thrift Store Ribbons
Not only are they pretty to look at, but they're also great for sooooo many projects. I have used them as notebook binding with a little Modge Podge. I have glued them onto art journal and scrapbook pages. And I have also used them for the projects shown below. Let's take this $0.25 skein and see how far it can go, shall we?

Vintage ribbon, Thrift store ribbons

1. The first thing I made with this, my favorite skein from the stack above, is a hair accessory holder. Most of my pretty hair pins were stuck in a makeup bag that didn't see the light of day. I even routinely forgot and neglected what was in there! This was just a quick solution that I whipped up. It hangs from an adorable vintage towel holder in our bathroom closet.

All I did was take a length of the ribbon and fold it in half. Then, I hand-sewed two loops to both ribbon ends. I hang it folded in half so that I can loop my headbands through too (notice the burnt edge flower hairband). The ribbon is stiff enough that I can just slide my hairpins right on. I made the blue hairband and the top bow-tie clip. The second and bottom bow-tie clips were from Dainty Daisies. The big flower clip was from a now-defunct local store.

2. Ribbon headband: Remember how I told you that you could find hairband packs at dollar stores? This gray one came from one such pack. The bow is made by taking a small length of ribbon and either gluing or sewing the ends together to create a circle. Then, pinch the centers together and wrap with a coordinated ribbon. Sew the bow to the hairband and voila!
Ribbon hairband, Hairband made from vintage ribbon
3. Shower Ring Statement Necklace: I found this idea on Promise Tangeman's blog. I connected three shower rings, wrapped ribbon around them, and strung them through a silver chain. Hot glue works just fine for holding the ribbon in place.
Fun, huh? And there is plenty...I mean plenty...of ribbon leftover. Let's see where else this can take me.

Weekend Family Fitness

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The weekends have been very kind to us lately. Although we woke up to clouds and rain this morning, it stopped about mid-morning so we toyed with the idea of a little excursion. Hubster found an article about the rare phenomenon that is sturgeon spawning, happening nearby in New London. Although fish aren't really my *thing* I thought it would still be nice to be outside and we knew Peanut would love it.

New London, WI

And love it, he did. When he spotted his first sturgeon, he was sure he had spotted something huge. "Look mamma, a whale!" He's even been to Sea World, so he'd know a whale when he saw one, right?

There were schools of giant fish bumping up very close to shore. The sheer number of people that come to view this phenomenon is amazing. And all the pointing, oohs and ahs, and hushed anticipation are worth the trip in itself. Not only that, but it was a beautiful 60-degrees. Still unheard of for a March in Wisconsin.

New London Sturgeon

See I think those fins make them look more like sharks, but that's just me. *Wink*

New London, WI sturgeon

New London Sturgeon

At the assistance of a charming 3-year old, grandma and grandpa were strongly encouraged to ride along. They obliged and had just as much fun as he did.


Kayne and Bampa, Watching for sturgeon

There were some nice trails and bridge walks in the area that we happily ambled along. It was truly refreshing to be out in that fresh air, walking altogether as a three-generation family, and witnessing a rare phenomenon of nature. Sure, we enjoyed some family fitness, but we barely even noticed! Especially with views like this:

New London, New London, WI

Do it Cheaper: Burnt Edge Flowers

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


You've already seen them all over the interwebs: burnt edge flowers. But, do you know how to make them even more inexpensively? If there's anything I know how to do, it's budget crafting!

First things first, you need some sort of polyester material (satin, chiffon, etc). You could go to Hobby Lobby and pay $8 per yard. Or you could go to your local thrift shop and pay pennies per yard. How, you ask? By buying a satin robe, of course! Or a wedding dress or a polyester shirt or...


Bright Idea: This would be a great way to pass your wedding dress along to your daughters. Cut it up and make it into hairpieces and corsages for the whole wedding party!

This was the lovely polyester specimen that I found at my local thrift store. The shimmery sapphire blue color was gorgeous and the robe cost $0.75 on 1/2-off day.


Another idea: ask for fabric scraps from people you know or from people on Freecycle. I acquired some white and blue satin fabric from someone on Freecycle that was moving. Score! So really, you could make burnt edge flowers for FREE!

