Saturday, September 19, 2015

What I think about when I bowl...

For our anniversary, The Elder purchased a Boogie Board for me. They use them at his work to take notes with and he thought I may enjoy one. What do I do with it? This is what I did at bowling while waiting for my turn. If I plan it out, I don't have to think in the morning.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Menu for Week 5 of Taking the "100 Days of Real Food" Mini Pledge (14 weeks)

Once again we have to plan at being at the hospital most of next week. I used several of the meals I made for The Elder's lunches for work. Hopefully surgery won't be canceled this week like it was last week.

Week 5: Try two new whole foods – Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before

I have tried many things in my time. Without going to a specialty store, I don't think I could easily find a whole food that I've never had. So, I am opting to interpret this in a different way. I think we will eat 2 whole foods that AJ or the FAMILY has never eaten. Honestly, that will be a lot easier. Although we have already tried several new things since we have started.

What are the 2 new whole foods? Eggplant and turnips. Yes, I know they are both vegetables. We tried lentils for the first time last week. Quinoa was already introduced to our diet. I am not introducing any new grains at this time because they can be costly for a family our size.

Meal plan is:

Eggplant Parmesan using homemade breadcrumbs, Pasta with sauce, and Swiss Chard.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole and  Apple Dumpling Cinnamon Rolls. I will use coconut oil in place of the canola oil.

Chicken Stew with Turnips and Mushrooms. I may serve this with some quinoa or brown rice because The Elder is never full with "just soup".

Chicken Stir Fry over Brown Rice

Loaded Baked Potatoes - Bacon, Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream... The difference is, I use raw bacon and bake it with the potato. Works out well. Serve broccoli on the side.

Chicken, Vegetable, and Brown Rice soup. I will use whatever vegetables come with the CSA basket this week. I know there will be Turnups, carrots, and some type of green. Plus I will add in some peas, green beans, and any other veggies I find in the freezer.

Pasties - I notice that the CSA this week is also suppose to have Rutabagas in it. There we go! A 3rd new whole food this week!  I will use butter instead of lard. I may make some with chicken too and use them for lunches or to go into the freezer. Maybe add Parsnips?

They wear pjs on Sunday bowling nights.
For lunches, we will eat some Pasties and anything else I have time to make or space to pack. Otherwise we will eat in the hospital cafeteria. Where will we keep it? We will either keep it at my parents house (20-25 minutes away) or in a one of the hospitality houses the hospital has. One we can reserve a room and the other is first come, first served with special consideration tot hose who drive further than others. We are about an hour away in good traffic, so we are low priority. The other one has rooms more often and you can reserve them. It also costs a little more a night. With both, you can only stay 5 days unless you are a NICU parent (Shirley no longer is in there) or another long term situation.

The minions will remain with Julie and eat whatever is easiest for her. We have some boxed foods (I know, I know) as well as plenty of freezer meals (ones I made). She actually specifically requested the boxed items because she always forgot to grab a freezer meal the night before or early in the day last time. Is it the best thing for the minions to eat? No. Still, this poor woman is taking care of 5 kids who are 7 and under. One is Autistic. So if she wants that to make the weeks she has here easier, then we can do that for a week.

I will still make the full sized meals above. That way we have some to take and we will have several more freezer meals to add to our stash. Who knows, maybe Julie will want to try one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How it's going - Week 4 of Taking the "100 Days of Real Food" Mini Pledge (14 weeks)

Tokyo on the "computer bag".

It's only Tuesday and it's already been a unique week. I have to admit that I ate fast food (Jimmy John's) yesterday for lunch. No chips. I had tea to drink. I have no clue what sandwich I ate. I know it had mustard and some sort of meat and veg.

The Elder holding a fussy Shirley.
 We took Shirley in for her pre op testing yesterday. We had her xray done, they took vitals, I let them know she had an on and off stuffy nose. The nurse looked at her and said it was fine. The then sent in one of the surgeons who will be working on her heart. He went through things and then asked about if she was sick, cough, runny nose, fever... I told him she had an on and off runny nose (not bad) and then a green bugger popped out of her nose. That is not what we had been seeing prior, but it was there. That green little booger is what stalled her surgery. Since the surgery can wait a little bit if needed, they felt it was better to wait. If Shirley was put on a ventilator and she had a cold, it could become much worse. Not something you need when recovering from open heart surgery. Especially when you are just shy of 2 months old. Surgery has been rescheduled for next week.

