January 28, 2016

Establishing Healthy Habits Update and New Goals Jan. 28 - Feb. 11

I've been pushing myself to keep on track with my health goals this year by giving myself healthy habit goals and a challenge each two weeks. Here's how I did the past two weeks and my challenge and goals for the next two. You can read more about why I'm doing this and what I set for myself last time and why here.

January 26, 2016

How to Get Kids Motivated and Focused

If you're like me, you're tired of bargaining, cajoling and begging your child to listen and do what they're told. It feels like a daily power struggle to get even the simplest task completed. Now, I've been introduced to KidCash, which takes reward and sticker charts to the next level. We're on our way to revolutionizing how behavior is handled in our house.

how to get kids motivated and focused kidcash

KidCash is an incentive system designed to motivate kids to want to have positive behavior. It takes abstract concepts and makes them more concrete so kids can understand them. At the same time, it encourages communication with parents and teaches kid how to manage money. It comes in a box set of bank books. instructions, various types of KidCash The various types of cash are marked for specific things: gifts, candy, activities, devices or savings. That way, kids know exactly what incentive they're working toward. For the little ones like M2 who aren't reading yet, each type is color coded and has a different picture in the center.

January 20, 2016

Saying Goodbye to a Toxic Friend

Let's face it: Having friends as an mom is difficult. As moms, we're always busy, pulled in 50 directions and having a child screaming as though their head is being ripped from their very neck isn't really conducive to interesting, scintillating conversations. When you have a special-needs child, having friends is even more difficult. So when having a special-needs child reveals that someone you thought to be a good friend truly isn't, it hurts your heart.

Why am I sharing the following story with you? To inspire you to be there for your friends who have special-needs children, even when it isn't easy. We know it's not always easy to be our friend. It makes us appreciate you even more. Just as importantly, I want to encourage you to end your own toxic friendships. Recognize your worth. If you're a fellow special-needs mom and are hanging onto old friendships that no longer bring your life anything good, don't hang on just for nostalgia's sake. Life isn't the same. Sometimes, a chapter in a book has become so yellowed,the words so smeared, the pages so stained and torn that no tape can save it. You can't hang onto that chapter just because you remember when it was fresh and new, when the rest of the story has gone far passed it and it no longer has any positive bearing on the future.

January 18, 2016

On the Meal Planning Wagon Jan. 19 - Feb. 1, 2016

It's time to plan the next two weeks of dinners in order to stay on the meal planning wagon! So far, it's going well. Do you do meal planning at your house?

Here's what I'll be serving up to the family for the rest of the month:

Meal Planing Menu

1/19 Orange chicken with brown rice and peppers
1/20 Mixed greens salad
1/21 Pizza (crust from scratch)
1/22 White Belgian Ale salmon with jasmine rice and mixed veggies
1/23 Potato soup with Italian bread
1/24 Italian marinated chicken with quinoa and corn
1/25 Steakumms covered in peppers and mozzarella
1/26 Pasta wheels with sauce
1/27 Leftovers
1/28 Mixed greens salad
1/29 Marinated salmon with French cut green beans
1/30 Three cheese baked ziti
1/31 Pork stirfry
2/1 Herb baked chicken with baked potatoes and carrots

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January 14, 2016

Establishing Healthy Habits to Drop Extra Inches

Healthy eating, getting in shape and losing this extra weight I'm schleping around are all part of the bigger picture I'm working hard on this year to be a better me. The first step is to get back to healthy habits I'd established last year when I was losing a bunch of weight. I felt better, had more energy and was enjoying watching the pounds melt off. Then, I started back into my old ways and now I feel crappy and the weight is sticking around like a lump of bricks.

To get me kick started, I'm going to give myself a healthy eating challenge every two weeks. Along with that, I'm implementing new healthy habits over that period. That way, I'm not trying to change a ton of things all at once which I know won't work. The good habits are going to build on one another, I'm not going to do them for just two weeks then go back to the old ways. I'll keep at it, redoing ones when I fail and adding new ones until healthy eating and exercise are back to being second nature. I want healthy options to become my go to, rather than my current heading for yummy Christmas cookies and other sugary treats.

January 13, 2016

Winter Contemplation

Winter is back, after teasing us with warm weather through all but the very end of December. Christmas was the first I've spent able to wear cropped pants and short sleeve shirts. The kids could have even played outside, had it not been raining. Usually, we're bundling up.

