I am a Mormon stay-at-home-mom of six. Yeah, I know, "that's a lot of kids"! Sometimes it truly is A LOT. Most of the time it's not. It's simply put...our normal. On my page you'll find spiritual thoughts, tales of trials, happy moments, recipes, funny stories, and more. Enjoy!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Food dyes....in strange places

It was a nice day to be out of the house...cloudy, windy, and freezing!  Brrr! We even went back to the house to grab a warmer coat and hats and mittens.  Yup...it's cold.  We enjoy going to kid's resale shops with our friends... and then going to craft stores like JoAnn and Michaels.  Today was no different.  Once we enjoyed searching the racks at Children's Orchard we entered JoAnn.  *sigh* yarn!

Part way through our adventure, Miss Ballerina asked to go to the bathroom.  We happened to be right next to it...SCORE.  When we were washing hands, that quiet little voice whispered that I should check the label on the soap; which was on sale with a cute sign next to it. It was some lemon scented soap that was bright yellow.  It made the entire bathroom smell delicious...which says a lot.  Guess what the last ingredients were...RED 40, BLUE, and YELLOW.  ACK!!!

I washed my hands, and since they were out of paper towels, I ended up wiping them on my jeans.  Ugh.  But...oh well.  Then Littlest Miss said, "Hands!" She wanted to get in on the hand washing fun!  But after reading that label there was no way I was going to wash her hands with that soap.  So, I just rinsed her hands.

We exited the bathroom and began looking at the yarn selection again.  A couple of minutes later Littlest Miss started acting like her bottom hurt or something hurt.  I picked her up and tried to console her and instead of getting happier...she got more upset, agitated and angry.  Her poor mood escalated until I could barely hold onto her.  She thrashed and threw her body around in pain.  I flipped her over and looked into her eyes...her pupils were tiny...constricted.  Somehow that hand soap had affected her even though it was on my hands and not hers.  She never touched the soap directly.  Wow.

I quickly paid for my yarn and made a bee line for the car.  I buckled her screaming, thrashing form into her car seat and got out the baking soda.  I added the baking soda to her sippy cup of water and shook it up.  But she refused to drink it.  I needed something to get her to drink the water.  I remembered that I had a small container in my purse that was empty.  I took it out and poured a little water into it.  She happily sucked down the water from the tiny cup.  After about 4 small cups of baking soda water she started to calm down.

Not only do I have to be aware of all the different types of food that have food dyes but I also have to be aware of hand soaps.  I stopped into the health food store on the way home and grabbed a bottle of hand soap that would be safe for her little hands.

I never realized how difficult it would be to keep a toddler away from dyes.  They are everywhere.  I found them, yesterday, in mayonnaise.  REALLY??? They couldn't make it without?  Crazy!!!

We are now home...relaxing...and enjoying the happy baby.  *huge sigh*

My quest continues...to make sure my home is as dye free as necessary for my little one to be as happy as possible.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yummy Delicious Cranberry Muffins!

I love it when an idea turns out wonderfully!  I LOVE to bake, but going gluten free makes baking a bit intimidating.  I've learned a little bit about it and have tried some new things. So, I'm getting more confident.  Here is a recipe I altered to make it gluten and dairy free.  I hope you all enjoy these deliciously soft and moist muffins! The original recipe was found here.

GF/DF Cranberry Lemon Muffins

2 cups GF flour mix (see other recipes for my favorite one)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 heaping Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon peel (in the spice section in Walmart or you can use fresh)
1 Tbsp flax seed meal
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sour Almond milk (1 Tbsp lemon juice in measuring up. Fill to 1 cup mark with Almond milk)
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin pans or line them with paper muffin liners. Combine flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon peel, and flax. Mix well.  Make sour milk in measuring cup. Set aside. In separate bowl beat eggs with a fork.  Add lemon juice.  Mix well.  Add sour milk.  Mix.  Add milk mixture to dry ingredients.  Mix until just moistened. Add melted coconut oil.  Mix. Fold in cranberries.  Fill muffin cups to 3/4 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Don't over bake.

I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as my family did.  My friends, who are not gluten free, loved them as well.  That says a lot to me.  Gluten free can and will be delicious!  I just have to make it so!

Monday, October 14, 2013

GF/DF Oven fried chicken Yummy!

My grandmother shared this delicious recipe with me in the recent years.  I asked her for the recipe again a few months ago and then I lost it.  I was thrilled to find the recipe again on this page. My family absolutely loves it!  I changed it to make it fit our needs.  Now it's gluten free and dairy free....and STILL delicious!

Oven Fried Chicken

This simple oven fried chicken is coated with a seasoned flour mixture and baked with a little butter.
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


3 to 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1/4 cup corn flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup  dairy free butter or olive oil

Directions for oven fried chicken recipe
Preheat oven to 425°.
Wash chicken and pat dry with paper towels...if desired. In a bowl with a lid, combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Place lid on and shake to coat chicken with the flour mixture. I ended up making a second batch of the flour mixture and threw that in until it was evenly coated.

Put butter in a shallow baking pan; place in oven to melt. When butter is melted, arrange chicken in the baking pan in a single layer, (if using bone-in chicken, place skin side down and add an extra 10 minutes to baking time, after flipping). Bake at 425° for 30 minutes; turn and bake 5 minutes longer, or until chicken is tender and done. Oven fried chicken recipe serves 4.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GF/DF Corn Bread recipe

So...I wanted to make cornbread to go with my friends chili for our get-together this week.  I made some last year and it was okay, but nothing to make me go WOW. It was simply OKAY.  I have made really yummy cornbread for years and the idea that just because I am eating gluten free means I can't have good corn bread was just NOT okay in my book.  Ludicrous!  I am a FIRM believer that if you have a good recipe you can always make delicious food.

I decided to pull out my original recipe...my go-to recipe...for cornbread.  It's one I have altered and adjusted over the years, to my taste.

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Corn Bread

1 1/4 cup Featherlight Flour mixture
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup corn meal
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 egg beaten

Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 inch square pan, or a round pie plate, or casserole dish.  Set aside. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mix well.  Stir in milk, oil and egg.  Mix just until moistened; making sure that any large clumps are broken up.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Or for glass or dark pans bake @ 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
These make great muffins too.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  For dark pans: 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

This recipe came out moist and delicious!  I LOVE sweet cornbread, so if that's what you like you might enjoy this treat!  This tastes scrumptious with pumpkin butter spread onto it too!  Happy Fall!

Oh...the Featherlight Flour Mixture is as follows:

1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup cornstarch
3 tsp potato flour

The original recipe comes from Bette Hagman's The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread book.  I altered it slightly to fit my needs.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


My new obsession...hummus.  I've had it a few times over the years and I have enjoyed it, but have always thought of it as a treat for a special occasion.  I'm not quite sure where that thought came from. Since I have recently started a gluten free/dairy free diet I am constantly on the look-out for foods that are delicious and fit the diet.  While at a recent Bridal Shower, I had hummus and was reminded of how yummy it is.

