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Four Reasons Why Eating Healthy SUCKS!

23 Mar

When I was growing up, my parents owned a health food store.  They not only sold health food, but served it in their very own health food restaurant.  For many reasons, the business didn’t survive.  If you ask me, they were ahead of their time.  It was the 80’s, the age of Pepsi and Michael Jordan.  Nobody was concerned with eating healthy!  Well, nobody except my parents.  While the cool kids unwrapped their brown sacked lunches full of Dr. Pepper and Twinkies, I pulled out my all natural Hansen Soda from the first of its kind reusable lunch bag.  Yep, I was that nerd.  My parents were recycling and celebrating Earth Day like it was Christmas and my dad started composting back before they even had a name for it.  Instead we were just that weird family who put garbage in their garden.  Growing up with such Eco-friendly, health conscious parents could only lead me to one fate.  So naturally, when it was time for me to live out on my own I did what any responsible 18 year old would do.  I bought as much junk food as I could afford!

From HoHo’s to Ice cream, Lucky Charms to Doritos, I wanted it all.  These were forbidden fruits where I came from and I didn’t care what was in them, I was eating them.  Now, it took me years on this new found diet of mine to start reevaluating the food I was consuming.  It wasn’t actually until I had kids of my own that I began to resort back to the “healthy side.”

It’s no secret we should all be eating healthy.  The news is riddled with headlines of the benefits of having a healthy diet.  Hell, it seems everyday there’s some new recommendation of what’s in and what’s so last season when it comes to food fads: No Carbs, No High fructose corn syrup, no MSG, Gluten Free, All Organic, the Caveman diet, back to our roots, blah, blah, blah.  So, from someone whose enjoyed both ways of eating I’m going to go against the grain and tell you why eating healthy SUCKS!

  1. It’s confusing:  Remember when we were kids and we used to go down to the local farm and pick Doritos straight off the tree?  No?  Oh yeah, that’s because Doritos aren’t natural, yet pick up one of their packages and check out the huge “Natural” label posted on the front of it.  Whole Wheat doesn’t mean S—t unless it says 100% in front of it.  Cage Free Eggs translates to hundreds of chickens living in a tiny warehouse with no windows and crapping all over each other, but hey, at least they’re not in cages right?  It’s labeling like these that work to confuse us into thinking we’re living the Healthy way, but in fact we’re still not.  For more label info check out www.USDA.gov
  2. It’s time consuming:  I can’t remember the last time I made a home cooked meal for the family faster than I could heat up a hot pocket in the microwave.  Who wants to make homemade chili for hours in the kitchen when you can pop open a can of Staggs in a few seconds?  Eating healthy takes time!  Time to plan, time to shop, time to cook and time to eat.  Last I checked, “time” was something we were all short on.
  3. It’s expensive: I watched this show once called “Extreme Couponing” about people (mainly housewives) who rob the stores blind by taking home $500.00 worth of groceries for $1.00.  While I applaud their talent and effort, most of the crap they’re stocking up on is exactly that…crap.  I considered couponing once, but when I tried to find actual food in the coupon books I was at a loss.  Never once have I come across a coupon for broccoli or Pasture raised Eggs, but a 24 pack of Smuckers Crustables, where’s the scissors?  Times are tough, and we all need to cut costs where ever we can.  Couponing is a great way to save money and just another reason why eating Healthy SUCKS!
  4. It’s inconvenient:  Jack in the Box has a special right now “2 cheeseburgers for 99 cents.”  Seriously?  I don’t know about you but I can’t make 2 cheeseburgers at home for 99 cents.  And when you’re on the run and out and about, good luck finding a healthy fast food drive thru.  So now that we’re on the healthy side of living, if we want to eat on the go, we have to plan ahead of time and pack a lunch.  Talk about inconvenient.

I may have grown up eating healthy, but the word ‘healthy’ in today’s market is foggy.  Marketers use it to sell whatever they want and unless we have a PhD, figuring out how to read between the dirty little lines of the food labels takes time and effort that most people don’t have.  I’m not even going to get started on GM (genetically modified) food.  Oh yeah, those are out there.

So yes, eating healthy Sucks!  But despite all the reasons listed above I wouldn’t feed my family any other way.  What can I say, my body likes it.  Plus, I think there are a lot of other things that Suck even more: Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer.  We are what we eat, right?

