RSS Feed

Weekly Lunch Wrap-up

We finished our first week of school! And somehow a nutritious lunch was sent with Kiddo1 every day! Here’s what he ate…

Monday

 photo 2014-09-09 10.26.56_zpspuwld6fd.jpg

All the round foods! Sausage (grass-fed beef sausage I found at the local grocery store), disks of cucumber and carrots, strawberries, also sliced in rounds, and, finally, sweet potato “chips” that apparently were cut way too thick and were not too edible at all. We’ll get that one next time I’m sure.

I forgot what all the jokes were this week! I should photograph them with the lunch box or something… They were really funny, I swear.

Tuesday

 photo 2014-09-09 10.25.26_zpstylgx10k.jpg

I told Kiddo1 I was making him a deconstructed ham roll-up today. Little did he know that really just meant it was a salad. But a salad with almost more toppings than lettuce! He said it was pretty good, yay! Rounding out the meal is an Enjoy Life cookie and yellow watermelon. Yes, the watermelon is yellow! We found it at the farmer’s market over Labor Day weekend. It’s amazing! It stayed non-mushy for like two weeks after we cut it. Tastes like watermelon but better.

Wednesday

 photo 2014-09-15 14.17.40_zpsqbh7zyni.jpg

Sorry for the blurry picture. Sometimes I just shoot and run in the mornings! Lunch today is leftover ground turkey and asparagus stir-fry. He loved the turkey but… well I tried with the asparagus but it came back home anyway. In the muffin cups we’ve got cucumber and raisins, and on the right there’s carrot sticks and a broken Enjoy Life cookie.

Thursday

 photo 2014-09-15 14.18.40_zpsfi38nyyj.jpg

Ham roll-ups day! Or should I say, oh-crap-its-8am-and-lunch-isn’t-packed-yet day! We had this beautiful leaf lettuce leftover and it made the best wraps cause the leaves didn’t have stiff spines like romaine. They look pretty too. Of course, rounding out the box is an Enjoy Life cookie and carrots sticks because… well we were late.

Friday

 photo 2014-09-15 14.19.40_zpsa4f7osni.jpg

Why not begin and end the week with shape-themed lunches? Instead of circles today we have cubes! Okay well I guess the homemade chocolate chip cookie is a circle (why didn’t I make a couple cubed ones??) but for the rest of the lunch we have some more of that delicious yellow watermelon, ham, cucumbers, of course there are carrots and also some homemade BREAD! Whaaa??? Bread??? Yep, I’ve found a recipe for wheat/gluten-, egg-, dairy-, and nightshade-free bread that is soft and delicious. We’ve been making toast, french toast and even a couple sandwiches with it (and I’ll use it this Thanksgiving for stuffing). I’ll post the recipe later on. Oh and the cookie recipe!

Til next week!

 

Weekly Lunch Wrap-up & Guide

Waaaay back when I was pregnant, I did a weekly post called Tie Tuesday. It provided motivation for me to take care of myself and feel good about myself by holding myself accountable for getting dressed every day. Because getting dressed every day can be really hard for the pregnant! But forcing myself to not just throw on yoga pants but really try to put something together ended up making me feel really good about myself every day. I digress, but my point is the weekly posting of my outfits was a good motivation to do something I didn’t really want to do but was good for me.

So, I thought I might do the same sort of thing again but with a little twist. This time my dreaded task is lunch-making, but once I have it done I feel so super good that my son has a healthy lunch he can eat at school. I felt so proud the first day I even Instagramed a photo of my son’s lunch! And that’s when Tie Tuesday popped into my head again.

Each week I’ll post a photo and description of my son’s lunches. I hope this provides me with the motivation not only to make the lunch every day (actually, he needs to be making more of them too!) but I hope doing this also motivates me to use variety and new ideas when planning and packing meals out. Oh also! I write out a joke for his lunch every day too, so I’ll include that in the comments because I think they are very funny, even though I did not come up with them myself.

Let’s get to it!

Wednesday

 photo 2014-09-08 10.17.18_zpsfsf7zvl0.jpg

Okay so this is a short week because school started on the Wednesday after Labor Day. A good week to start with posting! Today we packed roll-ups with leftover pork, red onions, and a bit of BBQ sauce all wrapped up in a couple small leaves of romaine. Also packed: cut strawberries, carrot sticks, applesauce, and the dessert-of-the-week: homemade brownies (wheat-, egg-, dairy-free Bob’s Red Mill mix).

