Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I know that there are a lot of times that I tend to repetitively write about the same thing over and over and over, or at least that is how it feels to me.  Here I am again writing about organization and my lack there of.  I really need to go through my kids' toys and get them organized so that I can feel like my house is not full of toys.  On the other hand, I really need to get my craft supplies organized so that I know what I have and figure out if there are things that I either have double of (because I was not organized) or if there are things that I can get rid of.  I am really getting tired of feeling stressed because I am so unorganized!  Also, maybe, just maybe if things are organized, then I will find time to be creative and enjoy my craft supplies.

The other area that I need to get organized in is meal planning.  Actually after I write this post, I am off to plan for the next week.  I really need to plan what I am going to eat and what I will eat when I have certain cravings, since I really need and want to get my eating under control.  I talked to my husband about some of these things today and we decided that I just need to do it.  I can't keep putting it of, rationalizing it, or making excuses.  It is hard without a set schedule like we have during the school year, but I guess I just need to put a schedule together for myself and plan my meals and go grocery shopping around the foods that I need to be eating.

If I can get myself organized, I am sure that I will have more time for other things and I am absolutely sure that I will be way less stressed.  I am hoping that if I get my eating under control that will help me with some of the procrastination that I am having since I think the foods that I am eating are making me feel less motivated and almost spacey.  What I need to do is just do what I know needs to be done and know that I may need to work a lot harder at it than some people who are just naturally organized and neat.

I know what I need to do, how I need to do it, but now I just need to actually follow through and do it!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Do I Need To Do?

I have all these ideas and thoughts, but the follow through isn't always there.  With summer being here and my husband being home and Michael in school for the month of July, we have taken advantage of just having 2 kids to take out for our daily walks and have gone for a 4 mile walk usually about 3-4 days a week.  We have also attempted to spend a lot of time with the kids playing outside and maybe even getting some gardening done.  What we haven't really had is a set formal schedule other than Michael's school.  What this has done for me, is to take away some structure that I had and now I haven't gone and done a normal grocery shopping, made a normal meal plan, cooked dinner, cleaned house, done laundry, made time for creating, gone to any farmer's markets.  This means, my goals of being organized, eating healthy, being creative, etc have all gone by the wayside.  Also, we have my brother in law staying with us, and as much as it's not his fault, it has really either caused some planning issues or at least given me a way to rationalize (albeit an abnormal rationale) why I am not getting things done.

One of the reasons that I like writing this blog, is that it helps to keep my head a little more clear about what my goals are.  I may not always follow through with them, but at least I am thinking and writing and hopefully following some of them.  To give myself some credit, I have been exercising.  I have made some better meal choices, though not always great.  I have started making water kefir and milk kefir, though I am feeling like I am getting behind in that area as well.  I have been having some green smoothies, though I really want to have more.  I really want to start menu planning again.  For some reason, having my husband home has made me lazy in this area.  I need to get back on track.

Long and Short Term Goals?:
  1. plan my meals for the week
  2. have a green smoothie every day
  3. exercise
  4. be creative
  5. cook/eat at home versus eating crappy unhealthy food out
  6. continue to read more about aromatherapy and herbs
  7. continue to research nutrition and healthy diet
  8. reasearch and get new recipes
  9. read and follow "the Body Ecology Diet", and allergy diets
  10. go grocery shopping
  11. finish Rebecca's baby shower gift!
Thanks to those who read!  I love having a place to put my thoughts and ideas down and sometimes even get comments/thoughts back!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Back To Basics

I'm once again writing about my diet, which is an on going battle.  One of my goals, when I go back to work is to maybe work with people with eating issues/disorders.  I have never really thought about that realm of social work, but given the struggles I am having, I am thinking it may be an interesting area to learn more about.  With that being the goal and add on to that goal getting some nutritional education behind me, I decided that I really need to get myself back in line with healthy eating and healthy living.  Along with that, I really need to get back to eating healthy and cooking for my family just to plain old save money.

Enter  The author of this blog started some posts about "The Beck Diet Solution".  Her posts got me intrigued and I am using this as an opportunity to get back to basics.  Day 1 of "The Beck Diet Solution" is basically to put down your goals.  The thing is, you have to actually read your goals twice a day.  I am going to try that, but we'll see how it works out.  Actually you are supposed to write down your reasons for losing weight so here are mine:

  1. to be healthy
  2. to reduce my cardiac and cancer risk
  3. to feel better with how I look
  4. to have more energy
  5. to feel better about myself in general
  6. to be a healthy example for my kids
Day 2 is to choose your diet.  I am choosing to follow Dr Neal Barnard diet, which is basically a vegan diet.  I am in the middle of reading his "Breaking The Food Seduction" which I am hoping will help with the multiple food  addictions that I have.  I  am also looking to follow the "Body Ecology Diet" for a multitude of reasons.  I guess, according to this book you don't necessarily rush right into the diet, there are 2 weeks of exercises to do.  I guess I should look at getting the book and looking at it so I at least know what I am attempting here.

