3 Day Challenge

We are only 8 days away from the new year, 2014 is almost here. Here come the New Year Resolutions!

Here are some of the old favorites:

new years resolutions

I think you set yourself up for failure with such huge expectations, and all to start on one day. Ugh. Just the thought of tackling the huge lists is overwhelming. So where do you begin, and what can you do?

I can’t tell you how to be a more patient mother or father. I can’t force you to go to the gym everyday. I can’t go shopping with you and tell you not to buy that purse, the one you don’t need. I can help you start small with changing just a bit in your diet.

I offer up to you a really simple 3-day challenge.

I recently fell off the wagon. My cheese addiction had reared its ugly head and taken over my life. I literally could not get enough. My mom tells me that as a little girl all I wanted was cheese, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, veggies with cheese, just plain cheese. It makes me feel good. When I eat cheese I definitely feel a change in the chemicals in my brain, a release of dopamine, a rush. Ah, yes it’s my feel good food. At times I can control it, at times I just become lazy and give in to the dopamine rush.

i love cheese

That pretty much sums it up for me.

I returned from California last week and decided it was time to make a change. I honestly thought that I was going to struggle to give up dairy. My goal is not to forever eliminate, but to temporarily eliminate. What happens when you cut that leg off for a while? I was going to find out.

The past month I have been in severe pain everyday. I recently had my thyroid medication lowered down, and it has negatively impacted my body. The pain in my joints is at an all time high. Dairy causes inflammation, it didn’t take me but a second to realize it was the first thing I needed to let go.

I was at a point where I was eating dairy at every meal. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to just stop that on a dime.

I did!


My goal was to get to a place where I could eat small amounts of dairy. I am typically not one who can just eat a little dairy, if it is in front of me I will eat a lot of it. I wanted to get to a place where I could take it or leave it, enjoy it as a treat, rather than a staple of my diet.

Tuesday of last week I started the day with my intention. I would not eat any dairy. I made it the first day and by the second day my craving was starting to wean. By the end of the second day I wasn’t even thinking about dairy. The 3rd day came and went uneventfully. Here I am on day 7 and I have only had a tiny amount of dairy. I made delicious meatballs with our deer meat on Friday. I used a small amount of parmesan cheese in the meatballs, I didn’t even eat any when I was grating it. Huge success. It only took 3 days to re train my brain.

You can do it. Don’t bog yourself down with a huge list of resolutions that you HAVE to attain. Start small, make it manageable. Give yourself 3 days. Is there food that you want to eliminate from your diet? Is there a shift in your eating patterns that you want to change? Give yourself 3 days. I am not telling you that this is a magic pill. I am not saying that in 3 days you can go from eating McDonald’s everyday to eating a raw food diet, and be forever changed. What I am telling you is that you can help shift food cravings and habits in a short amount of time. Once you begin to make the shifts you must keep moving forward. Keep finding other replacement foods for your new diet. Keep making small changes along the way. You can’t climb to Mt. Everest in one day, and you can’t completely change your life in one day either. You can climb the  small summits along the way. You can ascend just a bit each day. You will eventually get to the top.

What are some of the changes you want to make on your 3 day challenge? I would love to hear from all of you. What small summit do you think you can make in your 3 days?

I am so excited to hear from all of you!


I say a little prayer for you.

I was born Jewish. We practiced Judaism as a family until my father’s death in 1983. I have spent time in many synagogues and churches over the years, I am always willing to experience something new. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but more of a spiritual person. I married into a Southern Baptist family, it was quite a culture shock. It was not normal practice for me to pray at meal times, it was something I had to get used to doing. Almost a decade later we still pray at meal time. I actually like it now, and so do my kids.

Over the last few years my children have been very interested in praying before dinner. I think it is a great practice to put into place.

Here’s what I know about praying before a meal with your kids.

Teaching your kids gratitude is crucial. We live in a very hectic world, we need to slow down. Teaching gratitude for all the things we have in our lives is an invaluable lesson, one your kids will never forget.

My kids say meal prayers like this.

Thank you for the sun, thank you for the farmers who grew the food, thank you for hats, thank you for my brother, thank you for money, thank you for mommy and daddy, thank you for friends, thank you for family.

