feel the love

So, eating better is supposed to make your immune system stronger, right?

Five antibiotics for five people with strep throat.  We must all love each other LOTS and LOTS to share germs like we do.

Yep; a clean sweep in our household.  Dave didn't actually test positive at the doctors office with the rest of us, but was prescribed antibiotics anyway and was informed to take it if he felt any symptoms.  "Hhhhmmmm, maybe this is why I have been so wiped out the last couple of days and have had a headache and scratchy throat!"  says the hubby when I tell him about the appointment.  Um, yeah.  Open the hatch and down the gullet with the antibiotic bullet!

Now empowered with our prescriptions, I must stock up on some probiotic rich yogurt and kefir for some major gut healing at the end of the next 10 days.  This should all fit in so nicely with the real food challenge our family will embark upun on August 5th for 10 days. 

Huh.  10 days of antiobiotics and 10 days for the challenge.  I wonder what the significance of a 10 day cycle is?  I suppose I could 'Google' it, but I would much rather have someone respond in the comments with the answer.


Off to heal.


a boost

When I am experiencing the low arc of the rollar-coaster pulling me down, often times a simple challenge will pull me out of my 'funk' and lead me towards the upswing ...... or at least make me desire to make it to the upswing ....... because it WILL be coming.  I may not be able to see the sunny ray of a better day, but I KNOW it is there.  That's a promise.

So, when my good buddy sent me a link to 100 Days of Real Food,  I felt in my heart that little jump of excitement and knew immediately I would be participating in the 10 Day Pledge.  I have been slowly making changes in our family's eating habits over the last 6 months or so and am happy how we have been sticking to the changes.  This pledge will be a wonderful way to knock out those last bit of pesky 'bad food habits' and allow us to immerse ourselves in the real food experience.

I was especially motivated after reading Lisa Leake's (creator of the 10 challenge) 10 reasons to cut our processed foods.  I will cut and paste the rules here so I can refer back to them without having to reference so many links:

10 Reasons to Cut Out Processed Food
1.  Processed foods are an illusion, often appearing to be healthy (with claims like low fat, low carb, vitamin fortified, no trans fat, contains omega-3s, etc.) when these foods are in fact the very thing making a lot of Americans unhealthy, sick, and fat.

2.  Coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer – four of the top ten chronic diseases that kill most of us – “can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food” according to Michael Pollan.

3.  Making smarter (and sometimes more expensive) food choices now may reduce your healthcare costs later in life.

4.  Why would one want to eat a processed food-like substance that is scientifically designed to never rot?

5.  The food industry has proven that it is not very good at seasoning our foods by adding way too much salt, sugar, and/or oil to almost everything.

6.  When you eat white bread and other foods made with white flour (which is a highly processed version of wheat) you are basically consuming empty calories with far less nutrition than the whole-wheat or whole grain alternatives.

7.  It is estimated that up to 90% of processed foods* in the supermarket contain either a corn or soy ingredient in the form of an additive under a variety of different names. Now how is that for eating variety?

8.  Cutting out processed foods could lead you to experience a variety of personal health benefits such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.

9.  Rather than counting calories, watching fat grams, or reducing carbs for “healthy eating”, simply eat whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry. It certainly is less complicated.

10.  It just makes plain old sense to fully understand what you are eating, be able to pronounce everything on the list of ingredients (if there is a list), and know exactly where that food comes from…don’t you think?

*Statistic courtesy of a food scientist interviewed on the documentary “Food, Inc”

I even went so far as to create a start date for the challenge.
::drumroll, please::
August 5, 2010!  And, of course, you can expect to hear all about it right here.


still here

I am present, but not here

I see, but am not aware

I feel, but do not experience

I hear, but do not comprehend

I speak, but do not convey a point

I move, but never to far

I want, but do not desire


So I will pray for the fog to lift so I can participate in all the joys (& sorrows) that are just outside my reach.


what I have time for

I seem to only have time for a quick post of the Farmer's Market today.  Between the kids on the computer and cousins visiting and outdoor play a priority, I have missed being able to have my quiet time in this space.  Oh well, soon enough school will start up and I will be back to my regular musings.  Lucky you! ::wink::

  •  BGF - Eggs, Lemonade, regular cucumbers and a Japanese variety called Suyo Long (thank you Jill! Oh, and the flavor was bright and crisp and so very clean on the tongue) Lavender syrup and Lemon Balm (correction from lemongrass earlier stated)  syrup for my fruity herb iced teas (so yummy) Chariton, Iowa
  •  Dirty Gertie goat milk soaps in Georgia Peach, Herbal Garden, Peppermint and Pineapple scents Laurel, Iowa

  • Emmack Farms green beans and tomatoes  Colfax, Iowa

  • Farm Boys Hearty Food breakfast burritos  Prescott, Iowa

  • Ebert honey Lynnville, IA
 All purchases made today were locally produced anywhere from 26 - 96 miles away from Ankeny, Iowa.

