Very Improvised Po’ Boy – 100 Must-Eat American Foods Challenge

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As you may know, I’m presently working my way through the 100 Must-Eat American foods and attempting to eat them all. I’m at 39/100 and the Po’ Boy is next on my list.

I do have to say that it is quite tricky making food that you really don’t know what it tastes like or is supposed to taste like. This version ended up very improvised, but I’m still glad I tried. This was also my first time really frying anything in oil, so that was a really new experience for me. I’ve been previously afraid to, but also I didn’t have the right kind of pan for it, but Nick recently got me a new pan for my upcoming birthday and it’s the perfect size. It was so much easier than I expected it to be. I followed this recipe from Simply Recipes and I used her hack to spread mustard on one side and mayo on the other instead of making the remoulade simply because I wasn’t sure how spicy it would turn out to be and I wasn’t sure if I could get Dominic to eat it if it was really spicy. I had some really awesome bread I was going to use with it, but then when I pulled it out it had gone bad past the point of no return. So I improvised and used hamburger buns instead because I had just fried all that shrimp, I was not about to let it go to waste!

Shrimp Frying Fried Shrimp Improvised Po' Boy

Verdict: It was a good sandwich! I had to improvise a lot so I think I only got a glimmer of what the real thing would be like, so it wasn’t 100 percent authentic, but it’s close enough for my goals of trying new things. And it was enough to say that I would try this in person given the chance. Allen had a deconstructed sandwich and loved it. Dominic did not like the original Po’ Boy sandwich I made, but then he ate one with just shrimp and mayo and he loved that.

Have you ever tried a Po’ Boy? What do you think of them? 

Easy Paint Palettes for Kids

So I know you can buy paint palettes for kids, but I thought, there has to be a different way to do it. I’m not sure that buying something just for that purpose is warranted.

So I started thinking about whether or not there was something I could reuse. And sometimes, I use small Tupperware containers, but if you have a lot of different colors, then you may have like six or seven containers to wash. And while we have a dishwasher, that takes up a lot of space.

Then one day it hit me. Lids! We eat a lot of sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, etc and those things come with lids! They are easily washed and they are the perfect size to put a few different colors of paint on, plus if they get wrecked or otherwise trashed (hasn’t happened yet), I can easily get rid of them without feeling guilty. Bonus, it can also be great for color mixing!

Reusing Lids as Paint Palettes

I’ve also used egg cartons in the past as well, though those are obviously not as easily or often washed, but they can have their time and place to be used. Plus, you can cut them into the different number of cups you need.

What creative things have you re-used? 

This post is linked up to Titus 2 Tuesday, Hip Homeschool Hop, and Laugh + Learn – Homeschool & Parenting Link Up

Choosing a Birth Center Birth

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After I had Allen, it came out that I had chosen to give birth to him in a free-standing birth center. It’s not like this was a secret or anything, but it really became more widely known after I posted pictures of his birth and shared the status about baby #72 from my birth center. Since then, I have been asked a lot of questions about why we chose this and what it’s like, so I’ve decided to write a post about our choice to choose an out of hospital birth with Player 4, aka Allen.

Why Have a Birth Center Birth?

This is probably the question that I am asked most often – why would you want to have an out of hospital/birth center birth? Maybe not in those exact words, but the sentiment is the same. I think this is primarily because people have a hard time imagining having a baby without pain meds, let alone not in the hospital because what if something goes wrong? We’ve turned pregnancy into this scary, major medical emergency. And while it is true that sometimes certain medical interventions are needed, there are also times when we intervene too much and create more problems than there needed to be in the first place.

As for myself personally, while I had Dominic in the hospital and it was a good experience, after my OB stopped practicing there I was wary. I wasn’t sure I would find another OB that I would mesh with and a new birth center had opened up and I decided to investigate. I fell in love with the center and found a midwife there who was a good fit for me. At the hospital with Dominic, I was at the mercy of whatever nurses and doctors happened to be on call. It went fine – for the most part – minus the nurse who banded me with the wrong ID band and treated me a bit like I was stupid – but I wanted more continuity in care this time. I wanted to know who would be delivering my baby. And I wanted a natural birth – I certainly knew that in the hospital a natural birth is possible, after all, I had one with Dominic. But I wanted to be somewhere that I knew was fully supportive of my goal of a natural birth, instead of somewhere where I would feel like I had to stick up for my right to have one. I wanted some place I could be 100 percent comfortable – with the place, with the people, with everyone.Nick with Allen as he has his newborn exam

