Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Staycation

Last week was Z's April Vacation and for us it was a Staycation.  It was 9 fun filled days of Friends, Outings and Adventure!!!  We had 7 playdates (including an AWESOME Family Playdate on Saturday night), went mini-golfing, painted pottery, went to the park a few times, did Friday Night at the Fishways, went out for ice cream and the weekend ended with a date for mommy and daddy (it had to be postponed due to Scott being sick last weekend).  Here are some photos of our week.

Mini Golf

Play Date with Friends

1/2 Birthday Celebration with the Cousins

Paint Your Own Pottery with Z's Buddy

Fish Friday Night!

City Lights at the Fishways
Picnic on the Beach for Date Night

Great way to end the week!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Screen-Free Week Starts Monday!!

The kids and I are prepping for our annual Screen-Free Week.  I am not sure if we will make it all 7 days but we will make our best effort to be Screen-Free at least Monday-Friday.  It will be a week of Sparkle Stories, books on tape, a library visit, outside time and lot's of baseball and fun at the park.  

Will you be participating??

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two Weeks Down!!!

Well my first two weeks on the GAPS Intro diet are OVER!!!  It was not pretty at times, in fact at points it was down right ugly.  I am proud to say that I am still standing, 10 pounds lighter and still going strong.  Yipee.

I would not have gotten through the first few days if it was not for Scott.  He was an absolute ROCK STAR.  I had told him that he had to be my Harry Potter (from book 6) and that no matter what I (Dumbledore) said, he had to make sure I kept going until at least the two week mark.  He did just that and every time I questioned what I was doing, he was right there telling me to stay the course.  He is the BEST and I am so lucky to have such a supportive spouse who does not think I am totally NUTS for doing this.

Where am I at??  I am now in Stage 3 (of 6 stages) and have lost 10 pounds.  I am no longer craving sugar (thankfully) and my stomach trouble seems to be settling down.  I thought I would breeze through this Intro diet in a month and now I am not so sure, taking it day by day.  The "Die Off" of toxins in my body has been much stronger than I thought it would be.  This has resulted in flu like symptoms, major digestive issues, lethargy, foggy brain, anger (oh the anger), insomnia...just to name a few.  I am now starting to feel normal after two weeks and the addition of each additional food is so exciting!

What am I eating??  I am enjoying carrot juice from my juicer, bone broth, soups, boiled meats, ghee (clarified butter), sauerkraut, boiled veggies, eggs, avocado, fresh herbs and olive oil.  This week I hope to introduce tomatoes, coconut flour and maybe some baked apples.

What do I most like??  I like that my stomach is starting to feel better.  The weight loss has been an added bonus too.  My back is also feeling much better.  Not sure if that is due to the chiropractor or this diet...time will tell.

What do I least like??  I have to make everything from scratch which means I spend most of my waking hours in the kitchen.  It is also difficult to travel and be social.  I can't go out to eat at this point or drink and had to give up dinner with my family last week.  If I am out, I have to either be back way in advance to prep my meal (or at least heat it) or take it with me.  So far I have been making it work but it takes a lot of planning and prep time.  The cost of this diet is also high.  Before this diet I only ate meat once or twice a week.  Now I am eating it twice a day and the grass fed, pasture raised foods that are recommended cost more money.

Moving Forward......I plan to keep moving day by day and appreciate this chance to heal.  I hope to introduce tomatoes, coconut flour and maybe some baked apples.  Yum!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Big Day :)

Today is not only Earth Day it is also Lil'C's 1/2 Birthday, the day after Mimi's Birthday and the official start of Spring Vacation!!

I can't believe that my sweet little girl is 3 1/2, where does the time go?  We are celebrating this big day with a play date with my sister, niece and nephew.  There will be cupcakes, lots of time outside and some quality time with their favorite cousins.

We have a lot of fun planned for our "Staycation" this week, it should be a week of rest, friends and adventure.  We hope you have a wonderful week and Happy Earth Day!!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Project Simplify/Project Complicate Weeks 1 and 2

I did not get as much accomplished this week as I would have liked to but between a sick child and spending most of my waking hours in the kitchen cooking for myself....I am surprised I got this much done!!

So let's go back to Week 1--Shelves and Drawers. I decided to tackle my night stand (in and out).  Here is what it looked like before, a big pile of books and such with no organization.

