Monday, March 5, 2012

Life Happens

Life has been incredibly busy for us lately. We have had family sickness both immediate and extended, resulting in a very busy mommy trying to keep up with it all. One day I did 26 loads of laundry! Poor Olivia had her first real gastrointestinal "bug" and Henry caught a nasty little cough, both are now well on there way to recovery. This mommy could do with never seeing another "Winnie the Pooh" cartoon again in her life though! It was Olivia's chant the whole time she was sick "Pooh Bear, Oh Pooh Bear Please!". Thankfully we are now on the other side of this whole ordeal though and she is again happily playing all day long with no "toons". Daddy celebrated her recovery buy buying the most adorable 100% cedar playhouse for her that we found at Costco, for a very very good price. She played in it all day yesterday and has been begging to go out today, but since it is pouring with rain and her cough is not quite gone, inside she stays.
 The packaging says "Wood from Sustain-ably Forested Trees", which I am hoping is true. I was excited to have it be real cedar so she won't be breathing in all the plastic from a cheaper, plastic house, also this is 100% biodegradable!

On the bright side, our chickens egg production is picking up and I am able to sell eggs to pay for our expensive but healthy feed. We use scratch and peck, which is non-gmo, organic, soy free feed. I truly believe we are what we eat, which includes what we are feeding the animals we eat. I am excited to be able to sell people food that is so good for them, and does not cost a fortune. We added six new chicks to raise our chicken count to 20. We purchased two rhode island reds, two white leghorns and two americana's (easter egg layers). I am excited for them to start laying in six months. The accountants and I's dream is to one day own enough land to raise pastured chickens for eggs and meat and some cows. Perhaps one day!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fred Meyer Organic Deals for the Week of Feb 18, 2012

Life around our house has been crazy lately, but I still want to share good prices that I find with you...on that note here are the Fred Meyer deals for the week:

Wild Alaska True Cod Fillets 3.99 per pound
Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon 4.99 per pound
Wild Northwest Cooked Shrimp Meat 3.99 per pound
Organic Hass Avocados 4 for $5
Organic Fuji, Gala or Braeburn Apples 1.28 per pound
Organic Broccoli or Cauliflower $1.88 per pound
Organic Grape Tomatoes 2 for $4
Organic Naturally Preferred Frozen Fruit $2.99 per package
Muir Glen Organic Pasta Sauce $2.99 each

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Organic Food Deals for the Week of Feb 15, 2012


Organic Pink Lady or Braeburn Apples 99 cents per pound
Organic Navel Oranges $1.29 per pound
Organic Heirloom Tomatoes $3.99 per pound
Organic Red or Green Leaf Lettuce 1.69 each

Top Foods:

Wild Alaskan Cod Fillets $4.99 per pound


Organic Navel Oranges 10 for $10
Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon $3.99 per pound
Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips 2 for $5
Organic Strawberries 16 ounces $3.99

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Progress On Re Arranging the Living Space

The house had begun to feel stale. Like the decor was in need of a face lift. We don't have the extra money to go buy anything new, but I decided it could feel better than it did, by moving it around. Progress so far is a very tidy pantry, a reading nook for Olivia, seating that induces conversation with visitors, and a designated play area for miss Olive. Here are the photo updates...First project, take the two darling children and occupy them...

Tami...this play gym is a life saver for me with Henry, he LOVES it!

First the before pictures...let me know if you think it has improved some! 

Here are the after pictures. First is miss O's designated play area
 Here is miss O and mommy's reading area...
 The cozy, conversation inducing area...
 A place for everything...including boots for the backyard...
 Ah...much better. Not done yet. Still need to hang a few pictures and finish organizing but almost there! I hope to spend the rest of the day finishing. It is my valentines day gift to my husband who LOVES organization and clean homes.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fred Meyer Organic Deals Week of Feb 12, 2012

Organic Minneola Tangelos 99 cents per pound
Organic Anjou Pears 99 cents per pound
1.5 lb Organic Fingerling Potatoes $2.50
Food Should Taste Good (GMO free) chips 2 for $5

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week of Feb 7, 2012 Organic Grocery Sales

Top Foods:

Organic Navel Oranges $1 per pound
Wild Planet Sardines 2/$5 dollars (great deal!)
Yami Organic Yogurt buy one get one free
Full Circle Organic Frozen Fruit 10 ounces $2.99 each


Organic Fuji Apples 10 pounds for $10 dollars
Natures Path Organic Cereal 2 for $5
Tom's of Maine deodorant and toothpaste 40% off
Organic Hass Avocados 2 for $4

Wild Alaskan Salmon Fillets $8.99 per pound previously frozen
Organic Minneolas (oranges) 99 cents per pound
Organic Hass Avocados 2 for $3
Alexia Frozen Potatoes $2.49 for 24 ounces (with coupon)

Food's That Help You Sleep

Having a toddler that has yet to "sleep through the night" has often been a challenge, but I have begun to find it more so with tax season upon us and a more absent husband, who when he is home NEEDS his sleep. For the longest while I thought O's frequent awakenings at night were normal,then I gave birth to Henry, who from day one has slept all night long. This got me thinking and researching what O might be lacking that would help her sleep at night. My search led me to serotonin and melatonin production in toddlers and eventually to foods that increase that production. I have been keeping track in a little book of what I feed her and which nights she sleeps better (meaning she only wakes up once or twice as opposed to every hour after midnight). To my relief I have found that the melatonin and serotonin producing foods increase her sleep at night! Needless to say I have begun to incorporate as many of these foods into her diet as possible. I will share them with you here.

Let me start with the fact that tryptophan is an amino acid. This amino acid is used by the body to make serotonin, the precursor to melatonin, your sleep inducing hormone. Serotonin affects neurotransmitters by "slowing down nerve traffic", in other words calming down your brain. Tryptophan is found in milk, seafood, meats, peanuts and eggs. The key to consuming tryptophan is not to eat it alone. It must be consumed with carbohydrates to activate its calming effect. Eaten alone most proteins will actually wake up your brain (due to the amino acid tyrosine, which with no carbs on board will over rule the tryptophan). Dairy, which contains calcium, is the most effective sleep inducing food since calcium combined with tryptophan increases the production of melatonin in the brain. 

Vitamin B5:
This vitamin is required for the synthesis of the hormone melatonin. Deficiency of this vitamin is virtually unheard of but just for some good information it is found in high amounts in the following foods:
liver and kidney, yeast, egg yolk, broccoli, fish, shellfish, chicken, milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potatoes, and unrefined whole grains.

A fact I found interesting is that melatonin is produced in the pineal gland AND in the gut. A child with a compromised gut or "leaky gut syndrome" may have issues producing melatonin and therefore may not sleep as well at night. Melatonin is found in the following foods:
 (my reference list has a website with herbs and seeds that contain large amounts of it also)
·        Almonds
·        Sunflower Seeds
·        Cherries
·        Oats
·        Rice
·        Tomato
·        Ginger
·        Banana

As we continue our journey towards O sleeping better at night I am sure I will have more to share! Thanks for listening.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Few Fantastic Food Deals for This Week

Fred Meyers:

Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye or Troll Caught Silver Salmon $4.99 per pound

Wild Alaska True Cod Fillets $4.99 per pound

Top Foods:

Organic Yellow Onions for less than $1 per pound

Organic Potatoes on sale for a great price that I can't remember now and did not write down!

Organic Boxed Spinach for $2 per box

Friday, February 3, 2012

Best Food Sources of Calcium (non-dairy)

Young collard plants growing in a container
Image via Wikipedia
If you are like me when you think of calcium you think of milk (because of all that good milk industry advertising) and when asked what other food sources are a good calcium source you might be at a bit of a loss. I recently did a little research on other good food sources of calcium and this is what I found.

  Wild Sardines canned-300mg per 3 ounce serving. Canned Salmon have 100mg per serving, plus you have vitamin D which is essential for proper calcium absorption.

White Beans, Black Eyed Peas: 150-250mg per cup of cooked beans

Kale, bok choy and spinach- 150 -250 mg of calcium per cup. Collard Greens-350mg of calcium per cup. Cooking has no effect on the calcium levels. Greens also provide vitamin k, which is essential for bone mineralization

Sesame seeds:
150mg pf calcium per  Organic Tahini  that you can put in hummus is a winner!