Colonel Sanders moved her chair into her brothers' room.
 Once again we were caught off guard. What are we going to do? It's not easy for us to find care for the minions. Luckily Julie was able to change out her vacation days for the days needed next week (now minus one day).

We put a plea out to our friends and family for some help with week 2 of Shirley's stay. If I don't have to, I don't want to have to come home every night, stay till I can get the boys to school and come back home when they get out of school. We have had some friends come to our aid. Right now we are trying to piece that all together since some people can only do a few hours, some can only take 2, some 1, some can do an over night for one night. The Elder and I are very grateful. We are shooting for a back up plan of staying in the hospitality house the second week of our stay. Only because they can house all 7 of us. The school has agreed to make an exception for missed school and send homework home if it comes down to it. That will be last resort.

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 I did get several meals made for the trip. My Easy Lunchboxes lunch bag kept everything cold and it was still frozen solid when we arrived home. So I put it all (4 meals) in the freezer for next week.

Keeping our fingers crossed that the sniffles go away. I am not sure Julie's boss will be so understanding and nice if they have to reschedule it again.

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 Since my food budget was already used this week, I didn't want to buy more food. At the same time, I didn't want to use what I had because a lot of thought went into kinda healthy (and some not) food for the minions while we were gone. Luckily I have my CSA and the freezer meals still. Yes, I like to cook (some day's its a chore) and even while "resting" I would cook a few meals a week. So that is what is saving us this week.

Tonight we had Chicken Parmesan and CSA Kale.

The other meals will be

 Lentil "Loaf", Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin.  and Spinach

My local chicken for the week is a Whole chicken. So I will bake it and have CSA Squash with Baked Apples.

Chicken, CSA Carrot, Parsnip, and Veggie Noodle Soup. I will use the chicken carcass to make the broth.

Stuffed Pork Rolls (freezer meal) with Mashed Potatoes, and Carrots and Parsnips (CSA)

White Lasagna with Broccoli
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I suppose I should start thinking about next week... Try 2 whole foods I haven't had before. Umm... This shall be interesting. Since joining the CSA I have had food I have not had before. Swiss Chard and Celery Root. I never had Rainbow Lentils before. I picked those up at Sam's Club 2 weeks back. Coconut Oil. And there are a few others.  Looks like I will need to be looking for something that's easy to travel with.

I will have to think about that. I will be shopping Friday this week. I expect I should have meals figured out by then. I will also post what is in the containers below for dinners at the hospital for next week... Hopefully.

Oh Miss Shirley, No more ucky nose!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Update and Week 4 of Taking the "100 Days of Real Food" Mini Pledge (14 weeks)

Week 4: No fast food or deep-fried foods – No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Normally this challenge would not be an issue, but this week it will be. The day this challenge starts (Mondays for me) we will be leaving for a 10 day stay at the hospital. 5 of those days we can stay on site at a hospitality house the hospital has. The rest will be spent either in limbo between home taking care of the minions, at the hospital (an hour from home), or sleeping at my parents' house (20 minutes past the hospital).
Ready to go to the cardiologist.

Wednesday was Shirley's cardiologist appt. They did a heart echo and noticed some changes as well as an obstruction in her heart. So we went from surgery being in another 4 months to being in 4-8 weeks. Shirley's cardiologist told us that he was going to review her case with the rest of the team and get back to us.

Later that night we received a call asking if we could come back into town to attend a surgical consult the next day.
Thursday afternoon for the surgical consult.

Thursday afternoon the surgeon came in and told us that things had progressed much quicker than anticipated. Shirley already took the medicine that helps with her valve. Her purple spells have become longer and harder to come out of and there were a few more things. The team felt that she was putting on weight well and they wanted to do the surgery soon. They felt it was in her best interests to not delay it. By soon they meant in 5 short days. The expected stay time is about 10 days.

