My (Kinda) Healthy Thanksgiving

Hehehe, do you like how I threw in “kinda”? We all have to live a little, right??

Our family does a pretty simple Thanksgiving, but I know some people have an all out smorgasbord. What side of the party does your family fall on?

My family does the traditional turkey thing. We started getting a free-range fresh turkey the past couple years and it’s pretty tasty too! This is the second year I am “brining” the turkey myself. I did a homemade concoction last year and found a great option that was a little simpler this year.

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This is the brine I used this year.

Lucky me, I only have to do the prep part, my mom does the cooking the bird part. At 46, I am still blessed enough to have my mom fixing most of the important holiday meals in my family.

I will be fixing some of the sides to help out though. I’ve finally taught my daughter to eat sweet potatoes, so I get to make more mashed sweet potatoes than I usually do. I’m still working on that picky 15-year old I have upstairs. I will be making regular mashed potatoes for him and my dad, well kinda regular. Don’t tell, but I will be substituting cow’s milk for cashew milk and LOTS of real butter. We love butter and eat lots of it, give me all the good fats to keep me healthy!

We try to avoid dairy (cow’s milk) and as much gluten as possible. Dairy and gluten are inflammatory and my family has major reactions to both. We don’t have the typical “allergic” reactions people think of, ours are more subtle. Stomach aches the next day, unexplained fatigue, constipation, brain fog, vague complaints that are easily overlooked, but we know more now; so, we make accommodations, it’s not as hard as you think.

We will have homemade sweet potatoes biscuits from our local farmer’s market and we will also have pie as well. My mom likes to make sweet potato pie. I am not really a pie person, so I bought apple cobbler, it still has some crumbs (yes, gluten) and such (sugar), but that’s ok. 😉

We will have peas (my dad LOVES frozen peas), and green beans for a real green veggie, and I think I’ll make brussel sprouts too, we love sprouts, but that’s a new thing. If you’re family doesn’t eat sprouts, try a little onion and bacon, they might just change their mind.

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Sprouts w bacon and onions, OH MY!

We don’t do anything extravagant, our family gatherings have dwindled in size as people grow and spread out. I have some of the best memories of Thanksgivings with all my cousins when we were growing up. Games of Trivial Pursuit, chasing each other on trikes and 4 wheelers, driving around the driveway before we were old enough to drive… good stuff.

We will have one dish that is a staple, and yes, we will go all out and splurge, and yes, we will probably pay for it… but we WILL have homemade dumplings like my great-grandmother used to make. We’ve subbed gluten-free flour before, and it’s just not the same. Sometimes, you just have to go for the real thing. We are fortunate that we can splurge, but if we do it too often, we really see health problems. We should avoid it, or those health problems will worsen, but it’s SO HARD to be completely gluten free and dairy free.

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Dad’s ole faithful

A couple years in a row, I made some homemade cranberries, but nobody really cares, and my dad IS having his out of a can, (insert eye roll) but what’s it matter, it makes him happy. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m kinda wishing I did get some fresh cranberries… hum… I think I still have time, so maybe I better cut this off here. 😉 

I’d love to know some of your family’s favorite dishes. It’s always fun to learn new things and other’s family traditions.

I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy day of thanksgiving and gratitude for the goodness in your life.

Be well & Enjoy the Journey!

Gobble, Gobble.

My Family’s Grocery List

I’ve been asked by a few followers if I would write a grocery list of gluten free foods. That’s pretty much all I buy, so I thought it wouldn’t be that hard for me to share my list. This is also the list I share in my challenge groups. Be sure to check back frequently, I’ll be changing it up as I discover more secrets. We still have a few things in the cabinet that we haven’t tried yet, like GF pizza crust. We have frozen, vacuum sealed, and flour/mix to make from scratch… I’ll keep you posted. Update: skip the vacuum sealed option. 😉

I go Live on FB occasionally and opened my cabinets to show you most of the products my family uses. I share my Thrive Market shipments, my Butcher Box shipments and other health and nutrition info, so, be sure to follow me on Facebook.

Without further ado, here’s my list…

Continue reading

I do it ALL for My WHY?

HI! A friend and fellow Inspirer asked for some insight about WHY we do what we do? What gives us PASSION, what gives us ENERGY to keep moving forward? What is your WHY?? Think about it, write it down, it might be a little more motivating than you realize…

Tell your story

My WHY is My family. I do everything I do for my kids health and well being. I’m working harder now to spend time on the beach later with my Hubby when we are old and our kids are wildly successful and can take care of us (play along, I have faith).  Continue reading

What’s Your Excuse?? Reality Maybe?

