Search This Blog

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Thursday afternoon my boss' boss sent an email requesting to speak with me on the phone.  I told her what hours I was available on Friday and asked if I should be nervous.  I immediately starting running through the reasons she could want to talk to me.  For whatever reason, my initial thought was "what did I do?"  I couldn't come up with anything, and this company is really good about not blind siding people with bad news.  You get a couple bad reviews, then a warning, and if you're being let go, you have to know it's coming (or are choosing to ignore the signs).  She said not to be nervous (as if that were possible) and we set up a time.  I tried to stay busy Friday morning until the phone rang.  She started by asking if I liked my boss.  I said yeah, things were good.  Then she mentioned that she knows I've shown interest in a promotion and wanted to know if I'd like to start next week.  I was definitely shocked by the immediacy of this, despite hoping for the promotion for a while.  I was figuring my current boss would get a full time job and then I could have her job.  But I'm going to be getting my own team of mentors sometime this coming week.  Starting out small (4), in addition to the 71 tutors I have, but will shift to fewer tutors and more mentors over time.  I'm excited, but at the same time a little scared.  It will all take some getting used to.  But in the long run, hopefully this means fewer hours I need to work and more flexibility.

Still hoping Jon can get a new job for next year though.

Today was another weigh-in day and I'm down another pound.  I have now lost 9lbs since starting all of this.  I tried to run today and struggled again.  The hills certainly don't help, but my body is just not cooperating.  Will be doing crossfit some more this week and hopefully over time running will be more enjoyable.  I did cut over 2 minutes off my time, but everything seems to hurt.  I continue to be totally exhausted lately and we have no idea why.  Saw my doctor this past week and my lung function is improving, will recheck again in a month.  I really hope that we can figure out what in the world is going on with my body.  The exhaustion and dizziness combination is really getting to me!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Odd Behaviors

So Carolyn has been acting, well, different lately.  She's been saying please and thank you less, talking back more, started telling lies, and just generally not acting nice.  We've tried talking to her about it, tried ignoring it, and yesterday we left the park early when she started stomping her feet (I forget what it was about).  She complains about being tired all the time, despite an early bed time (7:30/45) and taking nearly daily naps.  She continues to eat fairly voraciously, asking for multiple helpings of meat loaf tonight and finishing her green beans and having some of her potatoes for dinner.  She continues to devour books, always asking to be read to, and draws on the easel and wants to do her "preschool" worksheets.  Everything she does she excels at, yet her behavior lately has been ugly.  She has even been having a little trouble in gymnastics and soccer as of late.  The only thing that I see that could be a sign of a health issue is her bedwetting.  She'll be 4 in about 2 weeks and she needs a diaper for sleeping.  When she falls asleep in the car she wakes up soaked.  And multiple times a week she's waking up with wet sheets, despite wearing a diaper.  So what's going on here?  Are these 2 things linked?  If anyone has any ideas, I'm interested in hearing them.  Definitely plan to talk with her pediatrician when we go for her 4 year old appointment in a couple weeks.  Saw a glimpse of the old her tonight during dinner and our walk.  But this is all puzzling.

Made a great dinner tonight that had the kids asking for more.  It's a great feeling as a mom to cook a healthy meal and have your 1 and 3 year old children asking for more meatloaf and green beans.  Neither of them ate much of the mashed potatoes (with butter, garlic, and salt), but that's okay by me.  They each had 3 helpings of meatloaf, which I made with almond flour instead of bread crumbs and omitted the worchestershire sauce after seeing "modified food starch" and "wheat" on the label.  Even Jon said it tasted just like normal.  I put some coconut oil on the green beans and couldn't taste it at all.  Will probably start pulling things out for Jon before doing things like that though, as he didn't like it.  But overall a great dinner that will be repeated again, possibly even within the next week or so.  Could become a regular meal if we can continue to find the ground beef and ground pork so cheap at Joseph's.

