30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 4 & Final Thoughts

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This is the final week, that technically represents a week and a half.  I enjoyed this experiment. I don’t know if I’d do this daily in the future, but I might consider it, especially the recipes with cherries and berries. I got breakfast everyday for the first time in a long time.

RAINBOW LOVE

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1 orange

1 cup strawberries

½ cup blueberries

1 banana

I liked this one a lot too. It was a very tasty combo. I used kale instead of spinach, and extra strawberries and blueberries to replace the banana. I also added chia seeds and Greek yogurt, though I thought it tasted fine without the Greek yogurt too.

SIMPLY CHERRY

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

2 cups cherries

1 banana

Used kale and a cherry berry mix and it was another delicious combination. Definitely add this one to my favorites list.

 

MANGO ORANGE MADNESS

2 cups spinach

2 cups coconut water

1 orange

1 cup mango

1 banana

I didn’t have quite enough mango so I used two oranges and subbed pineapple for banana, kale instead of spinach and 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water instead of coconut water chia seeds and greek yogurt for protein. It worked. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. But it was drinkable (which is more than I can say for a few other recipes that I tried.

 

ALMOND BUTTER CUP

2 cups spinach

2 cups almond milk

2 bananas

3 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons almond butter

I used some very crunchy homemade almond butter, strawberries instead of bananas and baking coco instead of cacao. So it was practically it’s own recipe. It was interesting. I would drink it again, but I might try a different combination. I think cherries or blueberries might be good too. Maybe with milk and a little Greek yogurt instead of almond milk. But the concept was tasty.

 

CHERRY TART

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1 cup pineapple

1 cup cherries

1 banana

So this was really more of a berry tart, since I used a cherry berry mix, but I tried to make it heavy on the cherries. I also used a little more of both the berry mix and the pineapple, since I don’t use banana. I mixed Greek yogurt into my portion. It was a little more bitter but not bad.

I haven’t decided whether I’ll be continuing with the Greek smoothies. I’m just trying to get a feel of whether this is really healthy for me. I like that it’s an easy breakfast and that it gets me a veggies at breakfast, a time when I normally wouldn’t get any kind of vegetables. I don’t even eat fruit in the morning anymore, after getting used to cutting it out on my diabetes diet. While I’ve read plenty of studies that say that green smoothies are helpful in balancing blood sugar, but part of me just quite can’t believe it. I suppose I could test my current blood sugar before and after, but I don’t relish sticking myself again unnecessarily. (It was quite a miserable few months when I did it four or five times a day).

So I think I’ll keep the smoothies in, using my favorite recipes, and maybe just a few times a weeks. So how did the smoothie challenge work out for you?

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 2 Recap

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 3 Recap

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

Mindset for Moms From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 days

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A few weeks ago my husband and I had another long conversation about my mood and my attitude. He was concerned that I seemed unhappy and unable to cope with the basics of our daily living. Just getting through the laundry, cooking, dishes and general household cleanup was overwhelming. I was on my feet all day and yet so little seemed to get done. I had recently left my part time job when my child care swap no longer worked and yet I didn’t seem to have anymore time. We had one of those discussions/arguments that lasts until much later at night than it should, and yet nothing seemed to be resolved.

The next morning this book appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. It was being offered for free in honor of Simple Homeschool reaching 100,000 likes. Since I like Jamie Martin very much I decided it was worth a try. It immediately spoke to me. I realized that Jamie and I are very much alike. I am just beginning my homeschool journey, while she is well established in hers. We are both introverts and have a passion to write. When I read her words, I often feel as though we share many of the same thoughts. Within a day or two of skimming the first few pages I began to see an improvement in my mood.

This book recommends taking 30 days. I’m going to take longer because I want to do more than read it, I want to meditate on it. The truth is, I know I need an attitude adjustment. My children are not easy by any means, but when I start my morning with a negative mindset, it doesn’t make things easier. No this is not a miracle book. It’s short, making it attainable to the limited moments of free time I have in my day. It says what I need to hear, but don’t always want to. Yet with such a gentle manner of humility and genuine transparency that it makes it easier to take.

