Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sweet Little Boy

Some days, Everett is all over the place and gives me a run for my money. Other days, he's the sweetest boy ever. I've been blessed with a very cuddly, snuggly, sweet boy for the most part. He always wants me close to him and if I happen to be in the kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere else out of his site, I'll hear him calling for me saying "mama, mamaaaa, mama." This usually happens if I'm out of his site for any longer than a minute. Often times, he'll be playing and run up to me and give me a hug, pat my arm, say "mama" and run back to whatever he was doing. Could my little boy be any sweeter?! I'm truly blessed!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Potty Training

We got Everett a potty chair a few weeks ago. He had been really showing signs that he was ready so we took his lead and got him the Baby Bjorn potty chair. The first few days we had it, he seemed really excited and sat on it willingly a handful of times throughout the day. He sat on it both with his clothes/diaper on and with his diaper off. By the way, what is up with him wanting to remove all of his clothes when he sits on it? Even down to his socks? Anyway, the excitement lasted just a few days and he no longer wants anything to do with it. He's still young for me to expect him to potty train in a short amount of time and I am not rushing it at all. If he doesn't want to sit on it, I tell him that he doesn't have to. We went a few days where I kept his diaper off a handful of hours a day. I told him to sit on his potty when he had to go pee or poo poo and to let mommy know when he had to go. We had many accidents and he started asking for me to put his diaper on. He hates diaper changes and it's a huge struggle for us each time so for him to ask me to put his diaper on and he willingly lays himself down, I sensed that it'd be a good idea to take some time off. He's sick now so hopefully we can refocus once he's feeling better.

This is the extent of our potty training lately....

Yup. My colander works for a potty chair and he also wears it as a hat too.

Where are you at with potty training your toddler??

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recent Changes We've Made

We've made some recent green changes:

  • No more can foods. The metal cans are lined in BPA. The only things we usually bought in cans were beans, spaghetti sauce, cream of mushroom, diced tomatoes, and tuna fish. I now buy dry beans and cook them, make homemade spaghetti sauce, and dice fresh tomatoes. I didn't use cream of mushroom too often but I found a homemade recipe. It looks very time consuming so I'm thinking about making a very large batch and freezing it. Speaking of freezing, I've been saving all my glass containers and using them to freeze food in. Better option in plastic containers or ziploc bags and even better, it reduces my carbon footprint.
  • Make my own chicken stock. I used to buy organic pre-made broth. Homemade stock is so extremely easy to do. There are many ways to do it but I do it the way my mom does. You can boil either a whole or half of a chicken {bones intact} in a large pot of water. I like mine to cook for about 3-4 hours so I keep it on medium for that length of time. Afterward, just add in your ingredients. Keep in mind, if you choose to add noodles or rice, wait until the last 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, it'll absorb a good amount of the liquid/broth. I recently made some chicken soup and I included gluten free and organic pasta, carrots, corn, green beans, lima beans and peas. All of the veggies excluding the carrots were frozen organic. I buy a lot of frozen {out of season} veggies. Again, to avoid the BPA lined cans.

It was a lot of soup that week. If some of you didn't know, my parents grow for a local chicken company. They started the farm the same year they adopted my sister and I {1987} and they still continue to raise chickens for poultry. Sometimes, I wish they did eggs! Anyway, that week, they had butchered a handful of chickens and they gave us four whole ones. We cut them down into parts and separated them out into meat and bones. I've been using the bones to make chicken stock. There's nothing like fresh, homemade stock. Later on that week, I made soup with fresh carrots, celery, and zucchini.

  • Switched to Biokleen laundry detergent and dishwasher gel. Biokleen products are: "readily biodegradable and do not biodegrade to more harmful compounds. Uses natural extracts {grapefruit seed, lime, orange peel, and natural essential oils…no cheap substitutes, dyes, or synthetic fragrances. Complete ingredient statements on labels. No known carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens, or pollutants. Non-corrosive. Non-flammable. Non-reactive. Reviewed by a Certified Hazardous Materials Management Inspector. Kind to those with chemical sensitivities and allergies." We use....

