Gearing Up :: Raw Food Challenge

As we prepare for our raw food challenge, if you're like me, the thought of even planning this challenge can be well, a challenge! But let's just agree to not make it complicated. It is only 10 days. If you can't do 10, go for 7... or 4 or 2. Don't be hard on yourself.

I am not a creative person so I most likely will do a lot of the same meals. My goal for you is to not get overwhelmed and then just give up.

I would encourage you to shoot for a lot of greens throughout your day. Realize that you may need to eat 2-3 bananas to get the equivalent calories of a normal snack. Four clementines and so on. Your salads for a meal need to BIG! At least double of what you would normally eat.

Here is a snippet of some raw eating ideas and pointers. More will come, don't worry. Questions email me here.

1. Buy in bulk. Raw foods are going to be lower in their caloric value than most cooked foods, so you will be eating a little more than normal. Plus the more you have sitting around, the more you won't be distracted and cheat... right?

2. Make sure you let your fruits ripen before eating. What you buy today may not be ready to eat just yet. So plan ahead.

3. I was bummed to find out that beans/legumes are not raw. So consider the following protein sources for this raw challenge. Most people need an average of 40-50 grams of protein a day. Foods that contain a good amount of protein are going to be found in green leafy vegetables, sprouts, nuts (make sure you are careful to watch your fat intake though!) and seeds like sunflower, chia, hemp and flax. These all are great sprinkled on salads or in your smoothies.

4. Learn to love bananas :) Bananas are cheap, convenient and filling. This will be my go-to snack.

5. So here is a little break down of what our day could look like.
  • wake up and have a warm cup of lemon water or herbal tea
  • for breakfast have a large bowl of a variety of fruits
  • mid morning, eat a few bananas or apples with a serving of nut butter
  • a green smoothie with hemp, chia or flax seeds might be good or a cool/warm soup
  • mid afternoon, clementines or carrot sticks and guacamole
  • dinner, a huge green salad... your choice of green -- romaine, kale, spinach, arugula 
  • bedtime snack... berries
So you think we can do it? Yes, we can!

Here are some great links to help you get some meal ideas brewing!

Make your own sprouts here. So easy and fun to do! And I use cheese cloth because I don't have the screen lid. Still works just perfect. They are so good for you!

Raw hummus

Chocolate soft-serve ice cream

Raw lasagna rolls

Creamy apple-anise soup

Raw salted caramel dip

Raw coconut-ginger pudding

Raw spaghetti with marinara sauce

Raw kale salad

Here are some Rawmazing recipes!

Creamy coconut salad dressing

The best juice ever


10 Day Raw Food Challenge

I am embarking on a new venture. A raw food venture. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I've been curious in wanting to see how it really affects my mind and body.

I'd love to have companions on this venture. Come on, you can anything for 10 days! I will be here for you every step of the way.

To be clear, I am a complete novice in the area of eating a complete raw diet over any span of time. I have done a green smoothie challenge, but that was having a green smoothie just once a day... that's quite easy if you ask me. But this is 10 days... of every meal.. raw.

So first, let's answer some questions.

1. Why a raw food challenge? In a word... enzymes. Plant-based foods have live enzymes that nourish our bodies' cells. Enzymes fuel our bodies to health. Amazing health. Cooking foods above 118 degrees kills those lovely enzymes that our bodies are craving.

2. What can't I eat? Packaged foods. Cooked meats. Breads, cakes, crackers. Dairy. Refined sugars.

3. What can I eat? Unlimited fruits and veggies. Non-roasted nuts and seeds. Nut butters. Dried fruit. Plant-based milks -- almond, hemp and coconut. Olives and olive oil. Vinegars. Coconut butter and coconut oil. Since wine is fermented at low temperatures, it is indeed an acceptable companion within raw food guidelines. 

4. What can I drink? I would recommend only water and herbal teas. If you want to drink your morning coffee, I have no problem with that, just don't add dairy creamers or sugar instead use almond or coconut milk and stevia or honey.

5. What benefits is there for me if I decide to take this crazy challenge??? Going raw, you can expect extraordinary health benefits - abundant energy and vitality, possible weight loss, balanced emotions, clear mind and optimal health. There are incredible testimonies of people curing themselves of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, even AIDS with a raw lifestyle. You will look and feel truly healthy, happy and alive by giving your body everything it needs. Since we are only doing a 10-day challenge, there will definitely be great benefits, but keep in mind it may take months or even years to reverse some diseases that some raw foodies experience.

The raw path has been used to improve: allergies, arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, digestion issues, diverticulitis, fibromyalgia, poor immunity, menstrual problems, psoriasis, and hormonal imbalances. No prepackaged food can compare with the life force of raw food.

