Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vitamin D: What is it and where do you get it? (and why you should bother)

I read a post on another blog (a much better one, BTW) about cod liver oil supplements. I'm sure you've heard about this. It's the stuff your great grandmother was probably forcing down the throat of your grandma when she was a little kid. I think I recall the grandma or mother on Huckleberry Fin making him take it too.

Sounds gross. Smells gross. Tastes gross. So why take it? Well, back then they didn't realize what it was about cod liver oil (CLO) that was so beneficial but as it turned out, it is an excellent source of Vitamin D.

Current medical research has been finding that most of us are deficient in at least the few types of Vitamin D that they can test for. And that lack of vitamin D can affect not only our bones, but our muscle strength and immune system. GI (gut) function too. It is especially important in older adults. The research community has found that with adequate levels of vitamin D, our elders fall less and have less risk of fractures. This improves their quality of life as well as life expectancy. Did you know that if someone over the age of 65 falls and breaks their hip or another large bone, that their risk of dying in the following year goes up significantly? Vitamin D is one piece of the puzzle , but it is a significant one.

The newest form of vitamin D supplement that I have read about is fermented CLO. Doesn't that sound so much more appetizing? The makers, Green Pasture are claiming that it is more "bioavailable" and thus superior to regular CLO. Green Pasture is also the only company making this product in the US currently. Their belief is that fermenting is the traditional production method of CLO and based on the research of Weston A Price, the more traditional foods and methods of preparation, are the most nutritious and can provide a whole host of health benefits.

Recently, I have been doing some reading about Weston A Price and have been converting many of our food sources and preparation methods to more traditional, whole foods. I believe it is common sense that the manufactured foods of our modern times are simply artificial chemicals that are crafted into something that tastes good by means of toxic chemical that cause us to become addicted to these foods. No amount of synthetic vitamins or fiber will ever make these foods consumable. But, that has nothing to do with Vitamin D!

What I am concerned with is that once you begin your journey into whole foods, just how far do you go? What is reasonable and what is just ridiculous? I beleive that vitamin D supplementation is necessary for most of us who do not get enough sunlight and whose dietary sources may be lacking as well. Vitamin D production by the body will be maximized by getting 15-20 minutes of exposure to the sun (with arms and legs uncovered and without sunscreen) daily. Food sources of vitamin D include salt water fatty fish and pastured eggs. And then there are supplements such as CLO and synthetic vitamins.

Personally, I would always try the whole food source first. I know I don't get enough sun exposure and certainly won't at least until next summer. We do eat eggs from our hens who free range in the yard and should be producing eggs with high levels of vitamin D but I have no way of verifying this. We don't eat enough fish to get adequate levels either. So we're kind of left with supplements.

I've taken fish oil supplements before. Some of them have given me "fish burps" and others haven't. My chiropractor sells one that smells like vanilla and doesn't give the burps. I have no idea of the brand at the moment as I don't have any on hand to look at the bottle. I can find out, though if you're dying to know. I have not, however, specifically taken CLO. And honestly, it doesn't sound all that great. But knowing the benefits of vitamin D and that synthetic vitamins are not always assimilated the way that real food products are, I think I will be trying this.

Do I expect miracles? Nope. But if it can keep the winter blues away, help support my immune system through flu season, keep my nervous and muscular systems in tip top shape, then I'm all for it! Apparently there is also some talk of fertility benefits. You see, vitamin D is technically a hormone and it helps produce sex hormones. It is also fat soluble, meaning that it builds up in the body. Taking too much can be toxic. In comparison, vitamin C is water soluble and if you take too much, generally your kidneys filter it out and you get really pretty pee!

I think there needs to be a balance in what we recommend for supplementation. As a nurse practitioner dealing with the elderly, I have prescribed D3 supplements as these are assumed to be absorbed more efficiently by the body that other synthetic forms. Elderly patients tend to get less sunlight and have poorer diets. Many of them are on fixed incomes and cannot afford expensive supplements. If you do not have a diagnosed deficiency, then taking 400 - 1000 units daily is recommended. Higher amounts can be prescribed if needed for those with deficiencies. The issue of vitamin D deficiency is important enough the the Veteran's Administration tests all of it's patients regularly and it was probably the most common supplement I prescribed when I worked there! Testing is not cheap so this was quite significant to me.

There is a place for both. In the case of true deficiency (your health care provider can do a blood test), prescription strength supplements are necessary. If you are generally healthy and get some sun exposure as well as at least occasional dietary sources, I would stick with the recommended supplement strengths. More is not always better. And this is especially true of vitamin supplements. Food is your BEST source of all nutrients because of all of the unknown factors that help with absorption and assimilation. Supplements should be used when diet and sun exposure are not optimal. And if you can't stomach CLO or fermented CLO, then a synthetic vitamin D3 analog will be better than nothing.

