Jenny Hodges. Librarian. CrossFitter. Weight Watcher. SharePoint Wife. Mom to Irish Triplets. Living in the Autism World. Tree Hugger.

4. April 2013 14:28
by jennifer

Playing Catch-up on a Rainy Training Thursday

4. April 2013 14:28 by jennifer | 18 Comments

Today should have been my "training Thursday" post, recapping all I learned in training my autism service dog. But it's raining and our lesson was planned for outside at a retail shopping complex. We've postponed until tomorrow, but rain is in the forecast tomorrow as well so it's all just up in the air Undecided

Matthew is doing really well with his commands. We went on a 3 1/2 mile run this morning and he followed every command, every gradual leash tightening as we slowed down at the crosswalks where he promptly sat, looked both ways, then looked up at me with those big brown eyes, waiting for me to release him from the sit.

We also recently (on Easter Sunday) taught him how to swim. The trio and I took him to the dog beach last Friday during Spring Break, and while he loved the sand, and splashing/retrieving sticks in the shallow water, he was not at all fond of getting in water where he had to actually swim. He did not like that at all. I mentioned that to James (the husband) and Sunday afternoon after our Brooker Creek adventure, James and the kids decided it was time to teach Matthew to swim. Much to my dismay they decided to do it in our lake. He started off slowly, but within 15 minutes he was swimming!! Retrieving floating mulch the kids were throwing out for him. I am not of fan of him swimming in the lake for obvious reasons:

  • we have one small alligator about 3 feet long that visits occasionally
  • it makes him smell
  • we have one small alligator about 3 feet long that visits occasionally
  • it makes him smells
  • did I mention the alligator?
  • did I mention the smell?

We'll try the whole swimming dog thing at the beach where we only have to worry about sharks, stingrays and other creatures that I am much more comfortable with. Tongue Out


The kids went back to school on Tuesday. It was weird and VERY quite not having them around. They sure keep me on my toes. I did my "normal" CrossFit workout, worked with the pup , took the kids to football/cheerleading and stayed up too late.

Wednesday we had a nice surprise arrive in the mail!

The trio take yogurt in their lunchbox every single day (Simply Gogurt), and I couldn't wait for them to get home to try the Chobani Champions!! This is the FIRST Greek yogurt made just FOR KIDS!! No added sugars, nothing artificial, gluten free, and all good for you!!

They all agreed that they wanted to try the blueberry first! Ella is my yogurt expert so I was really curious what she would think about GREEK yogurt. Her current favorite is Organic Stonyfield Vanilla (whole milk) and she has that every night as her bedtime snack.

 She loved it and thought it was really good, though the flavor was stronger than she was expecting.

Next they decided that they wanted to try the cherry!

And they all agreed that the cherry was better than the blueberry!


They would have eaten ALL of the blueberry and cherry if I had allowed it, but I wanted them to save some for their lunch boxes! And I love the tubes because I can freeze them and then by the time the kids eat lunch they are defrosted but it acts as a little icepack in their lunch boxes! One more quick thing...each Chobani tube has a picture riddle for the kids to figure out. My trio loved trying to figure those out!

You can follow Chobani on social media, too!

·           Twitter: @Champions

·           Instagram: @ChobaniChampions

·           Facebook: Chobani Champions

 Chobani has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader a CASE of of Champion Tubes!!

What do you have to do to win??

Watch Ronin's Commercial on YouTube (and if you'd leave him a comment on that video page, I'm sure he'd just love it!!) and leave a comment on this post about which flavor you think your child would love the most; blueberry, cherry, strawberry, or strawberry banana. And that's it!! I'll have Ronin pick a random winner on April 11th.


**Disclaimer** Chobani provided me with a case of Champions for my kids to honestly review. They were not forced to say anything that wasn't genuine.


