Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

Without further ado….here are five fun facts from my little world.

1. Thrift Store Madness

Thrift stores can be both good and bad. Good, because you can find all kinds of great things at some really good prices. Bad, because well I have a tendency to want to visit 2-3 times a week. 

Well this cold weather tends to paralyze me and in return I want to stay home and do nothing. Bundling up the kids and loading everyone up in the car turns into a two hour process and sometimes brings me to near tears. I finally had enough of being held hostage in my own home and it warmed up to 60 degrees so I decided to visit  a nearby thrift store called Thrift Town. 

Boy am I glad I made that little trip because I came home with $30 worth of some exciting treasures. The most expensive thing I bought was $2.99! I bought both Sophie and Jack a few items of clothing. I also found a Dora Memory game that I thought would be a good family night treat. I also found some great activity books for Sophie. I’m always on the hunt for these things! She loves learning and doing activities. My favorite….a cook book by the Pioneer Woman for $2.99! My items ranged from $.29-$2.99. I couldn’t have been happier!

2. Tea Mania
A while back I mentioned that Zulily was having a sale on Numi Organic Teas. I took advantage of this deal and bought a 3 pack of their assorted collection for $13. I’m loving the variety. The assortment has Green Teas like Jasmine Green and Mate Lemon. It also offers Black Teas like Early Grey and Golden Chai. Pu-erh Teas like the Chocolate Pu-erh and Cardamom are some of my favorites. There’s also White Tea and Herbal Teasans. What I absolutely love is there is a variety from no caffeine, medium caffeine, and high caffeine so you have some great choices to pick from.

After reading a post from 100daysofrealfood I fell in love with this idea so much I went on Amazon and bought two packages. I’m happy to say we’ve already experimented with these and absolutely love them! They are easy to use and clean. Gear up for spring and summer with these and you won’t be disappointed. Here's a recipe we’ve already tried.

4. Yoga is my new friend
If you’ve been reading my posts and you follow me on Instagram then you already know about my new affinity with yoga. For one, I love that my YMCA offers yoga classes so I can drop off my kids in their child care program and be in bliss for two whole hours! Second, it is a great workout. I do a fitness yoga so I’ve woken up sore but it is completely worth the pain. I also love how we focus on our breathing, flexibility, stretching, and balance all in one session.

5. Super Bowl Sunday is Near
I love watching football. Not so much college, my apologies to all the fans. This Sunday my family and I will watch the game and eat some great food while enjoying the company of others. I’d also like to add that my hubby had the incredible opportunity to do a commercial for IDEA public schools with NBA legend, David Robinson (GO SPURS). The commercial will be aired at some point during the Super Bowl but it will only air in the RGV. So for all my friends in the RGV be on the lookout! FYI, any other commercials you may have seen he’s done those too but this one is special due to the fact he got to meet a legend. My husband won’t brag about it so I will. :)

Well there you have it friends, my fun facts on Friday! Have a good weekend! 

*The above products and business are my own personal reviews and opinions. I did not get paid for this advertisement. *

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Herbal Remedies for Infants

The last few days I have found myself intrigued by herbs and its natural healing abilities. For the last few months my 8 month old baby has had congestion. I do believe a big part of the problem is an allergy to cow's milk so I have switched his formula to soy. I wish I could wave a wand and speed up this process but he's only been drinking it for about 2-3 weeks so I won't be seeing any results until a few more weeks of consistency. 

On top of this annoyance my baby along with my other two kids have suffered stuffy noses, running noses, and coughs with this crazy weather change. If you are a mother of an infant you know then that you have very limited resources to help them out. Today I'd like to share with a you a few of my favorite remedies that seem to be helping my kids out (especially the little one).

*Please note, like anything else please use caution, do your research, and/or ask your physician. *

1. Gaia Kids Sniffle Support Herbal Drops
This one has been great for my infant. The label gives instructions on how many drops to use based on the age of the child. I add the suggested amount into his bottle and I do that 2-3 times a day. So what's in it? 7 herbs, water, and pure vegetable glycerin. That is it! They are all words I can pronounce and easily research. Here's what I've found about them and believe me there is so much more benefits to each of them.

