Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I used to do a ton of swaps when I had more time.  Mostly knitting/crocheting, but I have also done fat quarter swaps.  Sunday, my husband reminded me of the dishcloth swap that I did on an almost monthly basis.  I loved it.  I also did a few granny square swaps that I loved, and I still have a ton of the granny squares that I really should put together as a blanket which would have squares from all over the country.  Now that I think about it, I also did rubber stamp swaps.  These swaps made me finish my projects because I had to send them to someone by a certain time!  Today, I found a blog http://life-is-a-musical.blogspot.com/ that posted about apron swaps that she participated in.  That got me thinking.  I would love to do one again!  Maybe I will try one out.  Now with the colder weather coming, maybe I'll have more time.  I'm thinking that simple dishcloth swaps would be a great way to start up again.  I know that I have 3 kids and to sign up for something liek this may be crazy, but I think it will be good for me!  I'm going to look more into this and I'll certainly post back here when I decide to or not to do a swap.

As a follow up to the Curly Girl post, a twin mom friend sent me info about a salon that has been trained by the woman who wrote the book "Curly Girl".  I have an appointment schedueld for Saturday with the owner of the salon who has been doing this friend's hair for 13 years.  I am so looking forward to getting a haircut from someone who should know how to cut my hair.  I'll follow up with pictures!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Curly Girl

I am a CURLY GIRL!  There I admitted it!  I have curly hair and finally at 37 years old, I really like my curls. After having my twins, and having 3 kids (my oldest is 10 1/2 months older than my twins), I decided to grow out my super short hair (boy short) which I had for probably over 5 years.  I would tell people that I kept my hair short because I hated how curly and frizzy, and crazy my hair was when it was long.  I decided that I had no time to get my hair cut every 3-4 weeks, not to mention the money I would spend only to have my hair never look the way I hoped that it would.  I had attempted to grow my hair out for my wedding 3 years ago, and that never happened.  I have super short hair in my wedding photos, which is fine, but i wish I had been able to embrace my curls back then.  Just recently, I was at Cambridge Naturals, a local natural food store and saw the book "curly girl, The Handbook".  I flipped through it and it was love at first read.  I have been reading how shampooing your hair is bad for hair, but here were "curly girls" saying that not shampooing actually helped your curls.  I was hooked!  I had been limiting how much I was shampooing my hair prior, but now I am going the no shampoo route.  I believe that I have Botticelli curls, which definitely means no shampoo for this head.  It also means that I will mostly be using water and once a week, I will cleanse my hair with conditioner.  I have been really enjoying my curls this time around, and now i think I will even more.  I plan to find a recipe for conditioner and hair gel that I can make myself and only use those products on my hair!  I know that hair gel can be made from flax seeds and that should be really good for my hair vs the junk that gets put into commercially based products.  Now I just need a good moisturizing conditioner recipe!  My husband who currently has super short hair, usually has curly hair when it is longer.  Even though he has curly hair, he has joined in on the no shampooing and maybe is even considering goring his hair longer again!  My 3 kids all have curl to their hair, my daughter being the curliest.  I plan to do the hole no shampoo thing if I can.  Unfortunately, they are still only 2 1/2 and 19 months, so they get food and things in their hair that may actually need to be cleaned out, but for the most part shampoo is no longer in our house. 

So if you are a curly girl, embrace it! Don't wait as long as I did to love what you have and do what's right for what you have!  Curls are beautiful, and like I've always been told, there are a ton of people that would die to have your hair!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Food Update

My new goal of wanting to cook more at home, cook more healthy foods, and use less processed ingredients is starting to actually happen.  I still need to get more organized, but I am doing better on that front also.  We have been eating stonyfield yogurt most morning for a few weeks now.  I have actually made granola to out in it, but we have run out so we are currently using store bought.  I will be making more granola soon though so we will again be having homemade foods.  I am also trying to get a handle on time so that I can attempt to make my own crock pot yogurt.  My friend Chantal, another twin mom who feels very similar about food as I do if not more so, makes her own yogurt this way so now it's my turn.