Next, cut the fabric into about five concentric circles. Don't get too fussy, because once you burn 'em, they'll be uneven anyway. The first circle should be around 4-1/2-ish inches and the last about 1-1/2-ish inches.


Take each circle and burn the outside edges by exposing the edges to a candle flame. DO NOT put the fabric directly in the flame. Start a few inches away and move closer as you feel comfortable until the fabric starts melting and curling up a bit. Melt all the way around each circle. Please be careful with the smaller circles so that you don't burn yourself. You could even use tweezers or tongs to try to avoid getting burned.

Put the circles inside each other to create your "flower."


The way you decide to embellishing the flower is up to you. I sewed some pearlescent beads to the center of mine. I also attached peacock feather strands to one of the flowers. Buttons, charms, it's up to you!


Then, you can either make your flower into a lapel pin, hair pin, headband, shoe clip or other adornment by simply using a glue gun or needle and thread. I sewed a set of three burnt-edge flowers directly onto a stretchy headband. If I were to do the project over, I would have sewed all three to a single strip of felt first and then attached them to the headband. The flowers kind of pull apart and form gaps otherwise.

Burnt edge flower hairband

Another cheap trick: you can buy packages of stretchy headbands at discount or dollar stores. Check there first! I got like 10 black headbands for $2.

Now my mind is working on what to make with all that beautiful lace trim...hmmm. Any ideas?


Participating in the following link parties:

Book Pages: Childhood Favorites

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Let me introduce you to my most favorite childhood book of stories. It's called the Bedtime Book of Two-Minute Stories. I think it was a gift, but how much do you think my parents probably enjoyed the idea of it? Sometimes at bedtime, you just want to read something without an extravagant storyline. Especially when you're planning on going to bed right after Junior. Or you still have dishes to wash downstairs.

The book is kind of in shambles. After all, what would you expect from a book that made it through the '80s? Actually, this is the only book that made it past the too-grown-up feelings of puberty, the makeovers of high school, and the packing for college. I had to take the book to Kinkos to get a new binding put on it (spiral), but they couldn't do anything with the hard covers. I'm going to have to get crafty to somehow attach them.

A true piece of vintage, this book is. The pictures are simply endearing and the little rhymes so charmingly innocent.


Like who could resist this octopus? Wouldn't he make a dynamite waiter?

I want to go to this place too:


And be friends with these charming kite-flying kids:


I have really vivid memories of this bus picture. Even now, I stop on that page and stare. Not sure what it is about the double-decker bus. But all I can think about is a bus tour in San Francisco or something. It just makes me happy.

And duh, don't your birds always stop to picnic at the bus-top? Ha!

This cutie is a keeper. I'm sure my son will inherit the charmer at some point, but then I might have to steal it back.

My Healthy Plate Lately

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Here's a look at a few healthy dinners I had this week, courtesy of Hubster. He made this wonderful, easy crockpot pork roast (seriously, just a pork roast and reduced fat cream of mushroom soup) that just fell apart at the touch of a fork. I roasted up some Brussels sprouts in olive oil and soy sauce, because I've had a huuuuge craving for them lately. Sprinkle a light dusting of Parmesan and sea salt over the top--Hea-ven! And fresh plain radishes, because I just like them.

Dinner this week, Dinner of champions

Try not to worry too much about my whole grain intake (because I know you are...ha!) because I had plennn-ty much for breakfast and lunch.

The next night, Hubster made pancakes, from scratch, and blueberry syrup, from scratch. From scratch! He tried, he really did, to make the healthiest syrup he could find. He did some Internet scouring to try and find something especially diet-friendly for me. He ended up using real sugar instead of Splenda, because I refused the $8 price tag. But still, the recipe is pretty dang healthy anyhow. Look at all those antioxidants dripping over those perfectly-round, fluffy pancakes. He's really the king of pancakes, didn't you know?

Dinner this week2, Breakfast for dinner

Now, how come no one told me about the healthy-ness of sweet potato fries? Oh wait... I think someone probably did. But the fact that Hubster does the grocery shopping means that I don't remember to remember them. We're definitely skipping the crap-in-a-bag regular fries for these orange beauties. They were a nice accompaniment to our roast beef, Swiss, and piled-high spinach sandwiches, that's for sure.


