Thursday, February 28, 2013

Yummy Picky Toddler Recipe

Toddlers are picky.  

That's the rule I'm told, and by average standards my little guys have a varied pallet according to the 2 Grandmothers who babysit while I work.  But they were preemies and they're still small so while I'm OK with that because I know they'll grow at their own pace...I worry when they refuse most protein day after day.    I use the yogurt bites I blogged about earlier to finish every meal so they're getting that, but otherwise they're not keen on meat or eggs.  Even with ketchup.  Even with cheese.  Weird right?  I mean are these even my kids?  I've always said if you put cheese or chocolate on dirt I'd probably eat it.  I know there are other great sources of protein and they do get a lot of veggies, beans and dairy.  But  I was still searching.



So when a recipe for 2 ingredient pancakes crossed my path I latched on.  It's eggs and banana.  That's it.  I finally found a way to get protein packed eggs into the little buggers.  They LOVE pancakes so I topped these with some honey and we had a home run.  

I had to cut them off.  No joke.  

PLUS it's simple enough that I don't mind fixing it in the morning.



I did add the cinnamon and vanilla it suggests as options so I guess mine were 4 ingredient pancakes, but whatever.  They were good and they were easy.

So without further ado, I give you  banana eggs ...2 Ingredient Pancakes from Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth.


More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Year in Yoga Pants

I have NO free time.  So setting aside time in the day for working out just doesn't happen.  For the first 6 months after the twins were born it was survival mode with their severe GERD and allergies.  I won't go into details on that in this post.  Since then it's a lot better but there's still no time for working out regularly.  

I'm short (petite doesn't seem right b/c I'm not slight of frame).  And while I can't blame the twins for all the extra weight I'm carrying (might have had a pound or two extra before getting pregnant) carrying twins certainly didn't help my "someday I'll have a super model's body" cause.  Just saying.   OK, I don't want to ever be that sickly thin and have a whole other soapbox about female body image issues caused by society and media but not going there today.

So I figure I need to drop 20-25 pounds to be happy and healthy.  I have never been successful with weight loss/get in shape initiatives in my life and God knows I've tried many over the years.  No follow through.  

Why?  Good question.

After years of trying, I got the answer to that in an unusual place right around the first of the year.  My father's cardiologist office.  We were sitting there discussing his high blood pressure and the doctor told him I want you to drop 1-2 pounds a month for the next few years.  BINGO.  Something clicked for me.

I set the bar too high.  I always set unreasonable goals.  Having no free time with my life upside down thanks to the addition of 2 babies & full time work opened my eyes to his words.  No high intensity fitness plan has ever worked for me.  But these days, I couldn't even fathom trying one with no time.  So 1-2 pounds a month seemed reasonable to me.  

Slow and steady.

Thus began my "Year in Yoga Pants" personal campaign.   One of the barriers to anything I wish to do for me these days is time.  I realized that often my husband will say "go for a walk" or "go do a yoga class, I've got the boys for 30 minutes".  But I don't take him up on that b/c by the time I find clean work out clothes I've wasted 15 minutes and 1/2 my energy reserve (mentally at least).  So starting January 1st I filled my wardrobe with yoga pants and long sleeved T-shirts.  That is my uniform.  I don't see anyone but the boys and the babysitter most days anyway since I work from home.  This way, when a window of exercise opportunity presents itself, however small it might be or whatever time of the day it might be...I'm ready.  

Sundays for church and Wednesdays at the office are my only days out of workout gear.

And guess what?  I'm 2 months into this...and it's working better than expected!  Let's see what next Christmas looks like!  

That's my "Year in Yoga Pants" personal challenge.
   
I learned to cut myself some slack and set attainable/realistic goals.

I've also continued to cut out processed foods (note: this does not mean cut out good tasting foods, this is not a weight loss diet but a healthier eating diet lifestyle).

The pictures are of my walking buddies.

Happy trails!


More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday Madness in Pictures

So Sunday madness in pictures is a day late..... because Mama had the day off!!!!  That's right.  Completely dependent free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To make the most of this gem of a day I scooted out of the house before dawn.  Daddy and his family had baby patrol for the whole day.  I did feel bad about missing church but this was a much needed mental break.

I headed to Bryan/College Station for some me time and breakfast at the Village Cafe in Bryan.  I hadn't been there before but  I read on The Lone Star Chick's blog that it was a great place.  She wasn't lying.  The quiche was amazing.  