Good luck! I may consider joining the polar bear club so I can get some winter sun exposure!

Have a healthy winter!

Lizabeth-your friendly neighborhood family nurse practitioner!

p.s.- the usual statement-always tell your health care provider about any supplements that you are taking or considering taking. They can interfere with other medications or conditions you may have. This is not intended as personal medical advice.

p.p.s. -no, I don't get any benefit from you clicking through to another site and purchasing products from them. I wish!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Date Night Chronicle

Last week I wrote about going out for date night with my husband but I didn't want to say where just in case I didn't like it. However, since it was a good night, I thought I'd share now.

We decided on the wood fire grill this time. A nice change of pace from our usual sushi and sake routine. If you live in the area, I would recommend Moxie's Woodfire Grill for a special occasion treat or celebration. Because it was a bit expensive, I wouldn't go there on a regular basis but it was worth the splurge. And the best part is that one of my good friends works there as a waitress! Ask for Hannah if you go!

If you're like me, you'll want to know what we ate. So here it goes:
For appetizers we had sesame encrusted Ahi tuna which was served with seaweed salad, ginger and wasabi as well as dipping sauce. We also split an order of brie baked on a cedar plank and topped with mixed berries and sliced almonds. Both were absolutely delicious. Honestly, we could have had a salad and then stopped there!

For dinner I order their citrus glazed wild caught salmon which is also grilled on a cedar plank and served with baby stuffed pumpkins (different :) ) and spinach. This was cooked perfectly and had a wonderful flavor. My husband had a steak (I don't remember which cut right now, but it was very tender and cooked just to his liking) with a roasted garlic Gorgonzola sauce. Now, I gotta be honest with you here. We like grilled meats but the grill here is super "charry." Probably that's not a word but you get the point. The charred flavor and the pungent taste of the Gorgonzola kind of overwhelmed the flavor of the meat. Personally we both enjoy the taste of steak that is cooked properly and so this was a little disappointing because it took away from that flavor. The sauce was really good on bland old mashed potatoes though! If you REALLY like chargrilled meat, you'll like this. I don't know if you can ask for less charring but it wouldn't hurt to ask.

And for the martini aficionados out there, I had a "Dirty Englishman." It's a dirty gin martini with blue cheese olives. It was great and it was HUGE! One drink was more than plenty! I'd say this was a good runner up to my favorite dirty gin martini at Number 5. They put asiago stuffed olives in their martini's if you ask and it is DIVINE!

Ok, so afterward we checked out Tranquil bar and bistro. They have live music and Tuesday once a month is French night. And since neither of us understands French, we of course ended up at Tranquil on French night! Oh well. All was not lost. It was still good music. The guitarist was excellent and my Thin Mint Cookie martini made up for the fact that I couldn't sing along with the music. Next time I will wear a beret and a striped shirt perhaps and get more in the mood! I'd like to check this place out again on another night. A note to the claustrophobic: this place is tiny, especially the bar area. If you don't like tight quarters or don't want others to hear you talking to your date/friend/etc., this might not be your first pick. But if you're friendly and don't mind other people joining your conversation, I'd go for it!

I like it when date night is an adventure! Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a rut. I always enjoy getting outside of my "box" and seeing what else is going on in Binghamton. Thankfully, I am usually pleasantly surprised!


Two Sundays ago at church the pastor gave a sermon on the coming rapture of the church and the end times. Although I have a differing interpretation of when the "rapture" will occur in the scheme of these events, I dare say that I do agree with him when he said that the time is coming when Jesus will return, and when he does, the call from his mouth will be "Enough!" Enough suffering, enough pain, enough corruption, enough hatred, enough war, enough! Enough! Enough!

I think many of us can agree that we, too, have had enough of these things and so much more.

Have you ever read the bumper sticker that says "If you want peace, work for justice?"

I think it's a good sentiment but I think you must assume that the people making the hullabaloo are oppressed people rising up against an unjust dictator when, in fact, that is not always the case. Just look at the terrorist activity in the world. Those instigating wars and committing heinous acts against their own people are not the downtrodden but the severely misguided (putting it mildly...) fundamentalists, guerilla leaders hungry for power, people who believe in racial superiority who commit acts of genocide against a neighboring people. Do we truly believe that simply meting out "justice" will stop these things from happening and create peace?

Peace comes from the inside. When we can walk through a situation without becoming part of the problem. When we know with all assurance that everything this world has to offer is fleeting, temporary, a mere piece of fluff that will burn with the chaff when exposed to the refining fires of God's glory. When we are able to hold loosely to this world and keep our eyes on the glory that awaits us, then we will have peace.

Until Christ returns.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More soup, date night and an eBook promotion!

Hi again!

