4/27/17

Easter Weekend + Living in the Moment

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I originally had grandiose plans to create an Easter dinner menu and share it here with everyone; an SCD friendly menu with photographs and recipes included. But then, life happens and I got caught up living in the moment and before I knew it, Easter had passed. But you know what? I enjoyed this holiday, I embraced every moment I could and was present. I lived in the moment with my children; I did exactly what I was supposed to do. We baked and cooked together, we watched movies at night, we played basketball, we built a fort in the woods and we went on long nightly walks. In fact, this may be the first Easter that I didn't feel stressed when it came to hosting twenty people.

These days I feel like I am constantly pulled in every direction. I have so many ideas swirling around inside my head but my struggles are always consistent; time management is my dilemma. Something every mom can understand. I certainly haven't figured out the time management end of things, but I have learned to be a bit more laid back and let some things go. When we take on too much at once the stress trickles down and our children can certainly feel it. I can't help but think we put so much extra, unnecessary stress on ourselves as parents. We now live in a world of Pinterest-worthy holidays and parties, curated Instagram photos, perfectly planned outfits and unique food trends that we feel obligated to try. I admit, I've been caught up in it before. But over the last couple years I've come to a huge realization.

It doesn't matter.

No one's going to remember what the table settings looked like or what linens I used or what fresh floral arrangement was the centerpiece. No one's going to remember the handmade bags that were passed out for the egg hunt, or the kids' table and the well-thought out crafts. And you know what, no one's going to remember the blog post that took hours to compose.

But you know what my kids will remember? That we sat around the kitchen table and dyed eggs together; no phones, no cameras and no distractions. My kids will remember that they helped baked the Easter cupcakes. Were they perfect? Well, they were perfect to me because we did it together. They'll remember how we piled into mom's bed the night before Easter Sunday and took turns reading books until we fell asleep, legs intertwined and toes touching.

I've learned one thing as a parent, kids are intuitive. They know far more than you think they do and they are always watching. Always. Which is why I strive to be a role model and lead by example. It's why I choose to live in the moment. To be present. To be present for my children.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
Robert Brault

4/14/17

THE WEEKLY ROUNDUP | IBD NEWS, CLEAN EATING, SIMPLE LIVING

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Thomas Edison


The Weekly Roundup is a well-curated selection of insightful articles related to health, clean-eating, the gut microbiome, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a Paleo lifestyle, simple living, positive parenting and delicious recipes.

Once again, an entire week has slipped by and I never had the chance to post or share recipes here. I promise, I have so many recipes and they are coming soon! We started our spring schedule, which is a little more chaotic than I had hoped. Soccer practice goes until dark, track is twice a week with meets on Sunday and Saturdays consist of multiple out-of-town soccer games. Throw multiple piano practices and ballet into the mix and I pretty much have no free-time. But life is good and we are healthy so I can't complain.

I hope everyone enjoys their Easter weekend!

1. Heartburn, Acid Reflux and Candida. The other day I came across this article and immediately saved it. Jonas tested positive for Candida and once this yeast overgrowth was treated his symptoms started to ease up.

2. Researchers May Have Finally Identified The Cause Of Crohn’s Disease. When analyzing samples, researchers found high amounts of E. coli, Serratia marcescens and Candida tropicalis in the patients with Crohn’s— significantly more so than in the other two groups. Dr. Mahmoud Ghannoum, a professor and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University and lead author of the study, explained in a press release: “We already know that bacteria, in addition to genetic and dietary factors, play a major role in causing Crohn’s disease. Essentially, patients with Crohn’s have abnormal immune responses to these bacteria, which inhabit the intestines of all people. While most researchers focus their investigations on these bacteria, few have examined the role of fungi, which are also present in everyone’s intestines.”

3. The Hippies Have Won. Is it possible that the health trends of produce based meals, grain and veggie bowls and fermentation are more than just a movement? I sure hope this "trend" is here to stay because it's a lifestyle and way of living for our family. Recent scientific findings on the microbiome and the notion that health may be affected by bacteria and other microbes living in your intestinal tract, which are in turn influenced by what you eat. “People are recognizing that this important biodiversity inside of us has been diminished and are seeking strategies to restore it for immune function, digestion, mental health and everything else,” says author of Wild Fermentation, Sandor Katz. “So people are seeking out bacteria-rich foods.”

