Picky Eater 101

The struggle has been real this month in the kitchen with my kids, especially my very picky 6 year old. She has a natural tendency to fill herself up with refined carbs, eating just enough to keep playing, then get really hangry and whiny when she starts running on sugar fumes. I struggle to eat protein also, and tend to reach for dairy and plant sources instead of lean meat. I’m not a full blown vegetarian, but I just don’t love it, and she doesn’t either. To make matters worse, she doesn’t have my affinity for dairy either.

Enlisting her cooking help and making new foods that I encouraged her to give a “thank you taste” have been helpful strategies also, but ultimately didn’t solve the problem like it did with my oldest. I want to make it fun, without having to jump up on my soapbox at every meal.

Together, we made her favorite dinner, then after dinner we sketched out where her favorite foods land on the food pyramid. We talked about how her body needs all the categories every day so that she could be a strong girl that can play, and think, and sleep well. Natural consequences are a great way to learn, but garbage in, garbage out is a hard natural consequence to recognize until you eat enough to be able to think through it (which is why having her favorite dinner before the discussion helped.)


I made some little pyramids so she can write down what she eats, and tally it up around dinner time so she knows what she is missing. She seems to enjoy it so far, and I will keep going with it as long as she wants to keep tallying everything up. I hope the food pyramid idea will be just another piece of the puzzle that could help her understand the big picture.

(And I know I’m playing a little fast & loose on some of these categories, esp the vegetable one… okay, maybe downright wrong, but she is so very picky).

Please tell me you are going through this too! What has worked for you?



Clockwise from top left:

Preparation: Tripping over my running shoes makes for a good reminder of that half marathon I signed up for.

Past and Future: We had some good laughs at my husband’s style from 1999. Our kids are glad our baggy Abercrombie days are over. And my oldest has discovered needle felting and leaves little goodies around the house for us.

Emergency: This is the tree hospital scene in my guest bath for my dried up little Norfolk Pine trees. Time will tell if this will work. I may need to give them a weekly rain forest treatment to keep them alive.

Snuggles: Typical weekend scene around here for this shaggy, lazy, and well-loved pup.

Stay warm, everyone!

December Reading

I’ll just jump in here… I finished all the Harry Potter books and read some good stuff in between too.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. There are times I have to admit that if I were Hermione, I would possibly trip Ron in the hall ALL THE DAY. But this one will be possibly my favorite in the series. It’s hard to pick. I love them growing up.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, not my favorite. I felt frustrated the entire novel at Harry’s behavior. (Side note, that’s when I know I’ve stumbled on something fantastic. I want to jump in the book and be helpful.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, big heart eyes on this one. But I want more, could it really be over? I may have shed a few tears. And my girls may have seen it. And they haven’t stopped teasing me. Oh well. Being the cool mom is a slippery slope.

The series is honestly like nothing else I’ve ever read. JK Rowling is pretty fantastic for creating these characters and these otherworldly scenes. If you’ve hesitated for years like I have because of the popularity, just do it. It won’t be like the Twilight or Fifty Shades frenzy. You will feel better for finishing this series. And I can’t wait to see the movies. And when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes to New York, Lord help me.

Hitman Anders and the Meaning Of It All by Jonas Jonasson, this one was certainly irreverant but was clever and entertaining. I enjoyed the surprises and laughs. I will read more of his fiction, because based on reviews I’ve seen, his other novels are even more entertaining.

Tell Us Something True by Dana Reinhardt, I don’t know if I’d give this one 5 stars, but it was good. I love reading these little teen love journeys.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova. This was beautiful and an excellent window into the dementia and Alzheimer’s experience. We went through this with my grandmother recently, and while hers was not early onset, so many of the situations were similar. It was at times heart-wrenching, and at times brought me so much peace to see it from Alice’s perspective. I think everyone should read this.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It was a little too sentimental for me. Some points were good and I see how it’s still somewhat relevant many decades after she wrote it. I just don’t know if I will ever feel that settled.  Maybe I will reread this one when I’ve truly reached my middle years.