Needless to say this was a bit unexpected. We went from shock to panic. The hospital Shirley will have her surgery at is an hour away by highway. What were we going to do with the other kids? This is pretty short notice. Luckily Julie was able to save the day again! She is able to cover 8 days of that time. We are extremely grateful. We don't have many options when it comes to people to care for the 5 other minions.

Back to the challenge:

With careful planning, we could meet this weeks challenge. Local meat (week 3) part would not come into play except for a meal, maybe 2. Although that was what we were doing anyway. I can still stay away form soda (week 2). I know The Elder won't. He likes his soda.

Another issue is storing things.  The hospitality house has a shared kitchen. I just don't want to be spending my normal amount of time in the kitchen when my daughter is in ICU (first few days) or then in her room. We can stay 5 days in the hospitality house. Then we can use my parents fridge to store meals for other days, but we will bring that days meals with us to the hospital.

Had I known sooner, I would have purchased some more Easy Lunchboxes. We have used them on car trips before and I know they stay closed and are sturdy. Although I think I will order some anyway and have them shipped to my parent house. I could use them for part 2 of our stay. In the mean time, we will use the few we have and pack larger containers with some food.

Now I need to figure out a meal plan that won't break the budget. I already hit budget with getting foods easier for my friend to prepare. My brain is drawing a blank. I figure I will use the salad bar in the cafeteria several times because it is an easy way to get fresh fruit and vegetables. I just don't want to often. We spent $50 a day eating while Shirley was in NICU when she was born. Not to bad, but it adds up. So does housing costs ($45 at the hospitality house, but we would rather pay it and be closer), and gas to and from my parents as well as home on days we need to go back to keep the kids covered near the end.

Tomorrow I hope to have a menu.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 3 menu planned out -

Learned from my mistake and planned what day we eat each meal.

I have finally figured out next week's menu. The problem was, I had shopped on Friday instead of on Saturday. I had made a rough plan since I knew what was going to be in my CSA basket. I lost my list. I realized it once I got to the store. I had no intention of packing the 3 girl back up once I was there. To keep in budget, there is no going back out unless it is under $5 total. So I won't plan on picking anything else up. I keep finding recipes where I am off just one ingredient that can't be just dropped or easily substituted. This is a little frustrating.

Sometimes a Lunchable becomes a bribe if we are out later than expected.
The goal is to USE my CSA vegetables to add to a current freezer meal or to use to make a meal. I don't want a lot of leftovers from the week before again. I had some from last week, more than I thought. I still have half my kale, half my brussel sprouts (becoming a snack now), my celery root (used for the soup this week), a few carrots (which I am now over run with), and 3 leeks.


Vegetable Noodle Soup with Chicken.
Using up those veggie from last weeks CSA. The goal was to not make meat the focal point. I think this work. Celery root, carrots, kale, parsnips, and some spinach.

Freezer Meal: Chicken Parmesan Casserole with whole wheat noodles. Broccoli. Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese. 
I won't be using the white wine in the Swiss Chard recipe.

Freezer Meal: Mu Shu Pork.
Add the cabbage that was given to us by a friend and some extra carrots.  The Elder will take leftovers for lunch.

Roasted Buttercup Squash with Bacon Pasta -
Whole milk will be used. I will use butter instead of olive oil. Also I will be using Parmesan cheese instead of Romano. Also I am unsure of what type of pasta will be used. I will use whatever I have in the pantry. Luckily I picked up some bacon for breakfast. I guess it will go for this instead.

Crockpot Creamy Fun-Guy Soup with homemade Whole Wheat Biscuits 
This will be Saturday when I go back to the Farmer's Market. I have everything but the mushrooms. I noticed a table with locally grown mushrooms. I had thought about picking some up, but decided not to since I had no plan for them and it would have used the last of my grocery money. I wish I had now. Oh well. I will not be using cream, just whole milk.

