Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back-To-School Is a Great Time to Start Family Dinner Traditions

When I first started my family (Umm........that would be 21 years ago now), I was a young mother and read everything I could about parenting.  I had all of the magazines and devoured each one.  I read a lot of great advice that I have used for each of my children and I also read a lot of nonsense advice that was used on my oldest and then quickly disappeared.  One thing that I read over and over was the importance of the family dinner. 


Back-to-school family dinners


I have held on to that advice like my life depended on it.  Why?  I don't know..........maybe because it's good advice.  Family dinners are a good time to reconnect with your family.  These are the people that I love the most in the world.........it sure is nice to talk to them once in a while.  I love to hear about their days and find out what matters to them.  I love to talk about food (big surprise there) and laugh at their jokes.  I just love to see their faces.......even when they are covered with food.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the importance of FAMILY.  Sure, I spend a lot of time with my kids.  I watch their practices; I take them to their friends' birthday parties; and I am actively involved with Girl Scouts and the music program at the high school.  What I have come to realize is that there really isn't any "family" time in that.  What I mean is time for all of the family members to come together and interact with each other without outside distractions.  Don't get me wrong....... me being at my child's football games and dance classes is important to them, but I still think we need that "family" time.  



Family Time


Family dinners are a great time to grab some of that family time.  The meals don't have to be gourmet and you can set whatever time works for your family........even if it is family breakfast.  We did that for a while.  We eat our family dinners quite late right now, but a few snacks get us there.  We tend to change our schedules depending on the sports season.  I'm willing to be flexible in order to keep my family dinners.  

I encourage you to put family dinners on your schedule.  The time you spend together with your family, just may be your favorite part of the day.  I know it is for me.

Do you celebrate family dinners with any special traditions?  Who sets the table in your family?  Who does the dishes?  How often do you eat together as a family?

Don't Miss The Next Juggling Real Food and Real Life Newsletter!


You still haven't signed up for the newsletter?..........Why not! It just takes a second. You can subscribe by entering your email address to the right of this page. I have lots of great recipes and fun coming this fall that you will only find in the newsletter. Please also follow Juggling on our various social media. You can easily find me there if you have questions. Twitter is a great place to chat. Follow me @jugglngrealfood and introduce yourself. The Juggling Pinterest Boards are crammed with lots of great information and recipes. Check them out!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

College Boy's First Apartment and Cooking At College

I can't believe it!  Summer break is over and college boy is back at school for his final year.  He is living in an apartment this year rather than in campus housing so that brings on a whole new adventure for him.  Cooking!

College boy

Here is college boy giving me an I'm only smiling because-you-asked-me-to smile.

You might remember Saturday was a really busy day for our family.  We had activities going on from morning straight through till 10 at night.  There was no time to help college boy get moved into his apartment.  He wasn't happy about that because he was excited to get back to his friends.  Of course, there were also practical concerns.  The leasing office was not open on Sunday.  So, long story short............we sent him off in his car on Saturday with as much as he could fit in his small vehicle.  The next day we drove up with our much larger vehicle loaded.

We made a quick stop............well it was supposed to be quick.........at the store before heading out of town.  We divided our list.  I was to grab the toiletries that college boy needed and my husband was to grab some Annie's mac and cheese.  I checked out and then waited and waited.  And then waited some more.  Where the heck was my husband?
 
 
Annie's Mac and Cheese
 

Oh!  I forgot to tell you.............my husband loves with food.  He grabbed a heck of a lot more than a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese.  He said that he wanted to make sure that our boy started out with at least a few healthy items.  He grabbed things like popping corn and the paper bags to pop it in, natural peanut butter, whole wheat wraps and organic salad dressing. My little guy, kept asking Daddy if items had "fructose corn syrup" in them?  He didn't want his big brother to have that.  (See......they are starting to get it.)  In an ideal world, my son would eat real food at least 80% of the time like the rest of our family is striving for.  He does care about what he eats, but it's going to be tough for him to juggle his courses and work.........all while cooking for himself for the first time.  
 


Cascadian Farms cereal and granola bars

Smuckers Organic Peanut Butter
 


I was pleased when I saw his kitchen.  It isn't a huge gourmet kitchen, but it wasn't too bad. It has lots of cupboards and some nice working space.  My grandmother gave him a smaller crock so he will be able to crock up some meals while he is at school.  If he can get in the habit of throwing a few items into the crock in the morning, he will have a nice hot meal when he gets back from class.  


College Apartment Kitchen

I kept snapping pictures when he wasn't looking. Obviously, I didn't bring my good camera. LOL!


After unpacking our first shopping trip, we decided that the boy needed more. How was he going to eat his organic cereal if he didn't have any milk? We still had some more loving to do with food. While at the store we grabbed some fresh fruit, salad kits, chicken, and hamburgers. College boy bought himself a small grill. We also purchased a few different whole wheat pasta boxes and some ready made sauce.  If you look at the labels, you can find some sauces that don't add extra sugar or other junky ingredients.  He is more likely to use this sauce than making it from scratch.  At least this way, he is getting his whole grains.

College boy was making fun of me all the while.  He caught me taking pictures and said, "oh boy............mom is blogging."  He kept cracking jokes about being the only college student who had organic foods in his cupboards. Secretly, I think he was pleased.  He even opened up the cupboards to make sure his roommates could see his food.  Oh, and did I mention the roommates were munching on fast food while he was giving them the cupboard tour?  I know it's an uphill battle to get him to eat healthy while he is on his own. College boy eats plenty of real food while he is home as it is now the norm in our house.  He has his favorites that he requests each time he is home, but school is different.  The freshman 15 is a common problem among college students and convenience rules.  How do I convince him that eating real food is possible not only at home, but at school as well?  This may be the last time that I get to impart my motherly wisdom on him before he is grown and on his own for good.