Here are some resources I’ve found if any of you are interested in living the high maintenance way too.

www.USDA.gov :  this is the actual guidelines for labeling in the U.S.  You’ll notice there is no mention of genetically modified foods as there is yet to be a mandatory label of those products.

Food Inc. : Documentary of the production of our food in the U.S.  Informative and disturbing, but a real conversation starter!

www.localharvest.org  : Great website to find local farms in your area for veggies, meat, eggs, honey or farmers markets.  Just type in your zip code.

Eat This, Not That : books and a website with tons of information about substitutions and the dirty little secrets about the food you’re eating.

We are heading out to a local farm this weekend, Inspiration Plantation, to wave to the animals we will soon be eating.  Maybe we’ll see you there!

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I’m a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Mom!

13 Jan

It’s nearly 3 weeks past Christmas.  19 days after the biggest day of the year, where my boys got enough toys to supply a small country.  And yet, I’m watching the two of them as they roll around on the floor…bored.  The newest and latest in gadgets and plastics are gathering dust in their rooms and all my kids want to do is play the Wii, watch T.V. or play computer games.  Sure, I could give in and allow my kids to become technological zombies, but what can I say, I actually care about their brains.  I want them to discover their imaginations; to create an invisible friend, to role play, problem solve, and discover the secret joys of silence.  And I want it all without the aid of a Nano-chip or Gigawatt or whatever the hell the inner workings of technology are called.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great things that have come from this hi-tech age: e-mail, cell phones, digital cameras and let’s not forget this wonderful little blog.  But there are also a lot of disadvantages with technology, the main one being… it’s made us lazy.

Now this is the part where I reminisce about the ‘good old days’ and say things like “when I was a kid” but sometimes, it’s true.  When I was a kid, which really wasn’t THAT long ago, my little brother Justin and I wanted one of those battery powered cars.  You know the ones with the gas pedal and stirring wheel that actually drove.  There were convertibles and jeeps and only the truly spoiled kids had them.  We used to watch those kids drive around the sidewalks with envy dripping from our faces.  But whenever we put it at the top of our lists for birthdays or Christmas, it never seemed to materialize.  Now I know they were expensive, but to us the only logical explanation was simply that our parents didn’t love us as much as those “other parents.”  To us, our parents were terrible, horrible, no good, very bad parents.  I mean, we didn’t even have one of those Flintstone cars where you sat inside and used your own legs to power it (which my best friend had by the way).  So, determined to have some sort of transportation, my brother and I set out to make one.

We acquired a large cardboard box, about dishwasher size (probably from an actual dishwasher) and one of my Dad’s four wheel dollies.  In case you don’t know what a dolly is see one here.  So, with our box and our dolly we went to work.  We used a box cutter to carefully carve out a space for the windshield and two doors that opened and closed.  We cut out windows  and we even used markers to draw designs on the outside of it.  After the initial cuts were in order, we put our custom box on top of the dolly and we took our new car for a test drive.  But of course, without a battery or even a place to use our own foot power, our test drive consisted of me sitting inside the box and my little brother pushing me from behind.  But the wheels carried us well and in our eyes it was a success.  In fact we had such fun making it, we wanted to do more.  I made curtains for the windows using scissors and old towels and my brother used saran wrap to make an actual windshield.  I think by the time we were done with it, it resembled more of a motor home than a battery powered car, but you get the picture.

Sadly, this is not the actual "box car."

 

We worked on it for two weekends straight, and yet I think we only “drove” the thing for a total of twenty minutes (mainly because my engine/brother would tire easily).  I’m sure it wasn’t nearly as glorious looking as I remember.  I’m sure it was probably quite sad to see two poor children pushing a box up and down the neighborhood but to us, it was everything we wanted.  And to my Mom, it kept us out of her hair for a while.

So now, as I lock my kids in their rooms and demand they play with their toys I can feel secure in being a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Mom.  I know they’ll thank me for it later.

Which by the way, thanks Mom and Dad for not loving us as much as those “other parents.”  We had a blast.

