Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This Blog Has Moved

Please visit my new blog (same material) at:

This one was not working well for me.  Please follow me!  I am still posting away!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Organizing My Home - Step One - Under the kitchen sink

School is a month away and this year I have to get two kids on the school bus by roughly 8am.  I need to have a routine in place for packing lunches and the only way to do this is to get my kitchen organized.  I have realized I can't do this all at once and I just don't have the time.  So I plan to do it step by step in the next few weeks. 
I decided to start with under the sink.  This has always been a place for, well, everything!  Every time I needed something, I would open it up and something would fall out.  I'd search through the clutter until I found what I knew to be in there (somewhere) and shove everything back in and shut the door before something else jumped out.  Not an organized space to say the least. 

First I took everything out!  I had over a hundred plastic bags-big and small.  I only really use the small ones for trash baskets and stinky diapers.  I also had too many paper bags from the grocery store.  The bags really took up most of the cabinet.  I decided to keep only the small bags and a few paper bags.  Everything else went out with recycling.  Once I took them all out, I could see what else was in there.  I decided what I didn't want to be in there and what needed to stay.  I had Ziploc bags of all sizes in there and I have to find a new spot for them.  They just didn't belong. 

So what did I keep?  Dish soap, dishwasher pods, dishwasher spot remover, cleaning wipes, gloves, rags, baking soda, paper towels, Swiffer duster refills, Swiffer duster, dustpan and broom and kitchen trash can bags.  I decided for the space to be efficient  I'd need to stop there.  I felt better already.

I mounted a plastic bag dispenser (with the adhesive on the back of it-easy).  This took care of all the bag clutter.  I used two bins that I bought at Marshalls to hold the rest of the items.  I also hung up the Swiffer duster handle.  What a difference!  I feel organized every time I go to open up the door.  Ahhhhh. Freedom!   
Here is the reveal.  I am sorry I didn't take a Before picture.  My camera was at work and I was way to motivated to stop myself.........
 Hmmmm, now what area to tackle next.  I need a good place for baggies and Tupperware used to pack the kids lunches.  I'm going from packing one lunch to two.  I also try to pack my husband's lunch, but he leaves for work at 6:30am.  It all depends what time the kids get me up.  I haven't set my alarm since I had my first baby over 6 years ago.  Maybe this year I will start.  Then I could have my cup of coffee in peace before everyone else gets up.  Sounds good to me!

Can you feel how relaxed I am?  This is my first post of many that will show the progress I am making to get my house in order. 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Green Smoothie Love

This morning I had tons of fresh fruit so I quickly cut it all up and put it in the freezer to "flash-freeze".  I left it in for about 1 1/2 hours, which is perfect timing for me to finish my coffee first.  I drink a cup or two of coffee every morning before I drink my smoothie. 

This is how I put the fruit in.  I used a cake pan only because I had just made a cake for my son's birthday party.  It worked out nice actually!

When I took it out of the freezer, I just dumped it right into my blender.  Here are the rest of the ingredients I used:
 I used about 2 cups of Almond Breeze (unsweetened/30 calories).  I threw in 2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach, a large drizzle of honey to sweeten and about a teaspoon each of Ground Flaxseed and Chia Protein Powder.  I put it all in together and blended until smooth.  I like to blend it for about 2 minutes to make sure it's all smooth.
 And here's the finished product.  Yummy!  It was icy, but not thick.  I had two cups.  This is all I had for breakfast and it kept me full all morning.
I like to start my day with a green smoothie.  It makes me feel like I've started the day off right and I've already had some greens!  Try it!  You can't taste them I swear!
Have a wonderful morning!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keeping it clean on vacation.

My family and I just returned from a week-long vacation to Vermont.  We stayed in a beautiful house shared by 5 families (my in-laws and their families).  It really was breathtaking.  Almost every bedroom had a view of the lake.

My family as you know eats pretty well, meaning organic and as healthy as possible.  We knew that going on vacation meant that we'd be letting the rules slide a bit so that we could eat with the rest of the family.  It was harder than that though.  My kids are 6 1/2, almost 5 and 21 months.  Their "cousins" were 15, 13 and 10.  They had a few things in their diets that we don't normally touch: Gatorade, Fruit Loops, Tootsie Pops and juice.  We do give the kids juice, but usually 1 a day and it's organic.  It was soooo hard to say no to the kids while the other kids were eating these snacks in front of them.  It was even harder to explain answers to their "why" questions in front of these other kids and/or their parents.  I didn't want to be rude or stuck up by saying something to the effect of, "we don't eat that type of food because it isn't good for our bodies" or "that has too much sugar in it" or " that has dye in it".  How awful does that sound?  It's like saying they don't have good parents!  Or that their parents feed them food that isn't good for them.  It was interesting to say the least. 

I was able to stay away from the Fruit Loops because of the dyes.  I just said, "no but you can have....".  They ended up having a few Tootsie Pops with the other kids.  I also let my son, who is 4 and 3/4 try a few sips of clear Gatorade.  He liked it of course!  Oh and I bought my own Nitrate-free hot dogs even though we bought a whole container of regular hot dogs for the rest of the family.  I felt guilty but I had to do it.

As for myself, I ate as well as I could.  I had greens at almost every meal and drank lots of water.  I bought a green smoothie at the store and drank a bit every day.  It made me feel better about the over-eating during meals.  My body definitely felt a little "off", but since being home it's getting closer to normal.

The kids had crazy bedtimes on vacation, again because the older kids didn't go to bed until much later.  Sometimes it ended up being 10pm before we got them to bed (the baby stayed pretty consistent though with a 6:30/7pm bedtime).  We have been home two days and already are on a much better schedule. 

There is no place like home.  It's so good to be back.

Do you feel as if vacations send you spiraling into unhealthy eating? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Real Food!

Tonight I ran out of pancake mix and was stuck with what to have for dinner.  I wish I was more of a planner, but I find it hard to do.  It's definitely something I would love to learn to do every Sunday.  We love having breakfast for dinner and cook it about once a week.  I had never made pancakes from scratch, so I got on the Internet and looked up a recipe.  How easy is this?  I had no idea it would be so easy!  It probably took me 10 minutes longer than using the boxed version.  And part of those 10 minutes was spent cooking bacon.  They turned out delicious and my family didn't say anything about the pancakes tasting funny and they didn't appear to notice any difference.  So goodbye boxed pancakes, I've moved on to a healthier and cheaper alternative.  Now if I could only bottle my own maple syrup!  I wish I had taken a picture of my beautiful pancakes to capture this moment in time.  I even had on an apron so I wouldn't spill flower on my work outfit.  I am a little homemaker tonight!         
    Here is the recipe I followed.  I should mention that I am not a "directions" type of person.  I tend to "estimate" rather than follow exact measurements.  I did follow most of this exactly though. Instead of white sugar I used organic (which looks brown).  This seemed to work just fine.  I also used more milk in my pancake batter.  It called for 1 1/4 cups of milk.  I probably used 1 1/2-2 cups.  I like my pancakes thinner than these were.  The last thing I changed was the vanilla. 

1 tsp. vanilla
1 tablespoon organic sugar                                              
1 1/2 cups milk                                                    

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.

 Hmm, now what should we eat tomorrow night?  I've been wanting to try making my own granola bars.  It seems so simple.  That will be next on my list.  I'd love to stop buying so much processed food.  As Americans, we actually do well in the real, whole foods department compared to how many other families eat.  I just know that if we can start making even just a few of the foods we tend to  snack on, like granola bars, we'd be much healthier.

I should mention that my husband has stopped drinking soda!!!!!!!  Whoohoo!  I sure have been rubbing off on him in the health department.  He is also taking vitamins now, which he hasn't done since I have known him (16 years).  These two things are HUGE.  He had a physical and the only thing his doctor was concerned about were his sugars.  So he actually listened to her and cut out what was contributing to a big portion of his sugars.  Now, to work on the multiple cups coffee with 2 teaspoons of sugar in it.  Ewww.  One step at a time......

Here is one of my reasons for changing the way our family eats.  My 20 month old son, Drew.  Here is very focused on playing with his cars.  I love this kid!  And he loved my homemade pancakes!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5 Things I Am Changing for Health

1.  I start every morning out with a green smoothie.  Well, actually I have a cup of coffee first.  Maybe someday that will change too, but for now it makes me very happy.  I used to drink at least 2 cups in the morning, now one does just fine.  I look forward to my smoothie every morning.  Most days it take the place of breakfast.  It makes me feel like I've started this day with the best food that I can have for my body.  It fills me up and keeps me going. 

This is what was in my smoothie today:
1 handful fresh organic Kale
1 handful organic mixed greens (from a bag)
Almond milk
Plain Kefir
1 Banana
2 handfuls of frozen peaches, strawberries, and bananas
1 handful of frozen pineapple
1 teaspoon of Chia Protein Powder
Drizzle of honey to sweeten
Throw it all in together and blend until smooth.  I keep coming back to this one.  It's my favorite!

2.  I am eating salad for lunch.  Most days I have a spinach salad with strawberries, pears, or apples (whatever is in my kitchen), cheese (again whatever I have-usually feta, blue cheese, or Colby Jack), almonds, and topped with balsamic vinaigrette.  Other days when I'm in the office and couldn't find time to make lunch, I buy a delicious tuna salad with lettuce, cucumbers, onions, carrots and topped with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.  So yummy!

I find that eating this way doesn't make me feel hungry.  I am satisfied and healthy!

3.  I am buying and cooking more vegetables for my family.  I'm trying to always have something on hand that is fresh.  I would like to change the portions that we are eating.  As Americans we tend to have meat as the biggest part of our meal, then starches and lastly (it seems) veggies.  So I am trying to make veggies cover more of our plates and less of everything else.  Luckily my kids love vegetables so this shouldn't be so hard.  Getting my husband to eat more veggies might be tougher.  He could just eat the meat for dinner and be happy with it.

4. I am reading blogs and books on health.  Learning can be scary these days, but it only fuels my desire to keep us healthy.  Every day I learn something new that can help us feel better.  Today I learned that we won't be eating hot dogs and lunch meat unless they are nitrate free.  Apparently this causes cancer and there have been bans dating back to the 70's.  Finally there are enough studies for change.  I am also learning how to help my husband with his heart burn.  This may be a tough one!

5.  All of our household products are organic and green.  I am done with chemicals.  We have enough chemicals walking in on our shoes every day.  Our new policy is, "shoes off at the door".  I'm hoping this helps minimize the chemicals in our home, improving our air quality and health.  It will hopefully help out with the sweeping and vacuuming too.  It is so hard to stay on the family when everyone is, "just coming in to get one thing".  We will get there!

What things are you all doing to stay healthy or change your ways?  Changing is so hard!  I struggle daily with sweets.  I have to remember to take things slowly so that everything becomes routine.  My goal isn't to give up sweets, but to eat them less frequently.  I want to live a happy life too.  Depriving isn't happy to me!  Live healthy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What are they feeding us?

Good morning!  I picked up some new reading material yesterday and dove in to, "What's Eating Your Child?" by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND last night.  I am loving it so far!  Eating "Real" is so easy and just makes so much sense.  Why would we eat all of that other crap (processed foods)?  I have been slowly getting rid of most processed foods, especially if they include dyes.  It is so amazing and disgusting that dyes are in most children's foods!  We no longer eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because it includes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in it.  Dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children, allergies and even cancer!  Yet petroleum-derived artificial coloring is in most foods, from cereals, Popsicles, and even yogurt.  Why do we have to use dyes when there are foods that actually makes these colors.  They might not be as vibrant, but is it worth the risk?  Not in my opinion.  It's hard to take my daughter to the grocery store because she just wants cereal that looks fun and yogurt that is neon blue.  I just can't buy them for her.  I've been getting a lot of, "but my friends have those in their lunches".  That one is so hard to answer.  I just say, "this one is healthier for you".  I don't want her going to schools saying, "my mom says that's bad for you".  Haha, I don't want to go making enemies, but it's just how I feel about food now.  The more I learn, the less I want them to eat.  Food needs to change!

I started a 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge from Unconventional Kitchen, one of the blogs I follow. Here is the face book page: .  Since I've already been drinking green smoothies daily, I am following the recipes as close as I can but I've already come to know what I like in my smoothies.   I'm excited to try some new ones though!

Since I have started drinking green smoothies in the morning, (which replaces breakfast) I have lost about 4 lbs. and my stomach is looking much better!  It's only been a few weeks too.

Here is the smoothie I made this morning (pictured above):

I had to change the one in the challenge a bit.  It called for apple juice, but since I didn't have any I used what I had.

2 handfuls of kale (no stalks)
3 ice cubes
1 1/2 frozen bananas
earth's pride organics, orange, peach, mango juice (from BJ's)
1 spoonful of Ground Fax Seed
1 spoonful of Chia Seed Protein Powder
A little honey for sweetness

I threw it all in together and it was very yummy and smooth.  My kids liked it (even though it wasn't pink like they had wanted).  It tasted mostly like juice, but obviously so much better for you than juice.  I allow my kids one cup of juice a day.  The baby doesn't drink any (unless it's in a smoothie!).