Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!

So, it's Earth Day. Yay! And, because my life is all kinds of crazy right now and I've been putting off some projects and thus had little to blog about, I figure I can post a bit on what I do to be earth friendly.

So, let's see.

The biggies..... We use cloth diapers. We didn't with Kadin. Heck, I had no idea they even really existed anymore. But we have with Ansel since he was born. And seeing how he's almost 3 1/2 now, that's a LOT of diapers we haven't thrown away. I won't lie and say I love it at this point. It's tedious. But I remember Kadin's last months in diapers being tedious, too, and all I had to do with those was throw them away.

(I will also add that Ansel wore this same diaper today, as a matter of fact. The color's lost some of it's brightness, but the diaper is every bit as functional as it was in this picture, when Ansel was a little over a year old.)

We breastfeed. Feeding artificial human milk(also known as "formula") creates a TON of waste. If you can possibly breastfeed, I highly recommend it!

This is about 3 days post-partum, our first outing.

I use reusable menstrual pads. I'll spare you a picture on this one. Really, you don't want to see. But I promise you it's NOT gross. And an unexpected plus of it has been that they're WAY more comfortable than anything disposable ever was.

One of our cars is a hybrid, and we LOVE it! It's fun and cute and spacious enough and gets great gas mileage! The blue one on the right. The grey SUV is my parents'.

We buy organic products and local products when we can. This is less strain on the environment, especially the local products. Organic products also reduce the amount of impact each crop has on the land itself.

There are a lot of other smaller things we do here and there, and a lot of other things we'd like to do, but at this point don't because of financial constraints or the time involved or other things. We're working on it, though, and doing what we can.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Holy weight loss, batman!

One morning last week, as I was getting dressed, I realized that my pants were fitting differently. Which then made me want to see just how differently. And so I checked. And lo and behold, I'd lost two inches! But we don't have a scale at the moment, so I had no way to track my weight. No major concern there, weight is just a number and if my clothes are getting looser, then hooray!

So today my husband sort of ambushed me into a personal training session at his gym. I did NOT want to go. Really. Fought it every step of the way. I don't like exercising, but I know I have to make myself do it. Which is why we own a treadmill. Now, I don't actually USE the treadmill, but we own it. I must have burned calories putting it together. But back to the point.... I hate exercising, but more than hating exercise itself, I hate exercising around other people who can see me and judge me. Yes, I know people look at me and judge me all the time, and I can live with that. But I am embarrassed by just how out of shape I am.

So, this morning I find myself at the gym, in the personal training office. And so of course they start by getting your measurements. Weight was first. Now, the last time I was weighed was a month ago at a doctor's appointment. And from that time to today I lost, *drumroll* NINE POUNDS!!!! NINE people, NINE!

And you know what's more? I haven't done anything at all except change how I eat, and pay more attention to how much I eat. I also don't eat after dinner at all. I even went to Disneyworld and ate less than wonderfully, and I've had a few slip ups here and there(like yesterday, when I was SO not in the mood to cook).

I feel so.... vindicated! The husband knew I was making good changes, but there were some things he didn't think I was doing right. And now, well, this kind of proves it, doesn't it? Woo-hoo!

And since every post needs a picture, here ya go, the cute picture for today. Ansel at around 18 months.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A few thoughts on eating at Disneyworld

It's not as bad as one might think.

Yes, there's all the standard stuff.... burgers, fries, hot dogs, and so on. But almost every restaurant, even the quick service ones, have healthy options. I did have a cheeseburger and fries one night(as did the kids). But the rest of the time we had healthier things.... like a grilled chicken wrap and apples in place of fries. I only had soda once, the kids didn't at all.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find a lot of fruit stands throughout the parks. They also had whole wheat pretzels.

One way we made our own lives easier was to bring food with us. Two of the days(out of four) we packed our lunch and snacks ahead of time. We rented a locker at the park and stashed our cooler there and some of the 'extras.' We kept bottled water and healthy snacks(apples, healthy crackers, etc.) in the bottom of the stroller, so we could have them whenever we felt like. This also saved us a LOT of money! And without all that bottled water, I know we would have had a lot more soda!

There is also no question that food is expensive, but the quick service stuff(as opposed to the full service sit down dining, of which we did NOT partake) is not as earth shatteringly expensive as one might think. It's definitely still best to buy as little as possible while there, but if you do need to(or choose to) eat, it won't completely break the bank. I think the reason it all seems so expensive is if you're entirely reliant on the park food for three meals a day plus snacks for the duration of your stay. Yes! That WILL add up, but we stayed off the parks, and had a whole kitchen in the condo we rented. We ate breakfast there every day before leaving, and that helped a lot.

So now that I've rambled.... It's expensive(sort of), but can be healthy pretty easily!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My weekly challenge

Every week, I get to solve a puzzle. The puzzle is how to fit this much stuff into two produce drawers. And lemme tell ya, it's challenging! Yes, we use this much fresh produce in a week, PLUS some! Not pictured are the week's pears, tangerines, bananas, and onions. (and frozen vegetables, which we eat probably twice a week)
The vast majority of this is organic, with only a few exceptions based on availablity and cost. Apples are always organic, because my kids eat so many of them. Potatoes always are, too, as I've heard they have some of the highest levels of pesticides among conventional produce. In this particular week, the strawberries were conventional, along with the cilantro and jalapenos. The tomatoes were local, but not organic.

And this is what we did, later in the day. It's Spring Break for Kadin, and this was about the most exciting thing that happened all week. Sad, I know, but we're(ok, I'm) still recovering from last week's time served at Disneyworld.
Ansel showing his true colors.

Just another day in baker's paradise

I decided to branch out on my bread making. Since getting the Healthy Breads in Five Minutes a Day book, I'd only tried out one master recipe. So, I decided to give another one a go. This time, I tried the Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf. This recipe contained the same primary ingredients as the Soft Whole Wheat, but with a higher wheat ratio and no honey.
Here's the dough rising. It looked a little sad, in my opinion.
And the finished product. I have to say, not wildly impressed. It was too hard on the outside. And the inside was too dense and too crumbly to be good for sandwiches. It was ok as toast, but I'm not going to bake bread specifically to use as toast.
I thought perhaps there had been some error in baking on my part, so when I used the second half of the dough, I skipped the steam portion, and cut the baking time. But same problem. Too hard, too crumbly. Iwon't make this dough again, at least not as sandwich bread. Maybe as garlic knots or some of the other suggestions for the dough. But we'll see. With so many available options, no point in spending too much time on one that doesn't work for me.

The same day as the bread I decided to make chocolate chip cookies. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. But, I know they're not all that good for you(although also not all that bad if you know what you're putting in them).
As I've mentioned before, we don't use any Nestle products, or any products owned by Nestle(like Gerber, betcha didn't know that one!). But there is something to be said for the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. And I have no problem using the recipe so long as I'm not using any of their products. Upon suggestion of another site, I decided to modify the recipe and use half the amount of butter it called for. And, as usual, I skipped the nuts.
Very nice looking cookies! And guess what?! They tasted really good, too!
Now that I've tried with half the butter, I don't intend to go back. The taste was not affected negatively. The cookies were able to bake without overly browning. The other blog(if I remember it, I'll post the link), also suggested using half wheat flour, so I'll try that the next time. Can't hurt!

Snacking..... It never ends.....

My boys snack constantly. As soon as they finish one thing, they're on to the next. Ansel, who is 3, is actually the worst of the two of them. And his appetite for fruit is insatiable. For example, this morning he ate a pear, an apple, and two and a half bananas. And that was all before 11 am! It's no wonder I buy as much produce as I do.....

This is an example of a snack that Ansel ate one afternoon, and he did eat all of this, along with a cup of water(he likes a lot of ice in it). It's quite pretty, which I think I appreciate more than he does. But I do take some pride in being able to prepare simple, attractive foods for my family.

I like big buns!

I'm baaaack!!!! I feel like I've done more 'I'm back' blogs than I have anything else. I got derailed by hectic life events, a trip to Disneyworld, and a wicked stomach virus that attacked the smallest member of the household. The next couple of items are actually from before chaos ensued, but I never got a chance to blog about things. So I'll try and get a couple of quick entries up and then resume with things as they're actually happening.

Hamburger buns! This is another item from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The book raves about this recipe, and I was definitely skeptical. I'm not a huge fan of wheat buns. They seem to be distracting to me.... just too much going on. But, as a part of this all whole foods thing, I figured I'd give it a go.

They looked soooo good coming out of the oven! And they smelled amazing!

We grilled hamburgers outside, of course, which meant the boys got time to play outside. We have a dirt/rock pile off to the side of the house(no idea what it's from, it's just always been there) and they spent a good deal of time just digging.

I'm trying to get used to my new lens. This was fun for me to be able to stand on the patio and take pictures of the kids on the far side of the yard. Still needs work, but it was exciting!

And the husband doing his part. I do grill as well, but if he's available to do it, I am HAPPY to share the responsibility.

The buns got rave reviews! They used the same dough as the Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread I've been making as our basic bread. It was remarkably simple, and there was no specific skill or technique necessary to get a good result. The book also gives instructions to make hot dog buns, which is very similar to making the hamburger buns. I don't think I'll be buying buns again! The taste was flavorful, but not overpowering, much better than any storebought wheat buns I've had.