Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!! This year we have TWO Thomas the Train (for the sake of arguments!!), a Princess Leia, and Princess Ariel.

Even our puppy, Bentley, got all clean and cute for the occasion. His costume is a pumpkin bandana.

The boys had a fall festival at their preschool and made costumes. They are silly boys. Jacob is the Red M&M and Logan is a Caterpillar.

Be safe tonight and have fun!



Home again, home again….

Jigity, Jig….

We are home. Back home in super hot, Texas. We went from 101 degrees when we left, up to a very cold 41 degrees up in the mountains, right back to 102 degrees in Texas. What am I doing now, sitting here, in my air conditioned house, sweating. Yup, I don’t think we missed much.

What else did I come home to?: piles of laundry.

Okay, I’ll stop the complaining. We had a wonderful time with our family and extended family. It was great to see everyone and get a nice break in the beautiful mountain air.

While I was gone, I did some “blog thinking.” I got a question from my Dad about oils, specifically the oils in foods, which I was not able to fully answer. So while I sat patiently on our 20 hour car ride home, and danced in and out of 3G service (thank you, Verizon….), I did some research on the subject of oils. Wow! More to come as I need to organize my thoughts into a proper post or posts.

In the mean time, my dyer is calling me.

Until next time….


A Day at the Ranch

Within Rocky Mountain National Park, is a really neat old-time ranch. It was owned by a German family and operated as a dude ranch until the National Park service took it over.

With Grandma and Grandpa

View of the cabins are available and helpful Park Rangers are there to tell you about the ranch.

We spent the day hiking around this ranch and also a few other National Park hikes with Grandpa and Grandma. It was a chilly, but sunny day!

Is there really ever a bad picture when you in the Rockies?!?!

Wearing a buffalo skin jacket

Check this out!….

…Jacob is a natural!!!

with Grandma and Grandpa

The kids even became Jr. Rangers! The two days we were in the park they worked on various activities. Once they completed their work they got to turn it into the Ranger. Here she is checking with them about what to do when a cute chipmunk approached them: “Don’t feed them!”….unless it’s gluten-free, right?!?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Logan as a Park Ranger


A Day at the Ski Resort

While we were in Colorado, we had some summer fun. The kids, being raised in the hot south, have no experience in the snow. Visiting the ski resort offered the kids an opportunity to #1 see where people do the winter sports and #2 have some SUMMER FUN! ๐Ÿ™‚

We had planned to do this day trip with Grandma and Grandpa for some extra help with the “big stuff” (a.k.a. the chair lift!)

I was a little hesitant about putting the children on a chair lift. Maybe is was my own personal lack of experience on chair lifts and snow, having also been raised in the hot south. Or maybe it was the stories that Shawn (raised in Colorado), told me about how every year the news covers stories of people plummeting to their death from chair lifts. I don’t know. But either way, it made me nervous!

It made me more comfortable when on my first ride up with Jacob, his little body tensed up and he said “whoa, we up high!”

But all kids, and adults, did great on the chair lift. Logan nick-named them the “flying chairs.”

After the chair lift rides, we took the short ride down on the Alpine Slide. I have no idea how long the slide was, but it was sure fast! Hannah and Julia got to go all by themselves on the little car-thingy. Thankfully, there was room for Jacob and Logan to ride with Mom and Dad! (Kids under age 5 were required to ride with an adult.) Although, by the end of our time there they were both pros and wanted to go by themselves.

Some other fun we had was a jumpy trampoline, a gondola ride, and a rock climbing wall. But of course, the alpine slide, which we rode probably 7 times, was everyone’s favorite!

Me and Hannah climbing the rock wall.

Playing giant chess. 2 (Grandma and Hannah) against 1 (Shawn)


Our “Keep Austin Weird” Day

We had an awesome family day! We decided to theme our day as “Keep Austin Weird.” We took the kids downtown to show them some of the famous things of Austin. Obviously, we didn’t see everything, but we picked out a few we thought they would enjoy. Guess we can always make more “Keep Austin Weird” days.