13. February 2013 21:41
by jennifer

The {nearly} gluten free diet

13. February 2013 21:41 by jennifer | 12 Comments

My youngest son has been diagnosed as PDD-NOS, which means he has an autism spectrum disorder. He has some other issues as well, which I won't get in to on this blog, but just know that it's challenging living with him, and I'm sure it's challenging having to BE him. He been on mood stabilizing medication since he was 3. Yes, 3. James and I often have long conversations about our son, and what we hope for him in the future, and how we can teach him the skills he'll need to be able to cope with his condition(s). We do research, lots of research on how environmental factors can exacerbate his symptoms. A few years ago I came across a lot of evidence that stated that cutting gluten out of the diet helped other children with conditions similar to Ronin's. I approached my husband about going gluten free, but he didn't get on board, so I tabled the discussion. Fast forward 3 years. James does his own research and decides that gluten might be the cause for a lot of issues that our son not only has, but our oldest daughter (skin issues) and even himself. He decides a gluten free diet is a worth a try. We discuss it (like we discuss EVERYTHING, in great detail) and we plan on making it a family affair because it will make it easier on the three that need it, so basically Ella & I are tagging along for the ride. We decided to go gluten free on February 2nd. Also happens that I run a 10k on February 2nd. You know what's at the end of every race? Beer. You know what beer has in it? Yup, gluten. Guess who drank the beer. Yup, me. And it was good. We make it through the entire week gluten free. I switch up the kids' lunch routines and pack them rice cake sandwiches with almond butter and sliced apples. They are loving it. Breakfast is easy, oatmeal or eggs. It appears that we are breezing right through the first week of being gluten free. And then I get an email from the kids' automatic school lunch account saying that Ronin needs his account replenished. Say what?? Why would he need more $$ in that account, he hasn't been eating in school since I stopped working in November. Or so I thought. He hasn't been getting lunch at school, but almost every single day that little stinker had been going to the cafeteria and getting a 2nd breakfast. I look up the meal history on the account and I about blow a gasket!!  All last week, EVERY morning he was going and having a gluten filled breakfast. I went through the roof, called the school, immediately cancelled all accounts, etc, etc, etc, and then had a nice long chat with "the boy" when he came home from school on Friday. Ugh. No issues with my girls, but the one of us that needs this the most is the one that had been sandbagging us the entire time. AND HE KNEW IT!! ARGH!! Clean slate, we start over with him on Saturday. So now he's been gluten free for nearly a week and his nasal/breathing symptoms seem to be getting better. Might be my imagination, but really he sounds like he's talking out of his mouth now and not his nose. We're still dealing with some other issues relating to his PDD-NOS (and other ABC disorders as I call them b/c they all have acronyms) but overall I'd say that I am seeing some improvement, so we're going to keep going with this gluten free business. Buying gluten free products hasn't been that difficult because I'm not going all whackadoodle gluten free. We don't have a deathly allergy to gluten, so I'm not worried about gluten in shampoo, etc. but we're eliminating ALL wheat, barley, and rye. I will buy products with oats and rice, and they don't have to say "GLUTEN FREE" on them b/c really I don't think a dash of gluten here and there in some oatmeal is going to derail the results of this experiment. But I won't buy any products that obviously have the big 3 gluten contributors in them. I spoke with all three of the children's teachers and let them know that they can NOT under any circumstances have any food at school that is not brought from home. Today is Valentine's Day and each of their classes is having a little party, so I sent in special gluten free cupcakes for each of my babes from Stacy's Gluten Free Goodies. The kids and James eat a lot of pasta, so we had to start buying some gluten free pasta and it's more expensive than regular pasta, but that's okay. Dr. visit co-pays add up too. Tonight I am making a gluten free Chicken Parmesan. Modified by Jenny, Original Recipe from the Gluten-Free Homemaker Chicken Parmesan Ingredients 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 cup brown rice bread crumbs 28 ounces pasta sauce ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese Instructions Place chicken breast in a plastic freezer bag and pound the heck out of it with the flat side of a meat mallet until it is thin. Take your daily stress out on the chicken. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg and then coat it with the brown rice bread crumbs. Place the pieces in a Pam sprayed baking dish. Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Pour pasta sauce over and around the chicken pieces. Top each piece with the cheeses. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is done. Serve with hot cooked pasta. (which of course will be gluten free, I used brown rice spaghetti)   I've never made Chicken Parmesan before, but it's red and well it is Valentine's Day, so I figured what the heck! And let me tell you, this was GOOD!! Husband even had seconds!   So now we're on a gluten free, MSG free, HFCS free, processed food free lifestyle. Whew. Except for beer. I am not giving up my beer. And that my readers, is why I am {nearly} gluten free.   What about you?? Are you gluten free? Any dietary restrictions that you follow because you think it helps your overall health??  

7. February 2013 22:39
by jennifer

Raising a Vegetarian?

7. February 2013 22:39 by jennifer | 2 Comments

My oldest daughter Haley just turned 9. She announced to her daddy and I last night that she was no longer going to eat meat, she was becoming a vegetarian. James sat down with her and they throughly discussed what it means to be a vegetarian and WHY she wanted to become one. Her answer was quite simple: "I don't like the taste of meat. Or chicken. Or fish. I only eat it because you work so hard to make it, and I know that salmon is so good for me." Okay. She's old enough to make these decisions. We'll support her. Tonight for dinner I made a grilled chicken strawberry salad. I put it in front of each of the kids and Haley just looks at me "mama, I'm a vegetarian now." Oh shit, right I forgot! My bad!! I had already planned to make a big batch of my famous Black Bean soup, so I just started it a little bit early, and that's what she had and she gobbled it right down. I don't eat mammals and haven't for years. James rarely does, in fact I can't remember the last time he did. But we do eat a lot of fish. And we eat a lot of beans. I think Haley is going to be just fine with her decision to become a vegetarian. As a family we also made the decision to go gluten free. We've been gluten free since Saturday (well, they have....I had beer at the Best Damn Race) and honestly it hasn't been difficult at all. We didn't eat that much before we made the switch, just snacky type of foods (GOLDFISH!! PRETZELS!!) that we're better off without. For lunch the kids have been taking rice cakes with almond butter and sliced apples on top, oat granola bars, Pirate Booty, Orange slices, and Clif Bar Fruit Ropes. Why did we decide to go gluten free? Ronin, James and Haley all have issues that can be explained by a gluten sensitivity and Ella and I are tagging along for the ride to support them. There are a TON of great alternatives available. So, I'm reading labels like crazy for our family. No HFCS, no MSG, no wheat, no barley, no rye, no natural flavors (that likely means that there is gluten in the product) no this, no that, and I'm also reading labels for Matthew. No crappy food for him either. That's what has been happening over here. Are you a vegetarian? Pescatarian? Carnivore? Omnivore? Gluten free? Any other dietary restrictions? Any recipes to share with me?? I'll share a little eye candy with you.