Wednesday, April 9, 2014

No sugar-day: It's tougher than you think

"The Day of No Sugar Challenge is tomorrow. Any takers? I'm going to try it. It includes all sugars, including honey & syrup, even though they're unrefined & natural. My morning tea will be the hardest for me, I think."

My friend posted this on Facebook yesterday. I thought, I ought to do this anyways, being diabetic. And after all, how hard could it be? I drink diet soda. I (normally) avoid a lot of junk food, and I don't make it a practice of adding sugar to anything
What I've found already in a few short hours that avoiding sugar in your diet is tougher than I thought. My initial thought was avoid the kids' Eggo's and syrup for breakfast and focus on a protein smoothie. I smugly added my protein shake powder to my vanilla almond milk, took a drink, and had a thought: Did it really NOT have sugar?

And sadly, I was disappointed.

As lunchtime approached, I found myself not being able to try my coconut cashews. Those I knew had sugar, but it was a fun way to get a little protein to tide me over until noon. I stayed clear of the bagels and cream cheese in the office even as my stomach began to grumble.

So I turned instead to my emergency stash of lunch supplies in the office:

Yes - even your beloved Mac n' cheese has added sugars!

Before you correct me, I realize macaroni and cheese isn't exactly health food, but it was great to keep stashed in case of bad weather or in the event of a work crisis (which never happens...) I had comforted myself with the fact there actually was some fiber and two ounces of protein. But this too, was tainted with sugar. Deep within the ingredients there was maltodextrin and corn syrup, not to mention good old-fashioned “sugar.” 

I ran home over lunch hour for a conference call and to start dinner. This time I didn't blink when I whipped up some hot cocoa and milk while I was prepping. At least Starbucks has the decency to spell it out as sugar. I knew I was going down there.

Dinner, at least, I can say is sugar-free. I checked. Leftover potatoes; steamed broccoli and chicken breasts in Cream of Mushroom sauce. I checked the label. No sugar there. 

But let's not talk about the sodium....

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pinning the perfect party

My daughter is known for her birthday parties. It is the one day of decadence we have in our kids' lives.

Let it be known there are no outlandish locations, no bounce houses in our backyard. Instead, our at home parties are themed out, low-budged and planned with fun details we make ourselvess.

We've had luaus, 80s parties, dance parties, Fancy Nancy tea parties. It is to the point that last year the neighbor girl, when she got the invitation, asked her mother what she should wear.

My daughter picks her themes usually by the day after her last party. So imagine my surprise when, just a few months away, she still hadn't decided.

She toyed with an American Girl spa party, which I happily found pins for ideas for making fun thing like sparkle lip gloss and accessories for their dolls. (Truth be told: It was a great distraction from a harried project deadline at work.)

And then we realized one of her best friends does not play with dolls. Not wanting to have her feel left out, we went back to ideas.

My daughter considered a "Goddess Girls" themed birthday party as well. For those not in the know, "Goddess Girls" is a series about the Greek goddesses when they were in school. Sort of true to the mythology, except for little details like Artemis is boy crazy.

We realized we could make several of our ideas fit the theme too. For Aphrodite, who likes beauty, clothes and cheerleading (according to the stories), we could make the lip gloss and paint out nails. For Athena, who is wise, we could do a "wisdom challenge" (games). For Artemis, who likes sports and art, we could do outdoor games of some sort. For Persephone, who loves plants, we could add flower embellishments to jewelry or headbands. The only Goddess Girl we weren't going to embrace was Phoeme, who is into gossip.

But it still didn't fit right.

And then, on a car ride home, my daughter said: "Why can't we just have a water party?" She asked for a splash party in the backyard, lunch and ice cream cake.

Why not?

The perfect party may not be able to be pinned. It may just come from a child's imagination.

Let I learn that lesson....

Friday, April 4, 2014

CSAs in Indianapolis 2014

Today's Indianapolis Star features a list of CSAs in Indianapolis as well as information on a new farmers market on the Indianapolis northside. If you have an Indianapolis area or Bloomington CSA that wasn't featured in the Star article, please share your information below!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No electronics for now

My dearest daughter,

I'm saddened to learn that you're distressed about your digital life. That you're "the only one in the entire third grade who doesn't have an electronic."

I'm sad because when I pick you up at extended care, I see groups of you huddled around a hand-held device. I'm sad because you think that somehow you're missing out because you don't have an iPhone 5 or a iPad or other digital tool.

Yes, mommy has an Android. And yes, she's stuck using it a lot. For work. This is what happens when mom runs social media. But most times I resent having that device. I resent the fact that it interferes with my life, that I need to run to the phone when I get an alert to make sure it's not a complaint or burgeoning crisis.

I miss the days when I was unplugged. When I wondered aloud "Why do I need to have a cell phone?" When 30 channels had nothing on, and then I moved on.

But it's not about me. This letter is about you.

If I have the news on, I can happily work on laundry or dishes and listen in the background. But even a commercial is cause for you to stop whatever you're doing. And yes, I realize some of your homework is now computerized but I don't like you fighting with your brother for game after game on abcya.

There's an awesome world to explore. In nature, in books, in relationships. And when you're hiding behind a device - whether a TV, a computer or a game player - you're hiding from the world. You're hiding from conversations, from craft, from life.

When you grow to the ripe old age of 39, you'll realize that you don't recall the shows you watched on TV or the games you played online. You'll remember the fights you had with your brother playing Sorry, the worms you dug for with your neighbor in the garden, the friendships you made at soccer.

So baby, let's stay unplugged, for just a little bit longer.

Love, Mom.

Linked to Motivation Mondays at

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Brownie Snacks Badge: Campout Menu

Cooking with 14 girls is a challenge, especially in a meeting format. If you're ready to take on the challenge of a campout or day camp setting, this is the perfect way for Brownies to earn their Snacks badge!

Sample Menu:
- brown bag

- hot dogs
- veggie faces and homemade vegetable dip (savory snack)
- foil-grilled or baked cinnamon apples
- patriotic punch (slurp a snack
- S'mores (sweet snack)

- Make your own trail mix bar (eat for energy!)
- juice boxes or milk