Friday, February 28, 2014

Strep Throat Smoothies

We love smoothies here!  We also love the way we sneak essential vegetables and even vitamins into the smoothies our kids drink.  The key...have some strong tasting fruit or lemon juice in there with a little raw honey and you're good to go.

Our boys are prone to strep throat.  They had it 5 or 6 times last year.  This school year they had it in September and then I heard about a naturopath that had some vitamin/mineral supplements that could help.  I was skeptical.  I do the natural and medical path for our family.  I read up, research, try, and sometimes we're successful...sometimes we're not.

Image from

So we started taking Standard Process supplements and when my boys are taking "Congaplex" they don't get strep.  When they stop for awhile or refuse to drink the smoothies I make with it in them...  Sure enough they get strep throat.  The only problem is it's a strong tasting supplement.  So here's a sample smoothie that I make which hides the flavor.  I also sneak other Standard Process supplements in for nose bleeds (Cyruta Plus), severe runny noses (Antronex) as needed.  I test on myself first and the stuff works!  I do all of this under the guidance of the naturopath who recommends the correct dosage for their weight and age.

Strep Throat Smoothie

3 capsules of congaplex
3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup apple juice
4 frozen strawberries
4 chunks frozen mango
4 chunks frozen pineapple
2 Tbsp raw honey
water to the 2 cup line of blender

Blend to a smooth consistency and drink away!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tasty Tuesday...Hopefully a regular post

So here is a simple goal for myself.  On Tuesday's...hopefully every Tuesday...I will post a simple REAL food recipe for you.  One that doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes to prep.  Cook times will vary on the recipes.  But REAL food doesn't have to be hard.

My recipe today is Strawberry Banana Applesauce.  My boys love those little applesauce packages that you get at stores.  The portable ones...that look all cute and are handy to throw in your purse.  Well awhile back I bought my own reusable applesauce packs and now I've been making applesauce to put in them.

Last fall we picked apples at a friends house.  We literally had 3 or 4 diaper boxes full of apples!  I have left them in our porch against the house wall so they haven't frozen.  Gradually we've been eating them and using them in recipes, hot cereal, etc.  Today I decided to use a big chunk before they warmed up and started to go bad.

So here's the recipe...

You'll need enough apples cut in chunks to fill a stock pot 3/4 of the way.
4-5 bananas (brown ones are sweeter)
1/2 cup lemon juice (to preserve sauce and prevent browning)
2-3  cups frozen strawberries
Coconut sugar to taste (this is just to sweeten it to our liking naturally)

Simmer in a stock pot on low.  Stirring every now and then.  I leave the peelings on the apples and then  blend it all up in my vitamix.  Then we get the fiber along with everything else.  Once the apples are mushy...blend them up and serve!

Here's a link to the reusable snack bags we use for applesauce.  They wash up easily and seal well.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Getting My Groove Back, With a 3 Year Old on My Back arch nemesis and best friend.  I have always gone through waves when I've been more diligent than other times.  However, over the past two years, I've made it a top priority because it strengthens my heart, boosts my mood, helps me keep my sanity, and sets a great example for my kiddos.

I have a confession to make.  I have not "formally" exercised since snowshoeing December 26, 2013.  I have been sledding with the boys (a great workout) a few times.  But other than that we've had one wave of sickness after another sweep through our home.  If I'm not sick, then one or both boys will be so I lose sleep and as a result don't make it to the gym in the morning.

I don't say this for self-pity.  I say this to show my reality and share that it happens to everyone!  I know there have been days I could have fit it in.  I just lost my groove.  I lost my motivation.  We've had a lot of personal upheaval and to be honest...I just didn't care.  I knew I should care but I didn't.

My scale number kept going up and my pants got a little more snug and finally, I said, "Enough is enough!".  So Saturday, I went and pushed myself hard with cardio for 45 minutes.  Sunday, I did 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of lunges, squats, man push-ups, crunches, and tricep curls.  Last night, the boys were up for various reasons, so we played musical beds and as a result...are all exhausted.

