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Our Food Journey Update

Eating Clean

Our family’s journey to health has been just that, a journey. Over the years we have made small changes to get to where we are today. Here’s a small glimpse of our where we were and where we’re going.

Rewind to a couple of years ago when we ditched desserts and soda. This came about for two main reasons. My husband went through several expensive dental treatments, and our oldest son turned 1, and was beginning to eat everything we ate. We knew we had to change our lifestyle in order to better our health and to be a good example to our kids. It was really hard at the time, but well worth it.

While that was a great first step, a lot of hidden sugars have still remained in our diet. Lots of store bought breads, crackers, sauces, condiments, and convenience foods were consumed daily without much thought or concern.

Then, last summer after watching, Food Inc we started thinking much more about where our food came from. It was such an eye opening and life changing documentary, and we have never been the same since. We found a local farmer who raises grass fed and grass finished beef and have been buying the majority of our meat from him. We also began going to another farm to get free range eggs, and try to buy as much organic produce as possible and support the farmer’s market as often as we can.

So here we are today. Although we’ve taken some critical steps to bettering our health, I’ve been feeling really convicted lately that we needed to clean
up our eating habits again. I’ve been trying to find a diet (and by diet I mean lifestyle) that fits our family for quite some time. I didn’t want anything extreme and unattainable, and nothing that eliminated complete food groups. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blog called 100 Days of Real Food, and felt like it was something I wanted to do. It’s just like it sounds, a challenge to eat only real foods for 100 days. No processed foods, no preservatives, just plain old chemical free nutrient rich real food. My husband, who I thought would be reluctant and not very interested, was surprisingly on board and willing to find ways to clean up our diet. We are not doing the official challenge, but we are making a commitment to eating cleaner, more homemade and less packaged foods. And we’re taking it slow. Like really slow. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we want to make small, sustainable changes.

Keep following the blog to stay up to date with our journey!

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You’re Great

Last night at the dinner table my son said something that stopped me in my tracks.

He said, ”I not great, Mama.”

Now I know I might have taken his words out of context. This same 2 year old has also declared on more than one occasion, ”I not a boy, I girl!”

Whether he really meant what he said isn’t the point. The point is the pain I felt in my heart after hearing him say those words. I think he is the greatest little boy on the planet. I could go on for days about all the ways I love him and am proud of him. In fact I tell him daily that I think he is really great. It is one of my greatest prayers that he would know deeply how great, how wonderful and how perfect he is.

And then it hit me. The heartbreak and saddness I feel when my son thinks something negative and untrue about himself is the same way God feels when I believe something that isn’t true about myself. God longs for us to see our true identity, sons and daughters created in God’s image. My son reminded me to listen to God’s opinion about who I am not my own or any one else’s.

It’s my goal to speak truth over myself and everyone around me, for a little bit of truth can breakdown a lot of lies. Truth can really set you free.

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Mommy Minute

Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend and were able to sneak in some Fall fun! Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, sip your coffee and relax with a few ramblings from my mommy mind!

-First things first, I owe a big apology to all the chiropractors out there! I have always been a little bit of a skeptic of what you do, and maybe even a little bit afraid of getting adjusted. However, after becoming pregnant and experiencing headaches and backaches, I was ready and willing to try anything. I’ve been adjusted 3 times now, and am a total believer in the healing power of chiropractic care! You guys are amazing! {PS if you need an awesome local chiropractor for you or your kids, let me know!}

-I can’t wait for this film to be released in the states. Too many screens, not nearly enough nature, and how it’s affecting our children. Check out the trailer for Project Wild Thing: http://projectwildthing.com/film

-We haven’t completely made up our minds, but we will probably give birth to our newest little munchkin at home. I also want to save my placenta, and have it encapsulated. Does this make me a total hippie? Cannibal? Both? Read my favorite blog on the subject here: http://www.mommypotamus.com/im-no-superhero-encapsulating-my-placenta-for-postpartum-healing/

-My spacey pregnancy brain hit its peak when I almost wore my slippers to  church this week. After going back home, we ended up late, but at least I was wearing a complete outfit.