I’m looking forward to this journey. Mostly because I’m about as sick of my attitude as everyone else at my house. But also because I want to feel better. I’m tired of feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and discontented. I want to seek a level of satisfaction with my life where it is right now rather than constantly looking ahead to the next thing and hoping that things will get better.

Won’t you join me? As the MOPS motto says “Friends don’t let friends mother alone.” We are all in this together. Rather than trying to fix each other with the latest advice and methods; maybe we can just empower each other to make the chances we each need.

Five Minute Friday: Friend

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This week’s prompt is Friend

It’s so easy for children to make friends. They are the same size or playing with the same kind of toy and suddenly they have a bond. I remember the days of meeting someone randomly and suddenly realizing that we had a lot in common. Sadly, it doesn’t come to easily as adults. I remember reading a New York Times study that said that making friends after age 30 is notoriously hard. You tend to have casual acquaintances maybe a couple of friends but not the kind of bonds that are created in childhood and young adulthood. Life gets in the way. We become friends with people who have kids the same age as ours. Sometimes we don’t have much else in common. Then we spend much of our effort planning around bedtimes, naptimes, school and extra curricular activities.

My husband can count on one hand the number of friends he has and most of them are from childhood and early young adulthood. He’s loyal that way. I have lost touch with most of my school friends.  Though I maintain contact with a few, we are not as close as we once were. I’ve only made a handful of new friends since my daughter was born. The ones we’ve invited the dinner. The ones I called after my miscarriage and on the anniversary of when my due date should have been. Now I find myself in the third decade of my life and everyone around me is surrounded by a cloud of busyness. Dinners or nights out must be scheduled months in advance, only to be cancelled at the lasts minute when a child gets sick or another family emergency occurs. It once took me five months to reschedule a cancelled dinner.

We can blame a culture of isolation, or lack of proper community pride, busyness or lack of hospitality in the church. But the end result is the same. Women desperate for relationships and feeling like they are in this parenting thing alone. I’m blessed to have a mother and a sister in my life. Though, as I jokingly like to say, who do I go to when I need to complain about them? Building friendships is never easy, at least for me. But I keep trying because I know deep down inside that it’s worth the effort.

Want to join us? Read more about Five Minute Friday here.

 

 

Tummy Team Week 1: Awareness

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Kelly Dean clearly has a passion for education. While I already knew a lot of what she said because of my time with Fit2B Studio, watching her videos I could see that she was really in her element.

This week’s focus in awareness. Thanks to the Foundational Five, I’ve already become somewhat aware of my abdominals. I’ve already tried to make belly breathing part of my day. But this continued focus on awareness is good for me.

The truth is I can barely lift my son into his car seat without arching my back. I have pain in my upper and mid back under my shoulder blades. Posture wise, I tend to slouch and round my shoulders forward. As a writer and a blogger I spend a lot of time at the computer. I always thought I had pretty good pelvic alignment but I’m beginning to realize that I probably tuck under too much. This probably comes from years of ballet. The turning out of the hip muscles also creates a tuck in the hips. I don’t know whether this can be done with proper alignment or not. (Ballet doesn’t like ribs flaring out either and focuses on being long and lean though, so there must be some agreement there).

In some ways the exercises are easy to work into everyday life. The problem is remembering. The other problem is that Week 1 focuses on primarily doing the exercises while sitting. I hardly ever sit. Seriously, unless I’m eating, sometimes not even then. Or at the end of the day when I’m lying about on the couch to relax. It’s easy to remember to engage my transverse while doing the standing activities throughout my day, but I’m supposed to be doing my transverse holds and squeeze and release exercises while sitting, preferably with back support. It will be interesting to see how I figure this out. Maybe the result will be me sitting more (which usually means a child climbing on me. They take it as some kind of invitation), which might be a good thing.

The hardest part about this program is that while I know the value of it, I’m having trouble feeling less active. Exercise has been so important for my physical and mental health that taking a break to focus on internal work is difficult to accept.

I’m probably still not doing the exercises as often as I should but I’m definitely more aware of my core and alignment than I have ever been. I’m slightly obsessive about it right now. I do wear my splint when I’m at home and sometimes when I sleep, but not when I go out. I think I’m OK with that. I know that splinting is important but I also know that Kelly says that the splint is only one tool and it’s not worth obsessing over. So I won’t.

