Motherhood Monday: The Gianni's have a baby!

Monday, July 30, 2012

I've enjoyed the work done by Kevin and Annmarie Gianni for several years now.  They are the folks at Renegade Health.

Awhile back they were big all-raw-food enthusiasts, but eventually found that their health was not being entirely well-served by an all-raw diet.  One of the things that I love about Kevin and Annmarie is that they are very honest and won't stick with dogma just for the sake of it.  If they are eating an all-raw diet and they are not healthy, they tell you, and then they tell you what they did to change or fix it.  They use a lot of blood tests to determine how their health is really doing, and they are open to continual learning.  While they do still enjoy a lot of raw foods in their diet, they have expanded as well to meet the needs of their particular bodies and health goals....including pregnancy!

About a week ago they announced the birth of their first child, and adorable little boy named Hudson.  Recently they shared this post about why Hudson is not a "raw baby" and sharing what worked for them and seemed the wisest path for them to take for nutrition during pregnancy.  I really enjoyed their honesty, and thought that others would benefit from learning about how they approached this important topic.  Read their post here.  Notice that you can get a FREE digital copy of their book High Raw on their site.  It's a very good book that I have appreciated very much.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin back in 2009. It's still good information! You can listen to it here:

Saturday Spotlight: Thrive FD Celery

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I love using the Thrive freeze-dried celery!  So many of my soup and casserole recipes use celery, and with this product I never have to wash, scrub, or chop celery.  Best of all:  I don't end up with limp celery that gets wasted because I didn't use it in time!

Here's a video from Shelf Reliance that tells you more about the celery:

Remember:  You can always get the best pricing when you have a Q membership.  Contact me for help setting up a Q, and I will have an extra gift for you!

Thrive Foods from Shelf Reliance

It's been about a year since I started using Thrive brand freeze-dried foods from a company called Shelf Reliance.  My good friend Marla had told me about how convenient the products were, how great it was that the fruits and veggies didn't have any additional weird ingredients in them, how happy she was with the quality, and how much time and money she was saving with them as well.  All of that has turned out to be true for us as well, and because of that I plan to start regularly telling you about the products, sharing recipes, and so on.  I'm hoping to have a regular Thrive Thursday post for you so you can learn more about these great products!

Right now I just want to tell you about two important news items:

July is featuring an awesome deal for hostesses.  If you host a party with at least $100 in sales, hostesses can get 50% off one item, up to a $500 item!  This is *in addition* to the other hostess benefits.  This is an awesome opportunity to get a big item (like a shelving system or one of the big packs of food or survival gear) at a great price.

Obviously I probably do not live in your neighborhood, so we can't do a home party, per se.  But you can place an order of your own, or collect orders from a couple of your friends, I can help you qualify to get this benefit.  You actually have until a few days into August to close out the orders, so if you are feeling too rushed, don't worry.  Shoot me an email or text me and we can help set you up to take advantage of this mighty fine deal.  :) or 859-339-9417 for texting 9am-9pm Eastern time.

July sales specials can be found here.  You need to contact me right away to order and take advantage of these items.  August specials are coming up very soon, so stay tuned this week to hear about those!

Our children are always with us, and we are always with them

Friday, July 27, 2012

So often scientific discovery echoes what we already know instinctively and in our hearts.  This article is awesome, and so is this video.


Moms: Keep on building

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"I'm starting to kinda freak out, Mom."

It was my oldest.  He's nearly 20, and in a short while he'll be moving across the country for a great adventure.  Some of the realities of his plans were starting to seem a little scary to him this morning.

So we grabbed our morning smoothies and sat on the couches in the living room early today and talked about it.

It was going well until he said, "So how do you really feel about all of this, Mom?  You don't really ever say anything about how you really feel."

Yeah.  That.

Well, what can I say?

When I think of you going all the way to Texas, I know you can do it. 

I know you are going to be fine, that you can get a job and manage your life and eat decent food and make decent choices.

I'm happy that you are having a grand adventure because I know life will tend to funnel out those opportunities more and more as the years go by.

I know you will make some mistakes, too, but you'll be ok.

You've got everything you need to spread your wings and fly, which is exactly where you should be as a 20 year old young man.

But when I think of you going all the way to Texas, I know that

-I will miss being able to talk to you and work on projects together in person

-you might end up staying longer than expected, or putting down roots and living far away from us for a long time or forever.  This could be a bigger goodbye than just a few months.

-and I think about my little boy that I adored to a level that I didn't even know was possible before he was placed in my arms.  He is the one who brought out the warrior mother in me and changed me forever.  He is the one I never slept without touching for years when he was little.

I won't tell you that the years go by quickly.  If anything, having my oldest being a little tyke seems a million miles away from today.  It's like a distant, beautiful dream that makes me cry just because of the overwhelming amount of pure love and joy that is contained in all of it.

Childhood memories often make me cry.  I think it's because it seems like something has been lost.  There once was a beautiful, curly-haired, spunky little boy who disappeared because he grew up.  It's bittersweet.  Yes, he's still in there, and I love it when I see glimpses of that same fun little character that was my close buddy for so many years.  We have built upon an amazing storehouse of unconditional love, adoring companionship, laughter, memories, great conversations, and much more.  I don't regret a minute of the time I spent lavishing love on any of my kids, and as I am now moving into this stage where they are starting to leave the nest at greater distances and for longer periods of time, I can see even more clearly the value of all the investments I have made as a mother.

You won't regret it, moms.  Your generous, wholehearted love toward your children is what you are building on.  It is a strong foundation.  Build it up.  You can do this.

I got riled up today...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

All of the kerfluffle surrounding Chick-Fil-A recently resulted in several facebook friends urging everyone to go to the nearest establishment to buy up chick'n sandwiches to show support for their recent public stance on a social/political issue.  My reaction was basically, "Why would I go eat garbage on purpose?"  Regardless of anything Chick-Fil-A does or does not agree with, I don't eat their food because it's full of chemicals, preservatives, MSG, and a whole bunch of other non-real-food items.  Did you know that their chicken sandwich has nearly **100** ingredients?!  ONE HUNDRED, people!  ONE HUNDRED!  For something that should theoretically be chicken and bread.  Wow.  You can see the label here and learn more about what all of those lovely chemicals actually are, and why you shouldn't be eating them at all.

Of course, Chick-Fil-A is no different from pretty much every other fast "food" place.  In order to be that fast, that cheap, and that tasty, corners have to be cut.  And typically that means that fresh food has to be tinkered with and altered to the point that it is frankenfood.  The more you learn about this stuff, the worse it gets, and the more motivated you will be to pack food for the car or wait to eat when you get home.

One facebook friend said I was being pretty harsh in my observations, and after some thought I decided that I do have harsh feelings on this subject. I started thinking about dear friends and relatives that have died from cancer and leukemia, and about young children that have also had cancer and died.  All the time I hear people say how much they hate cancer.  They say, "What is causing cancer?"  "Why does this happen?"  We wear pink ribbons and "walk for the cure" and donate money for cancer research, to find a cure for cancer.

What about prevention?

Not enough people want to look at what we are putting in our mouths, what is in the water we drink, what is in the cleaners and cosmetics and body care products we use, what is in our medicines and vaccines, and what's going into every bit of our environment and the very air we breathe.

Why do so many human bodies have thriving cancer cells, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, obesity, and a zillion other problems?  Why do we see young children even having high rates of these problems?  Might there be a connection to how we are (not) taking care of ourselves?  Might we be damaging our bodies with our food, water, air, environment, medical approach, or something else?

Our bodies are made to run on certain types of fuel, and yet it is getting harder and harder to be able to make that happen.  As one of my friends pointed out, it often seems like in order to have truly healthy food, we have to DIY pretty much everything.

I feel that way every time I find out that one more thing that I thought was safe isn't.

It's a bummer.

It can be incredibly hard to manage all of these things in our culture.  Even as passionately as I feel about these issues, I find it difficult to consistently live out my convictions to the extent that I would like to.  And for all of the many very good things that I *do* consistently manage to do, even I do not experience perfect health, perfect energy, or have ease with weight management.  So, when I tell you that I have great compassion for all of us as we strive to respond to these issues and guard our health, believe me that it's true.  I have to have compassion for my own human frailties and shortcomings every single day.  We all have to be kind to ourselves, as the deck is stacked against us in so many ways.

What I do think is possible is for us to continue to educate ourselves, read labels, ask questions, and not turn away from the job of doing better as we respond to what we learn.

Food, cosmetics, cleaners, body care, basic health care, and water are all generally things that we can find solutions for and work toward improving in our everyday lives.  Unfortunately, there are many things within our environment that we cannot immediately control that can still interfere with our health.  We could do all the "right things" that we know to do and still not experience great health, not be healed from an illness, or we could even get sick with something terrible and die.  We don't have any guarantees.  We can do our best to keep ourselves and our families strong and healthy, and leave the rest to God.

Harvesting from the Garden

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We are growing several varieties of organic heirloom tomatoes.  We have big beefsteak types, small Roma types, even some that are pink!  Also, banana peppers, green bell peppers, cucumbers, and of course tons of zucchini and summer squash still coming into the kitchen daily! 
We are also growing several varieties of organic heirloom sweet corn!  Since so much of today's corn supply is GMO, I no longer even buy corn from farm stands.  Instead, we grow our own.  It is fun to husk the ears and see which kind of corn was inside.  Some types have done quite well, others we would not have again next year.  The drought this month certainly has had an effect on the corn growth as well.

We still have a lot of zucchini and summer squash to use up.  Just about every day I am testing and tweaking recipes to use in my (quickly!) upcoming zucchini recipe ebook!  We have found some really good, new ways to use zucchini that are definitely more interesting than just making zucchini bread over and over again.  :)

For the corn, we will probably eat it every night for dinner until we're tired of doing so, and I'll be freezing the husked ears of corn whole, in gallon-size ziploc bags.  I don't even blanch them.  Just stick 'em in the bag and freeze.  Works just fine for us and we enjoy the corn throughout the rest of the year.

For the tomatoes and peppers, I'm thinking of canning homemade salsa this year.  For some reason I have never done this, even though I started canning probably 18 years ago and have canned tons of other things.  I am on the lookout for a good salsa recipe, so if you know of one, let me know!

People keep asking me how we kept the bugs off of our garden.  This is certainly our most successful organic garden yet.  I will admit that in other years we have just planted, let things grow, and if the bugs got to it, we didn't fight back.  The addition of the natural, homemade bug repellent that my husband used on our organic garden this summer has made a huge difference in the amount of bugs and quality of produce we've had.  For the most part, everything coming out of our garden looks really good and hasn't been buggy at all.  You can check it the recipe here.

Who Needs a Hug?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What do you think?  Are you a hugger?  

Do you hug a lot in your family?

One of the best things about having a bunch of kids 
is that we have a lot of people to hug at our house!  :)

I am a work in progress

Friday, July 06, 2012

And so are YOU!

Isn't that good to know?

We don't have to be *all done* and have it *all right* right now!

We are all growing, glowing, works in progress!  (even if you can't see the glow right now, I believe it is in there)

I love that.  It gives me a happy lift and takes the pressure off.  Today is not the finish line for having it all together.  (GOOD THING, too!  Can I get an amen?)

Yesterday I re-joined the local fitness center.  It closed to members awhile back, and in recent months as I have seen all of those lost 15 pounds (from my juice fast) find their way right back to my body, I have been thinking oh-me-oh-my-what-am-I-going-to-do?!  This situation is getting out of control, yo!

And then my friend Maria mentioned that the fitness center had re-opened (Don't worry.  I don't think it was a hint.) and the next morning I was down there first thing, signing myself up for a 6-month membership.

I am not 24 anymore, folks.  The "baby weight" ain't never gonna go away.  (Hey--I gave it 9 years...I think I'm convinced now.) At 40+, it seems my body wants to stay in a long-term relationship with fat, regardless of what I eat.  (except for juice-only, which I'm not going to do again.  Remember why?)  I'm still working on that whole thyroid/adrenal issue, too, so I'm sure that is a contributing factor.  But I'm feeling better in some ways, and decided that regardless of the crazy and breathless pace of life that I live right now, exercise just has to be on the docket, one way or another.  

I made the commitment to six months, figuring that the thrifty side of me will needle me out of bed and over to the weight room on those mornings when I just don't wanna.  ("You already spent the money!  You have to go now!")

As a mom it can be very hard to invest in yourself.  This is something I have struggled with so much for the 20 years I've been a parent.  Everybody needs stuff.  Money is always needed elsewhere.  Your time is spoken for by all of those wonderful people in your life.  And if you homeschool or work away from home or add in any other stuff, boy howdy!, the demands get mighty intense.  Sometimes the season of life that you are in makes it pretty nearly impossible to get away for exercise.  I have certainly been in that spot a lot.

There have been times when I've thought that I might just give up on trying to be at a more "ideal" weight until the kids are older....or maybe after they've moved out.  I don't know.  Just some mystical time in the future when I could exercise without cramming it in between cooking breakfast and spelling lessons.  Crazy thing is, I don't want to go through the rest of my kids' childhood feeling bad about how I look in pictures, and not wanting to join them for a swim because of how I look in a bathing suit.  So, the time is now.  Or at least, I hope it is.