 - Elderberries
Used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. 

- Elderflower
It has been used in traditional medicine all over the world in many different cultures due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The most common uses are for colds and flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory disturbances. Elderflower has antibacterial and antiviral properties and may also help alleviate some allergies and boost the functioning of the immune system. 

- Eyebright

It is used as an anti-inflammatory for hay fever, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract infections, and catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes). As an astringent, it is used for dry congestion. There is an herbal smoking mix of the dried herb that is used for bronchial colds. It also can be used for seasonal allergies and other nasal irritations.

- Plantain
The leaves as well as the juice have been widely used as topical substances for treating sunburns, stings, insect bites, snakebites, poison ivy breakouts, rashes, burns, blisters, and cuts. But it has also been used for many centuries in treating sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and mouth sores.

- Fenugreek seed
Its seeds have been used in many traditional medicines as a laxative, digestive, and as a remedy for cough and bronchitis. 

- Anise seed
Anise preparations are an excellent remedy for asthma, bronchitis cough as well as digestive disorders such as flatulence, bloating, colicky stomach pain, nausea and indigestion. Anise seed water is very helpful in relieving running nose condition in infants. 

- Thyme Leaf
Throat gargling with tepid thyme water or drinking few sips of thyme tea may help relieve coughs, sore throat, and bronchitis symptoms.

- Vegetable glycerin
This can be used as a substitute for ethanol — the chemical commonly called “alcohol” — in making botanical extracts, such as herbal essences. It acts as a solvent that dissolves the substances of interest from the raw plant material. There are also medical uses for vegetable glycerin. It is a common ingredient in cough mixtures, due to its soothing properties. 

2. Herbal Rub
Make your child an herbal rub by mixing 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 8-10 drops of Rosemary essential oil. Rub the child's chest or back and then cover or swaddle. 

Rosemary is a great natural remedy for respiratory problems. Breathing in the scent of the essential oil may help with congestion due to colds, allergies, respiratory infections, and the flu. You may also boil fresh rosemary in a pot of water, place it in a bowl, and breathe in the steam to help clear the lungs and throat. This will also help with any sinus or head pain associated with respiratory conditions.

3. Cool mist vaporizer at night with Eucalyptus essential oil
I use one of these on a dresser where my kids can't reach. You don't want it to close to the infant or child because the machine creates a steam and it could cause burns to their face.

4. Steam baths
If congestion is present with the cough then take the child into the bathroom, run a hot shower until the room gets steamy, and sit in the steam with the child to help loosen lung congestion. I like to put a few drops of Eucalyptus oil on the floor while the bathroom is steamy. By the way I've also used J.R. Watkins Natural Apothecary Relief Mist for my showers. You spray away from face toward center of room or shower and the vapors bring relief especially during cold and allergy season.

5. Herbal Bath
Give the child a warm bath with essential oils of Eucalyptus, Sage, or Rosemary.

6. Chestal Honey Children's Cough Relief
Due to the fact that this has honey in it I've only used this on the two older kids. 

So what do you use for your little ones? Curious to know if there are more remedies out there that you'd like to share.

*The following links are resources I've found helpful during this research process.*

Holistic Mamas

Green Med Info

Wellness Mama

Herbal Wisdom

*The above products are my own personal reviews and opinions. I did not get paid for this advertisement. *

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

People + Lessons = What Kind of Response?

No matter where you turn you will be faced with a decision; you can accept the life lesson God has in front of you or you can ignore it. Warning: If you haven’t figured it out yet, if you ignore it chances are you’ll have to face a repeat until you surrender and change. God is pretty good at making sure you come out of the process refined and a “learned student.”

Our lessons come in all shapes and sizes. They come in forms of annoying co-workers, disobedient children, angry drivers, impatient spouses and the list can go on for eternity. 

So why does this happen? In my personal experience if my lessons were on repeat it was usually because I failed to respond in a way that proved to God I had cruised through it with flying colors. In those moments God is concerned with how we respond. It is tempting at times to point the finger and say, “hey God did you not notice how incredibly rude that lady was to me?” So maybe someone was rude, maybe that co-worker isn’t the finest individual, maybe you didn’t deserve that hurt or pain but the lessons are in the responses. 

