Wednesday, July 30, 2014

5 Favorite Summertime Snacks For Toddlers

You guys, this week it has gotten up to 114.  Degrees.  This is how we have spent the summer so far:

Playing with outside toys..inside.  Much like this time as well. 
Swinging on the back porch (surprisingly she begs me to do this, multiple times a day).
Hosing down.
Sending her and her dad over to the neighbors' pool  Our neighbors --> the best.

Inevitably we are in serious need of some cold treats around here, so I thought I'd share with you some of my favorites lately!

1. Homemade Popsicles 
(see first picture)

I bought this popsicle maker at my local Fry's grocery store for $3.99.  It has definitely paid for itself in its very greatness. Mia loves the pops especially after we spend 5 minutes outside in the shaded heat of the desert. And they are the perfect little size for her.

One of her favorite combos: Blueberries, strawberries, banana, peaches, and milk.

2. Smoothies

Ok this is very similar to the popsicles...but they deserve to be on the list too. I love sneaking nutrient-rich veggies like spinach into Mia's smoothies because the more nutrients a veggie has, the less likely Mia is to want to eat them (as a general rule).  :)

I make sure to put plenty of sweet fruit in there - especially never skipping the banana - when the spinach goes in there.  She gulps it down.

Here are some of my favorite combos (which can also be used as pops too!)

Green Strawberry-Banana:
Strawberries / Banana / Milk / Cinnamon / Spinach / Ice

Protein Mixed-Berry:
Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Banana, Plain Greek 2% Yogurt

Blueberries, Strawberries, Banana, Peanut Butter, Milk

Chocolate Avocado:
Extra ripe banana, milk, cocoa powder, avocado, ice

3.  Frozen Blueberries {Straight Up}

Ok so this isn't quite a "complete" snack, but I was introduced to letting Mia eat frozen blueberries lately and I love it so much - especially in the summer!  It means I can buy a huge bag of already frozen, or a huge container of fresh if they're on sale, and pull out a handful for a great cold treat.

My teeth are super sensitive to cold so I never considered it, but Mia loves them.  Which means I love them.

4.  Ants On a Log {toddler version}

Apparently I have a little ant-eater on my hands

Since Mia only has seven front teeth, celery isn't quite the easiest to eat except to just chew on.  Therefore, I sub the celery for banana and voila.

And bonus tip if you don't know already: bananas break easily into thirds the long way.   Bing. Bang. Boom.

5. Frozen Yogurt-Filled Raspberries

Thanks to Pinterest, this one is also a new favorite. If this doesn't scream "I'm still on my first child and have time for things like filling individual raspberries with tiny dollops of yogurt"  I don't know what does.  Nevertheless...they are great, bite-size treats.

Ok friends, if you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them in the comments!  Stay cool out there and have a great week!

And check out other great Faves at Mama Knows!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Answer Me This: Hip hop socks and a 2 lb. chocolate bar

Before I show up fashionably late to the party at Kendra's today, I just need to say that I am so glad that Facebook hasn't taken down my baby bum photo (yet), since I hear that's happening around the net lately.  Maybe they were impressed with my spanglish? 

Ok, getting to the questions.  It's my first time! Thanks for hosting Kendra!

1. What’s something you've won and how did you win it?

I won a 2 lb. chocolate bar for being a top seller of chocolate for a junior high band fundraiser.  I'm pretty sure I sold an inordinate amount of chocolate covered almonds to my parents, but it didn't matter who you sold to soo...I won.  :)

I also played in many sports growing up - basketball, volleyball, softball, golf, tennis, and ran in track, so naturally I won many times doing that also.  :)  The main "win" I remember was being on an undefeated 4 x 100M relay team in junior high.

Now that I think about it, it sounds like junior high was quite the competetive peak for me. (??)

2. Do you save old greeting cards and letters, or throw them all away? Why?

I keep about 30% of these.  I have kept many notes and letters from my mom that she sends along with packages from back home in South Dakota.  She often has something funny to say or an update about somebody I know from back home, and always the weather update.  I think I'll like to look at these when I'm older.

I have also kept some thank-yous and affirmation notes that I received from household sisters in college, or from those I served with at Maggie's Place. 

