Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When it all DERAILS!

It seems as if I have everything under control and am doing so great, and then something happens that throws the whole plan off course. Our lives move so fast sometimes that it feels incredibly hard to just relax and have time for everything, to make all the right healthy decisions.

The past week I finished finals, the kids and I all started Spring Vacation, and Sean switched from working nights to days. My entire daily routine has been thrown in the trash! Now I am scrambling to get my feet back on solid ground.

I am finding that exercising at home and with small children is not as easily done as it is planned for. Hhahaha! But, I have decided I just have to wake up super early and get in a good, brisk 30 min. walk before Sean goes to work. When he leaves only 1 kid is awake, so I can do another 30 on the bike before the next one opens the flood gates of chaos. :] Just kidding, but it does feel as if my son wakes up like a bulldozer on a German speedway! So, if I can get this routine or some form of it under my belt this week I will be happy.

My 2nd problem, was actually my 1st plan. I intended to hit the gym after Sean got home and the kids went to bed, since the gym is open until 11pm. I am finding by 8 when the kids hit the sack I am not feeling motivated enough to go to the gym. :[ I need to fix this!!! Even just 3 nights a week would be enough to yield results. Now just getting my ass in gear at 8pm is the next task.

Sundays starting in April I will be meeting my trainer for a weekly weight lifting session. I miss my Tues/Thurs. morning sessions with her. I think they helped keep me more on track. But, Sundays will be the new schedule. And I still would like to find time for a yoga class and water aerobics. But when, where?

While it may take the crash course of the next few weeks, I do have faith that I will find my new balance and gather together a new work out routine.

But, with these changes, and doing all classes online this term, I can't help but feel as if my life's center of balance is off as well, not just the work out routine. My eating this week has not been as structured as it should be, and I feel as if this is a direct result of everything else. To me, this is where I have to let go of the emotional aspect of this and realize that yesterday has passed, and today is a chance to start anew. Tell myself I will do just that and then make a conscious effort to do just that.

This is where needing that balance comes into play. Finding time for everything, being able to slow down, relax, meditate, breath, and just be in the moment is what I am missing. For that I do not yet have a plan because I feel overwhelmed by the current situation. I hope after I get everything restructured, it will become easier. But at the moment I fell as if everything is starting over and I am scrambling to catch up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Healthy Lunches for Sensory Kids and the daily dilemma!

    My son has Sensory Processing Disorder, which makes his senses work on overdrive! Moms of picky eaters always have a hard time in the area of nutrition and happiness (for child and parent). So when a child has SPD, it is 10x as hard. He can only tolerate certain tastes, textures, temperatures, smells... you get it. So he refuses to eat school lunch. Which is okay with me after having seen the mush they are pushing down their throats. But, it is a tad complicated when it comes to sending him to school with lunch. My daughter is happy with carrot sticks, sandwich, string cheese, and some grapes. My son, unfortunately is not!
    We are also undergoing oral therapy with his Occupational Therapist (OT). So he is getting braver about accepting new "ideas" with food, finally. Most days he prefers warm food, especially when it is cool outside. But, being as it I have to be out the house by 6am, warm lunch is not the easiest to pull off. And to top it off, the kid hates bread, peanut butter, most lunch meats, and mayonnaise. I know.... ? So we go round and round with weekly lunch experiments, some he likes, and some he drops off after school to announce he will never again accept such a lunch. He is 6, he likes to express his independence. :]
    The problem arises though, that he returns home from school starving some days. So, I am still working on mastering his daily food dilemma. Luckily, I have the next 3 months with no morning classes! Which means his mom can make sure he gets a warm lunch like he prefers. But, when I started planning for lunches after spring break I thought about the other dilemma here. His poor fine motor skills. This makes it so he is unable to open tuperware containers and when he tries triggers frustration and anxiety (separate disorder) and results in a meltdown.
    So, after scour websites I found a great option with good reviews! The cost is a little pricey in my opinion, but apparently they hold up for quite sometime. Laptop Lunches. For anyone interested here is a link:

