Farm Fresh Eggs

On my husband's side of the family, I get made fun of for my egg fetish. I always bring deviled eggs at Easter, potato salad for big get togethers and when we go on vacation, I am usually scrambling eggs for the whole family. I love eggs.

When the salmonella scare happened last year, I had to rethink where I was getting my eggs. Did I know the farm where my grocery's eggs came from? No. Does that matter... well, in my opinion, it should.

Just recently I have reconnected with a high school friend who happens to live right down the road from me, on a farm, but she also happens to have lots and lots of fresh eggs to sell. They are quite beautiful. Large and brown with little spots... just gorgeous. Oh, and the yolks are perfectly golden as well.

It is quite a nice thing to know where your eggs are coming from and to know those chickens have free-range and get nice fresh air. Commercially grown chickens are raised in over-crowded conditions and hardly ever see the light of day (check out this movie if you can stomach the cruelty done to commercially grown chickens). When chickens are allowed to roam around on a real pasture and eat grain, little insects and green plants their health and nutrition is superior which means THE best eggs for you, the consumer.

I stumbled upon an article saying that farm, fresh eggs actually have added health benefits over those sold in the grocery. When I found this out, on top of them being fresh, local and free-range, it made the extra dollar I spend on them SO worth it. Check out these benefits of farm, fresh eggs:

1. Less cholesterol... I know a lot of people are scared of the cholesterol content in eggs, but according to a 2007 study, free-range eggs have 1/3 less cholesterol than commercially sold eggs.

2. 25% less saturated fat... the Standard American Diet (SAD) is really full of too much saturated fat from animal products. One way to cut down on those bad fats and gain other health benefits is to choose farm raised eggs.

3. More vitamin A, D and E... all these vitamins are needed in our diets to help several systems to operate smoothly, especially the skin, eyes and immune systems.

4. Twice the Omega-3 Fatty Acids... I've mentioned this before, but we can only obtain these essential fatty acids (EFA) from diet or supplementation. They are brain boosters... and most of us are sadly, very deficient in them leading to behavioral and mood disorders. Eggs are a great way to add more EFA's in our diet.

Ok, so go out and ask around and see where you can find your local farm, fresh eggs. Or if you live by me, I can give you the name of my friend who has more than she can handle!


10 Things I Will Do This Summer

By far, summer is my favorite season. I love breathing in the warm air and becoming entranced by the sights of nature in full swing around me. My energy levels are high. My outlook on things is somehow so much more positive. I love hearing my kids play outside while I'm prepping lunch. And I just love all the things that those warm, sunny days bring.

Being a list maker and knowing how quickly the summer days will pass, I am making a list (AND making it public) for all to see of what I vow to do this summer.

1. I will have a picnic(s) with my boys. There is nothing like packing up some healthy foods, drinks and utensils and heading to a nice location and eat as a family. I love being with my boys and hearing them interact and just being present with them. When you get out the door of your home, away from the everyday distractions, you can focus on each other and be all there and when food is involved its even better!

2. We will visit our local parks and bike paths. I know this may sound kind of blah to some, but I am such a believer of really being involved in our community. How are you going to know your neighbors and meet new friends if you are not out there? Plus we all need to get out and run, bike and breathe in some fresh air.

3. I will read ONE fiction book. I am NOT a fiction reader. I don't really see the point. My husband is a writer and would be appalled by that comment, but I need practicality and fiction is so opposite of what my brain sees as purposeful. But I am going to force myself to read at least one fiction book this summer... maybe the beach, a cold drink and the salt water splashing my feet will help.

4. We will visit friends. During the school year we are so busy and many of my best friends live many miles from me. These friends also have boys who are friends with my boys and its a bonus that while we sip coffee, our boys are off playing with Nerf guns or Legos.

5. We will visit local farmer's markets. I absolutely love taking my boys back into the community and letting them see the importance of buying locally. Talking with the sellers and sampling healthy foods is definitely a time we all enjoy. Here is our favorite market. To find one near you check this link.