Just wanted to share some more recipes that I made this week that we really enjoyed. I also just read about a new eBook that looks exciting for those of us looking for "Real Food" recipes for some of our favorite "bad" foods! Like chocolate chip cookies! I'll be trying THOSE tomorrow!

Why not tonight? Well, tonight is date night with my hubby! Yay! We will be having dinner at an as-of-yet undisclosed restaurant (it's a toss up between sushi, one of our favorite Italian restaurants or the wood fire grill place) and then heading over to a bistro for drinks. The bistro is a place where I have been told would be a good place for my husband and I to book ourselves at (we're musicians). So, we're going to go check it out. It sounds a bit more "jazzy" than what our music style is. We tend to perform more country music than anything else so we'll see. And I won't tell you ahead of time because I don't want to feel bad if I don't like it as I'd have come back and give a negative review. If I really like it, I'll spread the word afterward. Most of all, tonight is about spending kid-free time with my beloved husband! And being grown-ups and not crawling on the floor (well, maybe there will be some of that too but I won't go there...) and playing with toys and changing diapers, etc. I'm wearing my new black heels and I'm going to enjoy our date night where ever it takes us. As long as we're together!

So for the recipes!

First, I made POTATO LEEK SOUP. But not just any potato leek soup. This was made with leeks from the farmers market and uncured bacon and lots of love. The recipe? Here it is:

I used 4 leeks, sliced.
6 slices of uncured bacon (trying to avoid added nitrites/nitrates)
a bit of dry sherry
scrubbed cubed potatoes, about 3 medium sized ones
quart of chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
sour cream

First I cooked half the bacon in my cast iron pan and the other half in the pot which I was cooking the soup in. The idea being that I was going to use the bacon fat in the pot for the soup and save the other bacon fat. In the end I used all of it in my soup, so it was more like the rendered fat from a whole 12 ounce package of bacon.
Then I cooked the leeks in the bacon fat and a bit of dry sherry until wilted and looking cooked. Add the chicken stock and potatoes. Cook for a half hour or so until the potatoes are cooked. At this point I would puree half of this in the blender and then add back in. Let the soup cool a bit. Then add the milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sour cream and bacon crumbled on top.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on Nourished Kitchen's website. She uses fresh dill which I did not have. And I added the sherry myself because I like the hint of flavor it gives. In fact, I tend to use a lot of sherry in my cooking. It is a must have ingredient when you make chicken or turkey gravy-to die for! Just don't drink it-it's kind of yucky to drink! Especially the cheap kind that I cook with! But somehow it just adds that something yummy to my recipes. Who knew? I discovered it when I watched my friend's daughter make turkey gravy at Thanksgiving one year and I have been hooked ever since.

My next recipe does not have any sherry in it but it probably would be a good addition if you so desire! This one is BRAISED LEEKS. Yep. Another leek recipe. They just looked so good at the farmer's market this past Saturday so I had to get some.

Braised leeks:
4 leeks, cut lengthwise and rinsed well.
beef stock or broth (I used broth)
grated cheese (the original recipe called for Gruyere but I didn't have that so I used Asiago, another new love of mine!)

Put the leeks in a pyrex or casserole dish/pan. Boil the beef stock/broth and pour over the leeks. Put in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes or until the leeks look cooked. Sprinkle cheese on top and broil.

The taste reminded us of French onion soup. Yummy! The original recipe is from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Enjoy!

As you may be able to tell from this and other posts, we are making the journey to embracing more traditional and "real" foods while I also purge our clutter and organize our home (with a squirmy baby on my lap...). The eBook I mentioned earlier can be found at Modern Alternative Mama. She has recipes for french fries and fried chicken and, of course, the chocolate chip cookies! If you're looking for a good list of transitional foods, check this out. Until the 25th, there is a 25% off offer as well. There is also a giveaway in progress for a copy of this at Kitchen Stewardship. And please, come back and tell me what you think?

As for me and my house, it's baby feeding time! Have a blessed day!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The most AMAZING chicken soup EVER!

Today I accomplished what I never would have thought possible just 5 years ago. I made chicken soup from scratch. Without a recipe. Am I good or what?

This was no ordinary chicken soup, mind you. Oh no.

This was about a week in the making.


Last week I made homemade chicken stock following the recipe in Nourished Traditions by Sally Fallon. The recipe was roughly this (I never follow a recipe exactly if I want it to turn out well):
1 whole chicken cooked in the crock pot all day- used pastured chicken from my friends farm
bones from a preciously cooked chicken-I had this frozen
filtered water to cover
some carrots, celery and onions
sea salt ( a little) -I used Redmond Real Salt
a pair of chicken feet - yes, you read that right. I used chicken feet. After I washed them of course...

