Archive | December, 2013

A puppy for Christmas

31 Dec

We’ve been waiting 5 weeks to get our beaglier x mini foxy puppy. I had these day dreams of our family going to the park together in the evening with the puppy, all of us running around, laughing and having fun.  We will do that, in addition to taking her for runs, walks and play dates with other dogs.  It’s hard waiting, but puppies are vulnerable to the canine parvo virus, which is spread by faeces, and can kill young pups.  Going to the park, or anywhere else a puppy might come into contact with other dogs poop could be deadly until they turn 12 weeks and receive their parvo virus vaccination.  Right now she is only 8 weeks old.

I also didn’t realise that having a puppy would deprive me of sleep for a number of weeks.  They can’t go all night without needing to pee and/or poop, which means I also have to wake up to take her out to pee/poop.  It’s like having a newborn.  And like having a newborn, even though they are hard work, looking at her adorable face, and getting great cuddles makes it totally worth it.  I’m just glad this night waking thing should be over by the time university starts back up next year so my brain won’t be in a sleep deprived fog whilst I try to get good marks in chemistry.

On Christmas eve, I picked up our new puppy.  I got home long after the kids had gone to bed, upping my chances of concealing the puppy until morning.  She whined a lot over night, had to go to the bathroom 3 times, and kept us up for many hours.  We couldn’t really blame her though, we did take her from her mom and dad, we were strangers, and we completely changed life as she knew it.

In the morning, we woke the kids from their slumber (perhaps I was more excited about seeing their reactions to their presents then they were about getting them in the first place…), sat them in front of the Christmas tree, and then brought out the special present.  I’d wrapped the flip lid box  so that it was still a flip lid box, just a very Christmasy one.

Hannah and Daniel groggily sit in front of the tree

Hannah and Daniel groggily sit in front of the tree

I should have waited for the kids to wake up a bit first, but we were impatient, so their reactions were not exactly the over the top, screaming with excitement type we were going for, but they were groggily excited nonetheless.

Each day Rosie settles in more and more.  Hannah adores her and wants to cuddle and play with her all day long.  Daniel is a bit scared of her since Rosie thinks a human running means they want to play.  Daniel runs from her, which entices Rosie to run after him, which in turn scares Daniel, makes him run faster and then gets Rosie even more excited for play time.  He’ll get used to her though.

When she wakes up in the morning, Rosie is like a 6 year old who’s consumed a huge bowl of lollies.  Absolutely wild.  She tears around the house trying to chew on anything and everything like a tiny ball of energy.  Needless to say, she will be going for morning runs with me as soon as she has that vaccination.

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Choosing appropriate online games for kids

26 Dec

I was going to write about Christmas but today was really busy, I’m really tired, and I want to go to bed (I will soon though).  Instead, here is a guest post about online games for kids.  I’m sure lots of you out there have kids who got vouchers for online gaming site, or your have kids who want to play computer games, but you have no idea which ones are appropriate.  So here is a little guide for you:

Many parents are concerned over the amount of inappropriate material available on the internet. How do we ensure that the games our kids are playing are appropriate? Even games that are geared towards kids have more of an adult feel and are far from appropriate. Here are some considerations for finding kid appropriate games online.

What Are They Learning?

One of the biggest concerns that I have as a parent is what my child will learn while on the internet. I don’t want my child to learn how to steal cars or the most effective way to kill a zombie. Instead, I would rather my child’s gaming teach them practical skill or reinforce skills that they are learning in school.

One great site I found is UpToTen.com. The games there are all geared for children from ages six to ten and each game helps to improve a child’s skill in one area or another. A simple game such guiding a snowman through a maze can help to improve their hand-eye coordination.

Stress Fun Over Competition

Much like in youth sports, I look for online games that stress fun over competition. Games that set easy to achieve goals are much more preferred over those that stress “winning at all costs.”

Learn4Good is another great site that offers several games geared towards young gamers and each game is focused more on fun and learning rather than on competition. Similar to UpToTen, this site has games from young children to pre-teens.

 Explore their Passions

What is your child passionate about? That may sound like a very adult concept, but all kids are passionate about one thing or another. For some it may be fire trucks and firemen. Other kids may love animals. Whatever their passion, online games can help them explore those passions.

I have a friend that has a daughter that loves horses. A great site for horse games is VirtualHorseGames.net. There are several games there that are both fun and educational. Games such as Star Stable offer a chance to interact with horses in a virtual world environment while Howrse teaches you about horse genetics.

