Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Healthy Living

Having a child with autism and after much research we believe that toxins play a HUGE part in the way these children function and react to things, we have taken a big step over the past few years to live a healthy life.

We started with detoxing our home. We only use natural cleaners. We make our own using vinegar, castile soap, lemons etc or use Mrs. Meyers or Seventh Generation I've heard is good.  We even make our own laundry detergent (except when I just miss the other stuff, but there are still clean options)

The next thing we did, was switching our soap, hair care, toothpaste etc over to natural products.  Our favorite kids personal care is Truekid (below). They smell good and are gluten free (yes even shampoo etc. has gluten) some other favorites are listed below.

The next thing is food. This one is one of the most important to me. Being a mother and wife, I feel it is my responsibility to provide healthy nourishing food for my family.

I do my best to buy local and organic, but that is not always the case. We do a lot of our shopping twice a month at Sam's. They have some organic produce (carrots, tomatoes, salad, spinach) and milk and whole wheat bread and cheese, and we buy thick skinned produce there as well. Our children eat a ton of apples and grapes and strawberries, so those are for sure organic and purchased at a Natural Grocery Store as much as we can. We also purchase honey, yogurt, and eggs at that store.

I know you may be thinking that is too expensive, but that is why we took baby steps to get here, and after our shelter we spend the most on food. It's what is most important to us. I can't describe the feeling I have when I purchase food and prepare meals for my family with the healthiest and most fresh ingredients I can find. I enjoy that so much.

I will give you some examples of how we eat, and some of my favorite reads on healthy living.


grainy cereal with fruit
toast with honey and slivered almonds
toast with basil pesto and an egg topped with parmesan cheese
blueberry pecan waffles

homemade smoothie pops
tortilla chips with homemade salsa or guacamole
fruits or veggies
chocolate chips with walnuts or pecans (for your sweet tooth)

rice with tomatoes, beans,cheese
strawberry spinach salad 
avocado chicken salad sandwich (shred cooked chicken with a mashed up avocado, salt and pepper, and garlic salt. I like it on a crescent roll...yum! 
veggie or chicken nachos (i like to bake up a whole chicken or whatever I have and use throughout the week.



Burritos (with whatever you have on hand) chicken, beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, salsa, corn) there are so many ways to make these we have this often. My favorite rice recipe.

Enchiladas are also wonderful. I boil the chicken and shred it. Then make a sauce. For a white sauce I use butter, milk, flour. Use veggies if wanted (spinach and mushroom) with cheese on top. 

Spaghetti can be made several ways too. You can bake it with red sauce topped with cheese. You can make it with just a red sauce, using tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, italian spices pureed. Or you can make a white sauce made with cream, butter, garlic, and lemon topped with parmesan cheese. 

Soup. There are so many ways to make soup, but a fast simple one a friend shared with me a few years ago is Tomato Basil Soup:
 Start with tomato soup, add about a cup of milk, a cup of cream, 1/4 c of  basil, 1/2 cu parmesan cheese..
 Let simmer on low as long as you need (an hour is good, but longer if wanted)
 Before serving add fresh basil and parmesan cheese. 

Open face Chicken Parmesan Sandwich



Homemade Pizza


Roasted/baked chicken with roasted tomatoes topped with basil and mozzarella

Southwest Pasta Salad

Love this pork carnita recipe!  EASY and SO good!

Okay, so I hope I got you started on some good ideas for healthy living and some good simple food. I just basically use the same ingredients all the time, adding only a few extras here and there.

So our main grocery list looks something like this:

flour (whole wheat)
veggies (including tomatoes, onion, and garlic for salsa, soups, and pasta sauces)
herbs (unless you have them growing in your kitchen, which I just started)
olive oil

We are still on steps. Some day I'd like to bake more bread or make my granola or yogurt. But for now this is what we are doing.

Enjoy the process. Might as well. It feels wonderful to know that you are giving your family the best you can. Start slow and with what's most important to you. It can be such a blessing!

So crank up some music, put on your apron, and get to work ;) OR if you're like a bunch of planning and list making first....

 Oh and my favorite food inspiration right here. 

Wonderful Uses for Coconut Oil

 Washing you face naturally

Great post on avoiding sugar 

 I liked to make our boys' playdough when we were trying gluten free (because regular contains flour) and we use regular ol' art supplies, but I just LOVE to look at these and maybe one day, Ill buy some for their birthdays or something.

 Green Smoothies

 Eat Well and Spend Less. A new series starting next week!



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Love

Yesterday was my precious husband's birthday. We celebrated all weekend. He is such an amazing man, I can hardly stand it! He loves his family and it is truly a love that everyone feels. He is fun to be around, goofy with the boys, plays basketball with them and their friends, helps others, cuddles with me at night, helps clean the house, and loves to provide for his family.  He is a true example of a godly man, and leaves us feeling loved and protected.

I am so honored and blessed to call him my husband and my best friend! Happy Birthday baby!!

We grilled out back, had some presents, and played ladder ball. Not that it matters or anything, but I whooped him in that game! *grin* My mom brought over a wonderful cake. It was such a lovely weekend!

Tristin took this picture of us. We don't get many!

This is one of my favorite pictures. It just shows us. The way we are.

 Our Bella...I coundn't get a great one of her looking up.


Handsome boy. This is my "sun my eyes guy" I was so happy to get this picture!

Ready to play! And move outa my way!!


Happy Birthday Love.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Last night after the boys went to bed, I stayed up snacking on putting these little treats together for the boys.


They woke up this morning and quickly put on green. I noticed as I took Jaiden to therapy that no other adult had green on. Being a mom with a house full of little boys...wear green or hide cause they REALLY wanna pinch you. I love that.



They were pleased as punch to get their treasures.


Yes, we're missing a boy...the "sun was in his eyes" ;)

This is the face Brighton made everytime I asked him to show me his treat....not sure ha?



This made me laugh. Her nose was sticking through the hole, but I wasn't fast enough to cacth it.



I hope you all had a beautiful day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Letting Go

Currently pouring over the pages of this beautifully written book that has captivated me. Filling me with laughter, and then tears streaming slowly down my cheeks.

I call my mom, she had given the book to me yesterday. I tell her it was almost like I was reading my own words. She replied that she agrees and that it made her know me more.

"In all my years of longing to do something more significant with my gift of art, I never dreamed it would be used to give my child his voice."

Those words bounce off the page right back to me over again "give my child his voice" "give my child his voice" My eyes read those words and fill with tears.

God, please show me how to give my child his voice.

As little as a few months ago I would wake up with dread before my eyes ever opened. Before my feet hit the floor. Why wake up when no day seems different? Why wake up to feel utterly useless in the ability to keep my children protected without being worn down to complete exhaustion? Why? Why fight this 9 year old boy any longer?

God, then asked me to find the joy in the day. Any bit of the day, if there was an opportunity to open my heart to joy, do it. Over the next few days before I would open my eyes, God would fill me with joyful sounds and thoughts. Little did I know, he was giving me the opportunity to let go.

To let go of bitternees, dread, feeling scared, helpless, and hopeless. Letting go of feeling out of control. He had me, He had Jaiden, and I really could let go.

"It's time to throw out my ideas of what I thought life would be, should be, and let joy fill up those brand-new vacancies."  Emily said, as she vowed that if she was blessed with another day, she will wake up believing it was her last. "Don't waste it. We're going to get up and eat. We're going to get up and live."

As I drove my sweet little man to therapy this morning along with his friend, I looked for the joy in everything. The ways the trees worship, the colors of spring popping up over lawns and gardens, a family in the early hours packing up a car for what just may be a family vacation. I leaned over to buckle Jaiden's friend, and he gave me a big kiss! That's right, planted one right on my cheek! I haven't got to have a kiss from my own boy since he was a baby, but his friend graciously added to my joy this morning. And as I took my smiling guy in to therapy this morning, I gave him the biggest squeeze and told him I loved him. He laughed and went on to his room.

I think I have let go.

House of Belonging 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Simplify and Being at Home

Man, I've been on a roll here lately. I am loving clearing our home of unnecessary stuff that was hanging around. Loving it maybe a little too much! I read that once you start and if you can get to where you have empty shelves or drawers in your home, you just might become addicted. Well.....I believe it.

Last week I showed you how I've simplified our toys in a way that makes life so much easier, especially the clean up!

This week I completely went through bathrooms. I find it so silly that I put things like this off, when in actuality it took me 10 minutes in one bathroom and about 25 in the other. I'm praying about my laziness...

Empty shelves!

In the boys' bathroom I keep toilet paper, cleaning supplies, toothbrushes/paste, comb,washcloths, a basket of bath toys, and 3 towels. (In their color) I also have a little bag with watches and sunglasses so we can keep up with those things.



Now to my bathroom. I grabbed a few drawer organizers at the dollar store and went to work. In the first drawer I put make up and face stuff, plus toothbrushes/paste and deoderant.


In the second I put hair stuff.


Under the sink, I put a basket with nail polish and remover.
All that I have on top of the counter is jewelry and some body spray. In each drawer is rings, earings, necklaces, and braclets.


I have really been enjoying getting our home in order. It feels amazing! Some days I don't do well with keeping our home, but I've been praying about it and asking God to change my heart. I've been learning to be thankful for the opportunity to stay home and have a family to bless. I am now loving to bless them with a clean home, organization, and good food. God is teaching me so much!

Lastnight I prayed for God to help me get up early this morning so that I can bless my family. This morning when the alarm went off at 6:00 AM I bounced out of bed (a little bit in shock at my good mood!) thankful that God cares about the little things and honored my prayer.

I asked Him to help me take exercise and health seriously. I'm the type that loves the thought of an active life, but doesn't pull it off. I don't like to push myself in this area, and I've come to the realization that I think I'll fail. I asked for forgiveness for that and for depending on my own will to accomplish this in my life. When I woke up this morning and was actually in the mood to exercise I was thinking pilates or something that I "can handle" God had other plans. He led me right to 30 Day Shred. I REALLY wasn't too sure about that. I've never made it through an entire workout without having to take a break which made me feel like I couldn't do it. I put it in and asked God to give me His strength, and He did. I finished the workout, good and sweaty!

I was energized to take my shower and to make blueberry pecan waffles for my family. I just love days like this, and am now learning that God just loves to be included in our daily lives. No matter what we're doing. If you ask Him to be there, He will.

I so love being home and being a mom. I love even more when I'm blessing my family in these ways that show so much love. I also love that in an effort to take care of myself, I'm given energy to keep up with them.

So, no. This is not just about getting organized or Spring cleaning. It's about blessing those around you!


When I got online this morning, this was in my reader. I just loved it, and thought it fit in well with how I'm feeling.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Simple Weekend

Last weekend, we had a full weekend. Full of friends, family, and church activities. As much as I truly love those, I am head over heels in love with slow living, and simple days.

We kicked off our weekend as usual with pizza and a selection of redbox movies. As well as these wonderful oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies.

I spent time organizing our closet, bathroom, and kitchen. Purged 2 bags full of junk!

Lots of cooking this weekend. We grilled out and had a few of our meals outside. Nothing makes me happy like eating Al fresco and preparing for Spring!

Homemade baked fries to go with our our burgers.

Dining at our new (to us) table!  Saving for a new fence =]


Then, this morning I tried a strawberry basil scone recipe from my new BHG magazine. They were delightful.
Aren't the colors just beautiful?
Sprinkling sugar on top.


 Fresh out of the oven.


I picked up a few thing over the weekend too.
The Eucalyptus Mint candle from Bath&Body Work (it smells heavenly!)


And, have you seen the Dwell Studio (Target) dish towels?! The colors are perfect for Spring, and I love that these have gray in them that go with our cabinets. They are just so pretty!


Now off to finish the weekend with homemade lasagna,a loaf of french bread, and a big mediterranean salad.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Simple Life: Toys

I know I've already gone through our whole entire house with giant bags tossing things in without giving it a second thought. Yes. I am now finding that I love that so much, I want to do it again, but better. I love the idea of not having much...stuff.

It makes me happy for a few reasons:
 less stuff...less mess
 less stuff...less spending
 less stuff...opportunities to live without having to deal with so much stuff

So, I'm definitely up for less to pick up, which equals more time to spend with each other. And if I don't want stuff, then I won't be spending  much money...which equals, savings, vacation...hmm!

Last night I was coming up with some ideas and reading magazines in bed to get some inspiration. I had a teeny helper:


What I did earlier this year was go through each room and get rid of (by donating or giving to friends) anything we don't use. The boys' room only has books and a marble run. We have a linen closet that holds playsets.



The boys always play in the living room, so I put a basket by our armoire to hold random know that you have no idea what to do with, but the boys insist they need.


Then, I put two beautiful baskets under the coffee table with their two most played with toys. Cars and blocks.


I've been thinking, and I have a few more ways to get any clutter we have outta here. That's what I'm working on this month.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Compassion Week

We're kicking off Compassion Week again this week. I've posted about what we do a few months ago, but this week I thought we might just add a few things this time around.

We will be talking about what compassion is: caring about others, showing concern, helping and giving, listening and being patient, being able to recognize when someone is hurting.

Talk about compassionate people we know.

Create a compassion board. A list of words we think describe compassion.

Talk about what empathy is: understanding how someone feels. How would it feel to be them?

Talk about times it's hard to be compassionate, forgiveness, and saying I'm sorry.  

Ways to be compassionate daily: help brothers, prayer, chores without being asked.

Ways to show compassion in the community and the world.

Reading books. In a ton of books someone some how is showing compassion. We just used books right from our own little library. For example: Madeline. They show compassion for the man who hurt his leg. Her teacher showed compassion by helping and showing concern when she was sick. The dr. showed compassion by keeping her safe and warm. Her friends showed compassion by crying for her, visiting her, and bringing her flowers.

And some more examples: 

In Ping: we see the little boy having compassion for Ping. So his family doesn't eat him for dinner, he lets him escape

Horton Hears A Who: "A person is a person no matter how small"

Charlotte's Web: A small spider has compassion on her new friend, and helps him so that he isn't killed.


Weekend Full

I love when you have a weekend so full of family time, friends, and church family, that when Monday comes you wake up feeling energized and full. We had family movie night with our "new" movie Bambi. Went out to eat with family. Spent a morning with my beautiful new Womens' Ministry team. Played. Went to church and a beautifully set banquet with tables lined with black cloth, candles, and gorgeous spring flowers to honor the 359 people who are willing to serve! How wonderful is is to be a part of all of this!

Boys playing with bubbles:



And rest:

A little dog possibly thinking she might like to be shipped off (with those items) to a place with no little boys pushing her around the house in baskets.

Healthy treats:


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