Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Yesterday Mike was helping me make a slow cooker chicken.  I had him take it out and wash it for me and put the spices on it.  Jilliana was watching him do it.  I don't think that she had ever seen us cooking a whole chicken.  She was so cute sitting up on the counter watching her daddy.  The first thing she asked him was "Is it dead?"  I was cracking up listening to her questions.

Then she wanted to know where we got it?  Usually we buy chicken breasts, so this was a new experience for her.  I think she thought we just saw a chicken and grabbed it.  She was full of questions.  She wanted to know where the head was?  Now in China, Meilynn loved eating chicken feet.  We were told that the parts of the chicken that we don't usually eat or the desired pieces.  When we talked to our guide about the breast meat considered the best and healthiest to us, she told us that the dark meet is the meat with the most flavor.

It is Day 22 and we are doing great!  I think the girls taste buds are getting used to not having sugar.  Today I took plain yogurt and added a banana, vanilla, and a little maple syrup and put it into the silicone tubes that I bought.  I made "home-made gogurts for the girls lunches tomorrow.
Jilliana and Meilynn were nearby, so I asked them if they wanted to lick the bowl.  You would have thought that I had offered them ice cream.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 20 or our 100 Day Pledge to eat "real" foods

I think this face might tell you how the girls felt about our first eating out experience.  Today after church we celebrated my sister, Julie's birthday.  We originally thought about not going at all since we have been doing so well and I didn't want to do anything to jeopardize that.  But, it was an important birthday for her and I didn't want to miss it.  Then we thought we might just go and not eat, but we didn't think the restaurant would appreciate six people taking up seats but not eating.  Then Mike and I decided that we would surely be able to find something on the menu that would work.  Our rules are really very simple.

What we can eat:
1. Whole foods-foods found in nature.
2. Fruits and vegetables (first choice would be organic and local grown)
3. Dairy products- like milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese. (no low, fat or non-fat, again organic)
4. 100% whole wheat and whole grains.
5. Seafood (wild caught)
6. Locally raised meats preferably in moderation
7. Beverages- water, meal, all natural juices, coffee, tea, beer, and wine.
8. Snacks like dried fruit, seeds, nuts and popcorn.
9.all natural sweeteners- Honey and 100% Maple syrup.

What we cannot eat:
1. No refined grains- white flour, white rice, must say whole wheat.
2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup, cane juice, splenda, stevia, agave nectar, etc.
3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label.
4. No deep fried foods
5. NO fast foods.

Mike and I decided that we would order 3 side salads to be split between us all and two orders of faijitas, one chicken one beef.  We would have salsa for dressing or oil and vineagar

The girls did ok, but to tell you the truth this was the hardest thing that I think they have done so far.  Usually if we go to Chili's they choose off of the kids menu.  I did tell them before we went in that if they were still hungry when they got home they could have a snack.  Also, I think when the birthday cake came they were feeling a little left out.  I know that for the other events I prepared special things for them and I did not have time to do anything like that for this.  Also, it would have been nice if I had brought some of the ak-mak crackers, because the tables had chips , guacamole and salsa.  If I had brought the crackers they  could have dipped them in the guacamole and not have felt left out.  I know that I will not always know when there is going to be food at school, etc. so this really was a good chance to let them see that they would not go hungry if they did  not have what everyone else was having and if they were still hungry we have food at home.

Friday I made smoothies for the girls to take in their lunch.  They loved them.
Mike made more banana bread.  The problem with the banana bread is that we keep eating the bananas before they get ripe enough for banana bread.  I think I bought 3 bunches of bananas this week.  We have never eaten more than a bunch a week before.  It has been challenging keeping up with the amount of fruit that we are eating now that we are not eating things out of a box.

The girls helping out so Mike can make the banana bread.

Saturday morning we tried out the local farmer's market.  It was good but not much organic.