And After: much more relaxing to sleep next to this rather than the other one :)

Ok, onto this week, "The Pesky Closet".  I so wanted to do Lil'C's closet and I will get to it soon but instead I worked in the room I have been spending the most time...the Kitchen.  
Spices and Baking supplies were constantly falling on my head and my essential oils were a mess.  I also had no idea what was in there and think there were some spices and flour that was way past due.  I know I just did this cabinet last year but I think it is important to revisit it at least once a year.  So I took everything out and Voila....
It is now so much easier to find things and I even have room for more ;)

Yes two simple projects but much needed to make things a little smoother around here.  Next week I focus on Piles....Oh the Piles!

Scott decided to do his own version of Project Simplify, but I like to call it Project Complicate.  Check out our downstairs bathroom :)
He took down one wall of the yuck wallpaper (we have been wanting this down for 7 years!!!), the ugly light fixture, mirror and everything else on that wall.  Someday it will be a beautiful bathroom but for now Lil'C just opens the door and yells, "Daddy fix this?!?!"

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Help Wanted: Competent Tooth Fairy

Seeking competent Tooth Fairy with at least 300 years experience.

  Fairy must be quiet, stealth and able to move a heavy sleeping head in order to get to the small tooth pillow. 

 Fairy must be reliable and not forget to come get stuck in snowstorms.  

Fairy must be responsible, thorough and possess a good memory.  
Leaving child's tooth behind with the dollar bill will be grounds for dismissal 
(one of the many reasons we are looking for a new fairy).  

This job will be on an on call basis and Fairy must be available with little to no warning.  

We are equal opportunity employers and all may apply 
as long as you meet the requirements listed above.

Wage: Dozens of Children's Teeth
collected over the next 3-5 years

All applicants should send resumes and at least 3 references ASAP.

Thank You

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Date Night--No Food or Drink Allowed

Scott's Grandparents Dancing the Night Away
Scott and I have a date night coming up and our usual date "go out for dinner and drinks" is out of the question this time around.  My GAPS Intro diet does not allow for eating out and so we have been forced to think up dates that do not require food.  This has been a lot harder than we thought it would be because most date nights involve food and drink in some way.  We have lots of ideas for Day Dates but the Night Dates are a bit tougher (hard to sight see in the dark).

Before we go any further, we don't dance and the movies or sporting events are off the table.  I think the smell of popcorn and other foods would throw me over the edge (still having cravings).  Here are some Non-Food Options that we have come up with.  We are still searching for more ideas, so feel free to chime in with ideas in the comments :)

1.  A Paint and Wine Bar--There is a Paint in Wine Bar near us.  Here an artist teaches you how to paint a specific painting while you sip wine and paint.  Unfortunately they are sold out but we are hoping to find a night soon to try this out.  Scott is the artist in the family, so his painting will most likely be hangable while mine will probably look nice in our garage ;)

2.  A Trip to the Planetarium--What would be more romantic than a night under the stars?  Our kids are too afraid to sit in the dark for a show (we keep trying) and we have free passes to the planetarium.  This might be a fun chance to learn something and do something different.

3.  Indoor Skydiving--This is what Scott wants to do, I am not so sure.  I watched friends do it a few years ago and I am not sure I would like it.  Not to mention it is very pricey.

4.  Paint your own Pottery--We did this years ago, just not sure I want some crappy pottery collecting dust in our house.

5.  Bowling--This is our kids favorite activity, so I might feel guilty doing it without them.  However there are some fun bowling alleys out there we could try.

6.  Music Night--We both love music so we thought that maybe catching a live band or going to a piano bar might be fun.

7.  Comedy Show--We LOVE comedy shows, although they are usually a bit pricey.  Thinking that a night of improv might be fun.

8.  Game Night with Friends--I love a good night of laughs and board games and if it was with friends I could nibble on hard boiled eggs and sip ginger tea and not feel weird about it ;)

What do you Think???  Which should we pick?  Have a better idea for us??  We need your help.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Project Simplify 2013

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

One of my favorite things over at Simple Mom is the Project Simplify Series Tsh does each year.  Spring Cleaning is not my favorite thing to do but there is something about a challenge that I love.  This year the four hotspots are Drawers and Shelves, the Pesky Closet, the Piles and The Put-Off Project.

I spent Monday morning taking the before pictures of the places I will tackle during the month but unfortunately that is as far as I got this week.  Between pulling my back out on Monday, starting the GAPS intro diet on Wednesday (yes earlier than planned) and not being here last weekend.....I am really behind.  My back pain is bad and I have been spending a lot of time preparing food for the GAPS diet so the little time I have left I have been resting.  The GAPS Intro has left me feeling so lethargic and BLAH.  I am hoping this will pass in the next couple of days.