Oh, the Places we Go…

28 Oct

Destination:  Sauvie Island Farms

Family Friendly: Yes

Cost: Free + what you pick

If you go: check website for directions, crop availability and hours

When I was a kid growing up in Bakersfield, we used to pile into the old minivan and head out to one of the many farms encircling where we lived.  If you don’t know Bakersfield, there were a few things it was never lacking: one hundred degree days, ants, and farms.  Our favorite farm was called Al Bussell Ranch and IT…WAS…HUGE!  Known for its “U-pick” produce, families would spend their weekends climbing aboard the many tractors driving out to the orchards growing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Peaches, nectarines, strawberries, apples, apricots, corn, squash; you name it, they had it.  My personal favorite as a child were the bunnies.  They were everywhere!  Hopping through the fields, around the checkout lines, and some even in cages where you could reach down and pet them.  And these weren’t your standard, wild, never-gonna-catch-them bunnies.  These bunnies were well fed, used to people and to be honest, fat.  The farm also had one of those glass casings where when so inclined, one could watch the secret workings of bees busy doing what they do best…making honey. 

It was a cherished tradition of my youth, but I didn’t realize just how much I loved it until I had kids of my own.  I wanted them to experience the “U-pick” adventure; to see where their food comes from, to taste fresh blueberries straight from the bush.  And thankfully, living in Washington, there are a plethora of “U-Pick” choices.  But my new personal favorite is Sauvie Island Farms; located where else, on Sauvie Island (and no, this isn’t the crazy one with the haunted corn maze).  It is a large farm growing anything that will grow in the Pacific Northwest.  With more than 30 acres of Pumpkins alone, Sauvie Island Farms is spacious, family friendly, and everything one would want in a farm.

My family and I stumbled on it this year in search of a new Pumpkin patch.  Like so many families in the area, we used to go to Bi-Zi Farms.  But it seems Bi-Zi Farms lately has become, well…busy.  So off we went in search of a new patch to call our own.  We knew what we were looking for; space, freedom for the kids to run around, and most importantly, CHEAP.  The answer… Sauvie Island Farms.  With a small parking lot and plenty of extra wagons, we were greeted by a nice older woman who simply said “Welcome.”  There was no loud holiday music, no face-painting in the corner tent, or tickets to be purchased and then exchanged; simply the smell of hay in the autumn breeze and acres and acres of Mother Nature’s finest.

The boys had a blast running through the humble corn maze and climbing the hay pyramid.  We walked to the Animal Area where the boys got to feed chickens and bunnies (and yes, they were fat) and climb atop a large stationary tractor.  Then a real tractor offered an authentic hay ride around the farms.  With only five other families there, we had the hay ride all to ourselves.  No seats or benches, just a tractor pulling a trailer layered with, you guessed it…hay.  Then it was off to pick our pumpkins.  We spent quite a bit of time deciding on the perfect one.  Not because the pickings were slim, but because there were so many perfect pumpkins, it was hard to choose just one.  I finally settled on a pear shaped one.  So with our four pumpkins in toe we loaded up the wagon and headed for the end of the patch, where we stumbled across two pumpkins that had grown together creating the perfect Halloween butt.  So naturally, we had to buy the butt.  All in all it was a great day. 

 

Everything we experienced was FREE, except for the pumpkins which totaled $20.00, including the butt.

 

 

 

 

 So for you procrastinators out there, there is still time to get a true Fall experience before Halloween.  If you already have your pumpkins this year, no worries, they also have a Christmas Tree Farm.  For the rest of the year depending on the season, they have Peach trees, corn, bell peppers, blue berries, raspberries, black berries, zucchini, and many other seasonal crops.  For directions, hours, seasonal pickings, visit Sauvie Island Farms website.

Putting our BUTT to good use!

What are you Thankful for?

25 Nov

Waterimage

Each week I will ask a question in hopes you will answer.  And in honor of Thanksgiving this week’s question is…

What are you Thankful for?

As we all sit around the tables today and eat ourselves into a turkey induced coma I hope we can really recognize what we are thankful for.  At first the things we are thankful for are obvious: family, friends, good health, the meal we are about to eat, etc.  And while I am thankful daily for those things, this year I wanted to be thankful for the things I normally complain about.  So here it is:

10. I am thankful for my small house.  A big house would feel too lonely.

9. I am thankful that my kids fight over the same spot on a very large sectional couch.

It makes that spot seem more comfortable when I sit in it.