0.5lb ground beef
0.5lb ground pork
1 egg beaten
almond flour
1/4 tsp garlic salt, ground mustard, pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Combine ingredients and shape into loaf.  Cover with ketchup.  Place in baking dish and cook for 1 hour at 350. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Unschooling - Gardening

We've been enjoying a fun week as a family.  Monday we relaxed at home, Jon played with the kids while I tutored in the morning.  Yesterday the kids had gymnastics in the morning, I went to the doctor, and then we all went out to dinner at Red Lobster.  At things that I probably shouldn't have, but I figure every once in a while isn't going to kill me.  I get no side effects from eating wheat either.  This morning we went to the library and then the park.  This afternoon we broke ground on our garden.  Looking at the weather forecast, I think on Sunday we will spend some time splitting off the doubles/triples from the indoor seeds and try planting those.  Won't be too upset if they don't make it.  Likely start everything else the end of April.  Feels great to start the garden though!

Tried a new recipe for dinner tonight, from the Wheat Belly book.  It turned out okay, but the kids weren't big fans.
Three Cheese Eggplant Bake
1 eggplant, cut crosswise into ½” thick slices
1/2C olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4T sun-dried tomatoes
4-6C spinach leaves
2 tomatoes, wedges
2C tomato sauce
1C Ricotta cheese
1C shred mozzarella cheese
1/2C grated parmesan
4-5 basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven 325.  Place the eggplant slices in a baking pan.  Brush both sides of the slices with most of the oil, reserving about 2T.  Bake for 20min.  Heat remaining 2T of oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach and cook until onion softens.  Scatter tomato wedges over eggplant.  Spread spinach mixture on top.  Top spinach with tomato sauce.  Mix together ricotta and mozzarella.  Spread cheese mixture over tomato sauce and sprinkle basil.  Sprinkle parmesan on top.  Bake uncovered until bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 min.

Probably won't make it again, but got me thinking about using eggplant to make a dish similar to lasagna.  Might have to give it a shot sometime.  Thinking it might work if I cut the peel away and use the insides as a noodle layer.  Perhaps I will try it with some of the eggplants we grow.

Picked up some more homeschooling books today and got a chance to start one on Unschooling.  So far I feel like it's the way we already live.  I try to take advantage of any time my kids ask questions.  Carolyn has been loving counting the newly opened flowers every morning.  We found lots of worms in the graden area today as we were digging, so we looked up why worms are good for the soil.  The village is about to do some work on a sewer drain near the big pond at our neighborhood entrance, so we talked about drains and sewers while on our walk this afternoon.  So many easy ways to teach our kids, without even really thinking about it.  Some days (like today) I wish that I could get Jon on board with homeschooling.  I really do think that both of our kids could thrive at home.  But he's already firmly stated he's against it.  So I have the next year to work with Carolyn, and then hopefully we can continue to keep her interested in learning through unschooling at home even after she starts school.  The next few years are going to be interesting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mom would have been 64 years young yesterday.  Hard to believe she's be gone for 6.5 years.  But so much has happened since I lost her and I know she's smiling down upon me.  I took the kids to the library, since she loved to encourage learning.  And then we spent some time at the park, because she would have loved to go with us.  I also made ice cream for us and then we went on a family walk.  I was going to write last night, but was physically and emotionally exhausted after finishing tutoring at 8:30.  I still still think about my mom every day.  I wonder if it will ever get easier, but I suspect it won't.  My kids are a constant reminder of what I don't get to share with my mom.  But at least I know she's watching over us and she'd be thrilled with the attention we give our kids and the healthy track I'm trying to set us up for.

I bought an ice cream maker for under $10 on Tuesday.  I've tried it 3 times and it's gotten a little better each time, but I think we'll stick with going to Dairy Queen for a special treat and I'll make popsicles for better frozen at home treats.  I'll probably still try to make ice cream now and then, but it's not standing up to what I was hoping for, even with actual sugar in it.