6. Stargaze. I am fascinated with space and just God's handiwork in creating stars and galaxies. On a clear night with pj's on, we'll take a star map like this one and figure out the constellations together. My boys remember these special times.

7. Make sorbets. I don't know why, but I am really craving some sweet, wholesome sorbets like this one. I want to take advantage of the season's best fruits and make them into something different and enjoyable.

8. We will celebrate the 4th of July in a big way. This holiday is my favorite. I love being patriotic and I love all that it means... plus I love freshly made lemonade, watermelons and grilling out with family. This year there will be a little celebration at our house with fireworks to end the day.

9. Water fight! As I kid I remember having a huge water fight with our neighbors accompanied with big buckets and cold water from the faucet. Its one of those memories that is still vivid from my childhood. I want to give lots of good memories for my boys to grow up and remember. And with warm temperatures and about 12 kids in our cul-de-sac, I think a good, old-fashion water fight will be perfect to add to their collection of memories.

10. I will walk with my husband. Whether on the beach while on vacation or just around the block here at home, I will walk with my husband. We have the best talks about our future, our kids and our lives as followers of Christ when we are walking. He is my best friend, my encourager, a godly example and not to mention, my in-house editor. I love him more than anything and am so lucky we were matched up... this year marks 15 years. So yes, we will walk and solve the problems of the world.

What are you going to do this summer to make it memorable for you and your family? And what fiction books can you recommend to this fiction disliker?


The Supplements I Couldn't Do Without

I am an avid promoter of taking supplements and vitamins. My poor kids get popped a chewy or some kind of vitamin every day. Along with prayer and God's hand on us, we have fortunately been very healthy through the years. We have had our occasional fever and allergy-related issues, but overall, nothing major to note.

Here are just some simple, easy to find supplements I take almost daily. (I am in no way an expert in this field... this is only my opinion and taken from my own research.

Please consult your healthcare provider if you have questions and concerns regarding what would be best for you and your lifestyle.)

1. Vitamin D

I really can't say enough about this vitamin. If there was only one vitamin I could bring on a deserted island... this would be it. I know there is some debate about the potential for toxicity, but from my personal research (take it for what its worth), living in the Northern Hemisphere with not an adequate amount of vitamin D given from sunshine, we are usually very deficient in this fat-soluble vitamin.

Vitamin D deficiency increases cancer by 70%. The Natural News website states that Vitamin D is the "single most effective medicine against cancer". It also helps keep bones strong by aiding in calcium absorption and also promotes healthy immune function. Other benefits have shown to help decrease the occurrence of diabetes, aides in fertility and is shown to help in illnesses associated with fatigue and depression.

My rule of thumb for dosing (in milligrams) is take your weight and multiply by 35.

Vitamin C

This water-soluble vitamin is widely known for fighting the common cold. But actually it works much better to take prophylactically instead. It may lessen some of the symptoms associated with a cold, but in fact, does not actually fight the cold.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. According to the National Cancer Institute, "antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damage free radical might otherwise cause."

Other benefits seen with adequate levels of vitamin C are increased wound healing, tissue strength and collagen growth. It helps to lower the occurrence of heart disease, specifically by decreasing hypertension and cholesterol levels.

1,000-4,000 mg a day is a good dosage.

Digestive Enzyme

Unless you are eating freshly picked fruits and vegetables you are not getting the adequate amount of enzymes in your diet. Also because of over-farming and mineral-depleted soils and increased shipping times of those foods, there is also a decrease in the nutrients and enzymes in those foods.

The Natural News website states the following, "digestive enzymes play key roles in our health by enabling our bodies to digest and utilize all the nutrients we ingest to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, these enzymes also play a key role in the elimination of toxins..."

Our bodies need 45 essential nutrients and enzymes to carry out proper metabolic function. So if you are not getting all of them through your diet, supplementation is a great addition.