I started looking up recipes and talking about it.  This weekend we went to Kansas City to spend time with my husband's brother and his family and also attend the temple there.  While at the store with my sister-in-law I mentioned hummus and she showed me one she really liked.  I HAD to try it out.  It was so yummy!

Today, all I wanted was hummus. So, I got out the ingredients and began making it.  Find the original recipe here. I added parsley to the recipe because I found it on another page, but I can't seem to find the link anymore.  If I find it, I'll post it.


·  1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice or 3 Tbsp lemon juice
·  1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini
·  Half of a large garlic clove, minced
·  2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
·  1 teaspoon kosher salt
·  1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tbsp parsley crushed
·  One 15-ounce can (425 grams) chickpeas
·  2 to 3 tablespoons water
·  Dash of ground paprika for serving

In the bowl of a food processor, combine tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making smooth and creamy hummus possible.

Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.

Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid then rinse well with water. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth. Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until the consistency is perfect.

Scrape the hummus into a bowl then drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika.
Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.

Now go...spread it on your bread instead of mayo or mustard...dip your veggie sticks into it...and scoop it with your favorite tortilla chips or vegetable chips.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Traveling and eating Gluten Free/Dairy Free and food dye free can be a challenge!

We are going to visit family this weekend and need to be prepared with food for my lovely Gluten Free/Dairy Free diet and Littlest Miss's dye free diet. We discussed possible options with family and decided to go with tacos.  Therefore, today I am making myself some corn tortillas for the occasion.

I found a recipe here that is very simple and easy to follow.  

I have a flour tortilla press that is electric and does the same basic thing that a corn tortilla press does.  I covered the cold plates of the press with plastic wrap and pressed the dough in that.  You can also place your dough ball between the plastic wrap and press it down with the bottom of a small pot. (got that idea from a youtube video on making tortillas)

Then I placed the tortilla on a hot cast iron pan, that is dry; without any oil or butter.  Cook it for about 1 minute and then flip and cook for 30 seconds or so.  They seem stiff at first but if you put them in a linen cloth inside a glass dish they get nice and soft and PERFECT for tacos or any other meal.

I spread some dairy free butter on it and dribbled some homemade peach jam inside.  THAT was delicious.  Most of the time I DO NOT feel like I am going without or missing anything by doing this GF/DF diet. Instead, I am getting more creative.

Get creative with your food today!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gluten Free Cookie Dough Bites...YUM!

I seriously DID NOT think these would taste very good.  But, I was wrong.  So very wrong! These are yummy! I found the recipe here. They are SO good when they are warm and gooey; fresh out of the oven.  If they have a chance to get cold, you can place them on a paper towel and heat them for about 7-10 seconds, in the microwave, to make the chocolate chips gooey again. I will admit that they didn't last long in our house, since the batch only made 1 1/2 dozen.  Next time I will double the batch so it fits better in my Ninja blender...and lasts a bit longer than an hour. LOL!  My kids even liked the dough.  Littlest Miss was asking for thirds on her little spoon.  I wonder how these babies would taste with Ghirardelli Classic White chips.  My notes are un-bolded so that they stand out a bit from the original recipe. ;)

Gluten Free Cookie Dough Bites
1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel (I used the entire 15 oz can, so as not to waste.  Worked out just fine.)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (165 grams) natural peanut butter (can use PB2 from gym to make healthier, check your labels)(I used 2/3 cup of Skippy natural or Jif Natural)
1/4 cup (80 grams) honey (agave would be amazing too!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn't have salt in it
1/2 cup (90 grams) chocolate chips (I used dairy free)

1.    Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they're combined.
2.    Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
3.    With wet hands, form into 1½" balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don't do much rising. (I scooped them with my Pampered Chef medium sized cookie scoop and then flattened them gently with my hand onto my baking stones. Worked great, was super duper easy, and took less time too!)
4.    Bake for about 10 minutes. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies. (I left them on my baking stones for about 10 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack.)
5.    Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 1 week.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gluten Free and junk free barbecue sauce

Today I wanted to make the boneless ribs that I bought when they were on sale a couple of months ago.  They just sound good.  I have been eating gluten free for 2 1/2 weeks now and want to continue my journey to see the results.  I took out the barbecue sauce and read the label. Sure...it's gluten free...but not junk free.  I cringe every time I see high fructose corn syrup on a label. That the first ingredient on the list.  Great!  Bottled junk. 

I went searching online and found this recipe.  It's easy and I made a couple of modifications to make sure it is gluten free and to accommodate the fact that I didn't have everything on the list.  I may try it with honey next time.  Be sure to check out the recipe on the blog to see where I altered it.

Gluten Free Barbecue Sauce
1-1/2 cups Light Brown Sugar, packed {this step is crucial so the vinegar is balanced}
16 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Water (optional)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins in the USA is Gluten Free...check the label)
2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard
2 teaspoons Paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Measure and add all ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well until the sugar has dissolved and the spices are thoroughly distributed. Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge or freeze!

*NOTE* for a thicker sauce, simply omit the water. :)

Also, to keep this sauce high-fructose corn syrup free, use an all-natural or organic ketchup, but even better... make your own

I made 1/2 a batch this time, just in case it didn't turn out.  But I am pleasantly surprised!  It is sweet and tangy, just the way I like it!  I poured the entire amount over the boneless ribs in my crock pot.  I'll make potatoes and veggies to finish off the meal.  I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Have a fantastically wonderful day!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Gluten free meals can be tricky...or maybe not!

Thinking Gluten Free and Greek...


1 small onion
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 lb. ground turkey
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Finely chop onion.  Chop parsley.  Press garlic into mixing bowl.  Add onion, parsley, turkey, thyme, salt and pepper.  Mix vigorously until well blended.  Add oil to skillet; heat over medium-high heat for 1-3 minutes or until shimmering.  Form turkey mixture into four thin, rectangular loaves, about ¼ in thick.  Cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Place skillet in oven and bake 6-8 minutes or until loaves are no longer pink. 

Yogurt sauce

½ cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley
¼ cup fresh cucumber, finely chopped
½ -1  tsp lemon juice to taste
Fresh dill to taste

Mix in small bowl. Serve.

Featherlight Rice Flour Mix (Bette Hagman's The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread..with a slight change)
1/2 cup Rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch

1 cup Tapioca flour
1 cup Cornstarch
3 tsp potato flour 

Gluten Free Pita Bread
2 1/2 cups GF flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)

In large bowl combine 1 cup flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the oil and water. Beat vigorously for 3 minutes, then stir in the rest of the flour, along with the xanthan gum, 1/2 cup at a time. The dough will be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is moist, add a small amount of flour. Kneed for a couple of minutes in the bowl. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape into balls on the counter, and cover with a damp linen towel or tea towel. Let rest for 30 minutes. Use the palm of your hand and flatten the dough. Finish with a rolling pin, flattening the dough into a 6" disk. Place each round on a square of foil and place directly onto oven rack. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until they are slightly golden at the edges. Let cool, place in ziplock bag to store. 

