Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Night 12x12 Layout

American Crafts Cardstock, clouds are from silhouette, washi tape, stars are from Studio Calico Kit, and "night" is my cut file.

Being creative, I splattered paint on the background, randomly.  I also wanted to journal in white ink, but when I received my pen in the mail it was dried out :(  Finding white pens in our town is like finding a needle in a haystack.  So, this page is journaless.  

If you wish to download my cut file, you can click here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Real Food Update

So this last week was a bad one for us.  We sort of fell off the wagon for a few days.  There were several reasons for this.  First, JoJo snuck into the kitchen and ate most of the ingredients for school lunches.  We also went out to eat on Wednesday.  I didn't feel like cooking.  It was the first time that we have gone out to eat as a family since I don't know when.  We never go out.  Thursday, we also ate out.  It was Erik's birthday so we went to Texas Roadhouse.  Friday, I didn't have the list ready for Erik so  didn't go to the store.  I didn't want to go that evening, so we stayed in an ordered pizza.

One of Erik's birthday gifts

Erik and I have been talking about our failure this week.  He says he can feel a huge difference when he doesn't eat according to our real food diet.  I should also mention he had training this week and ate out.  He even went to Taco Bell and Burger King!  I admit, I was slightly jealous about the Taco Bell visit.

Saturday, I ran to the store to get a few things for dinner and such.  We made  Broccoli cheese soup in the Vitamix.  It was interesting to say the least, but the kids gagged ate it all.  It wasn't that good, I'm not going to lie.  I was proud of Wolfie for eating it and not being disrespectful like has been in the past.  After that wonderful meal, I made homemade ice cream for everyone as their reward.  I keep saying how impressed with the kids being on board with the change, but I'm just shocked.  When we ordered pizza on Friday, Maddie said, "This isn't real food. Aren't we supposed to be eating real food?"

So over the last few weeks, these are the things I'm figuring out.  We won't be cutting sugar completely out of our diet.  I will start buying raw, non GMO, sugar.  Just using honey in some things is not cutting it.  I figure if we have sugar in small amounts, it won't kill us.

I'm going to try and shop at our local Toucan Market only.  I will still get milk at Target.  Their Horizon milk is $2 a gallon cheaper there.  Although, if you count gas and time, it's probably not.  Toucan has a huge selection of organic or all natural foods and meats.  I also decided that I will probably shop every couple of days instead of weekly.  I think it will help us to save money and be less wasteful of food we don't get to use during the week.  I don't mind running to Toucan every couple of days.  It's five minutes from my house.  It's a small store with short lines, and the staff is friendly.  I know all of the cashiers and deli people, so it's sort of a small town feel.  I am going to try and make as many homemade foods as possible, but if I'm in a time crunch, I will buy factory made foods.  As long as I can read all of the ingredients on the package and they are all natural. Case in point would be spaghetti sauce, chips, etc.  I'm not giving up chips.  These are my favorite chips.

I also love Nut Thins.  These are my favorite.  The kids love them too.
So, there you have it for the last week.  We are still on board with this thing.  Have a great day!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Our Annual Photobook

Here is our annual photobook from Shutterfly.  Dad...don't read any further.

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at Shutterfly.com.

Photo Book

Dad stop reading this post.  Here is our annual photobook from Shutterfly.

Create your own custom photo books at Shutterfly.com.

Snow Day

I'm up early this morning.  Early for a Sunday, anyway.  I kept getting texts on my phone.  I thought it was someone in dire trouble.  I mean, who repeatedly texts someone on a Sunday Morning?  But, alas, it was the weather warning service informing me of all of the closed roadways.  We have snow!!!  Beautiful, white snow.  I'm letting the boys sleep in for a while and then I will get them up and let them see the winter surprise.  As, I type, Mazzie is outside barking at the snow.  It's the first time she's seen it.
  Since, I'm off this week, I hope to get caught up on a lot of stuff.  My photo editing really got me off track with a lot of the stuff I wanted to have done this month.  So, I just wanted to touch base with you guys.  I should have tons more post up this week.  I'm going to clean my office, finish up a photo session, try to make a book list, put a chicken in the crockpot, and watch the kids play in the snow with the dogs.  Have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Because I deserve it!

My office is a fiasco.  I'm serious.  I am in the midst of photo editing, science fair projecting, sewing, children crafting mess, sick kids, and laundry washing.  So I deserve a break to make a little blog post.  Don't you think?  I do.