Day 3 is to sit while you eat.  This is one that I have been attempting to do as a family but am failing miserably, with me being one of the main culprits.  I tend to multi task while I eat and as much as I know I shouldn't, I do.  I am going to really try to sit and enjoy my food with no distractions, as much as I am able to.

That's we we're at so far.  I'll continue to post what new changes/goals I am looking to make and hopfully this time, I'll be moving in the right direction!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Latest Project

My friend T.J. from, asked about my latest projects that I plan to make for my newest niece.  She was wondering if I am going to use a pattern or make up my own.  I guess the answer to that question is both.  I plan on using this basic design here at and then moving on to make it my own.  I plan to use 4 monkey wrench blocks since my sister is doing a monkey theme.  I figured I would go with some traditional and some very basic blocks so that it is simple yet personalized.  I am also planning on trying the ribbon block from that same site also.  For the burp cloths, I am just planning on adding a personalized strip down the middle and maybe the bottom of some pre-made cloth diapers.  I got some like that for my 3 kids and I love them.  I am trying to figure out what to do with them now since I no longer need burp cloths and I would rather not use those for dust rags.  Actually, after writing this post, I am thinking I am going to pull out my embroidery attachment to my sewing machine and embroider the squares for the ribbon block as well as personalize it with my nieces name Hannah!

So T.J., when I finish my project, I will post pictures.  Maybe I'll even post some in progress pictures.  I can't wait to find time to actually make these gifts!  I am really looking forward to it!


Monday, July 18, 2011


I am working really hard to get back to where I want to be with regards to my beliefs!  My beliefs such as: making gifts instead of just going to a department store and buying them, eating healthy home cooked meals, being active, using alternative means to having a healthy life, being as green and eco-friendly/conscious as I can.

I am planning on sewing a couple of things for my sister's baby shower and I finally planned her blanket.  I was going to make an actual quilt, but then I thought about time and whether or not it would actually be used.  I decided to make a ribbon quilt.  It will be an actual quilt, but small and with ribbons that my newest niece will hopefully enjoy playing with.  I want it to be used and loved, not just folded away some where.  I am also planning on making a couple of burp cloths to match the quilt.  I did buy the diaper bag that was on my sister's registry as well as some little things to go along with it, but I absolutely for certain wanted to make something for my newest niece.  I spent Friday night drafting the ribbon quilt for my niece.  I am hoping that it will look great.  I hope that it won't be too over done.  My sister decided to go with the monkey theme, so I have monkey and jungle material with coordinating fabrics to go along with it.  I am really excited to start working on it.  I also decided to do a couple of traditional quilt blocks called the monkey wrench.  I hope it some out the way I planned it!  Then I will be off to draft my kids' quilts!  I am hoping to use non-traditional patterns for theirs and make the boys coordinating and Eva Rose's coordinating too, but add something girly to it also.  I am planning on having them in the same room for quite some time, so I might as well coordinate all quilts with the space theme that we had decided on for the boys!

I am trying to really get back to eating healthy.  I have started to have at least 1 green smoothie a day.  I would love to move up to have more and decreasing some of the solid foods that I eat.  How healthy would it be to have more fruits and veggies in your diet and be able to drink them and get all the nutrients that you need.  I still ahve a long way to go to fully be where I want to be, but again this whole life style is a balance.  I don't have to be all or nothing.  I can make small changes and hope that as I increase the amount of small changes, it will add up to big overall changes!  As long as I keep moving in the right direction, than I am happy with that.  I have started to decrease the amount of sugar that I give the kids and me and my husband.  I am trying to get the adults away from as much meat as we have been eating, but not really the kids.  I was hoping to do more with a raw foods diet for the summer months, but I don't seem to be there yet.  I also keep trying to get way from gluten and gluten containing foods as well as dairy!

Tom and I hae been trying to walk on average every other day to every day depending on the weather and our schedule.  We have been walking 4 miles and I am finally seeming not to have aches and pains like I did when we first started 2 weeks ago.  I really want to start doing yoga!  I have all these thoughts, but I just don't seem to find the time to actually do it!  I am hoping the yoga  will help me physically and also mentally, dealing with stress in my life.

