Monday, January 31, 2011

Fun with Bendaroos




The kids made lots of cool things with their Bendaroos, then they proceeded to decorate the house with them.  Even Gunnar got in on the fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stuck

Julius had to be rescued the other night after putting this bucket on his head and sticking his arms through the handle.  Of course, Nate and I had a good laugh and took a picture before helping him maneuver out of this awkward predicament.  You would think that after one time, he wouldn't do it again, but low and behold he did.  Once again, we enjoyed a few laughs before wiggling him out of the bucket.  Come on, Julius!  Let's not repeat this one a third time!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gingerbread Men



Since things got so crazy busy at Christmas time, I told the kids that gingerbread men would have to wait until after the holidays.  Well, January has proved just as interesting, so finally we got around to making our beloved gingerbread men.  In the past I have frosted them, but seeing that we were still recovering from the onslaught of sugar from the end of 2010, I figured a few mini chocolate chips would suffice for the gingerbread men decor.

The kids had a blast decorating them and eating them.  It took only a few days for the last of the gingerbread men to disappear.   

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Benefit of Home Schooling...


.....the older brother can teach the younger brother.  Beautiful!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Naturally Fermented Vegetable Medley

As we continue our journey deeper in the world of fermented foods, Nate and I decided we were ready for a little spice.  Our first batch of sauerkraut was a dud.  It got moldy because we didn't watch the liquid levels close enough.  So that batch had to go in the trash.  The second batch of kraut turned out and we have already eaten it all gone.  We are anxiously awaiting a batch of fermented garlic-dill pickles.  They should be ready any day now.  Because it is winter and the house is colder, the pickles are taking closer to four weeks to ferment fully.  I made a batch in the summer in only two weeks, thanks to the warmer temps.  Nate and I threw together this beautiful vegetable mix to get another batch of something fermenting since it is taking so much more time.  We mixed cauliflower, daikon radish, carrots, jalapenos and garlic.  Looking back I probably should have added onion, too, but there will be more vegetable crocks in the future.  While we wait anxiously for our pickles, we have been feeding our fermented food needs with Topor's pickles from the store.  I love them because they are naturally fermented and they are less than half the price of Bubbie's pickles.  I will try and keep you updated on all of our fermented adventures!

Other posts on naturally fermented foods:

Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut
Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stand together please




The kids wore their new outfits Sunday from my aunt and uncle and I wanted to get a picture of the kids for them to see.  Let's just say I couldn't get the perfect shot, but at least they will be able to see the cute outfits.  Gunnar really didn't want to pose for the pictures.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

29 Week Belly Pic


Only 11 more weeks to go!  I managed to get through the holidays only gaining an additional 11 pounds!  Hey, I think when I was pregnant with Gunnar I gained 13 pounds over Christmas!  I continue on partial bed rest until I can have another ultrasound in a few weeks.  While the first two trimesters flew by, about a week ago this pregnancy seemed to grind to a halt and time is passing by as slow as molasses.  It could be that the partial bed rest, my increasing uncomfortableness and my cranky attitude are contributing to the feeling of time passing slow.  I also know that I am anxious to know if and how much the placenta has moved, and I am sure that anxiousness is also playing a part in the whole situation.  I am just going to do my best to get through the next few weeks when more information will be available.  Maybe it is best to think of all the things I still want to take care of before the baby arrives!  Hmm... I could get around our tax information.  I still want to clean out the filing cabinet.  I would like to make a final decision on whether we will be going with cloth diapers this time around.  I should probably have the baby girl clothes and bedding washed and ready to go by the beginning of March.  Then if I am able to birth at home, there will be a whole list of things to get ready for that!  Looking at this list, I should feel thankful that I still have 11 weeks to get all this stuff done.  Sometimes it is good to put things into perspective!   

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Green Smoothies to Start the Year Off Right


So whether or not you took your nutritional typing test yesterday, the fact remains that the majority of Americans do not get enough vegetables, raw food or good fats in their diets.  Sometimes a little creativity and concentrated effort can make a big impact on your health.  As we made our way through all the goodies, cookies, candies and hot chocolate of December, I could feel my body caving from too many carbs and too much sugar.  I immediately felt that I needed to get back to my "green smoothie days."

In the past I have drank a lot of green smoothies at different times for both health and weight loss reasons.  I first started when Julius was 5 months old when I felt I was not dropping the baby weight like I wanted.  Not only have green smoothies helped me lose weight and feel full for a good portion of the morning, they make me feel wonderful and energized.  My biggest problem has been consistency.  I have mainly only consumed them during warmer months.  At the end of December, I decided I could not wait for warmer weather because my family and I needed them.  More recently I have also discovered many foods that I wanted to incorporate into our family's diet and smoothies seemed like a perfect spot to sneak them in.  So in between Christmas cookies and gum drops I actually managed to make smoothies for the family during Christmas vacation.  Since school has started back up we have been having smoothies every other day or every two days.  That way I get a break from making them and no body seems to tire of them.

What's a green smoothie, you ask?  It is a smoothie that consists of both fruits and vegetables.  Some smoothie enthusiast actually like and prefer all-vegetable savory smoothies.  But around here we like them sweeter, so we stick to a ratio of 60% fruit and 40% vegetable.  I'll give you a run down of what's in our smoothie and why we chose those ingredients.