 It’s such a great practice that my kids are really serious about.

thank you

I  believe that stopping before we put the food in our mouths helps set the tone for our meal. Let’s stop and acknowledge the people who sit with us, acknowledge our food, take a minute to settle in, and then move on to a peaceful and enjoyable meal.

The culture today is eat fast, drive fast, talk fast, and get to where your going fast. Meal time is something really special. We should help our children see that showing gratitude for your plate is a way to slow down and really see what is in front of them.

We also want to teach our children gratitude for all the food they eat. Children need to know where food comes from. My kids know because we raise our own chickens, turkeys and have a large garden, but so many children don’t know. Not all kids live on farms. We can help all of our kids understand that food doesn’t come from the grocery store. We can teach our children to thank the farmers who grow the vegetables or the dairy cows. We can thank the sun for shining so the food grows. We can thank the animals who gave their life(if you are meat eaters). I know this sounds airy fairy to some of you, but it works.

We need to understand the impact that producing food has on our planet. Children today need to know how hard it truly is to produce the food they eat. Let’s teach gratitude for that food, and hey, maybe they can even start to learn that mommy and daddy work really hard to give them that nourishing meal.

We started a new rule in my house, meal times are a quiet time for us to sit and be together as a family. We can’t always be together to eat as a unit, but when we do, it is family time. There is no television on, no music playing, and no electronics at the table. Yes, that means mom and dad put their phones down too!  I keep candles lit nearby and we are learning how to listen to each other. We all take turns talking about our day, and we don’t interrupt the person who is talking. You think to set the mood when your on a date, well set the mood for your family, they are just as special.

prayer meal time

Take back meal time as a special time. Slow down. Chew your food. Show your gratitude for your loved ones and the food on your plate.

Namaste lovelies!

The One About Kids and Veggies

When my son Blaise was in preschool  His teacher pulled me aside for a chat. I thought to myself, “what did he do today?” Her meeting was not at all what I expected. She told me that after watching Blaise eat his salad every day for lunch she decided to change her eating habits too. She said, “I watch Blaise happily eat his greens while I eat my cheeseburger, I realized if he can do it then so can I.  It was then I realized I was at least doing this one thing right, despite all the other mistakes I was making as parent. Insert giggle here.

When Blaise was born we didn’t know he had Prader Willi Syndrome. That diagnosis didn’t come for almost 3 years. What I did know is what my mom taught me. She said as soon as he starts eating solid food you give him veggies, if at first he doesn’t like them, keep giving them and he will eat them eventually. She was right, and he did. When my second son Maddock was born I followed on the same path. We never kept cookies or cake treats in the house, ok well sometimes, but we always kept fresh fruit and veggies.

Blaise’s diagnosis changed everything. I had to get very clear on anything and everything nutrition, his life depended on it. At the time of diagnosis Blaise was 34 inches tall and 41 lbs. He was classified as obese. It was such a hard time. The constant stares at the stores, the never-ending, “Oh he is going to be a line backer one day,” it was heartbreaking. With his condition he burns little to no calories so although he wasn’t overeating he was gaining rapid amounts of weight.

After his diagnosis I shifted his diet fast. He lost so much weight and we haven’t been back there since. PWS is very complicated and keeping our kids healthy can be nothing short of a monumental feat. We do it though. With the right nutrition our kids aren’t obese anymore, and if they are, then they are on their way to losing the weight. They are healthy on the inside and out. These are kids that could explain to you how the Krebs cycle works, I don’t even understand it, but they do. These kids know what sugar is and how their bodies can’t handle it. These are kids that know what it means to pay attention to what goes in your body. It is truly remarkable. Imagine climbing Mt. Everest without training for the journey, and getting to the top to put up your flag. You made it. That is what it’s like for a PWS family. None of us knew what to expect, or how to handle it but we grabbed our climbing poles and headed up the mountain. Thousands of us are now waiving our flags.

Blaise always ate healthy, but got healthier after his diagnosis. Blaise loves his veggies, but not because he has to eat them, he really loves veggies. So many of my friends ask me all the time how do I get both my kids to eat so many vegetables? I think everybody’s kids can love veggies. For some it might take a little longer to dive into a veggie loving world, and for others it will happen rather fast.