Today’s joke: What’s the king of all school supplies? (The Ruler)

Thursday

 photo 2014-09-08 10.18.41_zpszj2haea2.jpg

On Thursday I had fun with my julienne peeler on some carrots and cucumber. To keep with the theme I shredded chicken into strips as well! Coupled with BBQ sauce. Rounding out the left side is another brownie and grapes.

Today’s joke: What’s smarter than a talking bird? (A spelling bee)

Friday

 photo 2014-09-08 10.19.35_zpsn4kwxltg.jpg

I wasn’t ready for Friday. We must pack lunches at night! So my fall-back lunch is a romaine wrap. It’s like a sandwich, sorta, because you can stuff things in it, but it isn’t bread and it sneaks in a vegetable too (both because of the romaine and I can usually sneak some onion or something in there too, although he is getting wise to that). So today we had chicken, cucumber, and a tiny bit of onion in our romaine wrap, along with more carrot sticks, broccoli, raisins and an Enjoy Life chocolate chip cookie for desert (those egg-free brownies are only tasty for a couple days, plus this cookie is the first “processed” lunch item  so far!).

Today’s joke: What did one mathbook say to the other? (I’ve got problems)

Next week is a full five days! Hopefully I’ll be better about packing lunches the night before by then. And my picture-taking will slowly get better, I hope.

Also! Bonus feature today since it was a short week. I created a sort of map for us to use when we pack lunches. It is a general guide for us to use when we pack so that any of us can attempt to put together a nutritious lunch. I only wrote down the foods that Kiddo1 has a high likelihood of eating, but I’m sure we’ll be adding to the list as the year goes on since we continue to try new foods, sometimes trying the same ones again and again! Anyway, this is what is hanging on our fridge now:

 photo 2014-09-08 11.32.06_zpsvk6o2lro.jpg

I think it’s pretty self-explanatory but… each column is basically a food group that is needed for a complete lunch. We start with one protein, then at least one or two veggies, a fruit, and a dessert. Under each column title is a list of suggested foods that Kiddo1 likes. Of course we can put in other foods, these lists are just suggestions.

Below the list of foods for each column is a list of suggestions for serving. For protein you could put it… in a wrap, on a kabob with veggies, in a casserole or salad, etc, etc. Veggies can be cut in strips – thick or julienne/thin like Thursday’s lunch, cut in chunks or rounds for a kabob, dehydrated into chips, all kinds of things.

They all seem like simple suggestions but it’s really nice to have the list while you’re packing so you have a little less to think about. This also helps with my weekly meal planning so I remember to plan for a little extra food here and there so we have lunch ingredients handy. I’ve found it is hard for me to plan specific lunches, just easier to throw them together based on what we have. Perhaps I will change my tune after a couple weeks, I’m not so sure. Luckily I have the choice to change it whenever we all see fit!

Happy lunching, til next week!

Vacation Recap, Part 4

After our good times with friends and good food stores in Montana, we headed out for a full day 4!

Our first stop was the Berkley Pit in Butte, Montana. home of the Evel Knievel festival that we missed by just a week (but one of our friends went and it did look like a good time, although one you would probably want to go sans children). But we did learn all kinds of interesting and weird facts about the Pit: it was a mining pit, one of the richest in the country. It’s very deep, I don’t remember how much, but more memorable facts had to do with the toxicity of the Pit. The water is as acidic as lemon juice, even though it is filled with only fresh rain water. The folks that watch over the Pit have to shoot at water fowl (to scare them off) so that they don’t land in the water because if they do they’ll die (right away or later from complications I’m not sure…). And the Pit only has a few years left, I think until 2015 or 2020, until it is totally full and will start to overflow and spread toxic water everywhere. So they are building (or just finished building?) a pump to control the water level. WTF??? I just smacked my head like the whole time we were there. I can’t believe how people screw themselves over voluntarily. But that is probably a discussion for another blog altogether (perhaps one for which the writer can actually remember her facts!).

 photo IMG_20140711_120315-1_zpsnbj6gjd1.jpg

Beautiful toxic reflection

All those facts about the Pit were interesting, though, and it was a great opportunity to talk with Kiddo1 about how choices have consequences! Plus they had a nice little gift shop. I got myself a copper necklace and Kiddo1 picked up a wolf tooth charm necklace and a magnet (Kiddo1 and Mr. Handsome loved picking up magnets at almost every place we went).

