The Secret Code Is:

After my post this morning the girls were ready for breakfast and said they wanted waffles. Ummm, alright. Alright would be code for I just cleaned up the kitchen but sure, why not.

Waffle Day

They love to stir while I read the recipe and measure out ingredients for them to add in. Add in is code for play tug of war with a cup of milk.

We used the waffle recipe straight out of the waffle box. The drops of syrup on that recipe is my proof.

2 cups of all purpose flour is code for 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour.
3 tablespoons of sugar is code for 2 tablespoons of Agave Nectar.
1/4 cup of vegetable oil is code for 1/4 cup of canola oil.

Waffle Recipe

That’s right Black and Decker I totally cracked your stinkin’ code!

Maxine, waiting patiently.

Waiting

Maxine, impressed!

Maxine is Impressed!

Ava said these were the best waffles she’s ever eaten. Shhh, don’t tell Kashi we upstaged them.

Ava Is Too

So while I don’t get the wedding gift waffle maker out regularly, sometimes I am motivated. Motivated is code for begged. That recipe made 4 waffles, so there were plenty left over and these are great to pull out and toast up in the toaster oven for a couple more breakfasts and snacks.

Waffles Up Close More for Later

I didn’t have one, I was still happily digging my magenta juice and cantaloupe buzz.

And lesson learned, don’t accidentally leave the far-from-cheap Grade A Maple Syrup unattended while you turn your back for just one second. Turn your back for just one second is code for run off and check your email.

Don't Check Your Email

Now we know.

Waffle mess and syrup covered children cleaned up, it was time to make a big salad mess.

Salad Mess

Red leaf, spinach, carrots, tomato, cuke, sprouts, shredded zucchini and a PURPLE pepper straight from the garden. All ingredients in a large bowl, a little dressing…. Shake, shake, shake… shake shake shake… shake my salad! Right JanethaB? That’s the only way I roll. Roll is code for tossed.

I worked around the house and then it was time to set the kids free of the confines of the house and meet up with my dad at the yacht club for a little pool time.

But first, a snack! And this is where things started to turn eerily familiar.

Snack of Shriveled Stuff

Hmmm, didn’t I have that same salad for lunch yesterday? And I think that shriveled snack of dried apples, raisins and walnuts is a repeat too!

Hey man, if it ain’t broke…

Snack time and then pool time. Pool time would be code for Mama’s undisturbed reading time.

Reading Time

We ended up staying pretty late. My dad was out sailing and it was nearly 7 by the time I convinced them we were packing it up and getting the show on the road. Convinced them is code for drag a reluctant Maxine out of the sandbox and giant play Pirate ship while trying to let her think she’s in charge by giving her the option of going down the slide or walking the plank.

Boy that was some code. But yeah we cracked it! High Five! And she chose to walk the plank in case you’re wondering.

We stayed so late I completely underestimated how hungry I was and how long the car ride home was. In fact, to say I was hungry would be putting it mildly.

My favorite Natalia inspired Hold Me Over snack while I waited for the microwave to do it’s thing. That’d be carrot sticks while waiting for leftovers to heat up, baby!

Carrot Snack

Not pretty but I don’t care. I was hungry! And hungry would of course be code for STARVING.

Leftovers

Did you know that food tastes better when you are hungry? True story. Well, I think it’s a true story, I don’t have a link to any sort of prestigious study to send you to but I know I’ve read that before. Basically it has to do with your hunger hormones, ghrelin probably. As I understand it, it’s nature’s way of encouraging you to eat MORE. If you are really hungry when you sit down to eat your body thinks food is scarce and wants you to tank up. Food tastes better, therefore you eat a lot. Reason #561 not to go too long without eating.

Luckily for my waist line this leftover beauty was pre-portioned out and therefore portion control was built right in.

While I’m not willing to wager a small child on the validity of that little tidbit, I’m fairly positive it’s true. But I’m no RD, I just read a lot. I’m mentioning all this is because I was thinking about that as I was eating the best chili EVER. It certainly seemed true tonight because I was STARVING by the time we got home and this tasted about 100x times better than it was last night. And it was good last night!

It was the best chili I’ve ever eaten.  Shhh… don’t tell the Alison of Christmas Past that I upstaged her.

And now it’s time for bed. No, bed is not code for anything.  I’m just going to bed.

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To Do Lists

Maxine woke me up in the middle of the night last night to accompany her on a trip to the bathroom and for some water.  Instead of falling back to sleep after I got back into bed, I laid awake for well over an hour while my mind went around and around with all the things that have been accumulating on my mental to-do list.