Vegan Lentil and Rice Loaf with Rosemary-Roasted Beets and Carrots
I am a little nervous about this one. Only the rice and carrots are part of our normal diet. I will serve this with PB&J served as back up (out of sight and served after dinner). I know I should not throw this curve ball at my family, especially with picky eaters and a child with ASD who has texture issues. I am not sure if he will eat it or not. We will try though. Sometimes I am surprised.  I will be using brown rice in this one. Also I think I will make patties as suggested in the comments. I think that would make it more appealing to my family.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole.  Serve with some sort of Chicken or Beef. Avocado slices.
I know The Elder will be going nuts without his beloved meat by this point. So I will some how add some meat to this on the side.

Helping mama cook.

Lunches for the girls (and maybe daddy too):

Potato and leek soup.

Homemade Hash brown with Spinach and Carrot

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes
Made with no green onions and no cayenne pepper.

School Lunches:

Sandwiches with Apple Slices, Cheese Stick, and Carrots (hummus)

French Toast Dippers, Yogurt, and Apple Slices

Tortilla Chips, Salsa, Cheese Stick

Loving our green eggs!


Homemade Hash brown with Spinach and Carrot

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Green Eggs, Banana Bread Toast (Aunt Agnes made the bread) with Peanut Butter and Banana Slices.

This is what happens when you tell baby "No".

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Our CSA for week 1/17

This is what came in our CSA box this week! Now, I have to admit that I still have some carrots and a celery root from last week.  It looks like I have some sort of a squash, carrots, apples, beets, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, and some sort of herb.

In hope of the minions taking more of an interest in food (or maybe to make my shopping expierence more chaotic), I allowed each child to pick out something at the indoor Farmer's Market. This is (mostly) what they chose. Baskets are 3 for $10. So each walker picked out one and then I picked out the potatoes and tomatoes. I had 2 minions pick apples and 2 pick carrots. Next week we will go for something new.

Random: Karl cutting out flashcards. Why? Because he wanted to and he asked me to include this.

My pack of 2 drumsticks walked off apparently.
The CSA once a month meat pick up also came today! Just in time for Week 3 of the 100 Days of Mini-Pledges. This chicken is raised local (a little over an hour away) and processed there. I decided we will use ONE of the chicken packages a week. Not a lot of meat when I use the thighs and the 2 drumsticks, but that is ok. The goal was for the meat to NOT be the center of attention. I am thinking soups for those 2 packages. We will still buy other meat as needed.

Tonight I will work out a menu... and a way to figure out how to store all this...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Week 3 announced - Taking the "100 Days of Real Food" Mini Pledge (14 weeks)

We are getting ready to start week 3 of the challenge.

Random lunch. Vegetable chicken soup with rice bears. Meat taking a lesser role in the meal.

While we do have access to local sourced meats here, I have to admit that it just isn't going to happen 100% this week... or in the next several weeks. Not until taxes come back and we purchase the 1/2 pig and 1/4 of a locally raised cow. It would just blow my food budget out of the water. I can't do that.

What I CAN do is, I can use less meat, purchase 1/2 our eggs from the CSA, and make 1 or maybe 2 meal per week with local meat. The CSA had an add on chicken package. It is not a lot for a family our size and it is only once a month. Still, in the end, the goal is to eat better and to take baby steps. So we do what we can do.

We fumbled a lot last week. Some was due to poor time management and some was due to failure to write down our meal plan. We do better when the menu is on the board. This week we will remember to do that.

Tomorrow I will have a better idea as to what we will eat after I see our CSA basket. I also get to take SEVEN children to the Farmer's Market tomorrow... alone. *gasps* Actually I am not expecting it to be much different than taking my 6. The extra is a 13 year old who has high functioning autism. Very similar to Clark. So I think it will be ok. The winter market is a lot smaller and less people. I think there are maybe 8 vendors total and they are indoor.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Week 2: Taking the "100 Days of Real Food" Mini Pledge (14 weeks)

Oops! It's Wednesday and I forgot the pledge for this week. We start on Mondays.

I know this will not work for The Elder. That is ok. I will pick and choose my battles with him. I have done pretty well. I am NOT a fan of straight water. I craved it at various points during pregnancy. Now it doesn't sit well. I am sure I am just psyching myself out. So instead of straight water I drink iced tea (unsweetened) or water with a little lemon.

