Sunday, April 25, 2010

Green Smoothie Goodness

I'm halfway through the Enchanted Chameleon's 2-week Green Smoothie Challenge.
  • Green Smoothies are a blended mixture of raw leafy greens, raw fruit or veggies, & water.
  • Green smoothies are easy to digest. When blended well, all the valuable nutrients in these fruits and veggies become homogenized, or divided into such small particles that it becomes easy for the body to assimilate these nutrients.
  • Green smoothies, as opposed to juices, are a complete food because they still have fiber.
  • By consuming two or three cups of green smoothies daily you will consume enough of greens for the day to nourish your body, and they will be well assimilated.
  • When you consume your greens in the form of green smoothies, you can greatly reduce the consumption of oils and salt in your diet.
I started drinking green smoothies right before I got pregnant with Sadie, but they didn't jive so well with morning sickness, so I dropped the habit. Suzanne's challenge has me back on track and I've been drinking at least 16 ounces of green smoothie a day for an entire week so far.

My favorites last week were the following:

blueberry, strawberry, rainbow chard, apple

banana, mango, red leaf lettuce

apple, blueberry, ginger, lemon, apple, swiss chard

I've picked up big bunches of organic romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach for this week's smoothies. Also some mango and pineapple to add to the other fruit I always have around the house. Sadie was initially joining me in drinking a green smoothie every day, but I think the spike in fiber was a lot for her system to take, so we've dropped her to every few days (she usually has a non-green smoothie on the other days).

It's been relatively easy to incorporate making these smoothies into my morning routine. They keep me satisfied until it's time for my mid-morning snack, and give me great energy. I've lost weight since starting the challenge, and I love knowing that I'm soaking up all the amazing benefits of these greens. I think this week I'll make a bigger batch each morning and take another smoothie to work with me for later in the day. Yummmm.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Best Night Ever

Most of the best moments of my life have been music related, and Saturday March 27, 2010 was definitely one of my favorite nights ever. A house full of family and friends (old and new), good food and drink, and beautiful, uplifting, inspirational, creative, healing music! What in life could ever be better???

Shannon and Putnam made it a truly magical night by sharing their music with us.

And what an honor it was for Brian and me to share their music with almost 50 people in our home! It has been a dream of ours for many years to host house concerts, and it was so exciting to finally have that dream realized!

Everything about the night was perfect. And it was such a thrill to be able to pull out our instruments after most of the guests had gone home, and pick and sing with Shannon and Putnam until the wee hours of the morning. My face hurt from smiling so much when I finally fell into bed that night.

Here are some videos....

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is. ~William P. Merrill

We're counting down the days until our next house concert with the Blue Canyon Boys on May 8, 2010! Hope you can join us; it's sure to be another phenomenal night of music!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

For the Love of Hurley

Three things I love: LOST, breadmaking, and blogging.

Now the three have finally come together. Brian just sent me the link to Jorge Garcia's blog. Jorge Garcia plays one of my favorite characters (Hugo/Hurley) on my favorite TV show of all time, LOST! And get this! He loves to bake bread! From scratch! And he blogs about it! This all makes me very very happy.

And I just love that Jorge Garcia has a random blog about his life and what he cooks and hanging out with his friends like I do. And it's out there for all of us to read. Love it...

Not to mention that last night's Hurley-centric episode of LOST, "Everybody Loves Hugo" was just totally kick-ass. I was VERY sleepy, made the mistake of lying down on the couch, and missed a few precious minutes of the episode. But that's gives me a good excuse to watch the whole thing over again. I'll probably watch last week's episode while I'm at it, since it's one of my top three favorite LOST episodes ever.

Monday, April 12, 2010

One Small Change: April 2010

It's a little late for this posting, but better late than never!

So, the change I committed to for March for Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change challenge was to install and use an outdoor clothesline for at least some of my laundry in order to save the energy used with the electric dryer. Well....if you live in Colorado, you know that it was A VERY SNOWY MONTH! Like, seriously snowy. I feel like it snowed every day in March. Needless to say, it wasn't completely conducive to outdoor drying. I did get my new retractable clothesline installed and have used it a couple times. Sheets drying on the line weren't as picturesque as I'd envisioned.

Frankly, my clothesline isn't hung high enough for the sheet drying to be very functional. And Brian thought our bed smelled like dirt. That's probably because in my disorganization of hanging the sheets, they may have hit the dirt a couple times.