It is important to me that he learn healthy eating habits that will stick with him for a lifetime.  I love that boy and I want him to grow up to be a healthy old man.  Food can be medicine and bring health or it can be poison to our bodies.  I don't have all of the answers, but I know that real food is a healthy base to a long productive life.

Have you send a child off to college?  How did you eat while you were in college?  What tips do you have to eating real food when everyone around you seems stuck in convenience?  What meal ideas do you have for college students that are both easy on budget and time?  

Don't Miss The Next Juggling Real Food and Real Life Newsletter!


You still haven't signed up for the newsletter?..........Why not! It just takes a second. You can subscribe by entering your email address to the right of this page. I have lots of great recipes and fun coming this fall that you will only find in the newsletter. Please also follow Juggling on our various social media. You can easily find me there if you have questions. Twitter is a great place to chat. Follow me @jugglngrealfood and introduce yourself. The Juggling Pinterest Boards are crammed with lots of great information and recipes. Check them out!    
 
Oh........one last thing.............none of thes companies are paying me.  That would be nice, but this is just my ordinary shopping for my college student. 

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Let's Get Real Friday Party #52

Woot! Woot! Let's get this Friday started. Let's Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That's right! It's all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That's you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.


**This week you can enter to win next week's special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

Special Note: We have started a "Let's Get Real Bloggers Facebook Group". We would love to have all of you Let's Get Real bloggers join us as we help each other to grow.

Let's Get Real
 
 
A Big Welcome to our very Special Co-Host Karen from To Work With My Hands! Make sure you give her a big Let's Get Real welcome!
 


 
 
I'm not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

Christina: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
Nicole: Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Karen:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+


2) Please don't link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let's show them some love!


3) Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.




We will be pinning our favorites!!


My Let's Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

(Drum Roll Please!)



 
 
Probably one of my favorite bloggers because his writing always cracks me up.  That's not easy to do when you are always writing recipes.  I love this recipe as a quick and easy way to preserve my cabbage.  It is pickled cabbage which is a twist on the traditional sauerkraut.  I've gotta try it!
 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Little Help Staying Calm.Healthy.Sexy while Juggling Real Food and Real Life

Hi there! When I started this blog, I wanted to show busy moms and dads that it is possible to eat real food even with a busy family schedule.  My desire was and still is to lead by example.  If I can eat real food and run my kids around everywhere...........then so can you.  Together, we can lead the healthy life we need to have in order to keep up with these kids.  We don't have time to be sick in bed!


Juggling Real Food Mom and Kids


I want everyone to know that this is not just a persona for me.  This blog really is all about me trying to juggle a full-time job and kids.  Let me talk about my Saturday.  Early morning trip to the farmer's market.......Little guy has football practice at 9........pick up baby girl from sleepover at her friend's house...... Varsity Football scrimmage at 10 followed by pictures at 2............baby girl has to cheer a scrimmage at 4...........High school football picnic set up at 5:30 followed by picnic and pool party.  Collapse in bed.  Whew!  I would like to say this was an unusual Saturday for us, but it really isn't all that out of the norm.  How do I continue to Juggle the Real Food when the Real Life is so hectic?  I am so not SuperWoman, but I do have one super power.



Calm. Healthy. Sexy.

 
That super power is my friend Gaye.  Somewhere during my first year of blogging and eating real food, I met Gaye, the woman behind the blog Calm.Healthy.Sexy.  (Do you remember when or where we met Gaye?)  I now consider her a close friend........even though we live miles and miles from each other.  Our friendship started with the great advice she writes for all of us at Calm.Healthy.Sexy.  She is a sponsor here at Juggling Real Food and Real Life so that affords me the time to brag about her a little.  Let me break down the 3 parts of her blog for you.  

Calm:  She writes all kinds of great advice about ways to control your schedule and keep calm in the face of the madness that is our busy daily lives. Here is a recent article she wrote:  3 Things to Consider Before School Begins .

Healthy:  Gaye is a firm believer in eating healthy real food.  She is always that gentle reminder (sometimes not so gentle) that I need to find time to exercise my body on a daily basis.  Here is her article 10 Ways to Add Exercise to Your Busy Life.  "Walk while your children are a sports practice."  That is one of my favorites.  I swear sometimes she is following me around taking notes.  I think you will feel the same.........  In an isn't that helpful and not an isn't that creepy kind of way. 

Sexy:   OK this is a subject that I don't really discuss, but I will say that my marriage is important to me.  Gaye is a Christian woman and discusses in a "not embarrassing at all" manner wonderful relationship advice.  I often start date night discussions with "Gaye wrote about this today.........What do you think about that?"  Her writing is a great way to open up the lines of communication that so often get closed with the demands of work and kids.  This article really got us talking.  Speak Your Husband's Love Language - Simple Way to Strengthen Your Marriage.

I hope you will invest some time in yourself and check out Calm.Healthy.Sexy.  Gaye really is my secret to Juggling Real Life.  Tell me what activities your kids are busy with?  Are you able to fit exercise into your busy schedule?  Do you schedule regular date nights with your husband?

Don't Miss The Next Juggling Real Food and Real Life Newsletter!
You still haven't signed up for the newsletter?..........Why not! It just takes a second. You can subscribe by entering your email address to the right of this page. I have lots of great recipes and fun coming this fall that you will only find in the newsletter. Please also follow Juggling on our various social media. You can easily find me there if you have questions. Twitter is a great place to chat. Follow me @jugglngrealfood and introduce yourself. The Juggling Pinterest Boards are crammed with lots of great information and recipes. Check them out!

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