In my case, as CEO of Idol Inc. and Home, my employees come in the form of demanding little people I call my precious children. Apparently I haven’t succeeded too well in the area of patience because this is a lesson I’m dealing with on a daily basis. As a parent I’m sure I will face this until the day I die, but in the tough moments when I want to yell and spank out of anger I need to step back and think about my response. Were my children out of line or am I grumpy by self-infliction due to a late night marathon on television? On a number of occasions it has been either one or both of those. Stop, reflect, and respond to the lesson.

Life is filled with these opportunities of growth. 

In my early 20s I used to volunteer with this other young guy. We had to work together a lot. We organized events and managed teams of people and for the life of me I could not stand working with him. Every time we were assigned someone to work with he was my partner. It wasn’t until one day I finally asked God why was I always put on this guy’s path. In that moment where I was clearly right and this other person was annoyingly wrong (so I thought) God’s response was shocking to me. You will work with him until you let go of your pride, humble yourself, and realize you have something to learn from him. Ouch! Once I did that our gatherings with one another seemed more pleasant. I realized I was the problem. The verse in Proverbs  27:17 was loud and clear, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."

God is on a mission to mold and shape us to be more like him. We will never be perfect on this Earth but we are challenged to be a light, make a difference, be imitators of Christ, be a lesson to someone else, or learn a lesson from someone else. So the next time you see a life lesson coming your way take a deep breath and ask God to teach you something through it. May your response be the shock and awe factor that brings others to be mesmerized by what or WHO it is that makes you different.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Comfort in God's Consistency

Without fail the sun rises and sets; you can bank on it. What you can't predict is what it will look like. Some evenings when the sun goes down it paints the sky in the most beautiful shades of pink and orange. I've seen a few gorgeous sunsets but I've never been able to capture its glorious colors with my camera. Then there are some days that it just preforms its duty by rising and setting. 

The only time God has ever threw his people off their groove with the sun was thousands of years ago and it hasn't happened since. Joshua 10:12-14 says,
Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.
Pretty interesting story. During battle Joshua asked the Lord to not let the sun go down so they could continue to fight in daylight. We don't know why God chose to answer Joshua's request, but I do know that leading up to that moment Joshua had a proven track record of obedience and faithfulness to the Lord. I am not suggesting that everyone who is faithful and obedient will be granted every request by God, but I do know that when you walk with Him he hears you and he listens. And if you feel like you've been distant from Him know that He is still there; constant like the sun. 

I'm reminded of another scripture in Hosea 6:3, 
As surely as the sun rises he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Find comfort in God's consistency. The sun rises every morning and The Son will be there for you every morning. He will appear. There may be seasons of silence and if you've been in a place that seems alone and desolate He is still there. The Lord will fight for you as he fought for Israel. 

That is what I love about the Lord. You can find Him in all things; in stories, in creation, in silence, in chaos, and in the sun.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

Here are a few of my favorite things lately, five to be exact...

#1 - My Magic Cleaner
An episode on the television show Shark Tank won me over on this one. Better Life's natural all-purpose cleaner. The cleaner was created by two dads. One is a top formulation chemist and the other is a strong believer in a cleaner, greener world. It is safer and more effective cleaner that cuts through grease and grime. I spotted this 32oz baby at my local Sprout's Farmer's Market for $5.99

#2 - 100 Days of Real Food Website
I love this blog! It's the story of one family's journey who seeks out real food in a real processed food world. Available until January 27th only you can purchase "Real Lunches, Real Easy" a 6-Week school lunch meal plan for just $9! I recently purchased my E-Guide and I can't wait to use my kids as little guinea pigs. I don't know about you but seeking lunch recipes are always the hardest for me. I hate reverting to PBJ's and turkey sandwiches; I like variety in my menu. It is extremely well laid out and I love supporting other mommy bloggers!