We have had a ton of eggplant from our garden as well as tomatoes.  On facebook, I asked for suggestions for using the eggplant and got some really good suggestions.  I am attempting a ratatouille recipe (from smitten kitchen)  with oureggplant, and our neighbors summer squash and zuchinni.  Unfortunately, most of the red pepper it calls for is from the grocery store, but a little is from our garden.  I also plan to make an eggplant hummus recipe from http://www.premeditatedleftovers.com.  I also plan to make my own pita bread once I find a good recipe, so if anyone has one, please post it!  We also got a ton on swiss chard from our neighbor that I want to use soon, before it goes bad and I got a recipe from http://www.breastfeedingmomsunite.com/.  I can't wait to try it.

I found the foodrenegade.com site and am really liking it.  Now I have one more blog to follow as well as all the blogs that I find from that site.  I really am comitted to change the way I view food and my health, it's just going to take some time and some patience on my part.  Nothing happens overnight or at least nothing that is good for you so I just need to be patient and perservere though the difficult and trying times!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Real Food

I am so tired of the different informtion that is out there regarding what is healthy food.  I am so tired of food being touted as healthy when it's health benefits pretty much solely depend on who is doing the reporting.  I know that I have to be my own advocate and researcher, but come on,  shouldn't there be something in place that helps the consumer like you and me figure out the truth?  I guess Michael Pollen's suggestion of not eating any food that our great grandmother's wouldn't recognize is the best means of figuring out what foods we should and should not be eating.  When I think about my great grandparents, at least on my mother's side, I think about getting food from the farms that their families worked on.  I think about animal proteins that came right from their farms.  I think about clothing and household items that were made by the families themselves.  My great grandparents didn't buy their food from big chain stores, they didn't eat out at chain restaurants.  They made what they could for food and clothing and other items that they could make themselves.  We live in an age where convenience is more the norm than health and well-being.  I am also to blame for this norm.  As much as I say that I want to be healthier and lead a more natural and handmade life, I also tend to fall for the ease and convenience of take out and prepared foods, clothing, household items.  I also can at times spend way too much money on things that are not necessary for my everyday life.  I am trying to be more vigilant about what I buy vs what I make.  Having three small kids makes it difficult but not impossible.  As always, I try to remain focused an my true goals in life and when I lose that focus I try my hardest to get it back and keep it.  So, while I can find myself not always being true to what I believe, I am always trying to get back there.  I really want to raise my kids not to view convenience as the way to live.  Even though a handmade and natural lifestyle is difficult and not always easy or able to obtain, it is a fabulous goal to have!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday: How do you wish to spend some time?

Jamie Rider at jamieridlerstudios.ca asks "How do you wish to spend some time?"

This is a fabulous question for me.  When I first saw the question, I thought sleeping!  Now that I think more about it, I think I wish to spend time doing the things that I love to do, but never have enough time to do.  With 3 kids under 3, there are so many other things that I need to do, I never or rarely ever get to do the things I love to do.  I would love to have time to spend in my garden and enjoy the flowers that I have.  I would love to spend time learning how to decorate cakes.  I would love to spend time scrapbooking the pictures of my children and even my wedding.  I would love to take a creative class in something new.  I would love to get a massage.  And, yes, I would love to spend some time sleeping with out worrying about the kids waking up.

How do you wish to spend your time?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am trying to re-focus my goals.  Now that I have made some positive changes in my lifestyle, I figure, I need to re-evaluate what other changes need to come next.  I have been doing ok with exercising.  I've had a little slow down due to chaos and weather, but will be back up and at it when things (weather) is better.  I am eating a little better, but can always do more.  I have been shinig my sink and picking up the kids toys every night.  I have been better at getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  I think my next step is to focus on my eating more.  I have been having less breads than previously, but still need to do much better.  I have stopped drinking coffee almost exclusively.  I am now only drinking tea, except for the rare occasion when I need the caffeine (which means I didn't listen to myself and get sleep).  I have decided to cut out all soda except for soda water.  No artificial colors for me.  I am also only going to eat sugar in small amounts and only in it's most natural state.  I am not doing anymore HFCS and no agave nectar.  My goal is honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, stevia, and other natural sugars like dates and fruit.  I am going to eat even less meat than I am now.  I haven't been as good as I'd like to be, but I can always look at where I am at and how I can do better. I think I have been doing better at eating at home, but that is always a struggle, especially with me working.  I need to plan better.  I need to incoorporate more beans, fruits, and veggies into my diet.  I think it has really helped that I am pretty much only having yogurt and granola for breakfast.  I feel better and am not eating a ton of carbs early in the day.  Also, I am waiting for my food testing to come back to see if I have any allergies.  It will be really interesting to see what it says and where I go from there.