Like I said, I am a complete novice at eating raw... as terrible as that sounds. We should know and be so comfortable with eating fresh fruits and veggies all the time, but I'm not. So be patient with me. I will provide as much information as I can and research info if we have questions.

I will be here for you every step of the way to answer questions and encourage you. I will be posting recipes in the next couple days to get you started. I would recommend start the first couple days with lots of fruit like you like and are comfortable with and salads for dinner. I will have recipes for some cooler/warm soups as well. 

We can do this. Our bodies will be in love with this new venture. It might resist what we're doing at first, but will quickly figure out that what we are doing is amazing and so beneficial.

This starts on January 2. Hope to have you on board!
Warning... I am not a medical doctor. If you are not sure that your health is suitable for this challenge, please refrain. If your health is optimal and you are hoping to kickstart a healthier you, then please come along. 

The first couple days on any challenge of where your normal foods that you consume are taken out, you will most likely have symptoms associated  with withdrawal called "die off". Toxins are being pulled from your body's cells and you may/may not have "flu-like" symptoms such as headache, fatigue, irritability and poor concentration. This is normal. By drinking large amounts of water, this will aid in decreasing those symptoms (in my experience). 

Stay tuned... there is more to come! If you're in, can you send me an email here letting me know... thanks!


my favorite things {2012} -- for her

I hesitated writing this post in lieu of the tragedy that happened last week in our nation. I mean why post silly, material stuff when lives were taken and families are experiencing such despair and grief?

So even now as I post this, my heart is heavy. I can't imagine the pain mommies (and daddies and brothers and sisters...) are experiencing even now. My prayers are with those families.

But because I am a little on the OCD side... I can't leave off where I started.

Go to these links to catch the other favorite things for him and kids.

1. Sonoma ankle boots. If you've been debating whether you can follow the trend with this "booties"... I say, "Go for it!". These booties have a suede upper and contrasting wrapped buckle accent that are super stylish and comfy. Price $29.

2. Maybelline Baby Lips. No more basic lip balm. This formula renews, protects and moisturizes for a full 8 hours. After 1 week, lips are visibly renewed. Comes in 6 shades. I love this stuff and will never be without it! Price $3.

3. American Eagle touchpoint gloves. So in love with these. If you have a smartphone these are necessary in the cold. Made of soft-knit yarn with ribbed cuffs. Super cute and soft. $16.

4. Solid buckle hip belt. Every girl needs something pink. I love this thin belt especially if it's being worn with jeans and a cardigan. Price only $5.
  5. Pandora silver ring. This beautiful ring has it all, in my opinion. Silver, a little 14-karat gold and mother of pearl. So delicate, yet stands out. Price $180.    6. OPI Avojuice skin quenchers lotion. These silken lotions are filled with smooth, rich moisturizers plus nourishing avocado and healing aloe extracts. Your skin will drink up the goodness. I'm loving the mango scent! Price $7.  7. Grace and Lace leg warmers. My favorite style/color is the Lacey Lou graphite open-work leg warmers with ivory knit lace trim and buttons. So adorable to peek out from under your boots. Love! Price $34.    8. Natural Life "Go with the flow" iphone case. I love this squishy iphone case. Mine has been dropped several times and it's all good with this thick case. Such a sweet little whale on front too and a quote that fits my life as a very busy mom. I purchased mine at Francesca's for $18.   9. Tippy Thai linen tote/purse. This gorgeous bag is made from 100% linen. I love it's unique and beautiful texture, giving you a different feeling from other fabrics. This everyday bag is sturdy and big enough to hold lots of your essentials. Price $47.   10. Aveda comforting tea bags. Steep yourself in comfort - wherever or whenever - with our soothing herbal infusion of licorice root and peppermint, in convenient tea bags. Calm your senses, promoting a sense of well-being. Price $17.
11. American Eagle sequin cropped cardigan. Add a little flash with this super cute and trendy cardigan. This can be dressed up or down. And I am loving this pink. Perfect for a holiday party. Price $70.
12. Nine West Love Fury perfume. This scent is soft, fresh and fruity. Definitely not overpowering or harsh. Hoping it's under the tree for me! Price -- incredibly cheap at Wal-Mart -- $20!!
13. Anthropologie Homegrown monogram mug. These mugs are perfection. Whimsical and monogrammed just for you! Perfect for anyone and comes in a variety of prints for each letter. Price $8.


my favorite things {twenty-twelve}... for kids

When it comes to buying gifts for my kids, I tend to go slightly away from mainstream toys. I think of things that they will really like which means it isn't always found in the ToysRUs flier. Gifts for them don't necessarily have to come in the form of toys either. Things for their room, practical things and books are great choices as well. Seek out their interests and things that excite them and go from there.