Kami sent me a recipe for  zucchini  soup that she got from her host mom, Isa in Barcelona.  I just happened to have some zucchini so I thought I would make it.  I think I needed more zucchini.  I used 4 little ones and 4 potatoes, a little cheese and an onion.  Kami said I should have used more if they were not big and less potatoes.  I thought it was good and so did three of the girls.  Meilynn did not care for it.  She has not liked any of the soups that I have made.

Meilynn trying the soup.  At first she seemed to like it, but then changed her mind.

Lily loved it.

We are done with Day 20.  We are trying to find someplace where the flour can be sold in bigger bags and cheaper.  A bag of organic whole wheat white flour is over $6 and we are going through it at such a fast pace.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 18

 Day 18!  We are setteling in to our new routine.  When I first read about the 100 day pledge I was skeptical that we could do it.  We love eating out!  I love diet coke.  I like all the "cute" foods for kids like fishy crackers and little shaped crackers.  We have a very busy schedule with four kids in activities that sometimes occur very close to dinner time.  It was easier to just grab something quick.

My husband says he has enjoyed our dinners more in the last 18 days than he has our entire 33 years of marriage!  Our kids are excited to see what we are going to have every night.  I hear lots of "Yum", this  is so good.

Our upcoming challenges I think will be Easter and a weekend trip to San Diego with the YPO group we belong to.  The gymnastics that Emma goes to has what they call "open gym" on some weekends.  They actually watch your kids for a few hours and give them dinner (pizza) and lots of fun.  I have been avoiding it because of our 100 Day Pledge and because we actually have just not been around.
Yesterday Emma told me,

"Mom, they are having Open Gym this Saturday, we can take our own dinner."

She is just so sweet in her commitment to our pledge.  Tonight I am going to ask the girls what they miss the most and what is new that they have enjoyed the most.  I will get back to you on that answer.

I have been thinking ahead to Easter and for our Easter Egg hunt, I am thinking of putting raffle tickets in the eggs and then having a few little gifts that we can raffle off.  I am sure if we leave a note to the Easter Bunny he can also leave us some alternative treats.

One interesting thing is people thinking we are on a "diet".  The kind of diet to loose weight.  I don't blame them for thinking this since I have been on every know diet to man :).  But let me reassure you our kids are not on diets.  Mike did lose 4 pounds initially, but I haven't had the same result.  I have made sure that the girls know that they can have as much fruit as they want and it is available to them at all times except one hour before a meal.  My part is to make sure that there is a great variety available at all times.  The girls come home from school and have a snack that is usually a protein and a carbohydrate.  Then they will often have two more fruits or vegetables before dinner.  They are eating whole yogurts and whole milks and they are having treats also.
 Jilliana at lunch the other day.
 She was eating left over pasta from one night and left over chicken nuggets from another, peas and corn, apples, and the sweet potatoes that taste like "cookie dough".  I just put a touch of vanilla and maple syrup in them.

Last night I made pizza.  It is whole wheat with pasta sauce cheese tomatoes, basil, and some sweet peppers that had to be eaten that night.

 This one was cheese.  My family gobbled them up.  I think because they are made with whole wheat they were more filling and the girls only ate two pieces where they will sometimes eat 3 or 4.  I only had one piece and I can't wait to have the left overs today!
 Grandma was helping out.  I was getting such a pile of recipes that I needed them in a binder.  Jilliana was helping her paste them in.
 I am so excited.  I got these fun things from Amazon for the girls lunches.  I told you I loved all the cutsie things.  Mike thinks I am the gadget queen.  (No infomercials for me, I would go crazy)
 Aren't these cute?  You squish a hard boiled egg and it comes out in this shape.
 More bread
 Here it is!  A bunny egg!