Blackstrap Organic Molasses Unsulphured :
1 tablespoon has 172 mg of calcium, compare that to 300mg in an 8 ounce glass of milk...2 tablespoons gives you more than a glass of milk!

Other surprising sources:

Oranges, thyme, oregano, dill, cinnamon, celery, cabbage, brussel sprouts and crimini mushrooms

Facts about Calcium:

  • Vitamin D is needed to facilitate and accelerate absorption of calcium from the gastrointestinal tract
  • High intake of caffeine and protein increases excretion of calcium through the urinary system
  • When your dietary intake of calcium is low your body pulls calcium from your bones so your body can continue to function. Calcium is needed for blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, cell membrane function and enzyme regulation. Those are important things!


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Before the Redecorating and Organizing of the House

 I have decided to move all the furniture around and redecorate the house. Here are all my before pictures. Sometime next week I will post the after pictures. Take note all my furniture and most of the decor are vintage, hand me downs, goodwill, thrift or Ikea finds. Feel free to post suggestions or ideas. I main priority is the living space downstairs so that is all I have posted pics of. Upstairs will be a project for another week!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Care and Keeping of Ducks

Why ducks?

First I would like to mention I did not choose to raise ducklings. My original ducklings were a gift from my father on mother's day to add to my farm. They started as a joke which I thought was a large inconvenience but I have come to LOVE them! Here are a few facts as to why:

  • Ducks are hardy, inexpensive and easy to care for
  • They live up to 20 years
  • They require minimal housing
  • They do not require a pond or other body of water as commonly thought, only a small bucket to dip their heads in for preening
  • Are disease resistant to fleas, ticks and parasites
  • Are not smelly like chickens

  • Are very social (you must always keep ducks in pairs, not alone)
  • Are highly intelligent
  • Ducks love greens and will keep your yard free of weeds
  • They also LOVE snails and slugs

So I have convinced you ducks are lovely creatures, now how do you care for them?

Housing: Protected from predators, weather. I used a cardboard box and then a larger plastic container. Should be well ventilated with lots of light. Keep clean ( I found I had to clean my box daily as the ducklings are messy little things.)
Bedding: Straw or Hay only. Wood chips and shavings can cause severe health issues. (They like to eat the wood shavings, bad for baby ducks!)
Feed: Always feed unmedicated feed. For the first two weeks after you get freshly hatched ducklings they should be fed duck starter, then for weeks 3-7 a duck grower, after they are 7 weeks they can eat the chicken pullet grower. Ducklings also require GRIT which helps them grind food up in their gizzards.
Water: They require a constant fresh supply AND a drowning proof container, never leave ducklings unattended near open water, they can and will drown.
Heat: The first week they need around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Then decrease by 5 degrees per week until you reach 55 degrees. This is the perfect temp for adult ducks. Decrease the heat by slowly raising the heat lamp. You will know the heat is appropriate for the ducklings if they are moving around freely happily eating and drinking. It is too hot if they are spread as far away from the heat as they can get and too cold if they are huddled under it.

Adult Ducks:
Need protection from weather extremes, clean drinking water, company, adequate light to lay eggs. Are adorable cute and loyal!


Here is a link to a great chart of the nutritional value of duck eggs. Click here for the link.

My take away from the above link is the following pointers:

Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs. The white tends to be more gelatinous, and the yolks are a brighter yellow and larger. The shells are tougher, which gives them a longer shelf life than chicken eggs. " Scrambled or in omelets, duck eggs are well complemented by onionspeppersmushrooms, or cheeses.  Professional bakers are said to prefer duck eggs because of their rich yolks and because the baked goods have better texture and hold their shape better." Everything you do with a chicken egg can be done with a duck egg. Of note, the water content in duck eggs is lower so they are easier to overcook and can become rubbery.

Best Breeds for Egg Laying:

Runner Ducks
Khaki Campbell ( currently own)
Magpie (Currently Own)

Click here for more info on breeds


Monday, January 30, 2012

Learning to "Need" Less

In our family's conversion to a one income family, the biggest challenge has been to learn to "need" less. I put need in quotations because so many of our "needs" we have found are actually "wants". I am not saying in writing this post that we have arrived, what we have done is realize that our "needs" and our "wants" have often confused as being all "needs". We have come to realize that we have so much and we really can live with "less". Our "less" is someone else's luxury.

