Something about a Smoothie

Good Monday morning!  I’m not quite feeling this Monday morning yet, but I’m working on it!  We had a great long weekend thanks go the Mr.’s day off on Friday.  I’ll share more about our weekend later.  Today I wanted to share my new breakfast that I’ve been having each day for just about a week.  I mentioned that I had to pick up a few interesting ingredients from our local Whole Foods for my smoothie creations.  Well, these ingredients are interesting!  IMG_2509

Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

1/2 banana (or a whole depending on taste and desired calorie intake)

Probiotic packet (I’m using up H’s kids while also taking a capsule with water)

1 tbsp. Chia seeds

1/2 tbsp. coconut oil

dash of cinnamon

1/4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. cold water

1 tsp. Royal Jelly

1 tbsp. almond butter

1 heaping tsp. Bee Pollen

1 scoop powdered wheatgrass

add any other fruit you may want **suggestions:  1/4 c. frozen blueberries/other berries, peach, etc.

  1. Be sure to place in blender in this order.  I’ve found it helps to add the wheatgrass last to help it blend better.
  2. Blend for about a minute.  You may want to stop midway to scrape the sides.
  3. Enjoy!

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P.S.  This does taste somewhat like eating a meadow {for lack of a better description!}.  HOWEVER, the taste is not terrible.  It does grow on you.  Be sure to use blueberries if you don’t like seeing the green color.  Remember-IT IS SUPER GOOD FOR YOU!  I confess that I really just wanted my favorite breakfast of oatmeal, almond butter, and strawberry jelly this morning.  I sucked it up and then suck up a smoothie {literally!}.

Below is some reliable information on some of these ingredients.  Be sure to read up and do your research if you decide to try this smoothie out.  My smoothie was adapted from this one.  

Benefits of Wheatgrass from WebMD:

Wheatgrass is a kind of grass. The above-ground parts, roots, and rhizome are used to make medicine. Wheatgrass is primarily used as a concentrated source of nutrients. It contains vitamin Avitamin C, and vitamin E, iron, calciummagnesium, and amino acids.

Wheatgrass is used to treat many conditions, but so far there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support effectiveness for any of these uses.

Wheatgrass is used for increasing production of hemoglobin, the chemical in red bloodcells that carries oxygen; improving blood sugar disorders, such as diabetes; preventing tooth decay; improving wound healing; and preventing bacterial infections.

It is also used for removing deposits of drugs, heavy metals, and cancer-causing agents from the body; and for removing toxins from the liver and blood.

Some people use wheatgrass for preventing gray hair, reducing high blood pressure, improving digestion, and lowering cholesterol by blocking its absorption.

Wheatgrass is also used to treat various disorders of the urinary tract, including infection of the bladder, urethra, and prostate; benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH); kidney stones; and in “irrigation therapy,” the use of a mild diuretic along with lots of fluids to increase urine flow.

Other uses include treatment of respiratory tract complaints, including the common cold, cough, bronchitis, fever, and sore throat; tendency toward infection; gout; liver disorders; ulcerative colitisjoint pain; and chronic skin problems.

Wheatgrass is used for cancer and arthritis in alternative treatment programs. Wheatgrass contains a lot of chlorophyll, the chemical in plants that makes them green and also allows them to make energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. Some people think chlorophyll might fight cancer and arthritis.

Benefits of Bee Pollen from WebMD:  

Bee pollen is available at many health food stores. You may find bee pollen in other natural dietary supplements, as well as in skin softening products used for baby’s diaper rash or eczema.

You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholismasthmaallergies, health maintenance, or stomachproblems, but there is no proof that it helps with these conditions. Before you take any natural product for a health condition, check with your doctor.

Bee pollen is also recommended by some herbalists to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.

At this point, medical research has not shown that bee pollen is effective for any of these health concerns.