So, first off, let's start with the Real Food.  We've been doing very well, I would say.  Did we eat out last Saturday?  Yes.  Did the kids and I go to Chickfil A on Monday with my dad?  Yes.  Did I eat Nachos Grande on Friday at school?  Yes.  However, those are the only days Erik and I have eaten anything other than Real Food.  I am now dubbing it RF because I'm tired of typing the words out.  Ha.  Making a list for Week 2 was, for some reason, extremely difficult.  Even with the 100 Days of RF meal plans.  It was just unbearable.  I made a tiny list and Erik went shopping.  It got us through the week.  Last night, I went to Toucan, our local market, and picked up some stuff.  It was sort of spur of the moment stuff.  I'm finding that eating only RF is a fine line of extreme organization and chaos.  I have no problem with planning my meals weekly and shopping accordingly but for some reason, I'm finding it difficult with RF.  A lot of the recipes on 100 Days of RF require a lot of prep time.  I don't have hours upon hours to make meals.  I'm NOT saying there is anything wrong with her recipes at all. It just takes a lot of planning.  The other challenge...the organized part is the school lunches.  It takes a lot of time to prepare them and plan them out.  For example, Thursday night, it took me an hour to make egg salad and pack everything.

For dinners, I think the easiest thing is to go back to what we did before, make the foods we made before for dinner but modify them so we can make sure they are more healthy for us.  We did this, this past week.  I used my Grandmother's pizza recipe.  It's been a favorite of mine forever.  We used all real ingredients.  Erik made us pizza sauce during his day off so we could use that instead of store bought pizza sauce.  That was a two hour process.  See what I mean about the time?

 Maddie preparing the pizza.  That's the pizza sauce in the bag.
The first week of the RF diet, I think I had a carbohydrate crash.  I felt terrible for the first few days.  I also realized that I need Carbs.  I have to have them.  My metabolism is very fast, and I have to fuel my body with them.  So, I've tried to modify that accordingly and I've felt much better.  Erik feels much better as well.  He's also lost three inches in his waist since we started.

We've had great difficulty finding only organic fruits and vegetables.  I've been to three stores and haven't been able to purchase only organic fruits and vegetables.  I guess that's the challenge of a smaller city.  We have, however, only allowed foods into our home with a small number of ingredients, or with ingredients we can read.  Maddie went with me to Toucan last night and he wanted pickles.  I didn't let him get them because they had artificial coloring in them.  I also couldn't find any with All Natural Ingredients.  He seemed to accept it.  That brings about the fact that I can't believe how on board the kids are.  There has been very little complaining on their part and they've eaten all of the meals.  They seem to be excited about it.  The other night on the way home from catechism, JoJo was eating Cheetos he got from his class.  I think they were Cheetos.  I never saw the bag.  Wolfie said, "I don't even know why he's eating them anyways because they were made in a factory."

I do have to say that if the Zombie Apocalypse occurs, we will be screwed.  We have no foods with preservatives in our house.  At least not enough to sustain us.  That's the only thing sustaining the people on The Walking Dead.  Of course, this is a joke.  Please don't expect to see me on Doomsday Preppers. Ha.  I do think that it would have been easier to start this journey in the summer when we had a garden.  Now, I know how to plan our garden more appropriately to fit our needs.  That's a plus.  Anyways, I've got to get back to editing photos.  This post has taken longer than five minutes.  Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Buried Here

Hi everyone!  Just wanted to say Hello!  I am still alive, just very busy with photo editing.  I'm trying to finish up several shoots.  Hope all is well with you!  I'm leaving a picture of my sleepy monster for you.  That's because it's cute, and I'm exhausted.  I'm going to try and post soon about my Real Food adventure, and general stuff :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Real Food Transition

So, Erik and I have officially started our way to a "real" food diet.  We sat down and made a list together.  I used a meal plan from Lisa Leake (100 Days of Real Food).  Meal Plan 1 to be exact.  We went to the store together and read labels.  It was sort of funny to be doing it.  The people around us were looking at us like we were crazy.  It also took us five minutes to decide on jelly.   It was a fun adventure.  I just wanted to share a few things with you as we move toward our goal.

1.  We are not rich.  If we were, I would throw out all of our food and start fresh, as Dr. Weil suggests.  However, since we're not rich, and I paid good money for that food we will use it as we can.  Also we will save some of the items for the Zombie Apocalypse.  It lasts forever, right?  The Bisquick, noodles, and canned food items will come in handy when it happens.  Okay, that's a joke.  But, for real, we are only buying all natural foods from now on.  Anything that comes into our home will be all "real" food.

