Monday, September 21, 2015

Making the Difficult Decision to Stop Homeschooling

It wasn't supposed to be this way.

I was looking forward to the school year.  All the things we would learn together. I bought curriculum.  But as September approached, I couldn't wrap my head around preparing.  And as others on Facebook got ready to send their kids to school, I found myself a little jealous.

Not because I was desperate to get away from my children (although, I have my moments, though I'm not proud to say it).  But because I haven't been very good at time management.  And I was struggling.  The teaching of the kids was easy - they are still young, and they pick up academics fairly quickly and easily.  It was all the other things.  How in the world could I get the laundry and dishes done when the boys are roughhousing and scream because one is hurt?  How could I cook healthy meals and even find time for myself to eat in the middle of all the action in this house?

My children are loud.  I don't mean like, normal "child" loud.  No, they take it to a whole new level.  And I don't blame them for it.  My husband and I are loud.  No matter how hard I desperately pray for it, I do not have a meek and mild personality.

Loud people are passionate people.  Passionate people are emotional.  Whether happy or sad, or angry or excited, we often express it in a loud way.  I've often had people in the stores just staring at my children because of the joy they express over everything they see for sale in the Dollar store. Rainbow coloured straws?  (Squeal!!!) Red Christmas garland? (Shriek!!!)  Purple buttons?? (Scream!)  No matter what it is, it excites them.  Which is really awesome to watch them get so excited over something so simple.

Except when you are all crammed in a small home with no play room and that is the sound you hear all day.  Mixed in with shrieking from meltdowns and sibling fights.  And the excitement with these little loud people doesn't stop at night.  Sure, they go to sleep without any complaints, but most nights someone is bound to sleepwalk, have a night terror, or just wake up crying.  I'm convinced our brains don't shut off in this house. ;)

A funny thing about loud people - at least when it comes to adults? We may be loud, but we also CRAVE quiet.

And when it was all getting too much, when I couldn't keep up,  I started getting sick.  Like, stress sick.  My doctor did tons of tests but came up with nothing.  There was no explanation for my extreme stomach pain, constant fatigue, and other odd things that would occur that I just don't share.

So I made the tough decision.  One week late of course.  I would put my two oldest children in school.  My oldest one loves it, my middle child is having a hard time adjusting, though each day we see a little improvement.

Homeschooling moms.  Public School Moms.  Private School Moms.  NEVER let anyone make you feel guilty for your decision on how to teach your child.  It is not easy.  There is no one size fits all. We are all living with different family dynamics and what works for one person doesn't always work for the next.  We have different lives.  Some of us have two working parents, some have one, Some of us have volunteer commitments, some of us have a wide open schedule.  Some of us have one vehicle or some of us have two, or some of us don't drive at all!  Some of us have lots of kids, some of us have an only child, or somewhere in between.  Some of us work well under pressure, some of us don't.  To believe that there is only one way for your children's education is silly.

My kids have only been in School for one week.  And I already feel like i am managing my time well. I am also looking forward to really gauging where they are in their academics this year, as well as helping them learn to adapt to a new situation. But truthfully, I hope that one day I can homeschool them again.  But I am slowly coming around to the idea that it is okay to change things up and do what is right for your family in different seasons.

So here is to a new year, with new adventures! :)  What about you? Have  you had to make the difficult decision to stop homeschooling? Or to start homeschooling?

Peace & Love. ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Happy Place

Today was just one of those days.  Just a "blah" day.  It was also my birthday.

But wait, before you start feeling sorry for me, please know I had a great birthday celebration this year.  My husband and in-laws spoiled me and made sure I wasn't forgotten.  It was just the actual day that wasn't that exciting.  My kids decided today was the day to fight a lot.

But hey, if there is anything you start learning with age, it's that not EVERY birthday is going to be amazing.  There will be good ones, and some boring, frustrating ones.  Life goes on.

So, tonight I decided to do something productive with my birthday.  I made myself a little "Happy Place".  A place where I can curl up with a good book, and a cup of warm tea, and a cozy blanket and just "be".

The fact that I am thinking about "cozying up" is ridiculous.  This week was one of the hottest weeks we've had all Summer.  As a Canadian you try to not complain about the heat, because you know that winter will come soon and it will be LONG.  But I reached my breaking point on the heat this week.  My body was not handling it well.  I felt sick, grumpy, and and basically hating the world.  So yeah, thinking about needing to cozy up because i am cold sounds really good right about now.

Anyways, here are some pictures of my little "me" spot.  Haha...who am i kidding? The minute I sit down in that chair I will have three kids climbing all over me.

Try to ignore the paint on the walls.  My living room...okay, my whole house, is in desperate need of a paint job.  I'll get around to it...eventually. ;)

I am by no means skilled in the "perfect home decor" category, but am learning how to make my home fit my personality and be the place I feel most comfortable in.  I hope to enjoy my little corner many nights this Fall and Winter!  I also hope to keep that new plant alive.  I don't have a really good track record for gardening, and I kill potted flowers way too quickly.  We'll see if this one survives my "black thumb".

What about you? Do you have your own little "happy" place?

Peace & Love. :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

If you read my last post, you may have remembered that near the end I said I wanted to make chocolate avocado pudding again.

Well,  I did.

And it was glorious.

The internet is FULL of recipes on how to make this type of pudding, but I thought I'd share how I make it. :)  Because, maybe you are like me and you like anything that is quick and easy, something you can throw together in minutes.

Put three avocados in the blender.  (I think it goes without saying to peel them and take the pit out, right? ;))

Add 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa. make everything taste better.

