Monday, April 23, 2012

Sick of Being Sick (OR) Sweet Monday

I have gotten sick yet again. This year has been riddled with sick days throughout my entire family. More than we have ever had any other year...I'm going to chalk this up to my daughters first year at a "big" school and that I watch kids three days a week. Lots of germs to go around. Yipee! It's worth it though, Kyla loves her school and I love my little surrogate children. Alas, to the point - yesterday was rough. I don't think I moved from the same spot on the couch and spent a lot of time playing Arkham Asylum and reading to the kids (while they sat on the other couch of course.) By the end of the day I needed to put together a little sweet something to thank my poor husband who picked up ALL of my slack. He pretty much rocks.
I didn't take pictures because I am a complete and total slacker, but I made frozen chocolate chip cookie dough balls and they were AMAZING! So I thought I would share....
Adapted from Chocolatecoveredkatie.com (her recipies are sooooo good and surprisingly healthy, so you can eat a treat when you want without the guilt!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3c unbleached flour (or break it up like I did with half unbleached and half white whole wheat)
1/8 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/3 c chocolate chips
2 Tbl maple syrup (or brown sugar)
2 Tbl honey
1/2 t vanilla
1 T butter (or coconut oil)
Almond Milk if needed

Roll in balls and stick in the freezer for 20 min. Don't be scared - no crazy raw eggs needed. I got about 10 out of this recipe.
As we have all but given up sugar this was a welcome treat for him, especially since he didn't really get a say when I stopped buying it, but he had to run out to the store for the chocolate chips. If you have the sugar you can use brown sugar in place of maple syrup, white sugar in the place of honey and cows milk instead of almond milk for a more traditional tasting cookie.
Now off to the doctor - wishes for a wonderful Monday to you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring

I love springtime for all the normal reasons, the flowers blooming, longer sunnier days, and this year especially with the progress my garden has made. The planting and pruning and general upkeep of our yard has been so much more enjoyable this year now that we have finally seen what our yard can produce. Last year we got so much snow and it was cold for so long none of our bushes looked like they do now. (I'm sure this is combined with the fact that I had NO idea what I was doing) Beyond that though we have some yearly visitors in our yard that have babies right where we can watch their growth, which the kids are LOVING this year. We have a birds nest in a tree off of our back porch that was built last year and make gigantic this year. The kids love to peek in and see how quickly these little guys are growing.

There is only two days in between these pictures. I thought my own kids were growing too fast. :)

Last year we knew we had some bunnies, but couldn't see them because the mama wisely had her babies in the middle of a ridiculous bush, that would be gone if I had my way, but thats besides the point. Unfortunately this year a mama had her babies in the middle of the yard using the slide as shelter. I have no idea how she managed or even chose this spot considering the dogs are outside the majority of the day, but sadly the dog found the nest before we did. Three managed to get saved and now we go outside with the pooch to keep her from getting at them, leaving her with nothing to do but pace around and paw at the door. 



From what I've read bunnies aren't like birds, and will come back and take care of the babies even if they have been touched by humans, but I put some sticks in a cross pattern over the top of the nest to make sure she comes back, so we can call someone to take them if she doesn't. The kids are begging to keep them, but the thought of parasites, lice, fleas and all the other lovely things they could be carrying around has made that a definite no.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Three

My baby just turned three...being that there is no option for anymore babies this makes each birthday that passes for both the kiddos a little bit sad. They tell you as a youngster to enjoy every minute because it passes so quickly and they were right, but as an eager to grow teenager who really listens? Now watching the time fly so quickly and each milestone that passes it's mind-boggling. These past few months watching him grow have been such a joy though.
Beau has been going to speech for a little over eight months now. Within the past couple of months he has really started to gain confidence and let his personality shine which makes for some wonderfully entertaining conversations. A long time coming, but so worth the wait. As his mother it has been heartbreaking to not be able to piece together what he is trying to say. That's supposed to be how it works - the parents/siblings understand even if nobody else does, but he has struggled so much with making sounds that this was an impossibility for a long time. Now we've got it down, but family, friends and especially other kids still have a really hard time understanding, which can go to either extreme of him repeating himself until in tears or shrugging them off and doing something else.  We will keep at it, but I am SO proud of the progress that he has made.

 There is a door, but why use it when there is this perfectly climbable window space?
This fun day at the zoo resulted with "I'm going to go home, take a nap and go poopie on the potty"

My daughter is such a blessing to us all. So patient and understanding, she makes sure his little voice is heard and understood whenever she is around. They wouldn't be siblings without the bickering, but the play time is constant from the time she gets home from school until they go to bed. Here's to hoping they can maintain such a close relationship!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Garden Progress

All my poor little seedlings that were thriving one minute got dug up and stomped the next by a little puppy who just can't seem to help herself. All this dirt just is too tempting to pass up. Part of me understood the other part considered finding her a new home. (she's still here) With the 80 degree weather we have been having lately and the fact that all the big farms decided to start planting I figured I might as well cheat and get a few plants from the local greenhouse. They are doing extremely well. I have some romaine, a tomato plant and sweet peppers. I also re-planted spinach and kale. I then covered the entire garden with some netting designed to keep birds out - it seems to work on pups too. Yea!!! She tried to get in once and had quite a struggle getting out (no damage done) and has now left it alone. I still have some seedlings growing inside which I started hardening off, but am glad they aren't outside since we are supposed to hit freezing tonight :( Hopefully I can save the ones outside...