My experience

Prenatal Care

Well, let’s start at the beginning, with prenatal care. As far as amount, I went the same amount to my OB/GYN as I did to my midwife – starting with appointments farther apart and then getting closer as my due date got closer. I had for the most part the same tests and everything – still screened for GBS, still screened for gestational diabetes, still had general blood work done, etc. I was able to go to the hospital and get an anatomy scan. I also had concurrent care with the midwives at the hospital. What’s more, on top of that, with my midwife at the birth center, I felt really listened to. I never felt rushed and I felt like she took the time to really get to know me and my family. Any care provider could, of course, do this, but with my experience with my OB/GYN, while she was fabulous, I only saw her a limited amount of time.

Insurance

This is the one thing everybody wants to know. Did you insurance cover it? How much did it cost? Honestly, it is hard to give a straight answer on this. It is so entirely dependent on your insurance. But I will say this, Allen’s birth is paid off. He’s done. We’re still paying off Dominic’s birth because I had crappy insurance at the time. But yes, some insurances will (and do) cover a birth center birth and it can even be financially more feasible than a hospital birth.

Birth Itself

When I had Dominic, I was at the mercy of whoever the on call doctor and nurses were. Like luckily, they were mostly good, but I had never met the on call OB/GYN before. And we had some great nurses, but we also had some awful nurses – like the one who put the wrong ID badge on me and kept badgering me with the same question over and over while I was in labor even after I told her “I don’t know” (the question? I have a drug allergy and she kept wanting to know what it was prescribed to me for – I was a kid, I don’t even remember having the reaction, let alone what it was for, but for some reason she found this question so vital that she kept asking me even after I told her I didn’t know). In contrast, at the birth center, I knew who would all be at my birth ahead of time, I was already comfortable with them, and they were always respectful and gentle with me. I’ve written both my birth stories, so if you want to read more, you are certainly welcome to read about Dominic’s birth at a hospital and Allen’s birth at a birth center. Oh, one other thing to add! Allen was still able to get all the newborn screenings, the blood test, the hearing test, and the pulse ox test (for heart problems – which was never even offered to me with Dominic at the hospital) and the vitamin K shot as well. Our pediatrician even commented that she loved how thorough Allen’s records were that our midwife sent over to her.  Me holding Allen shortly after bith

Is It Right for You?

What if something goes wrong?

Everyone has a different level of risk tolerance. I have low risk pregnancies and I interviewed my midwife and was confident in her credentials and confident in the fact that she would transfer me if necessary. If you are high risk, a birth center birth is most likely not right for you.

Would I recommend it?

I absolutely would. I definitely feel that I had excellent care at the birth center and that it is a great option if you are having a low risk pregnancy.

Have your birth your way

Ultimately, at the end of the day, you need to do what you are most comfortable with. If that’s a birth center birth or a home birth or a hospital birth. If that’s an epidural or no pain meds at all. Whatever it may be, the most important part is that you are comfortable with it and that you are able to find a care provider (OB/GYN or midwife) that you really feel has you and your baby’s health and safety as their top priority and who is respectful of you as well. A birth center birth may not be right for you, even though it was right for me, and that’s perfectly okay.

Allen with his special blanket the birth center made for him

Any more questions?

I tried to hit the questions that are asked most often of me after having a birth center birth, but if I missed anything or you have any burning questions that I didn’t answer, please feel free to ask me! Leave it in the comments and I will do my best to answer you :)

This post is linked up over at Mom 2 Mom Mondays, Motivational Monday, and Thoughtful Spot :) 

Perseverance

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Perseverance Quote Jeremy Abbott

Sometimes motherhood is hard. I make no secret of the fact that while motherhood is often rewarding and has it’s truly wonderful moments, it is also sometimes an exhausting struggle, especially when your kids are small and some days, it’s all you can do to just make it through the day or through the hour even.

But yet we persevere. We keep on keeping on. Sometimes, that’s all you can do. Sometimes, you don’t even know how you are doing it, but you are moving forward, you are taking care of them even when you’ve passed the point where you had energy to do so. Sometimes only by the grace of God. Because that’s love. And that love is moving you forward even when you don’t know how to carry on. You keep going through the rough days.