Benefits of Royal Jelly from WebMD:

Royal jelly is a milky secretion produced by worker honey bees. It typically contains about 60% to 70% water, 12% to 15% proteins, 10% to 16% sugar, 3% to 6% fats, and 2% to 3% vitamins, salts, and amino acids. Its composition varies depending on geography and climate. This product gets its name from the fact that bees use it for the development and nurturing of queen bees. Some people use royal jelly as medicine. Don’t confuse royal jelly with bee pollen or bee venom.

Royal jelly is used for asthmahay feverliver disease, pancreatitissleep troubles (insomnia), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), stomach ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures, menopausal symptoms, skin disorders, and high cholesterol. It is also used as a general health tonic, for fighting the effects of aging, and for boosting the immune system.

Some people apply royal jelly directly to the skin as a tonic or to the scalp to encourage hair growth.

Benefits of Chia Seeds from WebMD:

The antioxidant activity of chia seeds is higher than any whole food, even blueberries.  Enjoy chia seeds for their flavor and to boost the fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s in your diet.

Benefits of Coconut Oil from WebMD:

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm. The oil of the nut (fruit) is used to make medicine.

Some coconut oil products are referred to as “virgin” coconut oil. Unlike olive oil, there is no industry standard for the meaning of “virgin” coconut oil. The term has come to mean that the oil is generally unprocessed. For example, virgin coconut oil usually has not been bleached, deodorized, or refined.

Some coconut oil products claim to be “cold pressed” coconut oil. This generally means that a mechanical method of pressing out the oil is used, but without the use of any outside heat source. The high pressure needed to press out the oil generates some heat naturally, but the temperature is controlled so that temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coconut oil is used for diabetesheart diseasechronic fatigueCrohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid conditions, energy, and boosting the immune system. Ironically, despite coconut oil’s high calorie and saturated fat content, some people use it to lose weight and lower cholesterol.

Coconut oil is sometimes applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to treat a skin condition called psoriasis.

Happy sipping!

Natalie

5 for Friday

Friday’s here!  This is an extra fantastic Friday as my sister and brother-in-love {to be} are visiting and hanging out with us for the day.  Bonus!  The Mr. is off today too!  We’ve got a fun day planned with swimming lessons, some beach time, and a new restaurant to visit for lunch.  I’m way excited.  🙂  First, here are five things that have been on my mind this week…

{ONE}
Training makes me think of school, and school makes me think of the end of summer.  The end of summer makes me a little sad (Doesn’t that sound like the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?!?!).  I attended two days of training this week which is actually quite a bit better than the three days it was scheduled to be.  I actually enjoyed the training today on a new reading series that my district has adopted, BUT I still prefer having the summertime and the luxury of having undivided focus on home and family.  We have had/are having such a wonderful summer!  I enjoyed lunch outside on my two long lunch breaks aka longer than the 20-25ish minute breaks during the school year.

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The ducks pictured above were scarily close!  I had to shoo them away to prove I wasn’t holding out on giving them treats.  The poor guys tried to nibble on the straw pictured.  What the heck, people!?!?!  Pick up your trash!  😦  Trash or not, it was so nice eating outside.  I think I miss that the most about the school year…outside time.

{TWO}

Running Quotes – On one particularly long lunch break, I stopped in a Barnes & Noble and check out books on running.  These two looked good.  I plan on looking them up at my local library.

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I also saw Zen and the Art of Running which looked interesting too.

Here are some quotes/advice that I liked.

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Middle Quote

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Love all these!

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Bottom Quote = LOVE

{THREE}

Fruits and Veggies – I picked up lots of fresh produce at a local farmers’ market last weekend.  I really loved the beets!  I’ve also been buying about a watermelon a week.  It’s going to be sad when melon season is done.  watermelon > pumpkin  (Sorry all you fall people!)

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{FOUR}

My new clothesline! – Well, I did a pretty sad version of this about a week back.  However, the Mr. blew mine out of the water!  He took pity on my sad line and fixed me right up.  I’ve enjoyed doing a few loads already.  I just put it up when I need it, and take it down when I’m dong.  Perfection!  Thanks so much, darling!