Have a wonderful, gluten free and tasty weekend!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oh food dyes...

The sweet little angel’s eyes constricted, turning into tiny black dots. Her eyes glazed over and she began to scream.  The transformation was gradual; gradual enough so it took me a while to realize the cause.  She wanted me to pick her up, hold her, make it better, but when I reached for her she would arch her back and scream and squirm.  It didn’t feel good for me to touch her skin, or so it seemed to me.  She lay on the floor thrashing and screaming.  And I sat on the floor wondering what in the world was wrong.  I offered snacks; grapes, apples, nuts, bananas, raisins.  Nothing worked.  I offered a bath.  To which she shook her head.  I got up and went to my bathroom, since she didn’t want me to touch her anyway and she screamed harder; following me in her tantrum.  I came back and sat with her.  She stilled screamed, but I didn’t try to touch her.  I smiled at her every time she looked my way.  Somehow this seemed to calm her.  She tried to sit on my lap, but instantly her back arched and her arms flailed and she slid off my lap. 

She lay on her back, her bare belly facing me with its red scribbly marks all over her round tummy.  She had been coloring with a red pen at the table next to me and inevitably the pen ended up on her skin.  Red pen. On her skin.  Could that be it? The red dye in the pen? I got up and got out the baking soda, a small sippy cup of water and mixed 1/8 of a teaspoon into the water.  I put the lid on the cup and tried to offer the liquid to her.  She pushed it away.  Several times.  I finally had to force some into her mouth 3 or 4 times before she took it on her own. 

Gradually her pupils began to normalize.  She climbed onto my lap and lay there, stirring occasionally.  After a few more minutes I was able to touch her skin without her pulling away from me.  I rubbed her back.  The baking soda began to work through her system and she passed a little gas.  She smiled and it reached her eyes and she giggled.  Her eyes were clear again. 

The symptoms are not completely gone.  She still fusses for no apparent reason; but I KNOW the reason.  But she is sitting quietly watching Blues Clues.  I can breath and step into the next room.  The hour has passed, but I won’t forget.  The red pens will disappear. 

Food dye sensitivities are real.  And the sensitivities do not stop with food.  They can be caused by pens, markers, clothing and other fabrics too.  It makes me want to run out and buy everything in white!  LOL!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lessons Learned

We had a wonderful Labor Day activity with our church group at a local park on Monday.  The weather was beautiful.  There several tables of delicious looking foods.  Those who prepared the meat had been thoughtful and kind toward those who have allergies and brought it unseasoned.  I brought a pan of gluten free brownies, a pan of regular brownies...both from scratch, two loaves of gluten free/dairy free bread and watermelon that my wonderful husband cut into a basket shape and filled with balls of watermelon.  So, there was plenty of good, healthy food for us to eat while we were there.

I watched our Littlest Miss and never sat still comfortably as I tried to keep my eye on where she was.  Finally, after the majority of the activity was over and many people had left for home, I asked Mr. Artist if he would please take her for a little while.  He groaned and wanted to complain, but when I pointed out that I hadn't asked for his help the entire time, he couldn't help but agree.

I still kept an eye out, but not as stress-fully.  I was able to sit and visit with some ladies from church and just as I was getting comfortable I noticed that Mr. Artist had Littlest Miss over by the food tables.  I glanced their way and to my HORROR I realized that Littlest Miss had a cookie....not just any cookie...but a cookie covered in lovely, glittery, blue sugar crystals.  AAAGH!

My first mistake...I raced over yelling, "NO NO NO NO!  She can't EAT that!...It has food coloring. (Insert frustrated sputtering)"
Mr. Artist, "I didn't know that had food coloring!"
Me, "How could you NOT know?  It's BLUE!"
Mr. Artist slapping his forehead in embarrassment and despair, "I am ALWAYS a disappointment when it comes to watching Littlest Miss!"
Me...realizing my huge mistake..."I have NEVER said that to you!  You always do a great job watching her."
Meanwhile, people around us are all trying to act like they are not there.  Ugh!  Terrible parenting moment!  I completely embarrassed my son while embarrassing myself. After a brief discussion,  I told him to go ahead and hang out with his friends and I would take care of Littlest Miss.
Mr. Artist, slapping is leg for effect, "I was GOING to watch her!"
Me, "I know.  It's okay, I've got her. Don't worry about it." And off he went.

First of all, just because your children are in the room and are conversing with you about a certain issue, it DOES NOT MEAN THEY UNDERSTAND IT!  They hear everything you don't WANT them to hear! But the important information always seems to slip through some cracks...somewhere in the recesses of their young minds. We had discussed Littlest Miss's food dye sensitivity with all of the kids. Apparently I didn't specify that pretty blue crystal-y sugar does not occur naturally...there are NO blue sugar bushes!  LOL!

Since that day, we have had lots of discussions about what does and does not have food dye.  I'm hoping that this will help prevent future episodes.  Geesh!

Yesterday, when Mr. Artist arrived home from school, Littlest Miss, who had been fussy and screaming and thrashing since about 10 in the morning, was STILL fussy at almost 4 pm.
Mr. Artist asked, "What's she so upset about?" To which I replied, "Blue Sugar!"
Mr. Artist realizing that he had helped cause the fussiness replied, "I'm sorry."
I replied very calmly, "I know." That's all I said. It's hard to have sympathy for a teenager when I have been the one dealing with the consequences all day long.

Several times, yesterday evening, when Littlest Miss was A MESS and screaming, thrashing, throwing herself onto the floor about absolutely nothing, one of the boys would ask again why she was so upset/sad/mad/fussy/unhappy and my husband or I would reply, "Blue Sugar!"

One day we may all laugh about this!

It is ALL a learning experience.  And until people see and have to deal with the consequences, sometimes they can't learn the lesson.  There are LOTS of lessons being learned in our home this week.

So...if you ever wonder if food dye sensitivities are for real...just call my house and ask my children!  LOL!  They will ALL tell you it's REAL!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In a land of healthy foods

I've been thinking a lot about food lately.  Good foods.  Bad foods. And the differing opinions on what is and is not healthy. While one person might say that Goldfish crackers are a great healthy snack for your child, another might say that they are high in carbs and therefore will create a high and then a low in your child.  A better snack would be a fresh fruit or veggie.

Don't get me wrong.  Long long ago, in a land far away, I was the mom who gave my children hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries, and mac and cheese for lunches.  They ate plenty of yummy fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, ritz crackers and pretzels.  Packaged items who aplenty in my home.  And then the fairy tale crumbled. I began learning about Autism.  A good friend, who had been dropping hints for years about healthy eating, began educating me on foods that can cause a negative effect on human beings.  I learned about high fructose corn syrup, msg, hydrogenated oils, etc.  I began recreating our world and the foods we consume.

