Family Meal Time

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  I hope you all get to spend some time with the ones you love.  I hope you all get to eat more than your fair share of turkey and all the trimmings.  I hope you each get to take a moment to think about all the things you have to be thankful for.

Tomorrow I’ll be hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner.  Lorne’s parents are in town and a friend of ours is coming over with his little girl to join us for dinner.  We’ll be sitting around eating lots of (hopefully) good food and enjoying the company of friends and family.   It should be the perfect day.

I’ll definitely be taking a few minutes out of my day tomorrow to give thanks for my two favorite people in the world.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!

Living in a condo you get to know your neighbors in a way you often don’t when you live in a house.  Passing in the hallway every day, sharing a fire escape patio, and having to work with each other to get things done in the building means those people who start out as just neighbors end up becoming very dear friends.  The type of friends you are sad to say goodbye to when you move out of that condo.

When we moved it was hard to say goodbye to a couple of our neighbors because they had become very dear friends.  Maya had known and loved them since she was born.  They were a big part of her life.  We knew we were going to have to make sure we stayed in touch and try to see each other as often as possible.  So, Saturday night we had them over for a barbecue.  Tom and Wendy, our neighbors from across the hall who we just love and who are some of the few people who have ever taken care of Maya for us, and Loren and her dog Molly, our neighbors right below us, came over to check out our new digs and hang out like old times.

What ensued was an amazing evening of good food, good friends and good laughs.  Maya enjoyed having an audience while she was playing in the pool :)

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We ended the evening having good great fun watching Maya play with whip cream!!

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We had an amazing time hanging out with our old neighbors who are now just simply good friends.  We are looking forward to our next fun get together.

Thank you Loren for the great pictures :)

Walking through the grocery store pushing a shopping cart, trying to remember all the things on your list that you forgot to bring with you and trying to stay on budget all while wrangling your children can make for a chaotic grocery shopping experience.  It can be easy to skip over the healthy stuff and just grab what is quick and easy.  We all want to eat more healthy foods, give our children healthy snack options and cook healthy, flavorful meals, but it isn’t always easy to focused on that while being tempted by so many unhealthy, yummy alternatives at the grocery store.

There are a few tricks to navigating the grocery store so that you stay on task (buying healthy foods for your family):

  • Always make a list.  Determine what meals you will prepare before hand so you know what ingredients to buy and so you won’t be tempted by easy, prepared foods.
  • Shop on a full stomach.  It is a lot easier to be tempted by unhealthy food options when your stomach is growling.
  • Know what the healthy options are in each section of the store.
    • Breads: look for whole wheat or whole grain options.  Also look for breads that offer lots of fiber.
    • Pastas, cereals and rice: look for whole grain options, and options that are lower in sugar.
    • Produce:  you can’t go wrong in this section.  Be generous and fill your cart with lots of fruits and veggies.
    • Dairy: looks for low fat options such as skim or 1% for milk, yogurt and cheeses.
    • Meat: look for lean poultry and fish.  Limit your red meats and when you do purchase red meats opt for lean cuts.
    • Snacks: Limit the processed snacks you purchase.  Look for baked options and light popcorn.
  • Try to buy for the full week or two weeks so you can avoid additional trips to the store.  You are more likely to purchase extra, unhealthy items the more often you are at the store.

The key is to know what you want before you get there, filling your cart with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy so there isn’t much room for unhealthy sugary or salty snacks.  I always forget to make a list, but when I do I find a make much better food choices and am much less likely to have to go back to the store again for stuff I forgot.

What tricks do you use to navigate the grocery store so that you are making healthy choices?

The weather here in St. Louis has been absolutely gorgeous this spring.  We’ve had this incredible stretch of warm, sunny weather that just makes you want to be outside.   Who are we to argue with Mother Nature, if she wants us to be outside, we will be outside!!  Pretty much every day we have enjoyed at least some time outside.  We’ll either go to the park, the zoo, go for a walk after dinner, or just simply play outside for a little bit before bedtime.  Maya has been just loving it, and so have Lorne and I.

One things I’ve always loved to do is go sit some where pretty and have a picnic.  When the weather gets gorgeous like this I just can’t resist the urge to pack up our lunch or our dinner and head outside to enjoy it.  Last week we went on our first picnic of the year.  I packed up our dinner and as soon as Lorne got home from work we headed to the park just down the street, laid out our picnic blanket and enjoyed a beautiful evening together.

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Maya LOVED it and has been asking to go on another picnic ever since.  So, yesterday I decided we’d have a picnic lunch.  We ate Maya’s favorite lunch, bagels and fruit.  She ate, ran around, ate some more.  It was just an all around good time.

Ahhh, gotta love picnic season :)

Maya loves to eat, she will try almost any food you put in front of her.  She loves food and isn’t afraid to try new things.  It hasn’t always been that way though.  For a while there I thought we might be destined to deal with an insanely picky eater forever.  But somewhere along the way she became transformed into this eating machine :)

When Maya was about 5 months old I started introducing her to solid foods.  I started out with rice cereal as recommended by our pediatrician.  She was not impressed by any stretch of the imagination.  The face she is making in this photo is one I saw every time I stuck a spoon in her mouth (assuming she would open her mouth and let me put the spoon in, in the first place).

food yuck

There were very few baby foods she would eat.  I could occasionally get her to eat peas, squash, this pre-mixed peach cereal stuff in a jar and prunes, but that was it.  She hated applesauce, all baby cereals, and most veggies.  For quite sometime she lived on breast milk alone because she wouldn’t even open her mouth to try anything.

Things got a little easier when we introduced finger foods.  She loved those Gerber Puffs, the freeze dried yogurt thingys, cheerios and peaches.   I think for a while there she would have been happy to live on peaches :)

MMM peaches

We struggled with her eating, or lack there of, for a while.  She wouldn’t try anything.  The few things she would eat just didn’t cut it as meals and didn’t give her enough of the nutrients she needed.  When it finally came time to wean her completely from breastfeeding I was worried that she wasn’t going to get enough to eat, that she would starve because she refused to eat anything.

She didn’t starve.  As a matter of fact she started slowly doing much better in the eating department.  There were several things we did that helped her,  including; not making any meal time a battle, if she wanted to eat great, if not, fine.  We continued to provide her lots of healthy options at each meal.  I started letting her choose what she was going to eat for breakfast and lunch and we basically just let her control her own eating.

One day I realized that I no longer had a picky eater.  Instead my daughter had been transformed into a good eater.  She is the type of kid you can take out to dinner with you and not have to worry about what will be on the menu.  This past weekend we even took her out for sushi with us.  Now, granted, she didn’t much care for the actual sushi but she loved the miso soup and the japanese house salad :)  Watching her eat this weekend I was proud of her for being so willing to try new things.  I was proud of us for sticking with it and helping transform her into an amazing little eating machine.  She even used chop sticks :)

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