Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I Have Learned: Picky Eaters

No, I am NOT an expert.
BUT - I can tell you what I have learned
as the mom of 4 kids...
What works 
what doesn't work...
for our family!

Yes, we are all different.
BUT - 
I am hoping that some of my
trials and tribulations
might help encourage 
others as they
continue along this
journey of motherhood

Picky Eaters

First and foremost,
I have been BLESSED with 
relatively good eaters...
they were not 
born this way 
and that what we did as parents
at least a little to do with it.

All 4 of mine were nursed until they quit.
R was 10 1/2 months
J was about 9 months
A was 11 1/2 months 
T was 14 months.

We started ALL of them on the typical rice cereal.
In my opinion,
this is not necessary,
you can start with food instead.

I have always been VERY picky about what they eat.
And I wanted to give them what I considered was the
"best" start.

So I researched,
just like we do everything else.
I saw a suggestion that had you feeding 
sweet potatoes as their "first food".
Because it was a happy medium between 
veggies and fruit.
It is a sweet veggie...
Hmmm...well that is an interesting idea.

So we did
with all 4.

Then we moved on to other veggies
and then finally to the fruits.

I honestly feel that because of this,
all of mine have been good veggie eaters.

Once they were passed the "stage 1" stage,
I started making my own baby food.
However, there were certain ones I only did once!

Peas:  because I was not about to strain them each time
to get rid of the skins
Green Beans:  I could never get them strained enough either
Bananas:  I was concerned about browning,
but totally could have done these too.

Which ones I did do:

Butternut squash
Sweet Potatoes

And a couple of others, but that's all I can come up 
with right now.

Then later on (around 10 months of age or so)
I started turning these items into foods that 
they could pick up and self feed.

So be aware of what kind of "tastes" you are starting them with.

Fast forward 7 years or so
and I am faced with my first
"picky eater".

She came into this world at 8 lbs 1 oz
but didn't gain back to her birth weight at 
her 2 week check up,
so the insistence by all around me began
to put her on forumla!

Finally I had one doctor who took the time
to talk to me and look at her chart and say
"well, she is just a light weight"
as opposed to my two 95% bruiser boys
that had come before her.

So we powered on.
Then 2 weeks before she turned 1
she bit me...
I thumped her on the chin
she went COLD TURKEY!

I should have known then 
that I was in TROUBLE!

She was still a pretty decent eater.
Never gained a lot
She is 30 lbs at 3 1/2
her baby brother weighs almost as much as she does.

And at the age of 3
the food battles began!

I had never experienced such a thing,
so it was foreign to me.

I asked the doctor we were seeing at the time,
he suggested that I speak to a woman
who specializes in 
dealing with picky eaters.

She had a lot of great advise,
some we were already doing,
some I was not willing to implement
some we did implement!

What we already did:
* Eat as a family!
*Offer healthy options for dinner.
* Be creative and don't get stuck in a "dinner rut".
*Offer a variety of foods.
*Don't dangle dessert as a reward for eating dinner
(ok with us, we rarely have dessert anyways)

Some of her other suggestions:

Eat family style
we kinda already did this, by putting all the food on the table

Allow then to serve themselves
we were doing what every parent does
and serving our kids before we served ourselves.
she suggested that we let them serve their own plates.
What?  You want me to let my 3 yo serve her own plate??
Yes!  Since you already have healthy, acceptable options on the table, why not?
She wasn't as concerned about a balanced diet.
What she was concerned about was allowing them 
SOME control.
Think about it...
as children,
WHAT do they have control over in their little lives?
What goes into and comes out of their bodies...
that is it!
Other than that, we as parents basically control
every other aspect of their little lives.
So let them have this control.
Let them control what goes into their little bodies...
if you are offering healthy options,
why not?

Well, for me, I didn't want my daughter thinking that 
eating just noodles or rice for dinner was ok.
I insisted on getting that proverbial
"veggie" in.
Along this same lines she said 
DON'T serve your picky eater.
Serve yourself first.
Then allow her to see you eat
and tell you what she would like.
Hmmmm....ok, I can do that.

