So Much Going On!

I hardly know where to start to catch up.  Hmmm..

1. I got a job.  Hooray!  I will be doing some basic bookkeeping and payroll for a small company on the other side of Des Moines.  It is just 5 hours a week and I will be working on Monday while David is home to watch the kids.  Perfect!

2. The girls and I went "shopping" at Helping Hands the other day (a free thrift store) and they had cases of bananas available.  I think I must have taken about 10 bunches of bananas!  I am going to freeze most of them and they will be great in green smoothies with fresh fruit this summer - yum!  I also picked up a nice pair of shoes for wearing to work and some more tops that will be nice too.  Didn't see any pants there though - that's a bit of a bummer since I only have one pair of dress slacks.  I didn't ask about dress code, but it is just two ladies that run the place and one of them was wearing jeans.  I won't even be having any customer contact so I probably can get away with nice jeans too.  I will wear my slacks the first week and get that clarified.

Anyway, I am pretty excited about having a day where I get to take a break from being mommy, make a little extra money for us, and get to rub some brain cells together. :)

3.  I don't think I remembered to post the good news that we managed to get our house refinanced.  It was crazy!  We actually have a Freddie Mac loan so we qualified to do a stated income (which means no verification) refinance with only $400 up front.  But, somehow, only my name is on the mortgage.  So I had to be employed in order to qualify.  Yikes!  This was back in November we were trying to pull this together.  Anyway, I discovered that I could be self-employed if I had a business license that I could fax them to verify the business.  Well, I still have the license I was given to run my consignment business from back in 2008, so we were able to get refinanced based on that.  Guess that made my one-shot wonder sale worth it!  We will be saving $175/month on our mortgage payment.

4. Thursday morning was my weigh in for week one of the Hallelujah Acres 60 day challenge.  I have lost 4 pounds already.  Feeling pretty good about that!  I now weigh as much as I did when we left Arizona.  10 pounds down, 30 to go - sheesh!  But I am not worried about it.  I am focused on getting healthy and weight loss is a natural by-product.

As well as loving my green smoothies (and so are the girls) I am completely used to the idea of having a big salad at lunch and dinner.  That was the part that I was most worried about incorporating.  We think nothing of eating meat at 2 out of 3 meals (or 3 out of 3 meals!) but having salad twice is like, what?? I already ate a salad today!  I think what helps is that I don't feel compelled to keep it completely raw since the goal is 85% raw, so I can create variations to keep it interesting.  Example:  I put some black beans and spanish rice on my salad and make a salsa vinaigrette - a mexican salad. :)  But I am also just finding that my tastes are starting to make the switch over to enjoying the fresh, raw food better than the cooked food.

I really love the daily inspiration they email each day and also becoming a fan on Facebook was great.  More great tips are posted there.  I literally have signed up for so many raw and health emails that I am constantly getting something in my mailbox to keep me focused and on track!

Well, I will end with an inspirational video.  This lady is a raw foodist and a great example of what live foods can do for you. :)

 Odds 'n Ends

Tea time

Trinity set up a "tea" in the living room.  It was cute to see her selection of food for this little get together:
raw trail mix
grape tomatoes (which Angelina obliterated and begged for more - she is a tomato freak!)

Not a bad spread.  Good healthy choices. (like there's much else to pick from these days in our house!)  Then daddy shows up after making a dumpster diving run with 3 bags of sweet and salty chex mix and they were happily munching on garbage food again.

Rite of Passage
So Trinity took advantage of me being on the phone with a long lost girlfriend to get into trouble.  She cut her hair.  Very sad, although probably much needed.  Her long hair was just getting beyond my ability and her patience to keep tangle free.

Now the girls are all tucked into bed and so are their babies, at the top of the stair.

It's off to bed for me too.  No more up til crazy hours on the internet for me!