I remembered something I heard Jillian Michaels talk about on her radio show once, that when she can’t sleep she gets up and writes down everything she has to do and then she feels like once it’s written down, she can rest.

Normally a to-do list in my head is all I need, but sometimes it does get too long and I start to feel overwhelmed, so writing it all down can be one way to alleviate some stress. Around 4am I finally got up and put it all on paper, scribbling every task and item that came to mind – even down to the most mundane things like “fold laundry”.

And it worked! I fell back to sleep almost immediately and then next thing I knew it was 8:45! It helped knowing my morning work out has been pushed back to later in the day when my mom comes out to visit with the girls this afternoon.

First thing on my to do list for today?

Make GREEN JUICE.

I’m down to my last two cucumbers from the garden. Being the last two, they are of course the black sheep of cucumbers.

Meet Shorty and his brother Albino.

Black Sheep Cucumbers

Fortunately their stature and color of their skin make no difference to me or the juicer.

Monday Green Juice

Today’s juice contained romaine, cucumbers, an apple, a lemon and some ginger.

We’ve got a couple things going on after lunch but have the morning free to play and work on this to-do list of mine.

Got any good tips or tricks for falling back to sleep?

Don’t Rock the Boat

After breakfast this morning we set out to run a couple of errands and stopped at Zak’s mom’s house before heading home. We were there under the guise of “visiting” but really it was all about torturing chickens.

Peek

Do you see Ms. Maxine in there?

Visit Chickens

Maxine, the girl who doesn’t like to get dirty.

Not Shy

Ava, in her own words, setting “chicken traps”.

Chicken Traps

Chicken Traps = a sea of corn so they’ll be so busy eating they won’t see Maxine coming. Yes, Maxine, the same girl who won’t throw a rock with sand on it.

Pick Up Chickens

I just love to see them scheming already. Why do I have a feeling there will be “Mom Traps” set in the future? Except instead of piles of corn it will be piles of Green & Black dark chocolate and jars of almond butter.

This would be Farrah, named because of her fancy “pants”.

Farrah

After the chicken shenanigans were through, we enjoyed the perfect summer day in the country.

Golden Rod

Chicory Black Eyed Susans

Sea of Queen Anne's Lace

More Queen Anne's Lace More Queen Anne's Lace

Some Purple Flower

View from the hammock.

View from the Hammock
View from the Hammock

And we got to snag these beauties from the garden on the way out of Dodge. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Two Zucchini's and some cukes

Zucchini and cucumbers? I smell dinner and JUICE!

After Kath’s house we stopped to have lunch at the Barbie Cafe.

Lunch at Barbie Cafe

Fortunately I brought my own salad.

Salad for Lunch

But I decided to get some yogurt and granola from Barbie’s place.

Yogurt Granola

Boy, what a bargin for Fage! A little steep for the granola though, especially considering it seemed a lot like something I could just make at home.

0% Fage with homemade granola

Total

Oh look, I’ve got the exact change. How handy.

t$2.25

Shop with Me Barbie

Thanks Barb, you’re such a doll!

For dinner tonight I had big plans to sail away on zucchini boats.

zucchini boats

Because they were so honkin’ big I decided to slice them length wise, seed them and stuff them. I used the same quinoa stuffing recipe I use for stuffing peppers, only today I used green peppers and mushrooms in place of spinach.

Baked at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, I took them out once I could easily stick a fork in the zucchini ship.

No Side Dish Needed

The best part about these? No side dish needed. Beans, quinoa, veggies stuffed in a veggie. Everything you need is right in the boat baby!

I won’t lie. There was something starting with “Green” and ending with “Black” consumed after dinner. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t another vegetable. Although it did start from a bean I suppose. You get three guesses, but the first two don’t count.

And it wasn’t a mom trap either! At least I don’t think it was?

Treasure Hunts

Yesterday’s party started with a treasure hunt, or more accurately, we went letterboxing!

Letter boxing

We traveled around their neighborhood following clues to find our “treasure”, which contains a stamp and a stamp pad. You use the stamp in the box to stamp your letterboxing journal, and then you stamp your own personal stamp on the pad found in the box to show that you’ve been there, for others who find the box to see.

We were instructed to start at Clue 2. Our first stop was a community garden.

community garden

Stop #2, a tree stump in another community garden!

bottom_of_stump

letter_boxing_stop_2

Maxine observed from above.

maxs_ride

Stop Numero 3, a small garden at the back of a church.

letter_boxing_stop_3

Very clever and a lot of fun. What a fabulous way to tire a bunch of kids out though. Make them run and walk a bunch of city blocks!