I knew I wasn't going to make it to the gym but I am recommitted to my health.  What could I do?  We have Amazon Prime and can stream the Instant videos onto our T.V.  So I decided to search for their free videos.  There was a Jillian Michaels Yoga work out.  Keep in mind...I am exercising with a 3 year old and 5 year old boy.  They are sitting on the floor with their legos but I know they're not going to stay there.

They easily accepted that I was going to work-out and before I knew it they were both down to their t-shirts and boxer briefs doing yoga.  I'm not into the spirituality side of yoga but the stretching and strengthening...totally up my alley!  I'm a kickboxing kind of gal.  This was a workout video I could do with the kids without kicking them in the face or across the room.  I didn't sweat as much as running but I did feel the burn.

So three days in a row.  I'm hoping to incorporate the yoga video into my week with the Superheroes.  They enjoyed it and even though some of the push-ups and planks involved a 3 year old sitting on my was worth it.  Crunches involved an added 37 pound weight sitting on my chest as I lifted and lowered my legs.  I know I'll feel the burn tomorrow and I know my kids had me model health and quality time with them.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beauty for Ashes

As I sit here and watch the 2014 Winter Olympic games, I see athletes who have been to previous Olympics.  Who thought they were at their prime then and now realize they had more to learn, they've trained better, strengthened their mind and body and are now more well rounded for the pressure and demands of the Olympic games.  It's easy to see how their past challenges have brought them to where they are now.  We see the forest.  They had to walk through the trees.

I know at other points in my life I have felt change blowing in.  Earlier this year I felt that.  Little did I know how many things would blow in, the greatest of which being the loss of my dad.  The details of my life, the things I struggle with are much like anyone else's life.  So I won't bore you with all of the specifics.  Bottom line...there seems to be a season change in progress.  Remember when I talked about the hermit crab we got.  The link to the post is there in case you missed it.  Part of me loves the excitement of change and the other part of me just wants to stay safe...even if the tank is crowded.

It's like the Olympians who think...this is it.  This is my one chance.  This is what I'm supposed to do!  And then there's a fall.  An injury.  Hope is gone.  They could stop trying or they could get back up and try again.  My Handsome Hubby and I repeatedly catch ourselves saying..."Can you imagine how much they have to practice to get to this point?!?! To get it right?!?!"  We could learn a lot from them.

Last night, we lay in bed and I said,  "I miss Dad.  I miss his encouragement and hope that he'd give when I was down or faced with a big challenge."  I went on saying, I know that I've been through a lot in life.  I can see how all of the big changes, big challenges, big sorrows, have brought with them great growth, joy, or opportunities.  I know this.  I read my devotions, my Bible, and it's like God is tapping me on the shoulder whispering gently, "Trust Diana, just trust," In Matthew 11:28-29 he says, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 

I know this stuff.  But when I'm faced with my challenges...  When it seems like everything is so confusing and there is SO MUCH unknown.  It's tough for this human mind to trust.  Yet once we do it  is the easiest thing in the world.  My Handsome Hubby held me as I said, "How can you know something, have lived through challenges, seen the fingerprints of God all over your life, and still get discouraged when tough times come? Why is it I still struggle to see the forest in spite of the trees?"

Last night, I fell asleep to the lyrics of this song running through my head.  I hope it encourages you like it does me.  Click the link to the video in the song title below.

Beauty For Ashes 
written by Randy L. Scruggs; John W. Thompson.
Sung by Crystal Lewis

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs hangs heavy o'er your head
Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need, just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what you've done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I've been set free
I've been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I've been set free
I've been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

Monday, January 13, 2014

Life Lessons from a Hermit Crab

In life you get advice from people on dating, parenting, school, food, diet, etc.  It's been two years, to the day, since my heart attack.  At this time 2 years ago, I was sitting in an emergency room and they were trying to figure out what in the world had happened.  Since then, I've realized more and more...that my advice needs to come less from other people and more from God.  More from examining myself, examining my heart, praying for His clear guidance and stepping out in faith.

