Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mulch Is Here!

Well, the first load of mulch has arrived!  Last year this was the easiest to spread since it didn't have to go far.  Hoping it's the same this year.  So in honor of the mulch I thought I'd throw out a few reminders about natural weed control.  

First, spread some wet newspaper under he mulch to help prevent weeds from sprouting.  Last year I tried to do dey paper in the wind-- didn't work well.  This year I have two little hose enthusiasts so

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

School To Farm Fun Day

I got a notification about a really interesting event at Marlington High School this Saturday.  It's a Farm To School Fun Day.  Here's the flyer:

Looks interesting!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Breakfast Revisited

I blogged last week about planning breakfasts that were healthy and fast to make our mornings smoother.  After I ran last weekend, I'm taking a mini exercise vacation so I have a few extra hours each day.  (I'm not totally being lazy.  Olivia's favorite teacher at Child Watch is on vacation this week and I wasn't sure how she'd do without her.)  So last night I went through two cookbooks and pulled a few breakfast ideas.  They had to fit within a few parameters:

1. My kids will eat them.
2. They must be freezable.
3. They must be fast.
4. They must be healthy, i.e. more than just empty calories or sugary snacks.

This may sound simple, but it wasn't.  My idea of fast isn't most cookbook author's idea of fast.  Really, I'm not a morning person.  Really.  So something that can be ready and eaten in 10 minutes is what I'm looking for.  My little Vincer has a rough time with breakfast.  He's not hungry when he first gets up, but he doesn't get up early enough to be awake long enough before it's time to go to get hungry, so things that are portable work well for him.  The 7 minute drive in the car is usually enough time for him to down his breakfast and be ready for school (general with food on his face, but that's why I carry baby wipes in my purse.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday Was A Remarkable Day!

Yesterday two amazing things happened.  Well, actually neither was truly AMAZING, but both were very rewarding and happy experiences.  First, I ran a marathon.  Well, I only ran part of the marathon, my relay team ran the rest.  I'm really proud of how well we all ran and how much FUN it was!  I was nervous about the whole thing, because it's doing something new, but I'd do it again in a second!  It was a beautiful day to run, my leg of the race was nice and flat with only a few hills (both up and down) and lots of water stops-which always keep me motivated because there are all these people, volunteering their time just to stand there and hand out water (or Gatorade--not pleasant when you're expecting to drink water. It's kind of like popping a salt and vinegar chip in your mouth when you're expecting just a regular potato chip) and cheer you--a total stranger-- on in your race.  My leg was the second to last, which meant that I ran miles 13-20.  That meant that I was running with my fellow relayers and the marathoners.  My teammate, Steve, said, "If you're thinking about running a marathon, don't stand at the finish line.  That's just inspirational.  Stand at mile 22.  That's the REAL marathon."  I agree.  It was inspirational to me to watch these marathoners push through that last half.  I saw a lot of people stop and walk and a lot of pained faces.  I saw a man offer another runner who had stopped to walk, his last gel pack to help give him the burst of energy he need to finish the race.  The whole thing was just such a positive experience.  My friend Melissa once told me that she loved being around races because runners a great group of people.  I really felt that yesterday.  Except for the first few REALLY fast people, there's not a lot of inter-personal competition in running.  It's mostly intra-personal, beating your personal record for distance or pace or simply pushing your body to YOUR limits.  That's what I love about running.  It's a very personal sport.  I can do it alone, yet surrounded by people.  The only thing that made me sad yesterday was seeing all the dogs on the sidelines.  It made me long for my running buddy, Jack.  Jackie would have hated the race, too many people and strange places, but he does love to go for a run.
The Handoff- Leg 4 to Leg 5 (Me to Eric) 

Most of Team "Melissa Talked Me Into This"

The second thing that was awesome about yesterday is that our foster dog, George, found his forever home! (Please don't be concerned--this means that he was adopted, not put to sleep!) We had George with us for 10 days.  He came to us as a shy, timid pup and left

