Tiny Happy Tuesday: 4

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I'm not having a very happy Tuesday. Sleep is an elusive memory right now. It's rainy and grey and we're all itching for some nice weather so we can fill our lungs and run out our beans. Poppy has officially been diagnosed with a peanut allergy and needs further testing. I'm feeling raw is what I'm saying. It's the perfect time to find some tiny happies.

  • Last night I got a lovely catchup email from my oldest friend. It was like she was here, updating me on her life over steaming cups of tea.
  • A gorgeous blue heron has visited us (well, the creek behind our house) a lot recently. Blue herons are one of my favourite birds so it feels like a little gift each time I see her.
  • I'm trying to perfect my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, which means I've been making (and eating!) a lot of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies lately.

What's making you happy this week? Want to play along? Join the Facebook group and share your happy! Or share on Twitter or Instagram using #TinyHappyTuesday so we can find you.

Meal Plan 03/27/2017 - 03/31/2017

Spring break is officially over tomorrow! I have the happysads about this. I've had a lot of fun with Grady (and I haven't missed the morning rush or packing stupid lunches) but he's ready to go back to his friends and I am exhausted. Who knew having two kids would be so tiring? Y'all with three kids are rolling your eyes so hard at me right now, I can feel it.

I've been focusing on upping my protein intake for what feels like forever (probably a couple months? I don't know. My baby doesn't sleep. Time has lost all meaning.). I'm finally starting to feel results. My pants are a little looser, but more importantly, I crave sugary, simple carbs less intensely. I still have a sweet tooth but it's more manageable. I'm motivated to stay on this path is what I'm saying.

Monday: Roasted cauliflower "wings" (eye roll) and crispy tofu served with a giant veggie plate and homemade ranch dip.

Tuesday: Meatballs in tomato sauce served with steamed broccoli and carrots.

Wednesday: Chicken coconut milk soup served with garlicky green beans and roasted sweet potatoes.

Thursday: I'm going to make double the shredded chicken I need for Wednesday's soup and then I'll use it for tacos on Thursday with leftover roasted sweet potatoes and homemade guacamole.

Friday: Taco salads using Thursday's leftovers.

What's on your menu this week?

Apple Taste Test

Apples used to be one of the foods we could reliably feed to Grady and know he'd eat it without complaint. It didn't matter what type of apple. It didn't matter if it was sliced or whole. He was happy to eat an apple, and we were happy he was eating fresh fruit.

In the last year or so, as his picky eating increased, his love of apples decreased to the point where he would only eat a certain type of apple, and only if it was sliced, and he would try to remove as much of the peel with his nails as possible, leaving a sad heap of apple skin curled up on the side of his plate.

I refuse to fight about food. (I-refuse-to-fight-about-food-I-refuse-to-fight-about-food-I-refuse-to-fight-about-food-DEEP BREATH.) I don't want to spend mealtimes nagging Grady to eat. It's not enjoyable for anyone.

When we were embroiled in our #poopdoula days, Grady's doctor told me that little kids can control two things in their lives: what goes into their body, and what comes out. Obviously this doesn't fit every situation, but for us, she suggested we stop over-thinking and just let Grady sort it out. She gave us suggestions to support us, and we're doing our best to support him, and the "what comes out" part of the equation resolved itself in time. Now we're just left with the "what goes into Grady's body" part.

In an effort to stop over-thinking, and to let Grady feel like he's in control, I decided to let him dictate what type of apples we eat. We went to the grocery store and picked out an assortment of apples. We brought them home and had a fun little taste test (or as Grady explained it, we did science in the kitchen!).

Top, left to right: Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Ambrosia Middle: Red Delicious Bottom, left to right: Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Fuji

Top, left to right: Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Ambrosia
Middle: Red Delicious
Bottom, left to right: Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Fuji

We bought seven types of apples because I knew I would use up the leftovers to make Poppy's applesauce. If you don't have a use for a bunch of cut up apples, this taste test is just as fun with three or four apples.

We brought the apples home and Grady wrote their names on index cards. We chatted about the different colours and shapes, and Grady made predictions about which apples he would like best. If Grady was older, I would have made him write down his observations and predictions, but at five (and a half!) it took long enough to just write the names and I was trying to make the most of his attention span.

Next Grady put the apples in order from biggest to smallest. Then I washed and he dried them (teamwork!). I cut two slices from each apple and Grady put the slices on the associated card. He thought long and hard about the order in which we'd taste the apples.

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The test!

After all our prep, we were finally ready to eat some apples. We "cheers"ed each slice and ranked the apples on a scale from 1-10 (which quickly became a scale of 1-400 because of course it did).

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The results!

Warning: proud mama moment ahead. Grady tried every apple. I honestly didn't expect him to. He was totally unfamiliar with at least three of the types of apples we bought but he took a bite of every single slice. There were a couple he didn't finish but he didn't spit out a single mouthful.

In the end, Grady decided he likes four different apples. His favourite was Granny Smith (which was not a surprise, it's the only type of apple he's eaten for months,) followed by Royal Gala, Fuji, and Pink Lady. Before he did any tasting, he thought his favourite was going to be Golden Delicious, which turned out to be his least favourite after he tasted them all.

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It was an interesting experience (for both of us, I think). It was a good reminder for me to give Grady more credit. When I take my time and listen to him (and stop nagging) he's more than willing to work with me. And I hope he's able to absorb the lesson too. He tried new things. They weren't terrible. And I listened to him. I hope it all sinks in and this is one step closer to less food stress.

How do you encourage your picky eater to try new things?

Poppy couldn't contain her excitement.  

Poppy couldn't contain her excitement.  

Put Me in the Story: Personalized Books for Easter

Easter holds different meaning for different people but in our house, it's an opportunity to welcome spring, celebrate family, and enjoy some chocolate. Poor Poppy is too young to participate in the Easter egg hunt / chocolate fest that we've put on for Grady in recent years, but that doesn't mean she'll be left out.

Put Me In The Story to the rescue!

Put Me In The Story takes bestselling books and beloved characters and creates personalized books complete with the child’s name, photo, and a message from the gift giver! Reading becomes more fun and engaging for kids when the book stars them!

Put Me In The Story has lots of options to choose from, appropriate for different religious aspects of Easter (including non-religious options) and age levels. The ordering process was quick and painless. I was easily guided through entering specific information (child's name, personal message, photo, etc.) and in no time flat, I had a perfectly personalized I Love You Honey Bunny on its way to me to put in Poppy's Easter basket.

I was slightly skeptical at how the personalized content would be integrated with the rest of the story but my concerns were unfounded. It all fits together beautifully and doesn't look like someone swapped in different pages for different people; the book truly looks like it was custom-made for our honey bunny.

You can win a personalized Easter book and plush gift for your own honey bunny! Enter here:

{Disclosure: I received product in exchange for this review; all opinions stated are my own.}