Here is what I know:

Start your kids young. I mean really young. When they start solid food give them greens right away. If they don’t like it don’t give up. Get creative. Bitter greens are much more palatable when you add some citrus. Blend fresh greens in with an organic pear or apple. (Most importantly, if you are just learning to like greens yourself be careful about the faces you make when feeding) Babies are very smart, if mommy makes a yucky face they will follow suit. 🙂 Have fun with this.

Once your kids get a little older practice adding veggies at every meal. Zucchini is great in scrambled eggs, spinach is super simple in a healthy breakfast sandwich, and why not mix in some fresh herbs too.

Salads are a great way to get kids into eating their veggies. My one caution is to never use iceberg lettuce. There is very little nutritious value here. Go for the green stuff. Think like Popeye.

“I’m strong to the finish, cause I eats me spinach”


Green leaf lettuce, Spinach, Mixed baby Greens, and when they get more adventurous add some baby kale and arugula. Then add in some good stuff that they like. You can add tomatoes, carrots, celery, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, good quality dried cranberries, chopped up walnuts or almonds, and if they like cheese put a bit in shredded  (go for the good unprocessed cheese here). Now I know for some of you that you want to go crazy and drown this thing in dressing. Wait…..let’s slow down a minute. Put your thinking caps on here. There are a ton of ideas to dress a salad. I recommend trying to get your kids to go with Olive Oil and Vinegar (balsamic, red wine, apple cider). If they aren’t up for it, that’s ok. Try and make a dressing they like from scratch. Make a big batch of it and put it in a glass jar in the fridge for later use. Make a homemade Italian dressing (I suggest good quality olive oil not vegetable oil), make your own balsamic vinaigrette, or a lemon poppy-seed. Hummus is also a great way to dress a salad. You can mix the hummus in with the lettuce, mmm yummy. The internet is teeming with healthy recipes. Another trick, put the dressing(only need a small amount) in a container on the side. Let them put it on their salad, let them feel like they are making their own food.

If your kids aren’t salad eaters then go for some cooked veggies. There are a million and one ideas here. Start slow if your kids are anti veggie, don’t overwhelm them. Brocoli, green beans, and spinach are great starters. Here is where I get serious, insert pointing finger and stern face. Please don’t boil your veggies until they lose their beautiful color, unless your making a cabbage and plan on drinking the broth. One of my favorite tools in my kitchen is my nifty little electric steamer. I wash my veggies put in the steamer, set and done. What can you steam? Everything. brocoli, carrots, green beans, kale, collards, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, and so much more. I steam our veggies for the least amount of time possible. I like my veggies like brocoli to have some crunch. Snap…snap…snap… I like that sound.

So okay that is too boring for your kids. Well then get out your pan and saute. A quick saute of some zucchini with olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs is delicious. You can add a sprinkle of fresh parmesan on top when done. You can roast your veggies. Roasting brings out so many depths of flavor when cooking.

Make yourself some delicious homemade condiments and store them. Kids love to put sauce on stuff, a little goes a long way. You can keep things like tahini on hand, or homemade coconut sauces. You don’t need to mask the flavor but enhance it, and let the kids feel like they are a part of the decision-making.

Let the kids help you prep and cook the veggies. Kids want to eat what they cook, that is a fact. Get them in the kitchen with you. You will be amazed at how interested they will be in eating the finished product.

Here is my other favorite trick. Kids love things made into fun shapes. I invested about $25 in this little baby. It is so awesome and fun, the kids love to do it with me. We make pasta out of zucchini, me make curly fries out of sweet potatoes, you can go crazy with this thing. Go get yourself one. You will thank me later.


Kids love soup. It’s winter now and we need to break out our big pots and get cracking. You can steam some brocoli and then either with a hand immersion blender (I can’t live without mine) or a regular stand blender, puree the brocoli. Add the brocoli in a pot and add some chicken stock, salt, pepper and whatever fresh herbs your family likes. If this is bland for the kiddos, add a dash of coconut milk, or almond milk, or organic milk to make creamy. If your kiddos are meat eaters, then grab yourself some good organic sausage. Brown your sausage in a pan and then add into your soup. Yum!