Digestive enzymes also help to fight against illnesses associated with inflammation, fibrosis, blood contamination and viruses.

Dosing is usually 1-2 tablets with your meal.

Fish Oil

Fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) is pretty much a miracle pill. Benefits are seen in treating a wide range of health related problems seen across the US such as depression, ADHD, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease and arthritis. But is also effective in strengthening mental focus and other brain functions (trust me, I need this one!). It is also known to help in alleviating PMS symptoms in women.

We can only obtain this supplement through diet or supplementation because our bodies do not produce it on its own. I take it for two reasons. First is because I do sometimes have "monthly mood swings". Since I have been taking these supplements, I am more balanced out and feel a calmness throughout my day. Next, heart disease runs on both sides of my family. And now I am the not-so-proud owner of high cholesterol. Research shows that by taking fish oil, cholesterol is absorbed in the intestines than in the coronary arteries.

Make sure you look for a respectable company that sells quality fish oil and I always like to check customer reviews (like on Vitacost). Most brands say 1-2 soft gels a day.

Milk Thistle

This is the newest supplement added to my list. The more I hear about this little herb, the more and more I love it. Milk thistle contains a compound called silymarin which helps to protect the liver from absorbing toxins we either absorb or ingest from the unhealthy things around us. The liver is responsible for hundreds of functions in our bodies to make sure everything is running smoothly such as using vitamins properly, removing cholesterol, helps clears blood of waste and helps immune function.

Dosage: 2-4 tablets a day.

This is not a complete list. They definitely change when I am sick or feel I am coming down with something. And these are always accompanied with a quality multivitamin.


My Journey to Health... Part 1

There are many things that motivate all of us. What gets your wheels going? What things would you jump out windows for? Maybe you're motivated by love or money, your image, a promotion, revenge or maybe for just a pat on the back. 

My journey to health was birthed from simply my extreme motivation to see my little boy be well. 

This is a story not many people, friends or family know of, but I hope will encourage someone.

Before I became a mom, I never really cared too much about eating or living extremely healthy. I'm sure I enjoyed a carrot or two... over the span of a year and smothered in ranch dressing, that is! I was never really overweight so hey, what's the big deal? I grew up with the smell of bleach permeating our house every Saturday morning and to me, that meant we were "super clean".

As a middle schooler, we would stop by our local grocery store and I got to pick out what I wanted in my lunch for that day. It always included Doritos, a Snicker's bar and I also managed to convince my mom to pick me up a baklava and a chocolate milk for the ride to school. After school, I met my fellow cheerleading friends at the soccer field with my regular, a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries and Coke. I scarfed it all down before we started our warm-ups.
Not a very impressive start in the early years of living healthy. Even after four years of college and a nursing degree, I still didn't think too much about living a real healthy lifestyle. Not until years later when I found myself with my hands up in the air, very frustrated and confused with my son and his complete erratic behavior. 

My oldest son was born a whopping 9 pounds and 3 ounces so there was no question that his life began well. He wasn't the "perfect" baby, but we managed through the early years and did fairly well. It wasn't until he was in the middle of his first grade year of school that my world began to change.
He began acting out... lying... hitting... becoming destructive and even stealing. Yes, my little 6 year old boy was stealing. And these behaviors weren't just occasional... they were occurring daily. It broke my and my husband's heart to hear day after day from his teacher the issues arising with our son. You may not believe this, but before this school year, we had never seen this type of behavior in our home. It was utterly shocking

To be honest, we had had our occasional bouts of the "battle of the wills" with him, but nothing compared to what we were hearing from his teacher. Things were not adding up in my head and my maternal instincts began to come alive... thankfully. I knew there was something wrong with my son and I was determined to figure it out.
I was so blessed to meet a lady who is now a dear friend of mine at a Kindermusik class who recommended the book, "Is This Your Child?". The title alone spoke to me ~ NO, this was not my child! I immediately got my hands on a copy and started devouring each page. I could feel the anxiety, fear and frustration, slowly begin lifting from my inner emotional roller coaster... I felt God was telling me, "There are answers and you will find them".
This was where it all started for me.
Part 2 to be continued...


