Friday, October 24, 2014

HBH: FIRST DIG!

| | | HOME BUILD HAPPY | | |

All the applications have been completed. All of the signatures have been obtained. All the pre-dig permits have been secured. All of the land has been cleared. Adam and I have closed on our home-construction loan...finally!! After several months of set-backs, twists, turns, and more red-tape that anyone would have imagined, we signed on the dotted line this past Wednesday with our local bank. It was a tremendous amount of hard work on Adam's part, support from all of those around us, patience from his parents, and insight from friends who have have been-there-done-that that got us through this stressful process.

The next steps are going to be stressful as well, but at least we'll be able to see some tangible progress as the weeks turn into months. A hole in the ground will be filled with foundation walls, which in turn with be topped with the frame of a Forever Home. That frame will be sealed with siding on the outside and drywall on the inside...those walls to be topped with a roof. Everything of our own choosing. I can't wait to see and help Adam move through this process with an ease only earned by someone who works as hard does every single day at his job in the construction industry. His dream realized and coming to fruition -- a true testament to the age-old adage, 

{where there's a will, there's a way.} 

sorry for the poor pic quality. it's a phone pic taken from a non-muddy area. :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recipe Reviews-Day: Paleo Monkey Bars

Welcome to another installment of Recipe Reviews-Day. These posts are where, as the name implies, I review a recipe that I have made for my family. I am not one to create my own recipes; not at this point in my life right now anyway. The recipes have to meet our whole-food standards of eating. We don't prescribed to any one diet such as gluten-free, paleo, veganism, etc., but we do try to minimize processed foods as much as possible. Do we eat the occasional processed cracker, candy, or stop at a fast-food chain. Sure, life happens. But with some planning we can make those times few and far between. Without further ado, here is the recipe review.

This recipe comes from the site The Paleo Mom. Again, our family doesn't do paleo or primal eating exclusively, but that does NOT stop me from searching that eating lifestyle for some amazing recipes. I know I personally can't tolerate gluten or dairy, so these types of recipes are perfect for when I want to share in the eating festivities with the kiddos and hubby. Plus The Paleo Mom is right up my alley. She's a Ph.D. turned SAHM who is super dedicated, super smart, and makes some super delish food! 

Ingredients
  1. 2 overripe bananas
  2. 1/2 cup crunchy almond butter
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  5. 1 cup almond flour
  6. 3 tbsp coconut flour
  7. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life brand)
  10. **optional topping** -----> 1 oz dark chocolate
  11. **optional topping** -----> 1/2 tbsp fat (palm shortening, coconut oil, lard, butter, or ghee)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a rimmed cookie sheet with palm shortening or coconut oil, lard, or butter.
  2. Mash bananas by hand.
  3. Add all other ingredients except mini chocolate chips and optional topping ingredients.
  4. Mix until well blended.
  5. Cut in the mini chocolate chips into batter.
  6. Pour onto rimmed cookie sheet and spread evenly with a spatula
  7. Bake for 17-18 minutes and then let to cool.
  8. Cut into bars
  9. **optional topping** -----> If using topping, mix and melt your chocolate and fat together than then drizzle over already cut bars.

Review
  1. WHOA! These are like banana bread and cookie bars met and had a baby -- perfectly soooo good!! And we didn't even use the topping because I didn't have any more Enjoy Life chocolate chips. 
  2. I took the lazy/easy way out and made this entire thing in the food processor. I measured everything out, clicked on, and then drizzled the melted coconut oil down the feeder tube. Done.
  3. I did turn the batter out into another bowl, however, to add the chocolate chips, but I'm not sure you would have to do that. I didn't save any dishes doing it that way, but I'm okay with that.
  4. Next time I'll try with the topping, probably for Christmas, and eat them ALL myself. Yeah, they're that good. I personally like using coconut oil with chocolate as I think it sets better; however, the house has to be below 74°F so the oil hardens. 
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Last Fair & The First Leaves

This time of year is very special to us and not just because it's Fall and I love everything about this time of year. It marks the beginning of the end...the end of the year where the focus tends to shift from self to others, from inward to outward, and from me time to celebrated family time. While having some me time is worthwhile and important, the latter part of the year tends to focus on family. As I prepare for Halloween, my mental state starts to prepare for "the holidays" and I start to get the warm fuzzies that have crept into my life since having my babies.

The fall season for us usually starts with a trip to Adam's family in Ohio. It's the last county fair in Ohio and a visit that we look forward to every year. We've been going since Duders was only 10 months old. This year the boys were old enough and big enough to ride almost every kiddie ride. Of course we only got pictures on the merry-go-round and of those pictures, on one pic of one boy looking at the camera. After that all picture bets were off! Life with boys for sure! You might not be able to see, but Duders thought it was very funny to look at the camera and then look away at the last moment. This picture was probably Number 10, so Adam and I said, "uncle" and called it quits.