Just check out the stats on these puppies:


Funny story, I got up to photograph this last handful of crisp orange fries and Hubster actually tried to race me into the kitchen for them. Like I was threatening his food supply or something. Haha! I didn't want any more, I just wanted to blog about them. Woah, my bad! But you realize what this means, don't you? Hubster really really liked them! And what he really really likes, he will buy again. Victory!!!

He's a keeper, isn't he?

Family Fitness Lately

Today was a doozy of a fitness day. I'm taking these extra pounds I recently put on and showing them where to shove it, you know, family-friendly style. Family fitness happens to be one of my favorite things. Usually, the calorie-burning just happens as a result of us doing some of the family activities we enjoy, especially with the record-breaking weather we've been having here in Wisconsin this week.

The day started with a long bike ride around the neighborhood.

Here's daddy bike, mommy bike and baby bike, in case Goldilocks wanted to try them out. Peanut didn't actually ride his little bike. He road in the child seat on the back of daddy's bike, but he wanted to get his bike out when we got home for the pretty picture. And look, his bike matches his child seat!

Our bikes, Daddy bike, mommy bike, baby bike

Later in the afternoon, my workplace sponsored an employee open house at our local YMCA. Peanut got to try out these new ice skate-clad feet for the first time. He kept saying he just wanted to go in the pool, but I think he actually liked his first try out on the ice.




Um, seriously, I didn't notice this until now, but there is definitely a Goldilocks theme going on here. Daddy, mommy and baby ice skates.

Then, it was on to the pool. It was nice to have the place practically to ourselves without having to fight the usual crowds at the Y family pool.


In fact, there was hardly anyone waiting in line for the slide, so Peanut rode it and rode it and rode it.


Guess whose snores I can hear from the other room as I sit typing this? Oh, it didn't take long. We tuckered him out. And we tuckered ourselves out too.

Oh yeah. And in between all these festivities, I snuck in a Youtube Tracy Anderson rebounder the dining room. Because, you know, you can't see the computer screen when the bright sun is shining on it. She's really hard to follow, and provides no verbal direction, but as long as you're kind of doing what she's doing, you'll feel it the next day. Trust me. Warning: high jumps on the trampoline are not for the faint of bladder. I do not have a weak bladder, but even I found myself thinking an extra Kegel or two would be beneficial. The workout is definitely a sweat-inducing one. And the trampoline happens to be one of our family favorites too. In fact, I had to bribe Peanut to be able to use it for the half-hour workout. 

With the way we've been training, we probably could've signed up for a triathlon instead of a measly 5k, right?

Today's Gratitude List

Friday, March 16, 2012

A few of my favorite things:

1. Songs sung in rounds
2. First breath of air when leaving the house in the morning.
3. Being short and sitting on a seat with my legs dangling.
4. Fresh mornings when we're more tender with one another and our inequities from the day before are washed way.
5. Air shows
6. Fresh back-to-school-like supplies
7. Family bike rides
8. Signing Peanut up for school and seeing his excitement at the thought of it.
9. Fresh ideas spinning, spinning, spinning
10. Going to bed early, waking up non-exhausted

Making Up Some Play Ground

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How ironic is it that sometimes I have to look up how to play? Isn't that just an intrinsic pleasure that we're all supposed to know how to take part in? But once you become a parent, it's difficult to feign interest in certain things again like dollies, fake tools and tiny racecars. I've always loved making forts and playing with building blocks, but thinking about new activities stumps me sometimes. Isn't that just wrong, that we lose that sense of playfulness in our adulthood? And that we can actually lose our pleasure for it?

I took the kiddos, my son and nephew, to the library recently and found a book that lists 200 activities for children. As I perused the pages, my sense of wonder was aroused. How could I have forgotten sidewalk chalk and skipping rope (for purposes other than cardio benefits) and beachcombing and flower pressing?Remember those parachute things in gym class? Everyone holds a piece, fans it in the air, then lifts it up and sits under it? I want that excitement again!