#3 - Plant Fusion Protein
Without fail every night before bed my kids always sing the same song, "mom I'm hungry!" I read once that children typically have to eat snacks in between meals because their stomachs are small and can only hold in so much food. I hated always scratching my head trying to figure out what to feed them that was quick and easy. Behold, Plant Fusion Protein in chocolate flavor! I give them a cup of this with a piece of fruit and it works like a charm! It is free of all major allergens and it tastes yummy too! I bought mine at our local Sprout's Farmers Market for $21.99 and lucky for me they had all vitamin products at 20% off.

#4 - Scrumptious Vegetable Lasagna
Food Babe has me on cloud 9 with recipes. So much to try with so little time. The other day we had a family over for dinner who have been on a vegetarian journey for three years now. Thanks to Food Babe's Vegetable Lasagne with No Noodles I hit a a home run with this one. This is a must try!

#5 - Ayurvedic Cures for your biggest health complaints
This here and here of Dr. Oz was extremely interesting. The ancient healing practice that treats your body type! They read my body type to a "T." I haven't tried the treatment yet but I'm sure you'll hear about it in a future blog post!

Happy Friday Friends!

*The above products are my own personal reviews and opinions. I did not get paid for this advertisement. *

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Psalm 13 and a Mess of Thoughts

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. - Psalm 13
King David is the author of this passage of scripture. The entire passage except for the last two sentences sound completely depressing. The words he uses paint such a picture of despair, deep pain, and torn emotions. Based on commentaries I've researched the particular passage does not point to a specific event in David's life as to why he may have written this way but I love the raw emotion in it. I love it because I've felt exactly like that before. What I love even more is how he wraps it all up with hope. God I've babbled on and on about what I'm feeling but you get me and you know where I'm at (my commentary).

God wants to be the first one we run to when we are down hearted and hurt. This is not the time to impress or act like you have it all together. We forget He knows and sees everything anyway. He just wants the real you. Will the real Lora Idol stand up please? So let it all out. Cry. Write. Meditate. Let us all take a lesson from David and do whatever it is that pulls it all out of you.

But please don't forget that in the end there is hope. Like the Psalm says, trust because he knows better. His love is unfailing so don't worry, He'll be there. Rejoice, even when it's difficult because He is worthy. And don't forget to sing because in the midst of it all He's been good to you.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Peek into Date Night

I have a feeling that from now on date nights with my hubby are going to be filled with mini adventures and splendid surprises. San Antonio is just filled with so many restaurant options and quaint little coffee shops. My husband and I decided since we are newbies to this amazing city our date nights would be comprised of new finds and new foods. Everyone has their "go to" restaurants and we absolutely love our favorites but we also enjoy trying new things. Well, this weekend we hit the jack pot!

For dinner we went to Cured Restaurant. The building reminds me of a court house. If I were passing by I'd never think it was a restaurant. The restaurant had an urban casual feel. The place is typically pretty hopping so if you don't have a reservation it is a bit difficult to get a table. Lucky for us they had two seats at the bar and were willing to serve us there. It is located right in the hub of Pearl Brewery.

Below are a few pics of our meal. As an appetizer we had the Pumpkin & Pepper Salad with smoked pecans, preserved celery, and local goat cheese. The insane flavors that rested on my tongue were just absolutely amazing. We shared the main course, Pork Cheeks "Poutine" and it was definitely enough to fill both of our bellies. The pork just melted in my mouth. It sat over a bed of fries and cheese chunks with bits of cauliflower. We had the Winter Dessert which comprised of a carrot and cardamom cheesecake with quince caramel and stuffed lady apples. AMAZING! My entire meal experience there was enough to brag about. I highly recommend this place. Just a note, it is the sort of place for special occasions and not kid friendly.

Because we still had time to spare we decided to hit a place for dessert. Even though we already had dessert at the Cured we figured a round two with a cup of something warm was in order. We came across Bird Bakery in Alamo Heights. When we arrived it appeared as though they were closing up shop but the staff was so friendly and welcoming they didn't turn us away. They insisted we stayed and enjoyed our treats while they cleaned up and put things away. It was actually really nice just the two of us sat and enjoyed one another's company all alone in this beautifully rustic chic bakery.