Pan fried Brussels sprouts, garlic, and bacon.
The minions mainly drink water and milk. Juice is not very often and is sometimes given in packed lunches.

2 freezer meal thawing in the fridge.
This weeks meal plan for us was:

Mini steaks (4oz), Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Potatoes, and Northern Blend vegetables.

Chicken, Leek, and Kale Pastie (with Parsnips)

Freezer Meal: Lasagna (I make mine with spinach) with Broccoli.

Freezer Meal: Green Chili Chicken Tacos served with Avocado Rice(not freezer) and Baja Corn

Freezer Meal: Chicken Sausage with Peppers and Perogies with an unknown vegetable

Freezer Meal: Italian Chicken and Potatoes with added Carrots and Kale.

Chicken and Dumplings using chicken soup "starter" from the freezer. Homemade stock with shredded chicken. Add in carrots, parsnips, spinach, and a bag of mixed veggies.

She loved the Brussels Sprouts. 4 out of 5 minion tried them.

We were under our grocery budget this week. I am quite happy with that. I used the extra to buy a few extra items for the pantry like extra maple syrup, whole wheat flour, and I honestly forgot what else. Maybe I should start posting about the next week on our shopping day (Now Saturday due to the CSA pick up)
This week CSA

We already had 2 hiccups this week. Monday was Mc Donald's due to a very hectic day and poor planning on my part. I had been organizing a room and sorting out to small clothes for 3 children. Then I needed to go pick up my milk. Last night (Tuesday) was also not the best. I thought I had out my lasagna, but didn't.  We recovered from that by having breakfast for dinner. I had some very ripe bananas I was going to make banana muffin with.  

Karl helping measure and mix the pancakes
Instead we made Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes. We added some leftover blueberries in addition to 2 extra bananas.The minions loved helping me make them. I made a double batch and had enough leftover for 2 breakfasts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Start of week 1: Taking the "100 Days of Real Food" Mini Pledge (14 weeks)

Still eating freezer meals made for after Shirley's birth. This is how I meal plan and do a shopping list.
We are taking the 100 Days of Real Food Mini Pledge - Cut out processed foods in 14 weeks. We have slowly worked our way here. I think this could be a success! The Elder finally agreed to join the CSA in our area and has become open to new things. Most people started on the 1st. We are running a little behind. The Elder was a little afraid to try this because he is not a big fruit or vegetable person. He mainly humors me. He is also afraid of the cost. Our grocery (food and non food) budget is $200 a week. This includes diapers for 3 children because I just don't have the energy for cloth diapers right now. Also included is dog food, cat food, kitty litter, and other non food items we need. As long as I can stay in budget (total for the month), then he will be ok with any changes I wish to make. Although now that $200 a week from December 25th-January 24th ($800) is now $159.75 a week ($639 for the month) because we joined the CSA. This will be very easy this month because I made all the freezer dinners. So almost no meat needs to be purchased weekly. I already made up the extra money spent making freezer meals in November by how little was spent in December. The cost for the CSA covered 7 weeks. So some will be taken out of next month's budget to cover half of the next 7 weeks. That is not my headache to worry about though. I am just told my weekly food budget and work with that.

There are 6 more in the small chest freezer!

Week 1: 
Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.

We got this! Well, I have this. The minions have this. The Elder... I will take 2 for lunch and 2 for dinner as a win. He refuses to have anything other than yogurt and coffee for breakfast.

I really do call him The Elder

I'm not quite sure how my picky eater will take this. Just because it is on his plate or sent with lunch does not mean he will try it. Having him pick out foods with me has not proven effective. Still, I encourage him to help me pick out fruits and help me cook.

Karl helped me pick which fruits go with which meals.

Having Karl help me with cooking hasn't worked at getting him to try things either. The only thing it has done is help him learn the basics of cooking. While that is a good thing, I would still really like it if Karl would try some more fruits and veggies. He is limited himself to strawberries, green grapes, apples, and sometimes oranges. No vegetables. Oh well, they still go on his plate!

Working on that eating better... Can't see half the fruit. Who wants to organize it for me?