Random Baby Loves

If you are expecting, have a new baby in your life or need an idea for an upcoming baby shower gift, then you've come to the right place. I have been thinking of some of the things that I loved having for our last baby who is now 18 months *sniff, sniff* old and thought it would be nice to pass them on to you. I feel these items are eco-friendly and definitely deserve the "wholesome" label in my opinion. 

1. Sophie the Giraffe. This adorable toy is a must-have for baby. We received this as a Christmas gift for Sol and it quickly became a part of our family. It is made from all natural tree rubber, BPA free and made from vegetable paint so completely safe for little ones. The unique design of Sophie allows little hands to easily handle and also for sore gums to chew during teething times. Check out more of Sophie in these videos.

2. Baby Bee Diaper Ointment by Burt's Bees. After four babies, I can honestly say this product is the best in alleviating diaper rashes that I have tried. While I never encountered any extreme diaper rashes from my babies, we did seem to have little sore bums appear occasionally. Made from sweet almond oil and no harmful additives, this ointment also has a natural lavendar scent. If you are currently using an ointment that doesn't say 100% Natural, check the label for ingredients like BHA, fragrance, dioxane or parabens which can be harmful to your baby. (Here is an interesting article you will definitely want to check out if you are not using an all natural diaper cream.) This ointment is a little pricier than regular brands in the baby section of your store, but it does last a very long time and with the natural ingredients on your baby's skin, it is definitely worth it.

3. Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Swaddling Blankets. I am a avid fan of swaddling infants. It is proven that babies who are swaddled nurse better, sleep better and cry less. (If you've read this book, you know they endorse swaddling too.) Check out swaddling instructions here.These blankets are made from 100% natural cotton muslin and are the perfect size for swaddling small or large babies and work well in all seasons. My little guy still carries his around to this day. 

4. Baby Simply Saline Nasal Mist. I have an obsession... picking my baby's nose. There, it's out. But guess what? I'm now a recovering baby nose picker... thanks to this product. This saline nasal mist is gentle and extremely effective in clearing a blocked nasal passage due to colds, allergens or dry air. Who can stand hearing a baby try to breathe when their nose is full of nasties? Not me! It is even proven that the saline (or salt/sodium) can actually help kill bacteria that shows up in the sinuses and regular use may help to cut down on colds and/or sinus infections.

5. Vibrucol. This product can accompany Sophie during fussy, teething times. These pediatric drops contain a homeopathic blend of herbs that naturally ease fevers, irritability and restlessness in babies. My chiropractor recommended these to me instead of always taking them to the doctor's office when the temperature is moderate, but not high. I would definitely recommend these drops when you are enduring baby's teething episodes. 

6. Happy Baby Organic Puffs. First, I personally like these puffs mostly because they're organic. No pesticides or harmful ingredients will enter your baby's mouth when eating these first foods. Second, they contain half the sugar content of the leading brand of puffs. When infants are beginning to eat solid foods, you are at a pivotal time for guiding and setting an example for their nutritional future... whether good or bad. Introducing too much sugar at this point may lead them to prefer sugary foods over healthier options later. Lastly, I love the taste of these puffs. They come in a variety of vegetable and fruit flavors for baby to try.

These are some of my baby loves... what would you say are some of yours to recommend to a new mom?



WB Meal Plan - The Best of Clean Eating

I just picked up a book at the library called, "The Best of Clean Eating". I can honestly say it has recipes that I am not afraid of and actually want to try them all! I am sure I will be ordering this book for my own collection very soon.

