Friday, September 28, 2012

Learnin' the ways of a spoon

I am a procrastinator when it comes to letting my babies learn to feed themselves with a spoon. I try my best to give them good quality, organic foods, so I hate to see pricey food just dribble down their chest. And for Sam, being the little guy that he is, I especially want to make sure he gets every bite of that good, full fat yogurt or hearty oatmeal with butter. But the kid is almost 2 years old, so I figured it was about time he learned the ways of a spoon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boys and their toys.

It's so amazing to me to see Will gravitate towards the more boyish toys. Even when he was very young I remember him just out of the blue pretending something was a gun or sword. I don't feel like we have ever pushed a certain type of toy on him, it just naturally happened. I certainly wasn't going around pretending a plastic dinosaur was a sword.

We are not against our kids playing with toy guns or swords or the like. We don't believe for a second that it will push them to be a more violent person. As long as we are there to guide them in the right  direction, and teach him that real weapons are not to be played with. So, unless Will comes across a real gun that is yellow and purple with flashing lights and makes "pew pew" noises, I don't think it will be an issue.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy first day of Fall!

Or, to be more accurate, Happy Autumnal Equinox! In celebration (or in anguish, depending on your seasonal preferences) of this day I am going to share 3 loves and dislikes about Fall. Huuur we go.

3 Things I love About Fall

1. It would be a travesty to give the number one spot to anything other than Pumpkin. I mean, come on now. Fall and pumpkin go together like, well, like Fall and pumpkin. I don't think any two things are more perfectly matched than that. There is Pumpkin cheese cake and pumpkin corn bread. Pumpkin pie scented candles and pumpkin decorations. Sure, you technically could have pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread any day of the year. But I think deep down deep in our souls we subconsciously know that that would just be wrong. It's like having watermelon in the Winter. You just don't do it.

 Source 1 & 2

2. The clothes! Brown boots, leggings, sweaters and chunky scarves. Fall fashion is hands down my favorite.

3. The beauty of nature in the Fall is beyond spectacular. Spring is nice and all with the new green grass and spring flowers blooming, but nothing beats the gorgeous color pallet of Fall.

3 Things I Dislike about Fall.

1. After Fall comes Winter. I am not a fan. Cold and I do not meld well. I can have layers of socks on, but still have freezing cold feet. Ok, so I clearly have a problem. I just choose to blame Winter. It's easier.

2. Having to wear Jeans. I thoroughly dislike wearing jeans. My thighs are not in proportion to my butt. I need a bigger size to compensate for my thighs, but then that leaves me with...yep, butt gap. Which leaves me constantly pulling up my pants. Which isn't good considering I have 2 kids and spend half my day bending over picking up toys or wipe noses or sitting on the floor playing with said toys. I pray everyday (ok, not every day) that sweatpants will become social acceptable to wear at anytime in public. There are leggings, which thank goodness are back in style. But I can't just wear leggings everyday or else I will be known as the girl who wears leggings every day. And I already was that girl 15 years ago, and let me tell you I will never live that down. So, the moral of the story. If you ever see me wearing jeans you can be sure that as soon as I get home those bad boys are off and my sweatpants are on.

3. The extra amount of self control it takes to NOT eat all the yummy pumpkin and apple desserts. No other season has quite the extent of desserts that Fall seems to bring. Glazed donuts and apple cider. Pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing. Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream. I love it all! But, unfortunately, my body does not.

Enjoy this first day of Fall and have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What to eat, what not to eat: Part 2

I grew up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD).  Like many people today, my mom just didn't realize how bad it was. I, of course, hold nothing against her for it. The food industry and USDA (to name a couple) are just plain devious. They've got everyone fooled. We live in a world where we are surrounded by fake and toxic foods that are advertised as "healthy". We've been duped, you guys.

Even into my married life I continued eating what I thought was perfectly fine "food". 5 years ago now I read a book titled, "Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About" by Kevin Trudeau. I actually started looking at the food I was eating, and wasn't real food at all. Even the meats, breads and dairy that once upon a time were considered real food, are now so processed with so many artificial ingredients/additives that to call it real would be a joke.

Taking the step to eating well is a journey, and really doesn't just happen over night. I may have read that book 5 years ago, but I am still learning new things everyday about what and how we should be eating.

So, I said I would share some steps that can help change your diet for the better, which I will do, but overall it really comes down to just one. I have said it before and will say it again...


Look at the ingredients of what you are buying! What you may think is just plain ol' wheat bread really isn't. Check out these ingredients in a whole grain, 100% wheat bread:

Unbromated Stone Ground 100% Whole Wheat Flour, Unbromated Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Wheat Gluten, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Soy Fiber, Contains 2 Percent or Less of Wheat Bran, Salt, Unsulphured Molasses, Honey, Monoglyceride, Datem (Dough Conditioner), Nonfat Milk (Adds a Trivial Amount of Cholesterol), Potato Flour, Calcium Propionate (to Retard Spoilage), Wheat Germ, Guar Gum, Soy Flour, Enzymes Brown Sugar, Sucralose and Soybean Oil.

