Our Simple Strategy to Keep Kids Balanced

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Ever since the last time change, our morning routine has been a little off. For the most part, it was because the kids were falling asleep late and waking up late, so we barely had time for breakfast before Junior’s appointments in the mornings. So granola bars and fruit leathers were quick and easy on-the-go “meals”.

Unfortunately, I noticed that Tater was beginning to have attitude issues…things like getting easily frustrated, melting down at the slightest little inconveniences, and crying because she couldn’t focus during school. Tater has always been a strong-willed child, but this was something different. I chalked it up to her being tired, then to too much screen time, then to being nervous about a couple of dentist appointments, and finally I planned on scheduling an appointment with Junior’s OT to discuss possible behavioral issues.

But, before I scheduled anything, I decided to run a little experiment.

Within 3 days, there was a huge improvement in her attitude. It’s been a complete 180! She’s calmer, more focused, and overall more balanced.

What did I do?

First, let’s start with me. My husband insists I eat three square meals every day, and my own mother refuses to answer the phone until I’ve eaten something in the morning. When I get low blood sugar, I get reaallllyyyy crabby. Tater eats healthy, but her snacks are usually just fruit…which has a lot of sugar (albeit natural sugar) but no protein to balance it. So, I decided to add in protein to all her meals and snacks to see if that would help keep her moods balanced.

She doesn’t like eggs in their plain, eggy form (in recipes is okay), and milk/cheese upset her tummy (but yogurt is fine), so I’ve had to come up with good protein sources for breakfast and snacks. (Lunch and dinner are easy…there are usually meat or beans involved.)

Here are some of the breakfasts I’ve been making:

Snacks were very challenging…like I said before, she has always just requested fruit or maybe a little granola bar. So, I had to completely rethink snacks, especially because a hard boiled egg or cheese stick wouldn’t work. Here are some of Tater’s favorite snacks:

  • Apple slices and Peanut Butter
  • Celery sticks and Peanut Butter
  • Hummus and Pita Chips
  • Quick, Easy, No Bake Energy Bites
  • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bark (this is a wonderful dessert for Tater. The dark chocolate doesn’t cause a sugar crash, and the pumpkin seeds add protein)
  • Air Popped Popcorn (each serving contains 4 g protein)
  • Trail Mix
  • Organic Soft Pretzel Bites (these are frozen and I found them at Costco. Each serving has 4 g protein)

It’s amazing how much our diet affects everything. I’m so glad that Tater’s behavior and attitude has been helped by such a simple fix, but I do need to keep on top of it. If she doesn’t have at least a little protein every 2 hours or so, it starts to show, and I have to make sure she doesn’t get any artificial colorings in her food, as she’s severely affected by them almost immediately. But, since I’ve started this, I’ve noticed SUCH a difference. Instead of crying because her Junior took a toy, she’ll calmly ask for it back. When I tell her it’s time to do school, she goes to the school room instead of yelling at me that she can’t focus. I guess food and mood do go hand-in-hand!

Do your children have food sensitivities? How does it affect them? Tell me in the comments!

13 *Easy* Recipes for Leftover Chicken

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Ever since my life changed when I found my new favorite simple way to cook chicken, I’ve been thinking of all the ways I can use the chicken to streamline meal prep and spend more time on Pinterest with my kids.

There are so many chicken recipes out there. Like so, so many. But here are our 13 family tested favorites that use leftover chicken.

Browse all my Family Favorite Recipes Here

Book Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m reading through Scripture (especially in the Old Testament), I’ll see a name or place I can’t pronounce and just gloss over it. I’m sure there is meaning to what I just read, but I don’t always take the time to look up the names and places, and I know my reading time could be better understood with the help of a good Bible Dictionary.

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary is a large reference book that is both an encyclopedia and a dictionary. It gives the correct pronunciation of Biblical words, names, and places, and also gives the history behind it as well as a very detailed definition. In addition, the entries are cross-referenced with where they’re found in Scripture, and there are many wonderful photos of artifacts and locations. One of the other impressive things about this reference book, is how much detail the entries have. The entry for each book of the Bible includes the theme and outline of the book, cultural background, spiritual significance, and historical setting. Important people in the Bible also have long and detailed entries. There are also categories, such as Biblical Occupation and Trades, which describe the in detail the role of dozens of jobs referred to in the Bible.

I was very impressed with the scope and vast information in this book, and I would recommend it to anyone, whether they have a doctorate in theology or simply want to learn more about the Bible. I know it will be a well-used reference book, both in my own devotional time and in our homeschool classroom.

*I was provided a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson and Booklook Bloggers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. 

Family Favorite Recipes: Restaurant Worthy Lentil Soup

This Lentil Soup recipe is one of my family’s favorite. It’s gluten and dairy free but still manages to be creamy, filling, and satisfying. The bacon adds the heartiness, but since it only calls for 3 slices, it’s budget friendly. (Simply freeze the leftover bacon in increments of 3 slices.) We grow thyme in the backyard, and I’ve decided I absolutely love the taste of it. The soup is slightly smoky, creamy, and has a beautiful balance of flavors.

This soup is better than most soups I’ve gotten at restaurants and have paid $8 a bowl for. This soup is only $1.25 per serving! Serve with a loaf of crusty french bread, and you have perfection!

Restaurant Worthy Lentil Soup–serves 6
(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

-3 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-(1) 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
-1 bay leaf
-1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
-1 C green lentils, rinsed and picked over (pick out any stones)
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 C dry white wine
-4 C chicken stock
-1 1/2 C water
-1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
-4 oz. fresh baby spinach
-pepper to taste

1. Fry the bacon in a large stock pot (I use a cast iron dutch oven) over medium high heat, stirring, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. About 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften. About 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the lentils, the 1 tsp of salt, and pepper to taste. Cover, and reduce heat to medium low, and cook until vegetables are soft. About 10 minutes.

4. Uncover, increase the heat to high, add the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot partially. Simmer until lentils are tender but not overcooked, about 30-35 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

5. Puree 3 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth, then return to the pot. Add the balsamic vinegar (it gives the soup a really nice balance) and stir, heating until hot.

6. Add the fresh spinach, and cook a few minutes until wilted. Serve with crusty french bread or biscuits and enjoy!

Cost Breakdown (vinegar, salt, and pepper are freebies)
Bacon-$5 for a pack of 12 slices. Freezing in increments of 3 slices, each pack of 3 is $1.25
Onion-$0.69. Saving remainder of onion, each half is $0.35
-2 Carrots-$0.50
-3 cloves Garlic- each head of garlic is $0.50. Saving remainder, three cloves amounts to about $0.10
-Can Diced Tomatoes-$0.50
-1 Bay Leaf-$0.05
-Thyme-if grown outdoors, free. If purchased, $0.50
-1 C green lentils-$0.90 (purchase in bulk section of your local health food store)
-1/2 C white wine-I purchase “2 Buck Chuck” and use it for cooking. Each 1/2 C increment equates to about $0.40
-4 C Chicken Stock-$2.00
-4 oz Baby Spinach-$1.00

Total Cost-$7.55, or $1.25 per serving.

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Book Review: Saving Amelie

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 
My area of focus in getting my history degree was World War II. It is an incredibly difficult period of history to study, mostly because of the pure evil seeping from the Nazi regime. The Nazi party, under Adolf Hitler, controlled Germany from 1933 until the end of the War in 1945. During that time, their genocidal strategies killed millions upon millions of innocent citizens. We all know about the horrors of the Holocaust, where 6 million Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but few people realize that the Nazis were out to eliminate anyone they considered to have “an inferior bloodline.” This included people with disabilities, like little Amelie, the namesake of Cathy Goelke’s novel Saving Amelie. 
The novel begins in summer 1939, just before Hitler invades Poland to officially begin World War II. Rachel Kramer is traveling with her scientist father to Berlin, to complete some “work” her father has been engaged in. Rachel knows her father is involved in the science of eugenics, but is convinced his work is solely altruistic: trying to eradicate smallpox, and not in the abominable eugenics experiments of the Nazis in killing peoples who are not “perfect Aryans”.
While in Berlin, Rachel receives word from her estranged friend Kristine, who left the States to marry SS Officer Gerhardt Schlick, that Kristine’s daughter is in grave danger. Rachel does not believe Kristine at first, but later comes to realize that 4-year old Amelie’s deafness does, in fact, put her in danger. Not only from the eugenics movement that is sweeping Germany and causing anyone with a disability to be killed, but also from her father. Gerhardt Schlick is a ruthless man, and will not accept Amelie as his child because of her deafness. He would rather have her eliminated to maintain his image of being a perfect Aryan speciman. Rachel offers to help in any way she can, which leads her to American newspaperman Jason Young. Together, Jason and Rachel put their own safety on the line to help Amelie stay hidden from the Nazis. Jason meets famed historical figure Dietrich Bonhoeffer and learns more about Christianity. Throughout the book, Jason tries to show Rachel the same Christian faith he has learned, as Rachel learns more about her father and her personal history that causes her to doubt and lose hope. 
This book really hit home for me, since in the book, Amelie is deaf, just like my own son is. The Nazis sought to eliminate her as “unworthy of life” because of her disability. I can’t help but look at my beautiful little boy and think that anyone would consider him “unworthy of life” just because his ears don’t work. The book is very well-written and the characters are strong and it was easy to imagine myself in the scenes. It was filled with action, adventure, drama, suspense, and a little bit of romance.
Bottom Line: 8.5*/10*
*I was provided a complimentary copy of Saving Amelie from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and have not been swayed in any way.