Before we got going on our little day trip, I made breakfast for the family. Today, I tried “Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal” from Gazing In. Thank you, Sarah! The baked oatmeal was a huge hit! Soooo yummy! The recipe called for the mixture to be baked in ramekins…which I don’t have any of those. So I baked them in a jumbo muffin pan, which worked out perfectly.

Our first stop was to climb a “mountain.” Austin’s tallest peak at probably 2 feet above sea level. LOL. Just kidding! It’s taller than that! Here’s our pictures of climbing up Mt. Bonnell. Hannah even brought a backpack full of supplies, just in case… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since it was 102 degrees, and climbing a mountain was hot, hard work, we decided, next, to take a dip in Barton Springs pool. The water is a constant 72 degrees year round because it is fed from a natural spring. The large trees and rocks surroundingsย  this pool make it a beautiful and natural place to swim.

After spending all day out in the sun, everyone was starving! I had a few places picked out but we all decided to head over to Kirbey Lane Cafe, a dining landmark of Austin. It had been 10 years since I had been there, and the kids first time. They are famous for their pancakes (which they offer, gluten-free and also vegan versions), and also their extensive menu. Kirbey Lane Cafe prides itself on being “locavore,” which means that they get their products and produce from local sources. All their milk and meat came from local farms and their produce is all grown locally.

Shawn loves their pancakes, so he got the gluten-free gingerbread pancakes (made from rice flour). Jacob and Logan split an order of vegan cherry almond pancakes (MY favorite!!) and gluten-free cinnamon apple pancakes. I had a black bean taco salad….which was DELICIOUS!! Hannah and Julia had nice “brown meals.” (I let them pick whatever at restaurants because we go so infrequently) Hannah: hamburger with fries and Julia: grilled cheese and fries.

Anyways, that was our “weird” day! ๐Ÿ™‚


“Ewww Mom!!!”

This post was inspired by my good friend from high school that shared with me about her daughter turning up her nose at certain foods. I am not a pro at getting my kids to eat weird things, but here’s something I’ve done that has worked with some good success.

I wasn’t going to write about this just yet, but tonight proved to be a perfect time. Yup, this momma cooked something that all four turned up their noses on and would refuse to eat. Jacob took one look at his meal and said “That’s yuck,” got down from the table, and proceed back to the living room. Frustrated, Shawn made him sit back down and try a “no thank you bite.”…with no success.

Usually, with strange meals, I can get at least one child to eat. And honestly, I don’t think tonight’s dinner was that strange. It was a vegetable and bean stir-fry served over rice. It was a very colorful meal and I thought it tasted awesome. I was being challenged in the kitchen by my four food critics.

So, what does any good mom do? …. (“what do the little piggies say?” -‘The Christmas Story’)

Me: “Okay kids, lets go on a treasure hunt! Put down your forks and see what you can find on your plate!”

Four blank stares quickly turned into smiles as each one started playing the game of “find the veggies.” The girls were quite the ring-leaders on this game and really helped encourage the boys along. Logan quickly found, and ate, all of his red peppers, then moved on to all the green peppers. Mind you, this boy does NOT even like peppers and tells me frequently they are “very yucky.” I guess he forgot tonight in light of the game.

Jacob found all his “gold coins” (the beans) and ate every last one. By then end of the meal, all four kids had eaten most of their food on their plates. They left the meal happy and even had fun.

I have to admit, this is not the first time I’ve let my children play with their food. I know, turn me in to CPS. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When trying to get them to try asparagus, which all four refused to even have on their plate (on one occasion, Logan actually threw his across the kitchen in protest!), I told them that they could play “Veggie Tales” with their food as long as they ate a bite! Hannah, age 8, was the first to say “no way!” Yeah, she’s too smart for my silly games. But peer pressure made her give in, since everyone else at the table was deep in the story line of “Veggie Tales: Jonah.”

