Thursday, March 14, 2013

Therapy Thursdays

Every thursday at 3pm, we get two scallywags walking through our front door.
Nora and Reily.

They are the son and daughter of our dearest friends who live down the street.
And they are like cousins to my three (in fact Quinn drew a picture today and called it "family". It is Reily, Nora, Quinn Carter and Crew)

They're understanding, patient, kind and all around fun to have around.

We have a nice routine now:
We bake our snack together.
The bigs help the littles with a craft project.
The one's in school do their homework.
They all play together.
They all play kindly.

The two hours these kids are here, I use the time as Quinn's play therapy time.
I make sure the kids are engaged in activities where it's more natural for me to be including myself in the play and interpreting the social cues for Quinn.
Having play therapy happen at home gives Quinn the comfort of her own environment to teach her more social flexibility. It also helps her avoid most of her meltdowns as the sensory piece is diluted due to it being her home.
Comfort and calmness in the environment means more meaningful skills learned.

Reily asked me today what I thought Quinny would be like if she didn't have autism.
I was touched by not only his curiosity on the matter, but by the curiosity of my kid. Acknowledging the barriers he sees and showing empathy to the behaviors that come along side of them.
I said in return, "she wouldn't be nearly as colorful."
He smiled and kept working on his tin-foil man.

Therapy Thursdays- saving on gas and a co-pay!

Forgetting to Feel Enough

I had a pretty big moment this morning.
I have cognitively understood this for a while, but just couldn't quiet my anxieties on the issue.

Doing It All.

A horrible hampster wheel to find yourself on:
Trying to accomplish everything everyday.
And when everything isn't done (and or done fabulously well) you doubt your own abilities as a woman and a mama.
So you try harder.
And when everything doesn't get done (and or done fabulously well) you doubt yourself even more, because you put that much more into it.

And it just sucks, really.

This morning my Mom told me she couldn't watch Carter while I took Quinny (and Crew in tow) to Quinn's gymnastics class. I've gone by myself with all three of the wee one's before and it is just horrifically hard.
There isn't an aid in the class, so Quinny needs monitoring and assistance (by me)- but then Crew needs a snack on the rack and Carter is running around like a typical two year old runs around...and I am a frazzled, sweaty, exhausted mess.
So I decided we just wouldn't go.

Yes, it is super good for Quinn's sensory system.
Yes, she loves it.
But I just can't.

As soon as I muttered those words to myself- the guilt set in, and the voices of those critical around me started to yell out my insecurities about not trying hard enough, not doing enough, not being enough.

And then BOOM!
Allowing those most critical to have a voice in which way I steer my ship, is beyond silly- what the hell was I thinking?

There literally are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I dream up, and even if there were enough hours, I would need to spend half of them feeling overwhelmed and exhausted!

One of my missions with this blog was/is to be honest about life.
How hard and messy, beautiful and miraculous, challenging and confusing life can be.
To encourage other women (and dudes) who feel not enough.

I was just forgetting to encourage myself.
Forgetting to feel enough.

Silly Jilly- working on this.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clean Eating: on a budget (breakfast)

Our kids are awake and starving by 5:30am most mornings.
So as I brew a good Mama cup o' coffee, I start breakfast.
Some ways we save money for the breakfast meal is by buying my grains in bulk (rice flour etc.) and by utilizing what is/was in season.
Every summer we go crazy picking berries (berries are SO much cheaper in season...and a lot more fab).
My mom and I are busy beavers with our berries from mid June until mid August:
Making Jelly (strawberry, raspberry, marionberry)
Syrup (marionberry)
Flash freezing (blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, huckleberries)

Most mornings include some form of summer berry in the breakfast.

We have a few go to's that are easy peasy, clean and fabulous.

GFCF Pancakes
We will eat these about 3 mornings a week. Sometimes with lemon and powder sugar, sometimes with blueberries and home made marionberry syrup, and occasionally topped with maple syrup (ALWAYS real maple syrup...where the only ingredient is "maple syrup").

1 cup GF AP flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup almond or rice milk
1 egg (I always make Carter's pancake first and put the egg in after hers is on the griddle).