Hopefully next week I will have after pictures of my shelves and a finished picture of Lil'C's closet (it scares me a bit).  Today is about going easy, being gentle with myself and taking care of my sick little boy.  The perfect rainy day to stay home and have a Sick and Tired Day.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"I Am A Girl and I Need My Mommy!"

These were the words uttered from Lil' C's mouth on Sunday morning as Scott was trying to get she and Z in the car for their Ocean Adventure.  Scott said these words came from out of nowhere and they are words that I will always treasure.  Having these words in print will allow me to look back on this moment in time after the tough fights of the teen years.  They will allow me to remember back to simpler times, times when she missed me.

Scott had the kids for 33 hours while I was on a getaway to NJ with my dad.  The weekend to NJ was quick but so much fun!  My weekend started off with a First Birthday Party for the sweet baby of my college roommate Jenn.  It was so fun to FINALLY meet this beautiful baby girl and see Jenn and her family.  After the party I stayed over at Jenn's house and got to spend some quality time with her and her wonderful husband.   Sunday morning my dad came and picked me up and we went to my 93 year old Great Aunt's house to visit with my dad's family.  There were 8 of us at brunch and I got to spend time with two of my aunts, my uncle, my great aunt and two cousins.   It was really fun to see everyone, hear the old stories and so nice to spend some quality time with my dad (10 hours in the car)!

The kids and Scott had a fun and crazy 33 hours while I was gone.  While the cat's away, the mice will play!   They went out for lunch, went to a birthday party at a bounce house with pizza and cake, went out to dinner with my mom, went out for donuts Sunday morning, went to the Ocean to explore the small aquarium and play on the playground and then topped it all off with lunch at Scott's favorite pizza place.  Two days of eating out and adventures.

They had a blast but yet my baby girl missed me!!  This is so strange to me, a daddy's girl after all but out of nowhere she said, "I am a girl and I need my Mommy".  These words might not mean much to you but to me they are so special.  This little girl is always looking for her daddy and it was so nice to hear that she missed me for once.  I had a great weekend but coming home Sunday night was so great.  There really is no place like home!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Healing Journey for Mom

Dear Family and Friends,

I am writing this letter to let you know that I am about to embark on a Healing Journey by following the GAPS Diet Protocol for at least a year.  The GAPS diet was created by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to work on healing psychological issues (using her son with Autism as a guinea pig) by dealing with issues of digestion.  Her research showed that by healing and sealing the GUT lining and reintroducing good flora, you could heal many other health problems.  Her work has helped people suffering with Autism, Depression, Anxiety and many other psychological issues as well as people with physiological and physical issues.  These physiological and physical issues include auto-immune diseases, IBS, joint pain, Celiac Disease, food allergies, heart disease, seasonal allergies and so much more.

I am taking on this new way of life to help with my physiological issues.  I have both Thyroid and Celiac Disease and hope that this healing diet will help to heal some of my "leaky gut" issues and that I will start to feel better than I am feeling right now.  I am hoping for more energy, a stomach that doesn't hurt after eating and the ability to absorb vitamins.  Right now eating is difficult, even with the gluten, dairy and legumes removed, and I hope that this diet is the answer.

I first heard about The GAPS diet two years ago.  Many of the Natural Food Blogs I follow have written about it and I would usually skip over these posts.  A year ago, I read a little about the program but still thought it wasn't what I needed in my life.  In February of this year, after a month of giving up gluten, my stomach pains were back and I was feeling just terrible.  After a little research online I found that just giving up Gluten is usually not enough for Celiac Patients and that eliminating all grains is usually the answer.  Much of the research papers and blog posts that I read said that it was important to heal the gut lining that the gluten had been damaging for so long. The GAPS diet was mentioned again and again and so I decided it was time to seriously look into it.

As I have said in the past, I do not just jump into things.  For the past month I have been reading, researching and listening to hours of podcasts about the GAPS diet.  I have read and heard many success stories as well as stories of people who struggled on the diet.  I have decided that this is something I need to try and I am hopeful that this good and nutritious food will assist me in my healing.