Our typical smoothie ingredients are:
  • banana
  • frozen spinach
  • frozen mango
  • frozen strawberries
  • chia seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • ground flax seed
  • coconut oil, melted
  • raw honey
  • filtered water
  • homemade plain yogurt
I have no tried and true recipes, I just have experimented some and have learned ratios that make everyone happy.  I try and put as little honey in as needed and let the fruit be the main source of sweetness, but if you are used to a sweeter smoothie, a raw, natural and unprocessed form of sweetener will help you along.  Over time you may find you need less and less for your tastes.

My biggest food priorities in the smoothie are:
  • Coconut oil
  • spinach (or some other type of green)
  • chia seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • ground flax seeds
These foods are my priorities because I have a harder time finding ways to incorporate them into our daily meals.  Fruit, yogurt, honey and water are easy to get in and don't have near the health benefits of the other ingredients.  What makes the above foods so special?

Coconut oil falls into that mysterious wonder food category with so many health benefits (amazingly good saturated fat, helps weight loss, blood sugar control, has antiviral and antiseptic qualities) it is hard to comprehend.  Head on over to Organic Facts to read more. Spinach or similar greens are packed with Vitamin K and other minerals that help strengthen bones.  Too much attention has gone to calcium through the years, and research has found that calcium is a dud if it doesn't have the proper vitamins and minerals working with it.  Greens provide those necessary complimentary nutrients to calcium.  Spinach and coconut oil work well together because it is proven that eating vegetables with a good saturated fat allows the body to better digest the vegetable and get more nutrients from it.  Most people are deficient in Vitamin K, so for that reason alone, greens added to smoothies are a big plus.

I have long heard the benefits of ground flax seed.  It is high in B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytonutrients.  It is also cheap and readily available because of it's current popularity, so it makes a nice addition to a smoothie without hurting the pocketbook too much.  I can also get sesame seeds very cheap at my health food store.  Sesame seeds are high in copper, magnesium, manganese, and calcium.  They also have a high phytosterol content which helps lower blood cholesterol,  improve heart health, enhance the immune system and decrease malignancies.  The last little addition to our smoothies is chia seeds.  I have only recently heard of their benefits and now you can too!

7 Good Reasons To Start Eating Chia Seeds

  1. Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
  2. Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
  3. Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the "chia gel" can hydrate the body.
  4. Reduce your blood pressure: There's evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
  5. Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
  6. Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
  7. They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don't need to be ground up.
So there you have it.  This post is very long and probably overwhelming.  I know I haven't even begun to give justice to the true benefits of such amazing foods.  The key is just to start somewhere.  If I recall correctly my first green smoothie had romaine lettuce and pears in it.  I just kind of expanded from there.  Most people have either made or drank a smoothie at some point.  Start by taking your average, full fruit smoothie and adding a handful of greens to it.  If that goes well, a tablespoon or two of melted coconut oil goes in pretty unnoticed.  After that is accomplished, experiment by adding a tablespoon or two of a healthy seed.  If you are worried about the taste, maybe these pics of little people sucking down their green smoothies will convince you that they can be quite tasty if done right!




Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Free Nutritional Typing

I was pretty excited today when I saw on Dr. Mercola's website that he now offers his nutritional type testing for free.  I have been very intrigued by this concept, but didn't want to shell out the $30 just to take the test.  Well, now you don't! 

Dr. Mercola offers this testing because he believes people require different diets or forms of fuel to help their bodies run at their best.  Some people require much more protein and fat in their diets.  Others require many more vegetables.  If you have been frustrated with your health, weight or overall well-being, the test only takes a few minutes and could point you in the right direction to make the changes you want.  The cool thing is the test comes with two free downloads.  One is a booklet explaining the nutritional types in depth, and the other is a cookbook outlining tons of recipes for each nutritional type.  All good stuff if you ask me.

I've already taken my test.  I came out as a mixed typed.  I require a pretty even amount of fats, proteins and vegetables!  What type are you?  Head on over to mercola.com to find out!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend in the Hospital

Well, I just was able to come home from the hospital today.  At my last appointment before Christmas, my doctor informed me that my 20 week ultrasound showed placenta previa, a condition where the placenta is actual on some of the cervix.  It is a condition that can be dangerous, but it often rectifies itself as the uterus continues to expand during the remainder of the pregnancy.  The main concern is that any changes or disruptions to the cervix can cause the placenta to start to peel away from the cervix and result in bleeding.  Friday afternoon I experienced a little bleeding and my midwife advised me to head to the hospital by that evening just to be monitored.  Even though the bleeding was minor and it stopped completely by late that evening, the doctor really wanted to play it safe.  He kept me for two nights so that I could receive two rounds of steroids.  The steroids are for the baby's lung development just in case I needed to have an early emergency C-section.  Fun stuff.

What really makes this entire situation very, ahem, interesting is that after 3 hospital births Nate and I decided that we wanted to have the next baby at home under the care of a midwife.  But with my lovely condition, I really won't know if a home birth is a possibility until I get more ultrasounds to see if the placenta has moved off the cervix.  So right now, I will either be having a lovely water-birth at home or an emergency C-section at the hospital.  Could you have two more extreme scenarios than that, lol!

Either way, Nate and I are trusting the Lord.  We know which ever way we are able to birth, we will be fine with the choice.  Because safety of baby and momma are the most important, and a birth plan always takes back seat to those priorities.  But, don't get me wrong.  I will be thrilled if I can avoid a C-section.  Most women don't usually jump up and down for them, ya know!  I will keep y'all posted on future information regarding this situation.  Prayers are always greatly appreciated, too!