Cooked this in the crock pot on low for almost 2 days.
Strained out all the stuff. Strained it again. Put it in the fridge to "gel."
Some recipes call for removing the hardened fat after it cool sin the fridge but I like fat. So it stayed. There really wasn't that much anyway.

Then today, I put another whole chicken in a big soup pot with enough water to cover half of the chicken. I added some more sea salt. I let it simmer for a few hours until the meat was falling apart. Then I strained out the chicken with a bowl under a colander. The broth went back in the pot. I pulled the meat off the chicken and added roughly half of it back in later.

First, I added a few ladle-fuls of the stock I made last week. Turned the heat back on and added a few cut up stalks of celery, 3 or 4 sliced carrots, and a chopped up sweet onion. I let this simmer until the onions were translucent and then I added the chicken back in.

Then I let this simmer for about an hour or so. About a half hour before I served it I added a bunch of sliced up napa cabbage and cooked it long enough for it to be completely wilted and soft enough for my babies to eat it. I didn't add anymore seasoning to any of this after the initial salt I added to the chicken this morning.

This turned out to be the most divine tasting soup I've ever made or had. Perfect flavor. Everything just tender enough. Just yummy!

As you can tell by now, I don't really follow recipes unless I am baking. I spent years watching cooking shows and reading cook books beforeI ever really started cooking anything. My attempts to cook in the distant past were disasters and I stopped cooking. Then one day I decided to make lamb. I had read about something called "de-glazing" although I had never made gravy or anything like it. But I had some mushrooms and some wine and I went to town. I couldn't believe my eyes (or taste buds) when I made "gravy" for my lamb chops and it was great! Since then, I have been cooking sans recipes because every time I follow a recipe, the food gets ruined and we end up with take out. Like the "roasted" chicken I made about 2 months ago. Followed the recipe to a "T." I wish I had a picture. Just think about the turkey on Christmas Vacation. Yeah. That bad. So I just cook my chickens in the crock pot or in a pot of water with some sea salt, and voila, I have the most tender, delicious chicken ever. I don't eat the skin so the lack of browned skin is no, uh, skin off my nose. Sorry. Didn't have a better analogy or whatever you call that. (It is after midnight, you know...)

I will say that baking is another story. There is a lot of chemistry involved in baking so I don't do much tweaking with those recipes, but I'm not a big baker anyway. I like to make choc-oat-chip cookies and that's about it. I've been trying to master bread making but most of my loaves taste really god but have the heft of a loaf of lead! I'll keep trying because there is just nothing like fresh warm bread and butter with a steaming bowl of chicken soup!

What's your best "recipe?"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Challenging challenge!

Hi! This is week one of my "Maximize Your Mornings" challenge and I gotta say, I'm not doing so great. Getting up early before the kids do is a lofty goal for me. I am NOT a morning person. Especially when I have a one year old who doesn't want to sleep through the night. Ugh.

Yesterday, I took the girls out only for them to fall asleep in the car (it was naptime and I was on a quest to get garlic to plant in my garden) so I could actually go anywhere and get OUT of the car! But, I did score a load of Korean garlic to plant this week. According to my farmer friend, you are supposed to plant garlic on Columbus Day. Of course, I didn't have any to plant until yesterday and then today, being an absolutely gorgeous fall day would have been perfect for planting, or applepicking! I, however, had to work today and tomorrow they are calling for rain and cold. So, I will pray that the "bad" weather doesn't start until later in the day and that I can plant my garlic while the girls take their morning nap. Let's just hope that this isn't one of those "no" answers to prayer!

I guess part of getting up early in the morning is going to bed early. Seeing as how it's 11:38 on my clock, I have certainly gone past "going to bed early" once again. Problem is that I am afraid to pray for discipline to get up early and go to bed on time, because then you just know that God will give me an "opportunity" to learn discipline. That type of "opportunity" usually isn't pleasant, either, even if it is invaluable and very much needed. Lately I have been feeling the pressure of discipline in so many other arenas of life, that getting out of bed in the morning just doesn't hold the appeal it might have at another time in my life. That said, I would still like to attain it, if only to be able to say that I did it. I am hoping that it actually provides the benefits that it's supporters swear that it does.

If you are interested in rolling out of bed with the roosters, check out Inspired to Action. Just might change your life! I'm still deciding...

Monday, October 11, 2010

A new challenge!

So I am subscribed to a blog called Inspired to Action and today is "Motivation Monday" where we are challenged to do something to improve ourselves as mom's or just as a woman of God I suppose! My ultimate goal is to GET UP EARLY! That, however did not happen today. In fact, my dear sweet husband took the twins downstairs this morning and let me sleep for another hour! (And let me just say that when you are as sleep deprived as I am, that feels like a heavenly treat!)