Toast and Fruit
Another fave is simple toast and fruit. The toast is either GFCF bread I make or sometimes Udi's (oh do we love Udi's...just a bit spendy) and homemade jam on that toast.

Bobs Redmill Oatmeal with frozen blueberries and maple syrup for a sweetner. LOVE.

Veggie Scramble
Obviously since Carter is allergic to eggs, we don't have this often. But Jake Q and I loooove it.
I will just use whatever veg we have left over from the weeks dinners and lunches.

Baked Goods
GFCF scones or GFCF berry corn muffins are always a go to as well.

Those are our top Breakfasts.
By making/ baking/ cooking it all from scratch saves us a ton!
As does using berries from the summer.
We also avoid all preservatives.
The nutrient value is amplified.
And our bellies are always full...sometimes too full.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Challenge to Triumph

A few weeks back I posted some pics of my gorgeous craft/ catch-all room.
After the organizing began I realized how silly a craft room is right now- I either do crafts with the kids at the kitchen table, or at night on my living room floor while watching tv.
So what's the point of trying to keep up another space, when in reality it was just a glorified closet?

So we decided to turn it into our bedroom.

Clean Eating: on a budget (meat & eggs)

I am a bit ashamed that it took living gluten and casein free to get myself to face the other food yuckies we had in our pantry.
But as a wine ages nicely, so does this scallywhompis brain of mine- realizing that I might feel busy, but I'm never too busy to make the best choices for our wee ones (as often as I can).

It is important to note that with me staying at home, living off the income of one hard workin' Ranger, and feeding our children the food we feed them, is HARD! I work my tail off to turn the grocery, garden and farm finds into kid friendly foods. BUT it CAN be done.

It can be done even easier for those who coupon clip, or for those who look at weekly ads to find the best prices. I don't do any of that- and we still make it.

Some simple tips?
Eat in SEASON (as much as you can)
Buy meat in bulk and local
Steal eggs from your neighbor friends (or raise your own...)
Don't buy dairy products
Bake and make from scratch
Buy grains in BULK
Don't waste (one man's trash is another man's chicken stock)
GARDEN! Canning, freezing, preserving...make it your bestie.

For today, I think talking meat and eggs is the best jumping off point, as animal products can be really intense on the budget and our bodies.

I have no intent on getting all preachy about the environmental impact that the meat industry has on our planet. I won't mention that we, Americans, feed our cows...cows and our chickens get fed...other chickens. And of course the facts that 75% of the US' antibiotics get put into our animals for human consumption, will not be posted in this post.
Fact is...the TRUTH is- the meat and eggs we have to choose from in the grocery store is either FULL of nastiness or horribly expensive (we're talking $7-$10 a pound for free ranged ground beef).

Down the road from our house lives a farmer who raises grass fed, free ranged cows. Who get slaughtered on their farms with a single bullet shot to the head (the most humane way to kill a cow).
You pay the butcher $.50 a pound to cut, wrap and pack the meat.
You pay $2.10 a pound to the farmer for the meat itself.
That is $2.60 a pound for beautiful, healthy, clean meat.
My parents and I shared 1/2 a cow and that meat will last us an entire year.

With all of my baking, we go through eggs like cray cray around here. (I can't even imagine how many eggs we would eat if Carter wasn't allergic).
We've had chickens on and off, and this past weekend we went out and got our yearly chicks for $2 each. It takes a few months before they start laying- but once they do, you can expect around 1 egg a day per chicken (we have 4 chickens so we will get about 28 eggs per week.
In the store, a dozen free ranged chicken eggs will cost upwards $6 a dozen- it costs about $20 every month to feed the chickens at Farm de Snell. Doing the math:
We would spend around $48 a month on eggs- while raising them ourselves keeps the cost at half of that!

Chicken and Pig
We just don't eat pig.
And we have an order in (from another local farmer- cutest farmer I know) for free ranged, whole chickens for $3 a pound.

Here's the deal- I have never and will never be an all or nothing kid. I have not and will continue to not pass judgement on other's choices.
With the knowledge I have and the budget, lifestyle and values we live with- I just do the best I can, as often as I can.