I keep Christmas cards up until spring (much to the annoyance of my husband).  I then move them to a folder until next year, and then I throw them away.  I have no idea why I do this.

3. When you’re at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

I am almost always barefoot at home, except during the "winter" months (here in the desert) when I wear socks.  

These were a gift from Joel - my all-time favorite "around the house" socks, especially because they have those awesome grippers on the bottom.  And they make me smile when I read them of course.

4. Who’s the most famous person you have ever met? 

This was a hard question for me, basically because I have met very few famous people that I can recall.  I blame my husband for this, since he often works with famous people and usually doesn't tell me who they are until after the fact.  I guess he forgets our wedding vows on those days?  They definitely mention something about this.

Since I couldn't come up with one "big one", here is the short, not-overly-famous list:

-- At an Emerson Drive concert at the South Dakota State Fair when I was 18, the lead singer came down from the stage (we were near the front in the grass) and serenaded me and kissed me on the cheek during a song.  Not technically "meeting" but close? Better? Incredibly embarrassing?
-- I met Brenda Warner, Kurt Warner's (since-then retired football QB) wife and author twice at Maggie's Place related events
-- I met Matthew Kelly (author) at a book signing
-- I sat next to Bishop Olmsted at a Maggie's Place luncheon one time
-- I had plenty of face time with  Scott Hahn who was one of my professors at Franciscan University

Wow I need to take a break from all that excitement.

5. What has been your best work of art?

You may remember a certain craft book I got for my birthday a few months ago.  I guess the paper flowers I've made from the book would be my "favorite" work of art...they make me super happy whenever I see them around my house.

6.  What’s your strongest sense?

Well I thought I had a strong sense of smell before I read about Kendra's ant-smelling skills.  Now I'm feeling quite inferior so I'll tell you a weird related fact.

I have a mild version of this "sense" thing called synesthesia, which is defined by wikipedia as "a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway."  
Phenomenon is a strong word in my case, but here's an example - many people who have this see a specific color when they see letters and numbers - like, all a's are red and all b's are blue.

Mine is more what they call "spacial sequence" synesthesia where I see dates, especially months and years, in this physical world in my head.  I won't go into detail or you'll think I'm cray, but I thought that everyone saw dates and numbers like this until about a year ago when I heard Tsh Oxenreider talk about it on one of her podcast episodes.

I also have strong gender associations to certain inanimate objects (example: spoons are always girls, forks always that the weirdest thing you've ever heard?), which I think is part of the same thing.

On that strange note - have a great week friends! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Why I don't use birth control {in an analogy}

If any of you know me very well, you know I am not much of an instigator or a lover of controversy. I like to keep things easy to digest, light-hearted and agreeable to the masses.  For the most part, I think it is very hard to convey emotionally charged ideas in the perfect context, tone, etc. over the internet so I usually avoid it.

I guess today I'm feeling differently.  Maybe it's because I was so annoyed at much of the media's misrepresentation of the Hobby Lobby verdict recently (<< this link is fine, on the other hand).  

Or maybe it's because of Buzzfeed's post on Wednesday that brought the question "why we use birth control" to the table. 

Or maybe it's to join this conversation about why some of us choose not to use birth control.

[Update: Here's another great list from a Buzzfeed Community post!]

At any rate, here I am.  I understand I am probably preaching to the choir since I know many of my readers are in the same boat as me. But here I go anyway.  I just have two huge disclaimers: 

1. I do not think you are a bad person if you use birth control. We are all trying to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families, and decisions around sex are very very very very very personal.  Again.  We Are All Doing Our Best To Figure Life Out.

2. I am NOT perfect.  One of the main reasons I don't like talking about this is because of this fact.  I have realized in very real ways that our lack of perfection steals our courage.  

So, I am here to answer one question and one question only: 

Why do >> I << choose to not use birth control?

I could give tons of reasons but I really just want to add to this conversation by giving an analogy that I feel best explains it for me.

Remember these analogies back in grade school?  Weren't they great? Am I stalling?

Ok, so you know how there are these diet pills out there that claim that you can eat whatever you want, and if you just take this pill, you won't gain weight?  We usually laugh at them, right?  Let's imagine that one day they actually make something that Actually Works.  It is truly a miracle of science.  