The hubby and I shared a half dozen of mini cupcakes (carrot and red velvet). I had a cup of tea while Mitch enjoyed an Americano. My tea was served in the cutest little tea cup and saucer. So cute I had to buy one for myself!
The bakery was filled with so many other cute things to buy from home decor to the neat paper place mats in my photo collage above. Since I'm on a tea kick I also purchased a tin of tea, Zhi Cacao Chai. Can't wait to try it!

So not only was this little piece of heaven quaint and divine and the staff were friendly and welcoming but the owners are also some pretty neat people. Have you seen the movie Lone Ranger? Armie Hammer and his wife Elizabeth Chambers, native of San Antonio, own this great bakery.

So there it is folks! You just traveled into date night with the Idols.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

Today I had the incredible and fun opportunity to meet up with other fellow bloggers. Thanks to Colleen Pence, social media mentor and founder of San Antonio Mom Blogs, she opened up the doors for me to get to know some other bloggers. We chatted about parenting, schooling, and of course blogging, over cups of coffee and tea at the Green Vegetarian Cuisine. It was my first visit to this restaurant so of course I had to try their food. I had the Apple & Raisin Omelet and it was yummy!

I wish I had each of these ladies for an hour to myself! There was just so much information to learn from and I enjoy learning about people's lives too. I was just completely stoked to meet some other moms who have my same passion for writing. I'm looking forward to future gatherings with these ladies! Wish I took pictures with these gals but of course my camera tends to capture food!

I had the chance to meet these great ladies. When you get a chance check out their blogs!

Kristina Nunez - Hott Mama In the City

Melanie Mendez Gonzales - Que Means What

Claire - The Half-Hearted Housewife: Love Means Never Having to do the Dishes

Barbara Hamilton McNeely - Mariposa Naturals

Denise F.B. Richter - San Antonio Tourist

Lisa Branam - A Little Slice of Life

Lilliana Gonzalez - My Tots Travel

Tanvi Ashish Rastogi - Tanvii

Amy Johnson - Maker Mama

Okay so there were more than five fun facts this Friday. I just introduced a whole lot of fun blogs for you to catch up on over the weekend. Happy Friday Friends!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some Grocery Finds, A New Recipe, & a Bed Time Ritual

I knew I was in trouble today when I headed out to the grocery store at 11am. I had to hit both the grocery store and Sprouts Farmers Market and I knew it would be a miracle if I were done with both by noon, but I was out of a few necessities so off I went with three children in tow. 

By now the kids and I have a good grocery routine. Sophia pushes Chase in his stroller and I push Jack in the shopping cart. The kids are usually pretty well behaved however, it was almost lunch time which meant lots of whining. 

Anyhow, my point of this entry is to brag about a few good deals. As you know my family and I are on the journey of healthier eating for 2014. At this point it’s a mix of organic goods along with whatever food is still in my fridge and pantry. I don’t want to be wasteful so we haven’t gone full organic yet. A sweet lady randomly gave me two of her HEB coupons. One of the coupons was $3 off your entire purchase of $30 or more (I knew I’d use that one!). The second coupon, was for a FREE 5 lb bag of potatoes. The coupon didn’t specify which kind so I asked a man in the produce section if I could use it for the organic potatoes and he said yes! Score! I got a free bag of organic potatoes (originally $4.98)! God bless that sweet lady! I also scored a few organic items on “Quick Sale” for $.99. I was so pleased with my grocery finds today! My heart still does a flip with how much some of the food costs. Eggs are ridiculously expensive and the chicken…well let’s just say I wanted to faint. Baby steps Lora. Baby steps. I usually plan a menu and look for coupons which helps my grocery bill but today I dashed out like a mad woman so I hope to improve on the grocery bill.

Chase has had lots of congestion. At first I thought it was allergies since our entire family battles allergies, but his doctor recommend I switch his formula to soy because he could be allergic to cow’s milk. So off to Sprouts we went. I found an Organic Soy Formula that I hope does the trick. I’m going to try this for a month and see if he improves. Reports of his progress in a few weeks.

The other night I made a yummy Beet & Carrot Salad. The veggies were pan roasted and sat on a beautiful bed of spinach. It was then drizzled with a honey dressing that completed the beautiful side dish. I highly recommend this one. Visit here for the recipe.