Now, don't think that it happened in a snap....with sparks of light and twinkling my cabinets were filled with healthy foods.  NOT! That would have been amazing!  But it took time.  Lots of time.  Loads of time.  And hours and hours of research.  My computer became my friend.  And "junk" in food became my enemy.

We still have General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios in the house because we are not perfect and we eat starches and carbs still.  But we have reduced them significantly.  Please note that I have looked at generic honey nut cheerios and they are NOT the same.  The ingredients are SO much better in the General Mills brand.  It's not perfect, but MUCH better!

Ingredients:Whole grain oats, sugar, oat bran, modified corn starch, honey, brown sugar syrup, salt, tripotassium phosphate, canola and/or rice bran oil, natural almond flavor and vitamin E (to preserve freshness).

A few things that I still cringe about...sugar is the second ingredient.  NOT the best way to start your day...especially if you have ADHD or Autism.  But there is no BHT.  They use vitamin E to preserve freshness.  That is a nice little fact.  Modified corn starch...well if it says modified that means they did something to it, so it sends off warning bells in my head.

Use good judgement.  Decide what ingredients you want to consume.  At first we only removed certain items from our approved food list and gradually the list got a whole heck of a lot longer.  We try to stay away from prepacked foods most often.  It's not 100% of the time or I would go insane.  But it is happening most of the time.

We started having eggs with ham, cheese and fruit for breakfast. Each child chose to do it a little differently.  Some liked scrambled eggs with cheese in them that were rolled up inside the ham.  Others wanted them all separately.  Whichever way you choose to serve it, make it fun.  It's not a death sentence to eat healthy. It's a lifestyle change that can extend your life.

A couple of my children are always fighting me on eating healthy.  They don't like it.  I hope that eventually they will see the good in eating healthy...not the "healthy" that the school and outside world tells them but the REAL healthy way...and choose to live that way on their own.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Panting like a dog...

How many of you really thought this post was about a dog?  Although our little chihuahua/jack russell terrier is sweet and cute and the best dog ever...she is not what I was thinking of at the moment.

Thinking of getting healthy...it would be crazy for me not to mention making sure that you are exercising.  You can lose weight by changing how and what you eat, but if you want to get fit and make your body stronger you need to exercise.  There's no way around it.  And once a person hits their 30's, 40's and 50's it gets harder and harder to lose those pounds a person has been meaning to lose all those years ago.  Why not start now?  Why not make the effort for a better you? You deserve it!

Today I did a workout that I haven't done in a while.  I thought I would breeze through it because I have flown through a lot of my old workouts lately.  I am stronger than I have ever been. But, alas, I was SO very wrong.  After about 30 seconds into the DVD I was panting like a dog.  I kept reminding myself to breathe, and to regulate those breaths.  I kept telling myself I could push through this.  And at one point I almost quit.  I let the negative thinking slip in  and I almost gave in to it.  When I don't finish something I started it's very frustrating to me.  I want to finish and finish well.  So, I pushed aside those thoughts and started reminding myself I only had 10 more minutes to go.  I told myself I could do it.  I pushed harder. I breathed deeply between exercises.  I willed the cramp in my side to disappear and refocused on breathing deeply.  And I finished!  I made it through; while panting insanely and sweating profusely.  I am soaked and gross, but I am feeling triumphant!  And now I have energy.  Energy to face my day.  Energy to focus on my kids.  Energy to make good food choices.  Energy to do a plank....just because I want to.  And energy to feel happy and positive.  THIS feeling is what I do these workouts for.  I do it for all those endorphins that are now flying.  I do it to prove to myself that I can.  It's like going to my very own pep rally.  I'm pumped!

I fight an internal battle every single day.  A battle that wages my lazy side and the side of me that desires desperately to be fit and healthy.  It's not easy, but I find that the more I push forward and exercise and eat right the more I WANT to do it.

This week, eat a fruit or vegetable you've never had before.  When cooking vegetables use REAL butter or olive oil.  Some people even use coconut oil; it's extremely healthy for you.  Use salt, pepper and spices for flavor, if you desire.  Saute, bake or grill it.  Yum. Now my mouth is watering.  :)

On Sunday someone shared a box full of fresh veggies from their garden and I grabbed a very large patty pan squash. I didn't even know the name of it.  It's quite large and I guess when they are smaller they can be sliced and eaten similarly to a yellow summer squash or zucchini.  We are going to try it out.

Now is a great time to do grilled foil dinners.  Cut some potatoes into cubes.  Cut bell peppers, onions, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots and any other veggies you like.  We even use frozen veggies. Use large pieces of aluminum foil that are about 12-15 inches in length.  Spray with canola or olive oil.  Place potatoes and vegetables onto the center of the foil. Add seasonings, salt and pepper and a square of  butter.  Grill until potatoes are cooked through.

Steer clear of prepacked seasoning mixes.  They will inevitably contain artificial preservatives, tons of extra salt, and MSG.  Find recipes for spice mixes online.  Get creative.  Make your food taste delicious while staying healthy. Your body will thank you!

Monday, August 5, 2013


We are back from our family vacation in Texas and it's a rude awakening to have to go back to eating right again.  We were a bit lenient...or maybe I should say A LOT... while we were at our family reunion because it was simply too hard to expect all the meals to be as all natural as I like them to be.  That didn't mean that I did any less cringing when I read a label that contained MSG or other JUNK.  Deep breathing....

While I was there I thought of plenty of things to write about but with the chaos and fun we had I only remembered one so far.

When you are buying canned foods don't assume they are full of good healthy ingredients.  Some of the ways they use to "preserve" these items is to add artificial ingredients/preservatives.  Also, many pre-made/pre-packaged items contain MSG as well.

One of the meals we had at our reunion was called Tamale Pie. Essentially it is this: canned chili mixed with canned corn, and some sauteed onions and peppers thrown in for flavor. This is all placed in a 9 x 13 baking pan.  On top was spread corn bread..  It is tasty!  Bake it until bubbly and corn bread is done in the center.

When changing to an all natural way of eating, the problem lies in the canned chili...mostly.

The chili: If I were at home I would make black bean chili for dinner one night, making sure to make extra for the next day or for a few days later to make this dish.

Black Bean Chili
*Note* I am NOT the best at making chili yet, so any suggestions would be welcomed.  This is the best one I have so far.  ;) Don't forget to check your canned goods to make sure there is nothing "unknown" added.  Vegetables, water and salt is the way to go!

12 oz. ground beef or turkey
onion powder
garlic powder
14 1/2 oz. diced tomatoes
15oz. black beans
8 oz. tomato sauce
3 tsp. chili powder
2-3 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. crushed oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
salt to taste
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (check your labels.  Kikkoman brand has one this is pretty good and doesn't have MSG.)
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Brown meat in pan.  Add remaining ingredients.  Let simmer.  Serve.

