Merry (fuzzy) Christmas from the vegetarian (vegan, protein controlled) toddler and her proud mommy (and author of her blog)! Here’s hoping your holiday season (because we aren’t done with Christmas yet) is full of people who truly appreciate what they have and may you be reminded that this is the “giving” season, not the “receiving” season! So, ho ho ho and stuff.

New Year

In the world of parenting, at least the one I live in, the New Year doesn’t come in January with the bells and whistles, parties and late nights spent throwing one back. In my world, the New Year comes in the middle of August: when my school teacher husband takes off to the classroom and my two kids prepare to go back to preschool and daycare.
I must admit, having a husband at home during the summer this year, gave me great piece of mind about the care of my children, knowing I could just run home and see them. Now with the school year starting, they are headed back to their own classrooms. My son takes off toward the playground each morning, while my daughter has only gone two days without crying as I’m leaving (which is the worst feeling in the world).
Although I must say the grocery bill has dropped considerably at home :)
Happy New Year to all of you educators, mothers and fathers, and kiddos headed back.

Food Fotos

Flipping through the blogs that I follow that range from ideas on vegan cooking to healthy toddler snacks I see one constant staple: FOOD FOTOS! Somehow I think that these folks have professional photographers who are taking these pictures because they are extremely professional looking. I like food and my vegetarian toddler likes food. When I made a dinner for myself, I do try and make it look like the photos that I see through all of these blogs. I also like to make my vegetarian toddler’s food look pretty on the “plate.” Okay, so she doesn’t use a plate, but you know what I mean. Anyway, I feel the presentation is part of what makes something taste good because if it’s visually appealing, it must be good, right?!
Well, no, that’s not always the case but I try anyway.
So, in this short little blurp, I will make a pledge to include more photos of the food I make for my babies; real life photos not taken by a professional (even though I used to take photos as part of my job) that are really going to be eaten!

Dad just doesn't get it!

It’s hard enough having a nearly 16 month old toddler that is not only vegetarian, but vegan pushed to protein-controlled. We’ve got to think about what foods she will eat, what she won’t eat or doesn’t like, mixed in with what she needs to eat to maintain good health and good body weight.

Being that it is difficult, my husband (Daddy) isn’t as involved in her meal planning as much as I think he needs to be. Mommy doesn’t always feel well and can’t always make dinner every night, 365 days. So yes, at times, Moms need help!

There are three to four staples that my husband will give to our daughter: bananas, yogurt, waffles and occassionally some cereal. And honestly, that is all he knows how to give her. She’s not a mutant or some fire-breathing food hater! She loves food!

So I bust my hump trying to come up with new ideas for things to make for her. I mean, she is a toddler, not an adult or even a teenager; a toddler. So I’ve made homemade sweet potato fries, zucchini cakes with parmesean, zucchini boats with stuffing, a number of veggie pastas, banana pancakes, and the list goes on. So make some effort Dad and at least boil some pasta, throw in some veggies and add some sauce, not a hard task.

Needless to say, Dad was in charge of her dinner last night which consisted of … a banana, waffles and a yogurt :(

zucchini crop

So I planted two pots of zucchini plants (2 in each) and they grew and grew and turned into two very beautiful pots of zucchini plants; very green and leafy with big yellow blooms. I’ve watered, added plant food and continued to prune when needed and so far, no zucchini. I had one little one a few inches long come on and turn green and was quite cute. Unfortunately, the little zucchini rotted on the plant before it could grow much over those few inches. I continue to water and continue to use plant food in hopes that we might get some zucchini yet, but for now, I’m buying mine at the farmers market!
Wah, wah, wah

Ready to plant

With my daughter beginning her journey through life as a vegetarian/vegan/protein controlled toddler, we tried a ton of veggies last summer while the produce was fresh! We discovered that the zucchini was the best veggie for our little girl: she loved it; anyway it was cooked, in whatever dish I made! We sampled loads of other veggies and she did enjoy them as well! She loves her veggies and I love that she loves her veggies! So this year, I decided to plant my own zucchini plant and see how it grows - now to buy the soil and pot to plant it in if I can’t find some ground space. Wish us luck as we attempt to grow a plant with this very black thumb mother :)

Power in Protein

So my vegetarian toddler has been non-vegetarian for a little over a week. Knowing nothing about the medical profession, I will risk saying that the additional protein in her diet has effected her in good ways. A little girl with super sensitive skin, she was prone to horrible diaper rash; just horrible. I’ll take another risk in saying, even though it might make those without diaper-wearing children uncomfortable, that we have not had to apply butt cream in that same time frame. Coincidence? I think not. I believe her body was telling her that it wanted more protein and now that she has it, her digestive track has slowed down a big and her stomach is better equipped to fully digest the foods she eats.
Granted, we still load her up on veggies! She likes them and I see no reason to cut back on her intake of foods that are good for her. If only I could get more veggies in my 4-year-old son.
Parenting is a constant uphill battle :)
Happy Friday!

