Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Meal Plan (June 11)

After almost a month of not planning our meals, being on vacation, overspending and just random insanity we have a meal plan. I finally have found a nice pattern to help make the meal plan simpler to plan. I have assigned each day a meat "flavor" such as beef on Mondays. This means I can narrow it down and not feel quite so over whelmed.

Friday is big sassy's last day of kindergarten. She is so old! I cannot believe that she will officially be a grade schooler next year. Apparently her new teacher is amazing (she met her today) and sas has gushed about her from the moment I saw her. Consider me super relived. We are doing one of her favorite on Friday, grilled pizzas.

Monday (beef)
B-Omelets with cheese and sausage
D-Steak, grilled veggies, potatoes roasted with cheese and bacon

Tuesday (Mexican)
B-Eggs with cheese
D-Taco Salads

Wednesday (pork)
L-Leftover taco salad
D-Pork ribs, potato salad, peas

Thursday (chicken)
B-Fried eggs
D-Lemon and garlic chicken thighs, green beans

L-Chicken and salad
D-Grilled pizza (trying a scallop pizza with Alfredo sauce to get the kids started on seafood they like)

Saturday(crock pot)
B-Eggs and bacon
L-Leftovers and salad
D-Whole chicken, roasted carrots

Clean the fridge, leftovers

Friday, June 8, 2012

Madison: The story of a spectacularly sassy girl

Yesterday afternoon the Special Olympics torch was ran by our house. Actually they did more then just run a torch around our small town, the torch is generally driven down here because of the distance and then ran through town. A few of the guys decided that the torch should be ran all the way in, all 44 miles. They were joined on the outside of town by a larger group of runners. They all wanted to bring attention to what was going on, to raise awarness in this small town, that even here we have children who benefit from the Special Olympics.

The majority of the run looked like this, hilly lovely empty country side

The Special Olympics has and is one of the biggest voices out there raising public awareness about people with disabilities. They believe everyone should have the opportunity to build confidence and stay healthy by learning a sport. Special Olympics heads leading research in the special health, educational, and personal needs of these individuals.

A dear friend from high school and I were pregnant with our first Sassy girls together. She was in rural Northern California and I was in rural Northern Minnesota, while our sassy little ladies are almost the exact same age, her daughter Madison had a scary delivery and a very tumultuous first few years. They are so blessed to have this sweet girl and I cannot wait for you guys to hear all about Madison's story. She has over come and fought through so much. Hopefully her story can help someone and give strength to those going through similar things.

~Madison Renee~
I was asked to write this guest post a while back and had a hard time thinking of how it was to be written. Our daughter Madison was born July 25th, 2006. She was 6 days overdue and as first time parents were anxious for her arrival. We scheduled the induction and everything went as planned. Madison was born at 5:37 am, 9lbs 1oz and 22 inches long.
From there it got blurry. She wasn't breathing when she was born, her blood sugars were at a 13 and she was limp. In our rural town we don't have a NICU, we barely have a nursery for the babies to sleep in. They took her into the other room and started giving her blow by oxygen and some sugar water through IV to get her out of shock. By 11:00am she still never came back to my room and I wasn't allowed to see her. Her prognosis was worse every time I asked the nurse what was going on. They decided to fly her out to a hospital 2 hrs. away that had a level 2 NICU. And there we stayed for 3 weeks.
No one knew why she was having problems, she was the biggest baby in the hospital but the most fragile. Surprisingly. We went through the geneticist and that was normal. Went through the Neurologist and that was somewhat normal, she had some bleeding on the brain from birth that was resolving. She does have a horseshoe kidney and thought to have a tethered spinal cord. Her main problem was no muscle tone, she looked like a rag doll when picked up. And that hindered her nursing or sucking on a bottle. She had her NG tube in when we came home. And I kept at trying to nurse, it seemed she could latch on but didn't have a strong suck. We tried all the tricks the nurses showed us in the hospital but nothing worked. After having the tube in for 5 weeks, she started to depend on it. Funny, thinking a 5 week old baby knew the difference but she was refusing to nurse and satisfied only by gavage feedings. So with the OK from our main Dr at the time we took it out....BIG mistake.
Without our knowledge she wasn't gaining weight like they had hoped. By 3 months she was diagnosed failure to thrive, but never once told her mother and father to figure out a new feeding plan. I still continued to breastfeed and nursed every 90 minutes seemed like. It wasn't til she was 3 1/2 months a feeding therapist noticed she was choking while nursing and took concern. Then, our world down spiraled for a while. We had to take her in to the ER for a horrible cough and were diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. She didn't have a fever or pneumonia like symptoms. At first, they wanted to turn us away with just a cold, but always trust your parents’ intuition. The next month, it happened again. This time we took her to our family clinic and the PA refused to see her. Said it didn't sound like pneumonia and we needed to take her to a real pediatrician. So back to the ER we went, this time it was in both lobes.
Madison had another genetic test done at 6 months and it came back normal again. Jan. of 2007 she had a collapsed lung and was airlifted out to UCSF. She recovered well with no new answers. At that time, we decided that we will just take her as she is and love her like a child should be. We found a great new pediatrician that just happened to move into our town and were taking new patients. We began seeing him 3x a week for weight checks and once her weight wasn't changing decided immediately to get a g-tube put in. For us, it isn't just a trip down the street to our hospital. We had to drive 7 hrs. and stay 2 weeks while she underwent feeding studies and lung studies. We had seen the geneticist for the 3rd time with the same results. April 2nd, 2007 she had her g-tube put in. After that, her weight and strength sky rocketed! She had been seeing PT since she was 6 months old and after getting her proper nutrition started making great progress. She started to outgrow all her medications and with the help of her feeding therapist she started to take in different texture and started to eat food orally.
By the time she turned 3, she was fed thru mouth only. She was just learning how to walk and was almost ready for preschool. We still had her tube in cause it had to not be used for 1 year before it was taken out. Mostly, we had it in because we could give her medication thru it without her fighting. By Sept. of 2009 she was walking and had no tube and really no issues at all. She was still a frequent visitor to the ER because she didn’t understand that to control the flu she had to drink fluid. So she would shut down and dehydrate herself.
March of 2010, she had a seizure, first time ever. She hadn’t been feeling well that day and her fever spiked and caused the seizure. With her background of problems she was flown out again to Stanford. While there, we were seen again by the geneticist and were taught how to regulate her blood sugar. But this time, the genetic team was certain that they knew what she could have.
Early May 2010 we got the call that she had a rare syndrome called Soto's Syndrome, named after the Dr who found it. Everything that she went through at birth was normal to a baby with Soto's. But the reason why all the other tests came back normal is because it is an extensive test where they scan each strand of DNA for an error. To finally hear the words, that diagnosis was bittersweet. 2 years before we decided that we were going to accept whatever it was she had and live our lives. But finding out that this syndrome isn't life threatening was the greatest news.
In late May 2010, we had to go in for dental surgery. From all the antibiotics she was on and just having poor enamel she had several rotten teeth. When they were done, they only capped 9 teeth and pulled the rest. She had 4 abscessed teeth and giving her painful infections. They discharged us that day and told us she will bounce back no problem. Another mistake on our part for listening, but they did blame us for her teeth and how crappy we were feeding her. They were told before surgery what she was diagnosed with and that dental problems were very common in children with this disorder, but they didn't research it. Again we had to drive 7 hours home and she shut down from the pain, she choked on her liquid pain medicine and refused to eat anything. She was severely dehydrated by day 3 and we took her back to the hospital that had seen her when she was a baby. They were very understanding and admitted us for 3 days to let her recover on IV pain medicine. After she healed it seemed like her health was turning around.
She is only seen by her urologist right now for hydronephrosis of the left kidney. She had to have a stint put in and some cartilage taken out. We got to go to a conference in Texas for Soto's Syndrome families, and learned so much from the Doctors there.
She has finished the 2 years of preschool and is now in Kindergarten. She recently was tested again and was at a 2 year 8 month learning ability. Her overall health has improved tremendously as she has gotten older. She loves her 2 sisters, music, dancing and animals. She loves, loves sign language. We had our fair share of tantrums and frustration from her not being able to tell us what she wanted or needed. I’m not sure what will happen as she gets older or how fast her learning will catch on, but her dad and I are so proud of all that she has accomplished. She will probably always live with us and be our responsibility. She is our Madison Renee.