Letterboxing is a real hobby and there are boxes set up all over for anyone to find. Ours were designed by our hosts for party purposes only. They did a great job and the kids loved it. Anyone can letterbox for real though, there are probably letterboxes in your own community!

We headed back to the house to sing happy birthday and hunt for more treasures, namely party FOOD.

Sing HB2U

Mama’s cake and Max’s cake, that she didn’t finish. No prob kid, let me help you out.

cake_me_max

Party mix. A few handfuls.

party_mix

Now we’re talkin’.

Sutter Home

I picked up a 4 pack of these up on the way to the party. Totally perfect because I only wanted a glass (or two) and still had some to share, but could easily bring home what was left over without feeling like I have to drink it ASAP. I had one early in the evening, one later around our mini camp fire. Someone else had the third one and last one is in my fridge for the next time I’m in the mood for a glass of wine. Perfecto.

Ava tried on some of the birthday loot.

Umbrella Hat

There were more party eats and I’m pleased that I didn’t over do it, on wine, cake or food. I enjoyed myself but didn’t go crazy either.

We camped in the back yard, and were rained on all night! We stayed totally dry and cozy in our tent and on air mattresses.

camped

As usual, I was up well before my crew this morning and took the opportunity to go for a short walk through the city streets. I’d planned on today being a rest day knowing we’d be away from home. An early morning walk was great and totally peaceful. It makes me want to move from suburbia and live in the city to be close to so much!

Came back to hit up my latest addiction. Have watermelon, will travel.

Traveling Watermelon

Once everyone was up my friend and our hostess Andrea set up a fab breakfast buffet complete with fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, breads, oatmeal (made overnight in the crockpot!)

My yellow plum.

Party Plum

A bowl of oats, topped with granola, nuts and blueberries.

party_oats

And coffee.

Party Coffee

We’ve spent the rest of the day at home chillaxin and recovering from birthday party madness. Fruit has been consumed.

Peaches.

peaches

Kiwi. Fur included.

Fur and all

Cherries.

Sunday Cherries

And some Tazo Earl Grey.

tea

We’re heading off to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for a little home improvement. Zak’s off this week and we’re having a staycation this year… a little deck painting anyone?

True or False

True or False? (Mouse over pictures for answers.)

T/F: Today’s lunch was consumed at the computer.

True

T/F: Greek yogurt and maple syrup make a great dessert.

True again!

T/F: I gave Maxine PB Cups today for no good reason.

False.  A Total Bribe to STOP PEEING ON THE FLOOR!

Zak and Ava caught a catapitter caterpillar today.

True.  Extra credit if you can name the kind of butterfly it will morph into!

Click here for a close up.

T/F: I invented this idea.

False!  Totally stole it from a million other people.

T/F: Grapes with seeds are cool.

False!  Grapes with seeds are NERDS!

T/F: Apples with cinnamon rock.

Totally true!  You know it!

T/F: Ava picked 1000 green beans from our garden today.

This is a trick question!  There's always one!  When I asked her how many beans she picked, she said, *one thousand*, but probably there were only 25.  Either that or I ate 500 green beans before dinner tonight.

T/F: I ate so many green beans before dinner, I had no room for any more vegetables.

Def. false.  There's always room for veggies.

These are “Z’s” stamped on these Newman’s Own Organic Chocolate Bars.

False.  They would be N's on their side.  But in our house we like to pretend N's are Z's

So? How’d ya do?

Rainbow Salad

I felt hungry sort of soon after breakfast this morning, so I opted for a glass of green “juice”. This is about as juicy as I can get with a the blender. Maybe I’ll spring for a juicer in the future, but right now my fun money stash has dwindled to nothing after my new camera purchase last week.

Just a few handfuls of spinach, a gala apple and a few splashes of almond milk into the blender.

green_juice

We spent the day at home and part of the afternoon playing outside and working in the yard and garden.

garden

The foundation of our garden is our composted soil. We compost all fruit and vegetable scraps, as well as paper napkins and paper towels, tea bags, coffee filters and grounds too. It makes for amazing soil and our veggies grow gangbusters, but the weeds do too! We very often find volunteers among the weeds. I can’t tell you how many tomato plant “weeds” I pulled out today!

I love to see my morning glories starting to climb!

morning_glories

Ava’s sunflower that grew from a seedling is starting to open. This plant sat on our kitchen window sill all spring and we watched it grow. We transplanted it into the flower bed and we are all enjoying the amazing, beautiful flower it has turned into. Reminds me of two other amazing little seedlings we’ve watched grow in this house. (Corny!)

sunflower_2 sunflower_1

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today too. Cutting up watermelon, cantaloupe and this new guy, an “Orange Flesh Melon”.

orange_flesh_melon

I also attempted to make Gena’s Raw Almondaise but it turned out pretty thin, not thick like hers appears to be.

