Are You Food Weird?

Are you food weird?  That's what I had someone call me recently.  Yep..."food weird"...lol.  I'm actually NOT food weird.  I'm the farthest you can be from food weird...I just don't enjoy filling my body or my family's with things that are detrimental to our health.  My kids eat cupcakes at birthday parties.  They eat popcorn at the movies.  I even have, *ahem*, those nights where I JUST need to run through a drive thru for dinner...somewhere...anywhere.  Now, it's FAR less often than it used to be, but it does happen.  I mean, if I ENJOY cooking and I ENJOY learning about and making REAL food...then why not DO it and create a healthier lifestyle for my children?  I believe (no one asked me, I just like stating my opinion) that if you rule out certain "fun" foods ALL the time, those are the foods they're going to run to as soon as they're out from under your roof.  However, if you offer them natural foods, healthy foods, less processed foods, they're going to realize that it's not only better for you, but it tastes better and it helps you feel better...then when they DO get a "tasty" processed treat, it's actually going to be something they don't want...often.  I know life is busy...I have one...a life that is...and it's busy.  I won't get into all the details, because we all have our "paths" of busyness, but if we're able to "do better", who WANTS to pump their kids full of MSGs and things they can't even pronounce?  I recently turned over a can of Spaghettios and looked at the back...I think I grew faint...do you know that the list of ingredients in Spaghettios almost fills the entire back of the label?!

I just randomly picked ONE of the ingredients listed, Googled it, and came up with this:

Health Effects

Hydrolyzed corn protein is essentially glutamic acid, which is a type of MSG. MSG has been shown to have negative effects on the human body, such as headaches, nausea, fuzzy thinking, diarrhea, heart irregularity, asthma, and mood swings. Only small amounts in food should be used. Currently, there is no regulation regarding the amounts of MSG that can be present in food. Because hydrolyzed corn gluten has some different components than typical monosodium glutamate (MSG), food labels are not required to state that the ingredient essentially is MSG and has the same side effects as MSG.

Scary, right?  It doesn't SAY MSG, but it is in fact, an MSG.  Now, I don't know a parent out there would would say, "I want to fill my child full of this ingredient that could cause asthma, diarrhea, mood swings"...you get my drift?  Are there parents who say, it's quick and easy to open a can of Spaghettios and we're in a hurry...let's go for it...sure!  I've been one of them.  Actually, is it much more difficult to boil some noodles and mix up your own sauce using a can of tomato sauce?  Not really.  Canned sauces fresh from the garden would be even BETTER, but not everyone has access to fresh canned sauces.

If you look in my pantry, yes, there are cans there.  I do my best to stick to things that have all ingredients I can pronounce and know what they are.  For instance, green beans...I had much rather have fresh green beans, but when my freezer is bare, I grab a few cans.  Is there added sodium?  Sure.  However, I can live with a little added sodium as long as I know it's just green beans, salt and water.

 We're by no means Paleo.  We're not "Clean Eating" every day.  We're just trying to do better and share what we learn along the way.  Sometimes things that seem so obvious really aren't.  Turn those cans around...you might be surprised at what you find.  For me, I know I don't want to fill my children's bodies OR any guests we might have with Hydrolyzed Corn Protein...and you just never know who might end up at our table.  ;)

Yes, he has on clothes.

Favorite Homemade Coffee Creamer - YUM!

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I.Love.Coffee.  It's no secret.  Everyone knows it.  I drink WAY too much.  People buy me coffee makers, coffee samples and coffee cups for Christmas and birthday gifts.  They know me so well.  I always have a coffee in my hand when I'm shopping, at the park or attending playgroup.  I just can't help myself.

Lately my family has been on a journey to live healthier by changing the many things we put in our bodies daily...mostly through altering the amount of preservatives, dyes and artificial ingredients in our diets.  My grandmother is soon to be 88.  She eats sugar.  She eats bread.  She drinks coffee.  She fries food...occasionally.  I'm a firm believer that if it's good enough for her...and she's living a healthy life...and by they way, she looks nowhere NEAR 88...then it's not going to hurt me.  The difference, in my UN-scientific opinion, is that she has never eaten much "fake" food.  She cooks the REAL stuff.  Biscuits from flour and lard.  Bacon and melted cheese.  Fried chicken she batters by hand...not pulled out of a box.  Yes...all that yummy goodness that southern food is...but she eats it sparingly...not in excess...and because she learned from her mother and her grandmother, she knows how to use REAL, natural ingredients to make food that tastes great and doesn't come out of a frozen box.  Has she eaten frozen dinners?  SURE.  Does she eat candy?  Of course...but it's not in excess.  She uses butter...not margarine.  I believe all of those "little" things can add up to a great big thing when it comes to making a difference in our diet, health and overall well being.