    Beautiful stand display Foxhollow Farm

    I ::think:: this is the Everett produce stand.  I took the photo because I love their pretty set-up, but missed getting their sign in the frame!

    Maddi, Cousin Jenny and Ellie enjoying the Farm Boys breakfast burritos!

    I was very impressed with Maddi for purchasing this flower hair band.  She usually doesn't go for something this feminine.  The vendor was local, but again, missed the name.


    berries make it better

    First of all, thank you to everyone who commented here, or sent me an email, or responded to my facebook thread, or called me to let me know you were thinking of us all in our time of sadness.  It means so much to have friends and family understand how much a pet can be a special part of our lives and truly empathize with us when we feel so empty with the loss.  We are all doing better thanks to your support.

    And, it seems I have stumbled upon a way to brush away the blues of bereavement ........ berry picking.

    So it seems the combination of getting out in nature, awing in God's creation, walking along the hillside and harvesting such a wonderful fruit has a healing effect beyond wholesome fun and nutrition.

    We invited a couple of friends to come along and pick to their hearts desire; which, unfortunately, wasn't long enough to fill the buckets to brimming. 
    Red Raspberry Bushes 

    And, can you believe it?  One of the girls had never tasted a real raspberry or blueberry; let alone one popped straight from the bush.  She had experienced the 'flavor' of the fruits in artificially flavored foods, but was nervous about the texture and 'dirtiness' (Ha!) of the fresh while berries.  It took some gentle prodding by my part (placing a plump blueberry in her palm and telling her to take her time) and peer pressure from the others until I heard a *gasp* and an *oh!* and turned just in time to see the smile on her face as she closed her eyes to fully experience the burst of flavor.  YES ....... a new 'whole food' convert!

    These two little pickers went to town on the blueberry bushes. 

    We also harvested some of the last sour cherries from the trees, and they are neatly washed and packed in the freezer for use in a pie ....... or syrup ....... or jam ....... or something else equally as yummy as soon as the kids get back to school and I have my kitchen time again. 

    Another 'educational moment' popped up when I had to explain the cherries grew on vines, not trees.  They have pits, and are SOUR.  Oops, too late for that last tidbit of information as I noticed the pursed lips of my boy as he discovered the news for himself.  One girl commented she was expecting the cherries to be like the bright red maraschinos her mom bought at the store.  Sometimes discovery is not all that 'fabulous'.


    The raspberries were so soft and ripe, they barely made it home without crushing themselves into a paste.  I decided to finish off the smashing with my hands and carefully spooned the slush into ice cube trays.  I hope to use these raspberry cubes in smoothies, but also hope to try out popping a few cubes into a lemon-lime soda and see what deliciousness occurs.

    Here are the beautiful frozen berry cubes fresh from their molds.  I can only imagine the yummy flavor and nutritional goodness these will add to a recipe.  The color is AMAZING!

    Emily found the perfect spot to rest her weary limbs.  And the view of the beautiful weeping willow tree kept her in this spot until I threatened driving away without her.

    Thank you Berry Patch Farm for bountiful buckets of beautiful berries!


    it sucked and then i cried

    Yesterday was rough. 

    So rough I had to borrow the title to my post today from a book I read.

    So rough I even considered NOT writing about it.

    But, how will I get these feelings out if I don't put them to 'paper'?


    Dave and I had to make a tough decision about our buddy-cat, George.

    George; who had been with us since before we were married.

    George; who had been the constant in an ever changing family.

    George; our 'little old man', needed us to help him rest.


    We made an appointment a week ago and told each other we would cancel it if something didn't feel right.

    Then we told Maddi in order to giver her some time to digest the news.

    Then we waited and watched while George make his world smaller and smaller.

    Then the day came and we told Ellie and Ben; said our goodbyes.


    I took George to the vet, praying out loud to Jesus to stop me if I wasn't making the right decision.

    Unfortunately I arrived for the appointed time.

    I told George I loved him.

    I told George 'thank you' for being such a good friend.

    His eyes were locked with mine as he left his old failing body behind.

    It sucked and then I cried


    back in time

    Ellie has been begging to go to Living History Farms as one of our 'adventures' this summer.  Usually I plan these kind of outings during the week, and often with with friends, so we can have an experience 'out of the ordinary' from our regular summer lazy days.  This trip peaked the interests of Dave, however, so we planned for a Saturday when he would be home from work.  In addition, the calendar for LHF listed this weekend as a special "Family Weekend" with various events planned specifically for all ages.  

    Maddi has been to LHF with a friend, I attended with a Mom's Group year's ago, and Dave and I ran the LHF cross country road race in 2008. In other words, we thought we knew all about the place and what kind of experience lay in front of us.  (from the LHF Website)

    "Founded in 1970, we are a 500-acre, outdoor museum that recreates history and lifestyles in four time periods – the 1700 Ioway Indians, the 1850 pioneers, the townspeople of 1875 and 1900 farmers. Historical interpreters dressed in period clothing complete the daily routines of each time period – caring for animals, cooking, blacksmithing, gardening, and much more. The story of 20th century agriculture is explored through an exhibit of crops, displays and interactive activities. "

    And, come to find out, we did know all of this information ....... but it was MUCH MORE FUN than I thought it would be.  So much so, we are seriously considering getting an annual membership so we can go back for special events like:
    • Threshing Days
    • Pioneer Wedding
    • Behind the Barn Concert Series
    • Fall Carnival
    • Quilt Show
    • Harvest Days
    • Halloween Hoedown
    • Prairie Christmas
    For $95 a family (+2 guests ...... we love to invite friends, so this would work out nicely) for an entire year of membership to the farm.  Yep, I see this needing to be worked into the budget fairly soon.

    Of course I took my camera, and here are some shots from the day.  I played with my editing software and used the 'antique' tool for several of the pictures. This was the perfect setting and I think they turned out pretty nicely.  In fact, I re-designed my blog header to highlight some of the 'artsy' photos.

    And, back to modern day.



    Saturday mornings have become a time I anticipate all week long; ........ or long week ..... or long day now that the kids are on summer break.  Saturday morning is M-E time.  Time to go and collect my local bounty at a farmer's market or browse a grocery store for new products.  I can choose to be alone (not lonely) or bring along a friend, or even one of my kiddos if I feel like it.  Heck, I may even decide to drag invite Dave along if I think he will behave and not make fun of my oooooooohing and aaaaaaaaaaahing.

    This Saturday morning I chose to go it solo.  What a beautiful day!  Even at 7:15am the crowds were thick and noisy.  Not my preference, but I will share the space if dog noses stay out of my bags and people's elbows out of my face. (This is why I do not like crowds.  Being vertically challenged leaves me with NO view and lots of bony body parts knockin' my noggin)

    Even with these many shoppers, I was still excited to get in there and find my favorite vendors and products.

    (left to right, back row to front row)

    • sprouted sunflower seeds from Fresh (consumed a wheatgrass shot while there)
    • mozerella from .......... shoot, I forgot
    • mint syrup from BGF
    • salad greens from Grinnell Heritage Farm
    • kefir milk from Campbell's Nutrition, CN, (went there after the market)
    • Nourishing Traditions book from CN (I have wanted this book for MONTHS!)
    • feta from Northern Prairie Chevre (so sorry to Reicharts, who I normally give my business, but was not at the market today)
    • honey roasted peanut butter ..... again with the forgetting
    • BGF "Best Ever" oatmeal cookies
    • dough enhancer for my homemade breads (reduces spoilage) from CN
    • wheat berries from CN (playing with sprouting)
    • buy fresh buy local magnet.  Have you pledged yet?  Their email newsletter is AWESOME.
    • basil from BGF
    • Mrs. Meyers Basil scented hand soap from CN.  *love* this scent.

    Even though it is now July and sooooooo much more produce is in season, I took a little break this week and purchased some more 'wants' verses 'needs'.  I plan to hit another local farmer's market later this week (Urbandale's at Living History Farms) and grab some in season veggies and fruits.  Anyone care to join me?


    looking for adventure

    Monday; looking for something to do with the kiddos and facing a beautiful day of blue skies, Ceesa and I decided to head out to Jester Park and see what kind of adventures we could muster up to amaze and astound the children.

    First up, FLOODING.  Look closely at the brown sign on the leaning post.  It reads: "Camping Only".  Hhhhhhmmmmm.  I'd say it is much better suited for canoeing.  In order to take this photo, we needed to park the cars, hop the 'caution' gates, and walk the rest of the road the road down into the flood waters.  See those whitecaps?  So not supposed to be there.  The kids were scared Ceesa and I were going to be arrested by the Park Ranger, so we skedaddled out of there before the algae could grab our ankles.

    We left for higher grounds and soon discovered a beautiful natural playground.

    This tree-stump stairway was really pretty. Here we all are taking off on another adventure.

    We didn't have to go far to find some more water.  The hiking path disappeared and we were left to wonder where it would lead.

    Back up at the natural playground, the kids found a place they could hang out for a bit.  This water feature begged for splashing and jumping, but NO ROCK THROWING.  Put the boulder down, J-man, and back away before anyone gets hurt.

    You can't see it here, but Ben is sitting on (and successfully blocking) a small water fountain.  The boys giggled and guffawed every time they managed to direct the spray to resemble ..... well ........ what boys do to relieve themselves.  Oh my.  Such ........ boys.

    Not to be outdone, Ellie was the first to discover the exhilaration of laying in the shallow water.  Yes, those rocks are green with slimy sludge, but I knew it was bath night and turned off my 'Mommy Nag'.


    Monkey see, Monkey do.

    All in all, a great way to spend a sunny afternoon with friends.