I love to drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed. It is completely relaxing. But an even better bed time ritual is after a long day while you are in bed, search your heart and be silent (Psalm 4:4). Allow the Lord to speak to you and thank him for the day you’ve had!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Harnessing Your Creativity

I know most of you are like me. Busy as a bee from morning till night with little time for ourselves. The laundry needs folding, there are diapers to change, mouths to feed, dishes to wash, toys to pick up, and meals to make and it’s only 9:30 am. One of my goals for the new year is to wake up early before my kids and to stop using them as mini alarm clocks. Confession: I have not done a good job at this. Sigh! It is quite a balancing act between doing my daily duties, tending to the children, and being a good wife and on top of that squeezing in time to manage my blog. 

So what is it that motivates me to better myself and make sure I’m at a healthy state? By the way, based on what I said earlier I have not arrived. This is a reminder for me too. Psalm 1 says,

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."

As a busy mom “day and night” might have just scared you. Be creative. Buy the Bible on CD and listen while on the road. When I’m cleaning areas of the house that may take time (usually it’s the bathrooms) I like to listen to a podcast from Focus on the Family. For it’s members my church offers a very neat tool called Right Now Media. You can stream studies and movies online. I like to watch one while I’m folding laundry. Your church may not have this tool but you can watch a sermon online. My point is there are ways to get "fed" you just have to be creative. 

"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

When meditating on God’s Word and making it a priority we are like trees planted by streams of water. Water is life to the trees and when in good health it will yield fruit and prosper. When I’m "feeding" myself His bread of life it will nourish me and sustain me for the hard days. Days when I’m exhausted and tired and I feel as though one more toddler fight will put me in a tail spin I can lean on God’s word. God cares for the weary momma! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Healthy Lunch or Snack Ideas

Taking some time to quickly throw out a few recipes I've tried over the last few days. These were real winners in our home. Even little Chase had some quinoa pasta and loved trying some new foods. Sophia, my four year old, had 3 servings of the Peanut Butter Creme Cheese Bagels!  The Lemon Lime Juice was for me. I'm sure you could give it to your kids but it is pretty tart.

Peanut Butter Creme Cheese Mini Bagels
1⁄4 cup 1⁄3-less-fat cream cheese spread
1⁄4 cup natural peanut butter (or sunflower seed butter)
1 tablespoon honey
8 whole wheat mini bagels, split
1 ripe pear, sliced
1 apple, sliced
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine cream cheese spread, peanut butter and honey in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Spread about 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture over the bottom half of each bagel; top with top halves of bagels.

*Recipe from Emeals. I have a weekly subscription to Emeals and I love it! They do all the work for you. You can even choose a type of food plan (healthy, classic, gluten-free, etc.). If you have a few bucks to spare it is worth it. Luckily I found a Groupon and purchased it for a year at a incredible price!

Mixed Herb & Tomato Quinoa Pasta
1 serving quinoa pasta
Coconut oil, for cooking
1 – 2 fresh medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon parsley (fresh or dried)
1 teaspoon basil (fresh or dried)
1/2 teaspoon oregano (fresh or dried)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Sea salt to taste

1.) Add quinoa pasta to boiling water over high heat, and simmer according to directions on pasta box.
2.) While pasta is cooking, heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.
3.) Chop tomatoes and add to sauté pan, stir for 1 minute over medium heat then turn to low heat and simmer.
4.) When pasta is done, about 10-12 minutes, add cooked pasta to sauté pan.
5.) Add spices and salt and pepper, stir for 1-2 minutes.
6.) Serve and enjoy!