Here’s my list of excuses:

  • Congenital Hip Dysplasiaaf8119baa06da42794553e2c664e150c
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • My Kids, time I want to spend with them, and the time they just need me
  • Work
  • Taxiing my kids to/from wherever it is they have to be….
  • Care for my family, aka paying bills, cleaning, pet care, permission slips, troubleshooting printers (and f’n routers every couple months, like right now, ugh), school plays, guitar lessons, horseback riding, groceries that. are. always. gone.!!
  • Then, of course, something unexpected throws the whole game plan off….. Like today’s migraine… UGH!

Excuse vs. Reality? Reality really is what it comes down to when you think about it. We are so hard on ourselves sometimes, we’re usually our own worst enemy. Let me ask you… Continue reading

Mommy & Daddy Need A Time Out

Let’s think about this a minute… Time Out? Hmmmm….

A moment to be by yourself.

A moment to be left alone.

A moment to get away from the hype.

A moment to step back and regroup.

A moment to detached from the goings on in the world.

A moment to block out the noise.

YES, PLEASE!! I’ll take that Time Out NOW!

This past weekend, my husband and I Continue reading

From 6lbs to Bigger Than Me

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I’ve always known…. someday it was going to happen….

I look up at him now…. My little 6 pound, 37 weeker.IMG_1951

It seems like just yesterday he was obsessed with trains and his batman cape. He was a Conductor/Engineer/Superhero in the making for years. 🙂

And, now, his voice has started changing, it’s so different…. Who is this? This grown boy? This young man.

I knew someday this would happen… but already?

It happened right in front of my eyes…

He was shorter than me just 9 months ago, and now, he’s only a half inch from his father. It’s his year. 6″. Boy to man.

In just 14 years….he’s bigger than me. (sigh)

IMG_1946I always knew someday he’d be taller than me. I even stood below him on the step between our foyer and living room a few different times over the past few years, just to check the view from that angle. He asked me once what I was doing. I said, “Just seeing what it’s like…” and, now it’s happened. No turning back. Life as I’ve known it for the past 14 years is now different.

I do kids, pediatrics, and before that, I delivered babies (loved it!!), I’ve watched kids grow up. Had the chance to watch dozens of kids that I helped bring into this world grow up, So cool! I still get to see many of them. It really is amazing to watch these little babies turn into toddlers… then preschoolers… (but, mine are long past preschool now).

One day, you walk them into kindergarten. At your elementary school (mind blowing kinda day). His kindergarten teacher was also his father’s, just 30 short years ago. Talk about mind blowing for her too. Especially because of the uncanny family resemblance of father and son. You should have seen her face when she realized it.

That was only the first of many mind blowing moments, this parenting thing goes too fast. There are so many “precious memories.” I hope I am filing them all in the right places.  I don’t want to forget ANYTHING. But, I will, we all do.

Today, when thinking back about my little baby, the nights, the breastfeeding, the multiple bags and essentials to tote, it really seems like a lifetime ago. I guess it is… his lifetime.

My precious little baby, my firstborn, my gift from God that He chose to challenge me with… I just look at him in awe sometimes…SOIMG_1956 Much more than he realizes. My Joshie.

As a parent, I sometimes think of MY creation. Well… OUR… my husband gets credit too. I know the whole procreation, reproduction, cycle of life, blah blah… But… I. CREATED. A. HUMAN. BEING. Have you ever really stopped to think about that? I DO. And, have multiple times over the last 14 years.  #SURREAL. That was the first adjective I could think of to describe being a mom after Joshua’s birth… it truly is surreal. just. no. words.

The miracle and blessing of life. Of Family. Of LOVE. #priceless

So, today, on my 14th Anniversary of Motherhood, I know how truly grateful and blessed I am. I have been chosen to raise these precious children.

I will try the best I can every day, and never, ever, ever give up. Even when I have nothing left, I will never let them down, not if there is a breath in my body. I’m their mom. It’s what I do. It’s my job.

Enjoy it!!!! Please. The journey is what YOU make it!

Write your story your way.

LIVE Your Journey!

Walk YOUR path!

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Oh, The Places You Will Go

At some point I may get to add a pic of my tall one… but for now, that camera shy 14 year old alludes me. And, I try to respect his privacy (doesn’t always happen though, so stay tuned). 😉

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Our Joshie

Just to give you an idea of that height… Morgan is actually leaning, Josh hasn’t quite caught him yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of days.