-Our persistence in teaching our son manners is paying off. He says excuse me to everything. “Excuse me, truck, excuse me.” Or, “Excuse me chair.” Melts my heart every time.

-The FDA is not inspecting food right now. That makes ya feel good, doesn’t it? Look no further for another reason to buy local! http://gizmodo.com/the-fda-isnt-inspecting-food-during-the-government-shu-1441708627

Have a great week!

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The Fair Trade Challenge

fair-trade-challenge

In the past six months, we have been doing a lot of rethinking about the way that we live, what we are focused on and where we want to put our time and resources. Part of this rethinking process has revolved around what we consume and how it affects others. The idea of treating people as unique individuals with intrinsic value, instead of a resource towards a selfish end has been captivating to us.

There remains the problem, however, of how to put these thoughts into action in a consumerist society that seems to be bent on ever increased productivity at an ever decreasing cost. It is easy to treat the cashier at the local Target with a bit more respect by looking them in the eye and genuinely thanking them for their help. But what about those items that the cashier is ringing up? Someone had to make them. How do I ensure that the great sale that I just got wasn’t built on backs of mistreated workers hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Fair trade seems to be at least a small part of the solution to this conundrum. With fair trade certified items I am at least getting some assurances that a certain standard of treatment is upheld for the workers who make the items I buy. The challenge is, that these items are traditionally thought of as being: more expensive, less convenient, with less selection and sometimes, less quality.

The Challenge

I want to challenge this notion and see if it’s true. So, here’s the challenge.

For The Next Year:

  • We will only buy fair trade or responsibly sourced clothes.
  • We will continue to wear our current clothes until they wear out.
  • If an item that we need is just too exorbitantly priced or simply not available in fair trade channels we will buy it from companies that have written labor standards and public disclosure of inspections etc.
  • We get to change the rules if we need to or based on research.

My hope is that this journey will give us greater insight into how a normal American couple can modify their buying habits in order to treat people everywhere with greater dignity and respect. We’ll be documenting our journey here so please subscribe to our email updates, follow us on the social network of choice, and on our blog.

We’d love for this to be a collective journey. So if you find sources for ethically sourced items, have experiences to share or comments to make, please use the comments area of this blog to get in touch with us and let us know! If

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Locally Sourced Trout Salad and Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Patato Chips and Trout Salad

Hey everyone, this is Nikki’s husband, Matt. You’ll probably see me blogging over here more often as we continue the journey of simplifying our life as a family. I’ve actually been on this blog as a photographer for quite some time, but now I will be writing too!

We love eating and buying local. We have been shopping at our local farmer’s markets more frequently and it just feels right. I feel like I know a least a little bit more where our food is coming from. Everything on the plate above is locally sourced, and I love it. You can probably find most of what you need to make this for yourself at your local farmer’s market.

Smoked Trout Salad

Simple salad greens with tomatoes and topped with smoked trout.

  1. Start your grill and set it at about medium high. When grilling fish you want to sear it. If you have your temperature set too low you’ll end up boiling it instead.
  2. Take your fish and pat it down with paper towel. This will remove any excess moisture.
  3. Spread on a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. The olive oil help to keep the fish from sticking to the grill
  4. On your grill use a wire brush to clean your grate thoroughly. Then, using a paper towel dipped in olive oil, rub your grill grate till it glistens.
  5. Place the trout scales side down on the grill. This will make your first flip easier
  6. Grill till it is cooked through. Try to flip the fish as few times as possible.
  7. Serve with sliced tomatoes and salad greens.

Sweet Potato Chips

  1. Scrub 1 sweet potato well and then slice thinly. We used a Mandoline Slicer for this. It makes the job so much easier.
  2. Toss slices with a little bit of heated coconut oil or olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Spread the sliced on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees till crispy. The length of time will vary greatly depending on how thin your slices are.

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Putting the Simple in OatSoSimple

My husband and I are in a season of life that we refer to as OPERATION: SIMPLIFY!