They all still don’t like asparagus, but maybe someday they will. For now, they have all had their “no thank you bites” without argument or control issues. And truly, so what if my kids play with their food!

The thing I have learned with my kids and introducing them to strange new foods is to keep it fun and don’t make a battle out of it. My friend, Amanda, shared that she got her daughter to lick the new foods which was big progress for her. AGREE! ๐Ÿ™‚ When children learn that new foods can be fun, and not a scary battle, trying new things will slowly get easier. (Amanda, I see an ice cream stand in your future dining experience!)

Happy playing!


What’s for lunch?: Gymnastics day!

Julia is on the gymnastics team at her gym. She just got her round-off/back-handspring, a goal she had been working on since January. She loves everything about gymnastics, and enjoys the friendly competition. During her work-outs, her coach gives the team a quick break to have a snack. So, what does a clean, healthy, kid-friendly snack look like?

Here’s what she brought:

  • Cashews
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Archer Farm Wild Berry Fruit Strip

What was lunch today at our house?

  • Banana sandwiched with natural peanut butter
  • Baby carrots
  • Lays Natural Chips
  • Fresh strawberries

One of my goals for this blog is to show people that eating clean and healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or make you travel 50 miles to a Whole Foods. Clean and healthy eating is just about choices with what resources are given to you. That’s all.

For some reason this week, I have talked to 4 people about healthy eating, and all of them gave me the same response: “It’s too hard.” It is hard at first….it is hard to change your thinking about food. I hope that this blog can be a source of information to show you that making healthy choices is easy. It has become so second nature for our family to eat this way, I can’t really think of how to eat any differently.


Young and Sick: Meet my Kids

It’s hard to believe that just last summer we were in the middle of several “minor” long term illnesses. I never would’ve thought our adventure would lead us to a changed food life. Last summer, I really didn’t believe eating differently would really change our life. I had heard about people being cured by changing their diets, but it seemed extreme and just plain crazy.

Ohhh, how naive I was!

I really honestly believed we were a healthy family. We never ate at McDonalds, we didn’t drink soda, I made sure my kids had fresh fruits and vegetables to eat, and I made a homemade dinner nearly every night of the week.

A typical day of food for my children was: Breakfast: banana, cheerios, milk; Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread, applesauce, cookie; Snack: Goldfish, grapes or Nilla wafers, raisins; Dinner: spaghetti, frozen green beans, garlic bread, a glass of milk, and dessert.

Pretty “normal” looking right? You’d think we’d all be the picture of health, right? WRONG! Food was our problem and NEW food was our cure.

Meet my 4 beautiful children:

Logan, age 3

Logan: The youngest of the bunch….although only by 9 minutes. He is an identical twin of Jacob. They just turned 3 in April. Logan’s issues began right after his first birthday. Hives appeared. Everywhere. All over his body. It would show up at random times and then disappear as quickly as they came. Sometimes they would completely cover his body from head to toe, other times it was just his legs or his face. The hives had no rhyme or reason. After several trips to the pediatrician, 3 different dermatologist (including a renowned pediatric dermatologist specialist), an allergist, and getting poked for allergy testing, blood work, and a biopsy, it was concluded that Logan had Urticaria (hives) from an “unknown source.” After 8 months of a Zyrtec/Zantec combination, he was finally cured. It wasn’t until looking back on the situation, we realized his healing occurred right around the time of our food changes. Either way, in over a year, he has not had any more outbreaks.