2.  I really don't think this transition will be difficult for us.  We eat a lot of "real" foods as it is.  Our biggest issues would be sugary cereals, snacks, and lunches.  We've used Extra Virgin Olive Oil for over a decade.  We use butter only here.  We have a garden where we grow our own vegetables.  Also, we use only whole grain and organic flour.  We eat only organic, cage free eggs.  We also try to eat only all natural meats and cheeses.  We eat only whole grain or all natural bread.  We rarely go out to eat because my children are animals, and it's expensive.  Sodas, KoolAid, and other sugary drinks are not allowed in our house, unless it's a holiday.  Then we buy it for our event.  If we decide to have a "special night" with special drinks, I purchase all natural sodas from our local store.  So, overall, I think we're halfway there already.

3.  I can't be as strict as Lisa Leake.  I just can't.  There are several factors for that.  We live in a small city.  The population is around 100,000.  However, there is only one major all natural food store in our city...That I know of.  It's a great store.  I love it, and go there often.  Lisa Leake made it her goal to only eat local foods within 100 miles.  I think that's a wonderful goal.  Again, I'm limited with store choices.  Our family does upon occasion slaughter, hunt, or fish for meat.  We process it and eat it.  I don't think there is anything more fresh than that.  The next exception is we live in New Mexico.  We eat Mexican food.  I will NEVER, EVER give that up.  It won't happen.  I order my food on Fridays.  The people that cook it, don't shop organically.  But that is my luxury in life.  I get a 30 minute lunch everyday.  Fridays are my splurge day.  So, I will continue to order out on Fridays.  I will, see how I feel after my Friday meals.  If I feel overtired or not, I will let you know.

4.  I'm going to allow my children to make their choices, for the most part.  I made our lunches this evening.  Maddie told me that he didn't want to eat the lunch I made because he wanted to eat the spaghetti tomorrow, as well as the nachos on Friday.  I'm going to let him make that choice during our transition time.  We will continue to discuss whole foods with our children and their benefits.  I want them to make the choice because they understand the benefits of it, not because I'm making them do it.  The good news about the school lunches are that the pastas and breads are whole grain.

5.  All in all, the children seem very excited about making the change to all real foods.  They want to help me cook.  They're interested in the foods I've chosen.  They are surprisingly open to trying new things.  They are also enjoying the foods we're making at home.  Even Wolfie seems to be embracing this real food idea.

6.  I find that eating a real food diet makes it easier to be organized.  We made pancakes today and froze the left overs in baggies that the kids can eat for breakfast, lunch, or snack.  It seems to be a time saver for us.  On the flip side of that, you HAVE to be organized. If you can't prepare lunches for school the night before, you're going to be getting up a lot earlier, or not making them at all.

 Homemade tortillas
Homemade granola

Oh, and I started a Real Food Board on Pinterest.  You can go here if you want to follow it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

So Thankful

I am so thankful for the place I grew up.  For the friends I made there.  For the things I learned there.  Just a small little town we all thought was boring because there was nothing to do.  Looking back it made it the best place of all because we had to use our imagination.  We had to play and get dirty.  We learned to drive tractors and trucks and cars at a very young age.  We learned to hunt and fish and camp.  I made the best friends of my life there.  Real and true friends that don't judge, that don't compete to see who's better or who has more.  We've seen each other at our worst and we've seen each other at our best.  We've laughed, we've cried, we've broken minor laws.  And so, I'm so thankful to have lived that life, to be able to share a part of it with our children.  That it made me who I am today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Real Food Diet

So...I've been thinking of embarking on a "Real Food" diet.  It's not something new, I've been reading Dr. Weil's books since college.  I consider him the first real "real food" guru.  He didn't put it that way, per se but he promoted and continues to promote Optimum Health.

There have been several reasons to spur this thought in my head.  One is I don't like the lunches we eat during the weekends.  They often consist of processed foods such as Macaroni, pizzas, etc.  I do consider our dinners to be pretty healthy.  I also don't like how picky Wolfie is.  He is the worst eater in our house.  Maddie and JoJo have no problem devouring what we serve.  Wolfie literally gags it down. I'm just tired of that.  Though, I'm sure making him eat fruits and vegetables might pose a few problems.

Another reason, is that we are spending so much money on groceries.  I'm not kidding you.  We are spending roughly $800 a month.  The kids are garbage disposals.  I can't help but think that we can force them guide them to make healthier choices with fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are much cheaper in the long run than processed snacks.