What I did do today was to get out of the house! I know that doesn't sound like much but I tend to get so caught up on keeping a schedule with the girls that I never get around to getting out. It's only when I absolutely have to that I ever manage to pack everyone up and move 'em on out.

So today I did it simple. Simplicity is what I am ultimately striving for anyway, right? I put Annabeth's coat on, left Molly in her jammies and we walked down the driveway to watch the backhoe dig a ditch along our driveway. Sounds really exciting, doesn't it? But, it's a beautiful day outside and we live in the country a bit so it was extra nice to be outside. We even collected little acorn "men." You know, the ones with their "hats" still on? They're all over the driveway. In fact, I feel really bad for the ones that are starting to sprout in the driveway because they will never have a fair chance of becoming a big old oak tree. So I threw as many of them as I could up on the bank to give them a chance to live too! Don't trees have a right to life too?

God's love was shining down on us as we explored the front yard and as I plucked stuff out of the twins mouths as they tried to taste the world! It was a perfect little interlude between breakfast and nap time. I'm hoping the weather holds so we can take a walk up to the farm around the bend after naps are over!

I have also started a meal plan for the week. There are so many meal planning sites out there. I've looked at a few of them. Some of them have you cook and freeze for later in the month. That sounds like a great idea but my freezer is packed at the moment so I am trying to eat out of it instead of trying to fill it up right now. Some have you plan around sales, but I never got a paper yesterday and usually what they have on sale is "manufactured" food which I am trying to avoid.

Weston A Price has some articles on planning real food meals and I also found something on real food on a budget the other day. Now if only I could find that site again... If I have one problem with the internet, it's that I always seem to end up doing "tangential surfing" and I end up on these really great sites but I can never remember how I got there or how to get back! I definitely need to start writing this stuff down! I suppose this is what happens when pencil and paper girl meets the online community!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're number 11! Huh?

Here's a post I'm sharing from Chuck Colson. I love listening to his spots on Family Life Network's radio station. I may not always agree 100% but I think this is a good reminder of why our country is so down and some motivation to help us get back up. I hope folks listen to what he is saying. There is a link to a NYT op-ed piece in Mr. Colson's article titled "We're No. 1(1)!"-good read! Have great day!

Here's the link to the letter from Chuck Colson:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Progress, how to save a dime and a giveaway!

Progress is putting books away ON A SHELF!
Progress is actually filing papers IN A FOLDER!
Progress is RECYCLING recipes you will never make!
Progress is GETTING RID OF magazines you will never read again (or maybe even the first time)!

See? I promised to write about how I am doing with my paper purge week and I am! How cool is that?

Well, it's not like my house was totally overrun with papers, it's just that my dining room table always has piles of various sorts. Whenever we need to use the table, the piles get relocated, but never really dealt with. And sometimes those piles never make it back to the table but somehow new ones grow in their place. It's amazing how fast paper multiplies.
So, I'd say I have half of the stuff off of the table and into proper homes today. I have to confess, I didn't spend the whole day doing this. I was only half-hearted about it really. It was just too nice outside and I rarely have the energy to get out of the house with the twins so today we went to the park. It was a glorious day!
Part 2:
Ok, so how to save a dime, or maybe 3160 of them to be exact. (That's 316 dollars in case you are taking your shoes off right now...)

If you have car insurance and own a home, you should look into contacting one of the online sites that compare insurance quotes for you. I did it through Swagbucks. They have an offers page where you can earn swagbucks for accepting an offer, which in this case, involved entering my information online for Einsurance. I earned a bunch of swagbucks and got A LOT of insurance quotes.

For me, Traveler's came in at the lowest rates, $300 less than my current auto insurance! I was all ready to convert my policy so I called my insurance company to cancel. Just for kicks I had them re-run my information to see if they could get my rate lowered. I didn't tell them what the Traveler's quote came in at. They BEAT IT by $16. That may not seem like much but it meant that I didn't have to switch carriers, fill out a bunch of paper work and set up automatic drafts again. The biggest benefit is that since I have been a customer for a while, I have accident forgiveness.

I don't think $316 is chump change so I am happy about this. It lowers my monthly payment about $30. And since I only "work" 2 days a week, every penny counts.

I actually did this last year and saved money again by calling my insurer and checking the policy rates. I didn't do it on purpose this time, thinking there was no way the rate would be so much lower than it currently is.

So, my question is, why wasn't my rate lower to begin with? Why do I have to shop around and then come back and ask for it to be lowered? My car certainly isn't getting younger or hotter and I haven't been in an accident or gotten a ticket. Shouldn't it go down every year, not up??? I don't get it.

Now I am getting a new policy on my home owners insurance also. The company I have been with for auto insurance came in with a quote that is about $150 less than our home owners inurance and we will also get a discount for having auto insurance with them. I am looking forward to saving around $500 a year total when all is said and done. Checking out Einsurance was certainly worth it for me! And now I have enough swagbucks to get a few Amazon gift certificates!