*Recipe from Reboot with Joe

Lemon Lime Green Juice
  • 1 bunch of any green of your choice (collards, chard, spinach, kale, dandelion)
  • 2 cucumbers
  • ½ bunch herbs like parsley, cilantro or mint
  • 1 lemon with peel removed
  • 1 lime with peel removed
  • 1 green apple (optional for added sweetness)
  • Wash all vegetables thoroughly and place into a large bowl
  • Juice each vegetable in this order – greens, herbs, lemon, lime, cucumber
  • Stir mixture before serving
  • Rinse and clean juicer immediately
Please choose all organic ingredients if possible

*Recipe from Food Babe

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My New Cup of Coffee

I wish you could smell my pot of tea right now! It is a black tea called Chocolate Crunch with hints of coconut, vanilla, and chocolate of course. A few weeks back we visited The Domain shopping center in Austin and noticed the cutest little shop tucked in a corner beside a Starbucks called The Steeping Room. My husband went in for a gander and came out with two packages, The Chocolate Crunch and Three Blossoms Oolong (violet, lavender and rose). I have yet to try the Three Blossoms Oolong so I can't tell you much about that one, but my goodness the smell and taste of Chocolate Crunch is completely delightful. On top of all that goodness it's organic! I've been trying to avoid caffeine. I haven't had a soda which is huge for me. I've only had one cup of coffee in the last week which is also a pretty big deal. Most of my teas have no caffeine however, this Chocolate Crunch does have a moderate amount of caffeine in it so I think I'm going to replace it with my normal cup of coffee in the mornings. 

The Steeping Room serves breakfast, lunch, dinner or "tea time," with something for everyone: natural meats, organic dairy, cage-free eggs as well as gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan selections. I can't vouch for their food yet but I sure hope to write about it in the near future :)

Happy Sunday! Make a cup of tea, snuggle on your couch, and relax a bit!

*The above products are my own personal reviews and opinions. I did not get paid for this advertisement. *

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Fun Facts on Friday

My New Year’s resolution for living a healthier lifestyle has been all-consuming in a good way. My mind feels like it’s going to explode with the amount of information my brain is trying to process. All for good though! I have to confess my mentality on food and health was…we’re all going to die might as well die enjoying the food I ate. How selfish does that sound? Sure a big, juicy, and greasy burger tastes good in the moment but on a weekly basis I’m asking for some serious health issues and who suffers aside from me? My family. So I owe it to my family to do my best to research and educate myself the best I can on living a healthier lifestyle for all of us. Alright, I’m getting off my soap box now! :)

So welcome to Five Fun Facts on Friday! I thought that it would be neat to jot down five facts every week that I’ve learned (or still learning). Facts will range from food, places, people, and just about anything. 

#1 - Numi Organic Tea Rocks! Thanks to research done by Food Babe, you can read here about how some teas are not washed before being put into bags. Numi is organic and non-GMO certified and on top of that it’s yummy! I’ve had the Moroccan  Mint and Toasted Rice Green Tea.

#2 - Figured out what GMO means.
If you’ve shopped in natural food stores then you’ve seen some products bearing the label “GMO Free.” The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, which refers to any food product that has been altered at the gene level. For further study visit here

#3 - I’m officially addicted to Dr. Oz
Dr. Oz is now dvr’d  on my tv! The best time for me to watch tv is when I’m feeding Chase his bottle and rocking him to sleep. At those times I turn on the tv and catch up on an episode of Dr. Oz. His show is so informative and educational and I always learn something new!

#4 - My kids will eat just about anything!
I’m incredibly lucky that I don’t have picky eaters in my home! I’m learning that if I start incorporating all the good foods now my kids will hopefully adjust. A few things they’ve eaten without even flinching:
- instead of lettuce I added sprouts to their sandwich
- veggie burger
- green juices
- protein shakes
- kale chips
Two things I’ve learned are don’t make a big deal about it and don’t assume they won’t like something! 

#5 - The Cove Restaurant is Awesome!
If you live in San Antonio or you head this way in the near future please make sure to stop by and visit The Cove. The Cove is known for serving sustainable, organic and local food and on top of that it is finger licking good! I've had their Bison Burger, sweet potato fries, homemade ginger ale, and their fish tacos. The atmosphere is hip and there's something for everyone. They have a playground for the kids, plenty of outdoor seating, a fire on cool and dark nights, ping pong tables, projector screen tv's, indoor eating, and pet-friendly! 

Pardon all the healthy facts but that’s the road we’re on at the moment! Happy Friday! 

*The above products are my own personal reviews and opinions. I did not get paid for this advertisement. *

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Day #3 of My Juicing Journey

Okay everyone, today's post will be short and sweet because it's Sunday and it has been a long day, but I didn't want to leave you hanging about how Day #3 went.