The drug encapsulates all of the extra calories you don't need and passes them through your system instead of letting your body absorb them. And like I said - let's imagine that this actually works, and better yet - nobody laughs at it anymore and it becomes socially acceptable for everyone to use.  Would I use it?

For the same reason I am confident I would not take this pill, is why I don't use birth control.  I feel like our bodies are made in an amazingly ingenious way.  We are hungry, we eat food, it nourishes our body, we find enjoyment and pleasure in it, we sustain life.  But there are rules to eating - natural consequences that we all know about.  I can't eat donuts all day or I will feel sick.  If I never eat a vegetable I will have vitamin and mineral deficiencies and my body won't work to it's potential.  And if I eat more food than I need to fuel my activity I will gain weight. 

This is not a perfect analogy, but I feel like it is very similar to sex - with it we build a strong relationship and bond with our life-long partner, our families are blessed by this strong relationship (not to minimize what else goes into a good relationship), and the entire human race is sustained when new life is formed.  But there are rules with sex also.  A woman's reproductive system usually runs on a 28-35 day cycle.  If we have sex on a day that we are fertile, it is very possible and likely we will create a life. And if we have sex on an infertile day it is very likely we will not create a life.  These are natural consequences.

Therefore, I am the type of person that likes to let the world work as it was meant to because I believe the world was made in a very specific, beautiful, smart way that has my best intentions at heart. I think that going against how the world was made can lead to some serious consequences.  I get sick from eating too many donuts because hey - I shouldn't be eating so many donuts.  And I would have a hangover after drinking too much and hurting my liver.  And I would likely contract an STD if I had sex with 30 people (even if I used a condom.)

I think natural consequences teach us things.  They teach us prudence, temperance, justice and courage...and I want all of those things.

Lastly, as I think about teaching my daughter about the natural consequences in life, I can't help but feel silly at the thought of telling her when she's 16: honey, I really hope and suggest you wait to have sex with your future husband, but if you don't wait, at least use a condom to hopefully! avoid the consequences. 

Let's imagine for a moment that I do tell her that, and the birth control fails (which happens alllll the time - do you remember where I used to work?) and she gets pregnant.  

Will I feel even sillier because her whole life I was telling her that if she hits a dog it will bite her, and if she refuses to eat what's on her plate she'll go hungry, and if she doesn't study she'll fail her class, and if she doesn't change the oil in her car the engine will fail, and if she is late for work too many times she will get fired?  Yes. I will feel incredibly silly that I taught her about consequences except in this one little tiny instance - in that thing that has eternal consequences.  Creating a life won't just effect your whole entire lifetime (in a really awesome and beautiful way).   It is of eternal, awesome, consequence when you create a life - that has a soul - that will live forever.  

Sex is a big deal.

I think that's how awesome and important it is to pay attention to how we are made, and respect it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Vacation Recap in 7 Quick Takes

Hey y'all!  If you can't tell, I'm back from a 10-day trip to Georgia. I take zero responsibility for any detectable southern accent from here on out.

I'm linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary for the vacation recap.  I know how much the internet loves those.  Here are some of my favorite parts of the trip:


Cousin Time!!

Sorry about the sun girls


Reading! I read 2 books on vacation (a hUUGE accomplishment for me) -


I loved Unplanned - Abby is so courageous and inspiring and I am so glad I finally read this!  I also liked The Lovely Bones, though I was expecting something a little was much more family drama than thriller, which for some reason I expected.  But good nonetheless.


Beach time on Tybee Island.  Mia loved the water and waves, and would have crawled out to sea if we didn't constantly stop her.  She didn't do too bad in the sand either and loved to dig.


Mia learning to walk!  On July 4th she decided to take more than her usual 1 and a half steps.  Now she won't stop!


An afternoon trip to Savannah with my guy.


Swinging on the porch swing watching everyone on the island (it seemed) walk to and from the beach is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  Here's the decidedly annual porch swing selfie:

And last year's - just for fun!

What a difference a year makes!


And finally, family pics taken by Joel's sister Shelby!!  They are still being edited but here's a sneak peak:

We loved spending some awesome quality time with family and miss them already!