Part 3:
The giveaway!

Ok, so it's not MY giveaway. (You really don't want what I have any how:)
I am really NOT savy about inserting a link into a blog so try this: Nutrition Class. Did it work? If not, copy and paste and look for the Real Food nutrition ecourse giveaway.

All this week, Katie at Kitchen Stewardship is giving away back-to-school items. Today's giveaway is a Real Food nutrition ecourse produced by the Food Renegade. You can find them both on Facebook also. Great places to find information about REAL FOOD. Like butter. MMMMmmm butter. And bacon. MMMMmmmmm bacon. I am SO into this right now.

If you homeschool or if you just want to learn more about nutition, this course looks like it would be great. You can read a sample chapter of the book it is based on first. There is also a link to a detailed course description. Enter to win a FREE course! Then again, I want to win, which is part of the reason I am posting this. So if YOU win, you have to fill me in on all of the gory details, ok?? Good luck!

So for tonight, I am signing off. God bless you and goodnight!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The worst blogger on earth...

So, one of these days I will learn to be consistent! Maybe when the babies are older and my laundry is caught up and I don't have to cook breakfast/lunch/dinner and the dishes do themselves and I catch up on the gazillion emails in my inbox... Wow! How do these women make time to blog every day? And do all of the things they are apparently doing???
I bought a "MomAgenda" planner to help me pull myself together. But I still lug around a big black "Miche" bag along with my purse for all of the books and notebooks and music I seem to be incapable of being without. I bought two blue plastic boxes in order to organize my bill paying "system" (I call it that lightly these days) and there they sit on my table next to the box that they were supposed to replace. I need to put "write to do list" on my "to do list!"
It is painfully obvious that there is no product/system/gadget/book, etc., that is going to get me organized or purge my clutter or fix my diet and my waistline. I was reading tonight on the "Small Notebook" site about purging papers and getting rid of things that seem impossible to get rid of, like every card your grandmother gave you. Seems reasonable. And prudent. Expecially given that the paper clutter is my husband's biggest complaint.
I refuse to believe that I am the only paper "addict" out there. In fact, having been a homecare nurse for 14 years, I know for a fact that I am not. In fact, compared to some folks, I am immaculately clutter free! (kind of like "relative morality?" -but we won't go there now....) But that is no excuse. I really must put on my big girl panties and get to work!
First things first-this week is officially paper purge week! I will have three days to do this. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday will be my paper purging days. AND I WILL BLOG ABOUT IT EACH DAY. To prove that I am serious, I just entered it in my "MomAgenda" planner, ha! It's the first thing on the page. If I knew where my camera was and could get the darn thing to upload photos, I'd show you. Maybe that will be on the agenda next week. You'll just have to "listen" to me for now. Use your imagination. Engage your brain!
Anyone else addicted to paper? Want to start a support group?
My first project will be the dining room table. And I promise to take a picture before and after like she did on Small Notebook. Eventually I will post it. Pinky swear.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Delaware County Fair