The next day we traveled back home to find that my in-laws lower yard was covered in leaves. This excited the boys so much they were ready to burst outta their skin. I was excited because they just sat in a car for close to 3 hours and needed to get that skin-bursting energy out before it got dark and they were confined to the house. The first order of business -- leaf pile construction. Typically a rake is used, but Duders likes a challenge. A snow shovel was just what the challenge demanded apparently.


And what do you do once the pile is built to yours and Dad's specifications? JUMP IN IT OF COURSE!! The boys, in all of their Wild Kratts glory, chose Cheetah power to get their best speed.



Adam could NOT resist the temptation to jump and wrestle his boys in the leaves, so in he went as well. This is our first year that both boys could really rake, jump, and wrestle in the leaves without the risk of one of them getting seriously hurt. They held nothing back!




JayBird even had to mosey down to see what all the commotion was around the leaf pile. He wasn't overly impressed, but he usually isn't. The fact that he thought enough to come and join us was proof enough that he missed his crazy pets while we were gone.


And after the initial excitement of the leaf pile wore off, we had our 3 second rest to recharge and regroup. Dad announced it was time for a hike and Pap also showed up for some added literally-thrown-into-the-pile fun. I'm not sure what he's thinking about in this picture, but I see this beautiful baby boy of mine and know how blessed I am. Just yesterday we learned of his impending arrival and today he sits and stares out into the family's farm. Adam's complete dream come to life. So yeah, those warm fuzzies that I'm feeling...they mean the world to me as does this time of year.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Halloween Night Preparations

Halloween is actually two weeks away as I post this little collection of thoughts halfway through the month of October. With that comes the getting of costumes, candy, and trying to find out when all of the trick-or-treat festivities will take place. Our family lives in an area where trick-or-treating isn't easy, so we always drive to a family member's house and spend the night there celebrating. Always have and probably always will. 

The boys had an opinion this year about their costume so Adam and I were nothing but happy to let them pick out their own digs. Alter-ego of choice this year: fire-breathing dragon. This was actually the second choice because we could not find a yellow or pink T-Rex and I don't the luxury of time this year to make one. We just grab buckets from the back yard, washed of course, for our treat buckets, so we're well on our way to missing the last-minute Halloween scramble. 


Halloween day always goes quickly, so I also like to have a crock pot meal ready to serve and maybe this year I'll just take it with us to said family member's home. I try to make something that I know everyone will like, which means chili is out. I know, I know. Who doesn't like chili? Adam, that's who. Weird - again, I know....but it is what it is. I found these three meals as I was scrolling the newsfeed one day and bookmarked 'em. Boom. Done. They all look divine to me, but Adam is so old school meat-and-potatoes that I'll most likely switch up his regular old pot roast with balsamic roast beef. 




And now that the boys are getting older, they understand the candy situation and what it's all about. Naturally, Adam and I are trying to educate them both about the pros and cons about all of this candy. Plus, most candy is made with ingredients that we don't like to have in the house let alone put into our bodies. Allllll that being said, it's Halloween and we're trying to {TEACH} them how to make the best decisions about food {THEMSELVES.} I know I don't always make the best choice presented to, so we just do the best can do. But when it comes to handing out candy, we CAN make better choices. Food Babe has a great list of what to buy instead of the traditional candy you'll find in your candy aisle. UNREAL gets our nod for fave candy. Let's keep in mind, however, that candy is still candy no matter how "healthy" it seems to be. If you ever go shopping with me when my family is in tow you'll definitely hear me say once or twice that organic junk is still junk. HuffPost ran a great blog post from Rachel Marie Stone and she shares my sentiments exactly. 

If you're not even into candy or are looking to cut back this year, here are some candy alternatives that will have the little kiddos just as happy!


Finally, let's face it -- the kids are gonna get a TON of candy this year just like last year and just like they're going to next year. We're thinking of trying The Switch Witch this year because we're seeing some problems with their teeth pop up and we don't need to exacerbate it with more sugar. We have talked here and there about it and think that 5 pieces of candy for each boy (enough for one night of the week) will be fine and then The Switch Witch will come and switch it out for something else. No, we're not going to the extent of having a Switch Witch, but she'll visit for just a brief moment. We're hoping for a book about Halloween and a book about Thanksgiving. I realize that ups my list of "things to get for Halloween" but it actually doesn't because we don't give out candy anymore....and who doesn't like a fresh, newly opened book?!? To me, it's completely worth it!

*links in this post are just that...links. enjoy!