Ya know what - it worked!!!
Now we ask her what she wants
and allow her to have some say.
Well, letting her *think* she has some say...

(I actually suggested this to a friend
and she quickly reported back that it was working
for their family too!)

Don't force them to eat.
Really?  So just let them be hungry?
Yes!  Allow them to understand what "that" feeling is.
Hmmmm...not so sure about this one.
But we do let them know that
"This is their dinner, they can eat it or not, it is 
their choice, but they WILL be hungry
and there WILL be no snacks after dinner"
This works really well for the older kids
But you have to mean it too!
No empty threats!!!

Allow them to go to bed hungry
Excuse me? You want me to allow my already tiny
3 yo to go to bed hungry?
Don't force her to eat her dinner and allow her 
to go to bed hungry?
Again - not so sure about this one.
We accidentally did it ONE night.
She was being unusually difficult
at dinner one night.
So instead of forcing her to eat
instead of allowing her to sit at the 
table and cry and make the rest of us miserable
I sent her to her room until she quit crying
and was ready to join us with a happy face at the dinner table.

About 15 minutes later,
I decided to go check on her...
she was OUT COLD!
I did NOT wake her to force feed her.
No way man!

So yes, we did send her to bed one night hungry,
She has been sent to her room since then 
for the same reason,
but she hasn't made it past the bottom step
before she was drying her tears
and joining us back at the dinner table
(but its been a while since this has happened now).

Set & Stick to Meal/Snack Times
don't allow in between snacking
it will
wait for it...
yep, just like your mom
your grandma
your great grandma said...


They will no longer be hungry and will choose not to eat.
Then 10 minutes after dinner is over,
they are hungry.
And in order not to create a BIG problem,
you don't feed them.
because dinner is over!
And they go to bed hungry
(which is ultimately your fault, cause
you gave them a snack WHILE you were cooking dinner
just to hush them up)
But if you gave them a snack,
while you were cooking dinner,
you would probably give them a snack
after dinner
you wouldn't be fixing the picky eater
you would be ENABLING it!
So don't...

But - at the same time,
you know your kid better than anyone.

So if there is a bigger issue - 
see a doctor.

I talked to one mom whose child
was mildly special needs
and he would not eat if she didn't insist!
At the age of 8,
he had never informed her that he was actually

So good luck.

Provide healthy foods
(McD's hamburgers and chicken nuggets

What if they don't eat veggies or fruits?
Well, if that is all they are offered...
they will eventually eat it!
Remove the chicken nuggets & hamburgers.
Provide lean meats,
roasted veggies,

They will surprise you!

Our favorite veggies in this house:
roasted green beans (recipe below)
salad (mixed field greens, spinach & iceberg)
roasted broccoli & cauliflower
ANY and ALL fruit

Our Favorite Roasted Green Beans
whole green beans (fresh or frozen)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425°.
Pour whole green beans onto cookie sheet.
Drizzle lightly (don't drench) with olive oil 
sprinkle with thyme, salt & pepper
Mix to coat beans evenly.
Then spread beans out in a single layer on cookie sheet.
Bake for about 15 min turning about ever 5 minutes.
Keep an eye on them,
they should be starting to brown and crisp up a bit.
If they appear to be "steamed" beans,
they aren't done...
keep cooking and checking.
Also follow your nose.  
You should start to smell them 
when they are getting close to being done.

We have done asparagus, brussel sprouts, 
cauliflower & broccoli all like this 
and they are ALL a hit.

The baby devours these beans!!

Let me know what you think!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Life has gotten way too complicated
way too busy!

I don't feel like I have time to do
because I am too busy trying to do
gets done well!

So I am trying to take a step back
and simplify.

(thanks to a kick in the pants by
 my baby sis over at
live to love)

We started a chore chart
have implemented a few
in this house.

The chore chart is simple
and hanging on our fridge.

We are not implementing a reward system
for chores at this time...
I am not too keen on the
"paying them for doing things that NEED doing"
type of person.

If I pay them to make their bed
clean up after themselves...
will I wind up paying them to
do their school work next?

