July 31, 2012

Living in My Ideal World

Ideally I would not buy icecream. Ideally we would not eat out so often. Ideally my children would not know what chocolate chips or juice taste like. Ideally they would eat dinner with a smile on their face and ask for more spinach.

I have sure felt like this!
Lately things have not been ideal.

What is ideal anyway? What is your ideal diet? 

Is it Paleo? GAPS? Low Carb? Low Fat? High Fat?

Or simply eating a traditional diet? Soaking all your grains and drinking raw milk. Oh, and don't forget pastured meats. Haven't you heard about how harmful it is to eat conventional beef?

It's so easy to get wrapped up in our food choices. Only organic, no grains, free-range, raw milk, etc. We can get lost in all the choices and "better" options for us. Better for us, better for the animals, better for the earth. It also makes us feel good. Feel good that we are making better choices.

But is it really better? 

When I start to look at other people's grocery cart and cringe when all I see is processed food, I need to take a step back. It is not better for me at this point. 

If eating healthy or choosing different eating habits for my family is causing me to judge others in the least bit then it's not better. 

Just because I cook a traditional diet for my family does not make me a better mother.

There are very loving, God-fearing, self sacrificing, selfless and generous mother's who: buy cereal, candy, fast food, boxed lunches, chocolate milk, chips and who have never stepped one foot into a health food store.

 Our food choices do not define who we are. They certainly do not define our motherhood.

It has taken me awhile to learn that although it is a wonderful thing to take care of our bodies and make healthy food choices, what is better is to  develop a healthy attitude about it. 

Being ok with less than ideal, eating out, loving more, bringing a friend a meal, eating cake, having a glass of wine, smiling and laughing over lunch, sharing your faith over the dinner table, inviting your neighbor for tea, and yes, enjoying your favorite icecream and thanking God for it!

I'm OK with compromises, I have to be. I do not live in an ideal world and I never will! We cannot add one day to our lives that God does not plan for us. So let's make the most of it!

  “The only thing I really wish for
 ...Is to love until I die of love.”
              - St. Thérèse

Linking up at Simple Lives Thursday and  Real Food Wednesday

July 29, 2012

Cod Liver Oil: A Testimony {guest post}

My name is Sarah and I am a wife of a soldier. We have to two small boys with a little one on the way. My family and I started on the GAPS diet this February. It was a scary and hard decision to make, but I knew that God was calling us in that direction. A little ways into the diet, I was playing with my youngest. As he laughed I saw a spot on his bottom tooth, and my heart sank. In my mind I was picturing a visit to the dentist with him. I balked at the idea. I could literally feel shudders and a repeat of his hospital stay when he had pneumonia at two and half months. It was to date, the worst experience of my life, and definitely of his. I wanted to spare him any type of trauma, as he still isn't over everything he went through at the hospital. 

God was providing for us, however, as I had just read an article from Sarah at  The Healthy Home Economist, that she healed her son's cavity using fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures. I had my husband look at our son's tooth and I told him I was going to order the cod liver oil. If it worked, awesome! If not, cod liver oil is good for brain function. When it arrived I got a baby spoon out, filled it up and gave it to my baby. Surprise, surprise! He loved it! As my sister-in-law appropriately said in regards to this, "He's a garbage disposal of nasty!" I couldn't agree more because I struggled to get it down! All my troubles paid off with visible results occurring just a week later! The spot on his tooth was smaller, and even my "doubting Thomas" husband agreed that it was so. Of all the results that I have seen while being on the GAPS diet, the effects of fermented cod liver oil is by far the most amazing! 

This experience has left me in complete awe of God. Last year I would have thought that this sounded way too far fetched, but it makes so much sense that God would provide a natural way of healing cavities. We knit our bones back together after they break for goodness sakes, so why couldn't we heal a decaying tooth? 

Fermented cod liver oil does more than just heal cavities. This February and March were brutal months in Colorado, as far as respiratory viruses go. I worried that my little one would succumb to pneumonia again this year. I asked God to give me a way to protect him from a repeat. When friends were continually taking their feverish babies into the doctors for earaches and horrible coughs, my kids were okay. A friend of mine took her son in (he's a couple months older than my youngest) and he was on the brink of pneumonia. I knew if my son was going to get a repeat of pneumonia, it would be soon. I was hoping that the cod liver oil strengthened his immune system enough that he would be alright. When my kids did get the inevitable cold, the worst that happened was my oldest got earaches in both ears (which I treated with garlic oil). No antibiotics were needed and I didn't take them to the doctor. I know with that mommy instinct that mothers get, that things would have been a lot worse had we not been taking cod liver oil!   