So after indulging in coffee and a paperback I had some shopping to do.  I hit Old Navy for the boy's St. Patty's day shirts, Target...for fun, Ross, the mall and then settled in at Sweet Eugene's with crepes and a coffee to work for hours on a shutterfly album of the boy's first year.  Finally right?  I mean they're only 14 months old already and not a single printed picture although there are thousands including 4 sets of professionally taken ones.

OK.  So after hours of working on it I had gotten their birthday done.  I mean they're entrance to the world day, not their 1st.  Yeah, it takes me a while to work on photo albums.

Then I missed my guys and drove home.  Nice right?


More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fantasy

Another gorgeous spring day here in Central Texas.  Big puffy clouds and the first of the wildflowers blooming.  This is trail riding weather.  Sadly, I sold my riding horse when I got pregnant with the twins.  No, I did not dump my beloved pet when the kids came along.  He was suffering from a skin condition that was very manageable when we lived at our old home but when we moved to our new place and built our home the new horse pasture is located right next to a body of water that is bisected by property lines and the flies he is allergic to run rampant.  Making for a very uncomfortable pony.  He has since gone to live in a barn where he is treated, pampered and loved by a surgeon's daughter.  


Image borrowed from
The Texas Farmers Daughter
But I miss having a trail riding horse most especially during the lovely late winter and spring days here.  

Our family is on a get out of debt 3 year plan, loosely based around the Dave Ramsey debt snowball plan.  I'll post more about that another time but I mention it here to say that in 3 years we hope to break ground on a large barn/shop.  I figure that's about when the boys will be less work a little more independent and that might be a good time to look for another saddle horse. 

 So today's Friday Fantasy is of sunny skies, a shady barn, miles of dirt trails, the smell of sweaty horses, leather, pony saddles, and trail riding with my little guys someday in the future.  

Of fat, happy ponies and bareback riding.  


Sweet, Old, Patient Bob
Long since crossed over the rainbow bridge.
Of hay. 

Of nickers in greeting.

Of barn life & all things barn related. 




More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pressure

It's a fast paced world even if you live in the sticks.  

The notion that life in the country moves at a slower pace is outdated if it ever really existed.  I don't think living in the country was ever really slower if you were truly living off the land.  The way my husband talks they were a busy family out here living in rural Texas.  School days were followed by farming and ranching responsibilities.  His Dad worked in town and farmed evenings and weekends.  Mom worked in town, kept house and helped with farming.  That's not leisure living in my book.  

But there were moments of quiet and peace perhaps, that our children may not have. Moments of being surrounded in nature.  I worry our little ones won't have this because it's so hard to "unplug" these days.  While life was jammed packed with work for my husband as a kid, his fondest memory is the hours spent daydreaming on the floor of the tractor listening to AM country radio after school and into the night while his Dad worked peanut crops.  

I work from home 4 days a week and commute into the city for the fifth.  I'm VERY fortunate to have this working situation.  It works for the particular job I do and I admit I have trouble concentrating in cubicle situations because of all the distractions so I think I am a more productive employee this way.  


Photo by Bridget West
Sound perfect?  Well it is and it isn't.  I may be at home, but I work.  I am at my desk from 8 to 5 with an hour lunch.  It's annoying when people say "oh you get to work from home that must give you so much time!"  Yes, I take a 5 minute coffee break and visit with the boys and I take my lunch with them.  That's awesome...except that I don't get to do that most days.  Most days I run through the house at lunch dumping laundry into a washer, making doctor appointments, carting someone to a doctor appointment, running next door to check on my parents, running in to town for groceries, etc.  Just like working Moms in an office situation, I cram a LOT of personal work into that lunch hour.  

I am not just a working Mom.  I am a daughter of senior parents.  

Now they are mostly self sufficient but the last few years have been tough for my Dad and the last few months have been brutal for us all with their health issues.  I am the sandwich generation I'm told.  Young kids & aging parents.  Plus a full time job.  