I hate to say it but the juice cleanse is over! I was hoping to have more self control and discipline but I failed. I was hoping to make it to Day #7 but I just couldn't allow my grocery bill to rise to what could've easily been $250-$300!!! I hope I didn't fail those of you reading! If you are reading this and you decided to join me on Day #1 I hope you succeed to the end!

So what did I learn about all this? For one, I'm going to continue to juice I'm just not going to make it the only food I eat. I hope to incorporate juicing in our daily meals and snacks. Second, I need to plan better on the produce buying side of things. There has to be a cheaper way to do this so I'm going to continue to do my research. I probably need to make juices with fruits and vegetables that are in season.

This isn't a total loss for me. I lost 3 lbs! My handy dandy juicer that I fell in love with can also be used to make baby food and pasta so I'm going to get some more use out of it. Juicing led me to a desire to want to eat healthier so for that I'm thankful. My kids are not picky eaters (sigh of relief!). So for tonight's dinner I made them a mod podge of healthy treats: kale chips, goat cheese on crackers, zucchini bread, asian slaw, pickles, and cucumbers. My kiddos cleaned their plates!

So I'm going to keep on tracking! I hope you all continue to visit my daily adventures as I see God work in me and through me in my every day little life!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day #2 of My Juicing Journey

Overall day #1 wasn’t too bad. I was already preparing myself mentally that this was going to be tough. Around lunch time I craved a Snickers. Random! Later that evening I had to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things and the cravings hit me again. I noticed in the morning I had a good burst of energy. I was physically drained towards the end of the day from tearing down and putting away Christmas along with my normal household duties that I was ready for bed. I chose sleep over another juice! So I ended day #1 with only a total of four juices. My hubby helped me make another set of 6 juices and the total time between prep and juicing was 45 min! Having an extra set of hands does help cut down on time.

I’ve had all six of the juices below. Visit here for the website and grocery list. 

Morning Glory Mean Green Sunset Passion
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 cup Blueberries
  • 2 cups of Grapes
  • 2 Kale Leaves
  • 1″ Ginger
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 4 Stalks of Celery
  • 4-6 Kale Leaves
  • 1/4 Lemon Peeled
  • 1″ Ginger
  • 1 Beet Sliced
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 4 Kale Leaves
  • 1/4 Lemon Peeled
  • 1/4 Lime Peeled
Jolt Juice Bruschetta Tang Green Machine
  • 2 Apples
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1/4 Lemon Peeled
  • 4 Kale Leaves
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1-2 Garlic Cloves Peeled
  • 1 Bunch of Basil (20 Leaves)
  • 1/4 Lemon Peeled
  • 4 Kale Leaves
  • 2 Apples
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 1 Med Carrot
  • 1″ Ginger

Morning Glory is my favorite. Mean Green and Brushetta Tang are the least of my favorites. The Mean Green was pretty stout on the ginger with not a whole lot to mask the taste. The Brushetta just tasted like a salsa. As long as I have the produce I’m going to keep on drinking them so I don’t waste my money.

It’s now Day #2 we visited one of our local farmer's market and it was a blast. My daughter got to push around her little shopping cart while we enjoyed live music and a view of all the great food. We came home with some veggies, goat cheese and zucchini bread. I can't wait to taste it all! The day continued on and all was going well until we attended a birthday party for a friend’s child. My husband said I’d be rude if I didn’t eat. CONFESSION…I had two slices of pizza! I fell off the bandwagon people!!!! Alright, now that I got that off my chest I can go back to my juicing and I’m determined to move onto Day #3.

All of that being said, it looks like I will need to cut down my cleanse to a three day instead of a seven day. I did not realize how much of a financial headache this was going to be. I knew eating healthy was expensive but ouch this is hitting my pocket book! So far I’ve spent about $100 on produce and it’s only made about 2 1/2 days worth of juices for two people for a total of 30 drinks. If you are trying to figure out the math my hubby and I had a few juices on Thursday before we started our Juice Journey to test the machine.  

Stay tuned tomorrow for an overview of Day #3!