Week one done and to be honest, I don’t feel super different yet. I’m actually having more upper back pain, probably from my attempts to improve my posture. (Though doing Kelly Deans Total Body Stretching workout on Fit2B Studio has helped somewhat).

I know in my head that what I’m doing will have long term positive benefit, but right now it’s hard not to want to do things harder, and faster to get the results I want.

 Tummy Team Week 2: Connection

 

Only one more week to get 30% off online core rehab with the Tummy Team. Click this link or the below image and the enter the code laundry at check out.

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Repairing My Core: Reviewing the Core Foundations 8-week Online Training Program with the Tummy Team 

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 3 Recap

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I’m finally used to the habit of making a smoothie almost everyday. I’m beginning to question the health of it however. Somehow, while drinking my breakfast everyday certainly seems efficient, I wonder if it’s really healthy. Next week I’m going to try adding egg casserole back in again to make sure I’m getting some extra protein at breakfast, plus I’m sure the extra veggies won’t hurt either.

STRAWBERRY BLAST 

2 cups spinach, fresh

2 cups almond milk

2 cups strawberries, frozen

1 banana

I didn’t have enough strawberries to pull this off and you already know how I feel about banana, but what I did have in the back of my fridge was a container of kiwi that needed to be finished up, so I substituted a kiwi for banana.

I think I liked this, however, I learned two important lessons. I really don’t like almond milk that much. I think if I have the chance to make this in the future I’d use water as a base and then add milk and Greek yogurt to my portion of it, keeping the rest of it dairy free for my son. I also think I should have peeled the kiwi. I guess I thought it would be a healthy interesting experiment, but I my blender just couldn’t handle it. In addition to strawberry leaves (yes, I put them in whole too), and small chunks of kale (I ran out of spinach) I could feel the texture of kiwi skin. So the flavor of this smoothie wasn’t bad, but the texture was a little mealy for me. I also added hemp seeds for additional protein.

PINEAPPLE BERRY 

1 ½ cups spinach, fresh

½ cup cucumber, peeled

1 cup water 1 orange, peeled

1 cup pineapple

1 cup strawberries, frozen

I modified this somewhat, using kale rather than spinach, and two cups strawberries and adding some Greek yogurt for protein. I actually liked it. For some reason the combination of flavors worked for me. It might have been the help of the extra strawberries, and the creaminess of the Greek yogurt. I didn’t notice the cucumber at all and the orange and pineapple wasn’t too pulpy this time.

BLUEBERRY KALE PUNCH 

2 cups kale, fresh

1 cup almond milk

2 oranges, peeled

1 cup blueberries

2 bananas

Really enjoyed this one. I used a mixed berry blend instead of just blueberries since I don’t use bananas either and it turned out great. The amount of liquid was too little in my opinion so I added some extra water. I think perhaps my oranges weren’t juicy enough.

MORNING FUEL

2 cups kale, fresh

1 cup almond milk

2 oranges, peeled

1 cup pineapple

1 banana

¼ avocado

The idea of using avocado really freaked me out, and then, as it turned out, my avocado had gone bad. As usual, I didn’t use any banana. I used extra pineapple and a little bit of frozen mango. In the past I’ve found that almond milk and citrus is slightly nauseating so I decided to use coconut milk. I used ¾ cup of coconut milk and one cup water. I then actually had to add more water because the blender wasn’t spinning properly. I think I may have used closer to 3 cups kale. Overall the flavor wasn’t bad though.

So I’ve pretty much gotten used to the daily routine of using the blender, and I’m getting used to cleaning it as well. I wish I had a better one, but I’m OK with using the one I have. My husband and daughter still think the whole green smoothie thing is rather gross, but my two year old son is loving it.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve avoided, modified or deferred recipes that I found too weird (Cilantro Mango Detox anyone?) but overall I’m trying to stick to the recommended ingredients and see if I discover something new that I like. Three weeks down, one or two more to go.

Join the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 1 Recap

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Week 2 Recap

Disclaimer: All recipes are the creations of the ladies at Simple Green Smoothies. I am reproducing them here only for the sake of reviewing them and noting my own variations. I am in no way taking credit for their hard work. I provide links back to their site whenever possible.

