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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Zoodles for Dinner,yum

 I personally try not to eat much grain of any sorts.I find that I just feel better with longer lasting energy.But I do live in a house full of grain eaters.Over the past couple of months I have been looking at Paleo Diet recipes.Not because I am following that diet to a T but because the Paleo followers avoid grains too.I have tried the whole Gluten Free (G.F) route and still found I did not feel so good after eating many of the G.F things.

I am finding dinner following the Paleo guidelines is pretty easy.Or I can offer the rest of the family a side that is grain based that I don't eat.So far so good. Chance has been eating less grains and noticing an improvement in his energy levels.Sol eats most of what I put in front of him at dinner.Issac,he's another sad to me story,he would live on grains,grains,meat and raw veg.But like I mentioned in my last post,no pressure from me,just making a suggestion.

For tonight's dinner I made a Paleo dish I have been wanting to try, Zoodles with Sauce.Zoodles also known as Zucchini Spaghetti which is made from zucchini.(As if you couldn't figure that one out,Duh Rois.)You just make up a pot of Spaghetti sauce and pour it over the Zoodles.You can get the details by linking over to Nom Nom Paleo. Making the Zoodles was really easy and fast.

Tonight I did cook up some pasta knowing full well Issac would decline the Zoodles and was not sure of my Mom.Chance and I ate all Zoodles,Sol did half and half but then said next time he would just take the Zoodles.And surprise Issac went all pasta.Mom did half and half too and loved it.

We enjoyed dinner so much there was barely enough left for my lunch for at work tomorrow.It's another recipe I can add to our dinner ideas that I know we will like.I also thought it would be easy enough to use the Zoodles in other dishes that call for pasta.I am thinking something along the lines of pan-fried Asian noodles.

I hope you will check out Nom Nom Paleo's recipes,there's some good food over there.If you are G.F maybe you will find something new to try.Or you just like exploring new foods and food ideas.

Anyone else have a food based link they would like to share?


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Part 3: A ripple set in motion by a packet of seeds.

 I started writing this post a while back as part of a series I was thinking about.I finally got around to finishing it.If you want to go back to the start of the series here and here is where to go.It was interesting to me to go back and reread these posts and to finish this one.I started this before becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner was even a thought and yet it feels like the posts were the beginning of a journey I did not know was coming. 

The ripple of change in our household was set in motion by a shovel,some muscle and a few seed packets.
We laid our plans for more garden beds,dug them deep,fed them from the compost and planted our seeds.

It was a big job and our muscles let us know it.Yet if felt good to use our bodies to work for something despite the aches.I suppose you could say those aches were the very first sign of changes on the horizon,our bodies were regaining strength.

As we worked we talked.laughed,dreamed and planned.Chance and I have always been able to work together and do it well.During this time we grew closer together adding to the strength of our relationship.We became a well oiled machine in our togetherness.

While we were waiting for the garden to grow I started to look at the food in our pantry.I watched for a few weeks to see what we were eating,how often, how much and what was a waste.At this point in time we still had a small list of processed foods in our cupboards,mostly the things the boys who were young teens craved and ate.Mac & Cheese, Ramen,crackers,chips and boxed cereal were the bulk of it.Not too bad considering what most Americans eat.

There were other foods the boys would beg for at the store,Poptarts,sugary cereals,soda pops,store bought cookies that I rarely gave into.All foods their friends had at their houses so of course the boys wanted to fit in.I get that as a parent,the need to fit in with your crowd but I was on a mission.So finding ways for the boys to feel "normal" about the food in our house and finding better alternatives was added to my mission's list of things to do.

I started out by weaning the boys off of the store bought crap they wanted by extending how often I bought something or not replacing it until they asked about it.The gaps got longer and after a few months I just stopped buying it.Some of the things they still really wanted around I found alternatives for,like the Mac & Cheese,I switched to an organic brand.(This actually goes against everything I think about organics but I was looking for harmony not perfection.) I started baking more of the snacks and treats we were eating too.

The one item that I have yet to get rid of is Ramen noodles, the boys prefer the ones form the Asian grocery stores doctored up with shredded cabbage and an egg dropped in.I just figure if this is the one junkie food in my pantry we were doing pretty darn good. Harmony is a grand thing.

We as a family sit down together most nights for dinner,it is our favorite time of day.We catch up with each others days,share stories,laugh and discuss a broad range of topics.At dinner I started to have conversations with everyone about the importance of good food how it fuels and nourishes our bodies and protects the Earth from harm.We had short conversations,I did not want the boys to feel as if I was preaching at them.I needed it to sink in like a little seed waiting to grow.

And after time it all stuck in their heads.I noticed they were thinking more about what they were eating.They started choosing not to eat fast food when away from home because they realized it made them feel really crummy.This is the biggest moment here, as in- angels with trumpets need to be blasting their horns and beams of light need to shine down right now.I mean holy heck! Two growing teen boys choosing to eat healthy even when Mama was not looking.Dang,I did my homework and got an A plus..I hit a home run here!