Today we ventured to Walton, NY for the Delaware County Fair. Having been to the Harford Fair earlier this week in Harford, PA, I figured it would just be another version of that. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised!
If you have never been to the Delaware County Fair and you live in or near the Catskill region of Upstate NY, you are missing out. For a county fair, this was not only a big fair, but well organized, very clean, super friendly, and there was a lot to see and do besides the midway. The areas which house the animals being shown are extremely clean, similar to my experience at the NYS Fair in Syracuse. We visited the petting area where there were the usual goats and sheep but also some very tame mama pigs with their piglets, a couple of Clydesdales that were just the biggest, sweetest lovers, a mama donkey and her foal, chicks, ducklings, bunnies and more. I had more fun in the petting zoo than the babies did!
In the dairy barn we met Sunshine, a big beautiful black and white dairy cow (a Holstein?- I didn't ask). She is due in about 10 days but she was sweet enough to allow the babies to sit in the hay next to her ENORMOUS pregnant belly and have her picture taken with the babies. She was beautiful. That's really a big compliment from me as I am not a dairy cow fan, having lived down the road from them for a bit in Greene, NY. My husband actually turned to me and said, "We have to get a cow!" Well, as long as we also get a goat because I actually prefer fresh goat's milk!
At the "Wandering Cowboy" I finally got my cowgirl hat. The proprietor of the business helped me pick out a hat and a hat band. We commiserated over not being able to see Lady Antebellum tonight. Me, because I didn't get tickets in time and my husband's band is playing tonight, and he, because he is working at the booth. I did clue him in to the fact that they will be at Chevy Court at the State Fair on September1st. If you haven't been to the State Fair I will clue You in too-no tickets are needed for Chevy Court! It's free seating. You just have to get there early to get a seat. So if you see me there-say hi! And jsut to make my day, the "Wandering Cowboy" threw in my hat band for free as long as I promised to wear my hat onstage when I am out singing. So if you see me with my hat next time James and I play, now you'll know why! I feel more like a cowgirl everyday. Now if I could only find my horse....
Lunch was at the New Hope Church pancake tent! At 3pm we were eating biscuits and gravy with homefries (hashbrowns really) with coffee. Yum! I gotta learn to make homemade buiscuits and gravy. Maybe in my free time.
And the icing on the cake was finding a handmade quilt for our new log bed that we bought in Lake George on vacation this year. It's a beautiful king size "Yo-Yo" quilt with a blue plaid background and yo-yo's in every color imaginable so it will really go with anything and everything that I might like to put on the bed with it. If you are not a quilter (neither am I) and you don't know what yo-yo's are, they kind of look like a gathered button made of fabric that is then tacked onto the quilt. On my quilt they are about 2-3 inches in diameter and spaced about 2 inches apart. On a king size quilt there are A LOT of yo-yo's! I can't imagine how long it took to make and she did it by hand! We will have this quilt forever. My children will have to fight over it when I die. Perhaps I will give it to the child who treats me the best in my fragile old age... It's already on my bed completing my log cabin look! I love it! (Oh yeah, we actually DO live in a log cabin, duh...)
The day was rounded out by a pretzel dog on a stick, a gigunda fruit smoothie and, of course, deep fried Oreo's! I intended on getting my fried Oreo fix at the Harford Fair but none of us spotted them until we were walking out. The stand I bought my Oreo's at also had deep fried Snickers, Pop Tart's and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! I would have given in to my deep fried obsession if I hadn't been reading "The Maker's Diet" on the way to the fair! So I settled for the Oreo's since that's what's been on my mind all week. And now I am good until next year. Or at least until the NYS Fair at the end of the month! Then it'll be fried scallops and oysters (which aren't on the "Maker's Diet" either, but hey, a girl's gotta live!)...
So the Delaware County Fair is a keeper in my book. We will certainly be back next year. And then I will once again have to choose between the Snickers, the PB&J, the Pop Tarts, and the Oreo's. Decisions, decisions...
Maybe we'll be showing our new cow...
P.S. check back again in a day or so as I may have figured out how to upload my photos by then. I am about ready to throw the computer out the window right now...

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm offically a musician!

So, one of my dreams has been to start playing as a duo with my husband, Jim. He's been in a band "Old Friends" in one way shape or form for over 20 years. They are pretty successful locally and have a good following from Syracuse, NY to Scranton,PA. They've even played at a beach house in the Hamptons which was kind of cool (except that it was really sad to see the way they have ruined the beach with rows of actually made me cry to see it).
After meeting my hubby and hearing him play for the first time, I kind of got the bug to start playing my guitar again. Except that I didn't have one anymore. So he bought me a really sweet Taylor and I started practicing and taking lessons again. Turns out that the same guy I took lessons with as a teenager plays with my husband and his band. Huh. Did I mention that my husband is 14 years older than I am ?
Then my husband (then boyfriend-that sounds funny now) let me get up and sing a song with the band. And what did I do? Pulled the mic right out of the stand, disconnecting it right in the middle of the song! Oh yeah, they're not all cordless like on karaoke night...Oops!
Over the past 4 years my desire to go out and play music has grown and my husband and I got our feet wet playing at the local nursing home where I was working. My mom "hired" us to play for one of her church-lady meetings for St Patrick's Day (we do some Irish music since that's his band's specialty). And then I got to sit in as a member of the band last year for a gig when the other guitar player couldn't be there. That was nerve-wracking!
So now Jim and I are officially up and running as a duo. Last night we played our second gig at McGirk's Irish Pub in Chenango Bridge, NY. I have to admit that I have kind of forced my husband to do this. Not that he didn't want to but he and his ex-wife used to have a country band that broke up when they did and I think he kind of had a sense of "here we go again." Except that I'm not her and he's not the man he used to be (in a REALLY good way!). I was "threatening" ( I say that only half jesting-when I want something-I WANT IT!) to go out and find my own band if he didn't do this so I guess he figured what the heck. I wouldn't want to do this without him anyway. He's the one who created this beast. The least he can do is help feed the darn thing!!
Thankfully, Jim is an excellent guitar player because my skills leave much to be desired. I tend to get lost because I like listening to him play and then I lose my place or forget to come in singing! I guess it's good that I like to listen to him but when you're the show, paying attention is helpful... Needless to say, we are a work in progress.
Naming our duo is maybe the biggest challenge we have. Well, that and the fact that I am terrible at harmonizing-I mean, come on, I want to sing the MELODY! Seriously I have thrown out dozens of names, even going so far as to hold a "Name the Band" contest with our friends on Facebook and still no luck. Jim is calling us "The Hull's" and we're listed as just Jim & Liz Hull on the ad's. I like "James & Elizabeth." I also like "North Creek" -it's actually the name of the town we just vacationed in in the Adirondak's-but he thinks it's too close to his ex-country band's name "North Country." I say, whatever! (lol) That band had been defunct for something like 10+ years. It may actually be more like 14. So then I came up with Crazy Creek. Saw that on a sign also! We are certainly crazy! I am just calling us "The Whatever's" for now. Maybe someone can come up with a great name and send it to me in a comment. That is, if anyone actually reads my posts!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Let's try this again...

