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Feeding Our Families: Plated Review

I am going to get straight to the point here. I don’t enjoy cooking.

I have plenty of family members and friends who love cooking. And I respect that. To them, spending time in the kitchen after work is relaxing and they find some cool zen in the experience. I’ve tried in my past to hop on the cooking bandwagon, but I’ve just found that it doesn’t bring me the same kind of joy and relaxation that it does for others. I used to feel somewhat bad about this fact, especially once the girls were born and I felt all the intense mom expectations start to build, but now I really honestly don’t. Life is just too short in my opinion to spend lots of time doing things that I have limited interest in doing.

Now all that said, I obviously need to eat. And my kids and husband need to eat. And I would prefer for all of us to eat nutritiously and for it to be a somewhat enjoyable meal (read: tasty and palatable for both toddlers and adults). Also, quick (no explanation necessary, I think).

All this brings me to a review of a meal prep kit, Plated. I received a credit for a free week of the Plated meal service and I signed up in early July. I had tried Blue Apron a few years ago and I really liked it. I have generally found that these meal prep services really take the stress and hassle out of meal planning and grocery shopping, and allow you to learn a few cooking tricks and ultimately turn out some yummy meals. So needless to say, I was excited to give Plated a try!

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I signed up for a two-servings meal kit to cover three meals in one week. Here is my honest take:

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Feed My Family Lunch: Greek Wrap

This recipe goes out to the moms and dads who are tired of eating boring kid foods and can’t afford to go out to restaurants often. And if you are like me as a SAHM, you often find yourself snacking and drinking coffee throughout the day which is not exactly healthy. Here’s a tasty, healthy wrap you can make quickly.

greek wrap

Basic Ingredients:

  • Tortilla
  • Spinach Leaves
  • Hummus
  • Feta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Vinaigrette salad dressing

Optional Ingredients:

  • Black Olives
  • Bell Peppers
  • Red Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes

This is an easy one. Just spread hummus on the tortilla, add spinach and any of the above ingredients you like to the wrap. The basic ingredients will last a long time in the refrigerator (except the spinach), so you will always have ingredients on hand to make this. In the summer go crazy adding whatever you have from your garden, or veggies on sale at the grocery store. Now that BeBe is older she likes making her own too, so it’s not just for adults.

The best part: you have a healthy and filling meal you can eat one – handed, over the sink, while holding a crazy kiddo or crying baby.

Living With IBS

When I was 17, I started getting really sick. I would be in the bathroom for hours, sometimes having accidents when I couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time, and living with constant pain. My parents didn’t think I was that sick, but I started rapidly losing weight and eventually they decided that this was, in fact, serious. I went to multiple doctors but none could really tell me what was going on, so I suffered and started taking huge amounts of Imodium to help control my symptoms. By the time I graduated from high school, I was hovering around 120 lbs and was sick nearly every day. My initial diagnosis was IBS-D. The D stands for diarrhea. IBS can also cause constipation, which is referred to as IBS-C. Basically, I was having multiple bowel movements every day, and they were very painful as well. Some food seemed to trigger my episodes, but it was inconsistent, so I never really knew what to avoid.

Fast forward to my sophomore year of college and I was down another 10 lbs and sick every single day. I was scared to leave my house because I was always getting sick, and eating food became a huge chore. I dreaded eating because every single time I ate, I got sick. It was mentally draining, and physically, I was weak and tired a lot of the time. But I was also young, so physically I was able to recover pretty quickly. I lived this way for years, but started getting really frustrated when I was about 25, just plain tired of being sick all the time, so I started researching doctors that could help me. I found a local GI doctor and started working with him and we were able to get my symptoms mostly under control. I had my first colonoscopy that year and learned that I had an extra 10-20 inches of large intestine, and that I had strictures, or very tight sections, in two areas of my large intestine. The result of the testing I went through was mostly inconclusive, but there was some indication of inflammation, which is pretty typical of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which is the larger family for IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease. My white cell counts were always high as well because it seemed like my body was constantly fighting an infection.

For a few years after that, my doctor and I were able to control a lot of my symptoms with medication and stress relief (meditation, acupuncture, exercise). It was great and I was able to gain weight and I felt pretty good most of the time. I went from having an episode a day to once every few weeks. This lasted until after I had my second child. Pregnancy was interesting because my symptoms did increase, but I had so many other things going on that I really didn’t notice that too much. After I had Little Bug, my body went insane and it has been that way ever since.