I worked on the first unit for Carolyn's preschool tonight as well.  Since we've already kind of been doing plants and we're doing a garden this summer, it seems like the perfect place to start.  So we'll look at flowers and plants.  I found some handwriting worksheets that go along nicely, which she'll love.  Some art projects which we'll all do together.  Picked out some books to pick up from the library.    And some math activities to work on counting and sorting.  I'm excited to start this with her, I think she's going to love it.  I only came up with 5 days worth of activities.  So I think I may need to rethink the whole "1 month per subject" idea.  Rather just pick topics, then see how many days worth I can spread it out.  I do think that animals for June and the olympics for July might actually take up a whole month.  I'm excited to turn our activities in daily life into preschool lessons for Carolyn.  I also found today some progressional evaluation pages.  This will help me to see what I should be pushing her towards each step of the way.  Looking forward to help her learn as we go along.

I discovered today that James know 4 shapes already - he identified square, triangle, circle, and star drawn on the driveway today.  And he likes to mimic the counting I do with Carolyn.  We've been counting the flowers each morning as new ones bloom so he'll point and say a number.  So amazing to see him developing so fast before my eyes.  I can't believe he's not even 2 at times!  But then when he climbs into my lap and asks and signs "more", I'm reminded how little he is.  I'm treasuring getting to sing "my baby boy" to him each night before bed.  I love how snuggly both kids are.

Looking forward to spring break as a family next week!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crepes, Compost, and Homeschooling

In our effort to eat more healthy, we are going to be planting a bunch of vegetables this summer.  Once it's planting season, we might see about getting a strawberry plant as well.  To help with this, we decided to make out compost bin and rain barrell.  These often run $80-100 each, which is really out of our budget.  But with some searching online, I discovered you can make both with a garbage can.  So Jon picked up 2 garbage cans for <$7 each.  He picked up some bungee chords today and we made the composter.

Garbage can with lid
Drill - 1/4-1/2" bit (we used 1/4")
2 bricks (still need to grab these)

Drill holes up, down, and around the garbage can.  Be sure to put some in the top to allow rain water in and the bottom for drainage.  Put compost into garbage can (we gathered sticks and leaves from our gardens for the "brown" material, will use food scraps for the "green"), add a little dirt.  Add water to wet mixture enough so it is damp, but not overly wet.  Secure lid with bungee chords, then roll around on ground to mix everything up.  Secure to something sturdy so it doesn't blow away.  We will add food scraps as we go and roll daily for a little while, less often once it really gets going.  I'm exciting to use this on our garden rather than store bought compost!

I also made a new recipe for breakfast this morning, crepes.  It's a recipe I found online, but really not a recipe at all.  Regular crepes are made with flour, but these are just eggs.  1 egg, 1T water, a little salt.  I used 4 eggs, 4T water, some cream, and some cinnamon.  They were good, but definitely very eggy.  I might try adding in some almond flour or flax meal next time.  I made homemade whip cream and we filled them with strawberries, dusted with cocoa powder.  Will definitely skip the cocoa powder next time.  It was a nice change from usual though.  The only breakfast thing I still need to figure out how to make is french toast.  Need to find a good bread recipe first though.

Off the food topic a little bit, I've been thinking more about homeschooling lately.  Carolyn has such an awesome attitude when it comes to learning and she's ready to go.  I am going to start putting units together so we can work on things that go together rather than just bits and pieces here and there.  We will start looking at plants tomorrow.  A part of me wonders though, if we do a lot over this next 1.5 years, that's she's going to bored in Kindergarten.  Let's be honest, she already knows all her letters and their sounds, and is starting to sound out words and has some sightwords.  She can legibly write all of her letters as well, including her name.  She is doing basic math as well, starting by using her fingers to add.  She can count up to 20 unprompted.  Her language is spectacular for a 3 year old.  On top of all of that, she's inquisitive and wants to know about everything.  And then she's strong - can almost do a full push-up already!  I don't feel like we've really "taught" her any of this either.  We're going to take advantage of her desire to learn before she starts school.  But with the emphasis on testing in our schools these days, I really ponder keeping her home.  If it wasn't for the social aspect, I think I would do just that.  Well, and I don't think Jon would be real excited about the idea either.  We'll see how life develops in the next year though!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St Patrick's Day!