That’s why I picked this quote today. Jeremy Abbott is a figure skater and he’s done quite well for himself, but he’s never gotten that gold Olympic medal. But the medal is not all that it’s about. Sometimes it’s about keeping going when it would be easier to quit. And motherhood is often much like that. You will fail more often than you will like. You will lose your temper. You will do something you would rather not have. You won’t be able to be all and everything you would want to for your kids. You won’t be able to raise perfect kids. But you got to keep trying. You’ve got to find a way to keep moving forward. Oh I know sometimes it’s hard to keep moving forward when it seems like the same old thing every day – the same temper tantrums, the same dirty laundry, the same toys all over the floor – it seems like it never ends and it often seems pointless to do the things that will just be undone in a little while. But mom, persevere on. I know you can find the strength within you to carry on. Those little people are counting on you to do just that.

Do you ever find it hard to carry on? Where do you turn during those moments to help you keep going?  

Photo from salma.koueider on Flickr used under CC license, text added by me. 

Enjoy the Mess! ETHANProject Wrap Up

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Well, after my blog was down for several days, it is finally back up! (With a little help :) ) And so now I am finally going to be able to post the final ETHANProject challenge Enjoy the Mess and wrap up!

Enjoy the MessI have to admit I have a hard time sometimes just letting the kids make a mess. I mean, you wouldn’t know that by looking at my house, haha, but I hate dirty hands touching me! I don’t want to be sticky because you touched me with your syrup hands! But in honor of it being the final week, I decided to do a bunch of messy projects and we just had a blast! I am so glad that I was able to let myself go and enjoy the mess.

Enjoy the Mess!

In the top row, you have pictures of the zucchini bread we made together, because of course, I don’t know about you but I find cooking in general to be messy and then throw in the help of a 3-year-old and it gets even messier real quick. Then, in the middle picture, we played with some cloud dough (made using this recipe). The last picture in the top row is the sidewalk chalk paint we made! In the middle row, you have us finger painting, which as you can see started out relatively neat but then turned into full on hand panting. And the bottom row was sensory play with shaving cream – this was definitely Dominic’s favorite and kept him busy for almost half an hour! And then my kitchen smelled like shaving cream for the next 3 days also haha.

ETHANProject Enjoy the Mess

I can not say enough how glad I am to have been involved in the ETHANProject. I had just so, so much fun and I think the boys really did too. It definitely pushed us to make the most of our summer, but without putting a ton of pressure on us at the same time. And I know it certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone of doing the same old same old thing every day – a rut that is all too easy to fall into! I hope that you had a great summer too! Feel free to share your summer highlights in the comments!

Education is Important, School Is Optional

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I think almost everyone by now knows we are homeschooling. I’m not shy and it’s not a secret. I’ve received some flack for it, but whatever, I’ll just shake it off, T-Swift style 😉 but I wanted to say up front that this post is not intended to say anything negative about schools or teachers. I think there are a lot of awesome teachers out there who are really making a huge difference in the lives of so many kids. Rather, I wanted to get at an attitude that I see around me in society.

And that is that school = education, end of story. That the only place and way you can get an education is in a classroom, with a teacher, and that’s education.

But this idea is nothing but limiting. Don’t get me wrong, you can get a wonderful education in school. But it’s not the only place you can get an education. You can be homeschooled. You can be a self-taught learner. You can be a life long learner as an adult. You can be an unschooler. You can read. You can talk to people. You can observe. You can conduct experiments. You can ask questions. You can keep growing and enriching your mind – to infinity! Education doesn’t mean just facts, in my book, it’s also about learning about other people and yourself.

I believe strongly that everyone should be educated. That we should know how to think, read, write, do math, and how to find out the answers to our questions. I believe strongly that everyone should keep growing in our knowledge – that we should be striving to know and learn more, because that’s one of the ways we grow as people. But I no longer think that this has to happen in a school building. Look around you – there are opportunities to learn everywhere around you if you just open your eyes. School can be a part of that, but we don’t have to limit ourselves to just the school building. 

Talking about adults for a second, in 2014, 23% of adults hadn’t read a single book in the last year. Not one. That’s almost a quarter of the population. Books are not the only way to learn, but you’re missing out on so much knowledge and beauty when you fail to read.

I look around and I see so many ways that we could be a better society with education. I think the problem happens when we lose our love of learning and when we think education only happens in a school building. I hope that we can find a way to love learning again and that we can embrace a model of whole-life learning not just school-life learning.

Embrace the new. Read that article or book, talk to that person, try that new experience. It’s how we grow, it’s how we learn, and it’s how we keep moving forward.

