How We Do Healthy While Taking Time Away

Re-hydrating with some sparkling water

This past weekend I had a long weekend and so we decided to do something fun.  Our initial thought was to go away for the whole time I had off, but then different things came up and our time away turned into a two day one night trip.  It was a wonderful and much needed two days and one night.  Munchkie loved every single minute of it and can't wait to go back.
Plum and tail mix snack break

One thing that I dread about vacations and holidays are all of the changes and unhealthy decisions that are made during those times.  This time I was determined to not make the financial and healthy eating sacrifices just because we were away from our normal routine.  I used our weekly grocery budget to get all kinds of snacks, foods and sparkling water for us to eat while hanging out on the beach or in between rides down water slides.  It worked out so well, no one went hungry, we didn't stray from our weekly budget and we didn't have that ugh feeling of fried and processed foods. 
Our healthy spread of foods for lunch at the water park

What I packed in our cooler:
Greek yogurt
Cheese sticks
Sparkling water
Cut up red bell peppers

In another bag:
Trail mix mixed together from various bulk nuts, seeds and dried fruits from bulk bins
Dried apple chips
More Sparkling water

We also made sure to stay in a hotel that had a breakfast available
Yummy apples!

We had a wonderful time and there was not a single ounce of guilt over what we were eating.  Munchkie was able to go without a nap both days and I think that her lack of complete breakdowns were largely due to the fact that she didn't have an afternoon sugar crash and was packed full of healthy sources of fats, carbs and proteins to keep her going.

We had a wonderful time away as a family, enjoying playing together splashing in water and soaking up some great rays.  The little bit of planning that I did ahead of time, in between shifts at the hospital, made all of the difference in the quality of our time together.  
Trail mix
 Sunflower seeds
Raw pumpkin seeds
Raw whole almonds
Dried tart cherries
Banana chips
Goji berries
Raw cacao nibs
Dried pineapple
Skipped the salty chips and instead snacking on apple chips


Healthy Ice Cream with a Little Less Mess

It's been a while since I've had this much trouble falling asleep while it's dark out.  I thought that only sleeping five hours today would be ok and I would be able to sleep tonight, but that apparently is not the case.  I guess I was just so tired that those five hours were plenty.  After laying in bed for a very long time I decided to just get out and waste some time online.  It's so infuriating because now all the plans I had for tomorrow will be blown, unless a few hours sleep tonight will be enough to get me through tomorrow.  So I'm up in the middle of the night blogging.

Anyway, it's July and thanks to President Reagen, it's National Ice Cream Month.  Munchkie and I have a real love for ice cream, we could eat it daily.  Probably multiple times a day.  Since that obviously would not be the smartest parenting decision we don't eat it daily and we have been making our own "healthy ice cream."  Munchkie's Mimi gave us two hand churn ice cream makers that we used in my childhood and we've been cranking out our own "Fro Yo" on a regular basis.  It is so easy.  You can do a quick search online for all kinds of ice cream recipes with tons of steps and ingredients.  We go for easy, quick, healthy and delicious here. Two ingredients.  Three steps.  That's it.

Puree the fruit of your choice. Mix with plain lowfat yogurt (or flavored if the plain is too tangy).  Follow instructions for ice cream maker.  Ta Da!

The only problem with this is that the resulting frozen yogurt is quite soft and messy at first, then the leftovers freeze solid and are difficult to scoop out.  I figured that there had to be a happy medium.  Putting together some ideas that I had seen on Pinterest, I made some mess free kid friendly ice cream treats. 

Let me tell you that it takes me a lot longer to wipe down sticky fingers and face than it did to put these together.

1.  Mix together the ice cream or regular old ice cream from the grocery store.  You could also use yogurt and avoid the ice cream maker altogether.

2. Put cupcake liners into a muffin pan.  Of course every kid needs sprinkles on their ice cream, so those go in the bottom of the cupcake liners.