So this week, I am going to take all my meals from the book (not all the sides are). Some of the ingredients I already had in my pantry/freezer that I need to use up and the other meals I picked where chosen because I saw some of the items I needed were on sale this week at the store.

On a side note... over the last three months I have eaten "mostly" clean (except for an occasional treat) and without doing anything extra, I have lost 7 lbs. So eating clean definitely helps your metabolism and is just a better way to eat.


Shepherd's Pie ~ using yukon gold potatoes, lean ground turkey and veggies.

Baked Apples

Multigrain baguette


Baja Fish Tacos ~ tilapia, avocado, cabbage and greek yogurt

Healthy Mexican Rice ~ will be using brown rice instead of long grain white.

Chocolate-Spiked Oatmeal Cookies

Turbinado Lime Cooler


Turkey Panini ~ with deli turkey, part skim mozzarella and arugula

Sweet Potato Fries

Salted English Cucumbers


Asparagus Primavera ~ with couscous, carrots, baby corn and white Northern beans.

Whole Wheat rolls

Easy Egg Custard


Spinach & Chicken Sausage Pizza

Spring Salad

Black Bean Fudge Cakes

If you're interested in any of those recipes, I'd be glad to send you the recipe. Just leave a comment and I will email it to you.


5 Healthy Lunches for Kids

Does your grocery list have items like Goldfish, white bread and Oreos? Mine use to. But once I learned that those foods are empty of nutrition and full of artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and other preservatives, I slowly, began taking those foods off my list. At the same time, I also heard of how some of the chemicals that are abundant in the foods found in the snack aisle of grocery stores also play a role in ADHD and other related childhood illnesses, I knew I needed to make a major changes in our family's diet.

As a mom of four active, hungry boys, I know it is not always easy to plan and prepare healthy foods, let alone deal with the complaining and dirty looks that introducing healthier foods can bring. I know... I've been there. But I am here to let you know if you are determined to feed your family healthy ~ they will see your passion and they will know it is best. Minds can be changed. If you want to raise healthy children and later, healthy adults... it is ultimately in your hands.

Feeding healthy food to my kids is one of my passions. I firmly believe their health is by and large the result of the food they consume. To me, food can be healing and has the power to either help or hurt our health.

I have designed five great lunches that are kid-friendly, super healthy and easy for you to prepare for your children (and you too!). Get your list out... no Oreos, no artificially orange-colored crackers... only tasteful and wholesome foods.

Meal 1
Whole Wheat Roll Ups: whole wheat tortillas, hummus, baby spinach, shredded carrot, thinly sliced (lightly salted) cucumbers and sliced black olives. Roll up and cut into pinwheels.

Fruit salad

Black beans

Meal 2

Pasta salad: Whole wheat penne or spiral pasta, blanched carrots, cauliflower and broccoli; diced cucumbers (I use the English cucumbers because they don't have seeds), coarsely chopped baby spinach and light creamy italian dressing. I make this the night before to allow the dressing to permeate into the pasta and veggies.

Apple slices with skins on, lightly drizzled with honey and a pinch of cinnamon.

Meal 3
Tuna & Spinach Pitas: Mix together (light chunk in water) tuna with a small amount of olive oil mayo, finely chopped onion and relish, tarragon, salt and pepper. Stuff baby spinach and tuna salad into whole wheat pita pocket.

Fresh Blueberries

Frozen yogurt tubes or pre-made frozen smoothie popsicle

Meal 4

Healthy Pizza Bites: Whole wheat English muffins, pizza sauce, low fat/part skim mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni. Cut into squares for little fingers or serve whole for bigger kids.

Sliced Cucumbers

Smoothie with frozen banana, 1 T peanut butter, 3/4 - 1 c. almond (or coconut) milk and 5 ice cubes... blend for 3 minutes. Serve with bendy straw :)

Meal 5
Healthy Fried Rice (recipe found here)

Strawberries with yogurt dip (recipe found here)

Sesame Sticks