So I'm not Irish, but with a last name of Mahoney, my kids certainly are!  The light blue eyes and blonde hair make them look the part too.  So yesterday we made some cupcakes with green frosting.  I was also trying out a recipe to use for Carolyn's party.  It turned out quite well.  The cake was maybe a tad dry, so I might add a little more coconut oil next time.  Will need to increase the recipe, multiply 3-4 times to get enough for her playdate and then her actual party.  But both kids ate their whole cupcake, which is quite rare.  So I think the recipe is a keeper.  I did sweeten to taste, starting with a big squeeze of honey, then two more.  Each of these squeezes I've found to be about 1T.  It still didn't taste quite right to me, so I added regular sugar, 2t at a time, for a total of 6.  I figure 3T of honey and 6t of sugar is likely a lot less than a typical recipe.  But sweet enough to please everyone.  I made a cream cheese frosting to go on top, but I think I will do regular frosting for Carolyn's birthday so I know I can get it the right consistency to decorate with.

Last night I was still craving sugar, as I have been for a while.  So on the advice of someone on the Wheat Belly facebook page, I made some sugar free chocolate.  I was a little skeptical because I've only ever like milk chocolate.  But I gave it a try anyway.  It was awesome!  So rich, in fact, I almost couldn't eat all of it.  I'm thinking about having this once a week.  Sugar free and onley 2-3g net carbs, mostly due to the almonds!

1T coconut oil
1T butter
1T unsweetened cocoa powder
optional - 10-12 almonds
optional - coconut flakes

We are celebrating tonight by joining the in-laws at Hackney's.  The kids are super excited about it.

I have also lost another 0.5lbs, showing me numbers I can't remember the last time it was I saw them on the scale.  Down 8lbs overall.  Hoping that if James ever decides to be done nursing my weight loss will accelerate.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring is in the air!

We have had some wonderfully nice weather this week.  It has been awesome to get the kids outside and we've gone on a nightly walk after dinner.  Led to some great sleep for both kids last night as well as solid naps today.  I'm looking forward to not needing to work tomorrow afternoon so we can head to the park and maybe just take a walk after naps.

Monday was "U" day, a difficult letter for cooking.  We ended up making upside down pizza.  We used the cheese and cream cheese crust.  I baked that, we let it cool for a while.  Then I cooked the sausage while Carolyn cut the mushrooms.  I took the crust out of the dish and put sauce down, James helped poor and spread with a spoon.  Then I sprinkled on the cheese, and the kids put the sausage and mushrooms on top.  Then I put the crust on top of that and baked again for about 20 minutes at 375.  Let cool for 10 minutes and had a wonderful lunch.  Ate the leftovers for lunch today.

Nothing new for dinners lately, had grilled porkchops and hot dogs with veggies on Sunday.  The kids and Jon has quinoa with that.  Did turkey soup last night from last week's turkey bones.  And tonight with did the Irish corned beef and cabbage with red potatoes in the crockpot.  Everyone is eating well and I think the fresh air has something to do with it.  I'm itching to get out garden going!

Both kids are learning amazing things every day.  Carolyn is starting to sound out written words and she won't be 4 for another month!  James is following directions better and beginning to ride a bike.  I love spending time with these kids lately and watching them grow while letting them choose what to learn each day.  I am going to start putting together some preschool lessons to start working on so we can do science, reading/writing, numbers, and history/maps.  I figure if I let her pick which topic she wants to work on, she could learn some really cool things between now and kindergarten.  And James will probably pick up a lot along the way too.  Such sponges at these ages!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