As for using alternative means to a healthy life, I want to learn more about herbs and aromatherapy and how to incorporate that into my life.  I would love to learn enough to start a career with  this.  I also consider nutrition as an alternative means of living a healthy life.  By nutrition, I don't mean following the latest fad, I mean eating a healthy diet that may actually even go against what mainstream society tells you to eat.  I also want to include yoga and other things like qi gong in my practice.  I would love to add some of these things to anactual career, but I think my husband would kill me if I changed my career from social work to something else!  I think it's because I had just gotten my MSW/LCSW right before I had children.  Maybe some day, I'll actually get supervision and get enough hours to get my LICSW and then I can practice social work and do therapy how I want to, not just traditional psychotherapy!

I just want to continue to recycle and reduce my contribution to any negative envornmental impact.  I would love to re-use instead of always using new items.  Someday, I'll get to a thrift store and start to use/re-use otehr peoples things especailly in new and creative ways instead of always buying new, even material.

God this was a long post!  If anyone is reading this, this was another post to help remind me of my goals, not to preach.  Any thoughts are always welcome!


Friday, July 15, 2011


Since most of my posts lately have been about food and diet, I thought I would change things up and write a little about my creativity, or lack there of.  I haven't been very motivated to be creative.  It could be that I am a wife, a mom of 3 under 3, work part time, trying to cook healthy, trying to keep a clean/somewhat organized house (focus on trying), or maybe it's just that I've been lazy.  My friend Liz over at, really inspires me.  This week, after my darling 2 1/2 year old daughter started waking up around 5:30 am sometimes earlier, I decided that I needed to actually make the light blocking shades that I had been planning on for quite some time.  Then I decided that the windows needed new curtains to go along with the space themed shades.  So now my kids have their new curtains and shades and they have actually been sleeping til 7:00 am! 

I am now inspired to move on to the quilts for my kids as well as the projects for my newest niece who will be joining us in about 1 1/2 months.  I am still in the process of figuring out the quilt pattern for my kids as well as for my niece.  I am also planning on making some burp cloths for her too.  So I am now off to try to find good patterns for the quilts.  At first, I had thought about just making space themed quilts for the boys since the plan is for their rooms to be space themed.  The drawback is that my daughter shares a room with them too.  Do I make her the same quilt?  Do I make her the shabby chic inspired quilt that I had planned to make her?  Or, do I make her a space themed quilt that is a little more girly than the boys, but that will still have elements of the boys quilts so that they coordinate?  I've decided that we have entirely too many boy themed toys and we need to start encouraging some girl themed play, for all 3 kids!  I think  my daughter needs a quilt that is somewhat girly, but one that will coordinate with the boys quilt.  Any thoughts?  My friend Liz also inspires me to go beyond the traditional quilt block and try something a little different.  I can't wait to see what I come up with.

I have many projects, almost too many.  I really need to stay inspired so that I can get some things accomplished.  I find that I really enjoy being creative, especially sewing.  I don't always enjoy the process, it's something I need to work on.  One thing I need to do is give myself enough time to complete a project so that I don't stress about a deadline!  If I am not stressed about a deadline (which due to my chronic procrastination I often am), I do enjoy the process.  The one thing I always enjoy is the outcome!  I can always guarantee that I love the results especially if it comes out the way I want, but if not I'm still usually satisfied that I was able to create something.

Hopefully I can get some projects completed and post some pictures.  Also, not to rush things along, but I want to get started thinking about Christmas gifts.  Again, I find creating much more enjoyable when I am not stressed about a deadline, like I'm sure most people!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Making Changes Happen

As those who have been following along know, I am and have been attempting to change my eating habits.  I am making some definite progress, but I still have a great way to go.  I have a new motivation though!  My children, or should I say my oldest son.  All of my children have a speech delay.  They are all very active kids.  Now you can say that they are not quite 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 (twins) years old and I absolutely agree!  I am no where saying that I have issues with hyperactive kids, I just have kids that are more active than those kids that enjoy sitting and doing quiet activities.  With my oldest, there has been some question (on my husband's part because I know nothing about this) of autism.  I have asked his early intervention speech therapist who said no.  I have asked the school teacher, more braodly, if they felt that his speech delay was a symptom of something else.  Again the answer was no.  My husabnd still has some concerns that there is more to him that has been diagnosed, and on some level I wonder too.  But, on the other side, I wonder if there are foods that are making things worse and that it is more of a food reaction than an actual diagnosed illness.

