Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Husband's Mini-Me

So, everyone is always telling me how much William looks like me, and I just don't see it. Okay, so maybe he has my eyes, but that's about it...I was printing some photos of Grant and I for William's birthday, and I wanted to print out one of us at a year old, so we could all compare to William at a year old at his birthday party.

I started thumbing through the photos that I had, and I came across this photo of Grant. A couple of different ones actually, and William looks exactly like Grant. His mouth, chin and cheeks, brow line, hair, etc. I totally think he's Grant's Mini-Me! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sneak Peek from William's 1st Birthday Photoshoot

William turns 1 year old on this upcoming Thursday, September 27th! Seriously?! Where did the time go? I'll post his 1 year update after his doctor's appointment next week. I'll also post photos from his 1st birthday when I get those back from our photographer. His party is this upcoming Saturday.

In the meantime, here are photos from his first birthday shoot. I can't believe he's gotten SO big! Prepare yourself for picture overload...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How We Eat?!

So, as I've mentioned previously, William was hospitalized in December at 2.5 months old with pneumonia, and he's been sickly ever since. He constantly has congestion, cough, wheezing, etc. He catches a cold regularly, and he has had seven ear infections since this all started. We decided to move forward with tubes in his ears in August, because we didn't want to continue to do antibiotics or allow him to suffer. Anyways, after he got sick, I started to realize that how we eat affects our overall health. Grant also has some allergies, and I want to provide the best nutrition possible for our family.

I started on the Real Food/Clean Eating approach in January, and it's been interesting and a great learning experience for us. Like most people, we aren't 100%, and we eat out and eat at the houses of our friends and family, but we try hard. I try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and I try to avoid most processed foods. My kids still eat popsicles, and they still eat goldfish, but we are trying to be as healthy as we can.

I started with the 100 Days of Real Food website, and we just went from there. We eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and we enjoy meats and whole grains. We don't do gluten free, because my husband can't do rice, so we do enjoy whole grains. We eat Ezekiel bread and English muffins, and we all enjoy that.We also cook with a lot of almond flour or coconut flour rather than your typical grain based flours.

Here is a typical day for us...
Breakfast - Ezekiel bread with Almond Butter and Fruit, typically apples, grapes, strawberries, oranges, bananas or raspberries. We eat lots of fruit, and my kids love all varieties, so this is a no brainer, and we eat this for many meals.Weston loves bars, and he eats Barbara's brand bars.

Lunch - Sandwich meats, Applegate Farms Chicken Nuggets, Cheese, Fruits/Vegetables, Pancakes/Waffles, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Trader Joe's Hot Dogs

Dinner - I try to cook a variety of foods, but we some of the regular items on our dinner plate are quesadillas with whole wheat tortilla shells, pizza with whole wheat crust and homemade marinara sauce, spaghetti with whole wheat noodles and homemade spaghetti sauce, grilled/baked chicken with a wide variety of vegetables. We've also tried a number of great recipes from some of the different websites below.

Snacks - Nuts (Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts), Fruits (same as for typical meals), Raw vegetables, Applesauce, Yogurt, Raisins, Popcorn, Whole Grain Crackers (we eat a lot of triscuits), cheese, yogurt, beef jerky (my 2.5 year old LOVES it!).

Here are some websites that we utilize regularly, and I use to get new dinner recipes/ideas
- 100 Days of Real Food
- The Gracious Pantry
- Clean Eating Magazine
- Skinny Ms.
- Heavenly Homemakers

Homemade Laundry Detergent

So, last November, I bookmarked Jessica's post on how they made Homemade Laundry Detergent. I'm a long time follower of Jessica's blog, and I knew instantly that I wanted to make detergent for our house after reading her blog. I didn't make it immediately, because we had the holidays both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we got crazy busy! However, right before I started back to work, Grant and I broke down and made laundry detergent.

I didn't take any great photos, so please refer to Jessica's blog, for photos. We used the exact same recipe and method as Jessica; however, we also added a couple of drops of lavender essential oils to our detergent, because I felt like the citrus smell was good but a bit over powering. It is not nearly as strong when you dilute it, but it scared me when we first started mixing things up and melting the bar of soap.

I've passed this on to a number of my friends now and so far, everyone is enjoying this recipe. Give it a try! I hope you'll all like it, and it's not difficult at all, and it doesn't take long to make!

Also, one thing to note is that it does separate between uses, so shake well between uses and don't let the separation scare you that you didn't do something right! :) 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dryer Sheets

So, after William getting sick in December, I mentioned that we started to change the way that we did things. I know that a lot of people may think that I'm crazy or "hippy", but it's what is best for our family right now.

