Saturday, April 3, 2010

Impromptu Spring Photo Shoot

We went to have lunch on the job site with Dad today and it turned into an impromptu photo shoot. The weather was perfect, the house and yard were beautiful, I happened to have my camera, and the kiddos happened to look particularly sharp :) So here are a few...


Mac is a funny little guy. When I was telling my mom some of the things he said the other day, she reminded me that I should be writing them down because I certainly will forget. So I am going to start recording them here.

Mac calls real race cars "the cars without eyes."

After seeing the Vitamin Water comercial with the pillow headed man talking about "his lady" Mac said to me, "Mommy, I'm going to have a wady (his way of saying lady) one day." Imagine my surprise. I said, "Excuse me?" He went on to explain and then said, "But will you and Daddy still live with us?" When I assured him that he truly wouldn't want us to live with them he said, "But will you come to our wedding?" I have no idea where he gets this stuff.

He told me the other day as we were driving that "Red lights don't exists." When I disagreed and showed him that factually, they do, he told me that no, in fact they didn't because God said so....We then had to talk about how its not ok to make up things about God...

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Holiday Conundrum

Here we are again...Another holiday rolls around and I am once again in a dilemma, minor as it may be at this point in our family.
I have this thing about holidays...Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and even Valentines--There is just a sense of mindlessness when it comes to celebrations, and to be frank, it just gets on my nerves. To celebrate something and to not even consider why, or if your celebration is fitting to what you are celebrating? I mean Christmas! Here we have this time of year that is meant to be a celebration of the fact that God saved humanity by taking on human form and walking this sin-filled Earth, just because he loves us--to save US!! Can we grasp how terrifying it must have been before Jesus, how bad it was?!? There was no hope! and here we have it-Hope is born! and we, as believers have set aside a time to celebrate this, but somehow it has been reduced to an old, fat man being flown around the world by reindeer, dropping off excessive gifts at our homes, and the right wreath on our door, and going into debt to compete with the neighbors "Santa Claus abilities." It's just disgraceful! Ok, ok, ok...I know-Its all in fun. I do enjoy the "holiday season" with all the lights and trees and whatnot, I really do! I mean we have Christmas trees. And Christmas music sure is cheerful and fun and brings back warm, fuzzy memories. I've got no beef with Santa Claus. I mean it's not his fault (cause he doesn't have soul and all). I sure did appreciate him as a kid. But I think I would have been just as pleased if I thought my parents had gotten me all of those gifts and done so simply because they loved me, not because some strange man had watch me be 'a good girl.' I mean isn't that a beautiful reflection of what God did for us through Christs' birth? He sent us this gift because he loves us, not because we have done anything to deserve it, because deserve it we certainly do not.
Halloween--I will not go into detail right now, but on what planet is death (ie skeletons and ghost in your yard) cute and fun? Try explaining to your two year old why your neighbor has a headstone and an arm sticking out of the ground. I mean lets just take a moment and think about what we are celebrating. Oh yeah, what is it again???
Valentines--Isn't it clear (as it is to me with all of these holidays) that people are, at every corner, just trying to get your money!! However, this one is no big deal, if the kids need to give their classmates valentines cards-we'll have the cutest and cleverest ones in the class :)
Easter-May be the worst of all for me-Mac and I had a very honest conversation about Easter yesterday and it went really well. I asked him what Easter was about and to my great surprise he said Jesus. We got into the specifics of it all and why we have a celebration that we call Easter and the more I talked, the more excited he was wonderful and genuine. I told him that some people would probably say things about the Easter bunny as though he were real, or important, but he's not and he certainly has nothing to do with Easter (I am FAR less tolerant of this large, egg carrying bunny than I am of Santa Clause...I mean ....WHAT??) Because once again, what was meant to be a celebration of the fact that Jesus died so we wouldn't have to spend an eternity in hell, and then miraculously came back to life, (defeated death!) has become more about a crazy bunny hiding eggs in your yard...well, my words are too harsh and I can think of a nice way to say it so I will stop there...
So what is the dilemma?? Well, simply this. I don't have any problem at all with my kids going door to door asking for candy, or looking for eggs in our yard (which will never be put there by a large rabbit) because those things are fun and I don't want our kids to resent the true celebration because they are missing the 'fun' parts, and I don't want them to miss the 'fun' parts. But I am also bothered by trying to combine the cultural celebration with the believer's celebration because that is just like saying, the real reason isn't really that exciting so we'll add a little mindless fun to it. It's like being lukewarm, and that I do not want to be.
So what is the answer? How do you steer away from the cultural bastardization of joyful Christ-centered celebrations while not causing your children to be resentful because of missing out? Also, just a note-my desire in all of this is to NOT be legalistic about it. I am in no way opposed to egg hunts or trick-or-treating, I'm just not yet at ease with how to incorporate them into our lives. As I said, not a big issue now, but I want to wrap my head around it as soon as I can, because obviously (and you can confirm this with my mother) it bothers me. Wisdom welcomed...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Road to Cloth Diapering