So let me digress from food discussions for a little bit as I can't get off my mind what I witnessed today.  Carolyn takes a soccer class for 3-4yo's run by a soccer club.  Right now we're inside since it's March.  There are 4 other siblings, 2 year olds, that come with parents/nannies.  Typically, James plays with a 2yo boy or wanders the building with me.  They get along great (except when they both want the nanny's iphone).  He wasn't there today, so James tried to play with 2 of the other girls.  In past weeks I have seen them cornering him and yelling at him (yes, I swoop him and tell the girls that's enough).  Never once has either mother disciplined the girls because they pay NO attention to them.  Today they crossed the line though as one of them was pushing James repeatedly.  It first happened less than 2 feet from the mom, but NO response.  I told her to stop.  Later she screamed at James to move (his frightened face was so sad).  The girl had been doing something else and noticed James was sitting where she previously was.  This time I said "That's enough" louder and the mom heard me.  She had her apologize, rhen went on with her conversation, paying no attention to future actions.  James was pushed down again later on and the mom's response was "were they all just playing?"  Umm, if you had been watching or even occasionally looking, you would know that the only one your daughter touched was my son (who is several inches shorter and months younger).  And even if they were "just playing", pushing another child down onto a concrete floor is unacceptable.  I hate to imagine what this little girl will be like in her teens since the mom clearly couldn't care less.  I am glad there's only 1 more indoor class left.

Onto Lunch...
I have been eating Romaine lettuce "tacos"/wraps for lunch for a while.  Each child inevitably asks for a bite, then spits it out.  Today after asking for a bite, and then another, I made each child his/her own and they proceeded to gobbles them up!  I couldn't be more impressed with my 21 month old and almost 4yo eating romaine lettuce topped with turkey (leftover from Sunday, not lunch meat), avocado, tomatoes, and a little mustard. 
My only conclusion is that constant exposure to healthy foods and a willingness to allow a bite here and there off your own plate can get a toddler/preschooler to consider a wide variety of foods.  Taking them to the store so they can throw the veggies into the bag probably helps too.  Anyone else have kids that eat this well?  What do you think the secret is?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pizza Night!

Tried another new recipe for pizza crust tonight.  Definitely my favorite so far.  Topped with jarred sauce, mozarella cheese, mushrooms, and sausage.  2 pieces and I was quite full.  James wanted seconds and Carolyn ate hers up.  Then they had some grapes for dessert.  Looking forward to a big turkey tomorrow, since it was on sale at Meijer this week.  We have some fresh green beans too.

Pizza Crust #3
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp pizza seasoning (I used Italian seasoning & more than 1/2 tsp)
8 ounces (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 glass baking dish (metal does not work well; crust will stick) and line with parchment paper.

For crust, in medium bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Whisk in eggs until mixture is well-blended and smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Stir in mozzarella until completely moistened. Spread mixture evenly over parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until evenly browned, but not too dark. Let cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. When slightly cool, I “cheat” and lift the crust using the parchment paper and place all in the freezer for about 30 minutes until completely cooled. If you have plenty of time, you can cool the crust on the counter and then leave in the refrigerator for several hours uncovered. The goal is for the crust to dry out enough that it will be crispy/chewy and you can pick up with your hands.

I also made wheat free cookies for the first time.  They turned out okay, not anything spectacular.  We did leave out the coconut since I'm not a huge fan.  Although I haven't been real big on cookies in a while.  What I really would like to do is find a yummy brownie recipe.  Haven't even looked for that yet, perhaps will tonight.  The kids loved the cookies though, so I will probably make them again.  The plan for the next sweet though is cupcakes for St Patrick's Day.  I want to see if I can come up with a recipe that will work for Carolyn's birthday.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

More progress!

Weighed in again and I'm down another 1.5lbs.  This includes eating cake at my grandma's party last weekend and some candy this week.  Finally something that agrees with my body!  I'm not hungry all the time, nor do I have to count calories.  This is definitely something I keep up for the long term because it's SO easy.  I'm down 7lbs in 6 weeks, sitting at 187.4lbs right now.  I can see the 170's coming this summer.  Might just fit back into all of my pants by then.  It would be wonderful.  Won't take measurements for another week, but I'm excited to see where the weight is coming off, definitely somewhat from my stomach.  When I've lost 10% of my original weight, I'm going to go buy at least one new outfit.  If I keep up with this average, I'll be there by mid-May!  That would be a wonderful Mother's Day present.

Had a wonderful breakfast this morning and have found a new go to waffle recipe.  I did use heavy whipping cream in place of the honey.  Doubled the recipe so we could have some leftovers.  Topped them with strawberries, a little syrup, and sausage on the side.  Who ever said giving up wheat would be boring?  Not in this house!