As a family and as a person we have so much! I have a lovely 1,800 square foot home (that is gorgeous thanks to my husband and father). Yet, I often find myself thinking "If only I had a sun room, or a garage, or bigger children's rooms. We currently have two cars, we are no longer a single car family, but I look at our older (1999 and 1993) cars and think, "I would love a newer car." I look in my closet and even though I am clothed I want more, better, newer clothes, hoping they will make me feel younger, prettier and sexier. We eat mostly organic, whole, grass fed foods, but I find myself thinking, "Am I doing enough? Should we go grain free, dairy free, completely processed food free? Am I missing something that I should be doing?"
I find myself reading, reading, reading, wanting to find the best home school "curriculum", healthy diet, financial plan, home business ideas, child raising ideas and encouragement. When what I really need to do is STOP and listen to the pages of scripture whisper God's promises and warnings in my ear. Today I stopped to listen to a long ago memorized passage. God was, has been, and will continue to whisper it in my ear.

Matthew 6:25-34

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

"And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?'

 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

I am to do the best with what God has given me. Because truly He has given it to me. I might not always get what I WANT but I will always have what I NEED. Although my and God's definition of "need" may be two totally different things. He knows what I need versus what I want.

So this week when I was thinking of that extra $12,000 dollars per year that I think our family needs, I was reminded that God has faithfully provided for us over the past few years without it and He will continue to do so if he wants us to remain as a single income family. How or if that happens are up to Him, I just have to be open to hearing his whispers.

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Menu Plan for the Week of January 29, 2012

Tax season is involving a lot of crockpot meals, since I honestly don't know what time the accountant will be home each day. Which means less cooking for me since a crockpot full of food will last us at least two meals and a few left overs for lunches! With that in mind here is this weeks menu plan:

Sunday: (only day at home for the accountant this week)
Breakfast: Gluten Free Buttermilk pancakes with organic bacon and sausage
Lunch: Grilled raw cheese sandwiches on gluten free bread with sauerkraut and grass fed roast beef
Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry with organic sprouted rice

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and gluten free english muffins
Lunch: Sustainibly caught tuna fish Sandwiches with apples and orange slices
Dinner: Chicken Chili with a side salad

Breakfast: Oatmeal with dried fruit, maple syrup and raw milk
Lunch: Left overs of chicken chili
Dinner: Lentil and Rice Stew

Breakfast: Eggs on Toast with bananas
Lunch: Lunch out with friend
Dinner: Leftovers

 Breakfast and Lunch are a birthday brunch for me at an all organic restaurant! Thank you mom
Dinner: Hamburgers with grass fed beef

Breakfast: Eggs and fruit
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches or salmon sandwiches
Dinner: Homemade pizza with salad

Breakfast: Quiche
Lunch: Salad of some type
Dinner: Spaghetti with peas and corn (frozen veggies from Costco, all organic)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fred Meyer Deals for the Week of January 29, 2012

Avocado's 10 for $10. These are not organic but they are listed on the clean 15 from the environmental group. Being as the organic one's are normally 2 for $5 dollars and the non organic are 2 for $4. This is a fantastic price!

Organic Braeburn or Cameo Apples $1.28 per pound ( top of the list of the dirty dozen. If you eat apples at all they should always be organic!)

Organic Navel Oranges 99 cents per pound

Simple Truth Organic Milk 1/2 gallon $2.68

Nature's Path Organic Frozen Waffles $1.99 ( I don't advocate buying pre made food organic or not, although I have been know to buy these for a quick snack...I don't own a waffle maker..)

Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator a Biokleen product and all other biocleen products are 25% off at Fred Meyer this week

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday: A small part of my day

English: Final baked loaf
Image via Wikipedia
I started my day with a phone call from my mom to go pick up her 80 lbs of local pastured pork. I am so excited to try the sausage she gave me!

Then while mom played with Olivia  I came home with Henry to make a loaf of homemade bread in the breadmaker, lentil chili (our meatless meal for the week, it was supposed to be black bean soup but changed my mind) and blueberry muffins. Yum. I can't wait for dinner tonight.