So, to refocus, I am decreasing the amount of carbs I eat (especially early in theday), I am only using minimal amounts of natural sweeteners, decreasing the amount of animal protein and increasing non-animal protein, and eating more fruits and veggies.  I really need to do more research on healthy eating.  There is jsut so much info out there, that I need to figure out what is going to work best for me and my family.  If anyone wants to comment on good reads for healthy eating and recipes, I am all ears.

The last goal that I want to focus on is ensuring that I get to be creative more often than I am right now.  Granted, cooking is a creative outlet, but I want to do more.  I want/need to knit, sew, paper craft, cake decorate, make jewelry, and any other creative form that I love.

These are my newest goals and I am starting to work on them as I write!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Update

I had lots of things planned for the weekend, and I actually got somethings completed.  This was not the weekend for the twins group outing. so that was one less ting on the list.  What I did get completed was the granola, some garden work, the mei tai, and even got to bed on the earlier side and got some rest, since the kids all slept really well.  Oh, and I make cookies with the kids (of course I did most of it with a little help from the kids).  I still need to make graham crackers, yogurt, more granola, more planting (not any time soon with the rain we are having) and I know that there is more that I need to do!

These are the pictures of my mei tai.  I tried on all the kids quickly this morning.  I was actually able to do it by myself, and Eva Rose as the first was my worst.  The two boys cooperated much more and I am really excited to use it!  I think the kids will really like it.

Work in progress

Miss Eva Rose in the Mei Tai

Mr Michael in the Mei Tai (better positioned)

Mr Thomas in the  Mei Tai

Finished project

Finally finished!  I feel pretty good about all that I got done this weekend.  I still have plenty of things that I need to work on.  I need to plan what projects I can work on while I am at work if there is down time.  I have a bunch of cooking baking things that I want/need to make and given that it is going to rain for a couple of days (much needed) I think I may get some things done.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Projects For The Weekend

Last night, I started trying my plan to get organized.  I followed flylady.net advice and shined my sink. Great, I can do that every night and yes it did look really nice.  I will work on day 2 of my flylady plan.  I will also make some granola tonight, maybe even attempt some homemade yogurt since we seem to go through it so quickly with 5 of us eating it (I'm eating the low fat though so not as much of mine get eaten as quickly), I will at least cut out the material and if possible sew a pocket diaper for Thomas (we are trying out new diapers to see what is going to work best for the kiddos given their sensitive skin), I think I will also make oatmeal for breakfast in the slow cooker (yummmmm).  Between tomorrow and Sunday, I need to plant the irises that my mom gave me, transplant the lillies that I already have, and overall get the front gardens looking better.  I also want to make graham crackers (no HFCS or partially hydrogenated fats in these), a peach and blueberry cobbler, sew more diapers, and make my mei tei wrap before my little ones get too big!  There is also the possibility of going on an outing with my twins group and I don't know how that will fit in to the weekend of if it does at all.  Maybe we won't even go.  If I can get even a few of these thing completed, I will be thrilled!

Even though I want to get things accomplished (and the things I listed don't include the housework I need to do) I need to make sure that I get to bed at a normal hour (I think 11 o'clock is appropriate).  I will just have to prioritize what needs to get done and what can be postponed!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Getting Organized

I really need to get organized (as I have so often wrote)!  Last post, I worte about getting more balance in my life.I think that one of the first things I need to do to get organized is to find time for myself.  That most likely means that I will need to get up at specific time every day, hopefully before the kids, so that I can plan to do thing by myself.  Initially that may mean that I get up early and start spending a short amount of time organizing an area in my home.  I need to start getting a schedule of things that need to get done, daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally.  Once I get that, I can start to get a plan on how to get things done so that I can find time for me.  I also want to be able to find time to make homemade food items.  I really am inspired by the blogs I read and also the friend I have.  I want to make sure that I find time to be creative.  I have so many projects that I want to complete and that I really need to complete.  I need to schedule time to complete these projects.  I guess I also need to figure out specifically how I want to spend my days.  I also want to start scheduling time to spend with the kids doing tasks that allows the kids to have some learning time!