Sarah is a dear friend of mine from way back when. She is a wonderful, God fearing Momma who does so much for her children. I am always inspired and uplifted every time I speak with her. I asked her to share a little bit about her experience on the GAPS diet and taking fermented cod liver oil. Sarah has seen many improvements in her family's health and will be a regular guest here sharing about her experiences! Don't forget to leave her some comment love!

July 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday 7/27

---- 1 ----

We basically stopped in our tracks to plan a huge birthday party this week. I threw it by myself because it was a Tuesday morning party - and as usual, I went a little over my head! It was fun nonetheless! If you want some frugal tips on throwing a huge Teddy Bear's picnic, read all about it! We made these yummy chocolate cupcakes, they were a hit with the kids!

---- 2 ----

I can't believe my little girl is turning 3 on Sunday. More than that, I can't believe I have been a mom for 3 years! It's the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought walking across the country would have been it, or maybe those two times I gave birth. Nope. Just the day to day of being a mom. These kids have helped me grow immensely as a person, especially Gianna. She pulls new tricks on me everyday! Lately I have been calling her my Cinderella. It has made her the happiest little princess. 

Two weeks to three years old!

---- 3 ----

I have been completely unmotivated in the kitchen these days. I hadn't menu planned in a looong time. I always feel a little lost and uncreative in the kitchen when I don't plan - so I forced myself to do it this week. It feels so good to have it down along with a shopping list.  I would love to make a "Menu Planning Monday" weekly post, mostly to keep myself motivated - so here's our menu if you are stumped in the kitchen too!

Friday: Shrimp Stir Fry
                 - make chicken stock

Saturday: Roasted Chicken, baked butternut squash, cucumber salad. 
                 - soak and sprout black and pinto beans

Sunday: Beef Pot Roast in the crock pot,  Greek salad, sweet potato bites.
               Gianna's Birthday cake: Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting. This cake and frosting combo is amazing!   

Monday: Black Bean Soup. 
                 - soak brown rice   

Tuesday: Mexican Brown Rice casserole. 

Wednesday: Veggie Heavy Chili

(let me know if this is something you would like to see on a more regular basis)

---- 4 ----

A young man named Andrew Moore has been on my mind all week. He was walking with the Pro-Life group Crossroads when he was hit by a car and killed instantly. This was the walk that I met my husband on. The cause is very near and dear to my heart. He died while praying the rosary. His dad write a moving tribute to his son, please read if you have the time. I keep thinking about those who are there to greet in heaven. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace, amen.

---- 5 ----

I feel like that's it. I can't think of anything else now. The whole situation had definitely brought me to my knees a couple of times. Not in frustration or anger at God for allowing such a thing, but in deep appreciation for the gift of life. When something so tragic, such as the Colorado theater shooting, or Andrew's tragic death all I can do is think about this passage from Job 1:21.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
 Indeed He gave, and He continues to give.  Thank you Lord for your many blessings, those seen and unseen.

----- 6 ----
On a much lighter note, I have a question! I have a little boy who is almost 15 months. He has been expressing himself a little more lately and exploring like crazy. He likes to get in the dirt about five different times a day! Im sure this is normal for little boys but I really don't know what to do about it! I could spend my whole day cleaning him up! Do I just do this and expect this dirty phase to not last long? Or do I let him be dirty all the time? What do you do?

---- 7 ----

Speaking of the dirty little boy! I caught him red handed. How can you resist that precious face?!

Have a blessed day!

Linking up at Conversiondiary.

Forty Five Kids - a Frugal Birthday Party!

There were forty five kids at my daughters birthday party yesterday. Forty five! It was fun and wild at the same time! I threw a Teddy Bear's Picnic for my beary special 3 year old. I feel incredibly blessed to know so many families with children, and the fact that they will celebrate with us! Parties can be very expensive, especially if you try to provide healthy food and drinks.

I will share with you my attempt at throwing a fun, frugal and somewhat healthy birthday party. :)


There is only so much you can do with forty five kids running around, so we tried our best! I wanted to keep it as simple and frugal as possible while still being fun for all of the kids.

The first thing I did was watch this in order to go on a bear hunt with all the kids:

It was a big hit, they loved it! I had them repeat the song phrases after me and they all participated!

 Then we read a few bear books, talked about our bear's names and what bears like to do for fun. Of course we had to read the well known, Teddy Bear's Picnic.
All I had to bring for this part was: a few picnic blankets, three books about bears and a few extra teddies in case someone forgot theirs. We got the books from the library so we didn't spend a dime on this part of the picnic!


My goal was to make this a frugal party - while still being fun. There are many ways to do this but let me show you how what we did.