Want to know what I think my secret to making this work is? I think it is because I did not make it a big deal.No pressure,just asking you to think about it,you can make your own choices. I also think because I weaned them off the junk,no cold turkey freak outs needed to happen.

Ok so this all sounds like we are purest in our diet but honestly we are not.There are foods out there that now live on my list of treats.I never actually say "No,that's bad for you.I won't buy it."  Really,who does not want something that is a treat now and again. I try and compromise if possible.Is there a "better" alternative? If not I will give in knowing that it's not the main part of our diet.Over time I have noticed that we as a family have lost our taste for certain types of crappy foods so it comes up less and less.

This is getting long,phew. I have more I am going to write about in the coming weeks that will tie into this post,so look for it.

I also have some very good news,my Mom is moving out on the 8th of December.This is going to be such a grand thing I may have to dance once we have her moved.

My Gofundme fundraiser is growing much to my happiness.Chance and I have worked out that all of the money we make teaching some classes of the homesteading vibe will also go towards my school fees.We are working together to make my dream come true.

Have any of you ever made changes to your life style or diet? How did it go?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Daring Greatly.

Recently I won a blog give away over at "And Here We Are." a blog written by a neat lady I met ever so randomly while at work one day and then again randomly I found her blog just by pure chance. I won a book titled "Daring Greatly." which is all about opening up your self to vulnerability-in a nut shell letting your armor down and letting the world see you for who you really are.

The title of the book comes from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt.Below is a quote from his speech that sums things up nicely-

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

The book has given me plenty to think about regarding myself and where it is I want to go in life.So in the spirit of the book and Theodore Roosevelt I have started something that for me is daring greatly.
As some of you may know I have been working on getting back to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.I have the passion,the drive,the dedication and determination to make this happen.My only stumbling block has been where to find the funds for the program.( I say stumbling block because a block keeps you stuck, where a stumbling block is just s hiccup in the road ahead.) Sadly,holistic health education just does not seem to have aid available to hopeful students.Silly system if you ask me.But I am focused on my target so I went out on a personal limb and I am asking for help.

I the ever independent-I -can- do -it-myself-prideful person has started an account over at Gofundme.Gofundme is much like Kickstarter but has more headings you can choose from including one for raising funds for education.

So Dear Readers if you or someone you know may want to help me along on my journey to find my passion with the end result being I can share my passion to help others,here is the link to my fund raiser page.My highest hope is I raise enough to cover all of the fees but even if with the help from others I mange part that will be better than not trying at all.No matter what the outcome of the fund raiser is I will go forward and reach my goal.

I would also like to thank Ariana from "And Here We Are." I am always amazed by how the universe works.Sometimes the connections made seem so random and end with such surprising results.Thank you for needing shoes for your Little Miss,stopping in the shop and reappearing on a blog from the other side of the world. Thank you again for the book, I will pass it on so someone else can dare to be great.

On the homestead front Chance and I made Red Current Jam last week.We used this recipe ,fast easy and tasty.If you are a fan of Lingonberry Jam, Red Current is worth finding the currents for.We had 3 pounds of currents and ended up with 10 half pint jars,plenty (I hope) for the coming year.

Chance and I are also leaving flyers around town about our chicken butchering classes with the hopes we can find enough people interested to hold another class or two.If you live local and would like to be placed on our up coming classes email list let me know in the comments.

Well, I must dash off and get ready for work.If I am not back here before Thanksgiving,I hope every one of you has a great day filled with blessings.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Learn and grow.

We finally got word that my Mom's apartment will be ready soon,we find out this coming Monday when she can move to her new space.Chance and I have let out a long sigh that the end is near.It has not been horrid having Mom here but it has not been The Walton's either.

I have learned a lot about my Mom and about myself while Mom has been here.We are two very different people even though we are Mother and Daughter. I can accept that,we are two human beings living two different stories,with two different views on how the outcome should be.Sadly my Mom can't seem to accept that,it's not a reality she can face.What I wish most is that she could see and understand that I am who I am because of all of the things I learn from her,the good,the bad and the ugly ones.I have just chosen to use those lessons to become strong and independent not afraid to live a full life.I can stand on my own two feet,have my very own dreams,voice my feelings, say no and still be a kind and loving person.

So I agree to disagree with my Mom even if she can't.Something that will be much easier to breathe in once she is in her own home.

Just before my Mom's news came Chance and I had been talking about yet again tinkering the homestead to make it work better.It's been long enough since we started out on this path that the need to reevaluate has come.

One area we are looking at is the front garden beds.We have problems with the neighbors cats wanting to use the one side of the garden as their cat box,leaving us with the problem of do we start a "war" with the neighbor over this or do we keep the peace and rethink those beds? We are rethinking the beds,we've lived side by side with the neighbors for 13 years now and keeping the peace is in everyone's best interest.So those beds will become flowers for cutting.Something I will enjoy hugely even though we will lose space for growing food.