We started simplifying our life primarily when our son, Micah, was born two years ago. It started out of necessity, because we became a one income family so I could stay home. Over time, however, it has turned into a lifestyle that we have grown to love.

“What we eat and how much stuff we own are the two ways that we have focused on simplifying our lives.”

As Micah started to eat solid foods, we found ourselves at a crossroads. We did not want to even introduce many unhealthy foods into Micah’s diet. If we wanted Micah to eat a healthy diet, we had to change ours. So, shortly after Micah’s first birthday my husband and I gave up all desserts and soda. We thought if he grew up without nearly as much refined sugar from the beginning, it would be easier for him to maintain a healthy lifestyle later on, and hopefully he just wouldn’t like it.

Although giving up sugar was super hard at first, and still is occasionally, it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. We still eat refined sugar, mainly in forms of condiments, breads, granola bars, and our daily allotted amount of 85% dark chocolate, but we are much more conscious of how much we consume. I am happy to report that Micah is two years old and doesn’t know what a “cookie” is. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have “perfect diets” by any means, but we are trying to set Micah up for success in making his own choices later on in life.

The next part of our journey, simplifying how much stuff we own, came a little bit later. I think it all started with a fundamental shift in the way that Matt was viewing his work. Though we both intellectually knew that things were not the most important part of life, that knowledge didn’t seem to have much application in our day to day life. We were still very focused on how much money Matt was making at work and what things that would allow us to do and buy. A couple of books, Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile and Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived really allowed us to start re-framing the way that we think and act as followers of Jesus. Matt’s goals in work began to shift to making a difference in people’s lives and bringing more of God’s love into action in the world. At the same time we began to reflect on how this might change our lives at home. Right as these thoughts were forming and we were discussing what to do next, an unhappy event gave us the push that we needed to start making actual changes. Our basement flooded.

In the midst of the cleanup project, we realized that our basement was where we kept a massive amount of things we simply didn’t need or use. Since we had to move / dry out just about everything, we decided to start purging. While we wanted to get rid of things, we wanted to also do it in a responsible way. So, we had a rummage sale, listed items on craigslist, gave away things we no longer used, and donated things to a local food-bank that runs a resale shop.

We aren’t finished yet. For us, the journey is just beginning. Stay tuned for what’s coming next!

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Overcoming The Lie

I stumbled across this website, Overcome The Lie last week and I couldn’t help but share it. It’s powerful. It’s profound. It’s simply awesome.

The name alone has enough depth to keep me on my knees for weeks in prayer searching my heart and life for lies that the enemy tells me, that over time, I believe as truth. The enemy seeks to destroy. The Lord however, heals, the Lord restores, the Lords sets us free.

The whole purpose of this ministry is to encourage women everywhere to not only know in their heads, but to also believe in their hearts that they are loved. How awesome is that?

Go check it out and remember you are loved!

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Mommy Minute

For those moments in life when you just need a minute to yourself…

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..like when the percentage of non- napping days is greater than napping days…

A container of lids and a couple containers do just the trick!

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Transportation Sensory Bin

For a fun and easy to put together activity for your little ones, check out this truck sensory bin! A combination of coffee beans, mixed dried beans and rice make an excellent base for cars to drive in.

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I chose a car theme because my son loves anything with wheels, but the possibilities are endless. Small Tupperware containers and lids, empty applesauce containers, plastic Easter eggs, spoons, small plastic people or animals, a bottle and funnel- just to name a few. Every so often I like to swap out the pieces for something new to keep it exciting.

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Day after day he asks to play with his bin. I happily agree because he enjoys it and it helps him relax, but even more than that, he is constantly learning! This sensory activity is a great multi-demensional learning activity. He gets to practice fine motor skills, large motor skills, dramatic play, cause and effect and so much more.

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I will say, that inevitability a few pieces do end up on the floor, but it really only takes a minute to sweep up, and my boy has so much fun that I’m happy to do it!

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Flyswatter Painting

For when the going gets tough and the snow keeps coming, here’s a fun way to jazz up traditional finger painting!