Friday, April 24, 2015

Grand Plans for Breakfast

I'm a mess in the morning.  It's really hard for me to function, no matter how late I get up.  It takes me a long time to really be "with" it and therefore, our morning routine is always rushed and rather unpleasant.  I'd like to change this.  I'm starting with breakfast.  I'm tired of feeding my kids boxed cereal or bagels that are shelf-stable for weeks.  I'd rather make them something that's really going to give them fuel for the day.  However, this requires a functioning adult--which is absent until about 8:45.  So I need to plan for my stumbling morning self when I'm my wide-awake motivated self during the day.  I read cookbooks and they always have great ideas for breakfast, but

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Breakfast Tacos

Quick recipe post today.  I'm reviewing scholarship applicants and I can't stand to look at the computer one minute more!  I made these breakfast tacos for dinner the other night for the kids.  Mostly went over well, Caden complained they weren't crunch tacos, so I guess you could do that too, although it wouldn't really be real food then.  So, I got the idea from 100 Days of Real Food and now I can't seem to find the recipe online.  I'll give you the long and short of it--it's a taco with scrambled eggs as the "meat".

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

Today's the day!  Earth Day!  Celebrate the day by doing something today to "green" your life.  Turn out a light when you leave the room, have a meatless dinner, walk instead of driving somewhere (not if your'e in Northeastern Ohio, but if you live somewhere where isn't not gross outside) or something else that you've been meaning to do to green your life.  Happy Birthday Earth!  With a little bit of our help you'll have many happy returns!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Family Dinners

The other day my mom told me that it made her sad that we didn't sit down to eat dinner as a family.  This totally shocked me because we DO sit down to dinner as a family--almost every night!  She said the times she's there around dinner time we're eating at different times, but I have to say, the times she there at dinner time are generally special occasions--I'm leaving for something, she's bringing Blue Apron, or there's some other upset to our normal evening routine.  I'm actually really proud of the fact  that we eat dinner as a family every night.  I've read statistics about family dinners that include:
Reason #6: Prevent Destructive Behaviors
Research shows that frequent family dinners (five or more a week), are associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use in pre-teens and teenagers when compared to families that eat together two or fewer times per week. Even as older children’s schedules get more complicated, it is important to make an effort to eat meals together. Scheduling is a must.

Reason #7: Improve Grades
Children do better in school when they eat more meals with their parents and family. Teenagers who eat dinner four or more times per week with their families have higher academic performance compared with teenagers who eat with their families two or fewer times per week.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dryer Balls Revisited

A few months ago I was all excited about felted wool dryer balls.  My mom got me a few for Christmas and then I read online how to make them and I made a small army of my own.  Now that I've been using them for awhile, I thought I'd revisit the topic and let you know how I think they're going.  Yes, this is actually the blog post today--laundry.

So, I LOVED making them!  They were really easy to make and I felt super crafty. (Why I felt crafty for rolling a skein of yarn in a ball, I don't know. I don't get to craft a lot, I guess.)  Now, this is shocking, but the dryer balls I made

Friday, April 17, 2015

Another British Invasion!

Well, we're getting ready to walk out to door to drive to pick up or foster puppy, George.  His brothers, Paul, John, and Ringo have already been adopted, but George and his Mom, Cheeta, are still at Save A Mom.  We're going to bring this little guy home this weekend and give him a chance to see what living with a family is like.  I'm SO SO SO excited to be able to do this!  I've wanted to foster for a long time and I'm finally getting the change.  All the volunteering I do and all to donations don't really seem the same as actually working with one dog, trying to make him ready to find his forever home.  I'll post a pic when I can, but you can see his old puppy pic if you click here.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Honest On Sale At Target

Just a quick note today that The Honest Company now sells some of their products at Target.  I think I mentioned this before maybe a year or so ago, but I wanted to tell you today that they're 5-10% off on Cartwheel.  If you've been considering trying their products (bath, cleaning, diapers) this might be a good time.  Target doesn't carry the full line you could get if you had a subscription, but they have the basics.  I just noticed this today while making out my grocery list for tomorrow's shopping trip for next week's meals and I plan on grabbing a few more things to get my through until my next Honest shipment arrives.  That is all.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Going on About The Farmer's Market-Again