I took a large cardboard box and cut the top to look like waves and spray painted it blue. I then made fishing poles out of sticks, string and clothespins. This was by far the kid's favorite. I enlisted help from my nephews to sit behind the box and help the children fish! As long as they threw their fish back in, they could fish as many times as the wanted!

{somewhat healthy}

Food can be the most expensive thing about a large birthday party. To keep it simple and frugal I had everyone bring an item to share for a "trail mix bar." That way, depending on a child's allergy restrictions or sugar limitations, everyone's needs were met! My sister in-law was so gracious and brought coconut water for everyone, what a treat! I also made and brought sweetened black tea.

The whole day before my daughter and I baked and baked cupcakes. It was really fun! We made a few batches of gluten free, honey sweetened chocolate cupcakes, and even more wheat flour cupcakes. A few mom's attending were either paleo, on the GAPS diet or had allergies. It was nice to have something for everyone. (well, almost everyone! I still can't figure out how to make cupcakes without eggs!)

I made cream cheese frosting and honey sweetened buttercream frosting, both of them to die for. At least that is how I feel about icing! (recipes to follow).

I did not ice the cupcakes beforehand, I brought it in bowls and let the children ice their own. It was really fun for the kids to get to do the icing on their own!

The party favors were the little fish  they caught. We cut the fish out of felt and I attached a honey stick to each one. I haven't met a kid who doesn't love honey sticks! After filling our bellies with chocolate we went down to the river front to have a swim. All in all, I would say it was great fun! Happy Birthday, my dear sweet Gianna!

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
- Blessed Mother Teresa

Linking up to Simple Lives Thursday, Fat Tuesday and Pennywise Platter

July 23, 2012

Eat Fat Lose Fat - GIVEAWAY winner!


Thank you, Missy for subscribing to my blog. You are the lucky winner! Please contact me with your address so I can get that book right out to you! 

Stay tuned for the next  giveaway: Style, Sex and Substance by Hallie Lord. You don't want to miss this one, it's a fantastic book!

July 22, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes that are Good for You!

I would consider these chocolate cupcakes good for you. I mean, at least it gives me an excuse to eat three four of them! They are filled with coconut flour, coconut oil, and eggs. You can eat them for breakfast with a smile on your face! 

As mothers we have plenty of guilt lying around. One of them is guilt over what we feed our children. I often feel guilt unnecessarily. Being concerned about my children eating a balanced diet, too much sugar or being picky about those green beans on their plate.  We can simply do our best and leave the rest in God's hands!

What I love about these cupcakes is that you don't have to feel guilty!  We love them because they are really easy, healthy to boot and yummy!

Coconut Flour Chocolate Cupcakes {Paleo, GAPS}


1/4 c. coconut flour
1/4 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 c. coconut oil or melted butter
1/2 c. honey

Mix dry ingredients in a mixer or bowl. Add eggs, coconut oil and honey. Mix well and let coconut flour absorb liquids.  Spoon into cupcake pan with liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-15 minutes. Makes 9 cupcakes. 

Enjoy your guilt free chocolate fix!

We love them with buttercream icing, mmm!

We buy our coconut oil from Amazon. It is one of the cheapest ways to buy the unrefined goodness. If you click on the picture and purchase it through this link, Amazon will be so good as to give me an advertising fee. Make sure you Subscribe as Save as well, there is no obligation to buy more and you get a discount!

I also have found the best price for coconut flour is on Amazon. If you don't want to purchase four bags, make sure to find a friend to split it with you! We have SO much fun experimenting with coconut flour!

Linking up at Fat Tuesday

"My daughter...why do you not tell me about everything that concerns you, even the smallest details? Tell Me about everything, and know that this will give Me great joy. I answered, But You know about everything, Lord." And Jesus replied to me, "Yes I do know; but you should not excuse yourself with the fact that I know, but with childlike simplicity talk to Me about everything, for my ears and heart are inclined towards you, and your words are dear to Me."
                              - St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul

July 20, 2012

On the Nightstand

photo credit
There is nothing like escaping into a good book. You can travel anywhere, learn about anything and explore the universe, right from your comfy bed. Now we're talking!

I remember my mother's nightstand being cluttered with tons of books she was reading. What do they say about turning into your mother? I'll take this trait from her, I love having books all over the place!

Let us share our love for good books with you! Grab your tea, enjoy this post and then go grab your favorite book!

