Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Simple Things

Today I got to hold Carson while he was sleeping.  Our life has been so busy lately I have often missed the times when it was just the two of us in our little home.  I'm finally coming to the realization that I do not have to do everything.  Some things can wait.  I did that today.  He woke up from his nap, but was still very sleepy.  So I plopped my bottom on the couch with him in my arms.   He napped this way for the first 6 months of his life.  With his bad acid reflux, I usually had to hold him just to keep him propped up enough to keep the acid down.  It became a much loved routine.  For almost 2 hours we got to cuddle as his sleeping little body was scrunched up with his head on my chest.  I'm already mourning the time when he becomes too big to do such a thing.  I'm taking in every moment I can get! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life...Such a Complex Experience

God might have thrown us another curve ball.  Once again, we feel His hand guiding us and we are having to give up all control. That's okay since He thankfully knows best.  More on that later.  Or more on that when we actually know what is going on. 

Josh and I just finished painting our new office that he constructed last week.  I love being married to a handy man!  I decided to just go for it and paint our bedroom as well.  I'm glad I did.  It's amazing what change can do for the soul.  I've been wanting to do something massively different with my hair, get a tattoo, or you know something crazy, but for now this has satisfied my desire for change and has for now prevented anything I might regret.  I finally get to unpack and then hang some of my beloved decorations from our old house.  This place is finally starting to feel like home. 

Carson's vocabulary is budding.  He picks up a few new words each day and it is shocking us!  My favorite words are still, "where'd it do?"  Or "Where'd Daddy do?  Melts my heart.  You probably have to hear him say those words to understand just how adorably cute they are.  One of his newest words is quickly making the top 10 list and it's turtdle (turtle).  Somehow he manages to add that d in there along with the t.  He LOVES books which makes me very happy.  Is it wrong to think your child is the smartest kid on the face of the planet?  Whenever I try to trick Carson out of something (like giving him watered down juice instead of pop), I hear Josh's voice next to me, "he's not stupid you know."  Yes, I've discovered that.  Today he looked at me and said "that's not pop" in his baby voice.  He also now says please but instead of using the word in the form of good manners, he decides to use it to try and get what he wants.  This is usually how it goes:  Carson:  "Nummy?  Mommy, Nummy?  Me:  "No, Carson you've had too much sugar today."  Carson:  "Nummy, mommy, pease, (sad big brown eyes) pease mommy?"  For pete's sake!  I almost cave each time.  Key word though is almost

I'm loving this stage.  Other than the fact that he is growing up way too fast and can now create a screeching sound that nearly blows the eardrums, this age is perfect.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eating Healthy & Organic on a Budget

 Since Josh and I have been eating healthier we had to change our shopping habits.  At first the thought of spending more money made me nervous but as time went on we realized we actually decreased our spending amount.  Spending less money on processed snacks and eating more simply has made a difference, but I also wanted to share some tips that we have learned from trial and error and some tips we have learned from the web and put into action ourselves.

1. Buy organic chicken whole.  I rarely just buy the breasts anymore.  I buy the whole chicken, which is much, much cheaper.  I usually boil it or slow roast it in the oven then get every piece of meat I can off that little chicken.  Then I use it for meals throughout the week.  It's great for casseroles, soups, stews, salads, quick stir fries, you name it.  The possibilities are endless.  Then I just keep a couple breasts and thighs handy for when raw meat is really necessary.

2.  We rarely buy beef. We have cut down on our beef consumption and it has saved us a boat load of money.  We have steaks once a month.  I also buy the organic ground bison from Costco.  It has three convenient packages of 1lb of meat each.  That lasts us the whole month. Ground Turkey is another great option.

3.  Eat at least 2-3 vegetarian meals a week.  Beans and rice, whole wheat pasta dishes, even stir fries can be done without meat. Beans are a great option because they are cheap, healthy, and filling.  A bean and veggie soup can be very yummy.

3.  I buy fruit that is on sale.  If I can't find quality organic fruit or we are a little tight that week, I buy regular fruit on sale and use the fruit & vegetable wash pictured above.  It gets rid of the majority of pesticides, at least on the outside.  It also helps remove that wax coating on fruits like apples and grapes. 

4.  Don't go down the aisles!  Shop around the outside of the store.  That is where your main necessities are.  We usually buy two snack items. A box of crackers and a bag of as healthy of chips as we can find (usually rice chips), but Josh does love those Tim's Cascade Potato Chips.  We read the ingredients and if we can't pronounce them all, we put it back.  Our usual snacks are hard boiled eggs, dried fruit, fruit, veggies, and hummus and pita bread.  We try to stick to the basics.