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The above are just a few suggestions in finding kid friendly games online. You may want to spend some time on a couple of gaming forums and hold discussions with other parents and gamers about the best child appropriate games or which games to avoid. Also, talk with your child’s teacher. They may be able to provide resources or game suggestions.

*This post is brought to you by VirtualHorseGames.net

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Fighting

22 Dec

“I’m playing with my balloon.” Daniel told me with a smile on his face.

“I WAS GOING TO PLAY WITH THAT!” Hannah said in that really obnoxious whingey, whiney voice as she bounded out of her room with her hands on her hips upon hearing Daniel’s toy choice.

“Well you weren’t playing with it, and you didn’t say you wanted to play with it, so Daniel can play with it right now” I told her.

“But I was about to go and get it.” She told me, as if I would suddenly steal the balloon away from Daniel and joyfully place it in her hands instead.

This scenario is played out many, many times every day.  Not just with Hannah wanting something Daniel is playing with, but vice versa as well.  It seems like every time one of them has something, the other wants it too, even if he/she was happily playing with something else.

I never used to understand why moms of twins buy two of everything.  Two of the same outfit, two of each toy.  When I only had one kid, I thought that was a total waste of money.  Couldn’t one twin play with one toy while the other played with something different?

Ha.  Not. Even. Close.  My kids may not be twins, but I suspect that with twins, this whole sibling rivalry thing starts much earlier and is probably more intense.  Considering Hannah and Daniel’s constant fighting makes me feel like screaming, or running away or something, I can definitely see the value in buying two of everything now.  After all, you can’t put a price on sanity.

It’s not even limited to actual toys though.  When we’re in the car, they fight over imaginary things too.

“Mommy, can I have Milo?” Daniel asks me.  As in Milo from Milo and Otis.  I hold out my hand and he pretends to take Milo from it, happy that he is in possession of his favourite cat.

“Can I have Milo too?” Hannah asks.  I repeat the process, handing Milo to her this time.

“I have Milo.” Daniel tells me happily as he pats his pretend cat.

“No, have Milo.” Hannah says grumpily.

“You both have Milo.  I gave one to each of you, remember.”

“I have Milo.” Daniel says, taking the fight bait that Hannah put out for him.

“I HAVE MILO!” Hannah yells.

“NO I HAVE MILO.” Daniel yells back.

Eventually Daniel starts crying as he shouts that he has Milo and Hannah’s grumpiness turns to anger.

It’s not always about Milo.  Sometimes it’s about Otis, or sometimes they argue about who Hannah’s imaginary friend Meet Lilly is sitting next to.  Sometimes it’s about which toy they will play with when they get home.  But it’s always something.  Every car ride.  Every day.

By themselves, they are both sweet, lovely kids, but together they turn into little fighting monsters and I have no idea how to make it stop.

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Christmas lunch

19 Dec

I’m not going to lie, it’s weird having Christmas in the summer.  Christmas was always my favourite holiday growing up.  I always woke up multiple times per night in excitement, so my parents made the rule that after 2am, we could open one present from our stocking per hour until 5 (or maybe 6? I can’t remember), when we could get up and open our whole stockings.  My brother usually just slept until one of us woke him up.  I, on the other hand, would be up every hour getting my one present.

After my parents and my brother and I all opened our stockings, we’d delve into the pile of presents that appeared under the tree over night.  Before then, there would be a couple of presents so that I could shake a couple and try to guess what wonderful things jiggled around inside, but my parents only put out most of the presents after we went to bed.  A tradition I’m keeping. Although we don’t have any presents under our tree.  I’m sure the minute I turn around, Daniel would be opening them.  It’s a bit mean to leave out presents and expect a 2 year old not to touch them.

We’d then indulge in some delicious breakfast, usually cinnamon rolls, before getting ready to go to my grandparents house for more presents, and early dinner with the extended family.

I loved seeing all of the relatives on my mom’s side of the family on Christmas day.  We didn’t see them often, but every Christmas, we’d all pack in to my Grandparents, or my mom’s aunt and uncles house and everyone would be there, laughing and talking.

Dinner always consisted of the same thing: Turkey, cranberry sauce, bread rolls, sweet potatoes cooked in butter and brown sugar, and vegetables.  I was, as you know, a completely ridiculous fussy eater though, so I just ate the bread rolls.  I think 7 was my record.

