Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Great Sugar Purge

According to the American Heart Association kids ages 4-6 should not consume more than 19 grams of added sugar a day. This does not include sugar from milk, fruit, or vegetables. It DOES include syrups, fruit juice, and any sugar added to foods. (Adult women should consume no more than 25 grams, men 37.5 grams.)

I've been looking into this recently because I use dessert as a reward for my children doing three chores a day, and because my six-year-old son already has a mouth full of cavities. Genetics aside, we've decided to drastically cut back on sugar, but we still want to have a daily dessert. Here's what that looks like for us.

Allowable breakfasts: plain Cheerios, plain Rice Crispies cereal, and plain Chex (either rice, wheat, or corn). These cereal's contain between 2-4 grams of sugar. Plain yogurt with raisins or unsweetened wheat germ, plain Cream of Wheat or plain oatmeal with raisins is also acceptable. Weekends are for pancakes with syrup.

Allowable snacks: sliced apples, celery sticks, lightly salted rice cakes, whole wheat Ritz crackers, plain table crackers, fishy crackers, peanut butter without added sugar, unsweetened applesauce, trail mix (without M&M's), cheese, plain yogurt, hard boiled eggs, snap peas, carrot sticks, dried fruit (with no added sugar), and tortilla and avocado tacos.

Allowable desserts:
2 Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookies = 8g
2 whole Honey Graham Crackers = 8g
2 Walkers Shortbread Cookies = 6g
24 Honey Teddy Graham Cracker Cookies = 7g
14 Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers (that's half a box) = 7g
1 Rice Crispy Treat = 8g

As a point of interest, here are the sugar stats for items that I used to eat frequently or thought were full of sugar:

2 servings of spaghetti without sauce = 4g
1/2 cup of Hunts Plain tomato sauce = 4g
1 candy cane: 10 grams
3 Chocolate Oreos = 14g
3 Powdered sugar mini donuts = 14g
1 Tablespoon jam = 10g
1 Tablespoon of honey = 17g
2-pack of Fig Newtons = 24g
Chobani Greek Yogurt Cup with blackberries on the bottom = 16 grams
One package containing 2 bars of Nature Valley Oats 'n Honey granola = 11g
1 small box of raisins = 25 grams (This doesn't count as added sugar, by the way.)
1 cup of Honey Bunches of Oats without milk = 10g
1 can of Pepsi = 41g
1 can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale = 35g
3/4 cup Raisin Bran cereal without milk = 18g
1 cup of milk = 11g (This is the good kind of sugar)
Grande Carmel Macchiato = 32g

I realize that I can't always oversee my children's sugar intake. They eat treats at church and school quite frequently, and I've decided not to sweat it. But what's neat about this plan is that it turns celebrations into a real treat: unexpected income, half-birthdays, the first day of spring, MLK day. We'll be looking for all sorts of reasons to celebrate around here. And celebrations mean all sugar restrictions are off!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Year's Disillusionments

I suppose this is like the opposite of New Year's resolutions, but it is what this busy mom needs right now.
  1. I shall fix a cold dinner once a week of things like cheese and crackers, peanut butter and apples, canned fish on toast, and carrot sticks.
  2. I shall prepare more hotdogs and mac and cheese and NOT get down on myself for leaving out a veggie.
  3. I shall let the dishes go unwashed after dinner once a week, and NOT feel guilty about the sight of them as I go to bed—unless Phil wants to do them, and then I shall not object for the sake of this goal.
  4. I shall allow myself two days to do all the laundry each week instead of trying to do it in one. And I shall not feel unorganized over the mess of it.
  5. I shall stop picking up the little pieces of paper, legos, teacups, dress-up clothes, balls, boxes, and tape until clean-up time when I shall have the children pick it all up.
  6. I will not stress out about keeping the plants alive, and I will blame no one when they die.
  7. I shall only check facebook once a day.
  8. I shall say "no" more often to people offering me free stuff. Just because it's free doesn't mean I have to take it.
  9. I shall get rid of an item every time I buy or acquire a new item.
  10. I shall celebrate both big and little things by eating sweets with the family: the start of spring, unexpected money coming in, MLK day, presidents day, lost teeth, open house, kids saying bible verses, Palm Sunday, Phil's company winning much sought after work, etc.
  11. I shall do something I want to every day.
  12. I shall have someone clean for me and have Wal-mart deliver my groceries, and I will NOT feel guilty about it.
  13. I shall not try to multitask while leaving tortillas on the burner to toast. I shall remain standing there until they are done. 
  14. I shall stop trying to get presents for everyone at Christmas.
  15. I shall not deliberate for more than a minute about buying items that cost less than $5. I shall just decide and be done with it. And not feel guilty later if it was a silly purchase.
  16. I shall watch more shows with my husband and kids.
  17. I shall speak or write about the good in my life.
  18. I shall make dates with Phil an item on my weekly check-list.
  19. I shall have a check-in time with Phil each day when the kids come home from school. I will sit down, send the children out, and get caught up with Phil. This may mean stopping my dinner preparations or having a cold dinner and that is fine.
  20. I shall stop in the midst of tense, hurtful, or frightening situations and pray.
  21. I shall not consider myself pathetic if I don't keep any of these goals.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