A few nights earlier, one of our copies of Scooby Doo did the "babysitting" (you know we have to do this once in awhile) while I occupied myself with dishes and other menial tasks of adulthood. I was pondering adulthood, particularly parenthood, and how the extracurricular could become curricular again. How could it be that I needed to research this? I also had to look up the lyrics to some of those old musical favorites like Hush Little Baby. What the heck comes after that diamond ring momma was gonna buy anyway? I remember mom telling us about how dad used to sing us to sleep by Silent Night because that was the only song he could think of. And sometimes I'm at a loss too. After hearing myself sing Twinkle Twinkle for the 820th time, I need me some new material.
I started with fingerplays. I printed off a pattern for felt finger puppets and found a book with fingerplays in it. Since I vowed to train my brain to toddler level activity, I now find myself devising little children's story plots and painting primary-colored illustrations in my head.

Here's a little fingerplay you can enjoy with your baby or toddler. It's a touchy-feely game that keeps them guessing, plays with rhythm and rhyme, introduces them to a few body parts and types of touch. Completely hands-on, no material required. Just wiggle your fingers in front of them and do what the lyrics say:

These 10 fingers they tap tap tap. These 10 fingers they snap snap snap. These 10 fingers they clap clap clap. These 10 fingers they fold in your lap.

These 10 fingers they squeeze squeeze squeeze. These 10 fingers they tease, tease, tease. These 10 fingers they tap your knees. These 10 fingers they freeze!

These 10 fingers they tickle your toes. These 10 fingers they open and close. These 10 fingers they touch your nose. These 10 fingers they put on your clothes.

Best Free Online Workout Videos

As you know, I was completely devastated to have found out that ExerciseTV was discontinued. Is that what you'd call it, discontinued? I prefer to call it an act of abandonment. Anyway, I would like to share with you some free quality online exercise options that I have found in my voracious quest for a replacement.

1. the videos here do not offer the same type of interactive experience as ExerciseTV offered, but you'll still get one heck of a workout. A model will guide you through an exercise for a certain number of repetitions. Sometimes the video just replays a few times to get to the proper number of repetitions. The workout sessions just go from one move to the next. That's ok with me, because I'm not very good at building on dance moves to form a complete routine. But believe me, I was a hurtin' the next day.

2. Blogilates and POP Pilates: Cassey Ho's story is a very inspirational one. She went to school for Biology to pursue the medical degree her parents wanted for her. In college, she started teaching Pilates and fell in love with it. Her blog, fitness accessory line, and YouTube channel have become quite popular. I think it's great that she offers an extensive number of free Pilates classes online for anyone to access. And these aren't your traditional Pilates classes; each is filled with a whole different set of innovative moves you probably haven't tried before. Cassey's upbeat, down-to-earth, sometimes-goofy attitude endear you to her from the first move. Her and her sister do most of the video recording themselves!

I tried this standing Pilates workout from the Pop Pilates channel this weekend. You might like it too:

Hopefully I can come back with even more free quality workout videos in my search. Stay tuned!

Book Pages: Kurt Vonegut Style

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I am happy to introduce a new segment to my blog called Book Pages. Each week, I'll introduce you to the whimsical pages of books right off my bookshelf. Being a writer, I have always loved to read. And I guess you could say that books are one of the things I "collect." Yes, I actually do return to some of them after reading them, English major that I am (was?).

Anyhow, it only seemed appropriate to start with my very favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut. If you haven't read anything of his, I encourage you to. They seem like war stories on the outside, but inside they're...unexplainable. Believe me, I'm the last person you would think would pick up a war story (no offense to war stories, they're just soooo not my fave thing to read). Vonnegut understands human nature; he understands our downfalls and our successes; he understands our motivations and happiness. And the reading is not far out of reach either. Literary genius, if you ask me. This is the type of book that will never be considered for the donation bin.


Armageddon in Retrospect is one of the only ones I haven't read (YET!!). It's waiting patiently on my shelf until I'm finished with a few other tomes (and online classes, might I add). I can't wait to engross myself in these beautifully-written pages. One of my favorite things about this collection of writings is Vonnegut's own artwork at every chapter beginning and end. Here, indulge yourself:



His slogans are wrought with humor and politics. And completely real and meaningful all at the same time.



I've always been a fan of abstract, hand-drawn art, so it's not hard for me to like these drawings.


It's such a tragedy that the words/art that he left were numbered and what we have is all we'll ever have.