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Apple and Worm Sewing Hoop

Apple and Worm Sewing Hoop

Teach your child how to sew or embroider with this happy worm and apple practice hoop! They can practice fine-motor skills as they learn the process of passing the worm back and forth through the apple.

It’s a safe and fun way for them to try out stitching!

DIY Apple Sewing Practice Toy

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Hello…

I apologize it’s been so quiet around these parts. Life is still crazy on this remote island in the Philippines. We’ve been here almost 3 years and so much has happened, I don’t even know where to begin. The kids and I recently moved to the island capital six hours away while Mr. Bee stayed behind to run the resort. Olive is enrolled in a small private school while Charlie is homeschooled. Charlie has ADHD and sitting all day in a strict religious school just wouldn’t suit him. They also have extracurricular activities like taekwondo, which we didn’t have access to in the small town we lived in previously. We see Mr. Bee four times a month or so since vans and buses back and forth depart hourly, and flights are just 30 minutes. It’s hard to be apart, but this is what’s best for the kids right now. Truth be told I had to leave for my mental health too. Running a business in a remote location in a third world country is not for the faint of heart!

Everyone asks when we are planning on moving back to the US. The question is not simple to answer because we still have many affairs to settle here. The trial for Mr. Bee’s mom is currently ongoing and we have a business. My friends and family assume that I want to come “home,” but I don’t even know where that is anymore. Is it Los Angeles where I grew up and my family still lives? Is it New York, the city I lived and loved for over a decade? Part of me feels guilty about not moving closer to my parents as they get older, but part of me can’t imagine moving back to the US, at least not anytime soon.

I miss blogging. And now that I have decent internet, I will be sharing my experiences as an expat parent again. Hope you guys will stay tuned.

Feeding My Family: Low Carb-Keto Diet Friendly Dinner

My husband and I often go into diet mode every once in awhile. We both feel really good about eating clean and feel like we have more energy. The Keto Diet is pretty hardcore; I’ve never been able to do it! I think simply eating low carb is hard enough, so it’s good enough for me. However, it’s been a challenge to cook for 1 person on Keto, 1 person on low carb and 1 toddler who is not a great eater. Plus,  I’d like to stay away from preservatives and fake sugar foods as much as possible.

Here’s one of my favorite dinners that actually works for us all!

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese: This is an insanely popular dish, even for people who aren’t on a diet! The key to the recipe is to make sure the cauliflower is 100% dry before you bake it in the dish. I bake it for way longer than 15 minutes – maybe 35-40 minutes total. I like the ends to brown up and get crispy. I also mash the cauliflower pretty hard so that it’s undetectable to the naked eye. The magic of cauliflower is that it can be transformed into a texture that is almost exactly like carbs! Anything smothered in heavy cream and topped off with cheese is destined to be delicious!

c mac & cheesehttps://www.ketoconnect.net/cauliflower-mac-cheese/

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9 month update

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Zoe started crawling last month! Most of the time she looks like a beached whale flailing her legs aimlessly in the air. We aren’t sure where her forward momentum comes from, but she somehow manages to drag herself from one spot to another. This also means she has started reaching for Max’s toys, which he does not care for. A few days ago she figured out how to lift up her belly when she moves. She hasn’t mastered it but we love watching her figure out new things.

If there is one thing we can say about Zoe’s personality, it’s that she knows what she doesn’t like and expresses it without hesitation. And she does not like roomba. Max learned to crawl so he could catch roomba, Zoe learned to get away.

Sleeping

What can we say, we love our little sleeper! Down at 6:30 pm, wakes up for a bottle around 3 a.m., is up for the day between 5:30-6:30 a.m. Even though she wakes up in the middle of the night, there are no complaints here. She takes her bottle and goes right back to sleep. It still feels like a miracle to close the door and be met with silence. Clearly we are still traumatized from the pre-sleep training days with Max!

The first time Zoe sat up on her own was at night. I’ll always remember because it was the night she almost gave me a heart attack. On that night, I walked into her room, barely awake, to her quietly sitting up facing the door starring at me. After reviewing the nest cam footage, we learned she had sat herself up then quietly reveled in her accomplishment for 30 minutes before making a sound. Looks like it’s time to lower the crib.

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In other sleep news – Zoe naps on the weekends. Last week after we went to the pool, she took a 3 hour nap!

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