This attitude and philosophy of mine does play a role in why we are homeschooling the kids. We like the ability we will have to individualize their education, to allow them to work at their own pace, and to allow them to learn from many sources, people, and places. While we don’t go as far as unschooling, I do believe that we can benefit from having our eyes open to the many ways around us that we can learn. I want my children to grow up and love learning and to realize that learning is all around them.

Education is Important, School is OptionalPhoto from Stockmonkeys.com, used under CC license. The text was added by myself.

Bookworm Gardens – Enjoy the DRIVE – ETHANProject

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I am SO excited to tell you about this week’s ETHANProject – Enjoy the DRIVE. We drove out to the wonderful Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan and you guys, it was so wonderful. I can not express how wonderful it was but I am definitely going to try. We went with our friend J and we just had an absolute blast.

Bookworm Gardens is this magical placed tucked on the campus of UW-Sheboygan. The garden is completely based on children’s literature – the plants have all been selected with care and there are different stories represented in so many ways. There are so many interactive elements to the garden and so many educational opportunities. And the whole garden is connected to books and they actually have copies of the books you can read there. The garden incorporates reading, science, nature, and most importantly fun! Admission is free, though donations are appreciated and when you see all the time and effort and care they put into this garden, you will definitely want to donate. The staff is also really great – we saw them planting pineberries while we were there and they were happy to answer our questions about what they were planting (apparently, they are strawberries that taste like pineapples – who knew?!)

I could go on and on, but let me just show you some pictures from our time there as an example.

Bookworm Gardens

They had a bus with wings and legs – that was the Magic School Bus – and Dominic absolutely loved pretending to drive it and opening and shutting the door. They had a little Winnie the Pooh house. They had a typewriter the kids could try out in a barn, like in the book Click Clack Moo. They had picture frames you could stand in. They had three chairs of varying sizes for Goldilocks and the Three Bears complete with bears made of sticks (my friend J took that picture). Not picture is Charlotte’s Web (it said some pig!) and a host of other amazing storybook connections. That Keep Calm and Read On is a towel I bought in the gift store

They also had sensitive plants, which are these plants that respond to touch. They were amazing and super cool – I took a short video.

It’s about an hour from Milwaukee and it is 100 percent worth the drive. On our drive we also saw some fun stuff, like a giant pig and a huge flag. On the way back, the kids slept, which is also always really nice haha. Not only does this fulfill this week’s ETHANProject, but it also can be crossed off my 101 in 1001 list!

We loved visiting the Bookworm Gardens so much that I am going to make this an annual trip every summer. If you love books even the tiniest bit, Bookworm Gardens is an amazing place to take your kids.

Happy Birthday, Neville Longbottom!

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As you may or may not know, Harry Potter was a seriously big part of my childhood growing up. The stories captured my imagination and made me a part of their world. And now, even as an adult, I still love Harry Potter and look forward to introducing these wonderful stories to my kids.

July 30th is Neville Longbottom’s birthday, if you don’t know that already. It’s why the prophecy could have been about him or about Harry, as Harry’s birthday is July 31st. Imagine what a different story it would have been if Neville was the main character. Pretty interesting idea.*

Like all of the characters in J. K. Rowling’s magical world, Neville is complex and fascinating. His back story, with his parents is tragic – maybe even more tragic than Harry’s. Harry at least was able to have the imagination of what his parents were like. Neville had to live with seeing his parents as empty shells, there but never really there. That’s heartbreaking, you know? I can’t even imagine. Both are horrible things, but it has to do something really awful to you to see your parents like that.

But despite that, he was still brave and strong and courageous – true to Gryffindor. He showed remarkable courage and bravery. It is incredibly difficult to stand up to your friends – you risk losing their friendship and it is indeed a scary thing. But he always wanted what was best for his friends and he worked hard to help them, even when it came at risk to himself.

So here’s to you Neville Longbottom – cheers! Happy birthday!

Neville Longbottom with the sword of Gryffindor

*I used to write fan fiction, but I never wrote about that, but I have to admit that now that I’m saying it, it’s an intriguing idea. It’s remarkable to me that people are still writing Harry Potter fan fiction after all this time.

Food Before One is Just For Fun . . . Or Is It?