It was cold over there at Christmas time though, so a turkey and all the fixings worked.  Over here? Not so much.  I don’t want my oven to be on, heating up the already scorching house in probable upper 30 (c) degree temperatures.  Plus, if it’s a super hot day on Christmas, I don’t really want to be eating a hot turkey in the heat of the day.

Instead, we’re having a BBQ.  Barbeques Galore has a huge range of BBQ’s and other outdoor stuff if you don’t already have one.  This is the very first Christmas that we’re having at our house, since we have one now, so we can actually do that.  We won’t need to have the oven on at all, and I don’t even need to do the cooking.  BBQ-ing is Aaron’s job.  I bought some Christmas themed paper plates and paper cups, which are perfectly acceptable when one is eating BBQ’d food, so I won’t even have to waste precious Christmas time washing up the dishes.

The humble BBQ: Our Christmas feast vessle

The humble BBQ: Our Christmas feast vessle

I even found the perfect sausages: Turkey with cranberry, sage, and pine nuts. If that’s not an Aussie version of my childhood Christmas dinner (well, the one my family prepared, not that I actually ate most of it…), I don’t know what is.

*This post was brought to you by Barbeques Galore

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Wet ‘n Wild Sydney

18 Dec

After waiting two weeks for our season pass armbands that serve as everything from gaining entry to paying for food to identifying particular people in photographs taken by the official photographers, opening day arrived at Wet ‘n Wild Sydney.  Our armbands still haven’t arrived. Instead, we waited in line before the park opened and had to collect and activate new ones.  We thought we’d be waiting in line for hours, since the crowd was predicted to be 20,000 strong on opening day, but my friend Romana, who got there before me, only waited a few minutes.

Since Romana brought Hannah’s best friend Violet, and I brought Hannah (Daniel was at daycare), we only got to experience the kids area and the lazy river.  So if you want to know about how cool the other slides and things are, you’re not going to find it on this post.  Sorry.  One day I will get there sans kids, but that hasn’t happened as yet.

The kids area had plenty of stuff for them to do.  First we came across a vast soft-fall covered water spout area with a downpour bucket and various sprinklers, where they very small kids, as well as older ones, can run around and get soaked without being in a pool of water.  There is also a slide area with one entrance at the bottom that goes either left or right at the top.  To the left are four slides that require tubes.  Two of the four slides only accept single tubes with single riders, who must be under a certain height or they are not allowed on.  Too bad if you have a really tall 8 year old, he won’t be allowed to go down those slides.

The other two slides allow double tubes, and as long as one of the riders is under the stick height, the other rider can be an older child or an adult. I took Hannah down the double tube slides.  Since she is small, I had to put my legs over half the hole area of her side to make sure she didn’t fall in.  This meant that I had to sit with my legs open, so I’m hoping that my swimmers stayed where they were supposed to whilst I got on the tube, otherwise the slide attendant would be getting an eyeful.  Note to self, wear shorts next time.  I did wear a skirt over my bikini bottoms, but that was clearly not helpful when laying on a tube with my legs spread.

At the bottom of the slides, a lifeguard was there to pull us to the steps and help Hannah get out, which was quite useful.  The morning slide attendants at the top of the slides let me take the GoPro down with me, saying that since it has a wrist strap, it was ok because there wasn’t any danger of it falling in.  The afternoon attendants, however, made me leave it at the top and come back for it.

To left were the body slides – the slides you go down with no tubes or anything else.  Unfortunately, they don’t allow anyone over a certain height to go down them at all, even if you are accompanying a 2 year old.  That was fine for us, since our girls are 4.  Hannah and Violet can walk up to the slides themselves, choose which slide they like, and then let the attendant tell them when to go while we wait at the bottom of their chosen slide to make sure they get out ok.

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Some of the slides have a bit of water at the bottom, so an adult really needs to be there to make sure there are no drowning or choking on water incidents. You can also see the top of the slides and the line area from the bottom, which means sending a 4 year old up there by themselves is actually doable. It also means that there are a bunch of kids with no parents in the lines which equates to chaos, and cutting in line.  There are only two attendants to 6 slides, so if your child isn’t game enough to speak up when their chosen slide is called, they could be waiting quite a while.

There is no way that I could bring Daniel there by myself.  He would need me to take him up to the top of the slides (the smaller ones without water at the bottom, since adults are not allowed to go on the slightly bigger ones with the kids), and to wait in line with him, but he’d also need me to be there at the bottom so he didn’t get out and run off somewhere, or get upset that I wasn’t waiting there for him. There isn’t enough time to put a child on the slide and run then run down to meet him/her at the bottom, so it is impossible to take a small child to Wet ‘n Wild on your own.