One of the things that we did, was start making our own homemade laundry detergent. Grant and I broke out all the supplies, and we made our laundry detergent last December. It cost us less than $5, and we haven't had to make another batch yet. I anticipate that we'll make it through mid-December before we have to make more. It's been a huge savings for us, and we do a lot of laundry.

Another thing that we did was throw out all of our chemical cleaning supplies, I'll do a post on what we use to clean our house later this week. We also got rid of our dryer sheets. Both of my boys have eczema, and we've always had to be really careful about what we use to wash their clothes and especially sheets. I never really thought about dryer sheets. Then, I read some research on dryer sheets, and I was shocked. For these reasons, we no longer use dryer sheets when doing laundry.

Here are some of the information I found on dryer sheets:

 Dryer sheets contain the following chemicals:
  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
  • Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
  • Limonene: Suspected Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Immunotoxicant,
    Kidney Toxicant, Neurotoxicant, Respiratory Toxicant, and Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
Health effects from being exposed to the chemicals in fabric softeners include:
  • Central nervous system disorders 
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Dizziness 
  • Blood pressure reduction 
  • Irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract 
  • Pancreatic cancer
The only thing that I've noticed from dryer sheets is the irritation to my kids skin, and they tend to have respiratory flair ups when we travel and the kids sleep on sheets where dryer sheets were used.

Here are some links with more information about dryer sheets:
- Holistic Health Secrets

- Nappy Shoppe

- Natural News

I wouldn't consider myself a "natural mama", but I have seen a huge difference in the health of my children since making changes to our lifestyle from household chemicals to foods we eat.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Don't Rush...

Today, I was scrolling through FB when I saw that a friend of mine had posted this link on lasts, and I couldn't help but feel sad. All too often, I'm completely and totally focused on my busy day and what I've got to do next, that I don't take in these sweet times with my children.

Weston is at such a sweet age/stage, and he will want me hold his hand or help him do something, and I realize how often I tell him that I'll sit down later or I'll play with him later. It's not intentional, and I enjoy those times with him, but as a mother, I have my plate full. I'm traveling for work a lot, so I've been away from home regularly. I'm taking on too many tasks outside of the home...participating in organizations as Secretary of the GC&SU IT Alumnae Advisory Board, as well as, State Alumnae Chairman for the State of Georgia for Delta Zeta Sorority. I'm also working full time, and I'm trying to keep up with house work, laundry, my kids and my husband, as well as, trying to do things for myself. Spend time with friends, work-out and enjoy some shopping and alone time.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to fit it all in! I pick the boys up in the afternoon, and I have to rush to get dinner made quickly, so the boys can eat, then have a bath and be in bed on time. After dinner, I try to work out, but I'm exhausted after a busy day, and I have to clean up around the house and do laundry and prepare for the following day. As most of you, it's unending!

Anyways, I all too often tell me kids to wait or say "not tonight", because I'm overwhelmed with all the things on my plate. I'm making a promise to myself and my children to say "yes" and lay down with them when they need me to or play with them when they want to play. I don't know when it will be the last time that they request or need a certain thing, and I don't want to miss it. '

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Master 4-H Camp at Jekyll Island 4-H Center

As a kid, I was very active in Georgia 4-H, and I often got picked on, because it was known as the club for the "nerds" or "the club where you show animals". Well, I never showed any animals, but I judged them, and I don't think I was a nerd, but I was very involved, and I enjoyed it so much. I feel like a great part of my success is attributed to my participation in 4-H. I learned so much from team work to public speaking.

As a 4-H'er, when you win a state event, you receive the title "Master", because you have mastered a skill. You are then part of the Master 4-H Club. In high school, I mastered five times, in the following areas...

- Wildlife Judging
- Poultry Judging
- Scholarship
- Project Achievement
- Dairy Quiz Bowl

I was also a member of my area's District Board, as well as, a Camp Counselor at Rock Eagle for two summers. I taught swimming and was a life guard both years. If you have any questions about 4-H, let me know. I love it, and I hope to volunteer in my local 4-H club. In addition, I also started the Need a Computer project in my county, and it's grown throughout the state of GA.

Okay, I'll continue...this post wasn't intended to be about my love of 4-H, but every year since probably freshman year of high school, my family has attended Master 4-H Camp on Jekyll Island. We enjoy it so much, and it's a reunion with other Master 4-H'ers, as well as, a last get away for the summer! Now that we live about half an hour away, it's not so much a getaway, and we spend the night at our house, but we still go over and spend time at the 4-H center. It's fun, and I look forward to seeing my boys grow up and be part of the 4-H program. I'll wrap up with some photos at Jekyll from this weekend! :)