Now, try to make that in your kitchen!

Like I said, changing over to eating real food will be a learning process. I'm still not completely where I'd like to be, but here are some of the first changes I personally made towards having a healthier diet.

(If I had the time I would write out my own thoughts on each of these "ingredients", but I just don't. I will instead link to some great articles, written by much more educated people than myself, about each subject.)

Here are 3 things I try my best to not eat:

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)/Corn Syrup/Corn Sugar: This stuff is in everything these days. It's super sweet, super cheap and super bad for you. Here are a couple articles explaining way better than I can about the dangers of HFCS. Here and here.

Hydrogenated Oils/Vegetable Oils (Canola, Soybean, Corn and more). These are toxic poisons! This is an easy to read and understand post about it, and here is a more in depth one.

Soy: This is a huge frustration of mine. That people think eating soy is healthy when in reality it is so terribly awful for you (Unless it is traditionally prepared (fermented). PLEASE read about the dangers of soy! Here and here.

I will leave you with this snippet from Michael Pollans book, In Defense of Food.

In 1960 Americans spent 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent…on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on health care has climbed to 16 percent of national income.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm not the only weird one

Wow. I can't say enough good things about the Weston A. Price conference I attended over the weekend. It was so refreshing to be around people who didn't look at you funny for bringing your own glass jar of homemade yogurt to eat. In fact, there were even glass jars of yogurt to buy there!

I have known about the Weston A. Price foundation and what they support and believe in for a few years now after reading Sally Fallons book, Nourishing Traditions, and count myself very blessed for that. They have done so much research and have such a passion for sharing it with others, and that passion is contagious. It was just the kick in the pants I needed to get me on fire for providing good quality, nutrient dense food for my family.

And oh the food! The food was delicious! It was so nice being away from home and being able to eat GREAT quality food. Most of the food/ingredients were provided by an Amish farm in PA, who were there as a vendor as well selling all homemade yogurts, kefirs, raw milk butter, raw cheeses, kombucha, raw honey, mayonnaise, fermented pickles, beets, and salsa, muffins/breads and lots of other items. We were given just a lunch on both days, and man did we stuff ourselves! THE Sally Fallon even brought some of her own raw milk blue cheese that her farm in Maryland makes. So yummy!

Parts of it also made me a bit furious as well, to be quite honest. We watched a documentary called Farmageddon. It showed story after story of family farms being raided by the USDA and FBI and local police for the selling of raw milk. You NEED to watch this film. It is on You Tube and if you go to the Farmageddon site it will have a list of other viewing options.

I can't wait to share more of what was discussed! But for now, I need to head into the kitchen and get dinner going.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Away for the weekend

I know I promised a follow up to this post, and I haven't forgotten! I was so busy last week planning for our trip, and will be away again this weekend from Saturday until Sunday. So, it will have to wait until next week.

I am going out of town with my MIL and SIL bright and early tomorrow morning to a Weston A. Price Regional Conference. If you have never heard of Weston A. Price before, you should check it out! They have lots of great info on traditional eating, raw milk and the dangers of soy (just to name a few subjects)! I am super excited for this opportunity to go, and will try very hard to take lots of good notes to share with you. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to the everyday

Dean and I had a great time on our trip! It was pretty short, but long enough to make me anxious to get back to our everyday routine (and normal eating!)

We left Sunday morning around 8:30am to meet up with others at a park and ride off of the thruway, and traveled in a big bus. We hit the road officially by 10:30am. It is usually a very nice, uneventful trip. Just relax and read a book or watch a movie they have playing. We stop once for lunch, and are able to stretch our legs and breath some fresh air.

Right around 1pm, we pulled off to a thruway stop. The driver noticed one of her warning lights was on, and saw that she was leaving a trail of something. Turns out there was a leak in the radiator. We ended up hanging for for 2 hours for someone to come fix it. It is a short trip as it is, so wasting 2 hours hanging there was quite the bummer!  Everyone stayed in great spirits though. We finally hit the road a little after 3pm. We started to smell something burning right away, but everyone assumed it was radiator fluid burning off. We had been on the road for about 10 minutes when BAM! We blew a tire! The driver handled the bus well, and pulled to the side of the road. Turns out the guy who fixed the radiator left something out of place that was dragging on the tire. At this point all we could do was shake our heads and laugh.

Thankfully it was a BEAUTIFUL day out, so we all just hung out in the grass on the side of the highway. We must have been quite a sight!

 That tractor trailer? Yeah. It wasn't just slowly passing by. It was going at least 65 mph, and swerving to avoid the bus!

 The whole side of the bus around the tires went flying off too! Thank the Lord it didn't cause any accidents!

We finally arrived at our destination, over 2.5 hrs later than we should have. We had dinner reservations we were late for, so we all had to rush to our rooms to freshen up. My shirt was a bit wrinkled, and dry shampoo saved my dreary travel hair.

Dinner was fantastic, as always, and afterwards everyone went their separate ways. Our first stop was the most awesome bowling alley you will ever see!  (Please excuse the grainy pictures. The dim lights set a wonderful mood, but made for crappy pictures.)

