Friday, February 25, 2011


I've recently realized in my profession, how helpful it is to be a parent. I mean, all the students that I teach have parents on the other end reading my newsletters and helping them with their assignments.  Being a parent, I am starting to see how much school effects our home life.  When Jasmine has projects for school, it can take weeks of planning to get them to the level that we find satisfactory.  This last week, we left an assignment until the last minute and realized how much work/stress it can be.  Being a parent helps me to be a better teacher and of course being a teacher helps me to be a better parent, so win-win!

There are so many responsibilities and jobs to do as a parent.  Recently I was reading an article about a women who was sharing her tansformation story, here is a quote that really resonated with me, "I had become a human doing, instead of a human being".  It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind and forget the bigger picture.  I often see friends on Facebook listing all the things they have to do in the day (I'm guilty of it, too!) like we need some sort of validation for all our "busy"ness.

Last week my parents were here.  I find as we get older, we almost forget that our parents were in fact parents and went through ALL the things that we have gone through with us.  Sick babies, teething issues, potty training, growing pains, school, sports, homework... We reminisced about my childhood and different events that took place.  One thing that always strikes me is all the things I can't remember, or maybe never really knew, like my dad was on the school council for 5 years.  I honestly think this is a huge part of why I scrapbook (in years, I will still have a memory of all that I have done).  Anyone in my family will tell you that I have a horrible memory.  For example, I don't ever remember my parents reading to me.  I'm sure they did, I just have no recollection of them doing that.  I know there have been times where I have judged my parents on what they did, how they did it or what they didn't do and resented them at times for it.  I think this is pretty normal for a kid, teenager, university student to do.  We blame our parents for all the things wrong with us and promise we won't do those things to our children.  But as hard as I try, I know I am teaching my kids bad habits that I promised I would not do.  I know I have neglected them in some way or another.  In years, I am sure that they will resent me in some form or another as well, but for now I am quite happy to report that I don't typically earn the "I hate you" or "You are the worst mommy in the world" phrase.

When you have your own kids and become a parent, you learn just how hard it really is to be a good parent.  It is tough to find a balance that makes you happy with every part of your life. 

When my parents were here visiting, we did so many fun, family things and I realized that being good parents takes many forms.  My mom was so helpful while she was here on her holiday: she put dishes away, folded laundry, made lunches and just helped take care of all the daily work load and really gave me a little bit of my own holiday.  Dad spent lots of time doing projects with the kids: a paper mache Pixie Hollow tree with Jasmine and a wooden rocket with Devin.  They were both great sports and joined us for bowling, snowshoeing and hiking in -20 weather at the sugar shack - pretty awesome!  Whether you call them mom and dad, or gramma and grampa - it's all the same!  They are taking care of me and my kids, having fun with us all and it was simply an awesome week!

Even though I am no longer at home, my parents are still an inspiration to me, they still help me and teach me and it is just a truly awesome notion to think I will still be parenting even when my kids are "all growed up".  I feel badly that I ever had any bad feeling towards them, but with ... age comes wisdom and a better understanding of all those events that happen when you are becoming an adult.  One great thing about parents is that they love you unconditionally and forgive you when you make dumbass mistakes like I did.

So, here's to being a parent... a good parent!  It's a hell of a lot of work and often unappreciated, but I know for me I love my parents and am so glad that I have them both in my life.  I also know that I love Jasmine and Devin more than anything imagineable and it is pretty cool to realize that is how my parents feel about me, too!

Here are some photos from the great week with my parents.  Thanks for ALL that you do mom and dad!

(We called this picture the invisible man - notice half of his head is missing - too weird!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nutrition and ALL that JAZZ!

Going back and reading my posts, I feel quite hypocritical.  Yes, I am doing all the things I said, but not as consistently as I would like or should be.  And I am not talking about all the things I am doing in between those things that are still not the best.