We had a little picnic before taking off…

 photo 20140711_122619-1_zpsj21tq7zu.jpg

Picnic at the Pit, very amusing

And then did more driving through Montana. It seemed like around just about every turn was an idyllic Montana scene: a small river running through evergreen-covered rolling hills with a mountain in the background. If only the road pictures could do it justice:

 photo 2014-09-03 06.08.41_zpseuvdda70.jpg

Montana!

Our last Montana stop was at the Southern-most tip of the state, that little bit that hangs down between Idaho and Wyoming. There we stopped at Earthquake Lake for a little break and some education before heading into Yellowstone. Earthquake Lake had all kinds of interesting and depressing facts too!

The lake was the site of pretty severe earthquake back in the 50’s. It occurred in the middle of a busy summer night in which the whole area was full of campers. The articles said there were even people camped by the roadside because campgrounds were full and the weather was beautiful. There was no moon that night, it was super dark, and all of a sudden this huge quake hits. They call it “the night the lake tilted” because apparently one side rose by like 20 feet I think, causing the lake’s dam to spill over (although it did hold even though it suffered significant structural damage) and all kinds of violent water sloshing. Geyers in Yellowstone erupted and aftershocks continued for months. It caused millions of dollars of damage, even in the 50s. A few dozen people lost their lives and the survivors had to huddle in the near-pitch darkness and wait until morning until they could both be reunited with their families and seek medical attention.

Luckily our time at the lake was much more pleasant. We toured the Visitor’s Center that gave us all the facts about the Earthquake and took some pictures of the lovely lake.

 photo 2014-07-11 15.34.53_zpsfae6olyc.jpg

Those tree trunks sticking out of the lake weren’t stuck in water before the quake

Then it was time to get into Yellowstone! We were so excited!

We arrived via West Yellowstone so we made Old Faithful our first stop, both because it is also in the West side of the park and because we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss it! We only had to wait about 20 minutes for the next eruption so we spent the time in the gift shop (of course) and running into some interesting characters who tried really hard to take pictures of our Baby2. They did ask nicely if they could take her picture but I politely declined. It happened several times while we were in the park, so by the time we left we were ready to be away from people for a little while!

After our gift shop adventure, we found a nice spot to watch Old Faithful, back far enough that we could get a good overall view:

 photo IMG_20140711_180630_zpskemvyf7b.jpg

There she blows!

And we’re glad we were far back because the wind really kicked up and half the people sitting on the benches in front got pretty soaked with sulfur water! Stinky.

After Old Faithful we drove North and tried to fit in the Grand Prismatic Spring, but it was getting to be dinnertime and we still needed to set up camp. Kiddo1 and I rushed through the boardwalks and snapped a couple pictures while Mr. Handsome waited with sleeping Baby2 in the car. We were in a hurry, though, so we didn’t make it all the way back to the Grand Spring, just a few little pools off the parking lot, but it was still pretty cool! We will have something awesome to come back for next time.

 photo 2014-09-03 06.12.53_zpsqozgnrbr.jpg

This little pool is a subdued version of the larger spring’s deep blue waters and orange “beaches” of sulfur

After the spring/pools we made our way a couple more miles North to Madison Campground were we stayed the night. We got all educated about what a “bear box” is (we didn’t use it, we just put our foods in the car), bought some Montana-grown firewood and set up our camp and cooking fires.

 photo 20140711_200521_zpsmuc0fgcw.jpg

Kiddo1 to the right, hacking up a tree stump with the hachet

We made beef stew in the cast iron dutch oven that night and it turned out pretty good. I had seared the meat and combined everything in a large freezer bag and frozen it solid before we left. I kept it at the very bottom of our cooler and it was still a little slushy when I got around to using it. I was a little nervous carrying around frozen beef for that long but we ate it and we’re fine! And it was already cooked so I felt the danger was fairly minimal, given that we were boiling it all again at the campsite.

