odds & ends

January 27, 2014

it’s been a while, so here are a few “highlights” of life lately …

:: we are on day 15 of the Whole30. we did it last january and maddie and i particularly felt a great readiness to do it again. it has been a challenge some days; easier others. hubby and i were having crazy energy crashes during the afternoons which weren’t pleasant! – but getting more manageable. truthfully, the challenge is a different and more difficult one for me this time (aside from the logistical burden of cooking from scratch 3 meals a day for everyone, growing super weary of savory food for all meals even though it is *delish, longing for something sweet, the boys asking for various off-limits items, etc): i am not losing weight the way i normally do. the few times  in the past that i’ve implemented a plan with the goal of losing weight, i see results fairly quick. last whole30, i was down 5 lbs on the 4th day (and 15 lbs after 30 days). motivating! this time, 5 lbs as of *today. not so motivating (but thankfully i took some measurements and have lost 2.5 inches from my waist which feels good). and yet here’s what i know: this is a longer play. i am closer to my regular weight and not carrying as much extra as i was last year. my body has gone through crazy physical changes in the past 2 years with 2 pregnancies and 2 csections. i know intuitively that this time around, this is more of a slow & steady … diligently making good decisions, day in and day out, moving toward the goal of being healthy and strong. so i’m doing it! i haven’t cheated – not one morsel or nugget – so only protein, veggies, fruit, some oils and nuts … for 15 days. 15 to go! and then, moderation. most of all, i am missing my cream in my coffee. coconut cream is ok but just not the same.

:: for certain, one of our primary goals in this elimination diet is to find healing for josiah’s skin. i took him to a naturopath last month which felt helpful and good … a good step of many. so it is deeply discouraging that his skin is worse, and in a severe flare right now … so much so that he can’t sleep well and the past 3 nights has been up most of the night w/hubby or i, miserable itching and raw. (he had been doing SO great w/sleep, for the past few months. ahh.).  again and always, it feels like we are trying everything. and still, the answer – the trigger – is elusive. the other day i had an ah-ha moment: what if it is coconut?? i use coconut oil in *everything and even more on this diet … so i cut it out totally. and just last night, someone suggested perhaps it is *fructose … so all those apples and pears … ?! LORD, please heal our boy.

:: this is a tiring, relentless season of parenting. and yet, i hate being a complainer – both to others, and in my own head. i was talking with a friend about this yesterday – about being *real in how we share life (ie social media) without sounding uber negative. i think social media can also tend to the other direction: sharing only the glowing superlatives about our days and our lives, mistakenly leaving an impression of blissful living. there’s got to be a happy medium. so for me, for today, my happy medium is right here and the words i am sharing. the truth is that parenting these boys – ages 16 & 33 months – is intense. i have literally zero breaks, round-the-clock. and i don’t believe i *deserve breaks necessarily but just that none exist. i have a baby on or near me including pretty much every time i use the restroom. and really the most intense part is the way THEY interact: without boundary, restraint, understanding, control … and thus in constant perpetual motion and inevitable conflict. this is a season of hands on, eyes-always-on training and intervening and directing. EVERY second. caleb is toddling grabbing instigating in all his chubby deliciousness. josiah is possessive of his toys, impulsive in his movements (hitting kicking). they are moving appropriately through age-appropriate learning and training and AND it’s wild and crazy around here.

add to that? i have a teenage daughter for whom i am (attempting to) homeschool *well, as she works through an academically challenging classical education.  i fail constantly in maintaining the patience and grace that i am desperate to share. i know that i cannot share and “produce” something that isn’t being generated within me; i cannot strive harder or more to be more or different. what i can do is be so saturated both in GOD’s Word and His grace in my life, that i pour this forth in my parenting. i see evidence of His incredible work; ways that He has changed and softened, and i am desperate for more.

wow, how is that for some uplifting updates!? LOL. just keeping it real. all is well and good and up and down and OH! that reminds me of this, the most totally awesome article that resonates SO much for me.

no, the 2 aren’t related! 🙂 but boy howdy, did i have some mega contractions the other night. it was the first time that i had that thought of OH MY, this *could* be it. like, for real. i was really uncomfortable, but after lots of water, a warm bath and trying to rest … things improved. and then the next day (yesterday) his movement was SO big, so intense and (i hate to sound complaining) but just honestly painful at times. hubby was watching my belly from across the room, for like over an hour … felt like my insides were being pounded, my groin was being stomped, my lungs were being squished. and today, even as i write this, i’m having moments where i catch my breath the movement is that pronounced and uncomfortable.