The most ridiculous thing about Wet ‘n Wild is not the $16 burgers, although they are clearly a rip off, but the fact that parents can’t go down water slides in the kids area with their small children.

Speaking of $16 burgers, outside food isn’t allowed (although I brought my own snacks in and no one said anything. Shhh….), and all the food is ridiculously expensive.  Burgers and fries for $16, a hot dog for $6.  There aren’t many choices either.  Don’t forget to bring your own water as there are no water fountains (that we found anyway), and one bottle of water is $4.50.

We stayed at Wet ‘n Wild for the majority of the day, and we all had a great time, especially since the lines were incredibly short and there weren’t many people around (so much for that 20,000…).  We already have another trip planned, and many more after that 🙂  I’m definitely glad we purchased gold season passes.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS! Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory Like my blog? ‘Like’ it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Adventures/203964682967827?ref=tn_tnmn Pin It You officially have my permission to pin this (as long as it links back to my site).  Just don’t act like you wrote it. Because you didn’t…. Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson The Best Mom Blogs

15 Dec

I was pretty organised this year. I’ve already purchased and wrapped all the presents. Except for the puppy of course, which I’m not getting until Christmas Eve. Everything else is all sorted though.

But if you’re freaking out and haven’t finished all of your Christmas shopping and/or are stuck for ideas (or just want a good bargain for yourself…), here is a little something for you:

*This post was brought to you by Quicksales

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What really happens at nap time

13 Dec

Daniel hasn’t been napping for a while now.  Sometimes the silence makes me think he’s asleep in there.  But then books start coming out from under the door and I know the silence is not due to sleeping, he’s just being quiet.  We wanted to know what he gets up to in his room during nap time, especially since it always looks like a bomb went off afterwards, so Aaron attached the GoPro to their closet door and set it to time lapse mode.

Most of the time he has quiet time with Hannah in the living room where they sit on the couch and watch a toddler appropriate movie while drinking a sippy cup of milk.  Mostly so I don’t have to clean up his room after “nap” time.  The mess has gotten worse in the weeks since we took the video.  In addition to reading nearly all of the books on the shelf and not putting them back, he now also enjoys emptying every single one of his drawers full of clothes.  Folding all of his clothes every day is not exactly my idea of a fun or useful time, and is really annoying.  Needless to say, he is now on the quiet time plan.

This post is brought to you by Label-Land. We carry a huge selection of high quality, stick for life, personalized label awesomeness to be affixed onto anything kids tend to lose.  Try our easy, practical, and affordable product so you can always be assured you will get back what you pack.

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Preparing for a renovation

11 Dec

We are currently in the midst of renovating our back yard.  If you can call it that.  Basically, the entire back lawn was bindiis, apart from a lone tree in the corner when we moved in.

Our backyard when we moved in.

Our backyard when we moved in.

We are transforming it into a place where the kids can play bare footed, without yelping in pain.  Plus we’re putting in a veggie garden along two fences so I can grow my crazy heirlooms.

The back yard now.  The garden is not even remotely finished, but we've finally started it.

The back yard now. The garden is not even remotely finished, but we’ve finally started it.  The white line is where the edge of the garden will be (except it will go all the way to the left, not just where it stops)

If you’re delving in a bit deeper though, todays guest post will give you some pointers:

Renovating can be a very messy time. Demolition of walls, floors and ceilings will create temporary chaos and mess. Old insulation, plumbing and wiring may be pulled out and built-in cupboards torn down. There will be dust and plaster flying thick and fast.

Depending on how extensive your renovations, you may need to relocate during the process. If renovations are more minor you may be able to stay in your home but you will need to clear affected rooms and store your furnishings. The easiest and safest option is to hire a self storage unit for the period of your renovations. A self storage unit offers you easy access to your stored goods and excellent security.

Develop a Plan

Before you begin you need to think about what you want to achieve by renovating. Do you want more room or perhaps more storage? What is not working in your existing home? Make a thorough plan of your renovating project, including the selection and pricing of materials and contractors. The cheapest contractor is not always the best. Ask for references. Hiring an architect can be an excellent idea at the planning stage.

Think Long Term

When you are deciding on your renovation, plan for the long term. Think about what you will want years down the track. Avoid making renovation based on short-term needs as you may find you need to renovate again in the future. Discuss your short and long term goals with your builder or architect. Even if you can’t afford all the renovations at once, your builder should be able to help you plan a sequenced approach.