I have lots of things that I want to do and many things that I need to do.  I just have to prioritize them and spend less time doing things that I don't need to be doing like watching tv, facebook, and other things like that!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday: Where do you wish to make a fresh start? Balance in life

I haven't been participating in Wishcasting Wednesday lately and I thought that I would give it a try again. (Life has just been too crazy) Jamie Ridler over at jamieridlerstudios.ca asks "Where Do You Wish to Make a Fresh Start?"

Balance!  Isn't that what we all strive for.  I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, especially on my drive to and from work (not that it's a long drive, but it's time alone) and what has recently come to me is that I am seeking more balance in my life.  My eating is out of control, sometimes my emotions are out of control, I don't have balance in my home life right now since I am still trying to work out being at home with the kids and then leaving and going to work.  I never realized how tough it would be to maintain a balance when your schedule changes and you have 3 kids and a husband (thankfully I have a helpful husband who makes the transition much easier).  I need to find balance in ensuring that the house gets clean, but that it does not become my total focus.  I need to find the balance in exercising and making sure tht I am getting enough rest.  I need to find balance in ensuring that I get enough time in to be creative and enjoy my different hobbies.  I need to find balance to have time to read, one of my loves, but I don't make it a priority any more.  I need to find the balance in enjoying good television, but not letting it take over my life.  I need to find balance in using the computer and not letting my blogs/facebook/web searches/other peoples blogs take time away from other things that would be balancing my life.

I wish to make a fresh start by having more balance in my life!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Ice Cream

I finally found the recipe for the pumpkin ice cream that I have been looking for since last Friday (when I should have printed it out).  I haven't made it yet and probably wont make it til tomorrow at least, but I have the recipe and I think even all the ingredients. 

The kids are having their EI evals tomorrow and we need to get the house looking presentable.  I am looking forward to the evals, but I am also a tad bit nervous of the outcome.  Hopefully, they will all get services that will help them with their communication.  They are starting to say more, but really have no functional language at this point.  I am hoping that this is because of things that my husband and I can change and not because of something like autism or PDD (developmental delay).  Because of this delay, their slow weight gain, and other reasons, I really need to get working on getting more organized, especially with meals.  I need to start making more nutritious meals and snacks.  Not that they are eating totally unhealthy, but they are certainly eating more junk food than I would like.  I think I am still getting used to my schedule now that I have a job.  It is certainly taking some time getting used to things, but I think it has been good.

With regards to eating, my husband and I had a huge discussion about dietary intake.  I am so tired of having the best of intentions and not following through with them.  There are so many foods that i love that are so not good for you.  I love starchy carbs, but they pack on the weight on me like you wouldn't believe.  I love sweets and I love salty foods.  Again, foods that are not good for you and all 3 of these types of foods just make you want more!  I really need to get my head around the fact that I need to plan to eat healthyfor me and my kids and my husband!

So my next step is to plan meals for the rest of the week.  I started off writing about a fun topic like ice cream adn some how, I ended up talking about a way more serious issue.  I am so happy to have this blog so that I can write down these thoughts and feelings.  Even if no one reads them and no one comments, it is a place where I can put down the trials that I face trying to follow through with the life style that I want to lead.  It is not easy to live the way I want to.  We have way too many sshort cuts taht make things easy ion the moment, but in the long run, they make things so much worse!