Madison, on right with her sassy sisters.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Above and Beyond

So now that I am an wise old lady who owns a home, I have a husband and children I totally understand certain things that before were beyond my comprehension. (like how I somehow only got one leg shaved in the shower, or the value of going to bed before the sun goes down, the ingeniousness of a budget and the love of a good fix it man.)
In all seriousness though I grew up listening to people say things like "you get what you pay for", discussing customer service responses and interesting for my generation, watching people buy things in small stores and paying double the price it was being offered online or at a discount place. It baffled me to be honest and until I got older I never really got it. Now that I am older and wiser I have discovered there are some companies out there that might cost more to buy from directly but who have policies and customer service that go above and beyond the norm. Making it not only more pleasant to shop with them, but also approachable with your problems and concerns. So here is my list of companies that I am more then happy to do business with, they are the places who get our business first, they are head and shoulders above others in standing behind the products they sell or the service they offer and are always quick to resolve any issues.

L.L.Bean- Lets just start with one of the most talked about companies for customer service out there. When you call their 800 number it rings and a live person answers with HELLO. In a day and age of automatic, frustrating speak/type your response this is such a wonderful surprise. Living in Maine we consistently shop at the L.L.Bean flagship store as well as online and in their outlets. We have made numerous phone calls when we have questions about a product and always gotten precise answers and understanding of what we are talking about. The employees always seem genuinely happy to be at work and more then helpful in sorting out what you want/need. Their return policy is superior to none. If you are not 100% satisfied with the product you purchase please return it. They do not want you to have a product you bought from them that you are not satisfied with. The most important part of this is that they MEAN it, they really and truly want you to be happy with your purchase. As a company they want to sell only quality products that people are happy to buy and to tell others about.

Bogs Boots- An Canadian * American company based out of Portland, Or that offers, important to us for our climate, snow boot/rain boot. So when its 20 f, out with muck rain and slush these boots are the trick. With a neoprene shaft and handles the girls LOVE their bogs. We happened to have big sassy's sole wear out near the heel of her boots this December (when boots are needed most), I was very frustrated since they had hardly been worn. After a quick, painless phone call the company happily stood behind their product and sent us a replacement. This speaks volumes to us, we will always have bogs boots in our house because we know that the quality is there and if not the company guarantees the product. They were very pleasant to deal with and had everything handled and in the mail in less then 24 hours. They have a policy almost exactly like L.L.Bean, they want their customer to be satisfied and to feel as though they have the best product for the money.

The Natural Baby Company- More specifically, Gro-via diapers. This is a company that makes and sells cloth diapers, we have used their all in one diapers since Chloe was 10lbs and just love them. However we were part of the first batch of these to be sold and there were quality control issues on two separate occasions. They very promptly troubleshot on the phone and then sent out new diapers with a return package for the diapers that were having issues. They offer what I consider one of the best deals for the quality of product out there in what is surprisingly a very competitive world of cloth diapering. With a receipt and original ownership they offer a surprising 1 year from date of purchase warranty for any manufacturing defects with their diapers. Want a better warranty then that? Purchase them at Kelly's Closet , an authorized gro-via retailer, and you get a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee.

Marriott- We have stayed at many Marriott hotels through the years, and without fail the employees are happy, helpful and manage to make you feel as though you make their job better by being there. Most specifically we have stayed on a longer basis at two particular hotels that went above and beyond. These are the places that hands down we recommend to our friends and family time and again. Residence Inn Portland, Maine and Residence Inn Savannah, Georgia. Having worked hospitality and in hotels almost all of my life prior to being a stay at home mom, I really appreciate when hotel employees take the extra effort to seem to be happy at work. It takes good management who loves their jobs and are very competent and comfortable in their work to hire employees of this caliber and to help encourage them to continue being this way. It also takes a group of smart, bright, self motivated individuals to make you want to come back somewhere, not just for the city but for the experience of being around people who make you feel so welcome.