8. I am thankful for a very noisy house.  It’s full of life.

7. I am thankful that my 8 year old questions me.  It means he will also question his peers.

6. I am thankful my 2 year old always wants to be near me, even when I am going to the bathroom.

5. I am thankful my 8 year old is a “chatter box.”  I know he won’t always want to talk to me.

4. I am thankful for financial hardships.  We are finding out what is truly valuable.

3. I am thankful that my house gets dirty.  It means it is being lived in.

2. I am thankful for my husband and all his faults.  There was a time when I almost lost them for good.

And the number one reason I am thankful this Thanksgiving…

1. I am thankful I am not a Turkey.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

What are you thankful for?



Dory. Quite possibly the Greatest Mind of our Time…

18 Nov

Dory

Ah, Disney.  What did we ever do without you?  For over half a century you have been guiding the youngest of our generations with your profound life lessons told so creatively through your lovable characters.  Thanks to you we know to steer clear of ugly old women with delicious looking apples (Snow White).  We now know naming a cat Lucifer is just asking for trouble (Cinderella).  And who could forget the ever important lesson of staying out of the clearing during hunting season, especially if you are a deer (Bambi).  Yes, there are many important messages in your movies that I’m sure we have all carried with us as we grew and became parents ourselves.  I know I will think twice before selling my voice to a Sea Witch (The Little Mermaid).

But perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned comes not from your timeless classics of my youth, but from one of the newer animations that I watched with my 2 year old a few years ago; Finding Nemo.  Now there are many humorous moments in the tale of the lost clown fish and the determined father to find him.  I recommend it to anyone, kids or not.  But one of the scene stealers in this Pixar animation is a little blue fish named Dory.  And even though she provides the comedic relief and is voiced by the hilarious Ellen DeGeneres, don’t let her short term memory fool you.  She may very well be the greatest mind of our time.

There is a scene in the movie where Marlin (Nemo’s Dad) and Dory are stuck at the bottom of a whale struggling to get out.  And Marlin is so desperate to save Nemo he is yelling things he promised his son.  He finally feels defeated and falls to the bottom, Dory following behind.  He then says “I promised him I’d never let anything happen to him.”  A normal thought any responsible parent has.  But then Dory replies “You can’t never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him.  Not much fun for little Harpo.”  It’s a small moment, I know.  But that scene and those words really resonated with me.

You see, I was a responsible parent.  I was loving and nurturing and fair.  I was also overprotective, over controlling and neurotic about making even the slightest mistake.  I was a “helicopter parent.”  I thought I was going to be the one who got it right.  The one parent in the history of parenting that was never going to make a mistake and never “let anything happen to her son.”

But with the “AH HA” moment that came from Dory’s great wisdom I found myself observing my own parenting skills.  I decided to let go a bit and take my son out of the bubble I was once so proud to keep him in.  I let him play.  I let him fall and then I let him get back up all by himself.  I let him get dirty!  And while each time I had a mini stroke at the loss of control, my son’s smile seem to echo Dory’s words.

And now my son is 8 and I find myself still listening to Dory’s thoughts and the wisdom that so often comes from the simplest minds.  And whatever bubble I still had in place was quickly popped when I had my second son and I realized that in deed, not everything is life or death.

So thank you Disney for opening my eyes to “A whole new world” (Aladdin) of experiences, adventures and yes, even mistakes.  We are better with you in our lives.  I shall celebrate you tonight over a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs (Lady and the Tramp).

Anyone else have a favorite Disney moment?

Asleep

9 Nov

My favorite time of day is eleven o’clock at night.  Not just because the kids are asleep and I am finally “off duty,” but because I can sneak into my boy’s rooms and simply watch them sleep.  I can stand there as long as I want without the demand of dishes or dinner or an interrupting phone call.

I can just be in that moment.

I can hear the slow rhythm of their breath.  I can see the baby I once held in their sleeping faces.  I can watch their resting eyes flutter about as their mind takes them to faraway places.  I can stroke their hair and kiss their forehead and remember rocking them to sleep when they first came to this world.

And when one of them stirs in the slightest and their eyes faintly open …I run like hell out of their room as fast as I can.

I’m off duty remember…