* The bed linens are from Target... We can all gush now about how much we love Target, because you know it's true. I, for one, am a Targetaholic.

Did I hear someone say I am five months old now? Boy, time sure does fly when you're having fun! And I am. I can roll from my belly to my back - I am seriously proud of that.
I can say: "Dadadadadada" which Daddy thinks is me saying his name.

We'll just keep it between you and me that I am saying no such thing.... K? My first word will, of course, be "Mama." After all, she did push for nearly two and a half hours to bring me into this world.

I love to eat, ride in the Macpac, pull hair, and suck my thumb. I love my brother and sister, hearing my own voice, wind blowing in my face, and standing up ( With assistance. I know I am amazing and all, but seriously, I'm not quite that amazing. Yet.).

My favorite toy to chew on is Mama's measuring spoons, but my yellow lion from Aunt Tarrah and Uncle Sam is a close second. My toes are quickly becoming a favorite too. It's so cool how they just kind of appeared one day!

I am starting to break out the giggles. I have to be careful though, because once I really start, Mama will make me giggle all the time. And that's exhausting, people. Besides, I have my figure to look after; if I start laughing too much I might develop some stomach muscles. And then I wouldn't have my big tummy that Mama loves so much.
By the way, would someone please tell her to stop playing with my rolls. It tickles! And since we are on the topic of rolls... Mama is obsessed with mine. I know I have a lot, and they are cute and all, but seriously! She won't stop kissing them!

Before I go, can we all just give a little "Whoo-hoo!" for my hair starting to finally grow in?! I can wear bows now!
It was getting pretty old to be called a boy everywhere Mama took me. My name is Eliza, not Elisha. Mama thought dressing me pink and purple might give people a clue, but apparently not. She gets a little bent out of shape over it all, but I try to be a good example and just smile.

There is a lot more wonderful stuff about me, I know this because Mama whispers it all in my ear, but I wouldn't want to bore you. I'll just wrap this up by saying:
Happy five months to me!!

(this is the part where you tell me how cute I am!)

Radio Flyer #34

Somebody needs to let this boy's parents know that they need to buy their son a Radio Flyer #34. A pink and purple bike is unacceptable for a boy to ride, no matter how much he loves it!

(Perhaps I should have included a picture of Judah wearing Eve's pink princess heels, while he carries around her purse, has "fairy dust" on his cheeks, and pushes the purple stroller.... Oh, and he also begs to wear her lipstick. He's in the "wants to be just like Eve" stage.
I just laugh. Daniel on the other hand.... )
So Very Special
"The child must know...

that he is a miracle....

that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been...

and until the end of the the world there will not be

another child like him." Pablo Casals

That's my girl....

Thankful Thursday

*** I am thankful for my husband who has great motivation, people skills, and is really, really smart. He's quite handsome too.

*** I am thankful for the birds who wake me up each morning. Not the roosters, though. They are just out of control... 4:30a.m. is too early for anyone to be up. Human or foul.

*** I am thankful for my children who love me, and want to be with me; for the random hugs and kisses on "this cheek and that cheek" that I receive throughout the day.

*** I am thankful to have a Commissary to shop at again. I sure did miss having that benefit these last four years.

*** I am thankful for my healthy body, my strong legs to walk on, and my arms to hold my children with.

*** I am thankful for the small piece of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting I know waits for me each afternoon.

*** I am thankful for three children who take a rest time at the same time every day. My sanity stays somewhat intact because of that time.

*** I am thankful to be living in New Mexico - I love it here. Love it, love it.

I am thankful for my forever friend Tarrah.

*** I am thankful for my hero of a husband who killed the massive, and I do mean massive, spider that was surely going to eat me alive, last night. I nearly passed out from fright.
"Hi, I'm Andrea, and I am deathly afraid of spiders..."

*** And I am thankful for Blogland. You all bring a special joy to my life.

I could go on and on but children must be woken up, breakfast consumed, a walk taken, and life to be lived... Have a wonderful Thursday all! If you want to join in on the Thankful Thursday posting join Iris over at Sting My Heart.
The Tyranny of the Urgent
The story of my life right now... The urgent gets done - the rest, well, it waits until it becomes urgent.

Today I am embracing the urgent....

Washing 2 more loads of laundry ( this will bring me to caught up! Yipee!)

Fold and put away clean clothes

Put away dishes

Vacuum upstairs (must find the upstairs first!)

Clean downstairs bathroom

Mop kitchen/dining/hallway

Clean refrigerator

Go to the Commissary ( it's not easy baking without butter! )

Highlight/color hair ( I am redefining the term " having roots")

Call about a terminator ( it's either me or the spiders)

Exercise walk

Make dinner (needs to be ready to eat by 5)

My kids will help me refine the things I truly consider "urgent" on this list. Wish me luck....