The rest of the family will not be joining me on GAPS at this point but will be eating many of the foods that I make.  The picky kids are already in the mix of shifting their diet and are so far being good about it as long as I am slow.  I know that the whole family would benefit from this diet but for now I am going to pioneer it alone.
Two things I can still enjoy on occasion
So what can I eat??  I can eat meat (and have added red meat back into my life after 20 years), broth, non-starchy vegetables, ripe fruits, raw honey, nuts and seeds (I can't do nuts for now but hope I will soon) and fermented dairy (including aged, hard cheeses).  So this means I will be cutting out grains of any kind (corn included), sugar, most legumes (this includes soy), starchy vegetables like potatoes and non fermented dairy.  It will be a bit of transition and a lot of work but something that my body and mind are ready to do.  I am starting off with the GAPS Intro on April 15th, which is very restrictive, and hope to move through that in a month or two.  By summer, I hope to be on FULL GAPS and as I said will likely be on the diet for a year or two (if not life).

I do not plan to talk about GAPS much on this blog.  I might update you from time to time on my progress but do not want to spend too much time documenting it here.  There are so many great blogs out there with amazing resources as well as some great podcasts to listen to.  I will list some below if you are interested in checking it out for yourself.

I hope that you will support me with positive energy in this journey.  Please understand that for awhile it will be hard for me to eat out at restaurants and that I might need to bring my own food to your house if we share a meal.  I can drink red wine on Full GAPS (as well as tequila shots) so girls night out should not be affected ;)

Hugs to you all and thanks in advance for your support!


Resources to Check Out if You Are Interested in GAPS

-Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's Official Website
-Free Gaps Diet Resources - A great list of blog posts to check out
-GAPS Diet Journey-Blog and Podcast
-GAPS Myths by Cheeseslave

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April Fools

April Fools Day is one of Z's favorite holidays and because of this yesterday was filled with small pranks.  I started off the day telling Z that the doctor had emailed and told of a horrible flu that was going around and that we all had to go in for a flu shot.  He was very serious and a bit sad when I called out, "April Fools!"  He then laughed and jumped up and down...he LOVED the joke.  

Scott called later to tell him we were being relocated to Madagascar.  Again he was serious and a bit sad but took the news well and then Scott called out April Fools and he was all smiles again!  He LOVES this day.  

He had MANY jokes for me, I so love the silliness and innocence of them.  Many of his jokes were obvious but he really did get me when he told me that he had spilled the beans about the prank that we had been planning for Scott.  I totally believed him and was so bummed out and then he yelled, "April Fools Mommy!"  He really got me that time.  

So what was this prank??  Well we drove to the bus station where Scott parks his car and in the driver seat put Z's big monkey with a hat on.  The plan was that when Scott approached his car in the dark, it would look like someone was in the car.  Apparently it worked!  He was a bit nervous approaching the car, thinking that someone was in there but as he got closer he realized it was Z's big monkey (and Lil'C's princess) with a sign.
Oh this day is so much fun and as the years go by, I know I am going to get my share of REAL jokes played on me.  It will be sweet, sweet payback for Z and Scott.  I am nervous already!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Weekend of Fun and Family

This past weekend was so much fun but exhausting. I am thankful that Z has the day off today!  The weekend started with "boys day" where Scott and Z went to see dinosaurs at the museum and then out to lunch.  Lil'C and I played games and made dinner together for my family while they were gone.  Saturday night was a Mexican Fiesta with egg dying.  My mom and dad helped color eggs while I finished up the fajitas.  My sister Kristen and brother in-law came over too, it was really nice.
Sunday started off with the indoor egg hunt that the Easter Bunny set up and then we had pancakes and bacon (Z's favorite breakfast).  I dressed them in their new Easter clothes, which Lil'C helped pick out and quickly snapped a few photos.  Thankfully I left the tags on because they were all upset about the new clothes and so I dressed them in more comfortable clothes and will take the Easter things back to the store.  Oh Well....
After we were dressed, we headed down to the farm for a wonderful day.  The Easter Bunny set up a very special outdoor egg hunt, complete with Remax Open House Arrows to help along the way.  It was so cute and the kids had so much fun following the signs to find the eggs and treasure.

After the hunt we had an amazing gluten free meal (I am still full) and Mimi made the kids a super fun fort to play in.  They also spent a bunch of time playing in the grass (Oh Spring!), watching movies with Great Grandma, blowing bubbles outside (50 degrees at dusk!!!) and then we had the annual egg toss.
This year's egg toss was done off Mimi and Grandpa's deck and it is hard to say who had more fun.  Uncle Andy and Uncle Pete got really into it and Uncle Andy even brought out his golf club to hit the eggs with.  The kids were all giggles and I am sure the raccoons had a feast last night!
Thanks to everyone for a wonderful weekend!