Monday morning we got to sleep in! We had a little breakfast, and then Dean had to walk around the convention doing whatever it is he had to do. The past 2 years we've gone I have always told myself I would get to the gym while Dean was busy, buuuuut I always ended up being a lazy butt and just lounging in the hotel room watching tv. But this year I finally hit up the gym. I was pretty proud of myself.

I met Dean for lunch, and then we had the afternoon free! We walked around a bit, played some pool and because we just had to...played some slots. This place is so huge with casino's everywhere. I couldn't imagine going there with the sole purpose of gambling (which is what most of the people were there for)! We were pretty lame getting super excited and dancing whenever we'd win, even if it was only $1.00, but it was a lot of fun to goof around.

 Picture taking wasn't allowed in the casinos or else I would have taken some!

We went up to the 25th floor of one of the towers, and got a picture of just part of the whole place.

Monday night there was a cocktail dinner for the convention goers. It's fun to dress up, drink some wine and eat some awesome food.

I brought my camera with us hoping to get some nice pictures, but it just never worked out to take it. We'd usually be away from our room for an extended period of time, and I didn't want to lug the thing around all day/night. Thank goodness for cellphones though! We at least got some pictures, even if they did look like this:

The trip home Tuesday was uneventful. We were very anxious to get home and see the boys, and they were happy to see us!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Have a wonderful weekend!

Got any fun plans for the weekend? Dean and I will be having an extra long weekend since we are leaving tomorrow morning for a little business trip/vacation and will be back Tuesday night. We'll be traveling on a bus with other appliance business men and women to Connecticut for a convention. This is our 3rd year going, and we always have a great time! This is where we will be staying...

It's ok. You can be jealous. And yes, it really is as nice as it looks. Wish me luck on the penny slots! Come oooon big money!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What to eat, what not to eat...

THAT is the question I have been asking myself a lot lately. And I'm not talking about....It's 5pm and I should probably wander into the kitchen and see what I can scrape up for dinner. Although goodness  knows that definitely does happen. I am talking about what specific foods people should be eating.

I have an ever growing passion when it comes to eating well, knowing what we are putting into our bodies and how it effects us. I am still trying to figure out how to most effectively share with others what I have learned about healthy eating without sounding demeaning or judgemental. I am sure that I have at times, and that is not my motive. It saddens me, and quite honestly, sometimes angers me to see people eating what they may think is good for them, because that's what the food companies want them to think. I am grateful for what I have been able to learn, and I want all of you to desire to know about it too! I certainly do not have all the answers either.

Let's say you have decided to start eating better (Go you!). You have pledged to cut out the junk, and begin eating wholesome food. But what to eat now? You go online to do some research, and are completely overwhelmed. The health food world can be super frustrating and, yes, a bit crazy. I have had an interest in learning about healthy eating for a few years now. I have read so many books and articles about it, and I am still confused sometimes! It feels like every day there is some new fad diet telling you what REAL foods you should or shouldn't eat. There is so much information out there on what to eat/what not to eat, and most of it contradicts the other. And I'm not talking about, "Eat your vegetables/Don't eat candy." That should be a given. I'm talking about...

"Eat pasture raised, hormone free meat/ Don't eat pasture raised, hormone free meat."

"Drink organic milk/Organic (or all) dairy is of the devil."

"Eat properly prepared grains/Bread will kill you!"


There is also a lot of kookie sounding stuff like kombucha  (Drink up!), eating fermented vegetables (Yeah baby!) and kefir (Slurp, slurp). But don't let it scare you away! 

Based on my personal research, here is what it comes down to for me...

I am trying to stop all the worrying about what kinds of food I should be eating and instead just focus on eating a balanced diet of REAL (good quality!) FOOD. 

I have a hard time believing that meat, dairy, grains, etc...foods that have been around forever shouldn't be eaten. That our bodies weren't made to eat them. Weren't made to eat bread. Weren't made to eat meat.

Side note: Yes, some people have legit allergies to certain foods (gluten, dairy, etc.). Which I believe often times stems  from how their mother ate when they were in the womb or what they were fed as an infant. I also believe that restraining from eating a certain food (say bread) for an extended period of time just because can create an "allergy" or more like an intolerance to that food once you finally do eat some.

I need to add that I have written before about my struggles with skin issues, here and here, and that cutting certain foods out of my diet for a period of time did help a little. It was a quick fix, but not a sustaining one. What I didn't talk about much was how stressful that was. Cutting out ALL grains, dairy, most fruits and sugars (even natural sugars like honey) was HARD. It took so much effort to prepare foods that I could eat, that I just wasn't eating enough. It was hard, physically and emotionally. At this time my skin is doing OK, and it does not seem to be primarily related to what I eat. As long as I am eating a mostly good quality, balanced diet, food doesn't seem to effect me.

This is dragging on too long now, and the last thing I want is a mile long post! I will have to do a part 2 and will talk about what qualifies as real food, and give some simple steps that I try and follow that can really change your diet for the better!

Monday, September 3, 2012