Once every 3 or 4 months isn't bad right? I have no idea how other folks post daily when they are caring for their children and other ventures. I am in awe.

That said....

We are now on the "Real Food" journey. Don't ask me where this started but somewhere along the line I started reading about real food and then I started reading Nourished Kitchen's blog, signed up for an online class (which I am taking the sllllloooowwww way...), picked up a copy of "Nourishing Traditions" and here we are. Gotta love eating fat again! Butter makes everything better, doesn't it? And cream top yogurt? Heaven!

My motivation for this is to provide the girls with the best start nutritionally that I can. They like egg yolks and even ate some of the liver I made for them. They eat the plain full fat yogurt that I buy (haven't gotten to making yogurt yet) and I have started buying raw goat's milk for them as well. They get butter on all their veggies and I have stopped giving them grain cereals except for soaked oats and whatever is in their little snack "puffs"-there are TWO of them you know, and sometimes a mom's gotta do...

I am still trying to figure out what keep s giving Annabeth diaper rash. She eats so many different things (like the stuff that Daddy and Grandma sneak to her and Molly). Annabeth definitely is prone to rashes and breaks out from seemingly phantom contact with things in her environment. This does seem to be somewhat improved with the elimination of "baby" cereal. But she has been this way since birth. I am praying to avoid full-blown eczema.

Molly is still a month or so behind Annabeth in development but she is doing more and more everyday. She is 3-4 pounds lighter but her head circumference and length are within a half inch of Annabeth. Her feet are literally half the size of her sister's. Sometimes it seems as if I have a 3 year old and an infant. They are so different! Having twins is such a joy!

So let's see if I can (finally) keep up with posts. Maybe someone will actually read this!

God bless you!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Picking myself up by the bootstraps...

So, it's been what? Five months since my last post? Life sort of gets away from you that way, doesn't it? So this will be brief.

Twins are 8 months old. They are hands down the cutest babies in the world. As James says, sorry to all the runnersup. Or is it runnerups? Either way, I love these little people that God gave me to raise. The fact that there are two of them blows me away everyday. He trusted me with A LOT! It's a cliche, I know, but it's a privilege to be the mom of twins.

Annabeth Grace has been pulling up to stand for three weeks+ and can now let go and stand for a few seconds. I predict he will be walking by 9 months. Molly just rolled over from her back to belly for James about 2 days ago but has yet to do it again. She did, however, pull up to stand tonight. She was sitting in my lap and pulled up on the plastic bin in front of us that I was putting their clothes in. She was so proud of herself, smiling. She did it at least 5 times. I feel like the only mama in the world! And here I am, the one who is always saying that everyone acts as if they are the first mom/dad to have a baby ever... And these aren't even my first babies! So pathetic...

I am working full time and hating it. How does anyone work full time with twins and get any semblance of sleep? Let alone get housework done or time alone with the hubs or anything other than work and babycare? I think I'd have to get up at 4 am in order to get out of the house on time in the morning. And then it would still be questionable. They always wake up just as I am getting ready to get out of bed. I am pretty sure they have mom-dar. They have baby walkie-talkies and they say stuff like, " ok, I just nursed. She's gonna get up in 3 minutes. Start crying now and she'll nurse you too..." It's baby sabotage every morning. I cannot get a shower, wash my hair AND remember everything I am supposed to bring with me that day. It's one or the other. The "other" days mean that I have to come back home during the day sometime to get my pump, my cell phone, my laptop, my purse, my bag, my calendar, or, Lord help me, put my underwear on the right way...

So it's 11:20pm, I am sitting at my bomb shelter/diningroom table, and James is sitting across from me on another laptop watching some crazy news shows. In fact, just took a break to watch the gay weatherman freak out over a cockroach on set. This is how we bond nowadays. That, and sending Facebook messages back and forth. Yes, also sitting across the table from each other on our laptops. Gotta love modern romance.

Perhaps we will bring the "real" computer downstairs and set it up by the next timeI post and I can add pics of the babies (let's be honest, no one really wants to see us). We've only been talking about it for 6 months...