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Family Ice Skating at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

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Caught a pic… a wee bit different from that little boy walking through the waves.

 

Stress…Are we setting a good example?

Stress affects everyone.

Stress interferes with our basic human needs to survive.

Stress interferes with our health and ability to live productive lives.

Stress changes our world.

Young or old, alone or part of a family, stress affects all of us. It changes how we act. It changes how we think. It changes our decision making. It affects how the world perceives us.

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How do you handle stress?   Do you let others see your stress?   Do you let your kids see your stress?  Do you make sure your kids see you dealing with stress in a healthy way? That last one is the hard one.

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When you think you have everything all under control, and it just unravels and falls apart…. Have a plan!

The past few months were pretty stressful in our house. I don’t always handle stress well. I don’t think clearly. I don’t make the best decisions. And, it’s obvious to everyone in my world that something is wrong. I wear my stress just like a new outfit. When it’s bad, it overcomes me. I get stuck. It sucks. And, what also sucks is that my kids don’t get the mom they need. None of us are able to be 100% the person we want to be when we are stressed. Fact.

Many of us don’t deal with our stress well, and the effects are profound. We have a society that is tired, less productive, irritable, gaining weight, depressed, anxious, and generally unhealthy both mentally and physically, all because of stress. Stress changes our bodies in multiple ways, hormonally, gastrointestinally, and cognitively, just to name a few.

When the brain, the gut and the hormones are messed up, guess what? Life is messed up, and things just don’t go so smoothly. Unfortunately, our immune system gets the direct assault. If you want to read more about stress and the immune relationship, I recommend  Paleo Mom’s blog posts about how leaky gut and stress affect our health. The impact of stress on our health is so profound, I encourage you to learn more about it, and hope to write another post about it soon.

Take a look at our society, 1 in 3 are sick, the majority are overweight, many are out of work or incapable of keeping a job, most self medicate with alcohol and cigarettes, and many with illegal drugs. The majority of relationships fall apart, many children don’t live with both mom and dad (some with neither), and respect for one another seems to be at an all time low.

As a society, we are not functioning well. We are not dealing with problems and they are causing stress and it has a domino effect on our society as a whole. So, back to the reason I started this post…

We need to deal with our stress, but HOW? 

Lifestyle choices. Simply put, we need to go Back to Basics:

  1. Safety and love. This is a basic human need, and many people are not loved and do not feel safe. Many things about the basic needs of our society are broken. Lack of respect & broken family systems are a central part of this problem. Everybody needs somebody.
  2. Proper Nutrition. This might be #2, but only because #1 is so primal. This is such a crucial element to one’s health both mentally and physically. Balanced nutrition can cure and prevent many of today’s “modern diseases.” Eating 3 balanced meals a day is a must. Not just our body, but especially our brain needs fuel, and food is that fuel. Too many unnatural foods (I use the word food loosely here) in our diet lead to health issues. If you’ve ever read my blog, you know how I feel about processed vs. natural foods. We will save that discussion for another post.
  3. Adequate Sleep. If we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body doesn’t have time to replenish. Simple supply and demand here. You can’t keep drinking out of a glass that you don’t refill. For more details about the importance of sleep and how much sleep we each need, check here.
  4. Exercise/Physical Activity. Our body is mechanical, it’s quite amazing actually. Our body needs to be toned and fit to perform how it was meant to, and how we expect it to. Muscles are there to support bones, if muscles are not toned and in shape, they can’t do their job. Think about all the back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and hip pain in this country. Much of it is because we don’t keep our muscles toned. And, exercise has a direct impact on good digestion. Good digestion is the key to good health! Learn yoga or pilates, just 10-15 min before bed will make a lifetime of difference in you physical and digestive health. I promise. 😉

All of the above have a huge effect on how our body functions.

Proper care = proper function, aka, we can deal with life (and it’s stressors) better when we are healthy. Fact.

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Life does this to us from time to time.

So, last month when my stress meter was in the danger zone, and my boss (Who is The Best!) asked what I was doing to take care of me, I knew what I had to do… I told her that I wasn’t doing so well the first few weeks. I even left the house for a couple hours one night because I just couldn’t take it anymore. (I’m not totally nuts though, I just went to my aunt’s house to deflate.)

So, what was I doing to help with my stress? I had been trying to eat pretty healthy (keep in mind that wine is made from grapes 😉 ). I was trying to get adequate sleep (the nights I wasn’t up late researching everything I could find to help my son). And, I was getting ready to start an exercise program (that I should get off of this computer and good do). The exercise program was something I was excited about; the “physical activity” part of my equation had fallen off my radar and I was feeling icky not being in better shape.