So how does this relate to a hermit crab?  Last week, my oldest Superhero had earned his hermit crab.  He had taken care of our dogs for a full month (and then some) and now got to get a new pet.  Since I'm not comfortable with taking on more than I was narrowed down to hermit crab or fish.  We went to the pet store with my starry eyed boys.  They were soooo excited.  Each one had a small cart and planned on helping stock up on the supplies we needed.  We quickly found an employee to stock up our cart and then went to get the two crabs.

Easy right?  Superhero #1 got his and it was gently set in the palm of his hand.  He patiently sat there and the crab sat patiently.  Superhero #2 picked his and since he was a little skittish, we set the hermit crab on my hand and the kind young college employee left to get a container.  This is where things got a bit dicey!  Superhero #2's crab decided I was a fun surface to latch onto.  Not just latch onto but DEATH GRIP!  It took plus or minus 5 minutes, two employees, four to five removal techniques, and finally a full body baptism of the crab in a pitcher of water to get him to release and even still he held on under water for 30 seconds or so.  Three days later and I still have a little pincher bruise from the bugger!

So what did I learn from the crab?  I'm a lot like him.  I get a little skittish when I'm out of my comfort zone and then when I relax and decide it's my new comfort zone...I LATCH ON WITH A DEATH GRIP and refuse to let go.  It might not even be in my best interest!  At the big chain pet store...there were a TON of crabs in one little tank.  I was offering him greener pastures, he didn't know this, but he needed to trust me.  But once we trust God and allow Him to (stay with me now...I know it's a stretch) submerse us with His spirit...we may hang onto the old for a bit but eventually we learn that it's just so much better to let go than to be suffocated by our old ways.

This has been my journey the past 2 years.  I've been learning little by little with many steps forward and many steps backwards that I need to trust God more even if I don't know what's ahead.  I'll be honest with you...right now I'm having a hard time sitting and trusting what is in our future.  The loss of my dad, the anniversary of my heart attack, seeing my boys growing so quickly, leaves me a bit unsettled.  I want to KNOW what is up next.  I want to have a plan.  There are things I want and long for but I don't know if they're in our future.  But God wants us to trust and His plan has always been so infinitely better than mine.

Oh...and by the way.  We did get the hermit crabs, Hermie and Mike.  They're happily living in a 20 gallon tank with fresh water every day, daily misting by their boys, and fresh food in their dish daily.  They even have a little cave to hang out in if they feel like "getting away from it all."  The only one a bit skittish around them is me.  :-)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Picking my Battles in Simplifying Christmas

So it's Christmas and like everyone else...I'm busy beyond belief.  We have Christmas programs in church and at school.  We have shopping to do.  We have a trip to Minnesota coming up that includes a long drive and packing traveling food.  Doctor and chiropractor appointments are in the mix the next two weeks along with school and just general life.  I need to make 2 or 3 more Christmas gifts, wrap our family ones, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  You get the picture.  I'm sure you could give me a list that is WAY longer than the one I listed.

My point in all of this is to pick your battles.  We complain about Christmas being too commercial.  Christmas is too stressful.  There is just too much to do.  We create our own prison in many ways.  So my tips for enjoying Christmas more...

Choose a few traditions for your family
Traditions are important.  I GET that.  I like that.  Choose a few that work for you.  Ones that aren't too stressful.  Whether it is an Advent calendar, Elf on the Shelf, Santa Claus, decorating the tree together, matching jammies, you pick!  This year with my dad's passing...I pared down some.  We decorated the tree together in our new Christmas pajamas, revisiting each ornament that was given with each year of their life.  We set up the kiddo and adult nativity set, talking about who each character was and retelling the story of Christ's birth.  We placed their newest ornament on the tree.  That was it.  Later, we'll open gifts and stockings and make our Baby Jesus Birthday cake.