Thanks to anyone who reads and comments on my blogs.  I really appreciate the feedback.  Hopefully some day, I'll be able to stop writing about how I want to live and start wrinting about actually living he way I want to be living!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Ice Cream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

In my last post, I commented that there were a bunch of recipes that I wanted to try.  I had already tried a berry rice milk ice cream made in my Vita-mix blender, but I wanted to try something in an actual ice cream maker.  I got the book "Vegan Scoop" and had been dying to try a recipe.  The problem was I wanted to have it some out really good and since all the recipes were made with soy milk and soy cream, I needed to find alternative so that my husband could also partake in these new ventures of mine.  "Vegan Scoop" says that you can use other milks as well as soy, but it also called for soy creamer which, I believe is a little thicker than soy milk.  The creamer was my problem.  After researching dairy free ice creams, I came across a recipe using coconut milk.  I figured it would taste good, be thick and creamy, and best of all soy and dairy free.  I attempted to make mint chocolate chip ice cream between last night and this morning.  All in all, I think it was good.  I do think that i probably used too much mint extract and will definitely cut back next time.  I also used agave nectar instead of granulated sugar and will use it again.  My husband liked it as well as my 3 kids (29 months and 18 month twins).  I will defintely make this again and maybe next time I'll try it without the coconut milk to see how it comes out with just rice milk.  You do use arrowroot powder as a thinkening agent so that may be all that is needed.  It will certainly be interesting and maybe even fun to try all sorts of different combinations!


Friday, August 13, 2010


I have been reading many blogs lately and am totally getting inspired.  Currently, the blog that I am most enjoying is blog.healthy-green-lifestyle.com.  There are so many recipes I want to try.  I just need to make the time to start cooking healthier for my family.  I am starting to get better, but I have a very long way to go.  One of my newest goals is to start making homemade yogurt and granola.  We have started to eat yogurt almost every day as well as granola.  I have been buying stoneyfield yogurt which I love, but I would rather make my own.  I have a friend who makes her own yogurt and I plan to ask her for some advice.  I did get a granola recipe from a neighbor and can't wait to try it out.  blog.healthy-green-lifestyle.com also has a protein bar recipe that I am dying to try as well as pumpkin ice cream that has no milk or cream in it.  I can't wait!  There are so many recipes I want to try.

Like I said in my previous post, my husband was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.  This really means that as the primary meal planner for the house, it is my responsibilty to plan meals that will help him hopefully resolve his metabolic syndrome or at least make it so that it is not a major issue in his life.  Along with that, we will hopefully both be losing weight, my blood pressure will go down and my kids will have a better start to eating healthy given that they are so young.

Unfortunately, the plan for dinner tonight is not all that healthy.  I had bought a calzone the other day and I don't want to waste it.  I plan to have a better start tomorrow.  Tonight after work, I plan to go home and make some ice cream.  I want to try the pumpkin one first, but I think I have all the ingredients for the other one at home, so that will be my first try.  I plan to research more healthy eating, going in the direction of weight loss, lowing blood pressure, and helping with metabolic syndrome.

Check back for more info once I actually get the chance to make some of these delicious recipes!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Am I Following Through?

As chaotic as life is right now, I think that I am starting to get better at meeting my goal of living a handmade and natural life.  I started this blog a little more than a year ago with the goal of living a  more natural life.  I wanted to do this by buying food in it's most natural state and cooking vs buying more processed foods, being thrifty with how I spend my money,  making things that I would normally buy in a store (if possible), eating less frequently at restaurants (again making my own food as naturally as possible), making my own healthy cleaning and body products, and anything else that fits into this category.  I have certainly had my ups and downs with these goals and probably have had more downs than ups,  but I always attempt to get back on track.   

Along with the things I wrote about above, I am also trying to be a more natural/crunchy parent.  I cloth diaper, I attempted CIO but hated it and really haven't done it since (though in another blog I wrote that it worked and that I loved it until I realized it was luck that my son wnet to sleep so well for a few days), I try to make sure that the kids experience time outside and that they remain active.  I have also, along with my husband, tried to hold off early intervention referrals for the kids speech so that they have time to develop on their own time table.  We actually have maede a referral recently since we now think that they really could benefit.