Let’s juice:

Kids love juice. There are many reasonably priced juicers out there today. I bought a Jack LaLane Power Juicer at Walmart for $99 2 years ago. Vitamix’s are popular, but very pricey, and the Ninja blender. Get juicing! My kids love to drink green juice, and for my youngest a fresh carrot, red apple and ginger juice is yummy. For the more adventurous kiddos add an avocado in your juice, chia seeds, and some coconut oil (coconut oil helps stabilize the blood sugar and keeps you feeling full longer.) Here is my green juice recipe, it’s simple and my kids love it.

1 bunch of either kale/collard/spinach

1 small green apple

2 stalks of celery

half a small cucumber

1 small lemon peeled

(you can add more lettuce,fresh herbs, or a pear instead of an apple)


Here are 2 more things that I think are really important:

1. Your kids need to see YOU eat your veggies. If you don’t ever put a fresh piece of fruit or veg in your mouth, they probably won’t either. Kids naturally do what their parents do.

2. We have a rule in our house. You MUST at least try what is on the plate. You don’t have to like it, but you must try it. You will be shocked at how often they will try it and say, “Wow, this is really good.” YOU MUST TAKE A BITE!

Quick bites and cheesy delights

Before you go grab that bag of chips look in your fridge. What can you make? You want something fast, good, and of course easy. Well here you go.

This is for the dairy lover at heart. You don’t need to eat a lot of these. They are strong in flavor and very satisfying. Go ahead and grab yourself an apple and some grapes to eat with them. You will be glad that you left that Salt and Vinegar chip bag closed.


1.5 ounces of Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese

What you will need:

1 sheet pan

parchment paper or a silicone sheet

a cheese grater

Turn your oven on to the broil setting. Turn the temp to high.

Take a sheet pan and line it with either a silicon sheet or parchment paper. Then grate your cheese into small circles on top.


I like to use a fine grater for this. This brings up another topic for me. Pre shredded cheese or fresh block. There are some things that we should not do. Buying pre shredded cheese is one of them. Buy yourself a nice grater and always buy a block. Pre shredded cheese is dry and flavorless. Take an extra few minutes and taste the freshness. You will thank me. Grate your cheese into small circle shapes on your sheet pan. Place it in the oven. You can even leave the door open and watch the goodness as it melts. Leave them in about 3 minutes. You will know they are done when the edges are a nice caramel brown color.


Let them cool for a minute, they are hot. If you want to get crafty you can get out a can and drape them over it to cool. They will set in a little shell shape. Yippee, pinterest here you come.

Next step is most important: EAT THEM!


So good and the kids love them.

The Ghosts of Past

In July of 2011 we lost our home. It was a great house, it was our first house. It was the biggest house I had ever lived in. It had beautiful granite counter tops, beautiful hardwood floors, a huge kitchen, a bedroom that could sleep 4 people, a whirlpool tub to soak away the day in, and a perfectly manicured lawn. I can honestly say that living in that house made me feel secure, it made me feel that I was finally settled.

All of that changed in 2008. It was the first year that things started to go south with the economy. Year after year things got worse but I kept saying that all would be okay. I never gave up hope that our lives would stay the same. Well, they didn’t. When it was time we finally had to let go. We moved into a rental home and never looked back. I tucked away all the sad feelings into the furthest part of my brain. It was over.

We moved into a home that had more land, the house was really small, and I really struggled at first. My husband was thrilled , we were in the woods and he had more freedom. We began to build our lives over. We got chickens and goats and built a huge ramp in the backyard (my husband is a skatepark builder). Then as luck would have it the house next door came up for sale and it had even more land. It was a steal, it needs a lot of work, but slowly it is coming together.

We have even more animals now, turkeys and ducks now call my land their home too. I still dream of my big kitchen and a bathroom that feels like a spa getaway. In time….

Then in October I got invited to a party back in the old neighborhood. Ah, the ghosts of my past come back to haunt me. I kept telling myself I was fine, going to the party would be fine.

The day of the party came. I almost felt sick to my stomach. I would have to look at all the old neighbors, all the people who saw us lose our house, lose our life. I started to feel a deep sadness. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from, I had moved past all of that, I thought. Our lives were better now. We barely have any bills, we live a much simpler life, and things are so much easier, right?