Determine the Cost

Renovations very often run over budget. You need to do your homework and ask lots of questions in order to avoid blowing your budget. Also get a definite quote from all your contractors. Do not commit to the project until you have a complete understanding of the costs involved and you are sure you can meet them. A half-finished renovation is worse than no renovation. Be vigilant!

Make Formal Agreements

Do not leave anything to chance. Once you choose a contractor make a formal written agreement detailing the scope of the work to be performed and the price. This will save unnecessary disputes later.

Beware of Over Capitalising

You need to assess whether the amount of money you are investing in your renovations will be able to be recouped if you sell your home. It is a mistake to pay for expensive renovations if it will not improve the saleable value of your property. Consider the current value of your property and seek advice from a real estate agent as to the value with the improvements in place. If you plan to stay in your home for ten years or more you may decide to go ahead regardless, as you may decide the benefits outweigh the expense. Just be sure you are making an informed decision.

Then take a deep breath, the end result will be worth the temporary inconvenience.

*This post was brought to you by Fort Knox Storage.

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Is the USDA subsidising obesity?

8 Dec

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), 69.2% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight or obese.  12.1% of 2-5 year olds, 18% of 6-11 year olds, and 18.4% of 12-19 year olds are overweight.  To me, those seem like astoundingly high numbers, especially the fact that 12.1% of 2-5 year olds are over weight.  12.5%.  I know there are lots of body love campaigns out there right now, designed to lift the self esteem of overweight men and women around the globe, but looks are not the issue here.  The issue is that being overweight and/or obese causes heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, high cholesterol, infertility, and even cancer.  It’s estimated that obesity in the United States costs 147 – 210 BILLION dollars each year.

For decades, low fat products graced (and still do) the shelves of American supermarkets.  You can pretty much get anything in a low fat version over there, and low fat diets were/are recommended for people in general, but especially for heart attack and cardiovascular disease patients.  There’s even low fat peanut butter.  A quick check of the label reveals a huge part of the problem that a lot of people wouldn’t even think twice about: sugar. Low fat peanut butter may have had some fat taken out, but the fat was replaced by sugar.  Don’t get me wrong, there are fats that are very unhealthy, and going through that McDonald’s drive through isn’t going to do your health any favours, but there are also fats that, despite being fat, do not elevate cholesterol levels or give us all sorts of medical problems.  They actually promote cardiovascular health, and health in general.  Good fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil, salmon, etc.) should have a regular place in our diets, and we will be healthier for it.  Just look at the Mediterraneans – their diet is rich in good fats, yet they enjoy much lower rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and diabetes.  Studies from around the world show that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest.

image courtesy of Oldways (click to read about the Mediterranean diet)

image courtesy of Oldways (click to read about the Mediterranean diet)

All of these low fat products compensate for the loss of fat, which equates to loss of flavour, by other means, usually with sugar or  high fructose corn syrup.   Not only is fat being replaced by high fructose corn syrup, but heaps of other products such as cookies, other baked goods, yogurt, jams, granola bars, and pretty much anything else you can think of that is packaged, contains high fructose corn syrup.  One of the biggest culprits though, is soda, and other beverages, which generally contain around 16 teaspoons of sugar or high fructose corn syrup PER CAN.  Adult women should be getting no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, and adult men no more than 9 teaspoons.  Sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup are linked to obesity, diabetes, and many other health problems. Recently, a lot of the high fructose corn syrup in soda is being replaced by sugar, which, in the U.S., is generally from genetically modified sugar beets.

In 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture spent $2,702,462,268 on corn subsidies (the most subsidised crop in the U.S.), which means the USDA paid farmers to plant corn.  The very corn that is used to make high fructose corn syrup, which is added to so many unhealthy, waist expanding food products.  Not only that, but   85% of corn grown in the U.S. in 2012 was genetically modified corn, and that percentage is going up all the time.

Only 4.7% (around 511 million bushels) of the total U.S. corn crop is used to make high fructose corn syrup, but the news isn’t good for the rest of the corn crop either.  The majority of corn is used as livestock feed.  That doesn’t sound so bad, but non-industry funded studies have shown that rats fed GM corn had an increased incidence of tumours, early death, and kidney and liver problems, just to name a few.

Rats with tumours after being fed GM corn (max 11%) and/or water laced with roundup (under the legal limit allowed in the water supply)

Rats with tumours after being fed GM corn (max 11%) and/or water laced with roundup (under the legal limit allowed in the water supply)

One biotech company, Syngenta, was even criminally charged when a German farmer’s herd of cattle fell critically ill after consuming a diet consisting solely of genetically modified Bt corn. Syngenta paid the farmer $40,000 compensation.

Livestock are fed corn because it fattens them up faster than their natural grass diet, which makes them able to be slaughtered earlier, but yields much fattier (saturated fat) meat, thus contributing to obesity considering U.S.Aliens eat the second highest amount of beef per person in whole world. Grass fed beef is higher in vitamin E, omega-3, and has 1/2 – 1/3 less fat than grain fed beef.

Me pretending to eat GM corn in Minnesota

Me pretending to eat GM corn in Minnesota. Photo by John Beath.

It’s not just corn though.  I said before that sugar in the U.S. primarily comes from sugar beets.  They too are included in the farmer subsidy program, with 95% being the genetically modified variety.  The resulting processed sugar is used in all sorts of packaged goods, from yogurt to cookies to soft drinks.  Excess sugar has been shown to contribute to obesity, diabetes and a plethora of other health problems and added sugar is lurking in all sorts of foods you wouldn’t expect.

The packaged goods on your supermarket shelves containing added sugar are mostly from huge multinational corporations with many different brand names under their umbrellas that make gigantic sums of money annually.  Take Nestle for example; brands owned by Nestle include: Gerber, Maggi, Hot Pockets, Herta, Stouffers, Dreyers, Lean Cuisine, Jenny Craig, and of course all the confectionary and coffee that clearly say Nestle above the name of the bar or blend.  In 2012, Nestle made 11.55 BILLION dollars in profit.

Or how about Coca Cola, who also makes billions in profit each year, and not only makes Coca Cola, but owns or partially owns 500 other brands in countries all around the world, such as, Odwalla, Dannon, Powerade, and Vitamin Water.

So the USDA pays farmers to plant corn and sugar beets, that are then bought cheaply by billionaire corporations to make packaged and bottled goods that in turn contribute to obesity and diabetes.  Why is the U.S. subsidising unhealthy foods for billionaire corporations?

Not to mention, since the USDA is subsidising corn and sugar beets, both of which are mostly genetically modified, doesn’t that also mean that the U.S. government is indirectly funding huge bio tech corporations like Monsanto (who, by the way, made 2.94 billion dollars in 2012)?

*Sources below vote banner

*I am not saying to eliminate all forms of sugar from your diet.  Fruit contains natural fructose, honey contains both fructose and glucose, and both honey and whole fruits are incredibly good for you and should definitely have a place in your diet.  I am strictly talking about added refined sugars in this article.

If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for my blog. All you have to do is click the link below. That’s it… Clicking the link brings you to the Top Mommy Blogs home page. You don’t have to do anything else. Any clicks from my site to theirs is a vote.  THANKS! Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory Like my blog? ‘Like’ it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Adventures/203964682967827?ref=tn_tnmn Pin It You officially have my permission to pin this (as long as it links back to my site).  Just don’t act like you wrote it. Because you didn’t…. Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

SOURCES (In no order and most are not Harvard referenced because that takes too long and this is not a university assignment.  Where I could, I’ve just provided links as that’s easier for you to find, but some are from databases that you have to pay for and you won’t have access to, in which case I have properly referenced them)

CDC http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm

http://www.mediweightlossclinics.com/patients/resources/articles/obesity-facts/

http://newsroom.heart.org/news/leaders-from-cities-states-with-declining-childhood-obesity-rates-share-strategies-for-success

http://oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids/mediterranean-pyramid/overview

http://www.nestle.com/brands

http://www.cspinet.org/new/201302131.html

http://farm.ewg.org/progdetail.php?fips=00000&progcode=sugarbeet

Bocarsly, M, Powell, E, Avena, N & Hoebel 2010, ‘High fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: increased body weight, body fat, and triglyceride levels,’ Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behaviour, vol. 97, no. 1, pp. 101-106.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/32543288/#.Un_ZQ5QpZgI

http://news.yahoo.com/nestle-makes-11-55-billion-profit-2012-062612714–finance.html

http://www.card.iastate.edu/iowa_ag_review/fall_01/concentration.aspx

http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us/recent-trends-in-ge-adoption.aspx#.Un_b9pQpZgI

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/sugar-sweeteners/background.aspx#.UpEE-pQpZgI

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops/corn/background.aspx#.UpEFCZQpZgI

Séralini, G.E., Clair, E, Mesnage, R, Gress, S, Defarge, N, Malatesta, M, Hennequin, D, & Spiroux de Vendomois, J 2012, ‘Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,’ Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 50, no. 11, pp. 4221-4231, viewed 25 April 2013, Science Direct, DOI 10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.005

Belvoir media group 2012, ‘Cut back on added sugar, especially in beverages, to protect your health: many drinks and healthy sounding foods contain excess sugar that is linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease,’ Women’s Health Advisor, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 6.

http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Syngenta_Charged_for_Covering_Up_Livestock_Deaths_from_GM_Corn.php

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ansci/beef/as1238.pdf

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/know.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/06/27/155527365/visualizing-a-nation-of-meat-eaters

http://www.monsanto.com/investors/Pages/quarterly-earnings.aspx

http://www.alternet.org/food/monsantos-earnings-nearly-double-they-create-farming-monopoly

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/brands/all/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Coca-Cola_brands

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/press-center/press-releases/the-coca-cola-company-reports-full-year-and-fourth-quarter-2012-results

If you are interested in the entire corn process, from planting to subsidy to high fructose corn syrup, I highly recommend watching this documentary:

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A post about peanut butter

3 Dec

I’m sure I’ve told you about how much of a fussy eater I was growing up.  I lived on cheese pizza, turkey hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and every day at school, I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (jam as I now have to say as an Aussie so they don’t think I’m a weirdo who puts jello on my sandwiches).  It was undoubtedly my biggest source of protein.

I am still a huge fan of peanut butter. Especially the stuff RedBalloon sent me.  So is Hannah.  She doesn’t like chicken apart from the occasional nugget (if you can even call that chicken), and only intermittently likes deli ham, and she doesn’t eat any other meat at all.  If I make her a sandwich at home, it always has peanut butter on it.  Two tablespoons (32 grams) of the stuff has 8 grams of protein.  For comparison’s sake, 32 grams of chicken breast has about 9.7 grams of protein.  Yes, chicken has far fewer calories than peanut butter, but if you have a kid who doesn’t like meat, does like peanut butter, doesn’t eat a large volume of any kind of food, and is underweight, daily doses of peanut butter is a great option.  Plus it’s delicious.  Also, don’t be scared of the fat in peanut butter (don’t eat the whole jar at once, obviously, I mean per 2 TBSP serve), since the majority of fat in peanut butter is monounsaturated fat, which lowers LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) and polyunsaturated fat which raises HDL levels (the good cholesterol).  Humans also need good fats in their diet for good health.

Unfortunately though, peanuts are also an allergen to a lot of people.  So many that it is banned in most schools, churches, playgroups, and children’s venues.  In Australia, around 3% of kids have a peanut allergy, some so severe that it causes anaphylaxis.  And trust me, that is scary.  When I was young, my brother got stung by a bee and went into anaphylactic shock.  He went all blue and couldn’t breathe until he got a shot of epinephrine.  20% of kids with peanut allergies grow out of it at some point (although I wonder when they think “hey, maybe I’ll try this stuff that I’ve been allergic to my whole life and see what happens”).  Needless to say, I can see why schools, and other venues have such strict peanut rules.

Not that peanuts are even a nut.  They are a legume, like peas, and beans.  Real nuts such as almonds and macadamias grow on trees.

Luckily for my family, we have no such peanut allergies and go through a very large volume of peanut butter in any given week.  We happened to have just run out of our big tub of it when I was volunteered to review a Red Balloon subscription.  I browsed the list of subscriptions, saw the delicious looking peanut butter, and here we are.

Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 9.26.47 PM

I like the quirky labels, and the star on the lid. If you’ve never eaten peanut butter made with only peanuts (and maybe a little salt), you’d probably be a bit surprised after you twist the lid off.  Inside is gooey, slightly runny, lumpy, brown goodness, unlike most peanut butter that you get at the supermarket, that is a firm set mass and isn’t even remotely going to fall out if you turn the jar upside down with the lid on.  You’d think the regular stuff is made of just peanuts, but it’s not.  Most peanut butters are only 90-ish percent peanuts, and have all sorts of added extras like vegetable or palm oil, sugar, molasses, and some even have ingredients with crazy long names that no one even remotely knows what are without consulting google.

Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter, on the other hand, only contains peanuts and a little bit of salt.  And by a little, I mean a little; only 30mg per serve.  The recommended daily intake for most adults under 51 is 2,300mg per day or less, which means that one serving of Pic’s peanut butter is only 1.3% of your daily allowance of salt.