I had made some alterations based on other almondaise recipes I looked at. I started yesterday by soaking 1 cup of raw almonds for about 12 hours. Today I combined the almonds with 1 cup of water and about 2 Tbsp of Braggs Amino Acid and 1/4 c of lemon juice into the food processor and streamed in about a cup of canola oil. It never thickened up and I was left with something about the consistency of salad dressing.

almond_dressing

No big deal, it tasted great so we rolled with it.

For dinner I diced up a rainbow of colors.

rainbow_salad

Shredded red cabbage, zucchini, carrots and diced red pepper, tossed in my almond dressing.

dinner_plate

Served in a bed of mixed greens and topped with a sprinkle of raw sunflower seeds, with a side of steamed cauliflower.

mon_dinner

I think I burned 100 calories eating dinner tonight. I told Zak my jaw was SORE from all the chewing I did!

And a couple of natures chewy cookies while I cleaned up.

natures_cookie

The gang has just come in from outside, time to get my weeds into bed.

Changes

I was hungry sort of early today for lunch. This felt like more a snack than lunch. I made fast guac (avocado and salsa!) with some carrot legs to chomp on.

avocado_bread carrot_legs

A few hours later Maxine and I were headed out to visit a friend. I was hungry and knew I had to eat before we left. In days gone by it would have been pretty typical to grab a handful of Kashi crackers and some hummus as a quick, healthy, out the door snack. I’m not knocking this as a healthy snack option, this is of course better than something from the fast food drive thru. I’ve just come to discover, especially this past week and the disappearance food cravings… any processed foods, organic or not, seem to be what sends me into a downward spiral with craving sugar and more processed carbs.

So instead of my old usual, I whipped up a fast salad. It really only took a few minutes since a lot of this stuff was prepped and ready to go. Plus there was really no other option, since I haven’t replaced these the sorts of foods I thought were so innocent, once they were finished up.

Mixed greens with tomatoes and the last of the marinated portobellos. I used the portobello marinade as dressing on the greens!

sunday_salad

And a Larabar for the road. Fast fats.

larabar_road

Max and I got to our friend’s house only to discover she wasn’t there! So we hung out in the car and amused ourselves with an apple and a camera.

max_apple_3

max_apple_4

apple_1

apple_2

After we got home the whole family spent some time working in the garden… weeding and digging up what will be a future strawberry patch.

future_strawberries

I was so happy to discover this little guy on the cucumber plant during my weeding extravaganza!

baby_cucumber

I coo’d at him and promised to be gentle when I sink my teeth into him in just a few weeks.

After a full day, I had nothing really planned for dinner and I had no idea what to make. I really wanted to stick with mainly raw foods, so I went with easy.

I had started soaking some raw cashews earlier in the day to give Gena’s raw mayo a test drive. OK, making your own raw mayo probably doesn’t sound “easy”, but throwing ingredients into the food processor and scraping them out into a bowl falls into the easy category for me these days. I followed her recipe and threw in some sun-dried tomatoes to boot.

Dinner was a veggie sandwich on Ezekiel bread with raw mayo.

cashew_sdt_mayo

And a sea of salad.

sea_of_salad

More mixed greens, tomatoes, green pepper, shredded zucchini, raw sunflower seeds and ginger miso dressing.

I say with certainty that avoiding processed foods has helped me immensely with battling food cravings. I think eating a lot of fruit is satisfying my sweet tooth as well, and I’m easily satisfied with just a little dark chocolate each day. In the past I would have days where I would be fine, but the craving for something REALLY sweet, like ice cream or cake and frosting would build and build until I couldn’t stand it anymore and would cave. And often times end up overdoing it.

Yes, yesterday we went out for ice cream, but it was different. I didn’t feel like if I didn’t have ice cream I would run screaming into the night. It was just a fun spur of the moment treat and I didn’t feel like I needed a ton of ice cream to feel like I’d had enough.

I don’t mean to go on and on about this, but looking back at today’s pictures I realized how the changes I’ve worked toward have made a real difference for me, and that makes me very happy. Even when I think I have healthy eating figured it out, I’m reminded that this really is a journey and there are going to be bumps in the road. I’m sure I still don’t have all the answers. The key is to get back up and keep going, keep experimenting and keep an open mind too. When you finally get some of the results you are after, it’s so worth the time and effort invested.