Sorry, I know I just blogged about the farmer's market, but this one was a little different and I wanted to feature one particular booth here for you.
We ALL went this time since it was the Spring Fling in downtown Akron.  Most of the booths were at the Akron Library but there were a few across the street in the Akron Art Museum.  I told each of the kids that they had $5 to spend, hoping it would get them a little more involved in the whole Farmer's Market Shopping Experience, but it turned out, they all really liked it.  Well, really liked it might be exaggerating.  The didn't complain and seemed content to be there.  That's the most I can really hope for with any shopping trip.  Caden bought some

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blue Apron: Following Up

I'm REALLY doing well with this following through thing!  A few weeks ago I blogged about this company called Blue Apron.  My brother in law was telling me about it at Caden's birthday party.  You sign up, then they send you everything you need to make 3 meals for the week--all from REAL FOOD.  The longer you're a member the more free gifts (a weekly subscription) you get. Since he's been getting it for awhile he gave my mom a free trial week.  Since she's cooking for one, she made each meal then brought the other half (the meals are for two) over for me.  So of course to me, Blue Apron is someone bringing a freshly cooked meal right to your table and I love it!  For her, it's someone shipping food to her house where she preps and cooks it all and then drives it over to my house.  I know, I know.  Next week I'm making some of the meals to balance it out!

Friday, April 10, 2015

100 Days of Real Food

A friend of mine sent me a text about this book/blog awhile ago.  I requested it from the NCPL and got it a few weeks ago.  It is now my newest obsession.  Real Food.  This is where I'm ultimately headed.  I'd love to have noting processed in my diet or in my house, for that matter, but it's a long road.  Anyway, the deal with this is a family of four took  a pledge to eat only real food for 100 days after the mom, Lisa Leake, read a

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Back on Sugar

I blogged before about how I gave up sugar for the month of March.  It didn't really have anything to do with Lent, I just felt like it would be a good experiment to see how I felt and how I looked if I stopped eating sugar.  It was hard.  I mean, REALLY hard.  I did it though and I'm so glad I did.  First, I proved to myself that I CAN do it and second, it was really eye-opening.  I wish I could say that I gave up sugar and felt amazing and lost 10 pounds.  This was not the case.  I gave up sugar, but I still ate a lot of other crap.  The time I felt the best was toward the end of the month when I started eating better AND wasn't eating sugar.
So, I'm back to eating sugar and feeling guilty about it.  I've found that when I "couldn't" eat sugar, I didn't eat stuff that I didn't really WANT to eat.  For example, the other day

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Read A New Book!

This is going to be a quick post about a new book I read about living green.  The book was All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest to Discover if the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing and the Environment is Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier by Nathanael Johnson.  I REALLY enjoyed this book, although it was a lot of repeating of what I've read before.  I loved the style of this one though because although it presented lots of really good info, his tone was

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Two Years Late-But I Made It!

I've been wanting to go to the Countryside Conservancy's farmer's market for probably two years.  I blogged about them awhile (a LONG while) back, but never actually made the drive up.  Since this year is my year of following through, I made the decision at midnight to set my alarm and get up early on a Saturday to be in Peninsula by 9AtM. Olivia went with me (I tried to talk some of the other kids into going, but she was the only taker--also the only one awake) and we made the drive up to Old Trail School and visited Countryside Conservancy's last winter farmer's market.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  I've been to the Haymaker Farmer's market (in the winter) and was a little disappointed.  I read all these books and they're all talking about all the great stuff you can get at a farmers market.  Most of them are also written by Californians, who's growing season is drastically different than ours in Northeast Ohio.  Haymaker was good, don't get me wrong, they had local meats, honey, breads, produce and, of course, all the odds and ends that make them fun-like the natural cotton candy Vincey picked.
WOW, was I amazed when I walked into that school!  For a winter market in Ohio this was AMAZING!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Back From Spring Break and Gearing up for Earth Day

KI'm back!  I took last week off with the kids for spring break, and as luck would have it, I actually had TONS of great topics to blog about!  I wrote them all down, so don't despair, you won't miss out! Today I was at the North Canton Library so I'm going to do a post about that--yes, again.  I know, I blog about the library all the time, but this is something specific, not just my general praise.  Every time we go to the library we visit the bathroom.  Today I was even lucky enough to visit TWICE!  Olivia is so good to me!  Anyway, in the bathroom there was a poster advertising all the things that the NCPL is doing for Earth Day.  I'm REALLY excited about one of them in particular but