I hid the cauliflower

I’m constantly working on giving my family more of what is good for them and less of what is not. Our children are limited to one “junk” item a day (and sometimes I try and skip that when they’re not looking) and I try and give them as many vegetables as I can. My husband is still one of those that believe a meal consists of meat, potato, bread and a veggie. Yeah right! As a working mom, I don’t have time to whip all that up at 5:15 and have it ready by 6. No way. I do try and make a somewhat traditional meal once a week for the whole crew. Last night was traditional night. I made meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn. (no bread - because, really, no one needs all of those carbs) Both of my children like corn and only my vegetarian toddler will eat mashed potatoes (of the two children). For some silly reason my son loves potatoes but will not eat them mashed. It must be a texture thing. Last night, however, I made the potatoes healthier by adding a bag of cauliflower about 10 minutes into the boiling process. Did anyone notice the difference? Nope! My vegetarian toddler gobbled hers up, I had some and even my husband did not notice the difference. The only difference he saw was that there were a couple of little lumps - jerk! But they were really good. So many times we see something that could increase the health of our meals and we think, “Well, that sounds gross” and we don’t try it. We are all about trying things in our house and it really was good and it blended so well, no one could tell the difference. So, for those of you out there that are doing the cooking at home, if you want to make those potatoes a little lighter next time, only use half and make the other half cauliflower.

The philosopher

Short and sweet. I understand that life causes us all to rush around most days to where what we had for breakfast or “did I kiss my kids goodbye” is a blur by the time 8 a.m. rolls by. Those of us who are parents are especially guilty at times I think because we are packing lunches, dressing children who have to be dragged out of bed and pushing husbands to get up when the alarm goes off.

Well this morning was no different and as I am waiving to a rushing car, I hear sirens in the distant and wonder to myself how much harm we are doing to ourselves by constantly “racing” through life.

My advice, let’s all be late to work on Monday to take that extra minute with our children, to try and convince our husbands/wives to slow down and not top the spedometer in the car on the morning commute because we only get the one life, just the one, so let’s cherish those cute round faces while they are still young enough to let us.

Have a pleasant day.

Holding our breath

Today is the day we head to the lab to see if a month of protein and no B12 has been the ticket for our little vegetarian toddler. We probably won’t hear back until next week but I’ve got my fingers crossed that the results come back good. She is really growing into her own personality and is a joy every day.

Hands in

I love that even on a fast and furious evening when we grab a take-and-bake pizza, we can still add a healthy kick with salad. We just love Papa Murphy’s and it’s on the way home, with a million things to do, it’s an easy dinner fix. I’m a big fan of the garlic chicken pizza with tomatoes and green onion; yum yum. Of course, we have to get part of it with pepperoni because my 4-year-old lives for pepperoni pizza. Even though we have chosen pizza for dinner, we still see the importance of sitting down as a family and having a meal together. With the salad bowl in the center of the table, my husband and I both dive in and put salad on our plates. At that point, my formerly vegetarian toddler, grabs the bowl of salad and dives in with her hands; she picks out black olives and shoves those in and then proceeds to eat chunks of lettuce! Gotta love that girl!

Dear Mr. Fly

Dear Mr. Fly on the Wall,
Last night as the winds were whipping through our windows, blowing items off the ledges; whilst a severe thunderstorm was banging at our doors; we decided to carry our children to our basement bedroom. In the glow of candlelight, my two looked from each other back to me, blinking heavily and trying to decide whether to return to their slumber. My daughter, flanked by her brother and myself, rolled over into my arms and was once again sleeping soundly, which, in turn, made her brother snuggle in closer. Add dad, who was glued to the radio and for a few moments, our family of four was snuggled up together.
To you Mr. Fly, I hope you got a photo of us even though this mommy is hoping that each of us made a mental photo of what that moment looked and felt like and how in that moment, with the storm raging outside, all was perfect within.

Dinner ultimatum

So there is an unspoken rule within our household, okay, so it is spoken; the rule is: I cook and the husband cleans. I work full-time and get home at the same time as the rest of the household and go straight to work on dinner for the family so that it can be done by 6 so that my two young children won’t get overly cranky. Last night, I made grilled chicken breasts, caesar pasta salad, and sweet corn. YUM! I used three pots and the dishes we used to eat from. Needless to say, I cooked, but no cleaning.
So the ultimatum - I don’t cook if the kitchen isn’t clean!
Will there be dinner tonight? Find out after these messages :)

The great dairy debate

Since my vegetarian toddler has gone non-vegetarian (for her trial run) one of the great debates in our household is milk; or, in fact, non-dairy milk. Since going from breast milk/formula, we have given her almond milk, which she really enjoys.

My take on the matter is, why switch her off since she likes it. It’s like all the veggies she’s gotten used to and loves; why is there any need to change her diet so drastically to more of a “kid” diet when she already enjoys those foods that are better for her.

The only difference maybe, in the eyes of her daddy, is the price. The cost of one container of almond milk is equal to the price of a full gallon of regular milk and granted, I’m not trying to keep dairy away from her because she is a cheese-loving lady. I also don’t want to take the chance that it will bind her up with a sudden change.

So for now, I’ll continue the almond milk and give her a little milk here and there to her own liking, because really, kids are going to eat/drink what they like.

Room for improvement

So I get a call from our pediatric genetics clinic today because my vegetarain toddler had some labs done last week to check her levels. Well…the are both below the desired mark — which means, ladies and gentlemen, that (at least for now) we are OFF B12! Just to be certain you get that, we are OFF B12! Her labs are coming back so well that our doc believes that this is in fact something that was caused through momma (unknowingly) being B12 deficient and nursing her angel for 6 months. So on one side I feel bad because, even though breast feeding is best, in this case, I made my baby sick through it. Then, on the other side, she seems to be pulling out of it nicely and may not even need to be restricted in her diet. Awesome news for this momma.

Up and Walking

So apparently when you learn to walk and use that method to get yourself around you use much more energy and are hungrier than before you were walking. From experience, I have found that a hungry baby is a cranky baby :) and it seems as though I have a cranky baby on my hands about 10 minutes before I can get dinner made. Who knew?!