This is also going to be a tough change for me because I'm a working mama. Laundry doesn't always coincide with being home the next day. It's usually done when I'm out of underwear, on whichever night of the week that happens to be. Diapers, same thing. So, if I'm doing laundry at night, and I'm going to be at work for the next few days, it's tough to do the air drying thing.

But, I'm glad I've taken a step in the direction of using the sun for drying. I will continue to try to work at least one load of diapers a week around days when I'm home to dry them outdoors. And I think and hope that the snow is gone for the year, so that should help too. So, my one small change for April 2010, the last month of this challenge, is actually a very big change for our family. We're planting our first vegetable garden!! With the help of the neighborhood boys, we (well, I took on a more supervisory role), built this nice looking raised bed out of concrete blocks.

Before we could move any further we had to deal with Lake Peterson, which formed at the base of our yard, in front of the garden, as soon as it was built. After installing a modified french drain, we imported a wonderful mix of soil, compost, and sand this past Friday.
Sadie loved playing in the yard while we worked. And she even tasted the goods. Yum, dirt!

Now it's patiently waiting for its first seeds.

I've also started some seeds indoors and love coming home every afternoon to check and see if anything new has sprouted.

I can't wait! What a wonderful change for us. I'm so looking forward to being able to grow our own veggies this summer.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A New Toy

It's a Kenmore Rotary sewing machine, Model 117-959, from 1948. I bought it from a nice woman in my neighborhood for $20.00.

Last time I used a sewing machine was in Home Economics class in 1990. And I was no good at it. I made a completely hideous and unwearable red shirt.

But I see such beautiful, hand sewn, crafty goodness out there on the Internet that I was curious if it would be something I'd like to try again.

So, there I was, with a sewing machine born the same year as my mother. And no idea what to do with it. It came with this ancient manual and box of confusing parts. But I spent a few nights poring over the manual, watching YouTube videos about how to thread a sewing machine, figured out what the heck a bobbin was, and took the plunge.

I bought myself a couple spools of thread and some funky fabrics.

My first project was a bookmark that I am using, but it really doesn't deserve to have its picture shown; it's quite pitiful. Then I made this sunglasses case. It's lined! And was supposed to have a drawstring ribbon, but since I sewed the opening shut, it's just a decorative ribbon.

And then I got really adventurous and made myself this apron (from this tutorial)! Yay! I don't want anyone to see it up close...but I'm actually pretty proud of it.

Just what I need, another hobby...

Here are a couple other projects I've found for inspiration.
What fun!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Food, Inc.

I've been giving a lot of thought to food lately. I'm making an honest effort to buy organic produce, I look forward to purchasing as much local produce as possible this summer, and I'm making progress on my vegetable garden.

I watched what I think is a VERY important movie this weekend that I think every American should see, Food, Inc.

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change? - Trailer and Photos

I cried and cried after watching this movie. I knew about a lot of the issues that are raised in the movie, but the way they were presented really hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. What I didn't really know as much about is the absolute power that a very small number of corporations hold over almost ALL of the food in America. The fact that it's illegal for farmers to save seeds, that it may soon be illegal to show pictures of huge cattle yards, and that you can be sued for speaking out against food produced by these large corporations is terrifying. Maybe all these people screaming about the government's involvement in our healthcare system should put some of that rabid energy into fighting against the government's nearly complete control of our food industry.

As scary and depressing as it was, I'm feeling more motivated than ever to continue to make responsible choices in the food my family eats.

A wonderful resource I've enjoyed for finding local farms and meat producers is
I also really like this list of the 12 produce items that have been found to contain the highest levels of pesticides (and are therefore probably worth buying from the organic produce section).

We've also started watching a great show on ABC called Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I have a big fat crush on Jamie Oliver, and he's even sexier when trying to make big, revolutionary changes in the way our country feeds our children!

One of the scariest moments in the the premier episode of the show was when a group of first graders couldn't name some of the simplest vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, onions, etc.) Seriously terrifying!

All this has got my brain spinning. In some good ways and some bad ways. I feel very grateful for the delicious, homecooked, healthy, fresh meals I ate growing up (thanks Mom!). It was good for me then, and taught me good eating and cooking habits for now.

Here are the 10 tips to take in your own life to change the food system in the country offered by the "Hungry For Change" website.

1. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).
2. Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.
3. Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.
4. Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.
5. Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.
6. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.
7. Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
8. Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.
9. Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.
10. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.

This feels like a good place to start. Here we go....