Someday I'll write a post worth reading....

Why is it that we will eat so many more vegetables when they are covered in dip?
The Bike

Daniel has wanted a bike for a long time. A long time. I've always asked him to not get one, simply because they scare me to death. I've heard too many stories, blah, blah, blah.... When he went out for a ride on his Dad's bike during one visit back home, I cried nearly the whole time they were gone. I know, it's all rather pathetic. Daniel, being the loving husband he is, has respected my request.

But, it's been this sticky point in my heart. I know that Daniel's life is in God's hands. Me, being stubborn on the bike issue, doesn't ensure him more days in life, it only satisfies my need to feel in control. And isn't that just selfishness?

When we knew where the Air Force was moving us to, and that it was indeed a much warmer climate than anywhere we had previously lived, the bike conversation came up. It just made sense for him to buy and drive one.
So here we are. A bike, a happy big boy, and a happier little boy. Judah is delighted by it. And I mean that sincerely. His first words about the bike were: "It's for me?!" He periodically, throughout the day, goes over and rubs it. He adores Daddy's bike.

I still have a bit of fear to wrestle with. And I will. But, who am I to stand in the way of a dream?
Sugar,...Oh, honey, honey
I am working on a post about incorporating raw sugar into your diet. Are there any real specific questions you all have for me. I'd love to give it my best shot at answering them.

Let me know....
My Blueberry Clown

Lately, the after-nap snack choice has been a cookie with a glass of milk. But yesterday it was frozen blueberries. Judah LOVES frozen blueberries, and I love Judah's frozen blueberry faces. He is so silly. He gets it from his father.


After the blueberries were gone, and his mouth sufficiently frozen so the words he spoke came out all slurry, it was on to fresh strawberries. Ce-Ce ( Eve) joined in on the fun then. She is CRAZY about strawberries. Actually, she's just crazy. She, too, gets that from her father.

Why are you looking at me like that?!

ANYWAYS.... Makes me a bit sad to think we won't be able to go strawberry picking this year. It's tradition to go picking, and then make a Strawberry Creme pie.

My mouth waters at the thought.

But, such is life. Strawberries from the store will have to do. Because, seriously, no Strawberry Creme pie just 'cause we don't have field strawberries?

Now that would really be crazy!
The Rank Issue - An open letter in which I attempt to contain my sassiness
Dear * insert name of woman I am not going to say here*

Your husband is the Major, not you. You are a woman, a wife, a mother, just like me. I know your husband's pay grade is much higher than mine. I know that he can give my husband orders that he must follow, but so can a lot of people. There was no need for you to act superior to me, or as if coming close and breathing any of the air around me may contaminate you. Also, when having a conversation, I do appreciate it when people turn their body towards me. And just so you know, I am not big on the one-sided friendliness thing. It wouldn't hurt you to say hi to me when I say hi to you. After all, you wipe your baby's bottom, just like I do. And your toddler drives you nuts at times just like mine does, I'm sure.

We could have been friends, even if only for a short time. We are military spouses; we could have swapped stories, or advice. And we are both a woman and a wife; I am sure we could have found plenty to talk about, even with just those two things in common. And if not, we are mothers, and certianly our children provide plenty of fodder that would have kept us talking for a long time. And while we are on the subject of children, your child playing with my child will not ruin him. She doesn't bite. I promise.

Yes, we could have been friends, you and I. But, alas, because of your issue with rank, we were not. It's too bad, because sometimes I'm funny. And I try to be helpful. And I am a very loyal friend. I would even have baked you cookies for the trip to your new base. I did think about it, but I was afraid you wouldn't eat them. You know, because my husband is a Staff Sergeant and all. Bummer for you because they're kind of famous, and totally delicious.

Andrea ( the enlisted Airman's spouse with red hair)
You move me....

I really love music, all kinds of music. I identify with it, it moves me, and often speaks right to my heart. Sometimes music gives me the words I don't have. Bereft of music, well, I'd be lost.

One of my favorite genres is jazz. I know, you're rolling your eyes, but I love it. I really do. It's fun for me to listen to jazz, and it makes me happy. I enjoy all kinds of jazz - old, new, strict, loose. I like it all. Well, not "elevator" jazz. Yuck.

Right now I have in heavy rotation Michael Buble. I'm totally diggin' his voice, his music. I like how he covered some old, familiar songs. I love how much personality he brings to each song. And he has a new CD out! But, sadly, I don't have it. Yet.

I'd like to start listening to more Latin music. I have one Latin-ish cd, and it's okay. Not great; perhaps a little safe, and somewhat boring. If you have any great Latin music suggestions I would love to hear them.

Actually, as long as we are talking about suggestions, I'd love to know - what do you have in heavy rotation right now. I am really curious about the music other people like, love, and listen to.

