Sunday, May 29, 2011

Living off the grid with only 2 acres

I can not explain how much I love the idea of this.  I know I sound crazy (really, whats new) but I would LOVE to live off the grid.  I would love to buy a house on a piece of land, only depend on my land and some hard work to provide for our needs.  Just fresh produce, eating food within its season and peace..... and quiet. 

In my dream world (since I am dreaming) I would like more than two acres.  I would love a piece of land that I can not see or hear my neighbors.  Ahhhhhhh

Mrs. Meyer's

I have always been affected by smells both good and both. I really like homemade cleaners but the problem I have is it does not leave that smell of being clean (even though that is what most people love about homemade products). I do not really care for the chemical smell of most cleaners but I still want my house to have a clean fresh scent throughout the day. I really love Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products, they are both mild and eco friendly yet they smell AMAZING. My favorite is the basil scent products. They are aroma therapeutic cleaning products using naturally occurring ingredients and essential oils.


The bottle reads, “The BASIL herb has a cool, crisp scent that is said to revive the senses, clear the head and CALM the nerves. Just think all this and a clean house too!"

I could not agree more. My house has such a clean scent all day and it makes me want to keep it clean just so I can enjoy the smell and peace a clean house brings. I think they are well worth the few extra bucks.

If anyone is interested in trying any of their products out, you can find that at Target, Bel Air, here and here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And she is off.....

Not a great picture but it's all I was able to get before my battery died.
Myla walked at 10 months, Sariah walked and 10 1/2 months and FINALLY Capri took off at 12 months.  Capri has been walking around furniture since she was 8 months old and really ready to walk at about 10 1/2 months old. 

It just took until last week for her to decide she needed to.  I think partly because either I carry her around or Myla does but she loves her new found freedom!

I went out with a friend on Friday and I put Capri down and asked her to show my friend how she can walk.  She looked at my friend, walked across the room and then looked back at her like, did you see that?  It was so cute. 

Capri is just so much fun and listens really well.  I can ask Capri to clean something up or put something away and she does it and puts it in the right spot.  Maybe most babies do that but Sariah was such a "spirited child" that it took until she was almost three before she would consistently follow simple directions. 

I always forget how much I love this age.  I'm just trying to enjoy every second I have with her since I know it just goes by so fast.

Myla Update

Anyone that has ever had a sick child could probably understand not just how hard it is to see your child suffer but also what kind of games your mind plays on you. Myla got a much needed break from relapsing for almost four months. I felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time in almost two years.  Myla slimmed down and she lost the dark circles under her eyes that I was so use to seeing.

Well that nice break has now ended. She relapsed a month ago and just relapsed again today.  I see her face taking the round shape, double chin and dark circles under her eyes.  I am seeing her slow down a little more and have more mood swings due to all the medication.

To be honest it is really, really, hard.  I feel like everything is ok and that I am so strong and then days like today happen and all I want to do is hold my child and cry.  I love my kids more than anything in the world and Myla has always held such a special place in my heart.  I wish there was more I could do. 

I know I have said this so many times but I really struggle with worrying about all the side effects she will have for the rest of her life because of the drugs that are saving her life.

Myla told me the other day that after she dies, she will not have to take medicine or have bruises again. She has also asked me why God made her this way.  After we talk about it she just says, "Oh ok".  That makes everything ok for her.  Why can't we be as brave, strong, forgiving and loving as children???

I love you Myla. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

World's Best Homemade Hot Chocolate!

Crazy weather calls for...... chocolate in our house.  To be specific homemade hot chocolate.

Ingredients


1/3 cup unsweetened dark cacao powder *

3/4 cup sugar

1 pinch salt

1/3 cup boiling water

3 1/2 cups WHOLE milk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional (whip up some heavy whipping cream and a splash of vanilla and sugar.  Add a dollop to finished hot chocolate.
Directions


1.Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.


* I really think the secret ingredient is the cacao powder.  Cacao and cocoa powder are close but different.  The short answer is cocoa powder is the cacao bean roasted and then ground to a powder.  Cacao is the bean ground to a powder not roasted first.  I love earth circle organics cacao powder dark found at my local health food store or here.

Farmers Market Fresh

I first bought one bunch of carrots and by the time we were almost done
shopping I had to stop and buy another one because my girls almost ate them all.


A new take on the traditional salad

Raw spaghetti with raw corn
The best find at the Farmer's Market this week would have to be the corn on the cob HANDS DOWN!!
I was really surprised they were in season and for the price I was worried about trying it out.  But I am soooo glad I did.  It was the best corn on the cob I have EVER had!  I ate two ears raw.  Yummy.  I will definitely buy more this Saturday.

Yearly Garden Update

Each year around this time I'm completely enthralled with my garden.  This year we are doing a much smaller garden just because we do not know where we end up.  Moving or not moving?

I just could not let May pass without planting something! One of the wonderful things about having a garden I have worked on for a few years, there are a lot of things that come back year after year.
 
Since I took this picture our strawberries have started to bloom
and we are even able to enjoy some juicy strawberries.

This is just some of our blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
These plants are so beautiful at the beginning of Spring, the way they
reach toward the sun.

Swiss Chard

I planted a lot of lettuce this year and all different kinds.
I wish lettuce grew all summer.
  
The first baby


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Little" Capri

Since Capri was born she has been small and falls around 5% for weight.  At her one year check up this week the doctor was concerned because she has now fallen off the chart (meaning below 0%).  She is 12.5 months old and weights a whopping 15lbs. 

To be honest I am not completely concerned because I was 15 lbs at one and 20 lbs at two years old.  Also she nurses, eats food and I offer her a bottle just to make sure she is totally full.  The thing is she will only drink maybe 1oz of the bottle. I think she is just small like I use to be.

Her doctor wants me to put olive oil on everything she eats and lots of butter on toast.  We have a follow-up weight check in two months.

Capri this is the one time in your life you can get away with eating fatty foods and not feel bad.  Enjoy~

Feeding My Soul

My friend (Naomi) once told me if you are having a bad day or just not feeling at peace with the world go outside and stand in the grass without your shoes on. 

Heavenly Father built this beautiful earth for us to enjoy and for it to heal us.  From the garlic and cranberry that healed my mastitis (breast infection) yesterday to being out in nature that helped bring my spirit peace.

He also send me wonderful friends.  Especially Nikki.  I always tease her that we are soul sisters but really she understands me more than anyone else in this world. 

Anyway, she could see today that I needed something only the "ranch" could give me.  Her in-laws own a little peace of heaven on earth.  No really, they own 10 acres of lush green soft hills that scream for someone to roll down them.  Without a neighbor in site, kids can roam free without worries,  kayak or canoe down your own river all surrounded by BLM land.  Where you can almost taste nature.... HEAVEN

For me (and my girls), nothing feeds the soul faster....

 
Thanks Nikki and Adam!

Until next time......  I will still dream!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Garden Leeks

My garden is exploding with leeks this time of year.  It has been way to warm to make a leek and cauliflower soup (a family favorite) so I went on a search to find something yummy and fresh to make.

I found a Garden Leek Salad  here that sounded really good.

Garden Leek Salad

Ingredients


Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly crosswise

2 ripe tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber

1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro leaves for garnish

Method

1. Whisk together lemon and oil with a healthy pinch of salt and several grindings of pepper. Toss with leeks.

2. Core large tomatoes, cut them in half horizontally, and shake out their seeds, squeezing gently. Chop. Peel the cucumber if necessary, cut in two lengthwise, and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Slice thinly.

3. Combine all ingredients, and taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish, and serve.

Really fast, fresh and easy.  What a great lunch or snack idea!

Farmers Market Tomatoes

 
Yes they are that good!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Snacks

Does anyone else struggle with church snack ideas??? Since we don't do processed snacks our options are limited on things that will not make a sticky mess.  Even when we use to do crackers and such there was a crumb mess so that it did not work either. 

Ideally I should be able to feed my kiddos before we leave for church but my children graze.  I feel that is a healthy way to eat, small HEALTHY meals through out the day.  So church is a long time for them to go without a snack. 

They enjoy raw nuts, grapes and other easy choices but I just thought up some new ideas that I am really excited about.

Dehydrated foods.

Really any dehydrated fruits are a big hit but also carrots and corn or really yummy and sweet.  I was shocked when I tried the corn.  It was crispy and sweet.
Last night I did yogurt drops.  These are really good and unbelievable easy.  I saw a friend give her child gerber freeze dried yogurt melts.  Check out the nutrition label for these.
CULTURED REDUCED FAT MILK, SUGAR, STRAWBERRY PUREE, NONFAT DRY MILK, TAPIOCA STARCH, GELATIN, NATURAL STRAWBERRY FLAVOR, LACTIC ACID ESTERS OF MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, FRUIT AND VEGETABLE JUICE COLORS, SODIUM ASCORBATE (VITAMIN C), ALPHA TOCOPHERYL ACETATE (VITAMIN E), VITAMIN A ACETATE

I did not have to see the label to know that these were not for use BUT I thought hey I can make something like that. So I came home and searched online and there you go.  Yogurt drops.
All you need is a FULL fat, quality yogurt (or homemade, tutorial to follow soon) and don't be afraid to read the label.  If you can't read it or understand what it is, than chances are you should not be eating it.

Anyway, just drop nickle size dropson your dehydrating tray (the one made for liquid) and dehydrate until it easily comes off the tray.  Once complete keep in a air tight container. Enjoy!

Tonight I'm dehydrating sweet potatoes with seasonings so they will be like a healthy potato chip.

Why Dehydrate?  According to the Energise for Life website, "The dehydration process retains almost 100% of the nutritional content of the food, retains the alkalinity of fresh produce and actually inhibits the growth of microforms such as bacteria."


Any other ideas?

Sprouted, Sprout Whole Wheat Bread

Making sprouted whole wheat bread has always been on my to do list but lets be honest my list is quite large and growing everyday.  I just can not shut off my brain.  Anyone else like that???

So I finally thought I would try my hand at sprouting my own wheat for some yummy bread. If you have ever had an interest or wondered how they made it here you go.

What sprouting??  Sprouting increases the protein, essential amino acids, enzymatic activity, vitamins, and fiber content of the seeds. In fact, if you consult the Wikipedia article on “Sprouting” you’ll read that sprouting can increase the protein content of a seed by up to 50% and the vitamin content to 20 or 30 times its original value.  Not to mention it also adds increased digestibility.

OK Now back to the tutorial....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eat Your Beets

I found a new recipe for beets that even your kids will LOVE.  Myla and Sariah ate a whole bowl each in one sitting and then asked for more.  Myla said it was delicious and taste like heaven.  Silly girl!

But really if you like apples or applesauce you will love this.  The apples really give the beets a sweet taste.

Ingredients
Raw beets unpeeled*
Raw apple unpeeled*

On the small side of a cheese grater, grate 1 beet to every one to two apples.  I think one to one is a perfect ration but see what works best for your family.

*I keep the peels on my veggies because they have such high amounts of nutrients.  In beets they have a high concentration of betalains in the peel.   Ideally I would like to use organic especially since I am using the peel.

Beets have a lot of health benefits such as powerful nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.
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