Healthy (and creative) lunch ideas

I have been rather quiet this last week because I finally finished my last class of my Masters Degree after 4 long years and two kids later! It feels so good to be done. Now I have a 9-month unpaid internship looming and feel the stress of my crazy schedule between two kids, working part time (technically full time since I help out at Hunter’s school when I’m not working in exchange for daycare), working out and leading groups two nights a week. The craziness of our schedule and my near OCD tendencies, I like to keep my kiddos, my husband and myself well nourished with healthy homemade food. I got an email from a friend today asking to write about this pin I saw on Pinterest, so here you are Shannon!

I don’t have to pack a lunch for Hunter but since I work at his school, I have a say in what he eats which is really nice. Parker just started eating solids and is only on the basics of avocados, pears, butternut squash and sweet potatoes but I know it won’t be long before I have to leave complete meals at home for the nanny while I am working.

I also like to make my own food to bring to work since I know that when I am working part time, I will have a quick 10 minutes in between clients to stuff my face and be neat about it. Being dairy free also poses a problem with eating out so I’d rather cook my own food knowing the ingredients. I have brainstormed a few ideas for breakfast and lunches so here you are:

Bento Box Lunch via Pinterest,

For Breakfasts I often make a huge batch of breakfast burritos and freeze them in plastic wrap individually so you can just pop them in the micro for 30 seconds; it takes some time but it’s well worth the effort when you have a pile for those mornings when you just need to grab something quick. This leads me to my next go-to breakfast – LARAbars. I love these but I can’t justify the amount of money I spend on them. She has great recipes here and if you know me well enough, you know that I cannot and will not follow a recipe to the T; I always have to add my own touch. Once you get the hang of this, you can experiment on your own. I love the lemon bars and add my own lemon zest and lemon juice. Yum. You can even add your own protein powder or even green powder such as spirulina, seaweed, kelp, etc., for an even better punch.

For lunch ideas, I do love the bento boxes and I think they are really great for introducing a bunch of foods and balancing out their lunches. My problem = time. SO, as I just reorganized my fridge and incorporated labels and tupperwares to categorize my fridge (another post on this at a later date); I realized how great it would be to have a tupperware strictly dedicated to snacks and go to meals. This will take some time, but what organization doesn’t??? Here are a few ideas for making your bento lunches easier.

You will need a bunch of sandwich bags for this project! Separate different foods into appropriate portions into sandwich bags to just grab and go. Here are a few suggestions for what to include in those bags:

pre-portioned lunchmeat and sliced cheese
cut fruits and veggies
string cheese
lara bars!
dried fruit (always a hit in my house)
grape tomatoes (depending on the age of your kiddo)
bread slices (or english muffin halves, bagels, or tortillas)
mini muffins (homemade of course) – carrot and zuchinni muffins are a great way to sneak veggies in!

A few other ideas to include in these lunch “tupperwares” would be small 2oz containers of dips such as ranch, peanut butter, nutella and even pizza sauce to make their own english muffin or bagel pizzas.

Another hot thing going around the web lately is make your own “pop tarts.” While I despise actual pop tarts, I think it’s a great opportunity to make your own in a healthy way. I can’t bake to save my life (except banana bread), and I like to think it’s because I live at 7,000 feet but I really know it’s because I can’t follow a recipe (see above) and I also can’t sit in the kitchen swapping out trays of baked goods every 7-10 minutes….anyway, to the point, I love the premade pie crusts and use them all the time for various cooking projects. Simply buy (or make) premade pie crusts, cut them to the shape and size of your liking, fill and press around the edges with a fork for decoration if you so desire. Here are some great ideas for fillings:

peanut butter and banana
peanut butter and honey
scrambled eggs and cheese (add meat if you like)
jam or jelly (I plan on doing this one with the multiple jars of homemade apple butter in my garage refrigerator)
cream cheese and jam

So there are a few ideas for you guys to think about.

I would love to hear your go-to ideas for both kiddos and adults for those of us that are too busy for sitting down for a proper breakfast or lunch.
Can you add to my lists?