It was about an hour until the party. I felt my heart beating in my chest and I was anxious. I didn’t know what I would say to all those people. I started doing my nervous twitch and my OCD kicked in. I count on my fingers when I get nervous or anxious. I wandered around the house and realized I was actually really sweaty. What the heck was going on inside me? I didn’t want to drive past my old house. I didn’t want to see it or ever remember it. It represented so much more than just a house we lost. To me it felt like a failure, a big fat in your face you couldn’t make it. I felt sick to my stomach. I had to go to the party and put on my best face, let nobody know that I was a wreck inside. How could this be so hard, it’s just a house, some wood and plywood with a few stones on the front, that’s all. It was starting to look like I was the house, the structure that couldn’t see it through, I was the thing that was lost. I didn’t know where the house ended and I began.

Truth be told, at the heart of it all was the “what will they think of me” that drives all of my anxiety. One of my biggest challenges in life is letting go of what “they” think of me. So I put on that pretty party face and got in my car and went to the party.

Walking up the driveway I whispered to myself, ‘let it go’ and I did. My sister Jennifer often uses this quote in her writings and workshops. It is a favorite of mine. I had no choice I was getting dragged, I had to let it go.


I walked in and let my ghosts go back to the place that they came from, the past. It was a great party. I had such a good time. Nobody really cared that we lost our house, that we were struggling, or that we weren’t where we used to be. Nobody said a word. Everybody was amazing. In fact in reality we aren’t the only ones who are struggling now. It turns out that having gone through the fire can help somebody else who is in the pit now.

I don’t particularly enjoy the feeling of anxiety, it sucks. This is what my ghosts do, they come back for a visit, and stir the pot up. I can take their hand and walk the road with them, or I can leave them in the car and go to the party.

Here is what I know:

If you lose it all then you have a big open place to fill back up.

and most importantly what I learned from Dr. Seuss

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose. 
You’re on your own. 
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go….Dr. Seuss, Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
US author & illustrator (1904 – 1991)

And then there is always a handstand on a skate ramp with goats. Now that is living.


Baby it’s cold outside…

Let’s make soup.

I love the winter. I love soup and one pot meals. There are many ready-made soups out there in the world. There are even “healthier” pre made soups to choose from. If you are really in a pinch for time you could absolutely find one that works for you. If you do have the time, and I am only taking about 30 minutes, you could make the most scrumptious soups from scratch. I think your time in the kitchen is important. I love to cook but I don’t want to spend hours and hours in my kitchen slaving away. I want to create real food, really good food and in the most efficient way possible.

Here are some things we need to think about for making soup:

Are we making our stock from scratch or are we buying it pre made. If you choose to buy your stock pre made there are many great choices for organic and free range chicken.

I found this stock at Kroger for $1.99 in the health food section. It is rich and creamy and organic too!


Today I used this brand. Over the last month I have made my stock many times. So delicious and full of flavor. I will post my recipe for that in a few days.

Next thing to tackle in your soup is deciding what you want as your main ingredients. Are you making a vegetable soup, a puree soup, or are you making a bean soup? There are a million and one ideas here, insert your own.

Today I decided to go with a vegetable soup with coconut milk and mini organic ground turkey meatballs. It was a hit. My kids love it, granted my kids love veggies, but any kid would love this soup. The soup was brimming with veggies and a savory stock. For the grain eaters in my family I added some Japanese Soba noodles(traditionally made with all buckwheat) mine had a buckwheat and wheat mixture.

Here are the ingredients I used.

1/4 yellow onion

4 garlic cloves

2 inch chunk of fresh ginger

1 large carrot

2 large handfuls of green beans cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 orange bell pepper

2 stalks of celery

1 box of organic free range chicken stock

4 cups of water

1/2 can coconut milk



roughly 2 tsp of curry powder

1 tsp of coriander seed(crush in your hand over soup pot)

2 tsp ground ginger

handful of fresh cilantro

1 pound of organic ground turkey

Here is how it all went down. By the way I also use this as an opportunity to spend time with my youngest firecracker.He pulls his stool up and gets to work. He loves to cut the green beans and the carrots. His most favorite is to make the little meatballs. Kids love this stuff and if you don’t mind the mess then get your kids in the kitchen with you. It’s a great way to bond, plus you get the added bonus of teaching them lessons that can use forever. I love the fact that my kids love to cook. I smile knowing that when my sons grow up they can cook amazing meals for their families. Everybody loves a man who can cook.