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{FIVE}

Fitness Binder – I finally assembled my fitness binder!  I went through all my fitness magazines and ripped out workouts that I thought I would like.  I put them in sheet protectors in a binder.  Now, I can just take out my workout that I want to do for the day and head to the gym!  I tried it out Thursday morning and loved the variety it brought to my workout time.

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This was simple and inexpensive.  I would totally recommend it over phone workouts (i.e. looking at Pinterest, etc.}.  You can easily check out the pictures and explanations and get on with your workout.

Questions –

  1. What are your favorite summer fruits?
  2. Do you prefer line-dried or dryer-dried (?) sheets?
  3. What is a favorite new workout tool you’ve used recently?  I used a medicine ball today despite the dumbbell pictured above.

Have a great day!

Natalie

10 Questions + Wednesday’s Travels

Hi there!  Hope your hump day has been happy!  Our day started off with some swimming lessons {H is becoming a regular fish!  Yay!} followed by the find-cool-stuff, spend-lots-of-moola stop aka Whole Foods.  I needed some particular items that one cannot find at Wal-Mart or Food Kitty.  I’m on a smoothie kick, and I wanted some add-ins besides bananas.  Here we are taking a potty break there.

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I’ll blog more on this tomorrow.  We also got to have a picnic lunch with the Mr. in a nice pavilion area next to his office building.

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After we enjoyed some time and food together, H and I headed back to the car.  H must have been upset about forgetting to tell his daddy that he loved him, so he stopped in his tracks in the crosswalk to yell it!  It was so cute and sweet.  I’m thankful no cars were coming though.  😉

Anywho, I thought I’d share a few of my answers to these twenty questions I found on Pinterest.

  1. How do you express your creativity?  Cooking!
  2. What is your most meaningful vacation memory?  Snorkeling with the Mr. on our honeymoon
  3. What is your go-to summer snack?  Fruit (watermelon especially!) or cereal without the milk
  4. Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world this summer?  Italy/somewhere on the Mediterranean
  5. What is your summer wardrobe staple?  Shorts, tank tops, cotton dresses
  6. What is your favorite summer activity?  Eating frozen yogurt, NOT HAVING TO GO TO WORK  🙂
  7. What is your favorite family activity?  Being outside, doing something together OR traveling/checking out somewhere/something new
  8. What is your favorite iPhone app?  Instagram
  9. What is your favorite dinner recipe?  burgers in a lettuce wrap with LOTS of mayo
  10. What is your favorite summer workout?  Trail running

Pick your favorite number 1-10 and leave me your answer in the comments below.  I’d love to know!

Natalie

Too Much is Just Too Much! (Tuesday’s Tangent)

Hi there!  I hope your week is going well so far.  Mine sure is!  On Monday, I attended a software training on our new student plan management system.  Today was supposed to be day two, but the instructors were awesome and squeezed everything into one day!  Yay!  I do have another training day coming up soon.  Boo to summer trainings!  I’m so on summer mode that I forgot my logon to the network!  🙂  I’m happily taking a break from cleaning as the little man is at daycare today.  We had already planned for him to be there while I was in the training.  I’m sure it’s fine with him.  He often doesn’t want to leave when I pick him up in the afternoon {which makes me a wee bit sad}.

During a lull in the training yesterday, I had time to peruse news websites.  I love reading the “Health” section of CNN, BBC, etc.  I thought this article was particularly disturbing…

Basically, we are eating too much sugar.  WAY too much.  New recommendations say only 5% of our daily calories should be from it.  Well, we are double or even triple that depending on the age group looked at.  

Sweets, chocolate and jams made up another 19-22% of children’s sugar intake and younger children also get a large proportion of their sugar from cereals – including cakes and biscuits – and drinks including fruit juice. 

For adults aged 19-64, the main sources are also confectionery and jams, soft drinks and cereals. Alcohol adds another 10%.

{quoted from the website}

How scary!??!  I’m not a soda fan, but I admittedly like my sweets, chocolates, and jams!  For those of you that like an adult beverage, uh-oh…even more for you.  When you type “breaking sugar addiction” into Google, you get 741,000 results.  Apparently, we are concerned enough to write/research a lot about it.  But can we do it?