That makes 64 books this year. Over half were kid/teen lit. Harry wins that category, hands down, but I’m also glad I read The Book Thief. Memoirs round up most of the nonfiction I read, and I especially enjoyed Amanda Knox’s and Mimi Alford’s. For adult fiction, my favorites were Still Alice, Lilac Girls, and Station Eleven.


The Only Cookbook You Need

For all you Marie Kondo fanatics out there, toss all other cookbooks you have and buy this one. Part teacher, part tester, part joy-sparker, these chefs have made all the mistakes and perfected the best dishes JUST FOR US! (well, for the purpose of good television and US!)

Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook is at the tippety-top of my birthday list. The copy I used currently is on loan from the library so I wrote out these 6 recipes that I want to try immediately:

  • Broccoli-Cheese Soup
  • Skillet Roast Chicken with Potatoes
  • Pan Seared Steaks with Shallot Butter Sauce
  • Shredded Beef Tacos
  • Fried Rice
  • Fresh Pasta without a machine with Tomato and Browned Butter Sauce

Did you just hear my stomach growl? What cookbooks have you found recently that I should know about?

No diffuser? No problem!

As you know by now, I love essential oils. And, I have a diffuser that is also well loved. I have both the Dew Drop Home Diffuser that I keep in the large living area of my home, and a small USB Orb diffuser that I keep in the office. I move them to bedrooms occasionally, but for the most part they stay put.

Diffusers are wonderful, but my message today is… don’t let not having a diffuser stop you from experimenting with using essential oils. There are many other ways to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy that do not require a diffuser.

For a home fragrance, simply a bowl of hot water with a few essential oil drops floating on top can create a lovely effect. A cotton ball or tissue tucked into a corner of the room or car works well also. Less is more usually, so go slow at first and add more drops if needed. Especially in rooms where doors get closed frequently (or your car), the scent can build.

Adding a drop inside the toilet paper roll can improve any bathroom odors. Also adding a few drops to baking soda and shaking over carpet before the vacuum can freshen as well. I’ve found this book a most helpful reference.

Here’s what I’m currently using around the house to lift my spirits during these cold and gray days of winter:

Gentle Baby and Christmas Spirit (We call it Gentle Christmas)

Orange and Bergamot




Euclyptus, sometimes with Lemon

I use Young Living oils because of their purity promise. You can learn more about the benefits of Young Living and being a distributor here.


Young Living products are not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any disease or condition.

An Imperfectly Perfect Scarf

I have cast on for so many knitting projects in the past couple of months. Some socks, some gloves, a scarf, but with all the holiday hustle I just couldn’t devote the time to reading a pattern or reading my stitches carefully.

I found these three colors in the sale bin and thought they looked nice and neutral together (I’m slightly wrong). I provisionally cast on with some big needles and knit the first skein of baby pink in moss stitch, when it ran out I added the black pepper one and went with garter, and when it ran out I started with the moss color. I wanted to continue the simple reversible stitch theme so I sketched out a simple knit/purl triangle pattern. It was January by then so I had a little more brain power to help the project. Unfortunately I had to center the repeats so it pulls in and curls a little imperfectly around the edges than the other colors. I used kitchener to pull it together to make it infinity. If I were the frogging type (which obviously I’m not), the moss color would have also looked great in moss stitch.

It’s unique, extra squishy soft and (most importantly) was generous therapy over the holidays.

Yarn: Cascade Yarns, Baby Alpaca Chunky in 601, 587, and 640.*

*This yarn is seriously soft and precious. It sheds a bit like alpaca tends to do, but I am forgiving of that flaw in both yarn and pets. I used US 10-1/2 needles, but would probably size down if I were knitting a more serious shawl or wrap again with this yarn.

Garden Plan 2017

It might be frightfully cold outside right now, but it hasn’t stopped me from garden planning and spring dreaming. Our beds are about 7′ x 10′ and we have two of them, so I want to maximize space yet not overpack and inhibit growing. (that, and watering more are my biggest garden mistakes)

I like to get seeds here. I also plan to invest in a new soaker hose and weird plastic owl. And try a diy project or two- a cage to protect the strawberries and some stepping stones. (like this, but less expensive since I want a handful of them).