3. Fill the cupcake liners with frozen yogurt or ice cream to however much you want your child to have.

4. Press a cone down into every cupcake liner until it's secure in the muffin pan.

5. Freeze for several hours.

6. Remove each ice cream cone from the muffin tin.  I put them all into a gallon ziplock bag and back into the freezer they went.

7.  Peel off the cupcake liner.

8. Of course there needs to be a cherry on top.

9. See some happy kiddos that don't have ice cream everywhere.  This kiddo didn't want to stop eating long enough to give me a real smile.

This is a great way to control portions and eliminate dishes to clean.  Since we don't have a dishwasher, not having to wash a scooper, spoon or bowl makes me just as happy as Munchkie.  For myself I froze scoops of ice cream into the cupcake liners without the ice cream cones and hold onto the liner while I eat the ice cream.


I Wish I Was a Runner

No part of me likes running.  I wish that I could be a runner, but those genes were obviously given to my brother and not me.  As I've said before, I don't really like to exercise at all.  I kind of thought about it for a little while and tried to figure out why exactly is is that I despise it so much.  Once I'm finished or almost finished, I start to feel good, but somehow I just can't remember that feeling when I'm starting out. 

I remember reading this post about running a while ago and it really kind of opened up my eyes.  In my mind I thought that people who ran loved it.  I thought that they wanted to go running and felt good while they were doing it.  Therefore, I could never run because I felt like I was going to die every time I tried.  Since I read this post I have been thinking about it.  Her honesty was so inspiring to me, and I wanted to be a runner too.  After reading that anyone can be a runner, that is is ok to be slow and red faced made me realize I really had no more excuses.  The only thing holding me back from running was myself.  And just as she said, running is 95% mental. 

Once summer came, Munchkie's Daddy is off school, we have the option for full time childcare and I only work three days a week.  There were even less excuses to not exercise.  I know that I need an end goal to motivate me.  It has to be a realistic goal and something that is challenging enough that I don't get complacent with myself.  Munchkie's Daddy and I decided to run a 10K (even if we are the last to cross the finish line) in the fall, giving us 20 weeks to get ready for it.  I had also heard good things about the Couch to 5K program and since we are literally starting off from the couch, I thought that it would work well for us. 

I found a C25K app for Munchkie's Daddy's iPod and a few weeks ago Target had a huge selection of exercise music on sale, each CD was $2.99.  So we got a few different kinds of fast tempo music and off we went.  The Couch to 5K program has been great for us, in the beginning you start by walking a couple minutes then running a minute, walking, running.  That very first "run" I could not believe what I had gotten myself into.  I thought I was going to die.  I couldn't breathe, I couldn't pick my feet up and I felt like I was going to keel over.  I said so many times that I thought I was going to die that Munchkie started saying it as well.  I could not even run the full minute. I seriously doubted the fact that anyone of any size can run.  I had to keep reminding myself that the contestants on the Biggest Loser were hundreds of pounds heavier than me and they were running for a lot longer than a minute.  If they can do it, than so can I.

Now, we are running 8 minutes straight with a walking break in the middle.  The program eases you into running and you don't even realize that you are running 8 minutes.  Not only running, but feeling good while you run.  I'm not saying that it is easy, because I often still feel like I'm going to die, like this morning, when I couldn't do the entire last 8 minutes (waking up after little sleep, throwing on some work out clothes and walking out the door was not the best idea) but overall, it's amazing to me how I feel. 

I read this funny post on Sunday and thought about how mind clearing running can be.  While I'm running I have to focus on so many different things that I can not think about anything else.  There is no room in my head to think about anything else except breathing, picking my feet up, keeping my stride short, and not falling on my face.  I can't think about work, I can't think about Munchkie, I can't think about food or the future.  There is no room for worry, and that is what is so freeing about running.  I also really love how great I am starting to feel afterword.  I am starting to notice my energy and my mood lifting.  My clothes are starting to get a little bit looser and I get to spend time with my husband.  I want to become a runner, because running seems to be something great.