Xm/Sirius Satellite-An odd one right? We have had Sirius for close to 10 years now, and have always received exemplary service from them. We bought a car last year and had decided to put satellite radio in since we have loved it so much. Mr.Sassy spent close to 2 hours on the phone attempting to spend more money with this company and was treated pretty crummy. We contacted the company and within a matter of hours had a real live person call US on the phone, she apologized for our inconvenience and explained that the agents involved were going to be receiving extra training. I found that pretty impressive, I hate hearing someones in trouble when I complain, actually that's probably a major reason that I do not complain when I feel service was sub par. I was blown away that they didn't mention discipline but rather that they want their employees to learn how to present the face of Xm/Sirius and provide a high level of service and customer satisfaction. They followed up the next day as well to make sure that our radio was working properly and to apologize again and thank us for our continued service.

I am sure that there are many, many more companies that offer extraordinary guarantees and service but these just happen to be the ones we have seen first hand. Anyone know of anyone we left out? Share your experience with a company that has won over your family!

*So having just moved from Toronto, while buying our bogs we were always told they were a Canadian company, lo and behold they are NOT. Based out of Portland, Oregon they started making boots for farmers that could stand up to the cold, wet muck of the outdoors and withstand a beating. They do have a branch based out of Canada, hence my confusion.

(none of this blog or article was paid, sponsored or requested by any of the above companies.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Simple Sassy Potatoes

I officially have an almost 2 year old. Its pretty awesome, big sassy could never have dreamed of being half as challenging as little sassy is. To further prove this point the conversation this morning with Mr. Sassy went like this (after fighting lil' sas to bed over a 3 hour period last night)
Me: No she is bad, like super bad.
Mr.S: Kate, just be patient OK? She is just having a hard time, you are the calm one here, keep it together.
We both turn to look at little sassy only to find her PEELING THE WALLPAPER OFF THE WALLS!!
(I guess she will be our Legendary Child)

 I am desperately trying to find simple sides for dinners. I can only imagine the type of things little sas would find to do in the time it would take me to actually make something that takes longer then 5 minutes!)  From the first glimpse of warmth we fire up the grill and it doesn't get shut down until the temperature is so cold we are miserable being out there. This was made in the oven since we were only doing quick steaks and I wanted to be sure this cooked. I found these awesome packages of bacon ends and pieces that are terrible for breakfast but make an awesome addition for throwing into things  for that really rich flavor. They are a lot cheaper then buying the equivalent weight in real bacon slices.

Simple Sassy Potatoes

6 potatoes sliced  (you pick type, I used a medium sized red)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
garlic powder (more or less depending on taste)
onion powder (more or less depending on taste)
bacon (I used probably 1/2 cup)
Tin foil

preheat oven to 400
Lay out your tin foil, roughly two sheets 3 feet long. Make them into a plus sign by laying one horizontal and one vertical on top of each other
Mix all ingredients, Except bacon, in a bowl then dump into the center of the tin foil.
Sprinkle bacon over the top.
Starting with whichever layer of tinfoil is on the outside, wrap it around the potatoes, repeat with second layer.
Place in oven and bake for 30-45 or until potatoes are fork tender.

The sassy girls ate theirs with sour cream but Mr. Sassy and I like them all by themselves.

(recipe inspiration and picture from Cassie craves)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Super Simple Sassalicous Cookies

Rain, rain, rain. Nothing makes me feel like the ultimate mother failure then being sick, having rainy weather and the sassies running around the house like hooligans. I really wish I was a super organized mom with a huge closet filled with amazing Pinterest crafts to entertain the children and beautify my home at the same time, but I don't. Actually crafts with the kids stress me out big time, the potential of ruining the house, permanently maiming the kids and all the other craziness that tends to happen when the art supplies come out really has me on edge. I really like warm enough weather to craft outside, which totally screws me over on sick, rainy days. I also like crafts that don't involve things I want to throw away in a week or two. All the good stuff is crazy expensive and labor intensive which aggravates me all the more.

Actually what I really like doing with the sassy girls is cooking and baking. There is a plan, a procedure and the end product, which you eat and feel like a superhero for making. Its all very warm and fuzzy self esteem building. Really they should make a card for it.

Our cookies NEEDED sprinkles

Super Simple Sassalicous Cookies

2 Sticks of butter (1/2 lb)
1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar ( I use dark)
1/2 White sugar
2 Large eggs
2 Teaspoons of vanilla
1 and 1/2 Cups of all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon salt
3 Cups of old fashioned rolled oats
1 Cup butterscotch chips
1 Cup of chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350 f.
Beat butter and sugars until creamy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla
Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt, stir well.
Stir in Oatmeal and all chips and pecans.
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges begin to turn a light golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 1 min. on baking sheet.
Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

You can substitute any flavor variety of chips and nuts.
This makes a fair bit of cookies so a lot of times I freeze half the dough by rolling it into a log on top of cling wrap, wrap and freeze. When you want more cookies, just slice and bake as directed.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meal Plan April 23

Today is the first day back to school after spring break. If anything ever makes me contemplate homeschooling its this day. I miss my big sassy, little sas misses her, life is not as silly or unpredictable when she is gone.

This weeks menu is using 90% foods already in our home. Chicken was on crazy sale last week and so were a lot of other odds and ends. And since Mr.Sassy was shopping with me, we stocked up, he loves a good deal and doesn't feel like he fully takes advantage of it unless the pantry and freezer is full!

Has anyone made any whole food eating changes this month? I feel like a failure but am trying to bolster my spirits, the whole 30 did not go well for us. I blame Mr.Sassy, he always manages to talk me into dessert. FAIL, majorly on my part since my 2 worst eating times are after noon after big sassy is home from school and after the girls are in bed. I cannot resist Ben or Jerry, its just not possible. Thankfully it was not everyday only occasionally. I feel more involved in my choices though and I am definitely trying to make them consciously. If I am going to eat a dessert I want it to be the best, most delicious dessert. Not just an Oreo cookie, that is NOT worth it anymore.

This week I am trying Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast so we shall see how that goes. (check it out here) Its the big thing right now in primal eating and since I am looking for some change I'm all in. Today is so far so good, the girls had breakfast and I abstained and after dropping big sas at school I came home and whipped up my first batch. Since I usually add sugar to my coffee I did add in a bit of maple syrup and honey I probably always will. So breakfast today is bulletproof coffee for mommy, we shall see how this goes over. I am hoping to last through the week but if all doesn't go well I have no problem jumping ship. It tastes amazing so why not?

B-Sunny Eggs
L-Leftover tuna and sweet potatoes (quite the combo right?)
D-Pulled pork, Broccoli, pineapple coleslaw

B-Pizza Eggs (this is the girls new absolute favorite)
L-Pulled pork salad
D-BBQ roasted Chicken (bone in skin on), oven potato fries

B-Scrambled eggs and cheese
L-Leftovers and salad
D-Creamy Chicken and Ham Soup

B-Fried eggs
L-Leftovers and salad
D-Brats, BBQ carrots

B-Fried eggs
L-Leftovers and salad
D-Grilled chicken legs, some veggie (not really sure what yet)

B-Coconut Flour Pancakes
L-Leftovers and Salad
D-Steak, Potato and veggies

B-Crispy potatoes, veggies and eggs (skillet)
D-Mr. Sassy pick, sometimes I just have no creativity. Plus usually once a week we don't have whats planned and I have the extra fixings for a full meal.

Alright people, plan a meal this week. Maybe just plan a dinner or plan dinners for the whole week, even if that means you write it down on a napkin and plan in eating out, just DO IT. Make conscious decisions, over 1/3 of all food Americans buy is wasted. If you spend $200 a week on groceries that means every week you throw out $60 in food. It seems like a lot of work (it is) and a hassle (it is) but once you have all the things planned and the food bought it is such a relief to not have to worry every day about what to do.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sunshine and Seeds

FINALLY, a few warm days and you manage to feel a thousand times better about life. This warm front can stick around as long as it wants despite what my 8 day forecast predicts is going to show up in 4 days.

We have been exploring our tiny town on foot this week, little sassy in her stroller and big sas trucking around in her bike. We actually got a little pink the other day, its been so long since anyone in this house needed sunscreen on that I totally forgot to use it. Ooops...

We also have picked up seeds to start for this summer, so if you live in a zone 3 you need to start your plants ASAP. Our last day of frost is roughly May 20th which definitely means that my orange, yellow and jalapeno peppers should have been started 2-3 weeks ago. Sweet peas can go into the ground and so can your bulbs. A lot of herbs can also go in before the chance of frost is gone. Also vegetables like kale, broccoli, cabbage, beets, carrots, onion, potatoes, spinach and snow peas can go into the ground 4-6 weeks before the last chance of frost.

We started our seeds in old egg crates we have been saving all winter long. I have not a single clue what I am going to do when it comes to re potting them. We are planning on selling our excess seedlings at the end of our driveway this year. Also a friend and I are starting a small garden on her property that we are going to sell the extra from. She has the land and we have a great location in town, hopefully it will work out well and we enjoy ourselves.

We just moved into our home this past December and its so interesting to go out and look in our garden beds and see the new surprises popping up, we have discovered lilac bushes, raspberry and blueberry bushes, tulips and even a rhubarb!

This is our first year not having our vegetables as mainly container plants. It should be a very fun filled time. Still debating whether we should do raised beds or just plant straight into the ground.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Non Diet Parts to Being Primal

So you have the general idea of eating primal, but is that it? Can it really be so simple? Almost. Most primal philosophy believe that you need to engage in some type of exercise, the general thought is that you should be able to run fast enough, jump high enough, climb far enough to save your own A$$. If you are older, or unable to do that its completely understandable. You should however be doing as much as you can. Mr. Sassy has a soon to be 90 year old aunt who insists on climbing the stairs up and down to the basement to carry up a stick of firewood at a time. She refuses any type of help in this saying its her exercise. The woman is as sharp as a tack and funnier then heck I would dare say she is in better shape then I am.

You should also be doing some type of walking (low level aerobic exercise) just as our ancestors did to forage, hunt for food and carry water. You also need to lift heavy things, whether this means throwing your kids over your shoulder and attempting house work or pumping iron at the gym there is a need to strengthen our body to make us able to "save our own A$$".

I will start by saying this, you need to play. Have fun, chase your kids, walk the dog, make a snowman, throw a snowball and run after a Frisbee. To enjoy life to have fun just for the sake of having fun. "Specific instructions for an unstructured activity are impossible (and counterproductive), but there is a basic guideline: anything goes. That’s about all I can tell you. Any further direction from me or anyone else as to how, what, and when would compromise the spontaneous nature of true play. It’s important to discover your own particular brand of play. Indeed, I think the desire for active leisure is hardwired into our genetics (just look at the benefits), only it’s often smothered by the rigors and pressures of contemporary adulthood."

Walking, we were made to walk, we have been walking for hundreds of thousands of years.
Walk slowly, walk quickly, walk uphills, walk downhills, in sand, over rocks. Walk as far as you can and do it often. Get outside or if its too cold indoors somewhere and walk, move your body and dance, get your heart rate to a level that's comfortable to talk that's right below can't talk.

Lift heavy things, women carried their babies around, they moved rocks, they hauled water, they carried animals they had killed, our ancestor lifted heavy things as an ongoing part of their day. Give it a try, carry a gallon of milk around your house 3x, it gets heavy fast. They lifted themselves into trees and climbed up rocks. You only need to do it 2-3 times a week, for 30 mins at a time.

Sprint, really, really fast. Sometimes our ancestors had to run for their lives, and they needed to be ready for that, by lifting heavy things around everyday, walking all over the place and playing. They were ready when the time came to get out of the way of an angry animal. You should be able to run fast enough to save your own butt. Once a week run as fast as you can for as long as you can, walk until you cool down, do it at least 8x, in less then 10 minutes.

Rest, recover, recuperate. Historic man did not go all out all day every day. He took a break, when he was tired he had a rest. If you sprint once a week and lift heavy things three times a week, that still leaves you with three days to play in. Golf, tennis, basketball, chasing the kids, hiking, whatever makes you happy and keeps you moving. Also in this point is sleep, get it and then get more. The average person needs around 8 hours of quality sleep every night. Go to bed by 10 and be up by 6, do the math and give yourself time to adjust but make sleep a priority during the 30 day challenge. Every once in a while you will slip up and not be able to get your sleep but hopefully if you are getting good quality sleep the rest of the time its not such a big deal. Sleep deprivation causes all manner of nasty problems in our bodies, we NEED sleep to reset our bodies and for our mind to process things. Not getting enough sleep at night? Noisy neighbor, waking kids, stuffy nose keeping you up? Nap, lie down and take a siesta, if your not getting good sleep at night at least try and lie down every day and get some wakeful rest if sleep is impossible.