Categories: Mothering, Natural Health | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Natural home and health products

I have become very interested in creating my own remedies and cleaning products these days, especially because Hunter seems to come down with something each week because he is in school.  last night he was complaining of not feeling well (a common thing these days, sometimes true, sometimes an attention grabber). sure enough, I checked his temperature and it was 101.5.  Hunter has had two fevers in his whole 2.5 years of life so I know something is very wrong when he has a fever.  I use tylenol on children sparingly and tend to lean towards holistic and homeopathic treatments when things arise.  I did study holistic medicine in college but that was 15 years ago (oh my, did I just say that?!).  I know what oils are good for most ailments but I struggle with the dilution ratios so I found this great site to help me, she has great ideas, recipes and a dilution chart that is easy for even beginners if you are so inclined. this is a great post for preparing the cold and flu season

First, I gave Hunter a bath with lavendar oil and Wyndmere Immune Support essential oil, this can be found here or at your local health food store. It is very powerful and has a very distinct smell. Then, after bath made a massage oil for him that was supposed to help bring downhis fever, sure enough, his fever was gone by the middle of the night. I mixed a carrier oil (avocado) and lavendar and eucalyptus oil and spread it all over him and on the bottoms of his feet. He loves the smell. I also tied a sachet of lavendar with the immune support oil dropped on it so he could inhale the vapors throughout the night. His fever is gone but he is still complaining of mouth pain and won’t eat. Essential oils are not for consumption so I will work on this problem separately.

I bathe Parker in the immune support oil (only 1 drop) daily to support him and also give him infant probiotics to ward off all the funk that Hunter brings home. So far so good. We have an essential oil diffuser in our room that I place next to mine and Parker’s head with lavendar vanilla to relax us during naps and evening time. (I say naps for Parker, not myself – I wish).

Now that we are battling all these nasty germs that seem to infest our house, I have been on the quest for a natural cleaner to make at home. I despise the smell of vinegar which is a great cleaner but no essential oil can mask that smell. I found a great recipe with vinegar and one without so I tweaked it to meet my needs. Tea tree oil is a wonderful antiseptic – water and a couple drops of tea tree oil in a small spray bottle instead of alcohol based sanitizers are a great thing! You can also use it to spray on the toys, just spray and leave on and voila, santized. I just can’t fathom paying $4.99 a bottle for the Seventh Generation Cleaners. This is a great multi-purose cleaner. Some other natural cleaners contain borax which I use in the laundry but don’t feel comfortable leaving it’s residue on things that the kiddos put in their mouths. Thyme oil also has great antimicorbial properties but Isaac hates the smell of it so I avoid it, it’s very potent.

Here is the recipe I came up with:
2 cups water (preferably distilled or just boil the water first)
up to 3 teaspoons liquid castille soap (I use Dr. Bronners lavendar castille soap because I love lavendar and this house can always use a calming smell!)
1 teaspoon tea tree oil
spray bottle

Do you have any of your own experiences with natural remedies? I’d love to hear what you have come up with!

Cheers to a natural and healthy household.

Categories: Mothering, Natural Health | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Gentle Discipline – or not??

This is my life

I’m not going to lie, life has been crazy these days and the above quote sums it up pretty well.  We are almost at our wits end with trying to find what works and what doesn’t when it comes to disciplining Hunter.  He is such a sweet child, he is loving, sensitive and very spirited. Did I mention VERY spirited?  Here’s the deal, yes, he used to get 110% of our attention and then BAM! another one comes along and he’s no longer #1, yes, we know this but, the reaction on most days to him not getting the attention he used to is becoming quite a problem in the Wildman household.

Is it the lack of attention?

Is it the terrible 3’s everyone warned us about?

Is he overtired?

I don’t know. I wish I did.  If I could get into his head when he acts out, I’d imagine he was thinking this

Hitting, kicking and blatantly misbehaving have become quite the norm these days and it’s wearing on us. Where did my sweet child go?

So, here’s the skinny. We have the kids on a pretty solid schedule now and part of that schedule involves mommy and Hunter time where we do crafts, play with cars or whatever he wants. I give him this time, my undivided time, everyday to ensure he gets quality time with mom. On the weekends, we try to do one thing that is just Hunter and mommy. So, is it lack of attention? Not sure.