After dinner we had to have some s’mores, of course:

 photo 20140711_204134_zpsf9osp1og.jpg

S’more and lingering sausage

Then we got everything cleaned up and we headed off to a nature talk at the campsite’s amphitheater. We took a path recommended by the camp director and it was very lovely in the evening!

 photo 20140711_211745_zpsv8aww4dp.jpg

Trying to take a picture of Kiddo1 and Baby2 side-by-side but Baby2 was not having it and Kiddo1 had had enough

 photo 20140712_093529_zpsg7hhyl2l.jpg

Lots of bubblies coming up from the creek bottom

 photo 20140711_212052_zpswsaqiobh.jpg

His must-have standing-on-a-rock picture

We made it to the nature talk… but we didn’t stay very long. Baby2 was not amused and it was getting dark quickly. So instead of sitting with the others and watching the stars come out, we had another lovely walk along the creek back to the campsite. Luckily we had a near-full moon and flashlights to guide us back.

 

It was a great day 4!

Diet Changes are Hard, Part 2

Last time I wrote about why we’re making more big changes to our diet. Those changes are that we are cutting out dairy, eggs, wheat, and peanuts for at least a year. After reading a lot after receiving our son’s food allergy results (cause there were all kinds of weird stuff that came up on the IGG results that our doctor had never seen before and even the testing lab was really confused by; I won’t go into the details but I will say we always knew our son was one-of-a-kind!) and after learning so much more about foods I’ve also added some restrictions on our consumption of nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, paprika, etc). We won’t cut them completely – a little pepper in a sausage skillet is okay, but we won’t eat a pizza (ugh, for multiple reasons, nightshades is like the least of our worries on that one).

We cut out all the 4 big ones right away (well, right after the ice cream binge I wrote about in the last post, haha). I’d say within two or three days we were totally converted (I still have a couple items in my pantry to give to friends but we’re just ignoring them for now). I took the time in the first few days to look up lots of new recipes that conform to our new diet so I wouldn’t have to wonder what to make. We went out to the flour warehouse and got some gluten-free flours to try. But no matter how much I try to research and prepare, it’s still hard to switch some things.

Breakfast had turned out to be the most difficult to meal plan for. It is hard to find breakfast items that aren’t eggs or bread/pancakes/waffles/muffins. Our breakfast staple lately has been bacon and eggs, so if we cut out the eggs we’re left with just bacon which, while delicious, isn’t the well-balanced breakfast that we’re going for.

Of course there’s fruit for breakfast, but fruit has a lot of sugar so I don’t want to just eat fruit every day. We need some protein, too.

One day we tried a breakfast skillet – it was mostly sweet potatoes (not a nightshade even though it has “potato” in the name, and actually they were yams or something), onion, our beloved bacon, garlic, salt and pepper (peppercorn: also not a nightshade). Mr. Handsome and I liked it, so did Kiddo1’s sleepover friend for the night, but Kiddo1 not so much. We will be trying again.

Flour is pretty easy to convert to gluten/wheat-free, although I’m discovering a bit of a learning curve with the more detailed baking tasks like muffins and pancakes. Bread, with it’s few ingredients, has been turning out great. I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Homemade Bread Mix for my first try, although I will experiment with GF flours to make my own mix (hopefully one that is nightshade-free, as BRM uses potato starch). I used the recipe on the side of the package (although I accidentally added both oil and my butter-replacer but it turned out really good!).

I really wanted to tackle an egg-free french toast for some reason (I guess because Kiddo1 loves french toast!) so the first thing I made with my first loaf of GF bread was super thick slices of french toast. I used this recipe from the Minimalist Baker – it calls for ground chia seeds instead of eggs (which I also used to make the bread). I used hemp milk for both recipes as well. For a dish that’s pretending to have eggs when it clearly does not, this was pretty good! I would add it to our regular breakfast rotation for sure.

We still can’t eat french toast every day, though (both because of nutrition and time, cause french toast took awhile to make). So I’m working on other recipes – more skillets, because they pack the biggest nutritional punch, but every few days we can have something bready like the french toast or pancakes (two fails on pancakes so far, still looking for a success on that front) or muffins (three sub-pair but edible tries on zucchini bread so far – we have a lot of zucchini from the garden to use). We’ll try to limit our fall-back bacon to just a couple times a week and sneak in other breakfast meats like sausage and even some chicken now and then (but we’re limiting chicken to once or twice a week cause that came up a little bit on Kiddo1’s food allergy test too).