Get sunlight every day. Vitamin D might just be the most overly talked about vitamin in this day in age, but that's because it is SO important. If you live in the far reaches of northern no where (like we do) you might have to supplement.

Avoid trauma. A broken bone was more then likely death if not being a permanent cripple in cave man days. Getting hurt is no fun, avoid it at all costs. Eliminate destructive behaviors, start wearing your seat belt, stop smoking, do not do drugs, don't drink to oblivion.

Avoid poisonous things. This should be even MORE simple then avoiding trauma, eating things that are inherently bad for us is bad!

Use your mind, challenge yourself mentally. Make friends, connect to your spiritual side, volunteer your time somehow, join a book club. Do sudoku, crosswords challenge your mind by do trivial pursuit. Start a blog ;).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eating Primal

So this whole primal thing can be confusing. You might say well I don't eat grains or sugars or processed foods. You are cutting out bad fats. Which is FANTASTIC but what do you do to take that a step further, to really embrace primal eating? Mark over at Marks Daily Apple has a great article on this, plus about a thousand other articles and a book covering all this. So I will sum it up for you this best I can to help break it down and tell you what we do. Tomorrow I will break down the non food parts of this lifestyle.

Step 1: Avoid grains, sugars, processed and unhealthy foods. Even if its a "real" food like dairy and you don't feel good after eating it, AVOID IT!

Step 2: Stop being scared of real foods, butter, oils, red meat, eggs. You get the point, almost every food in history has been demonized for one reason or another. The simplest thing you can do for yourself is to eat real food, the closer it is to the way it grew the better. Eat fat, eat meat enjoy and experiment.

Step 3: Eat more protein. The average American eating an average diet tends to not meet their daily protein needs often enough. " At a minimum you need .5 grams of protein per pound of lean mass/per day on average to maintain your “structure”. If you are moderately active you need .7 or .8, and if you are an active athlete you need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of lean mass. That’s at a minimum, but it’s on a daily average. So a 155 lb moderately active woman who has 25% body fat (and thus) has 116 lb of lean body mass needs 93 grams of protein on average per day (116 x .8). If she gets 60 or 80 some days and 110 on others, she’ll still be in a healthy average range. And even if she exceeds the 110, it’s no problem if she’s eating low carb because the excess protein will convert to glucose, which will reduce her effective carbohydrate needs (see below). At 4 calories per gram, that’s between 320 and 440 calories per day in protein. It’s not that much"
Step 4: Be wary of carbs. By not eating sugars and grains it is really hard to even come close to eating over 150 grams of carbs a day. Eating under 150 and closer to 80 is a sure fire way to keep insulin levels low and help our bodies burn protein, fat and stored fat as fuel. Sure potatoes and starchy root vegetables have a good amount of carbs and so does fruit. A medium potato has 31g carbs, an apple has 17g of carbs, 1 cup of blueberries is 21g of carbs. Even if you ate all of that its only 69 grams of carbs. The problem with carbs is twofold, one they increase our insulin levels. With the outlook being that in the next 10 years 1 in every 3 Americans will be diabetic or prediabetic this is serious. Two, our bodies will use carbs as fuel first every single time, our bodies can easily access and break down carbs and use them quickly while storing all the fat and protein we eat. Which means an hour or so later we are hungry again AND you stored away the fat and protein you just ate. That equals out to weight gain. Our bodies do not do well being overweight, we are programmed to be lean and fit. That is how we thrive and prevent disease by being healthy, ironically enough when you eat healthy your body follow suits and looks healthy.

Step 5: Do not fear fat, saturated fat and learn about cholesterol. Do run scared from bad fats. Bad? Canola, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, soybean and all trans fat anything hydrogenated fats are pretty scary too. Whats left? Olive, fish, coconut, palm, avocado, walnut, macadamia, sesame seed I will add here butter and animal fats as well. Fats are an amazing source of energy for our bodies. Our bodies are made and designed to use fat as fuel.

Step 6: Try to eat more of the animal. Make your own broth or stock from animal bones. Eat liver, heart, etc. We need the vitamins and minerals associated with these pieces of the animal we usually discard. The good thing is they are generally really cheap. The bad thing is, it takes a lot of nerve to start trying it.

Step 7: Eat more seafood, all types. Avoiding the higher mercury seafood and eating not much of the medium mercury.

I think that covers the basics, I also think it helps address the "what now" when you stop eating the grains, sugars and processed foods. Start small and change one thing at a time. It can seem really overwhelming to address this all at once so start with not eating processed foods. Then move on to avoiding sugars and grains. You get the idea, do what works for you or your family. The most encouraging part of eating this way is the immediate result of feeling so much better.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reality and Hope

Today big sassy is sad. There is a little 4 year old sassy girl at her school who has cancer. She is so upset and confused. She doesn't understand why someone so little has something so bad. She keeps saying "she didn't even smoke one time and now she has cancer."
How, how, HOW on earth do I explain to my daughter that life is not fair, that just when we think we have it figured out something like this pops into your life and proves you wrong. That some sweet, sassy, innocent little girl is suffering something so big and scary is heartbreaking no matter what her age. Her parents are heart broken, her big sassy sister is heart broken and who can imagine what that brave little girl is thinking as she falls asleep every night.
I explain to big sassy about chemo and radiation, about iv's and needles I explain that her hair might fall out and that her skin will hurt from all the drugs. I tell her in the simplest plainest terms that I can the unfairness of life and the pure rawness that is cancer. Something that breaks you open and tears you apart, like humpty dumpty, with everyone running around trying to put you together again. We talk about cells, that they are like legos and how cancer is the bad cells and how the medicine that saves you can make you so sick. And she is so sad, what must my poor little sassy think in her silence as she absorbs the cruelness of the world.
There is a benefit supper, a raffle, there is a walk to give hope and all to help raise money because putting this poor little sassy girl together again is a never ending flow of money. Its hours in the car to the hospital that is hundreds of miles away, its needles, medicine and prayers. Its the brief glimpse of hope and the heartbreak of losing that hope.
 All of this while trying to remember to spend every second, every moment with your little sassy, denying death, refusing to let it in. Knowing in your heart that it is still possible, that this little girl is a gift to her parents, to her sister, to her community.
Sassy wants to hug her, she wants to go take this girl for a walk to the park and give her cookies. I explain how this is not possible that she is too ill for all of that. So now big sassy is making bracelets, beading her heart away on little stretchy stings and praying to God that he help this little girl. She wants to sell all the bracelets and necklaces and donate all the money, she wants to walk, she wants to put her toys into the raffle.
I look at her and I am proud, I am brought to my knees with her honesty, with the love she has for someone she has never met. I am honored to have a daughter who looks at someone else's pain and wants to do anything she can to fix it, to make them forget it, at least for a moment.
I cannot wait to walk the hope walk with her, to help teach sassy that while there is unfairness in this world, that there are good people out there. People like her who make a difference, no matter how small, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time there are truly good, amazing people in the world who help to make all of us feel better. I want her to know to stand up for what she feels is right and to fight against what she knows to be wrong.
Cancer might not have been the lesson I thought I was teaching sassy about this week yet somehow I feel so blessed to be able to do just that. To teach her that often times others problems are so much larger then our own and the way we respond and the things we do to help are what make us better people. To teach her that she lives in a community that stands beside each other when we have a need and rallies one another up.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meal Plan Monday and a Challenge

Ahhh the life of the slacker blogger. I spent last week, I mean literally almost every waking moment, out of doors. It was amazing, over 70 almost every day, temp today? 30, with a windchill of absurd. So back to the grind ;). Of course its Monday and that generally means I should plans some meals. I am also instating a full 30 Day Challenge, based on the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.

Mr. Sassy and I have been super slackers when it comes to our diet, not our main meals mind you, but eating out crap, snacking on dessert treats after the sassy girls are in bed and all manners of badly influencing each other.So that means today starts day 1 of the 30 day challenge, if you want to join let me know, either leave a comment below or go to the blogs face book page HERE and leave a comment.

Not willing to go all out primal yet, or ever? I challenge you to a 30 day eat better challenge. Close off your pantry, no processed foods (that means ingredient lists), eat whole foods, butter not margarine, fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit not canned. Cut out your sugar and grain intake, SERIOUSLY, cut it out. If you need to sweeten your coffee or tea use the bare minimum you can. The longer you refrain from white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, syrups, etc the more you will realize how fruits and vegetables are naturally sweet and your desire will change to eating less sugar. The last part of the challenge is to see how you feel. Really think about it after you eat a meal, pay attention how hungry are you at the start of the meal, halfway through and when your done. Give it a solid week if you cannot commit to 30 days. Most people experience withdrawals when they cut out sugars and processed foods. Your body has to adjust to not just burning sugars and carbs as quick fuel and start depending on the fats, proteins and fresh produce.

A little musical inspiration, (from back in my good ol' days!)

L-Chicken and Salad
D-Crock pot Pulled Pork, Apple Coleslaw
B-Scramble eggs and cheese
L-Chicken and Salad
B-Yogurt with Toasted Nuts
L-Chicken and Salad
D-BBQ Burgers, grilled vegetables
B-Paleo Pizza Muffins (lazy mom moment, will be replacing the tomato step with pizza sauce)
L-Leftovers from dinner
D-Sausages, roasted root veggies
B-Leftover Pizza Muffins
L-Haddock and Salad
D-Crock Pot Paleo Pineapple Pork Ribs,
B-Crispy Potato Skillet
L-Leftover Pork Ribs
D-BBQ Rotisserie chicken,
B-Coconut Flour Pancakes
L-Leftover Chicken and Salad
D-Weekly Fridge Clean/Leftover Night

phew! Thats always such an ordeal...I really need to get better at this for some reason its really time consuming for me lately meal planning. I am excited to start my 30 day primal challenge, I really need to get back on the boat.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pink Slime Now Optional

I'm so glad the government is now allowing Schools the choice to purchase pink slime added or pink slime free ground beef to their lunch menus for NEXT year. I also love that while they provide the pink slime added ground beef, schools have to fend for themselves to find the non pink slime beef. Way to force an already stressed system a little more guys.

Pink Slime Update, Click Here.

Meal Plan Monday

After a lovely weekend of sickness we are back, and almost better then ever. Now to figure out some way to guarantee that no one else gets sick!

When I look at this blank menu, at times, it makes my headache. What a pain, it really is a hassle sometimes. I know its worth it and helps to budget but it seriously feels overwhelming when its empty.

A friend suggested last week to do more crockpot meals, and she right. I used to do more and drifted out of the habit but I do have some ol' faithfuls that I will start incorporating. Especially for Fridays since that is big sassy's gymnastics day. Due to the timing of it all we never seem to get dinner started and end up with pizza or drive thru dinner which is a huge budget blower since it wasn't planned for.

Nice spring days like this make me want to JUMP,JUMP!
B-Fried egg
L-Toast and leftovers (I am still recovering so gentle foods!)
D-Leftover boiled dinner (nom nom nom)
B-Squash and apples with bacon
L-Clean the Fridge
D-Ham and Potato soup
B-Coconut Flour Pancakes (gluten free)
L-Soup and Salad
D-Roasted BBQ Chicken (bone in skin on), Roasted Broccoli
B-Ham and Egg cups
L-Chicken and Salad
D-Primal Pizza (gluten free)
B-Leftover Coconut pancakes (reheat in toaster)
L-Chicken and Salad
D-Crockpot Pulled Pork, crunchy apple slaw (with honey not sugar)
B-Crispy Potatoes and Eggs
L-Leftover Pulled Pork
D-Having company so not sure
B-Kids request day
D-Mr.Sassy makes dinner

Mr.Sassy has been requesting pre made breakfast so I guess I should really step up my game with the whole Mason Jar Meals. Also I know I need to get more seafood in our diet but with sensitive tummies this week it ain't happening. Really struggling with ideas in that sense. It seems most people get their kids to eat them in "stick" version but since we are not eating grains that makes this hard.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

School Lunch Challenge Step 1

I told myself I was going to look into this school lunch thing. Its really important, I mean I would daresay at least 40% or the children at big sassy's school eat lunch program once a week, at least 1/3 eat it daily and a large number eat the breakfast provided. Its just so overwhelming. There is so much information, so much to slog through and everything points to the fact that these foods are NOT FOODS PEOPLE.  But its a government funded program and that must mean that they are healthy foods, right? Right? Most people agree, all sorts of foundations and organizations are toting the belief that we need to cut out sugars, salts, trans fats and exercise more. Very few seem to be really addressing the heart of this issue though and figuring out what to do when your child is in school eating school lunch.

I have battled in my own home getting rid of processed foods and hearing from so many people with serious health problems (diabetes, severe asthma, serious weight problems, gluten intolerances etc.) saying to me that they grew up fine eating all this stuff so my kids should too. I want to scream from the roof tops that your not "fine", at what point do you stop perpetuating the cycle?

 I literally still battle every single day to not allow junk food and highly processed foods in my cart at the store. I don't see why this shouldn't extend to the food at school. I mean not complicated involved menus, but simple, yummy, kid friendly food. Something to fuel their bodies and strengthen their minds. I don't need a lovely organic garden grown outside the kitchen doors with Jamie Oliver cooking the meals (we can all dream.) I really just want something healthy and simple. Something to be glad our kids our eating.


I started reading through Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution site and the very idea of what is involved scares the holy living crap out of me. I know that it takes one but the idea of being that one to want the change enough to speak up is terrifying. Especially being new to town I hate the idea of people thinking we are those strange people ranting on and on about healthy food. Its a small town, like super small. So as soon as I start opening my big mouth people are going to start pointing and staring. I mean I lived here less then 10 days before people were cornering me in the stores introducing themselves because they knew who we were.

HA! That's a hearting thought right? Really though the first part of this whole thing is easy. In all truth you might never need to go farther then this with the whole thing (lucky you!). My dear friend Shelly has a fantastic little sassy girl in school and she left some great feedback on my last school lunch post "Now that the school is making all fresh meal's in their own cafeteria they aren't prepackaged and she loves the salad bar that they have." My challenge to you if this is whats going on in your school is to still do the first step of Jamie Oliver's pledge (outlined below). If this is your school they put a lot of care into their lunch program, they WANT feedback. Then go shake the hands of who is in charge and make SURE they know you are happy, because you never know if your voice is the balance keeping that healthy lunch going. Schools are always needing to cut corners and find money that doesn't exist so make sure to have your voice heard by the person in charge of school lunches. At the next PTA meeting make sure the other parents are aware of how good they have it so that if school lunch changes happen they are aware and support good change and stand against bad.

The first step of all this is easy, go to Jamie Oliver's site and sign the petition. Second step, go eat lunch at your child's school, every day, for a week. Or at least a few times in a month, enough to get a solid idea of the food and atmosphere. Read the lunch menu ahead of time and go see if the food lives up to how good or bad it sounds. Are the Sloppy Joes processed from a can or is it freshly cooked ground beef in a home made sauce? Take pictures, write down your observations. Are the kids all eating? Do they seem to be enjoying it? Which parts of the meal are most eaten/most thrown out? Take the print out from the food revolution tool kit to help simplify.

I know this is really outside the comfort zone of most people. I also understand big sassy is in kindergarten and would find the entire prospect of mom at lunch FANTASTIC. Your sixth grade son might not. If that's the case talk to the principal and find out if you can go at a different time then your child and eat off to the side, or just come in and observe at a different lunch hour. Go in before lunch and check out the setup. Still chicken to do it? Grab some of your children's classmates mothers or fathers and drag them with you. 

I have this theory though that standing up for something you believe in is never comfortable and simple. Its really easy to join in with other like minded people, but it takes real bravery to do it first. So from this point forth until who knows when I am starting a School Lunch Challenge, follow this first step. See where it brings you, how do you feel about what you observe? Still a scaredy cat? Thats fine, the first steps a doozy (I haven't done it yet either!) so read Jamie Olivers Site HERE or Anne Coopers HERE. Don't have kids in school? Do you work somewhere that makes lunches for its employees like a hospital? Start there. Or share this on your facebook page for everyone you know who might have kids.

Leave me a comment below or on my facebook page  and let me know what you discovered. Don't want to publish it out loud? Up in the top right corner of the page is a contact me link so you can email me directly. Send me pictures to put up, I want to know what you guys are seeing at your school!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Garden Fever

I have fever. Its been over 30 degrees fahrenheit  at least 5 times in the last 10 days. To most of you that means its a cold snap, for us people in a northern climate that means spring is coming! Spring fever is coming on strong, I see many other people out puttering around their yards picking up sticks, sweeping away the disaster the snow and plowing has left and just standing outside and enjoying not having their nostrils and eyes freeze shut.

The last 4 years my gardening consisted mainly of containers and a small garden bed. Anything not planted in the container was free for all for the rabbits. They even began to use our containers on our deck to have their babies since it was safer from the skunks. This year I have a huge (to me) area to use for my vegetables, a raspberry patch, two large garden beds to use for herbs, vegetables, fruit, and flowers. PLUS containers and all the lovely beds surrounding the house for flowers and perennials. In short, I'm over the moon with excitement to start tearing out low growing evergreens and filling in the space with amazing arrangements of perennials. I can hardly contain my excitement as the seed catalogs pour in and I circle ALL the amazing things I absolutely need. I might have circled 702 different seeds and counting, but I will narrow it down when I realize that will cost at least a small fortune!

I have to also figure out some way to convince Mr.Sassy that we need chickens...

This year the key is to build the vegetable garden, get the raspberries in check, plant the beds for herbs and overflow veggies, tear out evergreens and start arranging perennials. I am also going to try and build the girls a bean tee pee, a sunflower house and a herb or grass covered table and chair! Also big sassy wants to start her own garden this year.
I'm sure that half of that will actually happen but a girls gotta dream. Especially since it started snowing again today.

My inspiration........