Since I am trying to eat a certain way, and since that way of eating can only help my children, especially my oldest, I am motivated now to really look at what my meal plan consists of.  Instead of just flying by the seat of my pants, which no matter how hard I try I never seem to get a plan in place, I meed to actually menu plan and plan along the lines of a diet that may benefit me and my children.  Even if there is no change to their behavior, their speech, or anything else, at least I know that it is a healthy way to eat.

At this point, I am looking to eliminate gluten and sugar, and we have already eliminated dairy (for the most part).  I say that we have eliminated dairy for the most part because, ingeneral we don't give the kids any dairy, but then once in a while they will have it if we are at a party, or now that it's summer we will have ice cream once in a while, but now where near the 7+ gallons of milk we were consuming prior to giving up dairy.

I am looking for good tried and true recipes.  I have some cookbooks and blogs that I really like, but I really want to make things that me and my family will enjoy.  If anyone has favorites, please send them my way!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Going Green (Smoothie)

With my desire to start being healthy, I have started to look at the raw foods world, at least for the summer months.  One thing that I noticed is the whole green smoothie "revolution".  Ok, so maybe not a revolution, but it;s certainly a popular concept.  A few years ago, my husband and I started to make green smoothies.  We bought a book by Victoria Boutenko, who has been promoting green smoothies.  Basically, it is a much easier and tastier way to get in your fruits and veggies, almost like a V8 fruit drink but better and probably better for you since you make it yourself.  Green smoothies basically consist of fruit, a green leafy veggie, and maybe some water and protein powder if you wish ( we've used protein powder in the past but I have used it recently).  I like my greens, but there are only so many I can eat at a time.  I can drink these smoothies and feel like I am being healthy and getting in my fruits and veggies.  Most recently, I have been adding in my homemade kefir with some stevia to sweeten the kefir.  I had some last night for a snack and even when my husband wanted ice cream, I was a little more able to hold off and not be persuaded as easily as I usually am.  I am hoping that one positive impact for me will be relieving me from my cravings.  I don't see it or expect that it will happen overnight, but I am hoping that these small changes I am making will help me with my overall health and in time I'll be able to listen to my bosy and really trust what it is telling me.

Last night, as I was researching green smoothies, I went to a blog I have been following for some time now, www.choosingraw.  One of the things that I read, which totally resonated with me was making small changes.  For along time now, and with many things, I often feel like I have to be perfect right away or else it is a failed attempt.  I am slowly realizing, I can make small changes to my diet that over time will accumulate to large very positive changes.  I am also realizing that it really isn't an all or nothing idea.  I can have some meat even though I want mostly to be a vegan.  I can have dairy even though I don't want to have it every day.  The healthier I get, the more I can listen to my body and the more I can trust it to tell me what it

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that I have been making homemade kefir.  I am making both milk and water kefir and am loving both.  I love water kefir.  It is fermented water that has some small bubbles in it.  Often I will drink it in a champagne flute or a wine glass just for the fun of it.  I love drinking out of fancy glasses even if it is just water.  I haven't really experimented with flavors yet, but I plan to do that soon.  I haven't really been drinking the milk kefir, but I have been using it in mainly my pancake recipes and have made butter out of it also.  I have strained the kefir and made "kefir cheese" and then used the whey in my pancake batter.  I have started (just yesterday) to add kefir to my green smoothie.  I really enjoyed it though I did need to flavor it with stevia, since straight plain kefir, like plain yogurt, is a little too tart for my taste.  I'm loving my kefir grains!

Green Smoothie Recipe #2

1 apple
1/2 C frozen blueberries
1/2 C frozen berries
1C frozen mixed fruit
1/2 C sunflower seeds (magnesium)
1 head of green leaf lettuce (from my neighbor's CSA share)
water to blend to consistency of your liking
1/2 C kefir/yogurt (optional)
stevia to taste (optional)
 (for the first smoothie of the day, I added the kefir at the end and just stirred it in with about 7-8 drops of liquid stevia.  Later that night, I re-blended a glass of the smoothie with some kefir and stevia and I think blending it made it more amalgamated and I really enjoyed it much more)

I usually blend the fruit and water and then add the greens.  You really can use any leafy greens you want.  My husband is lacking in the magnesium arena so I added the sunflower seeds to help increase the magnesium for him.  Blend to your favorite consistency and enjoy.

I am looking forward to trying more combinations as well as using veggies from our garden.  I will post more recipes as I make them.  I am hoping that, in time, these green smoothies with help me get my health back and as I've said, I can start trusting my body!