again, i wonder … will we make it to sept 24?! i really really want to AND am wrapping my mind around the fact that i’m just not gonna be that comfortable for the next month. period. and in the scheme of things, that’s fine! ;0)

{ hubby looked up at me this morning and said the most precious thing … “how will we love this new baby as much as we love josiah?!” i loved his honesty and expression of the thing that i think so many parents grapple with, of course coming to the same conclusion of utter and total love for the new baby once it arrives. but still!}

in other news …

nettles tea!

my dear friend shawnna introduced us to this some time ago, and i go in spurts of making it. i’m back at it again this week, and glad i am.  this stuff is SO good for us.

here’s a snippet,

 It can be said about nettle that it is one of the wonder plants that nature has gifted us with. It is renowned because of its astringent, expectorant, tonic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties and as an important source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, C and E, iron, calcium, phosphates and minerals. All these qualities recommend it as a powerful remedy against hepatic, arthritic or rheumatic conditions, and as an adjuvant in treating allergies, anemia and kidney diseases.

and this,

Nettles have a long history of use in the home as a herbal remedy and nutritious addition to the diet. The Nettle has long been valued as a medicinal and nutritional treasure.

Nettle is rich in chlorophyll, and a good source of beta carotene; vitamins A, C, and E; tannins; iron; calcium; silicon; potassium; phosphates; and various other minerals. Rich in iron vital to circulation and helpful in high blood pressure.

Nettle leaf has recently become a popular treatment for allergies based on one preliminary study. Nettle leaf is highly nutritious, and in cooked form may be used as a general dietary supplement.

so i’ve been making big jugs of the tea, sweetening it with some raw honey, and we’ve been drinking it like juice. it tastes great – mild and a bit sweet with the honey! (confession: i love having juice in the fridge but we tend to over-drink it when we have it … i feel much better keeping nettles tea around).

short-term vs long-term

January 3, 2012

i have a few areas in my life right now as a mama, wife and woman, that require hard and uncomfortable work in the short-term. i am in a time of really seeking GOD’s wisdom and strength to be more than i am capable of being; do more than i am able to do.

as a mama, some things come very natural for me … nurturing, tending to soul and heart issues, cultivating love and relationship. these things flow.

but i am not so strong and “natural” in areas of training toward character … a fine line difference but one that hubby and i clarified in one of those intense and productive and heartfelt convo’s recently.

so, we are pressing in, uniting as “team green” and implementing some real changes and strategies on the home front.

discipline of kiddos takes discipline for this mama … hard at times in the short-term, but essential in the long-term.

another area of short-term effort for long-term gain is exercise. i have been in reactive mode with my exercise; doing it when i can, some days.  reflecting on this, i know for sure that when i am proactive about executing an exercise plan, i feel SO much better … physically and mentally. it’s essential. and during this season of continued sleeplessness, baby care and homeschooling … it is hard. but i know that i know that i must.

so i will.

another area that is begging for short-term discipline for long-term gain is in stewarding the nutrition and health of my family. the decisions around what we eat as a family are primarily made by me – big burden and excellent opportunity. a few goals have crystallized (and i’ve put them on a note in my kitchen window): “strengthen immunity: reduce sugar, clo, probiotics”. these things have risen recently to mind in my reading and research and will be areas of implementation around here.

i’d love to hear the stirrings you are having these days … areas of resolve, focus, implementation.



fat free – gross!!