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One of my most loathed internet phrases is “Food before one is just for fun.” I’m not really sure where this phrase got its start and I’m sure initial intentions were good, but it’s sort of taken on a life of its own. I think it’s intentions were to say – don’t stress about food! But instead people use it to mean things like food isn’t important and that it’s okay if you don’t offer it. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I suspect Mayim Bialik’s decision to nurse her kids exclusively for a year may have something to do with it as she has become quite the outspoken attachment parenting spokesperson in Hollywood and so much of celebrity culture trickles down even when you’re not paying attention. So today I want to do some myth busting. I’ll explore why it’s valuable and link to a bunch of resources as well.

Before we start, I just want to put it out there that I started both my boys at six months with baby led weaning. It’s been absolutely a blast for us and I’m so glad we did it. That being said, what I’m about to say applies to any complementary foods – baby led weaning or traditional weaning. Many of my sources promote a traditional weaning approach, so note that if you click on any links. (Some day I will do a post on baby led weaning). I’m also going to say up front that I’m probably going to mention breastfeeding a lot, not that I think this info doesn’t apply to formula fed babies, but because I feel like I have more often heard these things from breastfeeding mothers than from formula feeding mothers and because a lot of the food before one is just for fun argument rests on the assumption that breastmilk is a perfect food.

This is going to be a link heavy post, but if you want the tl;dr version (haha), food is important for babies after six months. There, we can all go home now (Just kidding).

Dominic enjoying some berries (or cherries)

Nutrients

Breastfeeding activists, in particular, like to point out what a perfect food breastmilk is. And it is an excellent food source – certainly I feel so as I breastfed Dominic to 20 months and am still breastfeeding Allen at 9 months. But that does not mean that solid foods aren’t important nutritionally.

Don’t just take my word for it. A lot of highly reputable organizations stress the importance of the introduction of complementary foods. The WHO, which promotes breastfeeding until 2 years minimum, still says, “After six months of age, however, it becomes increasingly difficult for breastfed infants to meet their nutrient needs from human milk alone (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). Furthermore, most infants are developmentally ready for other foods at about six months (Naylor and Morrow, 2001).” (Page 11) UNICEF echoes this “Adequate complementary feeding of children from 6 months onwards is particularly important for growth and development and the prevention of undernutrition.”

Iron is the nutrient most in question, followed by zinc. Insufficient iron, also known as anemia, can have serious consequences on development. From the AAP, “Exclusive breastfeeding for more than 6 months has been associated with increased risk of IDA [iron deficiency anemia] at 9 months of age.” (Page 5) This study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that effects of anemia in infancy can last to adulthood and can include developmental and motor delays. Iron is extremely important for cognitive development, I can not stress that enough.

Now one point that people like the argue with on this is that the iron in breastmilk is more bioavailable. That is most certainly true. But, being more bioavailable doesn’t make up for the fact that it is still a small amount. From the WHO, “Breast milk can make a substantial contribution to the total nutrient intake of children between 6 and 24 months of age, particularly for protein and many of the vitamins. However, breast milk is relatively low in several minerals such as iron and zinc, even after accounting for bioavailability. At 9-11 months of age, for example, the proportion of the Recommended Nutrient Intake that needs to be supplied by complementary foods is 97% for iron, 86% for zinc, 81% for phosphorus, 76% for magnesium, 73% for sodium and 72% for calcium (Dewey, 2001).” (Page 22) That means breastmilk isn’t providing all the iron they need and not even close to it. Science of Mom does a great job covering breastmilk and iron even more in-depth and I’ve linked to it below.

They also need the extra energy. Growing is hard work and babies certainly do a lot of it! If you look at where they go from newborn to a 1-year-old, you can just see the changes and growth that they go through. Better Health Channel, run by the government of Victoria in Australia, emphasizes this as one of their points. “It’s also important that starting solids is not left too late, as this may lead to problems including [p]oor growth due to low energy intake.” If you’ve ever had a day where you didn’t eat enough and you felt sluggish and tired, you know how hard that is to push through, especially at work. Now imagine being a baby, doing some of your most critical growing, and trying to do it when you are low in energy. It would be difficult to say the least. Solids can help provide the extra energy that they need.