I added a tbsp of organic extra virgin olive oil to the pot. Once the oil was ready I added in my chopped ginger, garlic and onion. I add a drop of salt to extract the moisture from the veggies. Once they soften I add my water and chicken stock. I brought that up to a boil. In the meantime I cut the carrots, bell pepper, celery, green beans, and cilantro. I added everything except the cilantro at this point. Then I got busy make those yummy little meatballs. Super simple. Add your meat in a bowl. For time sake I used ground ginger here instead of fresh. I then add cilantro and a dash of salt and pepper. Make your meatballs really small and drop them into your boiling water. They cook fast, really fast. I then added my half a can of coconut milk, a dash of salt and pepper, ground curry and my coriander seeds. If you are adding noodles then get a small pot of water and bring it to a boil on the side. If using soba noodles they cook really fast, 3-4 minutes in a rapid boil.

Now it’s time to plate.

If using noodles then place them in the bowl first. Then fill up your ladle with as much veggies and meatballs as you like. Then pour on that golden goodness. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy.

There is so much goodness in this soup. The healing properties of the chicken broth. Chicken broth, especially made with the bones, is rich in minerals, soothing and really easy to digest. The antimicrobial properties of your ginger and garlic. The carotene in the pepper and carrot. The fiber in your green beans. Oh my, oh my.

If you want to make it even healthier then try this. After your place your soup in the bowl add some fresh greens like kale or spinach right on top. Turnip greens are also full of vitamins and nutrients and really cheap right now. They tend to be more bitter than kale or collards, but if you like that then go for it. If you want to get some raw veggies in your diet then here you go. Yes, the soup is cooked, but the veggies won’t get to the temperature that would cook them and break them down. By the way, it tastes great and adds great texture to your meal.

Now you know how good this soup is for you, but the best part is that….

It’s really yummy too!


Here is a great article about why chicken broth is so good for you. Check it out here!

Real Mom. What does that mean anyway?

There are a ton of really great mom blogs out there today. They have everything from the city mom to the farm mom, the stay at home mom to the working mom, there are thousands of blogs to choose from. I knew that creating this new blog would be a labor of love.

What do I mean when I say Real Mom?

I mean honest mom. I will tell the truth about what it’s like for me to be a mom, I hope in doing so it will inspire others to lead their most honest life too.

So here it is, I am a mom and I am navigating a crazy life. I can’t handmake all my kids clothes, cut coupons, or bake cookies afterschool. I didn’t hand paint my kids rooms or even finish their baby books (gasp!!!). Sometimes I forget to put their jackets on, and on occasion I give in when I know I shouldn’t.

What I can do is get up every morning before my kids, and make them a delicious and healthy breakfast and lunch. I can sing and dance to silly songs with them in the living room until we drop. I can kiss the boo boo’s to heal the wounds. I can get out the stool and let them cook with me, even if it means that dinner will take twice as long, and the kitchen will be a complete mess. I can snuggle with them at night, and I can be there in the morning to talk about the wild adventures they had in their dreams the night before.

Long ago I decided for myself what it meant to be a real mom, an honest mom. I had to accept the things I could do, and let go of all the things that I couldn’t do. I am still learning along the way.

I am hoping that with all my trials and tribulations you will laugh with me, cry with me, and maybe learn from my mistakes and successes.

What I know.

I learned how to fill my life with family and good friends to help support me along the way.  I learned that mistakes lead to knowledge. I learned that yelling does NOTHING. I learned that no matter what, as long as my kids hear me say, “I love you” their world is alright. I learned that my mom does know a few things more than me.

Most importantly, I learned that being a mom was the best character building lesson given to me.

I hope you will follow my blog and get dirty with me 🙂




  1. any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

    Ahh yes, another definition of food…..

     :anything that provides mental nourishment or stimulus

Wait, here is one more goodie……

         :something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies