The Week My Son Turned 3

March 14th, 2014, I was blessed with a 8 lbs 8 oz bundle of joy. This past Tuesday we celebrated the 3rd anniversary of his birth. We were originally supposed to have a big birthday party with about 20 family and friends in our hometown. Recently, we have been experiencing some car trouble and were unsure if they’d get fixed within the week to host said party, so we cancelled the bash. This week ended up being filled with celebration, exhaustion, and accomplishments. Here are the details.

car's 3rd birthday cake

Monday was regular enough except for the planning and preparation for the little get together we had in lue of the big birthday bash. I bought some juice, muffins, and made goody bags to leave at his daycare. I think its really sweet that his daycare teacher plans things for their birthday. When I told her the previous day that his birthday was tomorrow, she calmly replied “I know”. I’m not sure how typical it is for daycare providers to know and make plans for each child’s birthday, but I think that’s really special. Even if I had got too busy or something, Ana had it covered. Whenever I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, for the past month, his respond had been “strawberries”.  I made a cake that was strawberry with confetti icing, and bought 2 pounds of frozen strawberries for his party that evening. Since its not strawberry season yet, I didn’t want to risk getting fresh ones. His party was supposed to be Disney’s “Cars” Themed. That week he started asking for a “Mator” and “Lightening McQueen”, so that night a Walmart, I found a Lightening McQueen T-shirt, wear that day, a Mator toy with a suction cup that allows him to actually tow (it doesn’t work that well), and a small Lightening McQueen toy that came with a set of race tracks. I was trying to decide whether or not I wanted to make the cake that night, but I decided to wait until I got out of school so it would be fresh.

 

Tuesday was his big day, and while it is usually a struggle getting him out of the bed today he woke up excited for his “cupcakes” (muffins) at daycare and his McDonald’s party with Mator and Lightening McQueen. I invited my sister and his two cousins, and a friend of mine at work with her family, she has two kids as well. I baked the cake, but didn’t have a lot of time to let it cool, so it was covered with a glaze. It was still tasty. I called in to McDonald’s and ordered sweet tea, mcnuggets, fries, and mcdoubles for the group. I would sneak next door to get a burrito bowl from Chipotle, since there aren’t any viable vegan options at McDonald’s. We sang the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday”, because for the past 2 years he cried when we sang the original. I discovered slow songs make him sad. He cries at other parties, as well as when he wear “Silent Night”. He enjoyed the new rendition and asked me to sing again when I was putting him to bed that night. This party was a great success. That was the party I originally planned to have, but as the date got closer I couldn’t resist doing the usually over the top family celebration. I’m not happy to need car repairs, but maybe it was for the best, because Xavier couldn’t have been more ecstatic.

The birthday part was over so I could relax, right…..wrong. I volunteered to be in our school musical, Suessical, as “The Cat and the Hat”. I absolutely enjoyed participating with the kids, but it was just horr

me as "the cat in the hat"
Me as “The Cat in the Hat”

ible timing. So I would have 4 performances in the next 3 days, and I did not know my lines yet. The kids would ask me during class….”Mrs. Marshall, do you know your lines yet?” I’d reply “Don’t worry about my lines, worry about actually singing out.” I did learn them relatively well enough to ad lib and not through everybody off. I was The Cat in the Hat, so it was my job to say off the wall stuff. We had performances after school at 6 pm Wednesday and Thursday, and two on Friday during the day.  There was a morning performance Friday for the neighboring elementary school and that afternoon for our middle school student body. All the kids were most nervous to perform in front of all their peers, and to be honest so was I. Friday I had more than one person say to me “I know you’re glad it over, you look tired”. I would say, “gee, thanks”.

 

The day of Thursday performance I was not at work because my son had his 3 year well visit. At this visit the doctor diagnosed him with……Asthma. It seems his stomach bugs that he’s been getting for the past year are probably reactions to food allergies, and his cough that he’s had for the past couple weeks are asthma. The doctor started putting the pieces together as I was telling her about all the different symptoms, paired with the family history of my allergies, my father’s asthma, and a listen to his chest which reveal wheezing. He has also had eczema since he was a baby. They all pointed to asthma. He has an appointment with an allergist to find possible triggers and a follow up with his pediatrician in two weeks.  So his belated birthday gift from the doctor was an inhaler and spacer. He’s sometimes reluctant to let me use it. So I showed him a few cartoons of Baine using the mask with medicine to give him muscles of powers, and that did the trick.

3 years vs 9 months well visit
3 years vs 9 months-well visit

I was informed by my cousin that my sister and mother were planning a surprise visit since we couldn’t come up there this weekend. I’m glad she let me know, because that kind of surprise was the last thing I needed this week. Once I knew about it, I was happy. I’m always happy to visit or get a visit from my family. But had I not known I would not have been able to clean and make sure my home was presentable; rather than lake a tornado, blizzard, hurricane, all dropped at once. To top it all off, I never did get those car repairs. It just wasn’t the week to have to coordinate dropping off and picking up a car. Along with either renting or borrowing a car while my was getting repairs. I know that shaking, smoking smell, check engine light flashing is really, really bad, but the mechanic said I could drive on it, so I’ll handle it next week when to dust had settled.

So yes, my son turned 3. And I could not be more happy and proud of the young man he is becoming. Being a mother never gets easy, but just like this week we will all get through it, somehow, together.

 

Vegan Mac & Cheese

I am not a vegan, but I do try to eat a plant based diet most of the time. I highlighted some of my diet ideals in 7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan. mncAs I am allergic to dairy, eggs, and wheat/gluten, Macaroni and cheese is pretty much off limits for me. I’ve had to become very creative with my cooking. I have not become creative enough to make or invest in gluten free pasta.  I often ignore my mild allergies if becomes very inconvenient to adhere to them. I have made this same cheese sauce with spaghetti squash or zoodles making it gluten free. This particular recipe I made for my Vegan bestie as a Christmas gift. She said it was really good and it didn’t taste vegan. I ate some and it was good; although not as good as good ol’ fashioned macaroni and cheese. I think it was a little heavy on the garlic and cayenne pepper. You may notice from some of my other recipes that I don’t include measurements, and specifics about cooking time. That’s because unless I’m baking something I’ve never tried I don’t use them. Some of the things I cook I’ve just made up based on other recipes I’ve seen and what I think will work. My friend enjoyed the recipe though, or she just lied because she is too nice to tell me that my gift for her was nasty. Here is my simple recipe I used for vegan mac & cheese .

Ingredients: cashew milk, vegan butter, sweet potato, garlic power, onion power, salt, pepper, turmeric, mustard power, cayenne pepper, elbow macaroni noodles, bread crumbs, dried parsley.

Directions:

  1. Boil pasta until it is tender with a slight bite ( about 10 minutes)
  2. Once done, drain and set to the side.
  3. Cook sweet potato in microwave for about 5 minutes.
  4. Put sweet potato in a high powered blinder (i used a ninja) or food processor.
  5. Add cashew milk, vegan butter, and spices except parsley (use sparingly so you can add more if needed for desired smoothness and flavor)
  6. Blend ingredients until desired taste and texture is achieved
  7. Rub a baking dish with oil of your choice (I used olive)
  8. Add cooked pasta and prepared sauce
  9. In a small bowl melt some vegan butter and mix with bread crumbs
  10. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of pasta and cheese sauce.
  11. Sprinkle with parsley.
  12. Bake in oven on 400 until bubbly and golden brown.

I hope you enjoy!

Healthy Nappy Nerdy Mommy: Year 2016 in Review

All over social media there have been post and memes about how horrible 2016 has been. As I prepare for a new year of bettering myself, I thought it would be beneficial to focus on the positivity of 2016. New Year’s Eve is the perfect opportunity to fill in gaps and review some of the HEALTHY.NERDY.NAPPY.MOMMY awesomeness.

January

Being that this is pretty much National Diet Month,  I was busy trying different products and recipes to accumulate myself to my new lifestyle. I did a clean eating and yoga challenge, and we started officially trying to potty train my 18 month old son. Now I know it was too early, and we didn’t stick to it well. But it gave me a good chance to get some bare bottom photos as blackmail when he gets older.

yoga
Yoga Challenge

February

For Valentine’s Day my husband and I enjoyed a movie date to see “Deadpool”. It was a breath of fresh air to see this rated “R”, as a true “Deadpool” movie would have to be. We also enjoyed playing some “Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4”. My son transitioned from stay at home dad care, to daycare. It was hard on us all, some of this I later shared in “Peez, Ana” . But it was also for the best.

March

March opened with Spirit Week at my school, and as the Student Council adviser I had to go all out with a X-men’s Storm costume. It wasn’t the best (couldn’t find the right wig), but good enough for the crowd I was serving. My students were calling me “Thunder Girl”, they didn’t even know my character’s name. It was my son’s 2nd birthday on the 14th so we planned a “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” party, complete with meatball sub buffet. As he was a big boy now he also got a small “Jake the Pirate” party with cupcakes and juice at daycare. For the 3rd birthday we just might leave it at treats at daycare and family dinner.

storm
“Thundergirl” aka “Storm”

April

This month was the grand debut of HEALTHY.NAPPY.NERDY.MOMMY! During Spring Break we did indoor camping in our little apartment living room. Complete with a fort, s’mores, kababs, and baked beans.It was also my husband’s birthday which and our dating anniversary that marked 9 wonderful years being together. We celebrated with a family party at his cousin’s, complete with Baskin Robin ice cream cake, a game stop gift card, his favorite Snickers &  Bacon- Cheddar gourmet popcorn, and a gamer screen t-shirt. His celebrations tend to be more family inclusive while mine are typically dates with just the 2 of us giving me a mommy break.

May

We celebrated Mother’s Day with yet another movie date highlighted in (Marvel)ous Mother’s Day. I cannot express how much I enjoyed “Captain America: Civil War”. This month I officially became a “Flexi-Vegan” and I was experimenting with vegan and allergen free recipes.

June

This is one of my favorite months because it marks the end of the school year and time for a short break. I always teach summer school, but in June I get a couple weeks off before I have to crack back at it. We enjoyed a small beach trip with my parents. It was also the month a tried my first Cross Fit class, and started watching the original “Dragon Ball” series for the first time.

cross-fit

July

The biggest thing that happened in July was the introduction of Pokemon Go. I was so excited about this game, but that excitement quickly fizzled and I don’t even have the app downloaded on my phone anymore, but they were good times while they lasted. I’m interested to see what the craze will be this year. July was capped by seeing Kakashi’s face in the latest episode of “Naturo: Shippuden”

flareon
My first Eevee evolution

August

I don’t know which is a bigger deal my wedding anniversary or Otakon. I don’t think my husband would even be mad at it. I talked about our excitement for Otakon in 6 Anticipated Events for a Nerdy Mom and fully anticipated doing a full post on it, but that never happened. So this is your mini overview of it. It was bitter sweet, as this was the last year it would be in Baltimore, MD. But I am excited for the new location. Otakon 2017 WILL have a post, maybe even an entire page dedicated to its greatness. In preparation for this trip and the start of a new school year, I got crochets for the first time. Its a great protective style, and I’ll never set for 10 hours getting individual sengalese twist or box braids on this thick head of hair again. Oh, yeah my son came back from staying with my parents while we were at Otakon potty trained! He still needed the pull up for night and doesn’t poop until then.

otakon
My seneglese twist crochets and excited for Otakon grin!

September

I entertained the ideas of starting a garden. I starting some romaine, but I didn’t follow through. For this spring though, I plan on starting both an indoor and patio garden for herbs, fruits, and veggies. Look forward to pictures, how to’s, and testimonials in the near future. I also developed an addiction to the online make up line Colourpop. I’d never been a make up girl before, but I found myself needing something to step it up a notch. Lipstick for me is the easy answer (I love Matte). Just the lipstick, some eyeliner, mascara, and maybe BB cream and I’m good to go. From my first purchase in August to now, all of my profile pictures feature me in one of their shades.

romaine
Some romaine lettuce sprouting up.

October

In the last week of October I went on my first cruise! I had so much fun and relaxed with friends and family. I became known as “the girl that ate all the weird food” because at dinner I always tried the most exotic thing on the menu. Why would I pay all that money for something I can eat any day? We enjoyed the dinners and events on the ship as well as the beach and sights of Nassau, Bahamas. I might save big for a Disney cruise in the future, I’ve heard, while expensive, they are the best. Disney should do a line dedicated to Marvel or Star Wars since they are taking over everything. Universal Studios could take on a Harry Potter cruise as well.

duck
Smoked duck with oranges and Thai rice noodle salad

November

In November my son woke up early in the morning vomiting several times within two weeks of each other. I took him to the doctor the second time, and they said it was probably to different viruses. After leaving the doctor I started thinking he might have food allergies like me. Both times he never had a fever or acted sick, it was just vomit or diarrhea. It could be allergies or an intolerance at the least. I took him off dairy for a week, but didn’t really notice a change. After he returned to his normal diet he didn’t have anymore stomach issues, so maybe it was just the stomach bug like the doctor said. We of course enjoyed Thanksgiving with family. I took an allergy pill, ate what I wanted, and hoped I wouldn’t end up in the ER with anaphylaxis.

December

The holidays are busy for everyone. We began this month by putting up our Marvel Christmas tree. I’d seen some superhero, Harry Potter, and Star War variations. Ours was simple we just added some superhero masks we had from our wedding photo booth along with our normal red and gold decorations. My birthday was the 17th. We had a quiet, childless, evening at home watching some Luke Cage on Netflix, with carry out sushi, and wine. I found out two days after my birthday that I won “Teacher of the Year” at my school. I had a great Christmas as it was the first our son was really excited and understood what was going on.  We later celebrated my birthday  and the life of Carrie Fisher by finally watching “Star Wars: Rogue One” and I realized first hand that The Force is with Me. My husband and I’s catch phrase has become “the rebellion was built on Hope.”

christmas-tree
Our (Marvel)ous Christmas Tree

I hope you’ve enjoyed my year in a glimpse. I look forward to sharing more with you in 2017, Happy New Year’s to you and yours.

7 Reasons I Became a “Flexi” Vegan

 

Many people are familiar with the term “Flexitarian”, a Flexitarian diet or a semi-It's a Wrap!vegetarian diet is mostly plant based with the occasional inclusion of meat. I have decided to be a “Part Time Vegan”, which I guess you could say is a Flexitarian as well being that I occasionally include meat, but I still don’t consume other animal products such as eggs and dairy. These are the 7 reasons you should be a Vegan Flexitarian.
.

  1. Recipe Creativity

Since I won’t be able to “cheat” with foods like bacon and cheese to create delicious recipes I have to get creative with my meals. Some of my favorite ingredients to include in my vegan meals are avocados, quinoa, black beans, kale, mushrooms, tofu, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. I used these foods in my cooking before but even more so that I am focusing on vegan cooking. Mushrooms are a great meat substitute being that they give a dish a heartiness like meat does. Avocado often takes the place of creamy dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, and cheese. Black beans, tofu, chickpeas, and quinoa are very good sources of protein in a meatless diet. Almost nothing beats oven baked crispy chickpeas or tofu in a dish, well almost nothing except bacon, but I’m not going there. I’m constantly searching Pinterest for interesting ingredients that get me excited about preparing and enjoying meals even without meat.

2. Limiting Hormones and Other Chemicals

If you enjoy eating meat, fast food, and processed food I am warning you, DO NOT watch “Food Inc.” I saw it on Netflix and as a health and fitness professional I felt obligated to see what information the popular documentary had to offer. I’m not sure if I am happy that I know or that I am mad that it ruined food for me. Conventional foods are pumped with all kinds of chemicals to keep up with the consumer’s demands. First its the growth hormones, that give us chicken breast the size of footballs. Then the antibiotics, that may be causing bacteria to become resilient and end modern medicine as we know it. Then its the overall harmful and unsanitary treatment of the animals. I saw cows that had feces matted in its fur, from being packed in factories rather than rooming in a field. This also reminded by of slaves packed on ships during the middle passage.  I used to believe that it didn’t matter since they were going to the slaughter house, but it does matter. The harmful treatment passes down to us at our dinner tables. Not to mention the abuse that is done to the humans that must work in these environments. I hate to be that person preaching about bad meat is. I’m not going off it totally hence the “flex” part, but a drastic decrease was necessary for me.

3. Weight Loss

Eating vegan does not necessarily mean you will lose weight. I mean french fries and oreos are vegan. But a clean vegan diet, will definitely help. Animal based proteins typically come with higher saturated fat and calories, so if I’m swapping out things like fried chicken, hamburgers, and steak, for quinoa, tofu, and beans typically that will cause a calorie deficit and therefore weight loss. I do have to be careful, because with the saturated fats I lose with animal proteins, comes the “healthy” fats with plant based proteins. Nuts, seeds, and avocados while full of healthy unsaturated fats still pack a lot of calories. I find myself leaning on avocado because I love it so much and it satisfies a lot of calories, so I have to still use portion control. Even fruits can be a gamble because while its natural sugar, certain fruits like bananas, grapes, watermelon, and pineapple have a lot of fruit. So while a vegan plant based diet will hopefully help me reach me weight loss goals. I still have to make sure I am eating clean and using portion control.

4. More Nutrients

Eating a diet that focuses on real plant based products, rather than a lot of processed junk will ensure that I am consuming an abundance of nutrients. Because I am eating fruit and vegetables with every meal, because they are the focus of most of my meals I am guaranteed to reach my vitamin and mineral needs. A clean vegan diet includes pretty much all nutrient dense foods.

5. Cheaper

Meat is expensive. It is the largest part of my grocery bill, and while I am not dragging my husband and son into this, just the reduction of meat on my part will help us reduce our grocery bill. I would probably spend $50 a month on chicken breast alone. I used them so much; in salads or wraps for lunch as well as main courses for dinner. Now I only need to purchase meat for my husbands lunch and dinner. Although my son rarely eats meat anyways, he’s pretty much a vegetarian himself just my being a picky toddler. I live off of chickpeas and black beans when it comes to lunch and whether in the can or dried variety they are a fraction of the cost of meat.

6. Allergies

Many people have allergies to dairy products. I have done some research that suggest that humans should not even being consuming cow’s milk. We are the only species that consumes milk from other animals. This milk, like a human mother’s breast milk ,

 

was meant for their young. I wish I could say the decision I made was based solely on this, be I’m not that righteous.  A few months ago I discovered I was allergic to a few foods including milk and eggs. So minus the meat I was vegan already. When I first learned of this I thought I’d rather be allergic to meat that milk, but I’ve decided to turn this into an opportunity for self improvement.

7. I still like meat

This reason is geared towards the “part time” , “flexi”, and “semi” part. If animal protein are so bad, why not cut them out completely. Because I’m a foodie and I love all food, including and especially meat. I have always been a meat eater, but the grown up wiser me is making better decisions for my well being. I thought maybe I’ll stick with just seafood from time to time. But that just isn’t realistic for me. I enjoy eating a good medium rare steak, and will eat a pack of pepperoni myself, and bacon, don’t get me started on bacon. But I know these things aren’t good for me to be eating in excess, so I’ve decided to drastically reduce, not eliminate my consumption of meat.

This is why I’ve chosen the semi, part time, or flexivegan (whatever you want to call it) diet. I will always stand firm that moderation is key. I never, say never, when it comes to food. But I am making better decisions that will hopefully be worth the sacrifice in the long run.