I think not.

So for now,
we are trying to work on the
"I am happy to live in a clean home
be apart of this family"
reason for doing chores.
And just because
has to do them.

We spent a lot of time
purging the garage
and going through
more stuff we shipped out here
that I didn't have a chance to go
through before we moved.

We are finally getting rid of
the stroller/carseat set
that EACH of my kids
were brought home in...

I am ok now,
let's see how I am when I see it being
loaded up and taken away!

I have also spent a bit of time in thought
as to
"what I want this blog to be".

I got really excited at all the
neat products that some of these other
bloggers get to review!

I was so excited and thought
"I can do that!!"

So I have been working on it for a couple of months.

Then after the little episode with
that "other" blog...

I have really just taken a step back
to figure out what I wanted.

I am going to keep it as simple as possible...

I don't want my blog to turn into
something I have to do...
I want it to be something I want to do!

I am also trying to find a little bit more time for me.

I have no idea where I am going to find that time...
or figure out what to do with it
but I am gonna try!

I will keep you posted on what I find to do with
my "me" time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Science Class - The Eye

Sometimes I really surprise myself...
we are getting the hang of somewhat
of a schedule around here.
Sort of...

We are doing well with a few subjects
others are lacking.

R is doing well with
reading & comp

J is doing well with

We haven't worked religion into
J's workload yet...

Science and History and Geography...
we do when I work them in.

We started reading out of 3rd grade
science book we have.

I decided to teach both boys science at the same time.
They will each get something out of it.
Theoretically, R will get more out of it than J will,
but, they should both get SOMETHING out of it.

We started reading about senses,
sense organs,

Then we moved into the sense organs.
Eyes being first...

We were reading about a few parts of the eye:

And the book was describing the purpose of the 
iris is not only just for color,
but to control the light entering the pupil.

So I thought about ways to help show 
the boys about this concept.

So out came the flashlight...
And explicit instructions that this is NOT
a game...
just instructional time with mommy.

But first I had them check out 
each other's irises
eye color.

 I let the boys shine the flashlight
briefly in my eyes 
then move it
to watch the irises/pupils
change size...

(check out the big ole finger in this pic) 

 Then we used their little sister's 
Hello Kitty hand held compact mirror
to look at their eyes
and draw and label it!

I was impressed with J's ability to keep up with this.
He did VERY well,
and he labeled the parts well too!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tot School

I have been trying to come up with new
manipulatives for the littles.

I love all the neat stuff out there,
but can't bring myself to spend the money.

So I am trying to get creative,
using stuff we have already...

I came up with an idea
Mr. T
Ms. Priss 
both LOVE!!

Can you tell what this is??

A parmesan cheese shaker container
various sized plastic lids
(juice, milk, water, etc)

They LOVE this!!

Mr. T loves putting the lids in the container.
Ms. Priss loves sorting them.

They shock me how often they both 
go to get this "toy"
out of their "school" bin!

Cost:  $0

I need some more ideas for my littles,
to keep them busy
while I am working with the 
older kids.

How do you entertain your littles
while you are schooling the older ones?

Monday, August 13, 2012


What have we been up to?
Where have we been lately?

Going CRAZY!!
You guys have been neglected
for that
I am sorry!

So be prepared for some updates
coming your way!!


A few weeks ago,
we hoofed it across town to a new library
that had been highly recommended.
We happened to go on their 
"End of Summer Book Celebration"
party day.

So the kids got to go around and make some 
crafts to go with some of the books 
the library staff had chosen.

We made some 

But Mr. T refused to put them on,
so this is as close as I could get.

This tree is out behind the library...
The boys are in or under that tree somewhere.

We didn't come home with any books.
I was disappointed,
but I think I need to take them
All 4 of them at the library at once,
forget it!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why Do We Homeschool???

There is really not just one answer to this one.

It has stemmed from quite a few things
over quite a few years...

5 years ago,
when taking my oldest to his 3 yo preschool
I met a mom who homeschooled.
My comment:
"Oh I could never do that!"