 I did find quite a few of these extremely long worms - we're talking over a foot - while I was digging up the dirt to plant. Hurray for good top soil!
My wonderful neighbor shared strawberry plants with us and as I didn't have enough room in the little garden I decided to give them their own little space! (Also covered with bird netting :))

Here's to hoping everything doesn't die tonight. The more I research into the foods being offered to us the more frightened I get. It's appalling, so much so that if it all dies I will just start again. On another note - I have finally persuaded my husband to start looking into keeping chickens! I am so excited and hope it all ends up working out. He wants to build his own chicken coop and everything ;)


Monday, March 19, 2012

Sweet Monday

I mentioned that I have changed our eating habits at home and one of the biggest changes for us was the amount of sugar that we shoveled down daily. Truly, I was the biggest offender as I have always had an unbelievable sweet tooth and I was the one buying the packaged/processed food that was full of it. We haven't cut out every bit of sugar as I am still fighting a losing battle against breakfast cereal and the like, but I HAVE managed to cut it out of everything that I make at home. Instead I use honey and maple syrup as sweeteners. In coffee, baking, oatmeal and everything in between - I won't lie to you and say it didn't take some adjustments in taste, but I'm so glad we made that leap. When I do have sugar now I get terrible headaches and feel sick, so I'll take that as my body being happy with the changes in place.
With that being said we still love to have treats and I see nothing wrong with having a yummy dessert now and again. So I have been experimenting and adjusting with recipes and thought I would share!
These have been ALL over Pinterest and I have wanted to try them since I first saw the picture. The hollowing out of the apple was frustrating and I cracked a couple of the apple skins, but hid them with pie crust, so nobody knew any better :)
I used the apple I had hollowed out and cut it into tiny pieces, added 1 tsp cinnamon and 6 Tbls maple syrup. Let it sit for about 15 min and then used a slotted spoon to just get the sweet apple chunks into the apple skins and leave all that maple syrup behind. Covered with a homemade pie crust, into the pan with a bit of water in the bottom.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes then remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes. The one change I would make next time would be to drain the water after I remove the foil for the second baking as it ended up making the pie crust soggy and I had to put them back in on a cookie sheet to get it crisp again - but all in all definitely worth the work! Everyone loved them - sugar free and all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Garden

The garden idea was a rather sudden decision - made around November sometime. I spent three months on Organicgardening.com trying to research and learn everything I could in order to get started. When I was getting my certification I learned a lot about nutrition, that on top of the knowledge I had sought out through on my own, I felt that I had a pretty solid foundation about what was good, bad, ugly - what foods to eat for a flat belly, what foods you would feel like crap after eating ect. Now as I look back I can see I was missing the whole point and wasn't looking deep enough. Last year after I broke my arm and had to start from scratch on fitness I learned more about food than I ever thought possible. It all started will 100daysofrealfood.com (I highly recommend this site, she has fantastic information) - to which I shook my head and scoffed "what a fanatic." (I now take that back :)) Then to Real Food Inc. - which I had of course heard of, as I think most people have, but never really cared to watch. Ignorance is bliss right? Long story short, books, websites, blogs, news, and everything in between I could no longer ignore it and completely changed the way my family eats, earning the title of food nazi in my house, but that's a story for another day.
So to the point - I decided I wanted to grow my own food, sans chemicals and sans GMO. I bought seeds from Heirloomseeds.com. They are a wonderful small family business with all heirloom varieties and most all organic. (I don't know them, they don't know me - I'm just a very happy customer) We don't have a ton of space in the backyard and our soil is basically pure clay so I decided to do a raised bed and my very handy husband and I put this together:
Since the bed was pretty small and I had a laundry list of veggies I wanted to grow I decided to give square foot gardening a try. 50 drafts later this is my plan. I've seen some fancy excel and online versions, but this will have to do! :)
I started tomatoes, peppers, celery, black eyed susans, lavender and rosemary inside. I used a seedling heating mat and I am quite sure that the celery, lavender and rosemary seeds got fried. :( But my tomatoes look bea-utiful and I finally am getting some green showing in my pepper pot!!
The fancy chicken wire was supposed to keep out the pups, but unfortunately isn't enough. Hopefully at least the rabbits will leave it alone!

The good news was as I was inspecting the damage done by the dog - I found this:

Spinach!!! Hurray - I had all but given up on it wanting to grow. I thought I had enough time to get it started, but as it's going to be 80 degrees all week in March - we will see if it turns bitter or not....

Monday, March 12, 2012

Changes

It's been an incredibly long time since I was able to blog and I have missed it a lot. I really wanted to wait to start again until I knew I could put the time into it that I used to. So many things have changed and we have been busy little bees, but we are finally settled into a new home and I have time again! Hurray!
Where to begin.... we moved back to the states and are in New Baden, IL. I am currently working from home and headed back to school to work on getting a dietician degree. I got certified as a personal trainer a few years ago and was working at Gold's until I broke my arm in June during a bike fund raiser. The kids are growing WAY too fast, as seems to be their way. James enjoys his new job much more than the last and gets to spend far more time at home which we all love.
Working on getting an organic garden started and always love input and help from those with experience as I jumped into it and am slightly lost!
Looking forward to returning to my haven of ramblings and sharing as I learn about life, kids, gardening, nutrition, exercise and life in general!