Hunter has a very difficult time, always has, with bedtime. We finally have a routine where he can play for a designated amount of time in his room before bed and then its lights out. Problem is, he is incredibly manipulative and knows just how to get us. Our fault for giving in? Perhaps. He rarely stays in his bed all night and has a designated mattress in our room just for him. (yes, we co-sleep with both our kids and don’t mind it….more on this in another post). I say we don’t mind it but now we are beginning to wonder if lack of good quality sleep could be the cause of his misbehaving? Guess we won’t know until we try but we are too tired to start trying to keep him in his room all night…screaming toddler wakes sleeping (thankfully) baby? no thanks, not sure I want to lose anymore sleep. BUT in the long run, I know this will benefit us, especially when we decide to put Parker in his own room and finally be able to enjoy our king size bed to ourselves. Isaac has his limits, more on this in my co-sleeping post to come.

Perhaps we need to tape this to his door to remind us that it will be worth it in the end?

If indeed, his misbehavior is due to lack of quality sleep, we need to continually remind ourselves that the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain.

Then comes the tricky part – discipline. We have tried the quiet corner where he can go to calm down, read a book or play with some calming toys. To no avail. We have tried time outs, we both end up laughing because it’s a big joke to him. We have tried “you have two choices” to no avail. Lately, it’s taking one of his million toys away, to no avail. I am seriously lost as to what to do and how to control my wild child.

Perhaps the answer is focus. FOCUS on one thing at a time.
1. sleep
2. more mommy/hunter time
3. discipline tactics

I am reading the book Positive Discipline and feel I give it my all, hugs, love, no spanking (well, DUH!), no closed-door time outs,etc.

Perhaps what I should do is listen to my intuition and my heart and do what works for us….I just need to figure out what that “works for us” is first. Hmmm.

Do you have any suggestions for us? Things that have worked for you?


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Breastfeeding and all it’s glory and controversy

I may be choosing a controversial post for my first post but this is a subject that weighs near and dear to my heart.  After reading this article posted by one of my favorite bloggers here, I was more and more fired up about how many awful looks I receive in public for breastfeeding my child. A while back, I read an article about a woman who was asked to leave Whole Foods because other customers were offended by her breastfeeding her child in the store! That’s absurd to me, first of all because it’s Whole Foods and secondly, because if you don’t like it, DON’T LOOK. Which leads me to this wonderful quote/picture I saw on Pinterest yesterday.

I just love this.

Yes, I breastfeed in public, I do so less now that my little man is older and more on a schedule but when you have a two and a half year old with a schedule and errands to run, sometimes it is inevitable. I believe I live in a very liberal and open part of Colorado where the law states that you are able to breastfeed where ever you have the right to be – which, in my opinion is EVERWHERE. However, given that I live in this liberal hippie town, I am still bombarded with glares when feeding my child in the most natural way possible. I have a hard time not glaring back or calling these people (mostly the old men) that stare at me perverts . The article mentioned above spoke to me in the way it talks about the over sexualization of women’s bodies. Our bodies are sacred and such a beautiful creation – I can make a baby and nourish my baby for it’s first year of life, all with my body! I think that’s pretty amazing.

I am an adament breasfeeding mama and will allow my child to breastfeed as long as he wishes (okay, so within reason not until he’s 6 years old) but I believe in the health benefits, the bond you get with your child while breastfeeding and the trust it develops between you and your child. When we had our first boy, Hunter, I wanted to breasfeed him for as long as he wanted. We had so many difficulties with it, he was a great eater but was allergic to dairy, had horrible GERD and despite all my efforts and even turning to medication, I had to stop breastfeeding at 3 months – I was devastated. I knew that I was doing what was right for him and he was a different baby after we made the switch. My husband knew how important breastfeeding our second baby and is very supportive. I just love this article about a father’s take on breastfeeding here. As soon as the signs of GERD and dairy sensitivities arose with Parker, I took action and we have been successfully breastfeeding and he is thriving for 4.5 months now. I love this bond we have and I think he does too. If I had a picture to show how happy he is about breastfeeding, it would look like this .

Now, please, I don’t want to stand on my soapbox and preach about why you should breastfeed, it is absolutely up to you and your family and what is right for you. As I just stated earlier I had to feed my oldest formula, he is a brilliant (sometimes TOO brilliant), healthy and developed 2.5 year old so I don’t buy into the “breastfeeding makes your baby smarter” Hunter is beyod smart for his age. I am sharing why I love breastfeeding and I believe we all have our own opinions so let’s all just get along and allow people to do what they feel is right for them and their family and not create controversy about this subject.

What have been your experiences?

I’d love to hear your thoughts (good and bad).


Categories: Mothering | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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