Fast forward a few years,
life happened
and we had pulled R out of preschool.
So instead of going to 4 yo preschool class
he was at home with me.

The hubs and I started to talk about it.
And ultimately,
we knew he would get a better education
(what kid would not thrive with a private tutor?)
we wanted our values and our family
to be his main influences...
not his peers at school.

We had already discovered that
we weren't like most other parents
our age
with kids our kids ages.

We were a little more 
"old fashioned".

So we were getting geared up to homeschool 
him for Kindergarten.

life happened...
and off to school he went!

I squashed the homeschooling thought.
And we sent his brother to school 
with him 2 years later.

If it ain't broke...
don't fix it.

He was fine,
they were fine.

Then we decided to make the move out here to 

And when my sister and mom took the kids for
ice cream while I packed,
my sister asked if my oldest was going to miss his friends.
He had been with the same kids for over 2 years.
He said
"Not really".

My sis relayed this to me later
and I was honestly shocked!
And puzzled...

So we moved out here.
We were in year round school up in NC.
We moved in mid-October,
so the kids had already been in school
well over 9 weeks.
We started the second week of July,
had a 3 week break, 
then went back and were due for another break
in early November.

When we moved,
school had already started down here
and I chose to keep them out for a few weeks.

We were going to explore this new town of ours.

Then a week or so in,
the kids were getting aggravating
so I told them if they didn't calm their tails down
I was sending them to school!

We don't do empty threats in this house,
so since I hadn't signed them up yet
at the local school,
we immediately drove down to the school.
Right then!

(Can't very well send them,
if they aren't registered!
So I had to make sure I could
make good on that threat!)

I unloaded all 4 kids
and marched those boys right into the office.

"I am here to get the paperwork to register my boys please"

PS Lady:  "Ok, would you like to fill it out here"
Me:  "No thanks, I will take it home and do it 
when I am ready to send them in"

Then it started...
she pulled out every excuse,
every reason,
every trick,
every threat
she could think of to get me to register them
right then and there!

I was flabberghasted,
ultimately disappointed.

So I took the paperwork
and went home 
the hubs 
and I 
talked some.

I laid in bed that night,
after getting the grilling from the entire
front office staff at the public school,
telling me why I
to enroll my kids that DAY!

And it was as if God took that 
opportunity to smack me upside the head
and say

"Here ya go!"

I wanted to jump out of bed right then 
go research.

I did not, 
I suppressed it.
But jumped on it first thing
the next morning.

Then I started working on the hubs.
And he agreed to let me give it a shot.

Previously we had considered me getting my teaching 
certificate so that I could teach once they were all in school and 
have the same schedule as the kids.

Buy why would I go and get my certificate
to teach other people's kids,
when I could just stay home and teach my OWN kids?!?!

So here we are 
Almost 1 year later
both boys enjoy it
I enjoy it...

And you know what,
I like these little people.

And more than anything,
I do not want to look back on our life
on our family
and say

"I wish we could have/would have
spent more time together.

We get ONE shot at this!
They grow up SO fast!
And I don't want to miss a thing!

I adore these little people
am SO thankful
I decided to dedicate my life to 

I know this is my calling...


Friday, August 10, 2012

Ramblings From The Shower - WINNER!!!

I have my first giveaway winner!!
Using Random.org

I got
Lucky #3!!!

Congrats to 

Thank you for participating
I can't wait to have more 

If you did not win - 
Please consider 
Faye Bryant's Book
You will NOT regret it!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Budget? Did someone say budget??

I am a part of a few local Yahoo Groups.
Most of them (if not all)
are homeschool related.
They are ways to 

A lady on one of my groups 
asked about Dave Ramsey
last week.

You can all imagine the look of 
on my face and the ants in my pants 
when I read that subject line!

I responded and pointed her to 
the posting I did a few weeks ago
(which by the way is the MOST popular
posting on this blog - WHOO HOO!!)
Makes me wanna do more like that!

And I love posting about budgeting...
I think I would enjoy a job in accounting
if I could handle all the
like time value of money...
um, what?  
Who cares?
My time is worth way more than money!!
Well at least I think so anyways.