April 27, 2011

my hubby and daughter have been doing the grocery shopping since josiah was born … and they’ve done a wonderful job!  it’s been so nice, having a break from the dreaded mega-shop grocery trips.

on their last shopping trip, they picked up some “half and half”, which was on my list. except, they got FAT FREE half and half.

the ingredients list? full of CRAP! “corn syrup solids”, for starters. and then other fake ingredients, in order to compensate for the lack of flavor from the missing (necessary!) fat.

how is this better for our bodies?? replacing real food (fat) with artificial ingredients, that our bodies don’t recognize? i don’t think so. i am convinced that real food is nearly always preferable for our bodies.

i’ll stick with my full fat, organic half and half any day of the week. 😉

being home

April 22, 2010

… allows a focus and opportunity for nourishing and healing through intentional choices throughout a day.

being gone from home during the week (for a short season) has reinforced the magnitude of the GIFT that it is, to be in my home throughout the day ..

i find that being gone lends itself to shortcuts, hurriedness, food more on-the-go, less time for prep steps that increase good nourishment.

this resonates deeply for me as i have a heart and burden for working mama’s (having been one for so many years); the near-impossibility of being able to deeply, slowly, thoughtfully, dive in to the layers of preparation, planning, work and time to feed and nourish our families really well.

i am convinced that we can’t “do it all”; it’s a lie in our culture. something will give.

and i’m finding that even in my small-scale (relatively) venture of working back outside the home; what “gives” are the nourishing details …

forgot to blend that fruit smoothie with glyconutrients to start our day; no time to thoroughly clean up the kitchen after breakfast prep; grabbing more processed, packaged food while caring for baby D (that we don’t keep at home so that it’s not within reach and tempting!); did i defrost meat for dinner, and what am i fixing!?; did i leave something for my  hubby to eat while we are gone?;  etc.

what a contrast with the ease of moving through our mornings at home; lingering over a satisfying, whole foods breakfast; blending a smoothie later when we feel hungry; sipping water throughout; prepping for dinner during schooling breaks; soaking food needed for tomorrow; cleaning as i go so big messes (in the kitchen, at least!) don’t pile up; doing laundry and cleaning throughout the day; beginning a cooking project i’ve been wanting to try (like this granola bar recipe!)

i am thankful for this time of contrast; for this great reminder of how blessed i am to be a mama at home. i do not take it for granted.

Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil::

i am so grateful to have discovered coconut oil! it has become an absolute staple in our home; we use it daily. there are innumerable benefits – a simple google search will get you started if you want to learn more.

in our home, here are some of the ways we enjoy it:

:: it is an excellent skin moisturizer! it is great all over the body … healing and moisturizing for ezcema, but also for me (i use it on my face and body when i run out of my regular products)

:: it is great eye makeup remover!

:: i use it as my fat/oil in all my baking (replacing butter as my daughter is allergic to dairy) and it tastes wonderful!

:: i use it to saute anything at higher temps (olive oil is not ideal when raised to a high temp in cooking) … sauteing veggies for soups; frying fish in a pan; popping popcorn, and the list could go on.

:: it makes great chocolate!

:: we just discovered that it is a great hair product for my daughter! after combing out her curls, we run a little melted coconut oil through the ends and the curls holds beautifully without becoming frizzy!

i keep it in my cupboard; it does melt at higher temps but solidifies again once cool. easy, tasty and healing!

making kombucha

March 15, 2010

i am blessed by amazing friends who have taught me so many things … one of them is how to make kombucha! what a frugal, nourishing probiotic drink that i incorporate in my life daily. and i love the taste! this batch makes enough for a week or 2. i try to keep a new batch “brewing” in the pantry while i am enjoying what is ready to drink in the fridge. (i made a batch today and took these pics~!)

i think my friend kelly gave me this recipe …

Kombucha (makes 2 quarts)

3 quarts filtered water
1 cup sugar
4 tea bags of organic black tea (you can mix in a couple green teas with the black if you like)
1/2 cup kombucha from a previous culture
1 kombucha mushroom

(here’s the mushroom: =)

Bring three quarts filtered water to boil.  Add sugar and simmer until dissolved.  Remove from heat, add the tea bags and allow the tea to steep until water has completely cooled.

Remove tea bags.  Pour cooled liquid into a four quart jar (1 gallon–GLASS). and add 1/2 cupkombucha from previous batch.  Place the mushroom on top of the liquid.

Cover jar with a towel and rubber band…so it can breath although not allow dust or other in.  Wrap with a towel or place in a dark warm place.

In about 7 to 10 days the kombucha will be ready, depending on the temperature.  It should be rather sour and possibly fizzy, with no taste of tea remaining.   Transfer to covered glass containers and store in the refrigerator.

When the kombucha is ready, your mushroom will have grown a second spongy pancake.  This can be used to make other batches or given away to friends.  Store fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator in a glass container, never plastic.