5. Don't forget those leftovers!  Leftovers can be great lunches or transformed into something else to make another delicious dinner.

6.  Go local.  We found a farm where we can pick our own fresh produce and it is much cheaper than the grocery store.  It is work to get out there and pick the items, but it's worth it.  If you can't do that, check out a local farmer's market.  They are getting pretty popular and my guess is you should be able to find one close to where you are. Another option is finding a local company or farm who distributes CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes.  Which are boxes of mostly local seasonal produce.  You can plan your meals around what comes in the box.  This is great for those of you who don't have time to frequently shop for fresh produce.

7.  Frozen veggies are another good option.  They pack just as many nutrients and you can get more bang for your buck.

8.  Last, but not least...buy your pantry items in bulk.  If you can't afford a Costco membership check out the Cash & Carry stores or URM.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Feeding My Family

With my new commitment to healthy eating, I have made family meals my mission.  At first it started out as a chore that I had to do and now I'm overflowing with a desire to fill our bodies with nourishing food.   Through this process, I have found the joy of cooking.  The actual joy, not the cookbook.  I've been experimenting with flavors, baking my own bread, and loading our plates with veggies.  This joy comes in part from the creation of new and interesting dishes, but mostly because I am feeding love to my family.  It feels good to take care of them.  To care for the health of their body and mind.  Hopefully this is just the first step to a long-term love relationship with cooking.

I have also relaxed a bit as to what we eat at each meal.  As long as the majority of each meal is healthy, I am satisfied.  I am satisfied because I have realized through this process that it is also important to feed the soul.  Maybe it's the Italian in me?  Whatever it is, it's important to enjoy the food we eat and be able to sit around the dinner table together saying "mmm, this is good."  I've been loving that too. 

Josh and I also made a new rule of eating out on Sundays only and that doesn't mean every Sunday.  Even just once a week is more than what was the norm back in the day.  We also found a little treasure called Strawberry Hills Farm at Greenbluff where we can get organic, fresh produce that we pick ourselves.  That alone has encouraged us to eat better.  When you're out in the garden picking those fresh vegetables, it just makes you feel healthier.  It's like you're soaking up the nutrients through osmosis.

I have also become a little more relaxed about our diet because I found something interesting the other day.  As I was filing some paperwork that had piled up on our desk, I found the ER report from my hospital visit with our third baby.  They did some detailed blood work as well as a detailed urine analysis.   By the time the miscarriage happened, I had been slacking a little in regards to what I ate. When I started doing research on balancing my hormones naturally and ran across how pH can effect hormone levels, I felt maybe I was too acidic and that was causing my lack of progesterone.   Well, while looking at my ER report, I saw my pH levels listed.  Wow, why didn't I see this before?   Guess, what!?  I couldn't have had a better pH balance.  I was perfectly alkaline and that was after eating some chocolate the night before.   So this quest for a more alkaline pH level was pretty much unnecessary because I already was.  That doesn't mean it can't become unbalanced though.  However, I am thankful for the path I took because it really has renewed my commitment to healthy eating and has stirred a passion in me to not only cook but also to create delicious meals.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Toddler Snacks

Carson has gotten to the age where snacks are crucial.  Not just to fill the tummy, but also for a time to just collect himself.  I find that when he is out of control, it's usually when he's hungry.  I've had to adjust his snacking to more age appropriate foods so I thought I'd share.

YoKids Organic Yogurt Squeezers  (I freeze them and cut them in half so he only has a half at a time)
Hard Boiled Eggs
Pretzels with a side of cream cheese for dipping
Fruit by itself or with some plain yogurt for dipping
Rice Chips & Salsa
Rice Cakes, sometimes with Peanut Butter on it
1/2 Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
Small bits of organic walnuts (I break them up and give only a little at a time to prevent any potential for choking)

All these snacks are easy.  I try to give him a more protein based snack in the afternoons after he has run around and worn himself out all day long.  It tends to keep his mood stable and gets him through the rest of the day.  These snacks are also low in sugar and prevent any sort of sugar rush.  Carson is also really into dipping things right now so I also try to provide fun snacks in which he can do so.

Carson's snacks have become more of a priority and I have seen a definite change in his behavior since changing the amount and type of snacks he receives.  Plus they are good snacks for me to join in on as well!