Monday, February 27, 2017

Healthy Weekly Meal Plan | Vegetarian | Feb 27-March 4



I had this book when I was little featuring Grover from Sesame Street.

Maybe you've read it?

The Monster At the End of This Book

is what I think it was titled.

And the whole premise behind the book is that Grover knows that there is a monster at the end of the book and every time you turn a page, you're getting him closer and closer to the end of the book. So the entire plot of the book is him trying to stop you from turning pages. Basically because he was terrified of the monster that awaited him.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?? Well, I won't spoil the ending for you, just in case you haven't read it yet. haha

Well, anyway, that's how I'm feeling about these Weekly Meal Plans...each week I post a new one and each week gets me closer to my due date. And while a monster isn't awaiting me...I sure have quite an adventure waiting for me. haha

Well, ya'll didn't come to hear about picture books, so let's get on with this week's menu, shall we?!

BREAKFAST CHOICES

Overnight Oats with Strawberries
(and any raspberries and blackberries we have left over from last week)
OR
English muffins with organic fruit spread

LUNCH/SNACK CHOICES

Whole wheat crackers
Celery sticks with Ranch dip
Yogurt
Grapes
Scoop of tuna salad
Dinner leftovers
Fruit cups
Applesauce
Bananas
String Cheese
plus anything leftover from last week's choices

DINNERS
I'm just offering salads as a side with each dinner for whoever wants it. Keepin' it simple.

(I'm making one big one instead of a bunch of small ones)


(yeah, we're gonna see how 'easy' it really is!)

(with the optional black beans added)

Pancakes & homemade hash browns

Take Out

And that's our weekly meal plan, guys!!

Hope it inspired you a bit to mix up your routine and try something new!!

xoxo

Saturday, February 25, 2017

SO MUCH DRAMA!!! and my 32 Week Pregnancy Update



So, yeeeah...we're down in the single digits for how many weeks are left until my due date!
(actually, by the time you are reading this, I will be in my 33rd week!)

::gasp!!!::

Let me see if I can just do a quick run-down of what's been going on over the last week....

Ready? Here we go!

I'm pretty sure I mentioned somewhere, maybe in my last midwife/pregnancy update, that baby is HEAD DOWN!

They are moving around so much, it's incredible. I am able to palpate my stomach and feel the position the baby is laying in. They hate when my waistband of my pants slips down...it squeezes the womb a bit, and to show their displeasure, Baby begins kicking and pushing with their legs and feet. Actually, they do that any time something is resting against my stomach.

They have been having so many hiccups lately. I feel so bad for them because I know how frustrating and annoying the hiccups are. But there's nothing I can do, as my tummy bounces and I feel their little movements when the hiccups strike.

I signed up for home birth classes hosted by my private midwife. Her classes are geared towards holistic perspectives of pregnancy and birth, planning your birth team, birth vision planning, herbal and homeopathic remedies, aromatherapy, birth expectations...and just generally what to expect with a home birth. It's a two day series of classes and they begin next month.

I still need to contact the woman I am wanting to hire to encapsulate my placenta. Yep. I'm eating my placenta, folks. Nothing to see here, just keepin' things crunchy and weird. By the by, I am planning on doing a blog post on the many benefits of consuming your placenta and why women from all around the world have been doing it for centuries.

I'm starting to stock up on baby care/post partum items. NOTE: hahaha I wrote that at the beginning of my 32nd week. I had planned on getting breast pads...but didn't. Geez, I am SUCH a procrastinator, guys!! But, if you watched this past week's grocery haul video on my YT channel, you'll know that I DID buy a ton of washcloths to use as baby wipes. Even when I switched back to using disposable diapers from using cloth diapers, I still continued to use washcloths as baby wipes. They are absolutely life-changing and do an extremely better job of cleaning up a messy diaper area than any disposable wipe out there. You know those super messy diaper jobs that require 4+ baby wipes to get the job done? ONE washcloth will do the job. One. It's amazing. And much healthier for baby's delicate little bottom.

Speaking of getting ready for the baby....I'm sort of worried about the fact that I don't have colostrum yet. Colostrum is the thick super-nutrient-loaded yellow stuff that comes before breastmilk. Normally, my breasts have begun to leak at around six months into the pregnancy...but I'm not really having that now. I had *some* liquid come out of my right breast when I tried to hand express it (just checking to see if everything's coming together)...but when I checked it again here recently, nada. So I'm not going to lie: I'm starting to worry...what if I don't produce milk this time?! I need to write that one down to talk to my midwife about...

Rushes (contractions) have been picking up. They are not painful but have been getting pretty strong. On occasion, they wake me up. They either occur more often or at least become more noticeable when I am standing up. You can see in some of my more recent vlogs that I am having them while filming. But I'm not worried. I know that they are just Braxton Hicks and are just doing their job to help prepare my body for labor.

They also pick up when I'm under stress.

Stress has been a big issue with me here over the last few weeks. I used to have a major issue with recurring panic/anxiety attacks, before I was pregnant with this baby. I'm not sure if I blogged about my past problems with anxiety attacks, but mine get pretty bad. I get dizzy and lightheaded FOR DAYS sometimes. Which caused me to stop driving pretty much all together. I begin clenching my jaw in my sleep, causing severe headaches on one side of my head. I go into a depression from not being able to pull myself together...and the list just goes on. I was taking Hylands homeopathic Nerve Tonic (before pregnancy) to manage my stress and it worked GREAT! But then I got pregnant and my anxiety had all but dissapated, so I ceased taking them. Then, with a bunch of outside factors going on, as I progressed through the pregnancy and entered my 3rd trimester, I could feel everything building back up again. I'm not going to lie: this last Presidential election...especially the aftermath...has just wreaked havoc on my mental state. I am not going to go into all of the little intricacies of the situation, but there was a lot being said that was beginning to hurt my heart and the hearts of my household, mainly my older children, who are on social media to see all of the hate being posted.

SOOO, yes, I left Facebook, hoping that would be all that it would take to help me regain control of my emotional state. Turns out, I was wrong. Pregnancy hormones and the stress of preparing to birth a child and bring a new baby into the home can really make other outside issues, stressors and drama seem superfluous and unnecessary. You realize that you need to prioritize. Like Nesting, but in regards to your emotional and mental state.

We had a family meeting and decided that it would be best if I turned off my phone for an indeterminate length of time. I just wanted to focus on getting things ready for the home birth (still SO MUCH to do), getting our home ready for the new baby and just focus on maintaining a healthy pregnancy. I really don't care, at this juncture in my life, to be pulled into the lives of others. I have enough going on in my own life. I decided that I would just send out a text message to everyone, letting them know about this break I needed to take. Let them know how they could get ahold of us if there were any emergencies in the meantime and told them that they would be contacted asap if anything happened to go awry with me or the pregnancy. I just desperately needed to unwind and take this break.

I debated on whether or not to post screenshots here...but decided that since this is all part of my 32nd week of this pregnancy...and it's about this pregnancy....I would include everything.

This was my mother's response


I honestly thought that everyone would be, although some disappointed, supportive of my making this important decision and see how it was truly the best for me and my baby. Not to mention my husband and my children, who were beginning to bear the brunt of my mounting stress and anxiety.

Well, we found out rather quickly that some people actually cared about my emotional wellbeing and the importance of a stress-free pregnancy and some people didn't.

At just 5 days into my "rest", I received a private message from my mother via Naptime's FB page.


I blocked out her personal information to protect her privacy. (the top part of the conversation block that is partly cut off is from an old conversation we had had before, nothing to do with any of this)

I didn't respond immediately. I didn't want anything I said to come out in anger...because, at first, I was angry. I considered not writing back at all but realized that would just anger her more. Granted, she is completely negating the request I made to just be left alone and de-stress. She's pretty much doing the exact opposite of my request. But, in the end, I decided to meditate and sleep on it overnight and write a better response in the morning.

Which I did. Girrrrl, I had my notebook out, handwriting it all (so that no technical errors could occur and accidentally send my message prematurely without my having written out my entire response) before typing out my message. I explained how I wasn't doing this to hurt her or my stepdad. I was just desperately needing to disconnect with the outside world and work on getting ready for the baby.

But then, in the middle of my process, I had a thought occur to me out of nowhere. I have always had something like psychic abilities that occur randomly and out of nowhere...and I have learned not to easily dismiss these feelings that I have. This feeling was telling me that I needed to contact one of my best friends because she had some more information for me.

So I contact my friend, directly asking her if my mom had contacted her. Right away, she answered that she had....days before...and that she had wanted to let me know but my phone had been off. Duh. She sent me this screenshot of my mom's message to her:



What in the actual **** is wrong with this woman?!

"Boundaries" are obviously a word that is not tucked away into her vocabulary.

Well, that did it for me.

I ceased writing my response to my mom. Why in the world would I even waste one more precious moment of my time trying to explain something to her that she obviously doesn't even want to understand. It's not my job to make her feel better. It's not my job to make sure she understood. But I was doing it to be nice.

Now I just don't care.

I began understanding, though, that it wasn't going to end there. She would continue harrassing me if I allowed any line of communication to be opened, so I had to shut them all down.


Unfortunately, my older kids are still dealing with it via other means. You see, for months, my stepdad has been posting anti-Mexican posts and memes on his Facebook page. Both my husband and daughter were still "friends" with him on FB. Now, let me explain...my husband is Mexican. Which makes our kids Mexican. To quote another friend of mine "Those are his grandkids....wtf is wrong with him?" But, hey, it's his page and he is entitled to his bigoted opinions. But we didn't want to see Mahri so upset all the time about seeing these posts and she was really being a trouper and trying her hardest not to unfriend him. I had told my mom a long time ago how it was hurting our family, his posts, and she must have apparently relayed the message to him (he doesn't speak to me on the phone unless he's mad at her and wants to complain about her or it's a birthday/holiday and he feels an obligation to call and express a congratulatory message) because his next post on his page was basically a "sorry not sorry that my posts offend you".

Alrighty then.

And the anti-Mexican posts continued.

And Mahri decided that she was not going to let this be forgotten. So she's been taking screenshots of every racist/bigoted post he put up, including anti-Mexican, anti-black, anti-Muslim (my household has friends of all nationalities, religions and beliefs, so this was important to her).

After this whole fiasco with my mom, Mahri came to me extremely agitated. She didn't want to say anything to me because she knew it would upset me but I told her that I was her mom and she had every right to come to me with ANYTHING that upset her.

So she showed me a screenshot she had just taken. Of her grandma (my mom)'s post about a joke of redneck girl's needing to shoot Mexicans and "Arabs".

While we don't think this is healthy for Mahri to see (or Christian, since he shares her FB account and sees these posts, just like she does), we have decided that the choice is hers on whether she remains connected with them on Facebook.

What I do know is this: the damage that has been evoked due to my parents' hatred, anger and bigotry cannot be erased.

We have had a few family meetings discussing everyone's thoughts on the issues and what the kids would like to see happen in the end. Our conclusions will remain private and within our family, however, I can honestly say that this has been a travesty and a total disaster that we never want to see repeated again.

I know that some of you have been genuinely worried about me and the baby and wanting to know if everything is okay. I hope that this post is able to clear it up for you and let you know that we're working on it! Thank you for your love and support!! I love you all!!

And we're hoping that, as we take the steps to heal and bring happiness and peace back into our home, the rest of my pregnancy and birth...and the welcoming of our tiny baby into our family...will be overflowing with love, laughter and happiness!!

xoxo

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'm Getting a Maid?!!



When Antonio first mentioned getting me a "maid", I'll admit, I was flabbergasted.

Weren't maids for frou-frou ladies who lunched and took showers on the daily?

I mean, I've always *joked* about hiring a maid but it was in the same vein as joking about going to the salon to get my hair dyed instead of having Antonio do it for me as I sit in a kitchen chair while the kids ooohed and aaaahed over watching my hair magically turn colors.

But he's totally dead serious.

Now, let me clarify, I'm not talking about a "maid" in the sense of a fancy shmancy uniformed lady that answers my door for me, wielding a feather duster.

But more of having someone come in once or twice a month to help with some of the chores that seemed to get pushed to the side, as I struggle to make sure everyone is doing school on a regular basis, all mouths are being fed several times a day and I'm just doing my damned best to keep from going insane. Plus I'll be caring for a newborn that will be nursing on demand and helping to run our family business. I mean, that will be me with the business running...not the baby. We'll wait until at least the toddler years before showing them how to email out invoices and contracts....

I gotta say, I'm definitely seeing merit in the whole kit n caboodle...especially with having someone come in and help me get the house in order for a home birth.

And before anyone is quick to point out the fact that I have two strong and able-bodied teenagers and 2 energy-boosted youngsters that can help me with scrubbing the way-down-low shower tiles (that I just can't reach with this big pregnant belly in the way...honestly!) or with polishing up the woodwork near the floor that seems to attract dust like nobody's business...let me clarify that my kids have a lot on their plates, too. They have their own daily and weekly chores that they (usually) do on a (fairly...occasional) basis.

My husband works a lot. The kids and I work a lot. (Christian was actually working 60-hr work weeks last summer when he went to work with Antonio...while Mahri stayed home and helped me chase around the little boys and keep the house in order)

We need a bit of help sometimes just bringing it all together.

And I don't think there's any shame in that, is there?

And that sums up what's on my mind right now.

How are things on your end??

xoxo

Monday, February 20, 2017

Healthy Vegetarian Weekly Meal Plan | Feb 20-25


Yep...I think that's the first time I've commited to titling my weekly meal plan as "vegetarian". Even though most weeks here lately it is. ::shrugs::

For those of you who are new to my blog, let me give you a quick background: we're a family of 6. I'm pregnant with baby #5 and am due in April! Two of my kids are teenagers...one a teen boy, so you can only imagine how much he eats! Yikes! I also have 2 PreK/K aged boys...who are currently going through a growth spurt, me thinks. I homeschool, so that means that they are home all day...and eating a lot. ::wink:: 

I try not to have a lot of bread and simple carbs in the house, but I'm not super vigilent about it. I just aim to fill the house with as much healthy food as I can manage.

I mix up breakfasts each week to keep the kids from getting bored.

Lunches are done Lunchables-meet-Buffet style. They go over my list of things they can pick from each week (I try to mix it up every week). Little kids can pick 3 things...big kids pick 4....fresh fruits don't count, so they can always add those to their plate whenever along with the rest of their lunch. Snacks are picked from the same list as the lunch items. If it's not fresh fruit, they only get 1 choice. I'm not made of money, yo!

Not all of my dinners will feature a recipe link....but if I have one, I'll include it! Just click on the dinner if it's a link and it'll take you to the recipe in a separate window.

And, now, grab your hats and let's gooooo!

BREAKFAST OPTIONS

Yogurt with fresh raspberries
Yogurt with fresh blackberries
Yogurt with fresh banana slices
PB Banana Overnight Oats sweetened with honey

I will have either fresh fruit or eggs...maybe with spinach or avocado

LUNCH/SNACK CHOICES

Granola bar
Applesauce
Scoop of Peanut Butter
Graham Crackers
Dinner leftovers
Almond date rolls
Dried figs
Fruit Smoothie

DINNERS

with cornbread from my Farmers Market
(we didn't eat this last week...so it's on this week's meal plan again!)

Whole Grain Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Fresh Mushrooms
with bell pepper focaccia bread from my FM

Sauteed Veggies with Alfredo Sauce
(just stirfry up some spiralized zucchini, julienned carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts, those teeny ears of corn found in Asian dishes and mushrooms...top with a little Alfredo sauce)

Pita Pizzas
(whole grain pitas filled with fresh pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella from my FM, corn, onion, bell peppers and mushrooms)

Super Easy Vegan Pho
(minus the tofu...this pho was an enormous hit with my family a couple of weeks ago, and they've been begging me to make it again, so alrighty then!! Pho it is!!)

Date Night/Take Out

I'm trying to get back into easier dinners since, as I'm getting closer to my due date, I'm feeling so tired and lazy and not really wanting to spend much time in the kitchen at all.

I'm sure you mamas understand!
xoxo

What's on the menu at your house this week?? Tell me in the comments or on Facebook!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Healthy Weekly Meal Plan | Mom's Menu | Large Family


Okay, did any of ya'll make any of the recipes I gave you last week?

If you follow me on IG and FB, you know that I altered the recipe that was supposed to be Spicy Asian Zucchini Noodles (couldn't find almond butter at my farmers market) and ended up just stir frying the veggies and putting a little alfredo sauce on them. And they were loved by all!!

But I think the Vegan Pho was the grand slam of the week.

I really think you need to try it!!

In fact, let me know if you do make it!! We had never had Pho before, so we were all nervous to even try it...but, boy, are we glad we did!!

I didn't end up making the Pesto Spaghetti, so I may make it this week...we'll see. Maybe instead of the freezer meal...hmm...

I'm now 31 weeks along in this pregnancy (Baby #5, yo!) and as much as I would looove easy packaged recipes, I just can't do it. I actually WANT to eat healthy whole foods, so there ya have it. I just have to get over this exhaustion and waddle my big ol' belly into the kitchen and deal with it. hahaha

Here is this week's healthy meal plan:
(Grocery & Farmers Market haul videos will be up soon!)

BREAKFAST CHOICES

Yogurt with dried mango or papaya

Cantaloupe

PB Banana Smoothies
(with almond milk)

LUNCH & SNACK OPTIONS
(little kids pick 3 for lunch, big kids pick 4...unless little kids want to add a veggie, then they get to pick the veggie and their 3 other choices....snack time yields just one choice)

Corn
Graham Crackers
Scoop of Organic Peanut Butter
Cheese
(either cheese cubes, a cheese stick or a mini Babybel wheel)
Applesauce
Celery sticks
Dinner leftovers
A Cutie (orange)
Banana

THIS WEEK'S DINNERS

(Gluten Free, Paleo and Vegetarian)

(entree is Gluten Free, Low Carb and I'll be making it Vegetarian)

Freezer Meal OR Pesto Spaghetti

(Vegetarian)

(Gluten Free & Vegetarian)

aaaand a Date Night/Take Out

Sides are still TBD at the time of my putting this post together. Most of the dinners have a recipe link, so be sure to check them out!

And let me know...what's on your menu this week?!