Okay...with that said, back to the coffee...It would be okay if I drink it as my grandmother does...black...but I don't.  I love all the artificial sweeteners that you can drizzle into your coffee, toss a little sugary goodness in there and you have something to love...and I can finish off a Coffeemate Creamer bottle in a matter of two days.  No joke...so I started looking at my beloved creamers...and boy do they have lots of STUFF in them that I can't even pronounce...and I'm putting multiple bottles in my body weekly?!  Ick...

So I've been on a mission to make my own.  It has sugar in it, yes it does...but it doesn't have anything in it that I can't pronounce.  THAT is the key.  And I'm loving it.  I mean, LOVING it!  The combinations you could make are ENDLESS, but I'm going to share my personal favorite.

I'm a peppermint fan, so I was trying to re-create a Peppermint Mocha flavor. I actually enjoy the peppermint more than the mocha, so I make mine heavy on the peppermint, but you could always make yours heavy on the mocha...or even eliminate the peppermint...you could replace the peppermint with vanilla...I'm telling you, endless possibilities!  Here's my "go-to" recipe:

  • 14oz Sweetened Condensed Milk (just sugar and milk!)
  • 1 3/4c. Whole Milk (you could substitute, but it wouldn't be as creamy) - we use Grassfed Milk from a local dairy
Okay...that's your basic starter.  I pour all ingredients into a blender so I can blend it all up to creamy goodness.  At this point, you can blend in whatever you want.  This is what I add for my Peppermint Mocha:
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. pure peppermint extract
That's it!  Just blend it all together and add it to your coffee.  It even makes a yummy froth on the top for a "coffee house" effect.  Oh.My.Coffee.Goodness.  I pour mine into a wide mouth jar and store in the fridge.  You could also save an empty coffee creamer bottle, wash and use it for an easy pour option.  Remember...this is heavy on the peppermint, so if you're more of a mocha fan, you could cut the peppermint down to 1/2tsp or omit and add vanilla.  Yumm-o...and nothing in this creamer I can't pronounce!  I will NEVER buy coffee creamer again!!  And it's cheaper to make your own...cuts down on the groceries I drag in...it's a win/win all the way around...I know I usually buy between two and four creamers at a time...so I'm THRILLED!


Seuss Giveaway from Emerson Lane Originals

Emerson Lane Originals is my labor of love...aka small business.  Since I am a former Elementary School Teacher AND Library Media Specialist, I have a fond love for Dr. Seuss Day.  To celebrate, I'm giving away:
The Seuss Bingo Cards will be graphics sent via email while the DVD and Shirt will be sent to your mailing address.  These Bingo cards are so much fun for classroom teachers, librarians, homeschool families and Seuss parties...print, laminate and play!  I love using Skittles or M&Ms for the Bingo markers...so will the kiddos!

Best of luck and Happy Seuss Day!

Enter now through Sunday at midnight!  Spread the love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I HEART Amazon!

Okay...in all seriousness...Amazon is my new Walmart.  I.Love.Amazon.  I get free two day shipping, I can order many items I can't find locally, I get GREAT prices through Amazon coupons, Subscribe and Save discounts and daily specials...I just can't say ENOUGH good things about Amazon!  I've ordered everything from birthday gifts to large ticket Christmas items to essential oils, groceries, cleaning supplies and clothes.  Amazon has also taken the place of wholesale clubs since I can get wipes, toilet tissue, paper towels, etc. in bulk and set it up on shipments.  I.LOVE.AMAZON.  Did I say that already?!

If you're a soon-to-be new mom or you have an infant/toddler, you can't BEAT their Amazon Mom discounts.  You should definitely check them out...I saved TONS on diapers, wipes and baby items...large items and baby wash...you name it, I got it.  I LOVE that you can read reviews on products, pull up past orders for quick re-ordering and ship gifts to other addresses for free.

I'll be posting amazing Amazon deals periodically, so be sure to check in and click fast...Amazon deals are not guaranteed through a specific time or date, so it often just depends on how quickly they sell out or meet the number of items they want to sell...then the price usually increases gradually.

For a limited time, Amazon is offering A free 30 day trial to Amazon Prime!!

Woohooo!!  My favorite thing about Amazon Prime?!  FREE TWO DAY SHIPPING!  I can order birthday gifts on Wednesday and have them for a party on Saturday...LOVE!  You'll also have:
  • Access to over 5,000 Kindle items FOR FREE
  • Unlimited instant streaming to 41,000+ Movies and TV Shows
  • And lots more!
Seriously check it out...and you can thank me later.  ;)  Just ask my UPS man...he'll tell you...I'm a HUGE Amazon fan!  Hehehe...


Olympic Freebies!

We homeschool, so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate what's going on in the world around us into our lessons.  I was also an Elementary School Teacher for TWELVE years...and I LOVED every second of it!  I know what hard work goes into planning and how much teachers appreciate you letting them know about teaching freebies.  So...whether you're a daycare worker, teacher, home school parent, Olympic Birthday Party Planner or a mom who might want to print these for a teacher...these are some GREAT freebies to use in conjunction with the Winter Olympics...they're coming soon!