Here are some great 2012 gifts I adore for kids...

1. Hot Hugs Hottie stuffed animals {I love love this little lamb!}. A minute in the microwave, and the removable tummy of natural grain will give lasting warmth and release the subtle fragrance of pure lavender essential oil. With a new friend so hot and huggable, your little one will never want to put it down. Price $25.

2. Kindle Fire with Fisher Price Kid-Tough Apptivity Case. Unlimited access to books, games, apps and movies. Vibrant color on the 7" LCD screen and built-in WiFi. The case will protect the tablet and extend it's life when in younger hands. Price around $140. (Right now on Amazon, the Kindle Fire is $25 off and the case was free too when you put 'FIREMOMS' in the promo code).

3. Discoveroo Bright Fruit Music Instrument. The easy, fun-looking shapes and textures of this adorable music kit is a big hit with the little ones. Apple xylophone, lemon maraca, lime and melon castanets and pear guiro come packaged in a handy wooden crate for easy storage. Made of plantation tea wood and ply. Price $40.

4. Lego Friends City Park Cafe. Build a hip hangout for the LEGO® Friends with a side of fresh-baked fun! The City Park CafĂ© is the coolest place to hang out in Heartlake City, where the Friends meet for sweet treats and cold shakes in the sun! Price $30.

5. The North Face boys Vestamatic Triclimate Jacket. Keep boys warm while they build blue ribbon kickers in this hyper-versatile, four-in-one snowsports jacket. With four ways to sports this ski/snowboard dynamo, this jacket/vest combo creates a super versatile barrier for winter. Price $185. (fyi...We saw this coat at a North Face outlet for a fraction of this price).

6. The Classic Green Bean Bag. What kid should be without a comfy bean bag in their room? The Classic Bean Bag has been everyone's favorite chair for over 40 years! Updated with bright solids and fashion forward prints. Trendy and comfortable seating that's great for all ages. Price $30.

7. National Geographic magazine for kids. Give a child a new way to explore the world. Two different magazines specifically for ages 3-6 and 6-14. Price $15.

8. Homemade Playdough. Not every gift you get a kid has to be bought. Why not make something they will enjoy for a long time and at a very low cost? This is an easy, step-by-step way to make your own playdough with easy ways to store and package it. Price... super cheap!

9. CAKE Stitches little girl's half apron. This is my dear friends' Etsy store full of her cute sewing creations for kids (boys too!). I am loving the little girl's strawberry half apron. The ruffle and waistband are in a coordinating red and white polka dot. The apron attaches with velcro at the right side of the waistline, camouflaged by a layered matching flower. Check out all the pics and imagine your little one in it! Truly encourages independence and role play. Price $18.

10. Melissa and Doug shopping cart. To market, to market...Take your shopping list and your teddy bear and get ready to shop! Our durable metal shopping cart looks just like those in real stores! Sturdy metal construction includes pivoting front wheels and a folding seat so your child and their favorite companion can navigate the aisles in style! Price $37.

11. Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions for Kids. If you have the adult version, you know this is going to be incredible for kids. Devotions written as if Jesus is speaking directly to a child's heart. Based on her original Jesus Calling, this version has been adapted in a language and fashion that kids and tweens can relate to their everyday lives. Price $11.

What are some of your all-time favorite kids' gifts?

For my favorite {for him} gifts go here.


my favorite things {twenty-twelve} :: for him

It's that time of year. Many of you have your Christmas shopping about covered. But I'm here for those of you who still need to purchase gifts OR just want to grab something really cool for yourself! I have enjoyed jotting down my favorite things over the year. I hope you think they're great too.

Now to clarify, these items may not be brand new in 2012, but items I have discovered and think are wonderful gift choices. This also doesn't necessarily mean I have all of them in my possession... I'm not that rich!

This will be the first of three posts... Men/Miscellaneous, Kids and Women. 

So without further adieu...