    They are bento style, durable, come in an insulated carrier, and are easy to open for little fingers.Totally what we need because everything has a separate compartment. He will not eat food if it touches. And, it is earth ffriendly, so we can do away with the sandwich bags. I like this! I recommend this to any parent who has a picky eater, or more extreme. :]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Community Garden

    Because I live in a rowhouse with no greenspace, I decided to sign up for a community garden plot near my house. So, now I have 200 sq. feet of dirt and have to decide what to do with it! This should be easy enough, although I do not have much gardening experience, I am completley compitent, so I do not have many worries.
    My goal is to shave some money off the grocery bill this summer. As a mother and student, bills are the pitfall of my current existence, so saving money is always a benefit! Now I just need to get out there and dig in. My kids enjoyed container gardening last summer, so I think this is a going to be a great way to get them involved. Kids today think food is born on the shelves in the grocery store it seems like. Seeing their food started, grown, harvested, and then cooked or eaten fresh is a good way to start early healthy eating habits and health comprehention. Plus, since my son struggles with anxiety and ADHD and SPD, he seems to be more at peace  in nature I have noticed. Giving him jobs in the garden to do will be somewhat theraputic for him I think. It also will help with our homework for sensory stimulation from the OT.
Now comes the fun!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Fever!

    Here in Oregon the winters can feel incredibly long for someone who craves sunshine. By the time the sun begins to poke its head from around the clouds in early March and the first signs of life pop back up through the dirt with budding daffodils I begin to get anxious for spring! I do not think I am alone in this feeling either, considering the cat pulls herself from hibernation and stretches those legs out for a catnap in the window and the kids point out the sun when they open their eyes to get ready for school at 6am.
    This week has offered us a little sun almost everyday, and considering we are reaching out of the usual low 40's into the mid 50's it feels like spring too. So I took some time from finals this week and was inspired to do a little spring cleaning.
    Whenever I start cleaning I am always careful about what I spray and where because my son has asthma and reactive airway disease. Long nights in hospital beds with breathing machines leaves mom a little cautious of what he might react to. So, I try and clean with organic products. But in recent news I have come across alot of speculations that those those all natural cleaning products are hardly as good for you or your home as you are led to believe. So this sent me on a hunt for the old classics. And I was happy to find some great ideas.
    Here are some Green Cleaning ideas that I implemented:

- All Purpose Cleaner: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into a bowl. Add just enough liquid soap to make a creamy paste. Spread mixture on the flat side of 1/2 of a lemon and scrub. The lemon acts as a sponge and leaves a natural citrus scent. Use a damp rag or sponge to wipe away any residue. You'll find the paste will stay moist for a few hours
-  Mold removing: Now before you think I have a fungus filled house, this was used to clean the windowsills after I washed the windows. I also used this as a tub, tile and toilet cleaner as well, obviously.
Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner; use it straight for tough jobs, or dilute it with water. Tea-tree oil is a natural fungicide and can help disinfect surfaces -- mix 2 teaspoons with 2 cups water. To whiten stained tiles or grout, use a mixture of 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup water.All of these solutions can be sprayed onto a surface, allowed to dry, then wiped with a damp cloth.
- Carpet Stain Remover: It's not Resolve, but if you are looking for a more natural alternative here it is.
Pour a small amount of soda water onto a fresh carpet spill, and blot with a towel. Don't rub, as you may mat the fibers. If the stain is set, try hydrogen peroxide: Pour some onto a clean, white cloth, then press cloth to carpet. Wait about 15 minutes, blot with a clean cloth. There should be no need to rinse.
- Window Cleaner: There is a trick here! Using commercial window cleaners for years leaves your glass with an invisible film. To get rid of any residue, add a dab of a vegetable-based dish soap or liquid castile soap to 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in a clean spray bottle. For follow-up cleanings, all you will need are the vinegar and water.
- Clogged Drain: Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 3 cups of boiling water, and let science take over. It's a much safer choice than commercial drain cleaners, which can harm skin, eyes, lungs, and the water supply.
- Removing the vinegar smell from the vinegar: Add a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender to 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar. That will help lessen the smell.
- Dishwashing liquid:  For greasy pots and pans: Try scouring with salt. For burned saucepans: Fill the pan half full with water, spoon in baking soda, let it soak overnight, and bring to a boil
    What I realized as I cleaned with these more natural cleaning substances was that these were more cost efficient (who doesn't love that) AND my great grandmother used to say that baking soda and vinegar were kitchen staples. I laugh now because I had to actually go and purchase both to clean, but I see why she believed this. So from now on, I will be sticking to the minimalist amount of chemicals as possible.
    So, as spring breathes life into my spirit and stimulates the mind and body to clean the windows and de-clutter the kitchen junk drawer, and clear out the closets I am able to feel good that I am doing this in a back to basics kinda way.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Leading By Example