We’re making big progress on breakfast but still struggling to find some rhythm with it. We have done really, really well at trying new things, though. In the last week alone we have done the following:

  • I made homemade lard and have used it as a butter substitute for almost everything (except greasing the baking pans – I still use butter for this because the lard doesn’t seem appealing and Mr. Handsome isn’t the biggest fan of coconut oil, so I need to come up with something for this).
  • Tries of GF baking/breakfasts already mentioned above.
  • We all tried several new-to-us squashes: acorn, kabocha, and yellow-hooked, with red kuri and pattypan waiting in the pantry.
  • We’ve tried coconut milk ice cream and while it isn’t totally the same it does help with the craving.
  • We’ve tried hemp milk in baking (I like it so far) and rice “chocolate” milk that isn’t so great but worth the try.
  • We’ve tried new allergy-friendly cookies from the store to also help with our sweet tooths.

I’m pretty proud of the whole family for coming along with all these changes so quickly. We still have so much progress to make with trying foods and incorporating new foods into our regular meal rotation but if we keep up this momentum we won’t have any troubles.

After we received the food allergy results and were leaving our naturopath’s office he said to us, try to focus more on the foods that you CAN eat instead of the ones you can’t. I try to think of that and remind everyone of it when things get tough. Sure there’s a bunch of things that we can’t have, but there are a bounty of foods out there that we can have and so many of those we’ve never even tried. I think we have a really exciting time ahead of us!

Foods and Bellies Update

Whoa, summer has totally gotten away from us! The days are slipping by so fast I can hardly stand it. I swear we were just on vacation and now it’s time to go back to school.

Speaking of vacation, I’m way behind on my recap posts but I’ll get there. I do want to make sure I document our trip as much as I can. Everything will get done eventually, right?

Today I wanted to write an update about how our diet changes are going, because there have been big developments. We’ve definitely taken things a few steps further…

I’ve briefly mentioned before that Kiddo1 has always had some stomach problems. We’ve seen a few doctors in the past and have been on a treatment plan for years, but nothing has ever really worked at making him feel better. We decided to take a completely different path than we always have – we’ve always seen regular doctors (two pediatricians and three gastroenterologists in two states) and have been prescribed pharmaceutical medications. There were mentions of other things we could do, mostly diet-related, but we never got a lot of guidance on anything else we could do. This time we scheduled another doctor’s appointment, but with a naturopathic doctor.

Naturopaths are like regular doctors – they have a license to practice medicine and they can write the same prescriptions as MDs. What is different is that they tap in to alternative forms as medicine to provide treatment as well. There are more interested in holistic health than treating symptoms, the latter of which we’ve found to be the M-O of most MDs (at least the ones we’ve seen!).

Right away we enjoyed hanging out with this doctor at our appointment. He asked us questions no one had ever asked before, and as I answered them I saw so many more probable causes of Kiddo1’s troubles reveal themselves. He looked at what I would think are totally random things, like at one point when we were checking out to leave he came over and asked to feel the texture of our hair. Kiddo1 and I both have sort of a dry, rough texture to our hair and he said this can be indicative of a thyroid condition (and wouldn’t you know it, thyroid issues are in my family history, which we had already talked about in the office). So we were impressed right away: impressed that he knew so much but, more importantly, impressed that he seemed to care about my son’s whole health (and even mine as we talked about symptoms that Kiddo1 and I might share). I could go on and on about how I now think everyone should go see a naturopath, but I think my point has been made.

So, the naturopath gave us a whole list of things we can do – supplements are on the list but there’s a lot of non-pill stuff too like breathing exercises and, wouldn’t you know it, diet changes. The first thing he had us do was get a food allergy test. Of course the test came with lots of disclaimers – it’s only so accurate, it’s just to get an idea of what could be the problem, it takes three weeks to come back, etc, etc. We also tested his thyroid levels with the same blood draw (which was good because we were not doing the blood draw twice! Mr. Handsome took him alone to that appointment and let’s just say Mr. Handsome and Kiddo1 probably needed a little more support for that activity).