My Favorite Things of 2012

{for him}

1. Olloclip iPhone camera lens. Compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, 5, and the 4th generation iPod touch. The Olloclip is a quick-connect lens system that includes fisheye, wide-angle, and macro lenses in a tiny and convenient package. Price $70

2. Ugg Brockman. A classic lace-up sneaker saunters, casually, towards the upscale. Price $130

3. The Bag of Holding messenger bag. This is a large canvas messenger bag that is so much bigger inside than you think. The main compartment is padded and big enough for a 17" laptop. Price $42

4. Kindle Paperwhite. The world's most advanced e-reader. Unlike a backlit tablet display, Kindle Paperwhite guides light towards the surface of the e-ink display from above so that the light never shines directly towards your eyes, allowing you to read comfortably without eye strain. Also has a an 8-week battery life. Price $119

5. Cuisinart Griddler. The Cuisinart Griddler brings the art of grilling indoors, ensuring that meal prep can be manly even in cold, inclement weather. It also doubles as a griddle and panini press. Price $80

6. Bacon floss. What guy wouldn't love some of this in his stocking?

7. Old Navy men's regular fit chambray shirt. Trendy with the button-flap chest pockets and a color that any man would look great in!

8. Men's Admiral blazer from Gap. This is a sharp and sleek wool blazer that has a hip slim fit. For the best look, dress it down with jeans.

9. Krave Jerkey. Krave Jerky is a healthy, anytime snack. For athletes, outdoor recreationalists or anyone on-the-go. It presents all the benefits of meat, at its healthiest. Jerky is naturally loaded with protein, while the drying process both removes most of the fat and results in fewer carbohydrates.

10. ImagineNations map wall art. Add some beauty and serenity to your world with these vintage-themed world maps. They are eco-friendly maps printed on heavyweight 100% recycled stock with all water-based inks.

11. {My super-hip hubby's recommendation for the men's list...} The Black Keys El Camino CD.  The Black Keys is a two-man duo comprising singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, both of whom were in their early twenties when the band debuted. Hailing from Akron, OH, they harnessed a close-to-the-bone, raw blues-rock sound on the album, whole sole instruments were Auerbach's guitar, Carney's drums, and the occasional organ.


3 Surprising Things I Hate About Christmas

OK, "hate" is a strong word, I know. I'm not a scrooge... I do love Christmas. But as I've grown and been stretched in my faith, things get easier to see past that sometimes mask the true focus of Christmas. And it leaves me unsettled.

Here are 3 things I hate about Christmas and how Jesus calls me to respond.

December just started and if you're like me, you already have your Christmas to-do list in full swing. I can already feel my body running down just thinking about it. Target runs, thousands of lights waiting to be put up, endless baking to do, buying more decorations because you realized you don't have enough as your friend who just posted on Facebook. Some things start off innocent and good, but then become our focus and we get weary in trying do it all.

Jesus calls... "Remember that your ultimate goal is living close to Me, being responsive to My initiatives. I can communicate with you most readily when your mind is uncluttered and turned toward Me. Seek My face continually through out this day. Let my presence bring order to your thoughts, infusing Peace into your entire being".

You know what I get so bummed out about in our society? We can't even enjoy one holiday without the other one showing up months before it needs to. Here's a blurb from USAToday,

"Retailers are putting out a little bit of holiday stuff earlier each year," says Mike Gatti of the National Retail Federation's marketing division. "They know a substantial number of consumers will pick out Christmas tree ornaments even as they're picking out Halloween pumpkins." 

Everywhere you go, we're bombarded with buying and satisfying those little empty spots in our hearts we all have. Trying to fill and fill so we "think" we'll be happy. These temptations are all around us. 

Jesus calls... "Come to Me with your gaping emptiness, knowing that in Me you are complete. As you rest quietly in My presence, My light within you grows brighter and brighter. Facing the emptiness inside you is simply the prelude to being fulled with My fullness".

{Pressure to be Perfect}
How many commercials do we have to watch during this season to feel completely inadequate? Or a failure? Not many for me. I can't get my husband the brand new Lexus with the big red bow... fail! I won't be happily making crafts every day when my children are home on vacation.... fail! I won't have a cute little apron baking goodies while my husband walks in from work... fail!

Let's admit we just can't live up to the standards set around us. What kind of world do those people live in?? Not mine, that's for sure. Let's be smart to know those perfect people we see in the commercials aren't real. And just tell yourself now... you cannot possibly complete all those things you pinned on your "Christmas" Pinterest board.

Jesus calls... "The world exerts a downward pull on your thoughts. Stay in continual communication with Me whenever you walk through the wastelands of this world. I am the culmination of all your hopes and desires. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last; who is and was and is to come". 

I love Christmas because of Who came.
I love Christmas because it reminds me of Jesus' second return.
I love Christmas because it means time with my family.
I love Christmas because I love giving.
I love Christmas because it reminds me of the greatest gift I have... salvation.

All "Jesus Call" excerpts were taken from "Jesus Calling; Devotions for Every Day of the Year" by Sarah Young.