  Yesturday marked the 1st day of Lent. While I am a Latina I do not consider myself a traditionalist in the least bit. But, I do believe in spirituality and find myself at peace with Unitarian views, a little East and a little West. Freedom of incorporating knowledge from all around the world (or so I choose to believe).
    In any case Lent is always an interesting time of year for me. It symbolizes the new year, spring, the new season ahead, and a time to refresh and challenge oneself. So, this year as I read about all the interesting things my friends and family were doing for Lent, I decided to wear my tie dye panties and go wild! Well, figuratively speaking anyways. Being as I am making a valid attempt at a healthier lifestyle I thought I would take the opportunity to really challenge myself this year and give up meat for Lent. I am not an avid fan of the inhumane treatment of animals as is, and I was a vegetarian for a year or two as a teenager, so I thought what the heck! It gives me a chance to explain what Lent really is about to the kids and also what the idea of a vegetarian is, what it means, why it is important to people... At minimum, a chance to help widen my little ones eyes to a greater knowledge and understanding of the world aside from their own viewpoints. We all might be able to do a little more of that as adults I think.
    So Day Two, and no meat. I actually had to take an hour and scour some healthy cooking websites for some vegetarian recipes this morning, so that I do not end up eating the same old thing each night. Found some good ideas, and if they turn out tasty I will post them.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Healthy, Happy Children

    I started the year commited to making changes. I have never been one for "New Year's Resolutions" because I believe that most people make them and never follow through, so why waste my time. Instead I woke up after Christmas unhappy with my health and said it ends here. So in the past three months I have revamped my eating habits and started exercising regularly. In the process I realized I have already begun to teach my children "bad" habits.
    I think when it is just ourselves who we see as unhealthy we can accept that much easier than when it is our little ones. As parents we hold an obligation to raise our children to be better than we are, or at least I do. So when I had to re-evaluate my own health habits, I could not ignore the kids' either.
    My children are young, Naomi is 4 and Danny is 6. All is not lost! Danny has special needs, so getting him to eat can be a bit tricky. He has sensory processing disorder, ADHD and an anxiety disorder. With his SPD (sensory processing disorder) he is unable to eat certain foods. We have begun oral therapy with an OT, so in time I hope to see improvement, but for now, ya work with what ya got. Luckily, my daughter is excited to see a salad sat before her. She eats almost any fruit or vegetable given, but she also has picked up my sweet tooth and desiressugary foods first and foremost.
    I have switched to organic produce, eggs, milk... But I am going to begin exploring all the options, not just the basics. I have cut out alot of our pantry usuals and replaced them with better choices. Fruit snacks for dried fruit, Whole wheat crackers for saltines. But last week I decided to take it a step further. Iwant to teach the kids to make good choices. So I decided to make fruit popsicles instead of buying ice cream. I got out the fruits, and some veggies, and the yogurt and my trusty food processor. We made mango-cherry frozen yogurt popsicles (with spinach and carrot juice) and they loved them!
    I decided it may take time to get us were I want us to be as a family, but that is ok. It is the choices and steps that get us to those places. While adults need a healthy diet and exercise, we need to remember our kids do too! Turn off the t.v., go outside for a walk together (even in the rain). Enjoy the budding spring and clean air with your children. They will be happier and healthier because of it.