For the last few months I’ve been blaming grains for his woes – I said so in that previous post I did about our diet changes. According to the food allergy test I was half right – Kiddo1 is sensitive to wheat (not rice or oats though!), he registered a 4/7 on the IGE allergen scale (that’s the one where you don’t have an immediate reaction to an allergen but rather a delayed one, which means that he can technically survive eating these foods but his body won’t work as well and he won’t ever thrive on these foods).

But the real culprit, which we didn’t really want to hear, is dairy. He’s a 5, almost 6/7 on the IGE for dairy. Casein, whey, yogurt, all of it. That was a rough blow for all of us.

We’re supposed to avoid dairy for a whole year. Avoid meaning do not touch it at all, watch out for hidden dairy in foods with caramel coloring, casein, and all that other stuff. We’re also supposed to avoid wheat and he came up high enough on eggs and peanuts to take those off the table for 3-6 months. In a year we will test again and if there is no change after all that avoiding, then we know the allergies are real. If there is change, we may be able to re-introduce foods on a super rare basis. So we do want to commit to this avoidance practice really hard so we can establish Kiddo1’s diet for the long term. I’d hate for him to have to avoid something for his whole life, so hopefully this year of sacrifice will pay off.

Damn you, dairy, with your delicious ice creams and cheeses! I never realized how much we relied on dairy until we had to cut it out. And by we…. I mean that we’re all taking on these diet changes in support of Kiddo1. Plus it’s really hard to make different things for everyone, and it would be really mean to scarf down a fat bowl of ice cream in front of Kiddo1 (or even behind his back – I had some cheese at a lunch outing last week and I felt so guilty! But it was so tasty!!). Cheese was getting us to try/eat so many veggies… What do we do about that now?

I’ll get into how we’ve reacted to this news in another post because this is getting long, but I wanted to add my own naturopath experince, too.

About a month ago I started getting stomach cramps. Not menstrual cramps because they were higher in my abdomen, but they felt almost the same – a tight, crampy feeling. The first day I had to lie down and I couldn’t make dinner because it hurt so bad. It happened again the next day, and again and again for like two weeks. I’m not one to go to the doctor voluntarily, but Mr. Handsome said this has gone on too long and I need to find out what was going on. If nothing else to rule out that I had something serious going on. I googled my symptoms (horrible thing to do when you have vague symptoms!) and everything from cancer to ulcers came up. So I caved to going to the doctor, but first I found a naturopath for myself! I like my son’s doctor but I just like to see a lady for some reason. And he likes to see boy doctors. So there you go.

My naturopath was also super great and asked a ton more questions than I normally get asked at the doctor. And not just the standard stuff they have to ask but honing in on something that catches their attention. By the end of the visit (naturopath visits are also really long – both our first appointments were 90 minutes each) we had ruled out cancer and ulcers, gull bladders and all kinds of stuff. My misery is a mystery! But she said that sometimes our bodies can only take so much of something. Maybe my wheat and dairy diet was just no longer serving me well.

This appointment happened about a week before we got the food allergy tests back. But my doctor and I also talked about my son and his digestive issues when she asked about family history (because digestive issues did not start with my son, they go very far up the family line except I’ve never experienced them). She said she’s seen his symptoms in 7 other children before (that she’s treated) and 5 times out of 7 it was a severe dairy allergy that was the culprit. I thought that was interesting, especially after getting Kiddo1’s test back the next week.

Anyway, even though we couldn’t pinpoint anything specific causes for my symptoms at my appointment, I still left with an action plan just like Kiddo1 did after his appointment (of course mine is different). I have a bunch of supplements to take and I’m supposed to journal my food intake (and sleep, stools, stomach “feels”), and I have some tools for dealing with cramps when I get them.

We immediately* changed our diet when we got Kiddo1’s allergy test and I started taking supplements around the same time. Since then I haven’t had another fit of cramps that have made me lie down for hours, so that’s progress! I thought maybe it was just the diet changes, not the supplements, but I didn’t take them one day and I didn’t feel as good. So then I thought the diet change had nothing to do with it, but after I had that cheese I didn’t feel as good either (and I snuck in a WHOLE pita bread the other day and just felt AWEFUL afterward). Of course these immediate reactions could be a result of all kinds of other things that I’m not aware of, but for now I’ll just keep taking my supplements and avoiding some foods because I feel better when I do so.