While you're at it, check out our fun Olympic Designs on our Emerson Lane Originals page.  You can get these on a onesie, t-shirt, tote bag or graphic sent straight to your email to use for party planning...personalized!

Enjoy the free stuff!

86 Free Worksheets, Games and Printables from Teachers Pay Teachers!!

HUGE Olympics Tot Pack for 2-5  year olds (pre-writing, sorting and more!)

100+ Page Winter Olympics Fun Pack - Includes Pages for Individual Study on Olympic Athletes

Ice Skating Free Play Time - How Fun is THIS?!

HUGE Olympic Roundup - Printable, websites, videos, library books and more!

25 MORE Winter Olympic Worksheets

Olympic Bingo Printable Game

Ancient Greece Lapbook

Fun Team USA Drink for Recipe Time

Learn to Draw Olympic Sports - These Are Fun!

Great List of Printables and Books

The Official SOCHI APP!  Get Real Time Olympic Updates!

There are a TON of resources out there if you have time to look for them...these are just a few of our faves!  My son LOVES learning about the Olympics...it's the highlight of his day!  It's so much fun to watch his excitement build...I'm looking forward to it more this year just anticipating it with him!  Go Team USA!

Detox Bath...Do You Believe?

So...we, like everyone else, are on a path to healthier living.  I decided to give my three year old daughter a detox bath tonight...like many things I try, I never really know if they're going to work and sometimes I don't really know if they worked or not...I kind of guess, hope, pray...but sometimes never know.  Well tonight...I know...IT.WORKED.  In more ways than one...I mean, can I see that she's "detoxed"?  Well, no.  I can see that her skin is super soft...my husband even commented on it.  I can also see that she's VERY tired/relaxed...whichever you prefer (ha!)...so much that her eyes almost closed while she was in the floor working on a puzzle.  Now...if you knew my little bit, you would know this is a big deal.  I wasn't really trying to make her sleepy, but I am on a mission to be healthier AND we're working on remineralizing her teeth...or in layman's terms, healing her cavities.  So...I tried the bath detox.  You can use several essential oils in this detox, but I decided to try the oil I have for relaxation.  Yes, an oil for relaxation on my daughter who usually stays up until midnight and she can't hardly hold her eyes open! YES!  We've been struggling with naps for sometime now.  If she has a nap, she's awake until all hours of the night, up and down, out of bed, yelling out for us, destroying her bathroom upstairs...you name it, she does it.  If you DON'T give her a nap, she falls asleep around 5 or 6pm, I wake her up for dinner and she's cranky and whiny.  Well, today she had a nap..and a detox bath...and she's in bed by 8:00pm...AND QUITE.  I.Am.More.Than.Impressed!!!

So...to recap...I gave her a detox bath to first and foremost...
1.  Detox her body in conjunction with her "Cure Your Own Cavities" routine.
2.  Help her eczema.
3.  Relax her.

I believe the bath accomplished ALL THREE THINGS.  Here's what I did:

Run a bath of warm water and add the following:
1/2 c. Epsom Salt
1/4c. Baking Soda
1 tbsp. Organic or Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
5-7 drops your choice of essential oil

Now...that's the easy part.  Here are some key factors to make this a great experience:
1.  If you have a child older than 5, I would double each of the ingredients above - bigger child, more water, etc.
2.  Do this on a night you don't need to "bathe".  This will open your child's pores a bit and let toxins out, so just let them sit and play and splash around.  I sat in the floor and read a few books to her.
3.  This will make hair greasy, so it's not recommended to wash hair...I always pull my little girl's hair up in a bun.
4.  They need to sit/play/bathe for 20 minutes.
5.  The essential oil you use is up to you...I would change it up depending on whether your child is sick and needs a germ fighter, wound tightly and needs a relaxant, achy and needs soothing, etc.
6.  If you're not on the essential oils boat yet and don't really know where to buy or don't have the money to spend beaucoup moolah on a teeny bottle of oil, go to Amazon and buy Plant Essentials...they're a FRACTION of the cost of doTerra and Young and they work GREAT.  I haven't found one YET that I don't like.  If you have a Prime or Amazon Mom account, you can get free two day shipping on these - even BETTER!

This is the oil I used tonight:  Calming the Child

I suggest using this detox bath a couple of times a week...more in the case of a cold or infection.  I would love to hear your positive experiences and great ideas!  I love feedback from readers.  Happy Health!


Blossom Into Spring Giveaway Event

Welcome to the Blossom Into Spring Blog Hop hosted by Andersons Angels, Joy of Momma Joyner and The More The Merrier. This Event features a little bit of everything you need to welcome Spring back! Each blog has a unique Spring Related Prize valued at $25 or more. You won’t want to miss out on any of them, so be sure to visit Andersons Angels for the full list of participating blogs! This event will run from 12:00am EST Saturday, February 1, 2014 through 11:59pm EST Saturday, February 15, 2014.

Best of Luck!  Be sure to come back and let us know if you win something!

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