Me time???  Doesn't exist.  Making time for a date night?  Not happening.  I would consider it a great day to not feel pressure, anxiety and stress over making sure everyone else is taken care of.  I hit the ground running in the morning and it's a long shower for me if I take 5 whole minutes.  I drink instant coffee and sometimes don't have time for the electric kettle to boil so I use hot tap water (gross, but I get the caffeine).   Sometimes I feel like it's aging me as I look in the mirror.  Sometimes I break under it and throw things or snap at my husband or Mother.  I am one person and I have a LOT of dependents.  My brother lives in another state so I'm an only child right now when it comes to caring for them.  He is talking about moving nearby and that would be fantastic.  But until then I have to make it work.  We cannot afford for me to be a stay at home Mom and I don't want to loose that part of my identity.  I worked hard to get my job and have put a lot of myself into the program.  I want my boys to be proud of the work I do.  But lately I feel so cornered.  I also worry that most of the time all the boys see is stressed out Mommy.  They are only 14 months so that means so much of their impressions and perspectives are just forming.  
Photo by Bridget West

I know everyone has pressure.  And I knew being a working Mom would be hard.  And I know we'll make it. 

I would love to connect with other working Moms so leave a comment!  Tell me how you decompress in a schedule that doesn't even allow for personal hygiene!



More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Work...means more to me now than ever

I believe in a land steward ethic.  I believe we are all responsible for the natural world we depend on for life and we are responsible for how we leave that world for our children to inherit.

I love wild things and wild places.

I want my children to play in dirt not on iPads.

I want my children to know nature and to know how to take care of themselves in it.  For outdoors not indoors to be their habitat.  For a stick, hoe, ax, tractor steering wheel, binoculars or gun to be more natural in their hands than a mouse or game controller.

I want to show them the spectacular wonders there are to see in this world.  I want them to sleep in an glass igloo in Finland to watch the aurora borealis or Northern Lights.  I want them to Drive the Dalton Highway.  I want them to start a lifelong quest to finish the Appalachian Trail with us then each other.   I want them to learn to read the subtle stories in nature because they are intimately familiar with it.  To recognize bird songs and animal tracks.  I want them to learn the art of fly fishing because I believe it is the outdoors man's yoga.  I want them to know the awe of sitting in a South Texas blind at dawn and the anticipation of what might come by.  I want them to know spirituality in nature as well as in Church.

John Muir said it well: "Most people are on the world, not in it".  

I want my boys IN it.

I want them to take pride in the land they live on.  


As Aldo Leopold said:  

"The landscape of any farm is the owner's portrait of himself."

I want to raise capable men.

I want them to know hard manual labor building fences, tending gardens, working cattle, or cutting wood.  I want them to experience pack trips on horseback and to have a zillion camping adventures.   I want them to know the sense of accomplishment you feel when you've finished a task that made you sweat and gave you callouses.
6 months old - 1st camp out in Dad's cabin
My husband is a smart man.  You're not simple minded if you finish vet school.  But he finds true joy in working from raw materials and has built a one room cabin with his brother for camping and hunting; a log barn for my horse & is now working on a phenomenal log chicken coop for me.  He works in a surgery suite 5 days a week.  He works on the land 7 days a week when he can manage it.  It keeps him sane.
My horse barn and the start of the coop in the background
I want them to know respect for all things living and for the natural world.

I want them to know the satisfaction of growing things and fixing their own meals with what they grow.

I want them to believe they can do what most believe can't be done or wouldn't try to do.

I want them to know the Foxfire Books and the value of historical knowledge.
Cover of Company Brochure
That makes me more dedicated than ever to my job in the field of conservation.  I am a wildlife biologist by training and education.  My job experience is in grants.  Because let's face it, money makes this world go around.  I am the state coordinator for a grant program that partners with private landowners wishing to enact good conservation practices on their lands for the benefit of healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. We focus on projects aimed at creating, restoring, protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and species of greatest conservation need throughout the state. We seek projects that positively impact watersheds by reducing soil erosion, restoring and enhancing native vegetation, and restoring proper functioning of rivers, creeks and other riparian areas. 

Why private lands?  Well in a state where 95% of the land is held privately that's the smart thing to do.  Private landowners determine how clean your water is, how healthy the air you breath is, and how safe the food you eat is.  They are the keepers of the majority of the habitat available for all wildlife.  How they manage their lands directly impacts all of us.  So with that much at stake, how could we not partner with the private landowners?  

Now I'm not saying I don't want my kids to love technology.  On the contrary.  I want well rounded capable Men.  If they grow up to be a stock broker on Wall Street or a lawyer in L.A., the lessons learned on the land will serve them every, single day.

That is why I love my job more now as a parent than I did before.  There is so much more at stake for me now.


Family photo in the barn my husband made. Taken by Anna Spenser of  Grace Photography



So here they are getting started:





More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Double Stuffed....not the cookie

So around our house "double stuffed" doesn't mean the cookie, it means an overnight cloth diaper.  


We made the decision to cloth diaper our twins for a few reasons.  For me I liked the idea of not using the disposables all the time b/c of the chemicals used to make them.  I also liked the idea that hopefully, despite the additional water used for laundry, I was decreasing our environmental footprint.   My husband's reason for being OK with this is my third reason...cost savings.  Twins are expensive.  Anywhere we could safely cut a cost w/o compromising their care we took it.   

There are a zillion ways to cloth diaper these days and I confess to not doing too much research.  I knew I needed something as close to a disposable in convenience as possible because I had hubby, Grandparents, Uncles, and babysitters that would be helping.  And of course, we do everything twice so simple is best.

We went with  bumGenius 4.0 One-Size Cloth Diaper pockets.  I will not attempt to give any lessons in cloth diapering here, there are plenty online.  We went with the pockets b/c I had read they got clean a bit better than the all-in-ones.  I did not test that so can't say if it's true.  We went with the one size so our investment would last longer even though it meant we couldn't use them at first because our little guys were preemies.

Do we ever use disposables?  Yes.  We use them when traveling.  I know it's not that hard to use cloth diapers with a wet-bag on the road but we go with disposable for various reasons (less to carry since twins require twice the gear on the road, etc.)

Becuase we have the wonderful Texas sun I don't have to go through all the extra rinses most people need when cloth diapering.  A day in the sun gets all stains and lingering odor out leaving the diapers smelling of fresh air.  It's a bonus of living in a hot climate.  


For laundry soap I use a homemade recipe originally shared by a friend and then adapted for large batches to match the one Risa posted a while back on The Mommy Dialogues. I add a few drops of orange oil to my soap for some scent and use vinegar and tea tree oil in the rinse for fabric softner and additional antibacterial properties.


Do you cloth diaper?  Share your story/thoughts/comments!


More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Fantasy

It's a gorgeous spring day (yes, I know it's mid February but this is Central Texas).  It's making me yearn for camping.  So this Friday's fantasy is of someday buying and fixing up an RV.  Think "Glamping" a la Mary Jane's Farm...



...meets 2 little boys and a pack of dogs.  (so change the decor from flowers, frills and lace to camo, plaid and dog hair)

I will design and decorate it to be fun and all things little boys.  We will have so much fun as a family outfitting it and setting it up to be perfect just for us.  I will keep it stocked and ready to go so we can load it up on a moment's notice.  I'll even work more on my pintrest board for camping just so I have handy camp food recipes. 

Since Michael isn't really running calls anymore he's taken the vet box out of the truck but left the super accessible cover on which makes it perfect for camping storage.  PLUS we once invested in a blow up mattress just for the bed of that truck.  

We will start out small.  Weekend fishing trips to Newman's Bottom or Lake Somerville.  Working our way up to long trips as the boys get older.  

We'll visit family in Colorado and spend time camping and volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Utah.  We will learn to fly fish.  We will hike miles.  We'll have campfires.  Michael will perfect his Dutch oven cooking.

We'll decorate the outside with bumper stickers from all the national parks as we visit them. Starting with Big Bend.

That's my fantasy for this Friday.


More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Suprisingly Beloved....Magic Yogurt Bites

So my little guys, like most toddlers I'm told, get fussy about what they'll eat.  It is really important to me that they get a lot of variety and are introduced to lots of whole foods now and learn to like them.  There is probably no other time they will be more open minded about what they'll taste right?  (I mean seriously, they put everything in their mouths).  It is also especially important to me that they get a good amount of veggies every day.  So we start the day with some.  We snack with some.  We eat them for lunch.  We eat them for dinner.   Do I have amazingly good kiddos?  Do I have magical powers to make them crave spinach and kale?  Nope.  But I have yogurt bites.  When they hit about 8 months I concocted these little gems to ensure I get protein, green veggies,  good antioxidants and vitamins into the little buggers.  And they are fool proof.  And for 5 months now they have NEVER been turned down, fed to the dog or thrown on the floor.  NEVER.  They are magic.  And because of them my little ones get good nutrition.

While simplistic, I still take full credit for these little magic treats.  I have no imagination for cooking, I struggle to follow recipes and though I want to learn to cook well, I have no real talent.  So I'm going to take this opportunity to brag on probably my best parenting creation thus far and defiantly the most creative I've ever gotten in the kitchen (when you read the recipe you're going to realize just how remedial I really am if this is the most creative I get).




A few years ago I found reasons to justify spending $500 on a blender.  I love to mix up a morning smoothie to start the day ahead on the "get your veggies in" game.  I rationalized that with it I could make all our baby food someday and thereby save us lots of $$ and feed our kiddos better.  And I was right.  I've made 90% of their baby food and while they were living on purees it was an amazing tool to have.  These are pictures from the pureeing for twins days.  That Vitamix, a pantry full of mason jars & my freezer were my go to.



So when the boys started refusing spoon-feeding and wanted only finger foods I hit a wall because I could no longer sneak things like kale into a fruit puree.  Enter the Yogurt bites.  

Disclaimer:  to the adult palette these are not the best tasting thing you've ever eaten.  I think the cold adds to the attraction for the little guys but teething or not they love them.

One more note:  I find it annoying that all yogurt marketed for babies is fat free.  They are not on a diet.  They need the fat.  So I discovered Nancy's Organic Greek Full Fat Yogurt and use it all the time.  The bonus?  It's surprisingly affordable.

So without further ado I give you......Yogurt Bites.
  

This may be the only time I post a full recipe here.


YOGURT BITES

Ingredients / Equipment

1 large container of Nancy's Organic Greek Full Fat Yogurt
I bag of frozen fruit (organic if you can get it)
I bag of frozen veggie (again, organic if you can get it)
a glass of water or juice
honey (optional)



  • In a high power blender of some sort pour entire container of yogurt.  
  • Add water or juice to thin it to a milkshake consistency.  
  • Slowly add frozen veggies and fruit adding fluid to keep it from becoming too thick.  
  • Add honey if you wish (I rarely use the honey or juice and they still love them)
  • Pour out onto a large, rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to about a 1/2 inch thickness.  
  • Freeze overnight.
  • Pop it out and carve it up (don't go too small because at only 24 hours in the freezer it's still not as hard as you need, you can cut it into appropriate bite sizes when serving)
  • Store it in your freezer.
  • I like these small mason jars with the plastic lids for storing.
  • Note, serve one or 2 at a time because as they melt they become really fun to play with instead of eat.
*** as I was just reminded, please do not use honey if your kiddo is under a year!

More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yummy, Easy Graham Crackers

Weelicious Graham Cracker Recipe

So as the boys get older everyone wants to feed them those simple but spectacular life indulgences...sweets. I am not opposed to sweets of course and liberally use honey and fruit to enhance foods I feed the boys.  But it seems loved ones want to feed them more typical indulgences like cookies.  Now I love a good cookie as much as anyone so no argument in concept from me.  However, I do try to minimize processed foods.  

So I went looking for a cookie recipe that would satisfy those who wanted the pleasure of indulging the boys and my wish to avoid the additives.  Enter the Weelicious Graham Cracker recipe.  Who doesn't love graham crackers right?  And they're mainstream enough to not raise suspicions from those who regard my food choices with doubt as to their flavor since they are usually "healthy" foods..  OK.  I will agree that some of my attempts are recipes found online that are healthy and good for you fell far from the mark in palatability.   

But not these little gems.  

Bite for bite they measure up and surpass the flavor of their store bought namesakes.  I even caught my husband opening the jar for a late night snack. YES!  He is my measuring stick.


So without further delay, I give you the Weelicious Graham Cracker.   My only change to the recipe was to lightly sprinkle them with raw sugar before baking.

They're simple to make and you'll never want the store bought cardboard ones again!  

Note:   I broke my food processor a month or so ago and am holding out for the one recommended by America's Test Kitchen, which is pricey.  So I did these by hand and I am no pastry chef or any kind of chef and it was still easy and they turned out terrific.  Also, I used the convection setting on my oven but the recipe doesn't call for that so either way will work out fine.  I cut mine out in hearts for Valentine's Day but you could do anything with them.

The taste testing duo
As I do not claim any credit I will not post the recipe here.  Just click the links in blue above or below and you'll be directed to the creator's site.


Once again, Weelicious comes through!

More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Intros


So our family is run these days by 2, 21 inch tyrants.  They dominate our world....and we love it.  But it's hard.  From the moment I hear my alarm in the morning at 5:45 I am already behind (that alarm being either little Henry crying or little Liam chattering).  From that moment forward I am scurrying.  I feel like I get a whole day's work done before I land in my seat for work at 8am.

And I have help too.

Their Dad is a real Man's Man as I've mentioned but he jumps in with breakfast and bottles and dog feeding and laundry before he leaves at 8:30 for work.  I guess you'd call it a modern family but that's a bit funny since we pride ourselves on having old fashioned values.  For us, we call it survival.  And the two ladies that rotate days looking after the little ones in our home while I work came straight from Heaven to our front door.  They've been priceless and love the little buggers as much as we do.



This was back when they would allow spoon feeding, not so anymore!

Lately my parents have had health complications that have become 1/3 of the workload on my plate.  I'm told we're the "Sandwich Generation", and it makes sense.  Now, they are vibrant fit people but age has a way of catching you off guard I guess.  It caught us off guard when a straight forward heart procedure to cure afib for my father developed complication after complication and resulted in nights sleeping on the pull out chair in his ICU room to checking in at the nursing home at 6am and 7pm and in between to make sure he was getting what he needed, to multiple trips to the ER.  He went in a fit person and expected to be hitting golf balls at the end of the week and one month later found himself  in a nursing home in a very weakened condition.  But thankfully he's home now and on the mend.   



It's been a long road and takes a toll on all involved.  My mother, wore herself out trying to keep up with all the health mess and hospital trips and finds herself ill. They will both mend of course and God willing be running the little tyrants around on their golf cart by late spring.  But it has been a long road.



Leaving me putting my own goals aside again for a while and neglecting some important relationships.  Sigh.  But grateful to have my parents in my life and my kids lives.



So that's a little more intro or more of an update.  Scattered throughout this post are pictures taken by a local photographer last November.  I want to make sure I give her the praise and credit she deserves because these pics are fantastic.  Her website is Grace Photography , be sure to check her out!


More later.

Thanks for visiting!


Arlene


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

So this is post 1

The launch pad. 

 It seems introductions are in order.  

Below is my family. 2 little monkeys, Liam and Henry and my patient husband.  Oh, and Hope, the boy's pony.  The monkeys are 13 months and have turned our once quiet life upside down.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that we sometimes think longingly of the peaceful life we had 13 & 1/2 months ago...but we wouldn't change the toy strewn living room and sippy cup filled dishwasher for ANYTHING.  It's just hard sometimes.  Especially for people who had NO kid experience prior to these two storming our lives. So let me tell you, twins are HARD.  Worth it of course, goes without saying...but HARD.  And working full time while managing the house, being Mom and dealing with senior parents with health issues is REALLY hard.  But I know we are blessed to have family.




So that's my family.  

I work as a conservation grant manager for the state.  I've gotten an undergrad degree in agriculture and a masters degree in wildlife ecology.  I love the idea of making stuff for ourselves and employing methods that reduce our impact on the planet and our bills.  I thought a lot about it and I'm not "crunchy" or really even "semi-crunchy" but rather I would consider myself "trying to be crunchy".  My husband is not crunchy.  Give him cream of mushroom soup from a can and a box of hamburger helper and disposable diapers.  OK.  I guess you are probably thinking from that sentence that I should be happy right? I mean I've told you my husband cooks and isn't afraid of changing a diaper.  Which is awesome considering he would be classified a "man's man" by all accounts.  He's a large animal vet.  Who likes farming and ranching and building log cabins with his hands.  So I am grateful.  Especially because despite his preferences he stuffs cloth diapers and uses them.   We're still working on the cream of mushroom soup.

My goals in life are to provide my family with healthy whole foods, become financially smart, continue to grow what we lovingly call "our homestead" and to raise my boys in a safe and healthy mostly outdoor environment.  My struggles are juggling it all, finding time for me, finding ways to eliminate processed foods, working our family budget toward a debt free state...and getting a full night's sleep.

More later.

Thanks for visiting!



Arlene













PS - the photo in the background is where we live.   That's me standing out there looking down on our house in the distance.  We are blessed.