The corn: Some people won't eat anything out of a can.  Sometimes that simply isn't affordable for a large family.  Each family needs to do what is best for them.  I prefer fresh or frozen corn.

The biscuits: Put DOWN the box mix...Step Away from the premade stuff.  Haha!  Corn Bread is SUPER easy to make and delicious too.  Most premade/pre-packaged items will inevitably have ingredients that are not necessary and they are most expensive to keep on hand.

Here is the Corn Bread recipe we use:

Corn Bread
1 ¼ c. flour
¾ c. corn meal
½ c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
¼ c. oil
1 egg beaten

Grease  8 or 9 inch pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  In separate bowl combine milk, oil and egg.  Mix well.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Dark pan heat oven to 375 degrees)

Makes 12 muffins: line muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes

Now GO and make something delicious that you can feel good about feeding to your family!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Let's get back to basics!

Back to basics.  What does that mean for the food we eat? I love to over-think things sometimes and for the longest time just couldn't wrap my head around anything besides casseroles, spaghetti, fried/baked chicken, etc.  And while those dishes are delicious and yummy and simple, I have learned that there are easier ways to nourish your body.

It's really this simple:

There ya have it! It can get boring at times to eat just those items, so you have to get creative with it.  Why not take a large zucchini, slice it in half, spread some olive oil and seasonings and either bake it or grill it.  YUM!  Have some seasoned chicken on the side, or a handful of nuts.

Be aware that when buying nuts, especially when you are trying to eat healthy and use only natural ingredients, make sure the nuts you buy are only salted or plain.  I buy salted peanuts and plain almonds.  Both can be purchased at Walmart and Sam's Club...among other places.  Don't be confused...dry roasted, honey roasted and other kinds of nuts usually have unwanted ingredients in them.  Stay away from them.

When buying canned fruits be sure that it only contains fruit, sugar and water or...if you can be so luck to find it...fruit and water.  Put down the cans that use high fructose corn syrup and grab the healthier choice.

Veggies are similar...make sure the canned version has a veggie, salt and water or just veggies and water. When fresh is not available or too expensive, it's perfectly fine to consume canned goods.

I don't use beans very often, especially not those that are still hard and in a bag.  Haha! I am lost when it comes to what to do with them.  It's probably easy to soak and cook them but I just never get around to doing it.  I enjoy baked beans but have to read the label very carefully.  So, it might just be better for me to buy a bag...darn it.  We also enjoy black beans in our Mexican dishes.

Tacos are fun and can be very healthy too.  Make sure your taco seasoning does not have any form of MSG.  Good luck on that one!  Haha!  I had a hard time finding one so now I make it from scratch.  Here is the recipe I use:

Taco Seasoning
¼ cup chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. oregano crushed
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. sea salt (optional)
1 tsp. black pepper

Place all ingredients into an airtight container.  Seal and shake.  Use about 3 tbsp. per one pound of meat.   

Also, try using corn tortillas for a change.  You can bake/cook them if you like.  They usually have less "GUNK" in them.  AND they are Gluten Free.  You can also make these from scratch.  Here is another recipe. And yet another one. Simply search for corn tortilla recipes. 

In my search for a healthier lifestyle I have read and heard MANY many times that a lot people are gluten intolerant and don't even know it.  I have wondered about it for myself several times but still have not done anything about it.  Yet...I'm starting to think I probably should.

Here is a link that is a quick read but has helpful information.

Happy and healthy eating!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Don't be afraid to ask

Some of our favorite foods now list ingredients like "natural flavors" or "natural colors".  This catch-all phrase has now become a HUGE red flag warning to me. We love chocolate chips and recently, when I renewed our Sam's Club membership, I purchased a couple of large bags of Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Morsels.  They say they are "all natural" right on the front of the bag.  I decided I should re-read their label, as I had read it quite a long time ago.  There it was...towards the end of the list..."natural flavor".  

Littlest Miss LOVES to have almonds, peanuts, and a few chocolate chips as a treat, but I didn't want to risk causing even more screaming by giving some unknown ingredient to her.  I began searching the web for the information I lacked.  I couldn't find it.  I picked up the phone and called Nestle and after a little while was passed on to a human being.  (Isn't technology grand sometimes!) 

I explained that my reason for calling was to determine exactly what ingredients were in the chocolate chips due to a child's food allergy. He was very helpful...especially when I used the word allergy. Hmmm.  It took him a while but he finally came back on the line and said the ingredient is vanilla.  According to him, the FDA is now allowing them to list vanilla as "natural flavor".  Stupid FDA.  Wouldn't it be better, more beneficial, cost effective, etc to simply list all the ingredients as they actually are? But then that would just be TOO easy wouldn't it. We wouldn't want people to truly be informed, would we.  I guess that is why they have helpful customer service reps in place to help you determine exactly what is in your food.  Silly.

Anyway...I asked him to clarify if this ingredient was PURE vanilla or vanillin, which is artificial flavoring.  He assured me that it is indeed pure vanilla and that the company used to use vanillin but changed it so the ingredients could be natural.  He then explained that Nestle is going to be changing many of their foods to have natural ingredients.  I told him that was wonderful and thanked him for his help and we ended the call.

There you have it. Now you know which chocolate chips can be on your list of safe things to eat.  So, don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call a company to find out exact ingredients in their foods.  

Now...below is a recipe I got from one of the girls at church.  She loves to bake and is good at it.  They were out of graham crackers but she still wanted to make these treats that she was craving so her mom suggested she use oatmeal instead.  I stuck around to see the results.  Umm....YUMMY!  I don't normally keep graham crackers in the house because they all contain high fructose corn syrup.  Yuck.  This is a great alternative that is healthier.  I left the graham crackers on the list of ingredients but I would recommend that you try the oats first. I used quick oats and she used regular.  It tasted the same to me...I think because we both blended the oats in the blender first to make them into a powder.  

My other tip for the day is stay away from margarine of any kind.  I KNOW it's cheaper.  But it's bad for you.  Use real butter.  I like using salted but many use unsalted.  That's all personal choice.  

Peanut Butter Bars

2 cups of blended oats OR crushed graham crackers 
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. peanut butter

In a medium bowl mix together oats, sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, and melted butter. Press firmly into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Melt chocolate chips and 4 Tbsp. peanut butter together and pour over the top of the oat mixture.  Freeze for one hour.  Cut, serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Food Dye Sensitivity

Our littlest Miss has been a fussy little one.  She started out that way.  Recently though, we had been noticing that some days were much worse than others.  Some days she would cry, scream and throw tantrums and would not be consoled.  I had started to keep an eye on her to try to figure out what might be the cause of her sadness.  I had decided that I thought it might be dairy and/or food dyes.  But without any evidence it was hard to really figure it out.