Another thing I support wholeheartedly, but was not doing was talking to someone professionally, as in a therapist. I am lucky to have a 2 for 1 in my massage therapist. My massage therapist is one of the best people in my world. We found each other about 12 years ago, and we’ve developed this true friendship/inner psyche kinda love. We share so many of the same philosophies about life. She knows where my muscles are the most stressed and we chat during my massages, it’s better than psychotherapy… Well, better until she gets to the painful parts, but I call that “feel good pain” because it helps decrease the daily muscle aches/pains and gets the stress toxins out of my muscles (and out of my body). She helps me survive. I can’t express the impact massage therapy has on my world. I highly recommend it. I think most alternative therapies deserve more credit than we give them. Alternative medicine works, these therapies haven’t been around for thousands of years for no reason.

We need to fulfill our basic human needs to survive and be productive.

We need to be healthy and happy to live productive lives and be prepared to deal with life’s stressors.

We need to be good role models for the next generation. We need to deal with our stress. We need to address problems, not ignore them. We need to find solutions, not complaints. We need to treat others as we want to be treated.

We need to demonstrate positive alternatives to acting out in negative ways. Our youth need to see adults dealing with life’s stressors in positive ways. This will make a huge difference in our world. This is a job that all adults are responsible for, like it or not.

Learning to deal with stress is a continuous journey for all of us. I’ve been struggling and learning for decades now. I’m still doing research, but I’m also doing a few Sun Salutations (that’s yoga for those of you that still haven’t caught on to how wonderful yoga is) along this journey to help decrease my stressed. I have tried to work through the most recent “worst” stress in my life. It’s much easier to deal with now that we are on the other side of it (well, mostly). I am proud to be able to show my kids how to deal with stress. At times, I set a good example of what not to do, but I most recently set a good example of what to do by making the lifestyle changes that help me deal with my stress. Just 2 weeks into my exercise program, I’m feeling so much better. And, my kids have the mom they need and deserve. Maybe I’ll share a little more about my exercise program in another post soon.

I hope you have outlets for your stress. If not, I hope this post encourages you to create a few. If you want a little help, just let me know. There is nothing easy about life. We all need to stick together. It takes a village, no matter what your age. The support system I had through my most recent stressful issues made all the difference.

Don’t let life dictate what you do; take control of your life and take it where you want it to go.  Learning how to deal with the stressors makes the journey much more successful and enjoyable.

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A nice vista along the way is good for the soul.

So, eat well, sleep well, exercise, surround yourself with like-minded, positive thinking people and…. Enjoy the Journey! You’ll be glad you did. 

 

 

 

 

Mom “Firsts”

Who cries when they drop their kid off for SATs?? Who does that?? (Yes, I’m raising my hand.) In my own (emotional) defense, he is taking them early, so, it’s not like I dropped a high school junior off, he just finished 7th grade yesterday. (Well, it was yesterday when I started this post, summer has been busy, so I’m just reviewing and posting it now. Oops. 😉 )

Yea, I know, nice mom I am… I made him get up at 6:30am the 1st day of 4597688930summer vacation to take the SAT. The cool part is all of the amazing opportunities that will be available to him after this as part of the John’s Hopkins University-Center for Talented Youth program. The even better part… when he does take the SAT next time, when it will count for college, he will have already been exposed. That is going to be invaluable!

So, this was another “Mom First” for me. I had no idea there would be so many Mom Firsts…. That first day I left for work when he was 3 months old, I cried. The first day I dropped him off at preschool…cried. Finished preschool, yup, cried. Went to elementary, cried. “Graduated” 5th grade-like a baby, yes. I. did. Starting middle school… yup! So, you get the trend here. And, we shouldn’t even talk about my ride to grad school orientation 4 states away when my daughter was only 1 year old (3 days away from hubby and kids for the first time)… I think I cried until I was out of our state! It was ugly.

I bet you could name just as many mom firsts that made you cry. Did you think we were going to cry like this just because our children were living their lives? Wow! I had no idea the emotional roller coaster that motherhood would be, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world, not one minute, even the bad ones.

And, now that I’m posting this almost 2 months after I started, I’ll admit, Yes, when his SAT results came, I shed a tear too, mostly because I was so shocked and proud. Way to go, Josh!

So, through the tears of all your “mom firsts” make sure you take time to Enjoy the Journey!  And, tell us about any Mom first’s you’d like to share! 😉

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