Dr. Mark Hyman wrote these clues that you might be addicted…

Here are five clues you may be addicted to sugar, flour and processed food:

  1. You consume certain foods even if you are not hungry because of cravings.
  2. You worry about cutting down on certain foods.
  3. You feel sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
  4. You have health or social problems (affecting school or work) because of food issues and yet keep eating the way you do despite negative consequences.
  5. You need more and more of the foods you crave to experience any pleasure or reduce negative emotions.

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Here’s more the doc had to say on the subject as reported by the New York Daily News

SUGAR BY THE NUMBERS

Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.

The average American eats 1 pound of sugar every day.

There are 600,000 processed food items in our environment, and 80% of them contain added sugar.

90% of kids and 50% of the U.S. population drinks soda once a day.

One can of soda a day increases a kid’s chance of obesity by 60%.

You have to walk 41/2 miles to burn off one 20-ounce soda.

You’d have to run 4 miles a day for a week to burn off one supersize fast-food meal.

15% of our calories come from sweetened beverages.

Obesity (not just being overweight) has risen from 9% to 36% since 1960. It’s projected to hit 50% by 2050.

Nearly 70% of Americans and 1.5 billion people worldwide are overweight.

Isn’t that startling?!?!?  Our country, a superpower, is killing itself by what we put in our mouths.

Here is more from the article…

So what can we do? That’s where this detox diet comes in.

“We need to start outcooking the food industry,” says Hyman, who outlines a whole-food, high-fiber, low-starch, low-sugar meal plan in his book that will be highlighted later this week.

Hyman’s prescription of regular exercise, clean foods, vitamin supplements and meditation is designed to break the cycle of mindless eating that puts many people into a junk-food rut.

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Link to Buy His Book

Whew!  What’s a dessert lover to do?  Some re-training I think!  I made a yummy blackberry cobbler on Sunday that was so good and left me wanting more.  I’m going to try to fight the sugar addiction and use a less sugary recipe.  Truthfully, the Sunday night lot was so sweet it made my teeth clench.  Here’s a recipe I found that I could modify for my blackberries…

Peach Berry Cobbler

Preheat oven to 375

Use a large, deep baking dish:  13x9x3

Filling:

  • 4 lbs. firm, ripe peaches (10-12)
  • 3 cups blueberries*
  • 1 ½ TBSP sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest*
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice*

*When our wild blackberries are in season, I use 2 cups blueberries and 1 cup freshly picked blackberries

**This is about the amount of zest and juice of one small lemon

Topping:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 TBSP baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ TBSP raw sugar to sprinkle over the top

Put the peaches in a large pot of boiling water and let them boil for about a minute.  Remove them and place them immediately into a large bowl of ice water.  Let them bathe until cool enough to handle, then pull off the skins and cut the fruit into thick slices.  Put the sliced peaches into a large bowl.  Rinse the berries, pat them dry, and add them to the peaches.  Add the flour, sugar, and lemon zest and juice, and stir gently.

In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut the butter into pieces and drop the pieces into the flour mixture.  “Cut” the butter into the flour mixture using two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, until it looks like coarse meal.  Stir in the cream, (I use a wooden spoon).  The batter will be very stiff.

Transfer the fruit into your large baking dish.

Drop the batter over the fruit, using a tablespoon, until covers the entire surface.  Sprinkle the raw sugar over the top.  Bake for about 50 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and cooked through, and the fruit filling is bubbly.

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Sweetly {but not too sweetly},

Natalie

Swimming and Storming

Hi there!  It’s a quiet Sunday morning here while the dog and kiddo sleep.  We made a quick trip to visit family on Friday evening and were back in our own beds this past evening. The Mr. wanted to do some work on his hunting property, so H and I joined him for the ride.  Instead of doing lots of manual labor in the woods, we played, visited the local farmers’ market, and did lots of pool swimming!  Which would you pick?  😉

Before we left on Friday, we squeezed in our weekly beach trip.  I really made it a goal this summer to do more of these, and we’ve been achieving this goal!