Then as a perfect start to the evening I got a delivery of our local CSA right to my front door. Thank you Klesick!

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Organic Deals for the Week of January 25, 2012

The logo of Quality Food Centers (QFC), a bann...
Image via Wikipedia
 I've bolded below anything I think is a great price.

Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon previously frozen 3.99 per pound
Organic D'Anjou or Bosc Pears 1.29 per pound
Organic Red or Green Bell Peppers $1.29 each

Organic Braeburn or Fuji Apples $1.49 per pound
Wild Alaska True Cod Fillets $6.99 per pound ( Remember Fred Meyer's has this for $3.99 per pound)
Organic Strawberries $3.99 per pound

Top Foods:
Wild Alaskan True Cod Fillets $6.99 per pound
Penn Cove Fresh Pacific Mussels $3.99 per pound

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Homemade Butter

 Today I had a desire to try and make my own butter. Here is how it turned out...yummy!! I highly recommend attempting some of your own.
 Home-made butter is so easy to make! All you need is some cream and patience.
I made butter today by beating cream for twenty is what it looked like.

 I changed beaters half way through because the kitchen aid was taking too long. The hand held beater worked much better. Notice the butter separating from the leftover milk.

 I separated the whipped butter from the milk through a strainer. Then placed the butter in a bowl in the fridge for use on our homemade bread later in the evening. The milk will be used to cook Olivia's oatmeal in, for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Menu Plan for the Week of January 22, 2012

Sweet Potatoes
Image by sweet mustache via Flickr
Homemade Bread, as needed
Blueberry Muffins

Homemade Granola
Scrambled Eggs
Eggs on Toast
Baked Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts

BLT Sandwich
Salmon Sandwiches

Lemon Baked Cod
Chicken Soup
Black Bean Soup
Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Sweet Potato Oven Baked Fries
Salmon Salad
Chicken Stir Fry

Apples, Oranges, Pears, Raw Cheese, Popcorn, Celery and Carrots
Homemade Cookies

On my grocery list for this week:
Cod fillets (on sale at Fred Meyer)
Bacon Organic, Nitrate Free
Bok Choy
Frozen Blueberries (on sale at Fred Meyer)
Raw Milk and Cream
Organic Apples and Oranges
Pastured Butter

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Local Fred Meyer Deals for the week of Jan 22, 2012

English: Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) f...
Image via Wikipedia
Wild Alaska True Cod Fillets 3.99 per pound
Javatopia Organic Bird Friendly Coffee 6.99 per pound
Private Selection Organic Salad Blends 2 for $5
Naturally Preferred Organic Frozen Fruit 2.99 for 10 ounces
Wild Alaska Whole Sockeye Salmon 4.99 per pound
Wild Northwest Cooked Shrimp Meat 4.99 per pound
Organic Fingerling Potatoes 2 for $5. Each bag is 1.5 pounds
Organic Kiwi 3 for $1
Organic Minneola Tangelos 99 Cents per pound
Organic Valley Milk 1 gallon 4.79
Imagine Organic Soup 32 ounces $2.99
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar 2 for $6 32 ounces
All Frozen Amy's Products are 30 percent off
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7 Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...
Image via Wikipedia
With a little toddler running around I find it helpful to have healthy snacks ready to go for her often growling little tummy. Here are a few of our standbys that she loves and will often beg for more.

  1.  Raw cheese with sliced organic apples and pears
  2.  Sweet potato chips or fries. For the fries I just slice the sweet potatoes thin, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. For the chips I dehydrate thin slices in my oven on the lowest setting for 6 hours. (time will vary with ovens)
  3. Fruit Milkshake. Just combine 1 cup of milk (raw cow, almond, rice, and so forth) in the blender with one cup of frozen fruit and a tablespoon of honey
  4. Frozen banana's dipped in melted high quality organic chocolate then rolled in walnuts and coconut. (This is a summer treat for us)
  5. Home-made honey custard (sorry this is dairy based). I love the recipe from Nourishing Kitchen.
  6. Hummus (or peanut butter) and carrot or celery sticks. Olivia loves celery. 
  7. Kale Chips (One of Olivia's favourites!)

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