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

bean teepee

herb garden landscape design


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tardy for Monday Meal Plan

UGH MEAL PLAN. For Monday, so late that its Tuesday, pretty sweet huh? Yeah i'm just cool like that. Now last week I purposefully did NOT plan anything for the weekend since I knew Mr.Sassy was off and that means that its just food craziness in my house. Plus lots of traveling so its eating with friends (love) or grabbing something drive Thur (hate).

This week I am taking it easy, we are trying to do a spend less challenge so that means that I have to step up and find a way to primally eat cheaper. Good times right? Sure......OOOH plus fun times of fun times big sassy is off school from Wednesday through the weekend. Plus its ST.PATRICKS DAY WOOHOO.

In honor of the concert Mr.Sassy failed to properly predict, doesn't it Feel So Good, to be wrong?

B-Scrambled eggs with cheese
D-Chicken soup
B-Sausage and eggs
L-Leftover soup and salad
D-Shepard's pie with Cauliflower top. This was an amazing dish we didn't even miss the mashed potatoes.
B-Veggie and egg scramble
L-Leftovers and salad
D-Man Chili
B-Squash and apple breakfast add bacon (always add bacon.)
D-Paleo Pizza
B-Green Coconut flour pumpkin pancakes
L-Salads and ham wraps for the girls
D-St Patrick's Day boiled cabbage dinner
B-Scramble eggs with cheese and ham
D-baked pesto chicken, roasted broccoli, crash hot potatoes

I am having a new evil idea as well. I am going to start making some type of seafood once a week.Try to get big sas to expand her horizons when it comes to food, she eats a lot compared to a lot of kids but I want her to be exposed to it all. To be able to find a food she likes in all types of cuisine. Five is a hard age for food man.

Iron Man Insanity

Cannot wait to share this amazing story with you! A friend has written today's post to share her struggles of achieving her goals. Hopefully her story will touch you as it touched me. Granted my goals have never required so much physical and mental exertion but at the same time they have seemed just as unattainable.

As Spring approaches and the nice weather arrives we as mothers tend to get the itch to get outside and move! I have found as a mother of three it isn't always easy to get in the workouts that I would like to. So through the years I have had to come up with creative ideas to get the exercise I needed to stay healthy.

 Almost three years ago now I decided to do something very crazy. I decided I wanted to do an iron man! For those of you who do not know what that is. It is something only crazy people would do. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. So I started my training process... as you could imagine it takes many months and a whole lot of time away from your family to train for something like this.

Only a month into my training I was hit by a car on my bike. The extent of my injuries were severe. Coming within 1mm of taking my life. It took me a year to recover... and 4 surgeries. But through it all I continued to carry that dream of becoming an iron man. However, I learned a very important lesson from this unfortunate experience... that your children are only here with you for a short time. You never know when that time is going to be up.

 I decided I needed to find ways to include my children in some of this training. Not only would I be setting a good example for them but they would have the pleasure of helping their mom achieve her dream. So this past summer, we all did that! When I had 3.5 hour runs to do. My oldest would hop on his bike without a word of complaint and be my water boy. I am sure his quads did not enjoy the many hills (that he called mountains) that he had to climb with me. But he did it time and time again... with a smile on his face. When I did my short runs through the neighborhood during the week my two younger children would take their turn at being the water boy/ girl. We even bought my youngest an electric scooter that would go fast enough so he could keep up.

Spending 3-4 hours a day during the week training and 6+ hours on Saturdays was not easy on our family. But we all had a goal... to make mommy an iron man. To be creative my husband would take the kids to the lake where I would swim and bike and they would have fun swimming while I got my workouts in. After we would all have a big BBQ. Like I said, this was not the easiest thing to do with children. But we made it work.

The real reward came on September 11,2011 when I crossed the finish line of my iron man... with my children by my side. They were so proud of their mom, it was written all over their faces!

When you put your mind to something, like staying physically fit. You have to find a way to fulfil that commitment to yourself. Many things will come in the way, that is when you decide you are worth it... and make the time for you! Trust me, it will make you a better person and mother. There is nothing selfish about it.

Don't forget to follow Sassy Serendipity on facebook for updates!

Friday, March 9, 2012

19 Things You Should Be Saying To Your Kids

This post was an inspiration for me after reading it over HERE at Maternal Lens. Sometimes we forget they are people that we are teaching to be responsible, thoughtful and loving adults. We forget they really are people with valid opinions and feelings just like us. This is for me, to help me to remember to always do better.
1. I love you! There is nothing that will make me stop loving you. Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.

2. You are amazing! I look at you with wonder! Not just at what you can do, but who you are. There is no one like you. No one!

3. It’s all right to cry. People cry for all kinds of reasons: when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely. Big people cry too. I do.

4. You’ve made a mistake. That was wrong. People make mistakes. I do. Is it something we can fix? What can we do? It’s all over. You can start fresh. I know you are sorry. I forgive you.

5. You did the right thing. That was scary or hard. Even though it wasn’t easy, you did it. I am proud of you; you should be too.

6. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I made a mistake.

7. You can change your mind. It’s good to decide, but it is also fine to change.

8. What a great idea! You were really thinking! How did you come up with that? Tell me more. Your mind is clever!

9. That was kind. You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person. That must make you feel good inside. Thank you!

10. I have a surprise for you. It’s not your birthday. It’s for no reason at all. Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise.

11. I can wait. We have time. You don’t have to hurry this time.

12. What would you like to do? It’s your turn to pick. You have great ideas. It’s important to follow your special interests.

13. Tell me about it. I’d like to hear more. And then what happened? I’ll listen.

14. I’m right here. I won’t leave without saying good-bye. I am watching you. I am listening to you.

15. Please and Thank You. These are important words. If I forget to use them, will you remind me?

16. I missed you. I think about you when we are not together!

17. Just try. A little bit. One taste, one step. You might like it. Let’s see. I’ll help you if you need it. I think you can do it.

18. I’ll help you. I heard you call me, here I am. How can I help you? If we both work together, we can get this done. I know you can do it by yourself, but I’m glad to help since you asked.

19. What do you wish for? Even if it’s not yet time for birthday candles and we don’t have a wishbone, it’s still fun to hear about what you wish for, hope for, and dream about.