 Emma enjoying her pizza before going to choir.
Jilliana is finally old enough for Church Choir.  I had to make a quick dinner between tennis and choir.
 Lily's lunch- Tomatoes, carrots hummus, grapes, mandarine orange, ak-mak crackers, granola, egg.
Emma and Meilynn's lunch- same thing except Emma is having left over chicken nuggets on brown rice and Meilynn has a almond butter and fruit spread sandwich.  Oh, and they have water that fits in the center compartment.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 12, 13, 14, and 15 of our 100 Day Pledge

We made it through Day 15!
We were away for the week-end.  Each year we plan a big party out at the desert with a different theme.  This year it was a Luau.
My daughter Meghan, Son-in-law Nick and my granddaughter, Natalie were able to come. (Sorry Nick, I didn't get you in any pictures for some reason, maybe because you were always helping behind the scenes? I will try to do better.)

Our motor home decorated for the party.
Natalie had a skirt made from the skirt going around the awning of the motor home.
A friend of ours brought a Hawaiian shaved ice machine for the kids.  We just had the ice and then poured real fruit juice on top.  The  girls were happy with that.

Trying to get a picture of the Aunts with their Niece.

Dinner on the first night camping.  I made meatballs at home before we went and then we had pasta, salad, and fruit.  The kids in the picture brought their own food over, but they wanted what our kids were eating.

Mike left Friday morning since we were the ones in charge of the Luau and it was scheduled before we knew about Lily's recognition. She got special surprise  recognition at school so the girls and I left after school.  We are so proud of how hard she has been working.
 Meghan and Natalie

 Debbie's boyfriend Tom helping with the cooking.
 My sister Debbie.  She found these aprons for us to wear.  She had to modify them a little since some of the parts were not falling where they should have been.

Someone else showed up at the Luau dressed like us.  Everyone else had chicken in teriyaki and burgers.  We made our own marinade with orange juice, pineapple juice, and a little honey.  The rest of the Luau was potluck.  I took the girls plates in our motorhome and loaded them with fruit and veggies, guacamole dip, crackers and banana bread for desert.  They ate it all up.  They are getting used to eating our own foods.

The party is not all about the food though!  There is motorcycle riding. (Emma)
There is down time to do nothing at all.(Meilynn)

There is riding on "Old Red" with Daddy. (Jilliana)
There are rides with Daddy and his girls. (Emma on the first motorcycle, Lily on the second, Jilliana on the quad and Meilynn on the last quad.)

But the highlight is the geo cache treasure hunt.  Mike goes out the week before and gets the quadrants for the hunt.  He then goes early and hides the "boxes" with raffle tickets in them.  They are all over the desert.  Then everyone has a drivers meeting to go over the rules and off to the hunt.  This year it was not a race.  The more boxes you found the more raffle tickets you got.  We buy gifts for the raffle and then the ticket numbers are called and you get to pick off of the raffle table.

 Driver's Meeting
Mike explaining the rules.
Emma stayed behind to ride her motorcycle, and I babysat Natalie so that Nick and Meghan could go.

 Meilynn, Jilliana, and Lily ready to find the treasure.  This year they made a mandatory helmet rule.  This is the last time we will be able to get three in the back seat.  It is too hard with the helmets.
Meghan driving and Nick reading the gps.  Three of our girls in the back.
Daddy helping Emma get her gear on.
Emma and Natalie watching a movie while everyone was out on the hunt.
I found a little bit of hair for a bow!

It was a really great weekend.  Especially spending time with Natalie.  We are all going to Italy and Barcelona this summer so it was a great practice for Natalie being away from home.

Tonight I made the chicken nuggets recipe form the site.  I also made the sweet potato casserole.  Emma said it tasted like sugar cookie dough.  I have really noticed how their perception of sweetness has changed.  Without having sugar, things that are just a little sweet are really noticed.  We also had peas, corn, cantaloupe, and homemade maple pecan ice cream.  Here again is a flavor my girls probably would not have tried before this.  They loved it and it took 20 minutes! Only  about 3 of that was preparation.

I am enjoying them embracing this pledge and watching them try new things.  I think they notice color of foods and are identifying  spices that I am using.

Jillliana helping clean after dinner.
Drying dishes can be fun!
And I love this little minute.  After dinner I had to take Emma to voice lessons.  As I was leaving Meilynn was helping Lily study for a science test without me even suggesting that.