One thing I have learned, if I use the bottom drawers in the fridge, we will end up with a veggie/fruit graveyard. So I took them out. It doesn't look as nice, I know. Now it is easier to see everything (kinda) and we use almost everything.

The next few weeks will be a little interesting meal wise with adding in the extra fruits or vegetables. I made over 50 freezer meals before Shirley was born. We still have about 24 or so left. So we need to keep using those.

Random picture
Clearly we still eat some pretty processed foods. Most of the time it is in moderation. I can buy 4 bags of tater tots and it may take 3-5 months to eat them all. We will work further on phasing out the bad and replacing it with non/little processed items or better choices. I have no intention of going through my pantry and tossing it. For starters, my budget couldn't handle it. Also the minions and The Elder would go into shock. I can't risk seeing a food regression with Clark (ASD).

Our meal plan for this week:

 I have poor handwriting. I know.

Sliders, chips, with green beans and a chocolate banana for desert. I blend a little onion and spinach in with the hamburger for the sliders. Not enough to count as a serving, but a little is better than none!

Spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce. Blackberries and yogurt for desert (AKA evening snack). The sauce I make and add puree of carrots, a little spinach, and some squash. Add salt. The family has yet to figure it out. They like it.

White lasagna with broccoli. The lasagna already has spinach in it. Enough to count it as a serving.

Herb chicken, corn on the cob, and green beans.

Onion tater tots covered in chili and cheese. Desert is yogurt with fruit (evening snack). My chili has squash, fresh tomatoes, and carrots all pureed in it. Then some fresh tomato diced. So yes, you can count that as 2 servings of vegetables. The minions will eat seconds of this.

Chicken stir fry and I will add some kale from the CSA box (picked up that morning)

Chicken pot pie. Growing up, my parents bought the frozen pot pies. When they were done, we took off the tops and added a large cooking spoonful of vegetables. Then we mixed it all together in the over stuffed shell. That being said, my chicken pot pie should really be called vegetable pot pie with a little chicken.

Did I stay in budget for this week?
No. I was over by almost $5. That is ok though.

Not on the list items purchased
Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They were on sale but not in the flyer. I also picked up 2 rotisserie chickens at Sam's Club. Never go when you are going home to eat dinner. I also bought 2 packs of Mother's Tea ($10) and a 48 count pack of AA batteries to go into the toys Pa gave the minions for Christmas. I think I will need to purchase more next week. Also I purchased Babybel cheese from Sam's Club because Karl showed interest in it. This is in addition to the cheese sticks on the shopping list.

I also opted to not get the chia seeds this week and purchased real maple syrup instead.

How did breakfast go on day 2 (today)? I would say it went rather well.

I did not give the minions any butter or syrup with their banana and blueberry pancakes today. They were pleased with them. Plus they all ate another banana while I made the pancakes.

FYI, taking pictures of children while they chew their food will result in funny faces.

We do occasionally sit for breakfast. This morning was not one of those mornings.

This is my banana eating machine. Clara has had a banana every morning for 5 months. We know she is sick if she refuses to eat one. Even then, she still demands one so she can walk around with it. Here she is asking for a second banana.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The good, The bad, and The Ugly (and random pictures)

The Good.

Viking Mummy baby with her mismatched socks and faithful steed.

Remember last years goals? They kinda fell off to the side with the addition and then the pregnancy of our last child.

Not this year! The Elder did his crunching of numbers and he OK'ed me to finally join the CSA! Actually, I think he was afraid I would join it anyway. I normally stay away from household finances since he is the one with a BA in accounting. What I do know is, I have kept in budget with groceries and my last idea of freezer meals worked out like I told him. Actually, it worked out a lot better than planned.
Why yes, The Elder is wearing Minnie ears.
The instant he said yes, I was signing up for the CSA. Yes, there is a CSA that runs year round in Michigan. It just happens to be 40 minutes south of me and delivers to our Farmer's Market year round. I actually buy from Crisp Country Acres already. I bought a lot from them at the Farmer's Market this year. So we signed up for the rest of the winter session for produce. Eventually we will get to eating the better meat. We decided once we empty out our freezers more, we will purchase half a pig and some beef. Maybe we will ease into it and sign up for the chicken short session next time...

