Sunday, February 27, 2011

My top 5 tips for taking road trips with kids

We just got home from visiting my brother and his girlfriend in Seattle and while I was driving back today I started to make a list in my head of the top 5 tips I've learned while taking long road trips.

1. Kids should be dressed in cotton pajamas.  Why you ask?  Because they're comfy, thin, and breathable.  While traveling you'll likely run into several weather patterns.  For instance we started out today in rain, then lots of snow, then sun.  The kids had their blankets on or off depending on how warm they wanted to be.  I don't care for fleece because it's not very breathable, it's staticky (sp?), and they usually have feet attached.  I like to be able to throw on a pair of shoes easily.

2. Keep them eating.  I made these and these (keep refrigerated if possible), bought beef jerky, had lots of bottled water and fruit.  Now that I've learned my lesson about carbs, I realized that eating animal crackers or goldfish crackers makes me hungrier.  This costs me more money when I have to keep buying more food + I have to buy bigger pants ;)  If there is an open bag of goldfish while I'm driving, I'll eat the whole thing.  However, today I had an open bag of jerky and only ate until I was full.  Carbs, for me anyways, just don't fill me up and the same goes for my kids.

3. Take along some favorites and some new things.  Bring your kids' favorite toys, books and stuffed animals and bring a few new things.  This will keep them occupied longer.

4. Buy or borrow some portable DVD players.  My FIL got us 2 for the kids as Christmas presents this year and this weekend was our first chance to use them.  They are life savers and I hope we never have to take a long road trip without them.  I don't personally agree with having projectiles in the car that can cause injury in the case of a crash, but these ones were velcroed on in two places, so the risk was less in my opinion.  They have already been removed from the headrests and we'll only be using them on long trips.

5. Be prepared.  Be prepared that if you're visiting family or friends that they won't have enough food to feed your troop.  Be prepared when traveling in bad weather; carry chains if needed, extra blankets, a first aid kit and possible snow boots for yourself.

What are your top tips for road trips with kids?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Primal week is over...a wrap-up

So, let me get this off my chest right now.  I had a little honey and chocolate today, and a homemade donut hole from my mom.  I made this recipe for The Hubbs because he was being crabby; he's been complaining about this since Monday, even though he agreed to it.  I was planning to make it tomorrow, but I'm unpredictable like that, haha.  He didn't like it, so I tasted it and really liked it.  Like the recipe says, it's not a sugar candy cake.  Within 15 minutes of eating it I felt like dog doo, my energy was zapped and I just felt blah.  So, that's what 7 days with out will do!

Overall I'm thrilled with the results of this experiment and I may have changed my some people's minds about all the sugar we consume with out really knowing it.  When we went to my parent's house today (where I ate aforementioned donut hole) my mom had gotten The Primal Blueprint from the library!  We talked about the meals I made and how she could maybe modify what they're eating.  I'm now making a much more concise meal plan to include only 1x a day where we eat flour and sugar (like a piece of toast for breakfast to go with our eggs, or a sandwich with lots of meat, etc).  Protein is my golden key to staying level, no more roller coaster sugar spikes for me, thanks.

While The Hubbs really did complain a lot all week, I know it opened his eyes.  His mom was just recently diagnosed as borderline Type 2 Diabetic.  She is a wonderful woman and we all would hate to lose her.  She has since lost 20lbs by curbing her carbs and eating healthy protein.  The Hubbs has been quizzing her each time we see her about what she can and can't eat.  He's soaking it up from her, which I'm happy about.

The cherry on top of this week is my weight loss, I lost 5lbs!  I hope to continue this weight loss, especially as we're entering Spring and I can get out more.  I want to thank all of you for following me along this week and for all of our comments and encouragement, it has meant a lot :)

What are you final thoughts about a Primal Diet?  Are you interested in trying it?  If you're a seasoned Primalist (I like to make up words) what words of advice can you share?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Recipe: Salty soaked raisins

Salty soaked raisins
1 cup organic raisins
1/4 cup of organic salted butter

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat.  Add the raisins and stir occasionally, they'll turn amber in color.  Once 90% of them have puffed up a little, you're ready to eat.  BEWARE: The Hubbs and I may have been fighting over them, they're so good!

5 days in...

 We've been eating no flour and no sugar for 5 days and I'm really starting to get used to it.  We're eating lots of veggies, fruit, cheese, yogurt and of course meat.  My energy levels are up, and no afternoon lag has been present.  I've also noticed my moodiness has all but dissapeared.  If you know me in real life, than you know I'm an emotional roller coaster sometimes ;)  I'm also in the middle of my PMDD "bad spell" and haven't cried or flipped out on anyone this week, woot!  So, for me, this diet is kicking butt!  I've also lost 3lbs this week with only minimal working out, like going for a walk with the kids.  I plan to do my cardio (30 day shred) this afternoon after the kids wake up from nap.

As far as dessert, yesterday I purchased 3 bars of Lindt 85% dark chocolate for us to snack on after dinner, after Monday of course.  I found a recipe for grain/gluten free chocolate cake too, which The Hubbs is in love with.  I won't be going back to my old ways, so don't think we're going to binge on sugar come Monday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I love me some Sally Fallon!

She's not talking about primal, but it's certainly pretty close.  She's also written quite a few books, my favorite being Nourishing Traditions, again not primal, but so informative.

I love the part where she talks about "Soda in drag" aka flavored milk, hehe!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Primal carb graph

One more post today that I couldn't leave out.  I just found this on MDA's site...which I love more and more.  As you can see, the graph above breaks down the amount of carbs, into weight loss or weight gain.  It's no wonder I've never been able to get this weight off.  I was easily consuming at least 300 grams per day when I was eating healthy.  Whole grain bread, natural ketchup and organic jam are just a few of the foods that come to mind.  I haven't eaten any of those foods for 3 days and my carbs for today are 139.  I log what I eat over at MyPlate which is great for figuring out how much fat, carbs and protein I'm eating.  I'm 16 points above the Weight Loss Sweet Spot, but I'm so happy to have found this graph.  It's giving me something to strive for, something to visualize.

I'd love to know how many carbs you've eaten today and I'm going to log my food again tomorrow and see what the difference is :)

Primal menu for Feb 14th - 20th

Bkfst - Banana pancakes w/ butter
Lunch - Cheese and apples
Dinner - Snowy volcanoes w/ green beans and salad
To do - Grocery shop: Costco

Bkfst - Eggs and sausage
Lunch - Bologna and apples
Dinner - Shepherd's Pie
To do - Cloth diapering playgroup

Bkfst - Fruit smoothies w/ apples and pb
Lunch - Bologna and bananas
Dinner - Leftovers
To do - Go to a jumpy place and take Frosty to the vet

Bkfst - Eggs and sausage
Lunch - Ricotta cheese w/ pineapple
Dinner - Bun-less bacon cheeseburgers with french fries
To do - Veg out

Bkfst - Yogurt w/ homemade granola
Lunch - Bologna and bananas
Dinner - Chili with beef and sausage (no beans)
To do -  Homeschooling playgroup at our house

Bkfst - Smoothies w/ apples and pb
Lunch - Cheese and apples
Dinner - Chicken Parmesan w/ garlicky green beans
To do - Nothing on the docket...yet

Bkfst - Banana pancakes and sausage
Lunch - Cheese, carrots and homemade ranch
Dinner - Leftovers
To do - Enjoy the Sabbath

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Primal food blogs I like

While researching a primal diet I've come upon a few blogs I really like

Food for primal thought
Grain-Free Belle
Living Primal
Pretty in Primal
Primal Journey
Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary
The Food Lovers' Primal Palate

It's now Tuesday afternoon, the kids are down for nap and lunch has be eaten.  I'm not experiencing any flu-like symptoms and I think that's due to my preparation last week.  Last night we didn't indulge in any candy or chocolate either :)  I'm finding that as long as I eat meat at lunch, those pesky 2:30pm sugar cravings are all but gone.  However, after I'm done blogging, I'll be having a few dried prunes, yum!

I hope these links are helpful to you if you're interested in learning more about a primal diet.  Can you recommend any blogs or sites that you like?

Tomorrow I'll be posting our menu for this week :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We're going flour and sugar free

I'm anxious for Monday to get here.  Wait, that sounds bad.  I'm nervous and excited for Monday because our little family of 4 will be embarking on a no flour, no sugar diet for 7 days.  Also known as a primal diet, it is free from flour and little to no sugar.  We're a mix between a traditional foods diet and primal, currently. 

I got turned on to going primal by a new friend, who has been doing TF for about 5 years.  She said she still loves to bake and does so with gluten-free flours and raw honey and other healthy, nutritious ingredients.

Essentially, eating primal is like Atkins, only better for your health, the animals and the environment.  The animals that we eat should be fed what God intended for them to eat.  Cows don't eat grains, pigs don't eat poo, and chickens don't eat feed made from chickens.  Sadly, this is what our conventional food system is like today.  Try to find grass-fed beef, pastured pigs or free-range chickens in the store, it's virtually impossible.  Unless, of course you visit a small health food store with a good butcher.  We however, can't afford to pay $6/lb for grass-fed beef at the health food store; we bought our last beef from my aunt.  It's the most wonderful beef I've ever eaten.  We're almost out and will be now purchasing from a friend of my dad's and this time we're getting a 1/4 of a beef.

I could go on and on about this diet, but seeing as this week I've already lost 3lbs by dramatically limiting my sugar and gluten (in preparation for Monday), I can tell you that I feel better and hope to keep losing :)  The point of this 7 day "detox" is to see how much better we feel on Sunday.  My hubby has never slept well and I've read numerous times that going primal has solved many sleep issues.  We're also moody when we eat many of you out there, right???  I'll be sure to keep you up to date and later this week I'll be posting a whole bunch of links to my favorite primal websites and blogs.

Does anyone else follow a primal or traditional foods diet?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where to tithe?

Where do you like to tithe?  
It's that time of year when many of us get tax returns.  We're planning to tithe and usually do so in for form of food to needy families or our local food bank/community center. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Getting my hair cut

How often do you get your hair cut or trimmed?  Do you do it yourself, a friend or pay someone else?  Do you dye your hair or have any special treatments?  How often do you do all of this?

I'm unsure how I feel about how long it's been for me.  I got my hair cut in June 2010...that was a long time ago.  I got a simple a-line that has grown out nicely and since I have curly hair, there isn't much need for a hair cut.  I don't dye my hair, but I'm VERY picky about my cut.  My curly and un-ruly hair is a lot for most stylists to handle.  I can't tell you how many times as a child I've walked out crying after getting my hair cut.  Thankfully, I've finally found someone who gets it.  She actually has hair just like mine, so she understands.  I'm going to make an appointment with her in the near future to get a trim.  Finding an excellent hair stylist you can trust is worth so much :)

I spend $30 twice a year to maintain my hair and for me that's perfect.  Granted it's been quite some time since I had it done last time.   
How do you save money on keeping your hair maintained?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ever wondered how you can tell where your packaged food items are made

Ever wondered how you can tell where your packaged food items are made??? Here is a handy tip to easily identify where your food came from. You may now refer to the barcode -
if the first 3 digits are:

690-692 ... then it is MADE IN CHINA
00 - 09 ... USA & CANADA
...30 - 37 ... FRANCE
40 - 44 ... GERMANY
47 ... Taiwan
49 ... JAPAN
50 ... UK
Courtesy of BumbleBar on Facebook

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How I organized our homeschool stuff for free

It's been nagging at me.  It's been looking at me every time I walk by, sneering.  Stinkin' homeschool supplies were totally unorganized and bugging me but we don't have the money to go buy a whole bunch of storage thingys.  Then it dawned on me.  What about those 6 plastic shoe box storage thingys that we've kept our bills in for the last 8 years.  Ya know the ones we'll never look at again, nor have we popped open a lid in at least 5 years.  So, I purged them all.  The bills have been taken care of...if you know what I meant. 

Now the shoe boxes actually have a functioning purpose and I don't have to be mocked any more anytime I walk into J's room.  Before organizing, everything was literally stuffed into the blue thingy (last picture), except for the books.  I wrote in Sharpie on top and on one side what the contents are. 

I bought this Alphabet at the Dollar Tree

Don't mind the Christmas stuff on the top left corner

Crayons, craft supplies and paint/brushes

Our puzzles

The Kumon books, workbooks, coloring books and plain drawing paper

Foam shapes, play dough toys, and lacing toys

Rest of the stuff: pipe cleaners, extra paint, painting bib and 2 memory games
If you're not familiar with Kumon Books they are AWESOME.  I also highly recommend buying your craft supplies at your local $1 store.  My Dollar Tree rocks in their "school" section :)

How do you organize all of your stuff?