4. 400 Companies That DO NOT Use GMOs in Their Products.

5. 50 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead of Asking, "How Was Your Day." I love this list!

Happy reading and cheers to a healthy, active weekend!

4/10/17

Candy-Free Easter Basket Gift Guide

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For the past couple years our holidays have been candy-free and I have absolutely enjoyed filling the Christmas stockings and Easter baskets with trinkets and treasures. The biggest challenge I have faced is trying to avoid cheap plastic toys without breaking the bank. I always try and purchase earth-friendly, sustainable products and that can be quit challenging when it comes to toys. In our quest to live a simpler life I have found that less is better, and a focus on quality versus quantity is the best fit for our family. I want to fill our Easter baskets with a few loved items that will be cherished rather than tossed aside in a week, only to be broken and eventually tossed in the trash.

Here are a few items that my kids would love to see in their baskets. I hope you find them helpful!

GIRLS EASTER GIFT GUIDE:
1. The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit
2. Bunny Rucksack
3. Bunny Dress-Up Kit
4. Violet Boho Rabbit Doll
5. Woodland Tambourine
6. Giant Playing Cards
7. Rock Crayons
8. Cat Mask
9. Bunny Ears Headband
10. Italy Gelato Graphic Tee
11. Colorful Pompoms Necklace

BOYS EASTER GIFT GUIDE:
1. Basketball Puzzle
2. The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics
3. Handheld Tambourine
4. Professor Noggin's Geography of the United States
5. Nalgene Water Bottle
6. Official FC Barcelona Cap, Messi
7. Megamix Speed Cube
8. Adias Soccer Ball
9. Remote Control Helicopter
10. Star Wars Perplexus
11. FC Barcelona Knit Gloves
12. Timber Tower Wood Block Stacking Game

**This post contains affiliate links.

4/6/17

Thoughts On Starting A Garden

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An amazing garden that caught my eye in Friday Harbor, Washington State.

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul."
Alfred Austin


Since moving into our current house we have had little luck with a garden. We first put in a medium sized garden in the back corner of our yard, but the canopy of the trees offered insufficient sunlight and the proximity to the woods only welcomed deer, fox and rabbit to enjoy our bountiful spread. The next year we decided to expand away from the trees and add a small wire fence, but the animals still enjoyed the garden and the sunlight remained an issue. When Jonas got sick the last thing on my mind was tending a garden so it was put to the way-side.

It's been two years and we are eager to get our hands dirty and start planting. We decided to relocate the garden to the side of the house where the sunshine is abundant. Unfortunately, we were never able to utilize this space due to some overgrown scrubs and trees. We finally took the plunge, not really by choice, and had the bushes and trees removed, the stumps ground and new dirt brought in. The next step is to level the land and build a small wall to avoid the sloping hill. This will allow for a larger space right next to the house. After the wall is in place (and by "wall" I mean a cobblestone wall that is about a foot high) and the new soil added, we'll rototill and add nutrients into the dirt. Since the garden will be somewhat visible from the front of the house I'm trying to draw plans and create a versatile space that will be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. We've decided to tackle the animal problem by adding a black rod-iron fence around the space with a gated entrance that opens to the backyard and rustic cobblestones laid down for a path.

We've started brainstorming and the kids eagerly made a list of what they want to plant. Once we narrowed down that list to some realistic goals (sorry kiddos, avocados and mangos won't grow in Ohio) we can start focusing on seeds and where to purchase our seedlings. We've decided (tentatively) to plant: a variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, peppers, kale, a variety of lettuce, beans, cantaloupe, eggplant and possibly a small patch of strawberries depending on space. I would love to add a couple dwarf fruit trees if the space allows; a fig tree, apple and pear.

We have our work cut out for us and this is a big project we're taking on but I'm ready! I miss having my own little space to grow fruits and vegetables for our family, plus gardening is a peaceful and stress-reducing activity to add into my day. Currently, our side-yard is a giant mud pit, but once the sunshines comes out and we can get to work I'll share some before, during and after pictures.

If you have any gardening suggestions I'm all ears! I've had several gardens in the past but I am always open to new ideas.