Have you had green smoothies?  Do you have favorite recipe?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Recently, I started looking at a book called Nourishing Traditions.  I had thought I wanted to buy it, but after realizing what it is all about, and not that it's bad it's just not the direction I want to go, I decided that I most likely won't buy it.  What this book did for me though, was to make me think about my diet and how I eat.  I've already written that I have food addictions and I also have an issue with over eating and hiding the food that I eat.  What I realized first is, I have a real disconnect with food!  If you were ask me how I feel after eating certain foods, for the most part I wouldn't notice if I felt different eating certain foods.  I would also say that I couldn't tell you why I eat certain foods, why I over eat, if there are certain triggers that make me eat certain foods or at certain times of the day.  The only thing that I could tell you is that, I tend to eat food whose taste lingers in my mouth.  I tend to want that taste no matter how full I am.

My husband and I have been trying to eat a more vegan diet.  Mainly for health reason, but also for animal rights reasons, at least on my part, I won't speak for my husband.  Unfortunately with the summer here and the grill being used as well as my children seeming to eat more animal protein (they are only 3 and 2 1/2 ), I have found myself eating way more meat that I would like.  One thing I recently noticed is that when I have meat, especially beef, I tend to over eat it.  I'm sure, actually I know that there are other foods like that for me.  Because of this realization, I have decided that I think eating more vegan is the right way for me to eat.  I am also thinking that I need to start a food journal.  I really need to connect more with my food and really focus on why I am eating what  and is there something else non food related that is more what I need?

Now my dilema with going back to eating more vegan is, "What are some good ways to eat vegan in the summer months?"  I really enjoy beans, soups, stews, roasted veggies, rice, but I want to enjoy summer also and I really don't desire eating those heavy foods.  I wrote in yesterdays post that I was thinking about looking at the raw foods diet for the summer.  I still think I will do that, but if anyone has any thoughts on how to maintain a vegan lifestyle through the summer (since I just started going plant strong), and/or any recipes, I would love it!  I would love some good blogs sites as well!

Now as for the handmade part of my blog, I seriously need to get creating again.  Hopefully in the near future, I will be able to find some time to do this!  I have lots of projects, just not enough time to make them!

I am also thinking that I know the direction that I want to go when I truly get back into the workforce.  I am thinking that I want to move towards nutritional counseling and education.  I need to get myself on track first, but I really think I would enjoy that.  Now I just need to figure out how to do this over the next 3-5 years!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eating In Balance

The name of my blog is "The Balance of Living a Handmade and Natural Life".  I'm not quite sure that I have been finding myself feeling very balanced lately, especially when it comes to eating.  My husband and i decided to move towards a vegan diet after his doctor and dietician recommended it for certain health issues and after some research about some family history on my part.  When the weather was cold, and here in New England it was raw and cold for what seemed like forever, I felt like it was easy.  Beans became a stable of our diet.  Of course the kisd hated this type of diet so we started to switch back to meat for the kids.  Then finally, the nice weather came and we started to cook on the grill.  I have now moved back into the meat eating, dairy loving person that I was before we made our diet change.  The problem?- I don't feel as good when I eat that way.  I love the taste, but I tend to over eat, I feel horrible after and the cycle continues.

How do I plan on fixing this problem?  Well, I have to say I feel more balanced when I eat a more vegan style diet.  I do enjoy it, and when I don't have a lot of meat, I tend not to miss it.  For me meat really ahs to be a once in a while thing or else I go over board.  My biggest problem is summer.  Now that the heat is here and that means BBQ season, ice and beans and roasted veggies don't really cut it.  I know I can roast veggies on the grill, and even fruit and I can eat lots of salad, but how do I make it filling and satisfying like when I eat beans and veggies soups?  One of the things that I am looking into, is the raw foods diet.  Again, balance, as this would really be for summer and really warm weather when you don't want to eat heavy.

Will I be able to enjoy a raw food diet?  That is the question that I keep asking myself.  For lunch i made my husband and I a green smoothie.  I really like them, but they tend not to hold me as long as other food, but I don't over eat with a green smoothie.  I think I just need to have a snack plan for when I get hungry (something healthy and satisfying). 

I am always striving for a balanced life, it just tends to be one of those things that I will constantly need to work on.

Today's "Green Smoothie " recipe:

2 bananas
1 apple
handful of green grapes
1 C frozen berries
a bunch of green swiss chard
water to blend

Blend all of the fruit together then add the swiss chard and blend until smooth adding water if needed.  Almost any green leafy veggie can be used.  Yesterday we had a variation using Red Russian Kale from our garden.  We're hoping to get some more leafy green growing so that we can have more smoothies and use things from our garden.  I would love to use more local fruits and hopefully I will be able to change that!