Karl (Tyke), Clara (Glow Stick) and Shirley
Remember I wanted to join the goat share? Guess who has an intolerance to cows milk? I will give you a hint, it is the pants-less child in the picture above. It's kinda funny how things work out. So every week I head out to Country Winds Farm. Goats milk is cheaper through a share (even with driving) than it is purchasing it from the store. We tried non dairy milks and either it did not agree with her belly or she flat out refused it. Yes, a 1 year old can and will refuse a drink for long periods of time if they don't like it. I will not force something like that on her if I can find something she does like. Now, veggies are another matter. That share is a little bit of a drive, but I am ok with that.
Is anyone else joining the 100 Days of Mini Pledges? I opted to. I think this may be what I was looking for but just didn't work out on my own. The goal is to take baby steps in eating better over 14 weeks. Each week has a goal. If something just isn't obtainable to you (local meat), then that is ok. You just do what you can. I know some weeks will be pretty easy and others will be a challenge.
I know you needed another cuteness fix
I know the first week challenge will be easy. Week 1 is Eat 2 Fruits and or Vegetables Per Meal.  I just need to add in one more fruit or veggie to breakfast and lunch. 

The Bad

This year has been warmer than normal. Remember how we had 9 free range chickens? Yes, we really did let them run wild all over our fenced in back yard.  We lost them all over a 2 night span. We smelled skunk outside. It stunk up the whole house. I knew it wasn't going to go well. My coop door wasn't shutting properly. I had someone who was going to come out, but they could not make it for several days. I did my best to block it off. Sadly, it wasn't good enough.

We did have a rooster named Stew. Sadly he became aggressive. So we were forced to eat him. The Elder was squeamish about eating a "pet". So I didn't tell him when we had Stew. Sandy (Colonel Sanders) was a little to excited about eating Stew. She very happily announced that we were eating Stew every time we had dinner. It was quite funny.

The Ugly

Postpartem Depression is never a pretty thing. I know what triggers mine. I know how I react. So we try to avoid those situations. 

Triggers: Lack of sleep, stress, and how messy my house is.

Reaction: Anxiety attacks, not wanting to see anyone, shutting down on all others and only focusing on the kids, and lack of motivation to do household chores (unless it is cooking).

2 weeks before having Shirley. Yes, I do really exist.

I am grateful that I have no desire to hurt myself or anyone else. I opt to see a counselor. Mine can be managed without the use of medication. For that I am grateful. Still, it's hard to go see someone when you are in a downward spiral.

Lack of sleep: I have 6 kids. One is autistic and doesn't know what sleep is. Another child is up at 4:30-5am every morning because she is 1 and likes to be up early. She can go to bed at 10pm and still be up at 5am. It's sad when the newborn is not the reason you need more sleep.

Stress: The Elder has Cerebral Palsy. This means household things are more on my shoulders. Did I mention they opened up over time? They did. So The Elder is working that too. Our eldest was mentioned above. Need I say more? Now Shirley has a heart condition. Ok, not to much I can do about that. Getting a sitter for any evening appts is pretty much all we can do. I should be released to go to the gym in about 4 more weeks. I know that will help with stress relief. Things could be worse. I know that.
No worries, it's just bath crayons.

House: 6 kids all on winter break. Can we say chaos? Although this time we wised up. Arrangements were made to have a family member and a friend come out once a week to help. I am grateful for their help. I really am. The only spiral I had had to do because of being overwhelmed the last 2 weeks before Christmas and Christmas week. I did make it to all appts though and to Christmas with everyone.

Good Times

All 6
And this is how we grocery shop! :-) Except I forgot to bring my Moby. :-/ Baby wearing makes my life easier. I happened to bribe them with a Lunchable since we ended up out all day between appts and some shopping. Normally there is no bribe. No baby was hurt at all or during this shopping trip. This was Christmas Eve. I had forgotten a few things (ok, like 30 things) because my shopping day was moved.

Don't worry, I went off the deep end years ago!