As a result of this, I spent a good part of the weekend researching real food diets.  The most helpful site I found was the 100 Days of Real Food website.  Lisa Leake provides a wealth of information from meal plans to recipes, and kid's school lunches.  She makes the kid's lunches very appealing and fun for children.  I actually showed the website to my children and they seem very interested in the school lunches.

After researching, I've decided and learned several things.  One, the change is going to be somewhat hard, and I may never actually give up my Oreos.  I'm going to have to really decide if I want to give up sugar in my coffee.  I'm going to try honey...I'm going to try.  Making this change, will be somewhat expensive in the long run.  I plan on doing a lot of Smoothies for breakfast.  I found this great page 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge.  I say expensive, because I may have to purchase a new blender...My 12 year old $20 blender might not cut it.  I might be drinking Chunkies...instead of smoothies.  So, we're looking into blender options.  My friend, Pam, recommended the Vitamix Blender.  She swears by it.  It's a super hefty investment, but I like the potential it has, such as making nut butters, soups, flours, doughs, juices, ice cream and sorbets, and tons of other stuff.  Before I invest, I want to make sure it's going to be worth it and that I'm going to stick to this new way of living.   Also, Erik and I decided we want to replace our plastic tupperware with glass tupperware.  We will also be purchasing the Ziploc Divided Lunch Containers for the kid's lunches.  The other items we will purchase are glass jars and containers for food storage.

The other thing I am concerned about is time.  This is going to take a lot of time and organization.  Erik and I discussed this.  Since he does most of the shopping now, he's worried about shopping on his own.    It's going to take me a good chunk of time to plan our menu.  It's also going to be trial and error to find out the cheapest way to buy foods.  I'm going to have to make a lot of food and snacks during the weekend. I actually think it won't be that big of a problem because the kids enjoy helping me in the kitchen.

My last big concern is food allergies.  I have a lot of allergies to fruits and vegetables in raw form.  I mean I might actually die if I were to have an avocado.  They cause my throat to swell shut.  I saw a Smoothie recipe on the Smoothie Challenge website where you had to use one.  Don't worry, I'll be avoiding it.  Almost all fruits and vegetables make my ears itch...Cantaloupe, honey dew, watermelon, carrots, spinach, cucumbers, brocollie, cauliflower and the list goes on and on.  So, I'm anxious to see if eating solely or mostly organic foods helps with this.  

Sorry for the lengthy post...with no pictures...again.  I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 Days of Thankful Sketch

I know you all are loving my awesome ability of drawing a straight line.  I just wanted to post this.  I modeled it after an actual calendar.  I'm going to mix pictures and just words in these squares.  I'm thinking of actually creating the two page spread and making squares...with a ruler this time.  Then going back and adding different embellishments and items to them as the month goes along.  I'm also working on the .png files so you can download them.  That's all for today!  Have a great day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Pictures

I just wanted to share a few photos from Halloween.  I didn't take very many this year.  I just wasn't in the Halloween spirit this year.  It was just a combination of things, being super busy with photos, and other stuff.  However, here you go.  Also to let you know, I will post my 30 Days of Thankful Sketch either tomorrow or Tuesday.  I am trying to figure out how to make clear .png files that you can use as stamps in Microsoft Office, Photoshop, or with your Silhouette.  I also photographed some layouts I will share later this week.  I'm on my third cup of coffee right now...I don't need it, but I have no self control.  That was just a random tidbit of information.  Perhaps the caffeine is kicking in.

 Officer JoJo, Minion Me, Ninja Wolfie, and Bat Maddox (Erik was the photographer.  We should be extremely proud this photo is in focus.)
 Yes, his lips are blue.  He was eating candy. 

 This is the best one of JoJo I could get!!!

 Maddie is always a good sport for pictures.  Love his untied shoelace too.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Memory Works is Going Out Of Business

As many of you know, I've been a consultant for quite a while with Memory Works.  They announced today, that as of December 31, 2013 they will be closing.  They are going to focus their business on their Simple Stories Line.  Starting tomorrow, November 2, 2013 all merchandise will go on sale.  It will be a 30% discount on all products.  Any one interested in placing an order just has to go to www.memory-works.com  If you have an account already set up, you can login there.  You will place the order and I will finalize it for you.  If you haven't created an account yet, just sign up and add me as your consultant.  I will finalize your order for you.  There are a lot of great products that will be on sale and not available again from their website so hurry!!


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