We've been doing this for a few years now but we wash our clothes in cold water too. It is just as effective as warm or hot water and it saves both money and energy!

  • Make homemade baby wipes. I spent a week researching all the different kinds of baby wipes out there. I eliminated Pampers Sensitive which Everett has used since birth. We then switched to Earth's Best but I wasn't happy with those either. It has Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate in it which isn't really a researched substance so that makes it questionable. The wipes also have concerns of formaldehyde contamination. All the other crunchy baby wipes had one sort of questionable ingredient or another which I wasn't willing to risk. Here's the recipe to the homemade baby wipes:

1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Dr Bronner baby mild soap.
3 cups warm water
Tbsp distilled white vinegar to {prevent molding}
Few drops of lavender essential oil
Few drops of tea tree oil

I get Viva paper towels {they are the thickest} and cut them up so they fit into a used baby wipes box. Pour liquid over paper towels and voila! I have no question over any of the ingredients. No chemicals or irritants.

Update: I mentioned in this blog entry that I tried Mrs. Meyers Clean Day hand and dish liquid soap. I did some further research into all the ingredients and discovered that these products use synthetic fragrances. Ew. We still have close to full bottles left so I'm planning on using it up and trying a few other soaps that scored zeros on the non-toxic level; such as products by Soap for Goodness Sake. It's a bit expensive so I'll probably search around for homemade liquid soap recipes.

These are a few recent changes we've made to crunchify our life. I have so many more things I am anxious to try, a lot of them being homemade, but I gotta take it easy on the pocket book and continue to make a few changes here and there.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Today was a good day. It was a rainy day but it was good nonetheless. Everett and I had a wonderful day of Lego building, somersaults, growling, puzzles, reading, and playing with trucks and trains.

Just an update on his diet, I realized today how well he eats for a 2 year old. I do wish at times that he ate better but he actually eats pretty decent. He loves fruits and vegetables! He enjoys:

-green peppers
-carrots (raw and steamed)
-green peas {one of his favorites!}
-green beans
-steamed cabbage
-steamed zucchini
-cucumbers {one of his favorites!}
-kiwi {one of his favorites!}
-sweet potatoes

While he napped today, I got in a good 45 minutes of cardio, toning, hand weights, and abs. I wanted to get a good run in but wasn't able to get over to my parents to use their treadmill. Perhaps tomorrow. My go-to after workout meal is this salad...

Romaine lettuce, carrot sticks, one hard-boiled egg, chickpeas, black beans, splash of extra virgin olive oil and Tabasco Sauce, and pepper to taste. Mmmm.

I mentioned earlier that Everett and I did some growling today. He's been into growling like a bear lately.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Very Berry Muffins

With trying to live a greener and crunchier lifestyle, I've vowed to make everything from scratch. This will be a progressive journey of course and will take time to get to that point.

Minus organic produce {non organic=pesticides}, many of the foods in the stores have at least one ingredient that isn't necessary; even the so-called organic and healthy foods. I recently became aware that the organic almond, rice, and coconut milk that we've been drinking contains a few harmful ingredients. I was disappointed. It's only encouraged me to make my own almond milk. {More on that later.}

A few days ago, I made Very Berry Muffins. Everett enjoyed them and I thought they were quite tasty.

The original recipe called for all purpose flour and canola/vegetable oil. I've thrown out all that we had of those three ingredients. I've never been a fan of white unbleached flour anyway or vegetable oil. It asked for frozen berries but I used fresh. Below is my modified version of the original recipe:

1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Brown Rice Flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
2 tsp Baking Powder {aluminum free}
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/3 cup Brown Sugar {no molasses added}
1 large egg, whisked
1 tsp vanilla extract {alcohol free}
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil {I'd suggest melting it first}
2 cups of fresh strawberries and blueberries, chopped {you can use any kind of berry}

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and combine
3. Combine the egg, vanilla extract, milk, and oil in a separate bowl
4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
5. Gently mix berries into the batter.
6. Pour batter into greased or muffin-lined regular sized tins
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes
8. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack
9. Serve