Add some maple syrup.  I totally didn't measure this.  I'd say I probably added like, 1/4 cup.  I do have a sweet tooth.  You probably want to adjust this to what works for you.

Then I added a little water to the blender and blended away!  I continued to add water bit by bit until it resembled the consistency of pudding. :)

And then, of course, eat.  And share.  Share with your kids.  I know, I know, I didn't want to either, but it just felt like the right thing to do.  ;)

Although this is a quick treat to put together, next time I want to refrigerate it after I make it.  Lukewarm pudding just doesn't taste as good as cold pudding.  Of course, I did make it on a day where it was 32 degrees outside and my avocados were sitting on the counter soaking up that heat.  I shouldn't a few months my coconut oil will harden from the cold in my pantry.  Yay Canadian winters!

So here is the recipe, condensed:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
3 Avocados
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup of maple syrup (or to your taste)
Water, enough to make it into a pudding consistency.

Blend it all together.  Refrigerate for cold pudding.  EAT!!!

Go, make yourself some chocolate pudding.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My (unhealthy) Relationship with Food

For as long as I can remember, I've always been passionate about food.  Shortly after my first baby was born, I really started to make changes to try and combat the migraines I had suffered for years because no doctor could find something to even lessen the pain when i would get a migraine attack.  After a couple trips to the hospital, appointments to neurologists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors, homeopaths, etc. I knew that if I was ever going to find something to help my migraines, i more than likely needed to figure it out myself.

So started my journey full of green smoothies and juices, raw vegan meals, etc.  Mixed in between I definitely had my poor food choices (or yummy food choices, let's call it what it is..;)) but I was always trying something new.  And it helped.  The less wheat, sugar, and caffeine I ate, the less migraines I had.
A bulk order of health foods I used to order.

Even when my first two babies were born I was often making whole food dishes like avocado chocolate pudding, banana "ice cream", eggplant bacon, kefir, kombucha, etc.
Water kefir I used to make before the fear of drinking too many calories took over.

But then third baby came along.  Along with some very painful trials in my life at the same time.  And all of a sudden, my quest for eating whole foods got left behind.  I was in survival mode for so long.

And then, my relationship with food changed.  With the pressures of life, having a body that has changed after three babies and slowly getting older, all of a sudden "feeling good" wasn't my main goal with what i put in my body anymore.  I had fallen victim to my primary goal to be to lose that baby weight.  To get to that perfect number.

In the past three years I have constantly lost and gained the same ten lbs.  And not by any healthy means.  I gain it by bingeing on tons of bad for me food, and I lose it by not eating enough calories, by skipping juice fasting - by believing that if I get to that perfect weight then I'll feel good. And I am not against juice fasting, but most days when I do that I don't drink enough juice to fill my body with enough calories.  Not intentionally - I get busy and don't get back to the juicer -but in the end my choice is just to wait until the next day.  Many nights I prepare dinner for my family, and my husband asks me where my dinner is.  In an effort to hide it from my daughter so that she doesn't have self-image issues, i whisper to my husband that I'm fine.  but deep down I know I'm naive if I think that even if my daughter who is 8 doesn't pick up on it now, she will soon.

But you know what?  let's be real here - i actually have never got to that "perfect" number that sits in my head due to my unhealthy relationship with food.  And what's more?  I have not felt good for a very long time, especially this past year.  I have made trips to the doctor with unexplained pain, issues, and fatigue.  I have had tests for all sorts of things, and everything has come up clear.   Yet I know my body isn't happy.  It's mad at me.  It wants REAL food.  Not jumping from two extremes. It wants less wheat and sugar and more nutrients.  It wants FULL meals, and less processed junk.

I don't talk about my issue with my self-image that much because to be honest, as much as I have weight i want to lose I know in reality i don't have that much extra weight on me. I'd be happy o lose 15 lbs, but i know that for others it is a harder struggle and I don't want to complain about something that I probably shouldn't be complaining about.

But the reality is, no matter what you weigh, no matter your age, as women we are bombarded with media images, with what the world tell us we should be, with the pressures we put on ourselves.

So...why this long-winded post about this?  Partly to be real about a subject I don't talk about much. Partly because I believe as a woman especially, I am not alone in this struggle. Partly because I've decided that "NO MORE."  No more extremes.  I want to go back to whole foods in my diet, and I want to forget the number on the scale.  And it isn't going to be easy.  Life is busy and the kids and I are on the go a lot.  But I am not going to put huge expectations on myself.  I am just going to start out small.

And I am not going to be mad at myself for the past 3 years.  I know I was just trying to "get through" some stuff.  I know I had a lot of pressures.  But as my babies get older I have more time to take care of myself.  And I also know they are watching me.  And foodwise, I need to lead a better example.  I know I would be heartbroken if my daughter was as stressed about the number on the scale as I am.  I know I would feel like I failed her if she was like me, feeling the need to step on that scale - EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING.  and I know I would try everything I could to teach her that she didn't need to feel sad every time she saw the number pop up that was too high than she had hoped.

I will continue to fill my body with green smoothies and juices full of nutrients, but along with other foods. I will continue to work to keep consumption of foods that are bad for my body to a minimum.  I will try harder to fill my body with WHOLE foods, and most importantly, ENOUGH whole food calories.  And I want to exercise again.  I want to run again and get my heart pumping!
My one and only 5k.  It's time to work towards it again!

Little changes.  I think I'll start with some avocado chocolate pudding.  I'm pretty sure the kids won't complain! :)  I hope to post my journey here.

Now excuse me while I go make some sweet potatoes and eggs for lunch, with a smoothie on the side. :)


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