Jacob, age 3

Jacob: The older of the twins. Jacob’s issues also began right around his first birthday, although very different from his brothers. The problem began after he stopped nursing at 13 months. His problem was constipation. It started off very minor, and I thought this was just part of Jacob. He would not go for a few days and then would finally go after much straining, trying, and pushing. This went on for most of his second year of life. By the time he turned 2, it was a full-out daily struggle for him. At his worst point, he would wake up in the morning crying from pain, and would spend the next 7 hours trying to poop. (sorry if TMI!) I finally took him to the doctor, and realized this was NOT normal. His pediatrician sent us to go get an x-ray. The x-ray revealed that Jacob was severely constipated, and that it would take a person 2-3 months to “get this bad.” Since he was already eating a “healthy” diet (according to the doctor), she prescribed for him daily Miralax, and said “this was part of Jacob.” I believed it was MORE than just part of Jacob, and it didn’t make sense to me why a perfectly healthy toddler would be this constipated! I put him on Miralax 2 weeks before we started our new food routine. Once we started our new diet, I took him off the Miralax to see how he did. Within a month, he was a completely normal toddler. It wasn’t until we went on vacation (4 months later), eating our old Standard American Diet that his constipation came back.

Eating healthy, clean foods, Jacob is now a perfectly healthy 3 year old, who loves just about every fruit and veggie!

Julia, age 7

Julia: Oh, our sweet little Julia….She has battled with food and environmental allergies since she was born. She is now 7 years old. She is also ridden with eczema. Julia was on allergy shots by the time she was 3.5 years old. I took her in twice a week to get her shot. She was a very brave little girl. After a year of allergy shots, Julia was STILL on all seasonal allergy medicines, and her eczema was actually getting worse. I asked the doctor, who had promised this would all improve with the shots, and the doctor said “well, Julia just might have to stay on the medicine for the rest of her life.” We decided to stop her on allergy shots. About a year later, we met the nutritionist and it was a God-send for Julia. She explained that Julia would be an “easy fix” because she was so young, as long as she was open and willing to change what she ate. Julia hated her “itchy” skin and was very much on board with the food changes. We have noticed a HUGE change in Julia since eating a clean, healthy diet. Within a month (during high allergy season), the purple-ringed-allergy-eyes were completely gone! It took a little longer for her skin to clear up, which was about 2 months. Now, Julia is able to eat “sometimes foods” at Birthday parties and such and not have a reaction, like before. We give her lots of options of fresh fruits and vegetables but she is still able to eat a treat from time to time and maintain her healthy kid-glow.

Hannah, age 8

Hannah: Hannah is 8 year old, and our only child who has basically been completely healthy her entire life. She goes to the doctor maybe twice a year, and once is for her well-check. She is hardly ever sick. A completely healthy child. Hannah reminds me of myself as a child. I was very healthy and was hardly ever sick. However, by the time I was 26, I was sick with allergies, obese, had chronic tendonitis,ย  hypothyroidism, and just felt generally gross about myself. Real healthy, right? Was this where Hannah was heading? I have no idea, but I do know the food changes have impacted her life greatly. She was a slightly picky eater when it came to vegetables, but now she has learned to like things like sweet potatoes and spinach, and has a positive attitude about healthy eating.

I am excited to see how my children continue to grow and develop and Shawn and I are thankful we were taught how to properly feed our bodies to maintain a healthy quality of life. I hope this blog will be a source of inspiration for you. We are just a normal family, living a normal life.


Top 5 Worst Lunch Foods for Kids

I thought this was interesting. It was an article posted on Yahoo News yesterday. I couldn’t agree more with the list! All of the foods are made to appear healthy, and are advertised that they are healthy for kids lunches. Lies, lies…

The article encourages parents to read the labels and not be conned into advertisements like “made with real fruit” or “natural.” The writer also suggests alternatives for the Top 5 list, and all her suggestions are real food.

My good friend, Anna, once posted on Facebook, “You never see an apple with a label saying ‘made with real fruit.'”
Real food, people!

Anyways, here’s the list of the Top 5 Worst Lunch Foods for Kids.

  • Fruit snacks
  • Packaged desserts
  • Juice boxes
  • Crackers
  • Lunchmeat