My dad came to town to visit with us for a week.  One of his favorite treats to share with my kids over the years has been M&M's.  So, true to form, he took the little ones on a walk with my husband while I had the boys at Scouts.  They stopped and got M&M's for them and proceeded to have a GRAND old time.  When they told me what they had fed her I was a bit upset.  But my husband was not convinced that the food coloring made any difference in her mood at all....until the next day.

For the next 3 days we dealt with a lot of screaming, and tantrum throwing.  NOW my husband is a believer.

A couple of weeks later, when my mom was visiting, my husband made our favorite cereal treats with marshmallow and cheerios.  We didn't even THINK to check labels.  Everyone enjoyed yummy treats.  Later, in the evening, Littlest Miss, who was tired, began fussing.  This wouldn't be abnormal for most 19 month old children, but it was the way in which she fussed and carried on.  There was thrashing, flailing, screaming, kicking, arching of her back,biting, and she wouldn't let me hold her.  During her fit we discussed what she had eaten and looked online for a list of ingredients for the marshmallows. I finally ended up emailing the company to get the info.

After about an hour of this behavior she finally crashed and fell asleep on my lap.  But it was a fitful sleep.  She didn't sleep soundly for the rest of the night.  She woke several times and couldn't get comfortable.  In the morning I checked my email and LOW and BEHOLD at the very bottom of the list of ingredients was Blue 1.

Blue 1...I don't like you very much right now!  In fact I might just hate you! LOL!

So, now we are going to be CRAZY and INSANE label readers.

Here is a blog I found with some great info about food dye sensitivities.  I am very aware of how food can effect our bodies both positively and negatively.  It's a passion of mine and maybe that is why I was so aware of this.  BUT I was NOT like this years ago.  I gave my kids whatever I felt like...without a second thought.  Not anymore.  It's simply not an option for our family.  *sigh*

The above site also talks about the connection between milk and food dyes and other petroleum based ingredients.  Very thought provoking.  A friend of mine mentioned that her son couldn't even wear red clothing because he was allergic to the red dyes.  Basically anything that touches your skin could possibly cause a problem IF the individual has a severe enough sensitivity.  *wow*

Another great blog with a lot of useful, helpful insights on the terrible, awful, horrible-ness of petroleum based food dyes that are used ALL the time in the USA.

I will continue my research and hopefully arm myself with enough information to protect my family from the negative effects of food dyes and other artificial ingredients. My journey to rid my home of artificial ingredients and sometimes gluten and dairy has taken many years...8 1/2 years so far...and has evolved and morphed as I learned about different things.  If you have a desire to rid your home of artificial ingredients and preservatives, start small.  It can be very overwhelming at times. Just take your time and start small.  Here is a suggestion for where to start:

If you have a family you may keep peanut butter and jelly in the house all the time.  I know we do!  It's a staple in our home!  One of the first things I changed was the kind of peanut butter I purchase.  Look on the label.  Make sure it has simple ingredients like...peanuts, sugar or molasses or honey for sweetener, oil and salt.  Now, some people would just buy the ones with peanuts or just peanuts and salt, but I don't care for those as much.  We like both the Jif and Skippy natural peanut butters.  I prefer the one sweetened with molasses though.  The next thing is the jelly or jam.  Try to find one that has fruit and sugar.  The two that I am fairly sure are okay...notice I said fairly.  I don't have a jar in my house to check right now....is Smuckers Simply Fruit or the Polaner All Fruit.  And last is your bread.  Most breads have high fructose corn syrup.  Do some research of your own on that.  It's not good.  I will still use corn syrup once in a great while but NOT high fructose corn syrup.  It's been processed and really not good for you.  Anyway, look for a bread that is as healthy as you can get it for now.  If you don't recognize an ingredient go research it and see what it is.

I'll give you an example.  Do you know what cellulose powder is?  It's made from trees.  Tree pulp...if I remember correctly...it's been a while.  Some people say they add "sawdust" to bread and other pre-made products as a filler...well they're right.  My sister was the one who actually asked me what the ingredient was  and I looked it up.  We laughed.  I guess if you WANT to eat tree... that is up to you, but I'd rather not.

Also keep in mind that when they put "natural flavor" and "natural color" on a label you need to be cautious.  It's a "catch all" phrase.  It can mean too many things.  It can even mean MSG.  I try to stay away from it because it's a company's way of not being 100% honest about their ingredients.

Now I have spent far too long on the computer and the children are beginning to revolt!  Until later...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Our life direction

It's amazing how things work for our good.  They strengthen us more than we realize at the time.  I remember struggling when we were in KC.  I had a prompting. We followed the prompting.  Things didn't work out.  We were so discouraged and couldn't understand...we were confused. We finally decided to do something else and make do.  We called our Bishop over and talked with him.  He counseled with us.  He gave us suggestions.  And he smiled a knowing smile. I didn't understand that until I looked back.  Our Good Bishop understood how Father in Heaven works.  He knew that we would be blessed in time....in Heavenly Father's time.  After 2 years of trying to figure out what that prompting meant we were blessed with a job in St. Joseph. It finally all made sense.  The prompting to go "Active Duty" came about in a way that we had never even imagined.  His position in St. Joseph was AGR...or Active Guard Reserve.  He was on active duty status. The prompting was fulfilled.

Recently we had something similar happen...life hanging in the balance...waiting to find out if Todd would get a job we felt prompted to apply for.  The kids were a mess.  They were angry.  They didn't want to move...again.  We had a lot of talks about doing what Heavenly Father wants us to do.  Their hearts softened slowly.  Then they got excited. We started looking at homes and schools online.  After weeks of waiting we found out they weren't hiring....military cut backs or something.  The kids were shocked and a little upset.  I wasn't shocked this time....I was relieved.  I didn't want to pack up and move again.  I wanted to stay here, but I was willing to do what Father in Heaven wanted us to do. Then the job we had originally felt bad about taking was the one we finally felt good about applying for and he got it. What a strange twist!  We learned a lot.  We are stronger.  The kids are stronger for it too and I am thankful for it!

Heavenly Father blesses us in many ways.  Take a look at a new perspective and try to see the blessings He is constantly giving you.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Energy Balls Recipe

I have been wanting to try these treats for a while and I finally made the time to do it tonight.  They sounded delicious and nutritious too.  I kept thinking...this is too good to be true. But the results are in and the votes have been counted.  And I even heard one of my children say that these were more delicious than my chocolate chip cookies!  WHAT!?! Haha! I looked at recipes from several different sights and combined them to make my own.

Below you will find the sights where I found the different recipes:
Here's one with cocoa in it. This is another one with several variations here. If you like coconut there's one here. This one has nuts as well as oats. And here is a more simple one.

Energy Balls  - my version ;)

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey (or agave or real maple syrup)
2 1/2 cups quick oats (you can use rolled oats too)
1 cup flax seed meal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Place peanut butter and honey in a bowl and mix well.  Add vanilla and cocoa powder and mix well.  Add oats, flax, chocolate chips, and nuts and mix well.  You may need to mix some with your hands to get it well blended.  Roll into balls, place in an air tight container and either freeze or refrigerate.  They last 7-10 days in the fridge...unless they are devoured first!

They think they are eating cookies...little do they know they are getting something healthier!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Irrationality strikes again

Autism...you never know when their irrational fears will emerge and rear their angry heads. Yikes!  Not exactly a fear but an attachment.  Attachment to things.  Things that have been on his shelf for years....untouched...collecting dust.  

HOLY COW... is what I'm thinking.  We are getting things ready for a garage sale tomorrow and Mr. Mischievous just HAD to tell Mr. Happy that we were selling two of his toys.  I had just told Mr. Mischievous not to tell his brother. So what does he do?  Marches right into the house and tells him.  Oh my goodness.  

Mr. Happy come screaming through the door...I heard him coming....deep breath.  Let the meltdown begin.  He went on and on about how much he loves these toys and how we was going to play them soon.  Over and over again.  Screaming, slamming, stomping, tears pouring down his face, wailing like he's being hurt.  This went on for several minutes.

Finally after a lot of exceedingly loud and crazy insanity coming from one person, my husband picked up our 11 year old, Mr. Happy, and sat with him on the couch,cradling him, holding him tightly.  It's what we call a "squishie".  But he's getting so big that it takes a whole lot of muscle to make sure that during all the thrashing and tantrum throwing he doesn't hurt himself or someone else.  

The poor kid is just crushed.  He loves the toys and wants to keep them.  He ate dinner in tears.  After dinner I sent him to rest and watch a show.  I hope someday he'll be able to understand more than he does now.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Being Active

Baby Number 6 has really thrown me for a loop.  She is the most fussy baby I've ever had.  I sit a lot with her. Not only that, just before she turned 3 months old my husband had to go away to Technical School for the Air Force for 10 months.  It takes several months after having a baby to get into a routine again but without my husband there to help me it has taken much much longer.  There were many days that I just sat and held my fussy Littlest Miss.  Even now that he is home and has been for 4 1/2 months, I still don't get the things done that I was able to after my 5th baby.

All this sitting has not helped me get active again.  And age doesn't help the inches to come off any easier either.  She is now 17 months old and I am feeling a great need to get fit again. Most of the baby weight is gone now, after a lot of hard work and daily dedication, for which I am very grateful.   But my endurance is much lower than it has ever been before. I used to be constantly moving, never sitting.  Now I think I find myself in a chair or couch much more often then I would like to.

I have to remember that there is a time and a season for everything.  This is my time and season to take care of my little ones.  Even if that means sitting more than usual.  It's okay to sit and hold my sweet babies while they are young because it won't last very long.

Even though there are lots of things that are left undone there is a lot I CAN do. Exercising can help me to feel better.  It helps to boost your metabolism.  It boosts your mood!  It gives you energy to get through your day.

Don't ever allow yourself to rationalize your way out of exercising.  There are many different types of workouts for many different skill levels/abilities.  Find what works best for you.  And once you get comfortable doing that particular workout, find something different that can push you a little.  Keep changing it up.  When we change our workouts it helps our bodies get stronger.  Interval training workouts will bring better results faster. They might kick your bumm at first...haha....but they work!

And when you're doing all this exercise DON'T forget to drink plenty of water.
"You need water to metabolize stored fat!" Leslie Sansone in Walk Away Your Waistline.

So even though I'm not getting as much done as I used to, I am DETERMINED to get fit again.  Take care of my children/family is my first focus and my next is getting fit.  The rest of the s t u f f can and will wait.  The laundry, dishes, vacuuming and all the other wonderful tasks that make up taking care of a household can wait.  Take care of what's most important first.  The rest will fall into place eventually.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting Healthy

After baby number 5, little miss Curly Girl, I struggled to lose the weight more than I ever had.  First, I had never gotten back down to my pre-pregnant weight since my first child.  Second, I was now in my 30's.  I have heard for years that it is harder to lose weight once you hit your 30's but I hadn't yet seen those issues myself.  I was beginning to think that people said that to help themselves feel better for not being able to lose weight.  BOY was I ever wrong.

After Curly Girl was 6 weeks old and I was able to safely begin working out again, I was up and at 'em.  I worked out 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day.  The numbers on the scale were not dropping.  In fact the numbers were climbing.  Those numbers were making me want to get more and more serious about my weight and health.

Most people need to go out to the gym or join a group like Weight Watchers to lose weight successfully.  Having a support system is very important for weight loss.  It's not easy to do on your own.  My Mom, Gramma, Mother-in-law, sister, and a good friend had all gone to Weight Watchers and I had seen their success.  But I was SO sure I could do it on my own.  After a lot of frustration and gaining more weight I finally bit the bullet and started Weight Watchers.  It has been the best thing I have ever done.  It works for me.  But you have to find a weight loss program that works for you.

It took me 2 years to finally lose all the weight from having 5 children.  2 years of faithfully counting points and exercising.  I like to exercise at home.  Again, that is what works for me.  I have found that I like certain workout DVD's.  I like walking workouts, and kick boxing workouts, but not all of them.  It can get very costly to keep buying DVD's only to find out you hate them. I gave several away.  I mean, come on, some of the instructors are ridiculous, or annoying.  Some of them don't explain what their doing very well.  And sometimes I just don't enjoy the workout at all. I found a great website that has all kinds of different workout DVD's.  They rate them and have a fairly good description.  But the best part is that they have little clips you can watch to see if you'll actually like it.  This has worked really well for me. I rarely purchase anything from Collage Video but I use their site to get information.  Then I go to Amazon to make most of my purchases.  Once in a while Walmart of Target will carry the DVD for less and I'll grab it there.

I have found that what works best for me is to reward myself with a new workout DVD every 3 or 4 months.  This method has built up a nice DVD workout library that allows me to switch up my workout on a daily basis.  PLUS I am not paying for a gym membership and spend a whole lot less doing it this way.

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to workout, find a friend or two who are willing to do it with you.  Set dates and times to workout together.  Motivate one another to get healthy and fit!

One of my favorite instructors who is easy to follow and upbeat is Leslie Sansone.  She has some great walking workouts for all people.  She has some for beginners and some for those who have been working out for a long time.  Some people find her fairly annoying and on some days I do too, but she is positive and is motivating for me.

Today I finally pulled out my 4 mile walk DVD.  I didn't think I could do it yet, but I actually got through it and I feel great!  I am THRILLED to have reached this point again! I didn't think it was going to happen after baby number 6, Littlest Miss. It's scary to lose all the weight and then get pregnant again.  I was a HUGE fear of mine that I wouldn't be able to lose the baby weight this time.  But, thankfully, I am almost there!

If you want to find out if you like the walk workouts here is a Leslie Sansone workout on Youtube.  You can find several of hers on Youtube....here is another one.

The other instructor I enjoy is Jillian Michaels.  But I don't like all of her DVD's.  I like the kick boxing style workouts.  One is Kickbox Fastfix, and the other is Cardio Kickbox.

What ever kind of workout you choose to do, do something that you like, that you enjoy, that makes you feel good and makes you happy.  Now go kick some butt and have an excellent day!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

STOP the yelling!

Something I have been trying to overcome for YEARS is yelling, or snapping at my family....saying the first negative thing that pops into my head....instantly getting angry...you name it... I need more patience.  Today my mom forwarded me a link to this blog and I am in LOVE.  It's what I need.  A reminder that we CAN stop the negativity and yelling.  It can be done!

I want to create my own system for keeping track and reducing the yelling, snapping, quick tongued monster from emerging.

Let's try to create a more peaceful atmosphere in our homes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My mission...to De-Stink-ify

In an effort to de-stink-ify my eldest son, Mr. Artist's, room...cause holy stinky cow...IT WREAKS...I started looking up information about Febreze.  I don't like it. It costs WAY too much and it's too strong for my super sonic nostrils.  Plus, I am POSITIVE it has things in it I don't like...trying to be all-natural...ya know.  So, I found a recipe at this blog. Which sent me to this blog.

As I read the ingredients I thought...ugh...I don't want to use fabric softener.

A new search began....to find out how to make my own fabric softener.  This search led me here, where I found a recipe with the most 'natural friendly'  ingredients I could find. There are plenty of recipes on the net. Choose what you like.  This one sounds like it'll work great for my purposes...making homemade fabric refresher.

Since I have a random bottle of Febreze on my shelf for some odd, strange, and weird reason, I will use it up.  I'm not a waster of things. And since I totally spilled about a quarter of the bottle down my pant leg whilst being a dork...I won't have as much to use up.  Haha!

I can acquire the necessary ingredients in the next couple of weeks and then make my newest concoction.  I figure it can't hurt anything.  I already make my own laundry soap which I LOVE and costs me a fraction of what a bottle of Gain does.  Having boys I found that they stink so much more than girls and the clothing doesn't come out smelling clean unless you use the expensive soap.  NO MORE.  The homemade version is awesome, amazing, and stupendous. The recipe on my other blog calls for Dr. Bronner's bar soap; an all-natural bar soap.  You can also use Tom's of Maine for a less expensive, also all-natural, option.  

So, there you have it!  Happy cleaning and refreshing!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Drinking fountain

This morning Mr. Mischievous gave us a GREAT idea!  He said, "Mom, why can't we have a drinking fountain at home?"
I replied, "Well, the reason they have them at school and church is because it's easier than washing a bunch of cups and it's more convenient."
Mr. Mischievous said, "But if we had a drinking fountain we could get a drink easier." He left the room, thinking it was a lost cause.

Then my husband, who was listening in, said, "It WOULD save on all the cups all over the kitchen."

Well that is TOO true!  There are cups all over the place in our kitchen.  They are empty, partially full, half full and filled to the top.  They get tipped over and spilled by the cats and the humans.  They are a mess.

I decided to look it up.  There are a few options on the internet but this one looks like it'll be the least expensive and the easiest to install.

It looks like this will be added to our budget for next month!  What a great idea Mr. Mischievous!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Kindness begins with each of us

There are a lot of unsettling things flying around on Facebook and the internet.  There are a lot of very hateful words spilling out of people's computers and devices.  It saddens me.  Isn't this what our great country was founded for?  Equal rights.  Religious freedom.  And yet here we are trashing others because they have chosen a different lifestyle than we have.  It's wrong.  And makes me sad.

I am a Christian; a Mormon Christian.  The full name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints.  I believe in kindness, in goodness, in loving one another, in charity.

No matter if we are White, African American, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, or any other form of beauty, we are a human being; an individual worthy of being treated with kindness.  It doesn't matter if we are Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, Protestant, Christian or any other faith.  We are all human beings with a God given right to worship how we may.

I have chosen to marry a wonderful man and have a family with him.  This is the lifestyle that brings us joy and happiness.  I have friends who are gay and transgendered.  That is not the lifestyle for me and that's okay. I don't have to agree with their lifestyle choice to still love them and appreciate them. I try to always treat others with respect and kindness.  They are all amazing individuals who deserve to be treated as such.

It doesn't matter who we are, what our lifestyle choices are, or how we decide to worship or not...we are all STILL human beings; unique individuals.  We should always try to treat each other with kindness and respect.  We all have our off days.  We all say stupid things.  That's where forgiveness and repentance comes in. If we don't allow ourselves to be offended by others, we will be happier.  We can also forgive quickly...and promptly forget it too....never bringing it up again.

Don't let the slimy putrid goo of hatred stick to you and canker you or your soul.  Find ways to think positively towards others.  Say kind words.  Fill another's bucket with goodness, kindness, and love.  Find ways to serve others.  Bring joy to someone today.  Step away from the negativity and create a positive atmosphere around yourself where others will feel welcomed.  Kindness begins with each of us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Crochet, crochet...I love to crochet!

In an effort to support my habits and to make a little bit of extra money, I have started making hats and other crocheted items to sell.  Today I finished making my facebook page where I will sell these items.  I spent most of the morning doing this.  I can't believe how quickly time flies when I am working on the computer.  It's crazy!  No wonder my littlest Miss was cranky!!

Please take a minute or two and look at my page here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The First Day of Spring

Today is the first official day of Spring for 2013.  Spring...just the thought of Spring makes people happy.  Spring can pull people out of the cold-weather blues and make them feel alive and energetic again.  But when the weather does not cooperate with the calendar it can make a child with Autism very upset.

Mr. Man's teacher told him that the first day of Spring is today.  He is very literal.  Very black and white.

This morning we woke up and it's in the 30's.  My son was not happy.  He growled, and grunted.  He slammed and stomped.  He screamed and yelled.  He blew at us, because in his mind that's mean, but he doesn't always get into trouble for it.  He hit us with his clothing.  He doesn't want to have to wear pants and long sleeved shirts anymore.  It's Spring.  He doesn't want to wear his winter coat.  It's Spring.  He's mad at the weather.  He's mad at me because he wants me to fix the weather.  It's Spring.

I tried to reassure him that it will be warm eventually, but he didn't like that.  So I simply smile.  I tell him, "I'm sorry your upset." Or..."It'll be warm in a couple of weeks." Or..."Use nice words."

This frustration about Spring has been building.  I'm glad that Spring really will be here soon.  Eventually Mr. Man will understand.  Until then, I will continue to hug him and reassure him calmly.  Maybe I'll even help him throw his clothing around....could be a stress reliever for me as well.