Being a little runny makes it far easier to spread (or eat straight from the jar…) than 90% peanut peanut butters.  It tastes way better too.  If you’ve never had 100% peanut peanut butter, I highly suggest you try it.  You don’t know what you’re missing out on.  Between uses, it does tend to separate into solids at the bottom, oil at the top, but a quick stir brings it back to it’s gooey deliciousness.  The jar recommends storing it upside down so that when it separates it’s easier to stir evenly.  Most 100% peanut butter needs to be stored in the fridge, but Pic’s Really Good Peanut butter is made from Hi Oleic peanuts.  Whilst that may sound like something out of a science lab, it’s not.  They are not genetically modified, but a naturally bred variety that yields peanuts with an even healthier fat profile.

Screen shot 2013-12-03 at 11.02.15 AM


ref. SS-AGR-91, Agronomy Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service,
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Revised June 2003.

The different fat profile has the added benefit of a longer shelf life, meaning peanut butter made from Hi Oleic peanuts doesn’t need to be stored in the fridge, just in a dark coolish place.  Mine is in the cupboard.  Not that it lasts long around here with our high peanut butter consumption.

With our first jar of peanut butter, Hannah and I made muesli bars (recipe below), and then chickpea and peanut butter cookies (sounds horrid, but are really yummy).  Basically, we used a whole jar in under a week, but that’s normal for us.  Pic’s really Good Peanut Butter is just that though, it really is really good.  

If peanut butter is not your thing, you’re crazy Red Balloon has heaps of other options, from honey (we use a lot of that too) to coffee, to muesli, to pasta, to candles, and everything in between.  Below is a discount code for you:

Receive $20 off when you spend $79 or more on any RedBalloon experience!
Visit www.redballoon.com.au & enter the code REDBLOG14 at the checkout to receive your discount.
Code can only be used once per person. All purchases are subject to RedBalloon T&Cs – http://www.redballoon.com.au/help/terms-conditions
Expiry: 31/12/2014

RedBalloon MarketPlace was created with the aim to bring surprise and delight into the homes of people across Australia.

Each month RedBalloon curates a premium selection of gourmet food, wine and lifestyle boxes, filled with products that the RedBalloon Team has discovered and loves.

Whether you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, or a treat for yourself, a subscription to RedBalloon MarketPlace is one way to ensure a box of happiness and lots of smiles every month.

This recipe (below) is for Hannah’s  favourite bars.  We make them often and she gobbles them up.  Don’t be scared of the honey.  Honey has countless health benefits (so many that I’m going to write a whole post about it.  I did a presentation on the health and medicinal benefits of honey for my food science class, so I’ve thoroughly researched the topic).  Make sure you check the label because the cheaper honeys often aren’t pure honey, but have glucose or high fructose corn syrup mixed in.  Certain types of honey, such as acacia are low GI and suitable for most diabetics.
(Sources for peanut butter info and facts are below the vote banner at the end of this post)
Hannah’s Bars:
-1 cup quick oats
-1/2 cup nuts of crunchy stuff of choice (sometimes we use crunchy cereal, sometimes peanuts, or macadamias, and/or seeds. One of our favourite things to use is fibre toppers, which are really crunchy little balls of bran. It just has to be crunchy, and obviously work well with the overall flavours of the recipe)
-1/2 cup raisins/sultanas, or any other dried fruit of choice.  We often use craisins.  Craisins and macadamias go very well together, if you used macadamias for the crunchy element.
-1/3 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup honey
1. Mix oats, crunchy stuff, and raisins in a large bowl.
2. Put peanut butter, butter, and honey in a saucepan on med-low heat.
3. Stir continuously until mixture comes to a boil.
4. Pour melted mix onto dry mix and throughly stir.
5. Press entire mix into a loaf pan.  It’s much easier to get out once cooled if the pan is lined with baking paper, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
6. Refrigerate overnight.
7. Take entire batch out of the pan and cut into desired slice size.  I make some fairly small ones for the kids and then some regular muesli bar sized pieces for me.
8. Put in airtight container and store in the fridge. I have no idea how long they can be stored for since we have them eaten in less than a week.

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SOURCES:

http://www.allergyfacts.org.au/living-with-the-risk/allergen-specifics/peanut

http://www.foodallergy.org/allergens/peanut-allergy

http://www.jif.com/Products/Details?categoryId=339&productId=954

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sodium/NU00284

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_butter

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=101

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/what-you-dont-know-about-peanut-butter-nutrition.html#b

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Copyright 2013 Sheri Thomson

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