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Check out this cutie!  He thought he was so funny in Mommy’s stuff!

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Here’s my pretty Saturday morning view walking around my mother-in-love’s (I truly think mother-in-law sounds a little scary – crazy to think I’ll officially be one in the future!) garden.

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Isn’t the picture above a great one for the saying – Bloom where you are planted.  This pretty one is just popping up right in the walkway. 🙂

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What lucky ducks are we!  We visited two different pools yesterday!  You can tell it had really gotten overcast in the second picture.  I love the Mr. and H’s closed eyes like the were bracing for impact!  I’m so glad we joined the Mr. on this quick trip, but..what a storm we came home too!  The lightning was crazy, and the flooding was too!  Poor Roscoe the dog was very, very, very upset about the whole thing.  He ended up riding the last leg of the trip in my lap and the last few miles in his daddy’s lap.

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Thankfully, I had a Cracker Barrel gift card left over from the end-of-the-year student presents.  We used that to pick up dinner to-go. I got totally soaked getting in and out.  While I was waiting for the rest of our order (I mean, we gotta have the biscuits!), I snapped this picture that reminded me of my sister and a little bit of the Mr. and I (although we aren’t hardcore like her).

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Well, my favorite thing last night was to get home, eat, and put my PJs on!  Hope you had a great weekend so far!

Natalie

5 for Friday

{ONE}

Just saying no! – Over the past few weeks, the Mr. and I (not simultaneously) decided to quit coffee.  If you know me, I’ve tried this numerous times before.  Well, this time I think I’ve actually done it!  The Mr. has never tried before, but he had no problem (besides some slight crankiness) quitting.  I’ve replaced my habit with one cup of green tea.  The Mr. has been drinking one cup black tea followed by one cup green tea.  Go us!  Here is an article discussing the advantages of quitting coffee.  

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I just love these sweet quotes on my tea bags from Trader Joe’s.

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{TWO}

Popsicles – I broke down and bought the healthiest popsicles I could find at Wal-Mart.  Lots of good reviews for these!

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There don’t seem to be any fake ingredients in them, and they’re low calorie and low in sugar.  I had the strawberry and thought it was delicious!

I’ve been trying to make better dessert choices with some mixed success.  I admittedly have a HUGE sweet tooth.  I just added new recipes to my recipe binders (yes, I’m on to two large 3 ring binders!), and the majority, by far, was desserts!  Although I like popsicles, cookies and chocolate treats still are my number 1.  I’ve been trying to replace my usual dessert cravings with fruit parfaits that consists of plain yogurt, fruit, and granola.  I admit to going a bit too heavy-handed on the granola this week.  😦  Why can’t fruit be enough!?!?  The dessert struggle continues.  The item pictured below certainly just increased my chocolate cravings…

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Underneath all the treats, there was a delicious vegan toasted coconut frozen yogurt.  Wow!  I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.  It even inspired me to recreate a one dish brownie bowl that I’ve done before.  Sadly, my recipe was not as good as the time before.  A little strawberry jelly helped, but it just wasn’t like it was before.

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Here’s to hopping back on the “no chocolate dessert” bandwagon!

{THREE}

I have been doing lots more running since our trip to visit family.  Not having a the gym option really got me into it.  I continued this week with one 3 mile-ish trail run.  IMG_2399

My shoulder is still keeping my workouts light.  I did do bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and bent-over rows this week with 8 pound dumbbells.  This weight is way low compared to what I was doing.  My shoulder was a little stiff and sore this morning, so I guess it is more light workouts for me.  It’s a bummer to lose muscle you worked hard to acquire, but I know that I can gradually increase again.

Here are some core moves for runners that I’ve been trying out…

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Here are some great shoulder stretchers…

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{FOUR}

Wedding Bells – My sister is getting married!  Well, it is sort-of old news, but it is getting closer which means the excitement is building.  I asked for some official duties {besides my day-of matron of honor duties} to assist with planning, and I got assigned some “look this up on the internet” jobs.  Gladly!  I found these cute tags to possibly tie to favors on Etsy.