December in Pictures



This December Rose had her first ballet performance at the Whittier Community Center theater. She was one of the Marzipan ballerinas in the Nutcracker, dancing with her 3-4-year-olds class. She relished the glittery sparkles in her costume, having her hair and make-up done, and admiring the older ballerinas in their elegant costumes. The whole family went to see her, including Mama Mina, and Grandma & Grandpa Stevens. I think Grandpa Stevens deserves a gold star for that.

Rose is on the far right.
This December we delayed the Christmas decorations for few weeks due to illnesses, and while the children waited for us to heal, they decorated our house themselves by taping bits of paper up around the house. Rose even wrapped a few "gifts" for each family member to put under a not-yet-purchased tree. She wrapped Phil's broken watch and one of Lee's toys, and she attempted to wrap my car keys. When it came time to decorate the tree, they stuffed tangles of lights into the branches at chest-high level, and they balanced heirloom glass ornaments on the edges of the branches to be brushed off later and crash on the floor.

 You may not be able to tell, but I really did enjoy having them participate in the decorating process, and I have long since let go of having a perfectly decorated tree. After the children went to bed, Phil and I sat sipping our instant decaf coffee and staring at the lights glinting off the shiny ornaments.



We enjoyed several Sundays watching family members participate in the singing at Granada Heights Friends Church. Jessica Taylor, Ashley Emerson, and Heather Himes all had singing parts. Even Mama Grace and Papi with their new live-in help, Elizabeth, were able to come one Sunday.


This season was busy as Christmas usually is, but it didn't seem frantic. Aside from feeding people and doing the dishes, I usually had a chance to do one or two extra things each day like laundry or give the children haircuts or have a shower myself. I made use of Walmart's grocery delivery service and simply let many things go by the wayside. They were not of utmost importance anyways. Holding Benny was.
We began our Christmas marathon at the Taylor's house December 23 after church. Phil made fudge and spoons and knives as gifts. He also gave a landscape plan to Mama Mina and Grandpa Fred for their cabin in Angeles Oaks.




Lee and Rose swing in the new swing the Taylors plan to hang at the Oaks cabin.

 December 24 was our family Christmas. The children opened their mini-stockings on our bed and we made our traditional Cinnabon, egg, and bacon breakfast. Those little stockings make Christmas just a bit easier for me.




Rose's big gift this year was a big wheel. Her old pink one broke a few months ago, and she was in tears over it. It had served her well. We'd found it on the side of the road several years ago and gave it to Lee for his Christmas present before we found another more masculine one on the curb at the same house. Now she has a brand-new one with a tire-circumference that gives her an edge. Lee isn't very happy about Rose's new speed.



Benny with a book about snow from Auntie Joni

Phil and Lee putting batteries in his remote control truck.


Christmas Eve was celebrated at the Coxes house with the Jensens and Barnes. Much riotous fun was had by all. The Coxes provided sandwiches and salads, and the rest provided numerous desserts. Lee and Rose were pleased to get new pajamas from Grammy and Papa. Benny got some new long sleeve onsies, which he promptly christened with poop in the days to follow.

Children sing Happy Birthday to Jesus with a chocolate cake and candles. 

Cousin Gigi with Benny. He was sweet on her.
We had a few days break from presents due to more illnesses, but the time was much appreciated. The children played with their new toys and I tried to organize our house in preparation for our last Christmas celebration at the Stevens' home on Saturday December 29th. This Christmas included the Himes, dinner, and a treasure hunt. Lee was excited to receive Hot Wheels track and Rose received a baby doll that pottys when you feed her. She has already wet the bed and couch and floors. 

The children seemed almost more excited this year to give gifts than they were to receive gifts. Our dear Grandma Stevens took them to the Dollar Tree earlier this month where they picked out various items for Phil, me, and Benny. Their choices were quite informed and insightful. I believe they know and understand their parents well.

The ten day vacation for Phil ends today. We lounged in the park with friends and then enjoyed some Pho in La Mirada. Thanks Ian and Bonnie!

Rose took this picture for us.