The cold weather, impending snow, bare trees and frigid air always get me to thinking and contemplating.

There's no denying the beauty of winter. The hush that falls over the earth as it naps, preparing to once again provide us with fertile land to enjoy and to plant seeds in. Seeds that grow and become a bountiful harvest for use to enjoy. A harvest that will help us get through another winter in warmth and with full stomachs. While the earth rests, so do we.

January 11, 2016

Jumping Aboard The Pirate Train

In our house, reading is important. We have many books and I try to read the kids at least one book each day. Some days we don't manage to, so other days we read many to make up for the few missed days. M2 loves that we get a new book from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library each month. She gets super excited when the book arrives in the mail and has to look through it immediately. Christmas and birthdays the kids each get at least two books. That being said, M2 has a habit of running around while listening to me read. That, or she is looking at another book in my lap while I'm reading a story. Baby B is still at the toddling around while I read to him stage. The children's librarian has told us that despite what you may expect, the kids really are listening and absorbing as they wander.

The latest book we've been reading is The Pirate Train by Nicole Plyler Fisk. Oh my goodness, does M2 love it. So do I! Before I could even read it, she saw the cover, yanked the book out of my hand and run off. I promised her we'd read it later. That night at bedtime, she curled up in my lap and to my amazement, listened to every word. She even pointed out different animals, characters and items in the book -- without me prompting her. When we finished, she immediately wanted to read it again. I couldn't believe it. Not only was she sitting nicely in my lap looking at the book I was reading, she was interacting with it, repeating some of the words AND asked for the story again. The second time around, she was just as enthralled. Even other books she likes and enjoys have never elicited this awesome of a response. Needless to say, I was beyond happy and excited myself. After the second reading, she wanted the story again. Now, any time she sees it, she wants it read. And read again.

January 6, 2016

Getting Speech and Occupational Therapies After Age 3

M2 aged out of early intervention therapy a few months ago. The early intervention provided her with in-home speech and occupational therapy once a week, alternating. Once you hit age 3 though, that all goes away. Boom. Diagnosis or not, needing help or not -- Third birthday? GONE. Then what happens? The child still needs therapy, that need doesn't magically go away. What is next? Where do you turn?

January 4, 2016

Weekly Meal Planning, Jan. 4 - Jan. 18, 2016

I have been seriously slacking in the meal planning department. Planning out the week's dinners was a habit I got into to help us save money and to make dinners easier to make. Really, there are a whole host of reasons to meal plan. The past few months, though, I've been having to defrost meat last minute, scramble to dig through the freezer to find something to make and have had way too many, "what the heck am I going to cook?!" moments. With the new year, I'm getting back to planning out dinners. I'm figuring if I don't have to do it weekly, I may have more success. Planning a month won't work for me as I shop based on what's on sale and what we need to use up. That month plan would get changed too often to make it worth it. Instead, I'm going to go with planning two weeks at a time. I'll share what I've come up with to give you some ideas of what to add to your own menu.

All the dinners I want to be healthy, frugal and easy to cook. I'm working on eating healthier and weight loss this year, we need to watch the budget and I just don't have time for complicated dishes. No time, plus it's impossible to cook anything that's too time consuming with M2 getting into everything, creating unsafe situations, and B needing attention. Fish and salads are going to be incorporated into our diet more. WalMart has big bags of single portion frozen salmon that help me stay on budget. The expensive non-frozen kind is out of my league for now. In the pantry right now, I have potatoes and cans of beans that need to be used up so those are going to feature the next two weeks. Saturdays I make big dinners with plenty of leftovers to send to work with A for lunches and/or to freeze just in case there's a day he doesn't have a fresh lunch readily available to take.


1/4 Mixed greens salad
1/5 Pork chops with mixed veggies and baked potatoes
1/6 Spaghetti
1/7 Herb crusted salmon with green beans and white rice
1/8 Herb chicken thighs with corn and baked potatoes
1/9 Turkey and three bean chili
1/10 Hamburgers (no buns) with roasted potatoes and carrots
1/11 Slow cooked beef roast with rolls and green beans
1/12 Spaghetti with meat sauce (using leftover meat from the roast)
1/13 Marinated salmon with mixed veggies
1/14 Mixed greens salad
1/15 BBQ chicken thighs with baked potatoes and broccoli
1/16 Not Your Usual Black Beans and Rice
1/17 Leftovers
1/18 Veggie variety with quinoa

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