I have started being better about cooking at home, using the veggies from our garden, other people's garden, or the farmer's market.  Unfortunately due to finances, I am not able to utilize organic foods and free range and grass fed meats, but when I can I try to.  I am trying to be better about choosing healthy foods and doing what ever it takes to get my little ones to eat their veggies.  I am starting to utilize a cookbook "Ddeceptively Delicious" which uses veggie purees in foods that you wouldn't think would have veggies in them as a way to "trick" my kids into eating veggies.  I will also offer them veggies so that they get used to eating veggies, but at least this way they will get the nutrients they need without knowing it.  Unfortunately, my husband was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, which is really a name for a group of issues that he is trying to take care of.  We both have high blood pressure, he is pre-diabetic, and he has a problem with his cholesterol ratios.  This is being dealt with by his doctor through vitamins and exercise, and we want to start treating it with diet.  Unfortunately, one of the ways to treat it is a low carb diet.  Unfortunately, I love carbs!  I think we just need to decrease the amount of carbs in our diet, which is something I am always trying to do.  The other info that he found out about through an alternative medication site it that high fructose corn syrup is a major contributor to metabolic syndrome.  I try not to buy anything with HFCS, but it seems like it is in everything.  We are exercising too, which is a major change for us.  For the last few years, we have been major couch potatoes, probably because we are too tired with everything else in our lives, but that is no excuse.  It's time to continue to exercise, lose weight and get healthy.

I am also trying to find time to do my hobbies.  Unfortunately, I am now working so that eats up 4 hours of my time M-F, but I think it is really important to find time to do the things that you love.  I am attempting to get organized so that I am able to live the lifestyle that I want, which means that I'll be so much happier in the long run.  It's just going to take some time to get there, but if I do it right, it will be easy to maintain!

Always a work in progress, but am I living up to what I really want out of life?


Friday, August 6, 2010


I have often been writing about my desire to be healthier.  I have started making some small changes in my life that I hope will become more of a lifestyle than a short term investment.  I have started exercising at least 3 times per week.  My husband and I started walking a DCR area in our town that was about 3 miles and very hilly.  Unfortunately, my older son got sick and we slacked a little and then i got sick and we slacked again after just getting back on track.  Finally my summer cold/almost sinus infection has mostly passed and we have gotten back on track again.  Since my husband is having isuues with shin splints, we have changed our walking routine to the bike path out of Peabody.  Wednesday, we walked 3 miles, maybe even a little over, and today we did 4 miles.  I am actually really sore, but in a good way.  I never thought that I would enjoy getting back to walking as much as I have recently.

I am trying much harder to be better at cooking from scratch.  I got a couple of recommendations to get the Joy of Cooking cookbook, which is on my list of books to buy as well as cookbooks on how to get veggies in sneakily.  I have made some things with veggies from our garden, which is so much fun.  We are still waiting for the tomatoes to ripen and we have a bunch of eggplant that are growing.  I would have to say that tomatoes and eggplant have been our best crop this year.  We haven't done horrible with zuchinni, but could do better.  We also have had issues with animals eating our veggies.  We put up a fence, but it seems like there are still issues where what ever it is is getting at the squashes.  Also, our watermelon seems to be doing ok, but they are not quite ready.

I have started a new part time job, which I think is going well so far.  I am enjoying getting back into the workforce and I seem to have great co-workers.  I am not loving the stress of getting a new routine down, but I'm sure that with time, the routine will get establishes and things will go much smoother.

I have a ton of projects to work on, but given the sickness in the house and the new job, they are being put on the back burner.  I am working on a handmade mei tai baby carrier.  I love the material, but I can't seem to find the time to actually sit down and work on it.  I want to make some pocket diapers, but again, I can't seem to find the time. I think I even have the material, for the most part and since we bought 6, I really like them.  I am planning on making them with fleece instead of PUL so that they are more breathable.  Hopefully that will help with the rashes that we are constantly fighting.

My flower gardens are starting to look a little sad.  It has been so dry here in MA, that things just seem to be withering away!  I have some work to do on moving some flowers and bunching them more together.  I think that way it will look better and then next year, I can look at planting more flowers.  I hate to admit taht I need to deal with some insects that seem to be eating my plants.  I hate to use insecticides, btu I don't know what else to use.  I will have to do some research to find natural ways of dealing with bug eaten plants.

So, that is my progress at this time.  I still have a ton of work to get to where I want to be.  I still need to figure out if I want to try an etsy.com website.  Do I even have time to do something like that?  I need to make sure I find time to exercise and eat right.  I need to ensure that I get me and my family on a good routine/schedule so that the house runs smoothly.