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Keeping Track of My Fitness

I had been meaning to write a blog post about the recent health issues I've been experiencing for the past month and a half but have decided to avoid going into specific details about it. Nonetheless, fitness has seemed to keep these issues at bay; not just physically but mentally as well. Finding time to exercise hasn't been as straining as I had anticipated. Thankfully, I have had my mom watch Everett while I use their treadmill at their house. While I would like to work out every single day, I have limited myself to about 5 days a week, allowing some recovery time for my body. I've been running about 4 miles on my run days and also incorporate some fully body and ab exercises during his naps. I notice that when I go 2 days without any form of physical activity, my health issues resurface and the inevitable happens. Needless to say, fitness has now become a very important aspect in my life. I need it. I yearn for it. After a workout, I'm already thinking about when my next workout will be. I'd say it's a good, healthy addiction (if you want to call it that) to have.

I've found a great website to track my fitness. If you'd like to follow along, join me at dailymile. It has a similar layout as Facebook but it's strictly fitness related. It seems to be more targeted to runners but I've been able to track other workouts on there as well. If you decide to join, add me!

Happy Exercising!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Everett's First Dentist Appointment

This past Monday, Everett had his first dental visit at The Kid's Dentist. It pretty much went how I expected- refusal to sit in the chair, crying, no opening of the mouth. Typical behavior for such the event for a 2 year old. There was a girl a few months younger than him that cooperatively sat in the chair and opened her mouth and allowed the doctor to look around and clean her teeth. I remember thinking to myself, "Man, that would be totally awesome if Everett did that." Ha. Not.

As I've learned, kids can sense what's going on by their environment. He took one look at the chair and the tray of floss, toothpaste, and picks and ran the other way. They had this stuffed alligator with human-like teeth and a gigantic toothbrush as a means of getting him involved and helping to brush its teeth but he wanted nothing to do with it. They even tried bribing him with a toy police car to get him to show them how he brushes his teeth. He refused as long as they were looking at him. They turned their backs and he started brushing (gnawing) on the toothbrush.

I was/am concerned for his teeth as he doesn't allow Dale or I to actually brush them. As mentioned in this blog post, Everett's version of brushing is teeth is gnawing on his toothbrush. After 2-3 days, the bristles are worn and we go through toothbrushes like crazy. We've even tried taking turns: I brush my teeth and he helps me and then he brushes his teeth and I get to help him. He doesn't let me help him. He kicks and hits and throws the toothbrushes. {sigh}

And the doctor wants me to encourage flossing? I can't even get him {or I} to actually brush his teeth, let alone flossing. We did get him floss picks though so he can begin familiarizing himself with them. Again, he just chews on them and doesn't let me help.

Thankfully, his teeth are in good shape and there are no immediate concerns. They did say several times how nice of teeth he had and I owe that to his well-rounded diet of lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

Dale and I have resorted to holding him down and getting a good brush of his teeth a few times a week. Somewhat similar to what they did...

Here are some pictures of the dental office. I was pretty impressed how kid-friendly their office was. I was also pleased that they respected the fact that we do not give fluoride drops nor want the fluoride treatments at his visits. Everett uses an organic toothpaste that has Xylitol {natural cavity preventative} in it.

We took Everett out to lunch afterwards. We felt it was well-deserved. I sure wouldn't enjoy strangers holding me down and poking different picks in my mouth and cleaning my teeth while I was screaming and choking on my own saliva. Darn right I would expect someone to treat me to a nice lunch too!

{See Food!}

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quick & Easy Homemade Spanish Rice

Here's a quick and very easy Spanish rice recipe. We don't eat a lot of Mexican food but we had my brother and his family over last week and I wanted a side dish to go along with our tacos and burritos. It was delicious and even Everett had 2 servings.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups water
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt

Heat oil over medium heat. Saute rice, onion, and green bell pepper until rice is browned and onion is tender. Stir in water and tomatoes. Season with chili powder and salt. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed.

I wanted to make it with brown rice but with company for dinner, I decided to stick with the norm. Next time, brown rice though. You can add some green chili's to it but I left it out so that Everett could have some. Even some black beans would be delicious too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Some of our Favorite Foods

I would like to share some of our favorite foods and snacks. They have been taste-approved by my picky 2 year old and Dale and I even find ourselves snagging some of Everett's kid-friendly snacks.

Gorilla Munch by EnviroKidz was one of the first cereals I bought Everett when he turned one. It's organic and gluten free. Ingredients include: organic corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, and sea salt. That's it. I believe the less ingredients, the better. Look at a box of Kix and you'll see about 30, including phosphates (a chemical) and tocopherols (which acts as a preservative).

In Gorilla Munch, there are no synthetic pesticides, no synthetic herbicides, no artificial preservatives or additives, and no irradiation. Not only is EnviroKidz cereal good to our body, it's also good to our environment. They donate 1% of their sales to species and habitat conservations and environmental education.

Everett eats it for both breakfast and snacks.


Another cereal we all enjoy are Fruitful O's and Cinnamon Crunch by Cascadian Farm Organic.

I'd prefer Everett to have plain cereals but the taste buds of a 2 year old are in favor of a little bit of flavor. I compromise and give him limited amounts of the "taste good" cereals like these. Again, like most organic foods, there are no synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically engineered ingredients. Also, no artificial flavors or artificial preservatives.

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When Everett eats well and asks for a cookie, I treat him every once in awhile with sweets. These include Country Choice Organic Vanilla Wafers and Newman-O's Chocolate Cookies by Newman's Own Organics.

The Vanilla Wafers taste just like Nilla Wafers and I even have a few every once in awhile to fulfill my sweet tooth. Again, all organic ingredients and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

His favorite are the Chocolate Cookies by Newmans Own Organics. Of course a cookie is a cookie and it's probably not the best thing for you but if you must have one, try one of these. Unlike Oreos that contain artificial vanilla flavoring and high fructose corn syrup, Newman-O's uses real vanilla and do not contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.

I bought Van's Natural Foods Wheat/Gluten Free Waffles for Everett but I have found myself eating them more for breakfast than him. He went through a waffle phase but I think he's out of it now. Regardless, I eat them with a bit of peanut butter and I must say that they are more delicious than any Eggo waffle. They have an organic version of these waffles but I chose to go wheat/gluten free. For many people, wheat and gluten are difficult for the body to digest. Your body works a little bit harder to process these through your body. Through research and through my own experiment in cutting out wheat and gluten from my diet for a period of time, I found myself with more energy and my skin was more clear. My local grocery store has a section of gluten free foods that I love.

My only concern at first with Van's food products was the calcium phosphate in their list of ingredients. Phosphates in general are chemicals but calcium phosphate is a mineral and is commonly used as a rising agent in baked goods, i.e., baking soda. So, it's not harmful. In looking up ingredients, I've learned a lot of what I am consuming. I admit I was a bit naive and disappointed that a natural/organic food company would put a chemical ingredient in their products. I was aware of what phosphates were but little did I know what calcium phosphate was. It's pretty much baking soda. Ha!

These are just a few of our favorite foods that we enjoy and wanted to share with you; especially you moms with 2 year olds who are looking for some alternatives to the conventional, kid-minded foods. If you try any of them, let me know how your toddler (or you!) like them.

Happy, healthy eating!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


My friend Brynn and I started our 7 week yoga session last night at Shanti Yoga Center. We are participating in the Unwind class.

"These gently powerful yin-based classes help you let go with simple postures and mindful movement, basic breath practices, and the deep release received through the therapeutic use of foam rollers and other tools to encourage physical and mental relaxation."

I chose this class in hopes that it would help me in handling my panic attacks. Last night's session didn't include much guided breathing techniques as I had anticipated so I'm hoping future classes will provide some teaching on that. Nonetheless, it was so relaxing and I learned many different ways to stretch my body. These included:

The infamous "Downward Dog."

There were a few that my body wouldn't allow though. I wake up with a very stiff back every morning and this morning, I had no stiffness or pain whatsoever. That's what an hour and a half of body stretches does. I've also been having a difficult time falling asleep the past handful of nights, getting only about 5 hours of sleep but last night, I fell asleep right away and slept like a baby.

I'm really looking forward to next week's class!