Here is what bothers me:

-We've pretty much given up pop, but when I am out shopping and get thirsty, or I am out at the movies that pretty much has me always choosing Iced Tea.  How many of you think Iced Tea is a better choice than pop?  Yeah, I see all the hands flying up so fast... not!  So I still have not solved this problem.  At home now our treat drink is chocolate milk (made with skim milk), to me this is still not that bad, but not according to the articles I read. 

-We have reduced our butter and margarine intake, and I haven't had mayonnaise in the house for months.  I bought a bunch of butter for Christmas baking and convinced myself not to use it, but now have 8 sticks of butter in the house and they haven't been touched.  We are using coconut oil in almost every instance where we would use butter, like on toast or of course the old replacement... EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil).  The problem, how much coconut oil is too much? I love the stuff and use it even on my popcorn!

-Nuts, they are good for you!  But not in the amount I eat, I love nuts.  No, I am not eating the salted ones or the carmalized ones (well maybe in a salad), but still they are high in fat and I eat them too often.  I finally switched from Kraft Peanut Butter to the natural stuff, but I still eat it fairly often, especially with apple slices or in a smoothie or my new favorite... on toast with apple butter.  I do like roasted almonds, but my nutrionist says I should be eating raw, natural nuts and that I should soak them overnight.  Apparently they absorb water and not only make them easier to digest, but the water content fills you up even more.  *I haven't tried this yet.

-Sleep.  I just do not get enough sleep.  I don't know why I can't convince myself to go to bed at night, when in the morning I can't convince myself to get out of bed - weird!  When I am tired, I have NO willpower.  This week I am tired, so I'm not feeling very good about my commitment to the program.  I'm still eating lots of healthy things, but just too much, too often and not concentrating on drinking enough water or eating veggies.  I never feel 100% about my effort, which is just a lousy feeling.

I am still reading and coming up with new ideas.  What is coming up next:

-soaking beans and not using canned beans as often because they are high in sodium
-focusing on the combination of foods, a carb with a protein (oatmeal and eggs at breakfast - could it be true?)
-focusing on me time... scheduling in time for baths, shopping, girl visits, etc. 
-reading more books and websites, up next... Your Best Body Now, The China Study, The Whole Foods Diet Cookbook and The Omnivore's Dilemma.
-a focus on exercise, too.  This is key, I never seem to be able to do both at once.  If I am exercising, my food is out of wack, likely because I am even more tired and making bad decisions.  Just for once, I would like to have an awesome week, where I do both things good for one whole week!  

So, all complaining aside, we are making lots of changes and lots of changes have stuck:

-threw white sugar out, use agave nectar, honey, apple butter, applesauce, coconut sugar as replacements. Still some brown sugar on occasion for baking.

-eating oatmeal a few times a week and not the packaged kind, real oats, quick oats which from my understanding are still nutritional like steel cut oats, but just cut smaller for faster cooking time.

-using more beans and not only in chili, trying to add them to things like soup, spaghetti sauce, other casserole dishes.
-eating more kefir and plain yogurt, still can't eat them plain, but using them for smoothies or adding dollops to soups.

-eating more homemade soups, carrot soup, tomato soup, veggie soups, all made from real veggies and pureed and using animal bones to make broth for some first - supposed to be very good as you get all the nutrients from the bone.

-eating kammut sourdough bread

-eating spelt, multigrain or spinach pastas when possible.

-using coconut oil, instead of margarine or butter, and still using olive oil as well.

-switched over to sea salt

-trying not to eat processed meat, if we do we are buying the natural stuff from Farmboy with no preservatives.
-minimizing fast food and limiting to subway or something similar.
-switched to natural PB or almond butter - a big deal for me!
-making a meal plan each week and trying to stick with it
So, there you have it folks, the true confessions of a food-o-holic!  I am trying, but it is hard to be consistent!  I figure as long as I keep at it and keep moving forward over time, things will work themselves out.
I love feedback, so send me tips and ideas that work for you or great whole food recipes.