But eating, man… eating is harder. I promise to write soon about that!

*”immediately” meaning we all went home from the appointment and stuffed our faces full of ice cream and cheese and bread. Seriously, first we had ice cream, then mac and cheese for dinner and more ice cream. We gave away our wheat flour and our cheese and threw out old cereal and potato chips but we ate every last bit of ice cream in that freezer and felt damn good about it. It was gone after two days and we look back on it fondly. Everything else we cut out cold.

Vacation Recap, Part 3

Posted on

We left off entering Montana on vacation day 3. One of the things I enjoyed about this trip was seeing the landscape change as we traveled. Near Mt. St. Helens everything was green and rolling with individual mountain peaks in the distance. Then Eastern Washington went golden with its shining summer grasses. Idaho was more green but very rocky and we could tell the altitude had increased a bit. Then going into Montana some of the rockiness softened a bit and the hills were a mix between Washington’s absolute yellow and Idaho’s evergreen.

We went to Missoula to see friends. These folks were friends of ours from the day we moved to the Pacific Northwest. They just happened to move into the place next door to us on the same day we were moving in. Our sons are the same age so of course they went to elementary school together. They moved out of that building and into a different school district a few years later, then they moved on to Montana and have been there for a year. Their son had come our to see us for a few days the week before, so now we were back seeing the whole family!

It was very hot in Montana. Idaho had been slightly cooler than Washington but Montana wasn’t following that lead. We sat around for the afternoon catching up, then took off to explore a weekly downtown event in shady places. There is a park near the river that hosts the event with a couple dozen food vendors and even beer that you can walk around with! But first we visited the park’s carousel for a quick spin.

 photo 20140710_190517_zpsvci9xxoa.jpg

Happy!

 photo 20140710_191117_zps1qspvsf8.jpg

Trying a solo “ride” after the music stopped

Then we were off to check out the food carts and take photos in front of this large bulb of garlic.

 photo IMG_20140710_184350_zpsbfi9u8u0.jpg

Kiddo1, still not 100% amused

We sat on a little hill and ate tacos and pizza while watching all the folks who came downtown for the evening. Near the event is the river that runs through town. It run pretty fast and over some rocks at just the right angles for surfing. It’s almost like that thing you see on commercials for cruises where people are surfing on the boat, except there’s no “surfing machine” to pump the water here, it’s just controlled by the river. We should have taken a picture! Kiddo1 probably has one on his camera…

We attempted to hang out more with our friends by taking them to our hotel to swim, but we hadn’t noticed the time had gotten late and the pool was already closed! The only other thing the kids wanted to do was jump on the hotel beds, so we decided to call it a night. It was so nice to see friends again; if only we had more days to spend in each town!

In the morning I enjoyed one of the attractions on our list all by myself! I got up a little early and wondered of to the Good Food Store which was conveniently located a couple minutes from our hotel.

 photo IMG_20140711_065855_zps06rrkz4j.jpg

Good food is here!

The Good Food Store is one of those locally-based grocery stores that I prefer to do my shopping with. They source a good bit, if not all, of their produce locally and they carry a lot of organic foods that aren’t produce as well. I had planned on stopping by a cool store like this or farmer’s market every few days to stock up on supplies again. This store did not disappoint! I was able to score all the goods we needed to keep making most of our meals.

Back with the fam we enjoyed the free breakfast our hotel had to offer:

 photo 20140711_083814_zpszkgjpaib.jpg

Baby2 enjoys some hotel-provided scrambled eggs while I cut her up some strawberries and prepared my daily lemon water

And we headed out to see more of Southwestern Montana! I’ll pick up on the rest of day 4 next time!

Vacation Recap, Part 2

Posted on

When we left off yesterday we had just finished packing up our campsite in The Inferno Pasco, Washington and were back on the road for day 2. We were sweaty, but on the road.

Day 2 was a short car day. I liked to plan a few short car days to make up for the few long car days we had. We had still packed up the snack cooler that morning with a few things for the peanut gallery to munch on. If they had some snacks we found that they were much more quiet and easy-going. Imagine that! It pays to keep their mouths busy.