Lily playing around in her FuzziBunz Diaper

I guess now that I have the chance to win 9 free cloth diapers, I will go ahead and out myself. Over the last couple of months I have been working to switch Lily over completely to cloth diapers. Yes, I know, I've really lost it now. No, in fact it is not as bad as you think. Cloth diapering has become a whole world of its own and is not anything like it used to be. So I know this decision needs an explanation so here it goes.
I thought about cloth diapering for about 5 seconds before I had Mac and then said, "Um, no." Before I had Lily, I ran across this article, and actually considered it pretty heartily, but was simply too intimidated and overwhelmed (as I tend to get by new ideas) and continued down Huggies lane. The part of the article that really got me was this:
"Disposable diapers contain PVCs and SAPs (super absorbent polymers; these are the gel crystals you’ve likely seen when a sposie has “exploded” on your baby). SAPs were removed from tampons during the 1980s because of their link to toxic shock syndrome, but are still used in disposable diapers. Both of these chemicals have been banned in the European market, but are still used in the United States."

I had seen these crystal like things on Mac before when I changed his diaper and had no idea what they were. So this revelation made me consider, but somehow managed to push it to the back of my mind. Probably mostly because right when I had Lily I figured out how to get disposables super cheap, I never paid more than $5.oo a pack--so that made it even easier to not think about.

I realized a few months ago that I needed to do some soul searching when it came time to be diapering another baby because I am no longer bothered by poop and I knew cloth diapering would be overall better, but I thought I would have to do some serious self-motivating before I went down that road. Then I thought--Well why don't I go ahead and get practice on Lily! That thought lingered for a good month until I stocked up on about 100 disposable diapers and within 4 diaper changes I found the SAP crystals on Lily every time!! And it gave her a horrible rash which didn't heal for a week! At that moment I said "THAT'S IT!" I was on the hunt that day for other things to wrap her bottom in!

It has been a long, and overwhelming process. Not the actual diaper changing at all...that is easy! Just soaking up all of the information and trying to make a good investment (because it is an investment!)

But so far I really love it, it is not hard, and there are so many resources out there to make it even easier. I have been very blessed to run across Kelly's Closet and The Cloth Diaper Whisperer. Right now The Cloth Diaper Whisperer is giving away 9 free cloth diapers in honor of Kelly's Closet's 9th anniversary. This post has been something I have been planning to write about and now is partly an attempt to win the diapers because it sure would help me make my complete conversion! But if you think you might want to cloth diaper as well I encourage you to check out the giveaway and enter because what a great place to start!!

She's so happy about her cloth diapers! And I had to put this picture up...I wouldn't like it if someone showed a picture of just my bum.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I can do without: 1. Refined Sugar

In explanation of our daily food lives, I've decided to start with some of the main things we have decided to stay away from. I'll list them here and give my explanations, information and alternatives one day at a time.
I can do without...
1. refined sugar
2. white flour
3. vegetable oils
4. preservatives
5. artificial flavors and colorings
6. grain-fed meat
7. pesticide treated fruits and vegetables

1. Refined Sugar (sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin): Let me start off by saying that of all of the things I have entertained the thought of letting go of over the past couple of years, this one was like the "yeah, it's not gonna happen" one. I like sweets. Always have. Who doesn't? I mean if I had a nickle for every Sweettart or homemade chocolate chip cookie I have eaten in my life...well...I'd be headed for a shopping spree at Target. But when I realized that not only did it not add anything good to me, it is actually hazardous to mine and my family's health, I changed my tune. And it probably made it easier that there are natural sweeteners readily available that I have learned to use in sweets and desserts that are seriously delicious. And since I have not been eating refined sugars, I hardly ever want sugar!

No one is surprised to hear that sugar is not good for you. I think this has past debate and moved over into the fact column. But the question remains just how bad for you is it? We are obviously not convinced of its power because we keep consuming it at the average rate of 53 teaspoons a day! Not only does sugar have no nutritional value whatsoever, it also has many adverse side effects. It robs our bodies of valuable assets such as minerals, enzymes, and vitamins, especially B-vitamins which work in us to promote healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver, muscle tone and cardiovascular function. Refined sugar also creates blood-sugar imbalance which effects mental function, physical energy, and emotional stability. Studies have also shown that sugar is effective in weakening the immune system and is a source of fuel for cancer and tumors. So not only does it not make us better, it makes us worse! Some researchers have said that there is no other food that contributes to as many health problems, while others have even classified it as a poison!

The good news! There are sweeteners occurring naturally that can be used in place of refined sugars. They are pure maple syrup, raw unfiltered honey, Rapadura, or molasses. There is also Stevia which is not good for baking, but good to use as a sweetener in coffee or cereals and such. You need proof? Well I have successfully made chocolate chip cookies, muffins, chocolate coffee cake, oatmeal peanut butter cookies, and ice cream all without the use of refined sugar.

Do not turn to artificial sweeteners (as it is pretty clear that nothing artificial is beneficial). They are linked to cancer, weight gain, increased cravings for sweets, diabetes, MS, and migraines among other serious ailments. So read the labels on all of your store bought food. I imagine you will find one or more of these artificial sweeteners. I say chunk it, but it's up to you! Just please don't feed it to my kids :)

I'll post recipes later-if you bug me I might do it sooner :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Food: An Amazing Gift from God

I mentioned in an earlier post that our family has been experiencing a lot of changes. One of the main changes is how we think about and consume food. At first thought it seems so strange the power that food has over humans. We battle with it, have love-hate relationships with it, it comforts us, it angers us, it makes us happy, it makes us sad. We try to act indifferent to it and then we keep coming back for more. Why can't we control it?? "IT'S JUST FOOD!" we cry. Really?? Just food?? Food: the very thing that sustains us day to day, that nourishes us, that we would die without. The need for food is one of very few things that every human on the planet has in common. So why the constant struggle?
I have a fair amount of nutrition knowledge. Since I was a teenager I have read about and studied nutrition and explored different schools of thought on nutrition and diet, but somehow, it just never all clicked. This would be evidenced by the constant fluctuation of my weight for a good 14 years. All of the sudden its like a light bulb came on and for the first time in my life I feel like I have a correct and healthy view of food.
First and foremost it is a perfect gift from God. In his creation he has provided for us all that we need and he created different foods for different purposes. They all add something to us nutritionally and in some cases even emotionally.
Never in history have a people had so many food options at their disposal every second of the day. At any time we can ingest a bag of artificially fruit-flavored gell filled things or maybe some genetically modified organisms masquarading as animal shaped, cheese flavored crackers. And what does that add to our bodies? Unfortunatly nothing is not the answer. The answer is a lot of bad if we are willing to be honest about it. And we know that the creators of these convenience foods didn't create them for our good, but rather for their bank accounts. The love of (and possibly need for) convenience has led us to abuse the very thing that keeps us alive, not to mention help add to our obesity problems.
When we think of food as a gift, as something that is meant to make us better, we hardly have a choice but to love it, respect it and most of all enjoy it!
I wish I had a before and after picture of our pantry. My friends who have seen it before and after actually laughed. Last year I was in stock up on all of the free-by-coupon stuff. My pantry was overflowing (and I mean overflowing) with food that frankly, I would have never wanted to buy in the first place, and did nothing for my family's health. Now it is sparse with only the things that we want and make us feel better. All of this and we are all feeling a thousand times better, have loads more energy, and my husband and I have been consistently (and it seems to us inexplicably) losing weight. Why is it inexplicable? Because we are eating a lot of butter, cream, whole milk, whole grains, bread, meat, fruits and vegetables. Nope I am not lying...we are enjoying the things that God has blessed us with and not trying to satisfy ourselves with things that man has decided that they can make better. I get asked for specifics of our diet and how we eat and I will definitely post that soon. Right now I will leave you with some of the resources that helped us move in this direction and have helped us along as we seek to nourish our bodies and our children's bodies.
Food, Inc. This documentary is definitely eye-opening and a potential life-changer. I've encountered those who are afraid to watch it, but I highly encourage it.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon; This is a cookbook, but chock full of shocking information that goes against most of what we have been told about food. It's really the first piece of work I've read about nutrition that really makes sense to me in light of my view of God. And let me go on the record--she and I are not on the same page when it comes to God and spirituality.
The Weston A. Price Foundation; Check it out. It's got a lot of invaluable information
Passionate Homemaking; This is a blog that I began following over a year ago and where I was first encouraged to really consider the benefits of a more natural diet. But she really does a good job of breaking down the pertinent information. It is full of ideas and resources.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Have you seen anything so cute? Take a skip over to Amoretti to enter and win one of these oh so precious and original dresses.