What we are enjoying:

Mommy's Nightstand:

Style, Sex and Substance by Hallie Lord. 
I ordered this book recently and I couldn't wait to delve in! I have only read a few chapters and I love it. Hallie gathers ten or so women who talk about what a true authentic Catholic women looks like. They cover a range of topics such as the working mom, fashion, trying to fit a mold, sex and more. It's hilarious and uplifting at the same time! The women are real - and I feel as if Im having a heart-to-heart with them. I read a chapter every night and it's one of those books I can't wait to grab my tea, snuggle up and enjoy some conversation with the ladies. 

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. This is more of a reference book rather than a snuggle up in bed book, but it's a beauty don't you think? A friend recently bought this for me and I can't wait to delve in. It's basically a history book on fermented foods. I was never into science but this is really fun science in my mind! Or I guess you could call it art! We try to eat fermented foods and beverages for all the good bacteria. It's fascinating to learn that it has been going on forever and it's basically a lost art. Amazing.

Bringing it to The Table by Wendell Berry. I have only read one of Wedell's books and really enjoyed it. So I couldn't resist grabbing this one at the library to sneak a peak. Wendell writes beautifully about the art of family farms, I guess you could say. I think his writing is enchanting. These are essays he has written over the years, I can't wait to read them!

The Little Way of Saint Therese of Lisieux - John Nelson. This wonderful meditation book puts together daily meditations that draw from Scripture, St. Therese's writings and The Imitation of Christ. I LOVE this little book. It's short and perfect for a morning meditation. I have really grown in my spiritual life by reading St. Therese's writings. Her spirituallity entails doing small things for God with great love. It's something I can strive for, and these mediations help me to stay focused during the day. 

Backyard Livestock by Steven Thomas. I borrowed this book to research a little more about keeping chickens! *fingers crossed* Now I have to convince the landlord. :)  I like this one on keeping farm animals compared to the many others because it keeps it simple. It makes keeping chickens seem like something we can manage!

Hildegard's Healing Plants. One of my goals for this blog is to study and write about healing herbs. St. Hildegard of Bingen was a healer that lived in the 12th century. She wrote extensively on healing plants and remedies. In fact, this was the main reason I started the blog. Time for me to get refocused! If you interested in her, read this

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha-McBride. I pretty much always have this book out as a reference. I gotta hand it to being the best health book I have ever read.  It's an expensive book but worth every penny. It opened my eyes to the reasons why our gut health is so incredibly important to our well-being. Love it, love it, love it. Borrow it from the library if can - it's awesome!

Daddy's Nightstand:


The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life by Fr. Charles Arminjon. My husband has a range of interest, eschatology being one of them. This book was one of St. Therese of the Child Jesus' favorite. I hear it's great!

Catholics and the New Age by Father Mitch Pacwa. Father has an incredible story of dabbling in the new age in college. He has done extensive research since and writes about the different influences and new age practices that are harmful. Fr. Mitch is a great writer and you can tell he is a very holy priest. 

The Glory of Christendom by Warren Carrol. My hubby is quite the history buff and is reading the third book in this series. He tells me about some of the interesting things he reads about Church history and politics. It's nice to have a little history lesson here and there - that I can understand! If it's not about food, it's a little too complicated for me!

Catholic Bible Dictionary by Scott Hahn. This has been an amazing reference for us while we read scripture. It can be pretty intimidating and hard to read the Old Testament if you don't have a clue what's going on! This book has helped us navigate God's word a little bit. Highly recommended!

Our Children's Nightstand:

Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman. We could read this book over, and over and over! I even enjoy it that many times! The story is incredibly sweet with amazing illustrations to go along with it. We can't recommend this book enough - definitely a family favorite!

Jamberry by B. Degen. Berry season wouldn't be complete without this sweet book! Make sure to look it up at your library, it will bring you joy. We love the illustrations and silly rhymes.

Peter in Blueberry Land by Elsa Beskow. In honor of blueberries being in season we couldn't miss this one either! Having a son named Peter it was a must on our shelves. I could pour over the illustrations in this book too. We simply love everything by Elsa Beskow!

Only recently have we discovered beautiful children's books. We enjoy quality when it comes to our books  - so we have decided to foster the same love for quality books in our children. These books can be expensive though. I usually have an amazon wishlist of all the children's authors that I love and then keep my eyes peeled at thrift stores and garage sales. This is where we buy most of our books. We usually pay about 50 cents a book! I try to remember quality over quantity - it helps simplify our book shelves and encourages my children to love the good stuff!

I can hear my mother's voice in my head, "There are so many good books out there, why do you want to read this?" It was a bit annoying at the time when I wanted to read Harry Potter - but she encouraged me to read "The Lord of the Rings" instead, and I am so grateful for that!

Which children's books do you treasure? 

I'm always on the hunt for good books!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a good book!

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