Our weird road stop for the day was the milk bottle buildings of Spokane, Washington. They are two buildings in two different parts of town. I’m not sure why they’re milk bottles but they did make for a nice photo opportunity.

 photo IMG_20140710_113640_zpswou1ssyh.jpg

Milk Bottle Buildings!

The neighborhood that the bottle on the right was in was super adorable. Spokane is a pretty cool town. I had no idea it was one of the bigger towns in the area. Even folks from Coeur d’Alene (our next destination) have to go to Spokane for some things.

From Spokane it is a less than an hour to Coeur d’Alene. We were staying with Mr. Handsome’s friends from college who he hadn’t seen for a really long time. They were all so happy to get together! Apparently Mr. Handsome was responsible for his two friends falling in love, so that was a nice story to hear! When we got into town we had lunch at a cool new burger establishment called Crafted.

 photo IMG_20140709_162933_zps8nnltaix.jpg

Hanging at our lunch table

Then we did a little walk around the very cute downtown Coeur d’Alene. Mr. Handsome’s friends gave Kiddo1 a book about CDA’s own Millie the Moose and Mudgie the Mouse so we went to see a one of the moose sculptures of downtown. Kiddo1 was not into it at the time, hence he is not pictured…

 photo 20140709_153918_zpsaatykqmi.jpg

With Millie the Moose

But he perked up when it came time to peruse the candy shop. Still no photographs allowed of him, though, so I got Baby2 again instead.

 photo IMG_20140709_163247_zpsuxx0n6gr.jpg

Sugarrrrrrrr!

We hung out at Mr. Handsome’s friends’ house in the evening and had dinner, then a trip on the boat!

Baby2 had never been on a boat before! Our hosts actually had to get a life jacket that was small enough for her. They were so sweet. Kiddo1 did have a blast swimming in the lake. He now thinks lake swimming is super fun. Baby2 was a little timid at first…

 photo 20140709_205430_zps0mcwuepz.jpg

She’s not so sure about this boat

But she warmed up to the idea of aquatic travel eventually.

 photo IMG_20140709_205243_zpswjlrntzm.jpg

Happy!

We ended our evening with ice cream, everyone’s favorite way to end the evening.

 photo IMG_20140709_225637_zpszmeqqvaf.jpg

Kiddo1 with Mr. Handsome’s friends’ kids

Although Mr. Handsome and I really ended our day with diaper laundry and an upset little lady. Baby2 was having a hard time falling asleep when we stayed at someone’s house or in a hotel. She did great going to sleep when we were camping though! Luckily our hosts weren’t disturbed (at least they claimed to have not been disturbed). And she did settle down after a bit of snuggling and reassurance.

I mentioned diaper laundry – yes, we still cloth diaper when we travel! It is easy, as long as we can do laundry every other day or so. We keep the soiled diapers in our best wetbag (best at containing the diaper aromas, that is) and we have one backpack dedicated to clean diapers, wipes, covers, and our diaper pad for changes. We’re good at changing a diaper in the car (the minivan provides lots of flat surfaces). I think we have our system down pretty well! I can tell you I’d much rather carry around one cute wetbag with diapers that I know I’ll wash and get all fluffy soft and clean again than to carry around even a few used disposables, or have to stop at a store periodically to buy diapers. Honestly, diapers are no fun either way, but this is my way of dealing with it!

Once all the diapers were cleaned and we were somewhat rested, it was time to start our travels for day 3. We said goodbye to our very gracious hosts and snapped a quick pic of Lake Coeur d’Alene on our way out of town.

 photo IMG_20140710_105403_zpsnijc171l.jpg

Morning at the lake

We stopped at some of the unique attractions of Northern Idaho! In Wallace, the home of the last stoplight on I-90, we visited a small spaceship!

 photo 2014-07-10 11.57.26_zpsstgqpsd1.jpg

Still a spaceship

Kiddo1 says it shouldn’t count as a spaceship because it won’t actually go into space, but what does he know? We grabbed some lunch fixin’s from the trunk and headed over to Kellog, Idaho to see some scrap metal sculptures:

 photo 20140710_112057_zpsqd3ntfju.jpg

Scrap metal airplane

 photo 20140710_112627_zpszluerpoo.jpg

Scrap metal dragon fight

Next step, Montana! And that is where we’ll pick up tomorrow!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers