June 28, 2013

Keep It Simple...Routine

Used to be, this was a dirty word to me.  I don't think of myself as a rebel, but there's just enough in me that I don't care to be told what to do. I will make a schedule, but not follow it even if the list is my own creation.
But children seem to like routine.  And I'm finding that since my early retirement (ha!) that I'm feeling somewhat lost without knowing that there is something unique to do each day.
As a joke, I'm pretty sure, when I was pregnant with my baby (see, isn't he cute!)
Chase in the tubby!

a friend sent me a copy of Large Family Logistics.  I have made fun of this book for years and even had my own plan called Small Family Slackers, just so us with the little families wouldn't feel left out.
I initially had my daughter read thru LFL, and report if it needed my attention.  She hit the highlights, but recently I found myself sitting down with it to see what I might learn.
Now please don't think that I've abandoned my cargo shorts, tank tops and general slacker attitude, but there is generally something of value to be found in most books.  I think it is ignorant to not be able to learn from most things, and wondered what I might learn from this book and its philosophy?

I'm not going to write a book report as I really don't have time for that, and this is supposed to be 'keep it simple', but I will say that the book underscored that I was letting things go too much.  I don't have a huge family of small people and can get by with less organization overall, but I do think that giving each day a purpose and having goals is a good thing.  And that it's alright if I do laundry on the same day each week as well. I don't think I'll lose my status as a slacker if I wash on Tuesdays and Saturdays (though sometimes I change it to Wednesday and Saturday just because).
Large Family Logistics gives each day a theme.  I can do themes.  Themes make it sound a bit more like entertainment?  Well, not really, but it makes it sound less rigid in my mind.
I know what activities I want to get done each week.  We need to eat as well, and I'm finding that if I know I'm supposed to sit down on Wednesday afternoon and make out a menu and a grocery list then it makes life run more smoothly, and that lovely feeling of walking into the kitchen at meal time and not knowing what were going to eat or what I have on hand won't happen quite as often.
I also find that having a list of "Stuff that needs to get done today" posted in the main part of the house helps me, because I'm not the only one here who can read and complete this list.  There are some perks to having big kids and teens along with a baby, you know.
I also take some days completely off, mainly, because I can, and I usually plan to do big projects on those days.... though right now Chase is my main big project along with getting school schedules set for the coming weeks.

For me, not having a plan of action puts me into a mindset where it seems I get absolutely nothing done.  I need a plan, and that is my take home point from the book.
I don't believe I need a binder, or master plan,or zones.  That just leads to more stuff in a life that I'd really like to further declutter.
I like to keep a calendar posted on the wall that I can scribble on and the kids can write things that need to be put on the grocery list.  I never fill in the whole thing, but just a couple of weeks so that I have room for notes at the bottom.
I keep a piece of paper folded in half that I write down a list of stuff to do each day.  That way I can get 4 days worth of things I need to do or remember on 1 sheet, or 3 days and a grocery list or menu.
I usually start each day making this list, and I cross things off as I do them (I like the crossing off part).
This works for me.  It's about consciously making the decision to have a plan, get done what needs doing, and then enjoying life.
Or maybe it's just the small family slacker plan after all?
Calendar with stuff that needs doing, start of grocery list, and our family Catan winnings (I'm the one  who is clearing the champion for the year)

June 25, 2013

Variation on a Pizza

Is there really such a thing as a bad pizza?
The fact is, our family really likes pizza.  Like really loves it.  We probably went thru a phase where we ate it daily for a while, and it has always been a staple for us.
But pizza isn't on many diets.
On Trim, Healthy Mama, there are several recipes for crust in the book.  I will admit that I fell in love the first time I tried the Fooled Ya Pizza Crust that is made of cauliflower.  Yes, it sounds weird, and I will also admit to being a cauliflower junkie, but my husband also prefers it over a bread crust as well, so it isn't just me.
My husband works weird hours and isn't usually home for dinner, and my kids are fit and healthy.  They eat their veggies so I let them have the bread crusts that they love, so I tend to make my own personal pan pizza with this crust.
It can be made as a flat crust, but it's easier to put it in my 9x9, non-stick pan (and I eat directly from it).

I will admit that I am not a fancy eater or cook.  I generally go for a red sauce, pepperoni and cheese, but didn't have any made today, didn't feel like making any, and pretty much needed to eat quickly.
I did have some alfredo sauce (sorry, I admit that I bought a jar of it as that is on plan and my recipe involves a beautiful bechamel that I refuse to change on the principle of it), but the store-bought sauce is within parameters of the THM plan and that is the key.
But I'm not going to just sit down and eat pizza with alfredo sauce and cheese.  So I thought about what I'd put on pasta with alfredo.  I wasn't in the mood for shrimp, and clams seemed weird.  But I did have some spinach lurking in the fridge, and you really can't get too many veggies, right?  So  I ended up sauteing the spinach in a bit (actually quite a bit) of butter, salted it and put it over the crust and alfredo.  I topped with mozzarella, baked it, and then ate it all gone.
(And the kids and baby also enjoyed it as well!)

This post is shared as part of the Trim, Healthy Tuesday hosted by Gwen's Nest and Stacy Makes Cents.  Please check them out!

June 24, 2013

Away With the Old

"The trick is to find out which one you are and to be that." 
This is the line from a movie I once saw that made an impact on me.  So often we say we are going to exercise or diet or quit smoking, but things get hard and we go back to our old habits that give us comfort.

I'm not a pack rat.  I like to throw things out as it makes me feel productive (though I have learned the hard way that some times I need to put a bit more thought into this practice).
That's why it kind of made me question why I wasn't getting rid of my 'fat clothes' and maternity clothes as well.  I don't have many clothes, due to years spent wearing scrubs, I have never really needed a large wardrobe, and my life is fairly informal so I don't have need for dressier outfits.

But... to get back to my original point.  I was holding on to the person I was.  I think I was afraid I'd get fat (or pregnant) again and was holding onto the clothes in a spirit of fear.

But the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians that,
"if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

I realize this is speaking on a different point, but that's the cool thing about God.... He can always find a way to talk to you and tell you what he needs you to know.

I was holding on, in my head, to the person that I was.  I dealt with this in the past when I lost weight and was fit.  In my head, I was still the dumpy and chubby girl who got notes to get out of PE and lived on milkshakes and cheetos.
It's hard to move past who we once were and not hold on to the addictions and habits of the past.

But God tells us that the old, to Him, is gone.  We need to be living as the new people who we are.  We need to choose who and what we are going to be, and then just be it.
It sounds so simple, and I believe that we often overthink it?  That we make things harder on ourselves?  That we get used to the pain?  That we believe 'just a small cheat' won't hurt us?
To me, if I am living as a new person, then the old isn't a part of who I am now.  I need to change my attitude and habits.
I need to get rid of my fat clothes because that isn't me any more.

Then I read this in Colossians:
"seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator".  

So not only do I need to live as a new person, I need to arm myself with knowledge.  I don't need to just say, hey, I'm making changes, and going thru the motions.  I need to be constantly learning and growing.
God doesn't want me to blindly follow some trend or to just do like someone else tells me.  This says I need to be learning continually, like you renew a library book, I need to renew my thinking regularly so I don't get stuck in the past habits.  
I need to know why I'm living as I choose to live so that I can continue to make good choices and leave that chubby chick where she belongs.... in my past.

June 21, 2013

Keep It Simple... Tacquitos.

I tend to eat fairly healthy, but I have a weakness.

Gas station food.

I love those greasy, processed tacquitos sold by the local chains and never thought I'd find a substitute.  After all, it's junk food.  Why would there be a healthy alternative?

And then I thought on it for a while.
It's a wrap, cheese (or cheese product) of some sort, and chicken in my favorites.
I CAN do this.

So when I feel the need to be a little bad, I'm really not.  This is a FP as written on the THM plan.

Chicken Tacquito

Low-carb, plan approved burrito/soft taco shell
1 wedge of jalapeno cheese, I like Crystal Farms  brand
cooked chicken breast, finely diced

Spread the cheese wedge over half the burrito shell and sprinkle with chicken.  Roll up cigar style.
I cook mine in the toaster oven on the convection setting at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.  You could brush it with some oil first, but I find it isn't necessary and depending on the amount would make is S.

I like mine for a quick treat, or as a side to a bowl of spicy-FP soup.

June 19, 2013

Wednesday Love.... Herb Link

I admit that I am putting this out there last minute, but sometimes things are too good not to share, you know?  With all the running around this week has had, I'm feeling the need to be more grounded and settled.  Plants and growing things have always filled this need for me.
I love using herbs.  I've used and studied them for years, but find the more I learn, the less I seem to know.
I was looking for some info online this morning and found this great index to hundreds of herbal articles.
It's a great resource and I just wanted to share the love and remember that plants are more than just pretty faces.

June 18, 2013

Basalmic-Avocado Pasta Salad- S

It's a Trim, Healthy Tuesday, and you can't have pasta if you want to lose weight, right?  Everyone knows that.
Unless.... you think outside the normal pasta box.
Now I don't want some wacky kelp or slimy yam noodles with no carbs, I want normal, gluten-filled pasta that will help me to lose weight.
I have always only bought one brand of pasta and have a ton of it in my basement pantry.  My husband and kids love it, I love it, but it won't help me to stay on plan with my eating.
And just when I thought that the entire genre of food would be gone from my life, I discovered Dreamfield's Pasta.  It is regular, plain old spaghetti.  Obviously in different shapes.  It does have carbs, but if cooked specifically as directed upon the package, the carbs remain bound and (without causing any GI distress) do not cause issues with blood sugar, and will not interfere with the THM plan or weightloss.
I do weigh out specific serving amounts for myself, but continue to use our old faithful brand for the rest of the family.  The exception would be for pasta salad or lasagna, and I use all Dreamfields so we can all (and I mean me) enjoy it.
I will add that while I have linked to amazon, there prices are way too high.  Even in podunk towns, if you have a Walmart, then you probably have access to this brand of pasta for about $1.70 a box/pound and I've seen coupons for it in the sunday paper as well.

But to move on... it's supposed to be summer now.  It's raining and muggy here today, but indoors we are living like it's beachy with our favorite, summer pasta salad.
This is how I like to make it, but feel free to add your own twists and feel free to comment on what you'd add.
And check out Gwen's Nest and see Stacy Makes Cents for more recipes and ideas!

Basalmic Pasta Salad - S

1/2 pound of rotini Dreamfield's Pasta (or any brand if not on THM)

Cook the pasta per instructions in salted water.  Carefully follow the ones on the Dreamfield's Box.

While cooking, dice the following:
3 tomatoes, roma is best, but not necessary
1 avocado
1 red onion
1-2 cloves of minced garlic

Put the diced veggies into a large bowl and mix together.

Add 1-2 Tbs of sesame seeds.

Cover with cooked rotini.
Add 1/4 cup basalmic vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil.
Mix till well blended.

June 17, 2013

Cream of Mushroom Soup-S

I like being frugal and I tend to shop the sales at my local store.  They tend to put most produce on special as it gets old and I like to buy it up.  But you don't save any money if something close to going bad actually does go bad.
I like to have a plan (though I often don't) and to be organized (which I'm not) so that I can get food cooked and put away in a form that is ready to use.
The other day organic mushrooms were marked down, so I got a couple of packs and decided to make a cream of mushroom soup.... much to the horror of a 10 year old boy who lives in my house.
After explaining to him that it wasn't his meal for the evening, we talked about flavor and about how a particular ingredient might not be your favorite, but you can cook it, and add it to something else to add layers to the flavor.  But in a good way, and not just making everything mushroom flavored.
I think this is the most important lesson I've learned in cooking.  That sometimes simple is best, but a good sauce can work miracles, and a good soup/cream sauce can make something ordinary absolutely wonderful.

Of course, it has to be THM style now, so I had to tweak it a bit.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 pound of mushrooms, finely chopped
3 tbsp butter
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of chicken stock, or water if you must (the flavor won't be as good)
1 tsp Redmond Real Salt Organic Garlic Salt (more to taste)
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 to 1 tsp glucomannan powder (if you aren't following, or could care less, what THM is, then use 1/4 cup of flour before adding the liquids to make a roux)

Melt the butter and add the mushrooms, stirring frequently over med heat.  Give them about 5-10 minutes until they release their juices and then dry.  Add the Redmond Organic Garlic Salt, nutmeg and pepper.
Add the stock and half and half and continue stirring till bubbly.  Reduce heat to a simmer for another 5 minutes.  Taste the seasonings and make sure you have added enough salt*
At this point whisk in the glucomannan powder and continue whisking for a few minutes.  Continue over low heat for a few more minutes.
Use at this point or cool and freeze.
I actually cook mine down a bit more to evaporate the liquids and then freeze in cubes.

*I received some great products from the Redmond folks to try out and I am in love with the Organic Garlic Salt.  I have used ONLY Redmond Salt for the last 8 years and if I'm that picky about my salt, why would I use some cheap, store brand of garlic salt.  The flavor is great and it isn't bitter or fake tasting... just like good garlic and my regular good salt.

June 14, 2013

Keep It Simple.... Drying Herbs

Drying and preparing your own herbs might be a new thing, but it doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.  It's definitely something that is best done in a low-tech, simple way.
Right now, so many things are prime for harvesting (fancy talk for picking).  So many plants are best used medicinally when they are flowering. You need to study and learn the particulars for each plant and respect that some things provided by nature can be hazardous when not used properly.
The plant I have here is prunella.  I know that I can safely use all the aerial parts, or what I see above the dirt.
All I did was snip it with some scissors, flowers, stalks and leaves.

Now I need to actually dry the plants.
I prefer to use the large screens off my windows.  I sandwich the herbs between the 2 screens and allow them to dry in the shade on a warm, sunny day.  You generally don't want to put them in direct sun or where they can get wet.  Wet generally defeats the purpose of drying, you know.  The direct sun can over heat or 'cook' the herbs and they will not be as useful.
Also make sure that there is plenty of air able to circulate.  You don't want to put the plant material out on a solid surface covered by a screen.  You want to screens for circulation.

Now the herbs just need to sit and dry.  Depending upon your weather this could take hours or a few days.  I'll check these after about 12 hrs and then every few hours to see if they are ready.

They shouldn't look burned or crispy, but be light and dried as the moisture is all that is missing from the plant material.When they are dried, use them or store them in a glass jar with a lid.  
Make sure they are labelled with the herb, date and where you gathered from, if needed.
This is the same prunella, and it is still in rather large pieces.  I'm planning on using it right away so I'll cut into smaller pieces based on that use.

Now your herbs are ready to be used as dried for teas, tinctures or salves.  Enjoy!

June 13, 2013

How to Find a Goal Weight

One of the things I like most about Trim, Healthy Mama is that they mention percentage of body fat in calculating your goal weight.
I'll admit it, I like numbers.  I like having a logical way of deciding my goals, not just randomly pulling a number out of the air, or remembering what I weighed at a point in my life.
I want to know what I'm dealing with as far as pounds of fat versus the structure of the body.  This takes your frame size into consideration without you having to 'guess' at whether you are large framed or small, or if you carry more muscle.
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is something totally different.  It is nothing more than weight divided by height.  It takes nothing more into consideration, and while good utilized as a tool in the over all picture, is sadly inefficient at telling you anything specific about your goals, in my opinion.

Determining your body fat, like all systems, can have flaws.  Finding your exact body fat involved being weighed underwater on a special scale.  Most of us can't easily do that, but there are home scales that use impedance to tell what your fat percentage is.
The issue with scales or handheld impedance monitors  is that you must be well-hydrated for the most accurate results.
You can also calculate percentage of body fat using your measurements.  You need a tape measure and a chart or online calculator to determine using this method.

Personally I like to use both the scale and calculator based on measurements.  Neither is going to be perfect as they are both calculated numbers and not a direct measurement.  It will give you a general idea of where you are at and you want to watch for body fat trending downward as you lose overall weight.

The THM authors recommend a body fat of around 25% for women.  Healthy range for women is generally considered anywhere from 18-26% based on your age and fitness level.  The normal, or ideal, range for men is 10-17%.
I'm personally shooting for 25%.  I'm not young, and I know what my percentage of body fat was when i was 30 and working out 2 hrs a day.  I think this is realistic and healthy for me.

When you get a percentage of body fat number then you have to determine the 'other side' of the equation.  This would be your Lean Body Mass, or LBM.  This includes all the bones, muscles and tissues.  This is the number, that even with dieting, you don't want to see change.
If you consider your whole body to be 100% and your body fat + LBM = your overall weight.

example... a woman weighs 150 pounds with 30% body fat.  Remember to change your percentage to a decimal!  
you find the pounds of fat by multiplying:  150 x .3 which equals 45 pounds.  
45 of your 150 pounds is fat.
This means that 105 pounds is your Lean Body Mass/LBM.  You get this when you subtract the body fat from the overall weight.
150-45= 105
You want to see this number (105) stay the same as your fat number goes down over time.

So you find your percentage of body fat and the pounds and your LBM percentage and pounds.

How does this help you find your goal?

If you are expecting your LBM to stay close to what it currently is, then you use it in the calculation.
You might gain or lose a few pounds in either direction so don't let that alarm you.  Often people who are overweight or obese have higher LBM to support the weight that they are carrying, and they will see a decline a bit.  Exercise can also help to increase or maintain LBM as well.  You just don't want drastic drops.

To find your goal, you need to determine where you would like to see your body fat.  If you are shooting for 25% body fat, then you are looking at a LBM being 75% of your weight.
You will use the 75% to determine your goal.

example:  if my LBM is 105 pounds and I want to get to 25% body fat, then I want the 105 to be the other 75% of my weight.  To find what my overall weight would be, I just need to flip my original equation:
105/.75 = 140
This makes my goal weight 140 pounds based on my current LBM.

You then can subtract this number from your current weight to see what you should need to lose to get to your goal.

example:  current weight-goal weight gives you pounds you need to lose.
150-140= 10 pounds to get to goal

I think it is important to know how much fat you are carrying and not just randomly pick numbers, that may or may not be realistic, for weight goals.
There are several online calculators, but I like this one.  Just disregard the protein and calorie recommendations here.

June 12, 2013

Wednesday Love

Shawn trying her first sushi!
By this time of the week I need to refresh and remember why my life is the way it is.... to remember priorities and goals that I have set....  to remember what I really want my life to be all about.
This week my oldest baby is away and I miss her.  Yes, she can be a teen girl some days, but there are very few people that I know who are as strong as she is.
I've not always been a stay at home mother, and she has seen me work the night shift and pull 12 hr shifts.  She is the one that I experimented with as far as home schooling and has made it all seem pretty easy.
Shawn when baby Chase was born.

She's adventurous and loves to try new things, and is always willing to tell you what she thinks, if you ask her.  She is positive and thoughtful, and when I'm having a rough day, she is there not just cheering me on, but working side-by-side to help me out.

She is a big part of why I do things the way I do, and constantly helps me to remember what life is really all about.

June 11, 2013

An Asian-inspired Beef with Cabbage-S

I easily get into ruts when it comes to meal planning.  It's easy to make the same thing over and over, and if it is filling and edible, I'm generally alright with it.
I found this recipe and altered it a bit to add more veggies....  you know you can never get too many!  I like to make several pounds of the meat up, use some now and freeze in meal + leftover portions.  It makes it quick to get on the table on busy days and I can just add a side that is freshly prepared.
It has helped me get out of my rut a bit, but then, maybe it just put me in a new one?

(And this technically isn't beef, but a mixture of several ground meats)
Asian-Inspired Beef with Cabbage
  • Ground meat, beef, pork, and chicken are what are in my pot
  • Onion, sliced
  • Bell peppers, sliced
  • Zucchini, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced (or 2 tsp powdered ginger)
Brown the meat in the pan and add the veggies in and cook till soft.  Add the garlic and ginger.
Add the sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes for flavor to mix.
  • 1/3 cup Soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup Beef or chicken stock (if you have it)

I serve mine over thinly sliced cabbage that has been sauteed in a bit of soy sauce and oil.
For my family I also add noodles or rice.
Top with sesame seeds if you like....

This recipe is linked at both Stacy Makes Cents and Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday!

June 10, 2013

Broccoli Salad-S

Can I say that I love a food?  If I am allowed, this is it.  Broccoli salad.
I've made this for years and have just altered the recipe slightly to make it THM friendly.  It is technically S-helper, so if you aren't wanting to stray from a strict S meal, then simply omit the cranberries and you are a solid S/Satisfying side.
I will also warn that much like the authors of Trim, Healthy Mama, I'm not into exact measurements with most dishes.  Customize as you like and consider the recipe more of a suggestion of what I consider to be yummy.

Broccoli Salad

  • 1 bunch of broccoli, chopped small into bite sized pieces.  I also add in some of the stem as I like it.
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped small
  • handful of grape tomatoes, split in half
  • handful of cheddar cheese, grated
  • small handful/about 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3-5 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped coarsely
Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl.

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/8 cup truvia.   (you would use between 1/8-1/4 cups of sugar, so use the equivalent in a stevia based sweetener.  Go light at first so it isn't overly sweet as different brands pack different punches.  Mine says use 1 to 1 as with sugar, but if I do it is overly sweet.)
Pour the dressing over top the veggies, mix and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

This recipe is part of the link up at Gwen's Nest and Stacy Makes Cents for Trim, Healthy Tuesday!

June 7, 2013

Keep It Simple.... Baby

I like the idea of keeping things simple so I'm thinking that every Friday I'll share  something simple, yet frugal.  So often I see people making things more difficult or more expensive when simplifying really should be easy?  Maybe I'm just lazy and/or cheap, but I will admit that seeing people make things harder or more expensive or more time consuming is difficult for me to watch.
I will warn that I've always been willing to accept a cheaper product for a cheaper price, but do realize that there are times when higher quality is necessary.

I received an email the other day.  It was for a cloth diaper party.  You could come, see products, and a consultant would even be there to help you pick out what you needed.
And it would probably set you back only $400-500.  That is just my estimate.
Apparently this is the norm, and I've done it wrong with my 3 kids.

You see, when I was a kid, people had just started using disposables, and I remember seeing cloth diapers changed and washed.  Some people might have had a diaper service, but for the most part you bought some diapers, put them on the baby, and then washed them when they were dirty.

Cloth diapers are supposed to be more cost effective,better for baby and better for the environment, right?  If my initial costs are in the $400 range, I wonder, how is that saving me money?

Now diapering a whole big, trendy thing.  Prefold, fitted, covers, or all in ones.  The good thing is that there are options.  The bad thing is that there are options and many are expensive when you remember that this is the temporary step from birth until using the potty.
It's a very short time, hopefully, in the scheme of things.  I don't want to put a ton of money into it personally.  I do want my child to be safe and fairly comfortable, but not so comfortable that he would rather use a diaper than a potty.

With my first child we had internet, but it wasn't quite like it is now.  I didn't buy things online.  I'm not sure anyone did?
So I went to Walmart and bought a 2 packs of diapers, some plastic pants, pins, a diaper pail and some washcloths to clean her with.  These are the same diapers that some purists look down upon, but they held up well till potty training occurred.  Plastic pants are NOT the most pleasant to work with, but they get the job done as well.  All for about $40.
With baby #2 eleven years ago, I went to my old faithful standbys, spent my $40 and called it diapering.

With my sweet boy last year, I was aware that there were so many products available now that I didn't have before.  I diligently researched Indian versus Chinese cotton, covers and diaper washing methods, but I found I didn't stray from my old ways too far.
I have some wonderful friends who gifted me with my favorite covers, Thirstie's Duo Wrap, and my old faithful diapers that are great for newborns.
I like the Thirstie's DuoWraps because they have a 'slick' inside and can be wiped off and easily reused if not soiled.  It might initially sound nasty, but the fact is, it cuts down on laundry.  They are also VERY easy to customize to fit your little guy (Size 1 fits 6-18 pounds while Size 2 fits 18-40 pounds).  I picked the snap design as I thought it would make washing easier as velcro can get gross in my opinion.
Remember washing and drying, if you choose not to line dry, is also a cost to consider as you will be washing them daily or at a minimum, every other day.
I have some heavy premium diapers (I chose the Indian cotton ones and they are heavy and show minimal wear at 14 months) as well with help soaker pads for overnight with a bigger baby.
I spent about $100 total.  (It turns out I had my old diaper pail and was using it for dog food storage, so I was able to save on that. ha!  )
I also figured that I'm going to be washing diapers daily or at least every other day.  I don't need a ton of covers or diapers if they are washed regularly.
My initial stash included

  • 2 packs of the Gerber diapers
  • 10 Indian Prefolds
  • 3 small Thirsties Duo Wrap covers
  • pins
  • small washcloths 
  • diaper pail
  • I added 6 more Thirsties covers in the larger size at about 6 months
  • plastic pants, but i didn't use them as the covers were wonderful

Resources that helped me when I was starting my diapering research were Green Mountain Diapers.  This lady knows her stuff.  She has a ton of great videos and links and how-tos.
I will add that I was initially disturbed that there were photos of diapers that were pinned incorrectly but this has been remedied.  ALWAYS have your diaper pin points facing outwards, not towards the baby's belly button.
I also bought my diapers from Cotton Babies.  They have great prices, but can get a bit overwhelming with the amount of choices.

Like most things, I find it easier to know what will work for me, and then find out what I can about the products and pick what fits.  I also tend to buy less than I think I will need.  If I am committed enough to make it work, then invest more.

And I'm not saying any of this to judge or put down.  I just want people to not be put off by cloth diapering options and to realize that you don't have to break the bank getting started with them.
baby Chase in his cloth diaper.
 I realize it isn't on correctly, but it was just to look cute for pictures.

June 5, 2013

Things I Love....

I don't do well with selling things.  I love to gift people with things that I love.
I can't give everyone products, but I can mention a great discount.
I've recently discovered philosophy.
Every item I've used from them has been beautiful in how it works all the way down to the scent.
Right now you can get 1/3 off all orders through June 7th with the code "philofriend"
Just go to Philosophy and browse their great products.
I love the value sets as you can sample different things.  The picture below is a set of Skin Care Essentials that I have used and love.

That said, I don't get anything from philosophy if you buy from them.  I just wanted to share the love.

Keep It Simple....

It's Whole Foods Wednesday at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition!

I admit that sometimes a really simple idea comes along and just makes me feel stupid for not thinking of it myself.
I have a book on freezer cooking.  It's a great book with some pretty good recipes, but I will admit that it is a total pain to take a whole day and cook.  And then once I get things frozen, they then require thawing and heating.  It honestly didn't seem to save me a chunk of time.  The idea was good, but just not really practical for my lifestyle?

So when i was at the library and saw the book, Not Your Mother's Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, I was skeptical, but as a cookbook junkie, I checked it out anyway.
The idea is still make ahead and freeze, but the ideology (if freezer cooking can have an ideology) is that you don't set aside a huge amount of time.  You take an hour here and there, and make what you were already making.... BUT instead of making the normal amount, make 3 or 4 times that amount and put those extra servings in the freezer.
Or have a theme.... Find a bunch of ground beef at an amazing price?  Then take that ingredient and find some recipes and only put up things with ground beef.
I find many of the recipes very accessible, not stuffy or weird, and family friendly. Jessica Fisher writes as a real mother who is eating family food.

The recipes seem like many of them should be easy to merge with the Trim, Healthy Mama way of eating with a focus on meat and vegetables.  I'm pretty much avoiding the dessert recipes, but when I get to my final goal weight, I might loosen this stance.  I'm just not one to take the time and money to go out and find all the different flours that most would require for converting to on plan.

I think the take home point for me is that the book is that you can stock your freezer and not have to do a marathon day of cooking, and this appeals to me.
I do shop the sales and find that I will just put raw ingredients in the freezer, but I'm thinking that there is a need to be more thoughtful and to have a stash of recipes in hand and ready for when I find a good deal.  It seems a bit of planning will go a long way here....
Then I only have to remember to thaw it out and won't have to worry about cooking meals everyday.

June 4, 2013

Chicken Thai Soup- FP

It's Trim, Healthy Tuesday!  Check out Stacy's and Gwen's sites for more tips and recipes!
I love soup, and I was thinking that I was making the Taste of Thailand from pg 290 of Trim, Healthy Mama, but I guess I should probably read things more closely?
Turns out I was kind of close, but still out of the ball park. My version is kind of a left-over, pantry soup that is quick, cheap and easy to put together.  It is very flexible and forgiving as well, and can be customized in many ways....
And I will add that I like soup in summer.  I don't want a heavy winter stew, but something that takes advantage of what is fresh from the garden.  I can definitely see adding a zucchini or using fresh tomatoes for this one.
I put this soup in the Fuel Pull category in Trim, Healthy Mama.  That way I can add sides or let it stand alone.  I usually get 2 or 3 servings from this recipe.

Chicken Thai Soup-FP

  • Add a can of Rotel with green chilis to a blender to puree a bit, if you like (I use my store brand as it is almost half the price of the brand name, but just as tasty).  I like it kind of chunky, so I don't process much, sometimes not at all.  You could also use your own tomatoes, just add a green chili that is to your liking.
  • Put the tomatoes into a saucepan and add 1 can of light coconut milk.  (do not use the sweetened coconut cream.  You'll be sorry if you do.  It is putridly sweet.)
  • Add 1 cup of chicken stock or water if you don't have any.  And I will add that making your own is simple, inexpensive and tastes so much better than store bought.
  • Add cooked, cubed or shredded chicken breast meat.  I like about 1/2 cup, but you can use more or less.
  • Season with 1/4 tsp each: curry powder, red pepper, and  ginger.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Add 1/2 tsp of dried lemon basil.  (I grow this and harvest and dry my own.  It makes a nice addition, but you won't suffer much if you don't add any).
  • Simmer till warm thru out.

June 3, 2013

Fairytale Tea

It's getting warmer here, but that's no excuse for not drinking tea.  You might think, of course, she is in the south and the drink of choice is sweet tea.
But you would be wrong.
Yes, the whole Southern = Sweet Tea is a thing here, but I will admit that I haven't had any sweet tea in probably 10 years or so, and I'm pretty sure it was just a bad accident when I last did.
You see, tea from the supermarket is usually low-quality, black tea dust.  I am at the point to where I want to taste real teas, different teas, and also utilize the healing power of herbs.  I just don't know that the product on the shelf at the local megamart is going to fit the bill.

In the past I've mixed my own blends and enjoyed experimenting with herbs and different bulk teas.  And while I am getting back to growing and harvesting my own herbs, I found that after baby I have to admit that I was a bit more scattered than normal and didn't feel like I could take the time to get all the herbs I wanted together and create my own tea.  I decided that I would just order some.
But there are so many options.  How do you know who to buy from?  Who mixes and puts the same care that I would into their products?  Who sells organic herbs that I can trust?

I found my personal answers in the form of Mountain Rose Herbs.  Their herbs are quality and their blends are beautiful.
Right now, our favorite is Fairytale Tea.  I mean, who wouldn't love it just for the name alone?  We enjoy it in the evening time as a way to unwind.  This tea is delicious hot or cold and the blend of herbs will help you have sweet dreams.