So I have decided that I am going
to break down Dave Ramsey's
Total Money Makeover
how we worked through it
which parts we didn't follow completely.

So get ready,
get set...

Dave Ramsey's 
Total Money Makeover

Coming to 
"Are We Really Doing This???"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Last Week

Last week was a MESS!
I am sure you have those days
where you just want to crawl back into bed
and start the day over
or just skip it completely!

Last week I had one of those WEEKS!
Nothing major, 
just everything was happening at once,
and I got SO overwhelmed with 
We had started back to school,
it was the last week of our summer sports league
(so there were trophies to buy and parties to plan),
then the "real" new school year is getting ready to start,
so all of our homeschool groups are starting to ramp up,
and in an attempt to get active and make friends,
I had previously volunteered alot...
probably too much.
I volunteered to coordinate t-shirts for one of the groups. 
I started it a few months ago,
but quickly got unmotivated due to lack of response.
I got re-motivated by the group leader last week
and she asked me to press on.
So I did.
I am pleased with what came out of it,
the design I came up with
With the help of the only 3 participants in our 
design contest - 
14 said they were interested in participating...
I got 3 submissions.
So I combined aspects of their designs 
into one design.
I am pleased with how it turned out and will share soon!

I also volunteered to help plan, organize, co-coordinate
a used book sale for another local homeschool group
(very closely linked to the other ones I am a part of)
It has been a rough process with limited responses there too.
But we are pressing forward
the sale is Friday,
I am just ready for this one to be behind us.

used book sale
house decisions here
house decisions back home
oh yeah,
and then that whole "other" blog thing...

cooking, cleaning, schooling
It just all hit me at once
I wanted to just tell everyone
(but my family)
to go away
leave me alone!!!

But I didn't...
I survived...

we had the
school day we have had yet!
Well yet this year anyways
(in the 4 total weeks we have
been back at it).

So this weekend,
I regrouped,
reorganized somethings (will share later),
made my "to-do" list
made tons of headway on my 
above mentioned 

I am excited to look towards 

Thanks for listening.
Sometimes I really just need it. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Confession

I am not one to air my dirty laundry,
but I will admit when I made a mistake
own up to it
apologize for it.

here goes...

I cheated...

on you...

with another blog!

I know, I know.
I am sorry!
Terribly sorry!
And hope you can forgive me.
I cannot promise it won't happen again.
But I will follow my gut
ask more questions up front!

I answered a request from a fellow
blogger when she asked for contributors
to her homeschool/homemaking blog.

I thought it sounded like fun,
more exposure.
Sure, why not, I will give it a shot.
Without any other information,
I told her I was interested in the opportunity 
and asked for more information.

The first thing she gave us 
was a schedule,
that had me and the other two new contributors
posting every 3 days!
Panic set in!
Can I commit to this?
How will I find the time?
What about topics?
How will I not overlap with my own blog?
How in the world am I going to keep up with that?
After I panicked a bit, 
I gave it a go
I pounded out my first 300-500 word posting for her
and I included a little blurb at the bottom
pointing people to my blog
for further discussion in a few weeks.

I asked her to review it and make sure
it was in line with what she was looking for.
No response.
So I waited and checked her blog to see if it was posted.
It was...

When the posting went live,
I was excited to see
me & my blog
on another blog!
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear?
She had removed the reference and link
to my blog.
I was crushed!
I had already been struggling with the thought 
of being able to keep up with her requests 
for posts...
and a whole bunch of other nonsense hit the fan
this week.
My plate was over flowing and I was overwhelmed...
then that...
I honestly felt let down...

So I politely told her yesterday that I could
not handle everything I had going on 
and had to resign from her blog.
Which was the truth and my fear 
from the get go...

I was willing to give it a shot because I thought it
would give me a little more exposure.

Why do I want more exposure?
I am not quite sure...
I am still trying to figure out what I want
out of this blog,
but for now,
it is a hobby 
I enjoy writing/talking/rambling
LOVE getting the feedback from you!

So I hope you guys will forgive me.

I will get back down to business this weekend.

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