The other issue we are having is we seem to have a new group of young kids in the neighborhood who  think it is alright to rob us of our food,as in pick it clean kind of robbing.We can't move the fruit trees, those are there forever.We might be able to move the blueberries but they are where they are because it's the best space for them.The tomatoes and peas can be moved to the back yard garden again.We have already lost some prime growing space to the cats and now this!

We have been watching for where the kids live so we can talk with their adults which would be the easiest of the solutions and the one we hope for the most.The two things hindering this is we have not seen the kids close enough to know their faces well and it's now cold and wet out ,keeping the kids more indoors.We are watching like hawks,we would much rather have a calm conversation than have to dig up and move a majority of the front gardens.I will add here,the signs we put up after the fruit was stolen did seem to bring some awareness so maybe some simple signs asking not to pick would work too.

In our back garden we also have some revamping we would like to do.We have one end of the yard that we have not done anything with as of yet.We have various thoughts,garden boxes to grow more food or flowers is one that keeps on coming up and the most favored.But Chance would also like to think about raising two lambs here this coming spring for meat.This would mean we put off overhauling that end of the yard until the lambs are gone.We need to sit down and think through the lamb idea,spring will be here sooner than we think so the choice needs to be made,meat or veg.

I have a couple of links to share with all of you.

First of all let me introduce to you a new-ish shop here in our neighborhood, New Suburbia. A friend of ours had seen a news clip about New Suburbia on a local news show and mentioned it to Chance but the friend didn't remember the name of the store so we were wondering all about it.Last weekend when we were running errands we came across the shop and stopped in.A nice surprise was awaiting us.We started talking to one of the owners,whom I kept thinking looked familiar to me but could not place the face,when she asks "Are you Rois and Chance?" Yes?? Well the world is a small place these days,we had met the owners and their family at a mutual friends house a few years ago so there is community connection number one.Then we started talking about Pete our chicken guy,they know him too along with a handful of other like minded people in the neighborhood.Looks like we've been circling each other for some time and bang we finally connected.

The shop is awesome,not only do they have feed,chicks and seeds but they also carry homesteading gadgets for home and garden.My heart kind of went pitter patter when I saw all of the vintage kitchen tools,yet another passion of mine.They also have different things you can rent from them,those tools you only use once in a great while or want to try to see if it would be worth buying your own.They have a butter churn you can rent for Pete's sake,how awesome is that.There is also a nice list of classes,Chance and I talked with the owner about doing some classes there,so that is in the works too.So stop by if you live in the area or want a field trip.

Then this morning I was on Google looking for new homesteading ideas of a higher skill set and came across an article written about Chance and I's very first Chicken Butchering class.Before you click the link I will forewarn you the very first picture at the top is of dead chickens,plucked and ready to gut.It's not ghastly but I know some of you won't like it.

I had totally forgotten there was a guy at that class only because he wanted to write this piece.I remember him asking us for permission and could he use our names ect. The vibe I got off the guy was odd and at the time I remember thinking."Oh boy,are we getting ourselves into something we did not plan on?" But it's all turned out better than we could have imagined at the time.
The article is pretty good but while reading it seemed like maybe there were parts missing some how.

I was also surprised this morning while on Google by how few homesteading sites or blogs there are now.I haven't bothered to google the topic in some time and am wondering where did everyone go? Is it because of the whole copy writing of the word Homestead or has everyone gone on to other things? Is there a new magic pass word to find these sites and blogs? I wasn't even finding sites with older posts on them,it was like the homesteading community online had vanished.What that heck,that sucks!

Tomorrow we hope to find ourselves in the woods hunting for whatever treasures we can bring home.Maybe it will be little bits like the ones in the photo above but maybe if we are lucky there will be some yummy to bring back.


Friday, November 2, 2012

It's been a long time.

 Hello all,

Just a quick note to say we are still alive and here.

My Mother is still here with us....What to say about that,I am learning a lot about our relationship and have come to realize she is kind of a vampire that sucks the life out of me/ us.Which means projects have not been happening,that just sucks.Being able to see that now I have put on my big girl panties and we are getting back to living our life and Mom can get over it.Sounds unkind but it's what needs to happen in order for sanity to return.

Issac has been really sick this week,he has come down with Mono.Poor kid,he told me he rather be in the hospital recovering from surgery.That just speaks volumes about how awful he is feeling.I am beginning to think we need to house him in a plastic bubble for the month of October since that seems to be a rough month for him historically.

I did not get into school for this round.A bit of a bummer but waiting until the next round will actually give me time to get my money ducks in a better row.I am not giving up! I will get there!

There's a couple of interesting things we have done recently that I hope to post about in the next few days.

Hopefully any of you that are East Coaster's weathered the storm and are safe and dry.