Dominic eating

Motor Skills

Learning how to eat takes an entirely new skill set than taking a bottle or breast does. You need to learn to chew, to move the food around in your mouth, to figure out what size you need to make your food in order to swallow it, to learn how to pick the food up and move it to your mouth. Waiting too long may result in these motor skills being delayed. From the WHO again, “There is suggestive evidence of a ‘critical window’ for introducing ‘lumpy’ solid foods: if these are delayed beyond 10 months of age, it may increase the risk of feeding difficulties later on (Northstone et al., 2001).” (Page 20) Colorado State University says similar, “Introducing solid foods after 9 months may result in an infant who is resistant to trying solid foods, and may have difficulty chewing.” This post on speech and introduction of foods says, “A delay in introducing solids with different textures as your baby develops, can lead to a fussy infant unwilling to accept new tastes and textures, as well as a delay in chewing and muscle development, which can affect speech sounds later on.” I encourage you to check out that whole post as it covers which speech sounds are related to what mouth movements – that will help you really get an idea of why the introduction of solid foods strongly aids in the development of motor skills.

Allen enjoying scrambled eggs

Allergies

There is a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests that waiting too long to introduce potentially allergenic foods is more likely to cause allergies. There are a ton of studies out there to back this up – so I’m not going to link to all of them today. This is, in part, a separate topic, as the recommendations for many years were to wait on the top allergy causing foods and so there are still people who introduce foods at the appropriate time and yet still wait on the allergy foods, but I did want to bring up one study in particular that I thought was especially relevant. In this small study published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy the researchers found that exclusively breastfeeding past 9 months of age was associated with more atopic dermatitis and symptoms of food hypersensitivity in children whose family had a history of allergies. Now, granted, this is just one small study. But, I think it is helpful when you look at the broader context of the many studies that are finding withholding allergens causes food allergies, it makes this one study much more plausible. Food allergies are scary, scary things. They can have deadly consequences. Introducing these foods at 6 months + can be a step towards preventing them. It is a small, not crazy, totally doable thing.

Allen eating kiwi

Picky Eaters

I think we all want to avoid a picky eater. The internet is just full of moms on message boards worrying about their picky toddlers. Waiting too long can contribute to this problem. A pamphlet from the government of Western Australia says when you wait too long to introduce solid foods, “It becomes harder for your baby to accept new tastes and textures.” This somewhat ties back into motor skills, as there does seem to be a crucial period for developing lumpier foods. I think there is a window of opportunity where they are very open to new solid food experiences and that missing it can make introducing them to new things a lot harder. This is, of course, no guarantee, but there’s very little downside to introducing them to new foods, but the potential for a rejection of those new foods in waiting to introduce them.

Dominic enjoying some cantaloupe

This is what I know. At the end of the day, most mothers are trying to do what’s best for their child. They want solids to be fun and not stressful – and I don’t blame them! The internet is full of moms worrying about whether or not their kid can eat this or that, what order foods should be introduced in, whether or not there’s an ideal time of day to introduce foods, and a whole plethora of other questions. There are even well-meaning websites that promote charts of what order to introduce foods that are not based in any science but that have the power to 100 percent stress parents out. So what I’m saying in this post is not stress about food – that kind of attitude helps no one. What I am saying, however, is that food before one is very important, nutritionally, for the development of their motor skills, and for the potential prevention of allergies and picky eating habits. Knowing its importance, however, does not have to make it stressful. What is does do is enable you to make decisions taking into account that it is important. So here’s to doing away with the phrase “Food before one is just for fun.”

Allen eating green beans

Further Reading

101 in 1001: No Chocolate for 1 Week – Completed!

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I am happy to say that with a lot of will power and some stubbornness as well, I can cross eating no chocolate for one week off my list! Check out my day by day updates to the no chocolate challenge and then at the bottom I’ll wrap up my final thoughts.

Then on Day seven, I was sick. So that day of course it was very easy to eat no chocolate. Overall, this challenge was both harder and easier in some ways than others. I know it was just seven days, but I feel like I don’t crave chocolate quite as strong as I did before. It felt good though to have a goal to work towards – so I definitely think that can be a take away from this is to create goals for myself. I do that a lot with my blog I think – all my various challenges – but what you don’t realize is that when you are in school, all the goals are built in for you. Finish this paper, finish this class, finish this year. And I mean, I have long-term goals with my parenting and such – like to raise Jesus-loving capable awesome human beings, but those kinds of goals are hard to measure and quantify and they are very, very long-term and even somewhat out of my control. I think it is one of the struggles for me of being a SAHM is not necessarily having specific goals to keep working towards. I do think what this challenge tells me is that I am capable of making healthier choices when I want to, so that’s something I should keep in mind. Healthier and better for me is a choice and I am capable of making it.

No chocolate

Photo Credit: Kirti Poddar via Compfight cc Photo has been cropped and the no symbol imposed over the top by myself.

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