Our New Heavy Wetter Nighttime Solution

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So we officially have a new nighttime diaper solution. Our now two year old son is just shy of 32 lbs, so I worry that he’ll be outgrowing his diapers before he can finish potty training. That being said, we have found a night time solution that works for us, and it should continue to fit him for a while.

Thristies Fab Fitted in Raspberry

Thristies Size large fitted diapers, bought on clearance when they were being discontinued in favor of the Duo Fitted diapers. Because we only used them for a short time with my daughter they still have that wonderful plush velour softness that Thirsties diapers are known for, before you kill them with months of caustic toddler urine. I stack a size large Joey Bunz Premium Hemp insert under a Flip Stay dry insert and top the whole thing with a Size Large Thirsties cover. The Duo Size 2 are just too small to keep us leak free. It is a little bulky, but no worse than the triple stuffed pocket diaper we used to use at night. We also use an Under the Nile Fitted and a Sustainable Babyish fitted with no closure that we use when the Thirsties are being washed and those work as well. Though I really hate the enclosed inserts that come with the sustainable babyish and I just use my new etsy inserts or a Joey Bunz Premium size large with a Flip Stay dry insert.

Just bought a new Sustainable babyish fitted with snaps. We haven’t used it much yet, so I can’t really properly review it. It’s sized and we bought an XL. The first night using it didn’t go well, but it also might not be properly prepped, so I’m willing to give it time.

As long as I rinse in the morning and spray with Bac out, we don’t have major stink problems, though I usually plan to strip them every month or two. I’m loving the Thirsties covers again because they are the only thing that holds in my son’s morning messy poops that he often produces before I get him out of his crib in the morning. The fully saturated bumGenius pockets just weren’t cutting it.

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My new favorite insert is a zorb, hemp insert I bought from Etsy. This one insert does the job of a Joey Bunz Premium hemp and a Flip stay dry and it’s more compact. I haven’t had it long enough to tell how well it will hold up to the serious beating that nighttime diapers take, but so far I’m very pleased.

So I know we’ll be have additional diapering challenges with the coming months, as our son gets even bigger, but for now at least we have some dry mornings to look forward too.

Joy is a Promise

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I was reading Circle of Quiet again today and as I finished a chapter the final line struck me. “Joy is a promise.” I’ve never been good at joy. I excel at obsession, and frustration. I usually fail miserably at relaxation. Compartmentalization and I rarely meet. Apparently I’m not the only one. The ladies at my MOPS table and I discussed how we all struggle with letting go of things. We can’t relax well when there are things to do. I lie awake at night with lists scrolling through my head, unable to sleep because I feel like I should be working. Even as I write this my brain spins with all the lists of things yet undone, and how to find the money to pay for them. I found an error in my budget spreadsheet that has resulted in a significant monthly shortfall. It will mean giving up some small luxuries that I have grown dependent one. It makes me angry and sometimes I can’t think about anything else. So when the time comes to spend an evening with my husband, I can’t focus. I can’t just sit in watch a movie while the laundry piles tower around me. Or if I do, I can’t enjoy myself with the guilt I heap on myself. A good wife would have finished all of this days or weeks ago. A good mom would have gotten the clothes into the drawers and had things laid out for tomorrow.

Joy seems rare, the real genuine kind, not the happiness that I’m supposed to feel that I fake. When the children show me a picture or a trick and I smile and pretend I’m interested because I know I should be. But all I can think of us the mess they leave in their wake and how I will get it clean before I pass out at the end of the day in exhaustion. Those moments of real joy when for a little while I can forget it all and just exist for a little while; they don’t happen often. They slip through my fingers like sand. But                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Madeleine L’Engle is right. Joy is a promise. No matter how hard things are, or will be in the future, the moments will always come. The joy is always there, we just need to let it find us. Like a lost child, stop moving and stand still until we are found again.

I need to stand still more. I don’t know how to block out the cacophony. I can’t thinking that the right method, list, software or schedule will solve the problem. But it doesn’t and it won’t. I just need to let it go. I want to be able to latch on to the moments of joy and let them last as long as they ca, wringing out the extra seconds. To enjoy my children, to adore my husband, revel with my friends. Joy can be my promise too. I will always be here. I won’t give up. Never surrender to the encroaching darkness. I will engage with joy and love with abandon.