Oh, yeah.  I dropped 3 pounds since starting the Hallelujah Acres 60 day challenge last Thursday.  Two of those were pounds I found over the holidays.  But the other one pound was very significant for me.  It dropped me down into a weight range I haven't seen since Arizona.  Hooray!  I have to say, I am totally loving the green smoothies.  My cravings for sweets and garbage food are gone and I am having no problems with avoiding foods that aren't good for me.  I only had one green smoothie today though.  I need to make a larger quantity tomorrow morning so I will have more for later in the day.  The girls drank up all my smoothie this morning, but I'm not complaining!  How else do you get raw collard greens in a 3 and 5 year old?!

 Unschooling is Going On

I have to admit, that there are days when I worry about unschooling.  My type A, determined, organized half starts fretting and wondering if I was wise to allow my laid back, adventurous, spontaneous side to win in the battle of deciding how to homeschool our children.  There is still part of me that wants to not only keep up with the Jones' but also have my kids outperforming their counterparts.

When I was researching various curriculum's initially, one that really stood out to me was the Charlotte Mason method.  I loved a lot of aspects of her teaching method - copy work, nature journal, lots of outdoor time, learning from great literature.  One thing I remember reading was her distinction to NOT school until the age of six, but allow children to be children up to that point.  They will be learning, but not to sit down and do lessons with them before that age.

This is what I am attempting to do.  I have to fight off the urge to "do school" with the girls and allow them to enjoy their childhood free from mom pressuring them to be outstanding at an early age - ha!  Don't we all just want our kids to be the smartest, cutest, most inventive, creative kid that ever was?  It is really hard to sit back and just let them be. 

But to my amazement (and delight) the unschooling thing is actually working itself out.  Trinity has taken up copy work all on her own volition.  It started with a little diary that she bought for herself last summer at a yard sale with money she had made at a lemonade stand.  She loved to draw pictures in that diary and was so proud of it.  One day she came to show me her latest drawing, only to my surprise, the page was covered in letters.  At the top of each page the name of the month was printed, and she was copying the letters.  Soon she progressed to asking me to write something and then she would practice it herself.  Lately, it has been a small pocket sized New Testament from which she has been copying.

Mommy is breathing a big ol' sigh of relief!
My kid really is going to learn to read and write and do math.  It will happen!

 Raw Oatmeal

Today was day one of the 60 day challenge at Hallelujah Acres.  So I started my day with raw oatmeal. (for me this is a challenge to be on a high raw diet more than following the specific guidelines of HA)  I thought I would share this recipe because it is easy and delicious - two qualities that I love in a raw food dish. :)

I start with steel cut oats.  Before going to bed, I put 1/2 cup of the oats in my liquid measuring cup, put 8 dates in, then add water to more than cover it all.  With this amount, a single serving, I filled to 1 1/2 cup line and there was still plenty of water left in the morning.  Drain the excess water.  If you want warm oatmeal, just run hot water over the oats while in the strainer.  If you don't want to have to drain it, then just cover with water.  You shouldn't have much if any excess by morning with that amount.

Put the oats and dates into a food processor.  Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.  Process...

Remove from the processor and stir in a handful of raisins and chopped raw pecans.  Eat it up.  Yummmmm!

To celebrate the beginning of my new era of health (always the optimist, I am) here is a video of the author of The China Study giving a talk in which he basically summarizes the book and info.  "Main Finding - The richer the diet is in the kind and amount of nutrients provided by plant-based foods, the lower is the risk for chronic degenerative diseases."

 The Best Valentine You Could Ever Give

I heard the coolest idea today on the radio.  I was listening to Klove and they are starting The Love Dare today. If you aren't familiar with The Love Dare it was the central feature in the movie Fireproof.  The idea is that over the course of 40 days, you read one page a day.  Each day you are given one "tool" to implement in your marriage, to strengthen it.  The book is essentially daring you to truly show love to your spouse in a biblical way.

As of today it is 40 days until Valentine's day.  Each day they will be posting the next step in The Love Dare on their blog.  If you get on board today, you too can give your spouse the best Valentine gift ever - 40 days of unconditional love right up to the big day.

I'm in!  How about you??

Klove Blog

 Hmmmm... really want this dvd.....

(note: scroll down and turn off player before viewing videos)