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Aren’t they perfect for her Charleston, SC wedding?!?!?!  I’ll spare you all the other poor quality pictures that I texted to her.  Needless to say I was consumed with scouring the internet for about an hour that day!  You can see by my tabs at the top of the picture that I was also doing some online window shopping for Roscoe P.  I’m thinking about getting him a new collar/leash/harness.  This guy has literally had one collar for about a million years!  It’s looking a little worn, and I thought maybe a little early birthday present {his birthday is in November – always overshadowed by Thanksgiving 😉 }for him.  He puts up with a lot.  We love him so!

Here Roscoe is being a good sport again and wearing H’s T-shirt yesterday afternoon.

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No animals were harmed in the photography session, lol!

{FIVE}

Words to Inspire –

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Have a great Friday and a weekend full of fun and family!

Natalie

Last Day of Swimming Lessons + Winter Thoughts in July

Hi there!  We started off our day with a sugar rush.  Today’s letter was D, and D stood for doughnuts!  I used this Real Simple recipe to make some hot, sugary treats for breakfast.

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H’s pajamas are from Old Navy. – click here to buy

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H finished up his first round of swimming lessons today.  Although I’ve had some time for reading/list making, I’m relieved the commitment is over.  We decided to enroll him in lessons at another place that start next Monday.  This will be quite different as it will only be four children and one instructor, thirty minutes {versus fifty}, a heated indoor pool, and seems to be a more focused lesson on learning the mechanics of swimming {versus the playful nature of the last ones}.  We’ll see how it goes!  H is excited as this place/pool is primarily a dive center.  There were actual scuba divers in the pool practicing/learning when we enrolled him.  He pretended to be a scuba diver for about thirty minutes this morning…just swimming around the den!

Back to today – My view for the first part of the lesson today…That tomato sandwich looks amazing!  I ended up slicing two skinny pieces from a delicious tomato for a mayo-tomato open face sandwich today.  I paired that with a salad, heavy on humus and pickles.

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He made great progress over the course of the past two weeks!  Unfortunately, it was a chilly day {no sun, last night’s rain dropped the temps}, so he was less than thrilled with being in the water.  Here he is below doing his swimming thing…

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I believe that’s him running into the instructor in the red swimsuit.  It kind of looks like chaos, but today was the “reward day.”  Kids got to play in the water mushroom, go down the twisty slide, and jump off the diving board.  Well, H was having none of any of that.  He came running over to me wanting to dry off and go home.  I convinced him {after lots and lots of talking and some tears} to give the slide a try.  I got 0 pictures since I was actually at the top of the slide with him, BUT he did it!  Somehow, I managed to convince him that he should do the diving board one more time {he did it twice before with one of the instructors kind of lowering him into the water a little}.  After waiting in the breezy air for a bit, he was way chilly and way grumpy about the whole thing.  He wasn’t too thrilled about just jumping himself, but he did let me lower him in from the end of the diving board.  I was so proud of him!

It seems like the Nordstrom sale is all over the internet!  I was doing a little perusing and was reminded of how I so want to get H a good winter gear set up this year.  He really needed a better coat/glove combo last winter, and I vowed to get it straight early this year.  Here are some options I’m thinking of…

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Columbia Boys’ Powder Lite Puffer – currently 49.99

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L.L. Bean’s Power Puffer Jacket – currently 59.99

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North Face Denali E-Tip Gloves – currently 17.90

These are unavailable until tomorrow unless you have a Nordstrom’s credit card.  FYI 🙂

Do you have any brands/suggestions for winter gear?  It seems like some places are having decent sales going on the nicer products.  It does seem a little crazy to spend lots of $$$ on something that he’ll grow out of so quickly, but boy, he got really chilly in a hurry last winter when we were playing outside.  I love how we spend so much time outdoors in the spring/summer.  I hope to keep that going into fall.  Perhaps some warm gear will be a help!

Natalie