Keep the Gifts Simple
Every year we struggle with how much or how little to give.  We're not perfect and would NEVER claim to be.  A neighbor explained how they were simplifying Christmas giving and it inspired me to follow suit.  So this year...other than their stockings...our boys have 4 gifts total.  They have one gift from each other and 3 from us.  We choose not to do Santa but still teach the story of who St. Nicholas was.  He was a "real" man who did kind things because he was a follower of Christ.  We keep our spending to a minimum.  Some of our things are second hand but in like new condition.  That is ok in our book.  If we can save some money here and there and put it towards college what a wonderful gift for later on!  The Wise men brought 3 gifts to Jesus and we have 3 gifts for our sons.

Make it a Christmas for ALL to Enjoy
I love making everyone else happy but the risk with losing sight of taking care of my own physical and emotional well being in the process.  HELLO!  I HAD A HEART ATTACK!  For goodness sakes...I was a professional perfectionist that berated and held myself to a higher standard that anyone else.  Christmas is for your entire family.  If you're so strung out tired and stressed from creating Advent or Elf on the Shelf Activities and baking more than the Cake Boss...then your entire family will suffer.  Enjoy it!  If that means one year you have to scale it back and the next you can add more stuff in...then do it.

Christmas isn't about the activities, or the gifts, or the cookies, or the music.  All of those things add to the wonder of it and are in celebration of one incredible thing...Christ's birth.  Our Redeemer, the infant King who came to Earth to die for and cover all of our sins.  A baby who pooped, peed, teethed, nursed, slept, and learned how to walk like our kids.  We celebrate and make it an event because IT IS ONE!  If you celebrate your children's birthdays then for goodness sakes celebrate the birth of our Saviour!  But if you lose sight of His birth in all the hustle and bustle of societies standards, that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate just means you need to use your filter and figure out how to make it significant in your family.

I'm not sure if this made sense.  It's just the ramblings of a tired mom who sees many people doing it up BIG so it's not about Christ anymore and the opposite end of the spectrum doing it up small so it seems like it's just another day.  Use common sense.  Pray about it.  Use moderation.

I hope I can share in the wonder and joy of Christmas with my kids like my parent's did.  My dad used to sit quietly on the couch smiling as we opened gifts not even touching his own.  My mom, likewise sat by his side with a smile on her face.  Enjoy it...Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Walking Through Grief..

So when I started this blog, I fully intended it to be about healthy eating, health tips, time with family, etc. I soon realized it became a place where others followed my journey and walked through their journey at the same time.  We all have different challenges in this road to health.  We all struggle with different things.  Nobody is perfect and I don't want anyone to think I don't struggle too. But I have two little boys who I need to be around for in body and in spirit. So here is my journey...

As some of you know my dad passed away a month ago. So in this health journey I now am stress's so easy to do and so hard to stop. I bake when I am stressed. Then the baking must be eaten. So then I gain weight. Then I stress about that. It's a vicious unhealthy cycle.  But it's reality. 

I strive to be honest here. I may not tell you all the specifics of my life but grief is something that strikes us all.  And from grief we all must rise and move forward.  So it is that path I hope to share with you. I miss my dad. I miss his gentle nature. I miss his wise advice. I miss his jokes. I miss seeing his eyes light up every time he sees his grand kids. But missing him won't bring him back.

I have been through deep depression one time in my life and it was debilitating. I never, ever want to return there. I learned I had to keep moving.  I had to keep living because I was still alive. I had to reach outside of myself to help others so I was reminded its not just about me. I had to shower. I had to eat right. I had to exercise. I had to pray and walk so closely with God that He carried me because in truth I just didn't have the strength to walk on my own.  I had to cry...really cry and ask God for help. I had to lean on others and in leaning on others, in letting God hold me, I found my strength again.

I don't have that strength back yet. My five year old could "hear sad in" my voice last night as we talked about cousins and Grandpa. But I do have the complete assurance that my Heavenly Father cares very much about my pain and my sadness and is providing what I need when I need it...even if it's just a shoulder to cry on or a blog entry to write.

Psalm 23

King James Version (KJV)

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.