So tell me... what's working for you right now?

P.S. think I used the word "love" enough?

P.P.S. brownie points for the one who can tell me what song my post title is taken from.
I wish I had been the one sleeping....
I'm always glad I walked afterwards, but I don't always feel like walking. Today was one of those days. I was tired when I woke up, and exercising was the last thing I wanted to do. But, I kicked my butt into gear and off we went.

What a gorgeous morning! I had the wind in my face for the first half of my walk, and a tailwind for the second half. Perfect. Eve and I had a good talk about character, and why we need to build it into our hearts. We talked about hard work and why it's a good thing. She asked if Daddy and I thought she was funny, and I took the opportunity to talk about some of the special things I love about her.

And to top it off, I even got a rousing "You go, girl! Whoo-hoo!" from some men working across the road from where I was walking. I'll take that any day (even if it was a bit uncomfortable) over the "Woman, you are crazy!" stares I normally get. I don't think I deserve the "crazy" stares. I prefer to think I am determined - rather than crazy - to be pushing two kids in a stroller and backpacking the third, for the exercise.

You wouldn't give the me the "crazy" stare, now would you?
Because I can't get enough of her...
I have a deep affinity

for chubby baby girls

in bubble suits

chewing on my measuring spoons
Come, walk with me.....
It was quite a week! Quite a week of unpacking boxes, breaking down boxes, wondering where in the world are we going to put "this." And lots of "Why do we still have "this?"

But, we had fun. A lot of fun. There was lots of joking around, laughter, and a little bit of down time. But we did pretty much kept our nose to the grindstone this week. We had decided early on, that in order to go to Albuquerque on Friday we needed to really work hard. So that's what we did.

Sunday... Mother's Day! It was a nice day at our house. I made one of my favorite foods - fried dough.

I love it with a deep, undying love. I ate as much as I wanted, I dipped it in powdered sugar (raw sugar ground in a Vitamix!), enjoyed every piece, and never had an ounce of guilt. It was great!
We couldn't go to church because both Eve and Judah had a cold. And of course I had run out of zinc! So, we basically just hung out as a family all day, and it was great.

Monday... We were knee deep in boxes! And laundry! And snotty-nosed children! But, we got a lot done, and we had a good time doing it. Eve and I played "Pizza delivery" with a handful of rose petals for pretend toppings.

Daniel and I had a blast watching Eliza squeal and smile as we floated a sheer curtain over her little body.

Judah had a haircut - it wasn't too torturous this time. At least for me! He had pretty much lost his voice from having a cold, plus I had Daniel to help me.

So, no screaming due to his voice loss, and no hands grabbing at the clippers because Daniel was there to hold them. It was great!

And I did dishes. A lot of them. Please, tell me I am not the only one who takes pictures of their clean dishes masterpiece. Please? I know Tarrah does so I won't feel too crazy if no one else does!
That night Daniel and I watched a stupid movie, but it was awesome to just be hanging out together. Bedtime... 2:30am. Um, yeah, we were tired on Tuesday!

Tuesday was HOT!! I have this strange aversion to air conditioning. It bugs me for some reason. I think it's the noise and it makes my nose stuffy, plus I am use to it making our electric bill skyrocket. I didn't turn it on and we were fine. BUT, I found out today - because I had to turn it on, it's really hot here - that I can't even hear it! I've never had a house with central air before. I am in love...
More boxes unpacked, more stuff put away, more of the garage could be walked it. Tuesday felt like a day well spent.

Wednesday was cold and rainy. Yuck. Especially when I had really become use to the hot beautiful weather. No walk, no open windows, but strawberries and chocolate for the fotofest festivities!

We worked on more boxes ( are you seeing a trend yet??) but not too hard. We took the afternoon off and had people over for dinner instead. I made Pioneer Woman's lasagna - it was deeee-li-cious! I've made this dish a bunch but it never tasted as good as that night. I hadn't eaten any cheese dishes since Eliza was born, up until Wednesday - I was in heaven! And wonders of all wonders, Eliza didn't seem affected by it at all. I was quite pleased!
It was nice having people over for dinner again. It's been so long since we have done anything of that sort, and we sure did miss it! We love, love, love having company over. I find such joy in cooking a meal, whipping out a tablecloth ( too bad I couldn't find the iron!), and relaxing with some friends. Of course, our friends of choice are in Vermont, but new friends are quite nice too. It's tough when you don't have any history, though. I am looking forward to the day when we have friends over who we can just "be" with, instead of trying to get to know. Am I making any sense at all?

Thursday... our noses were back at the grindstone. We got A LOT done that day! The kids played well inside, as it was still drizzly outside. We made a huge dent in the garage. That felt good. We could actually walk through it by the end of the day. Whoo-hoo! It has been challenging to find the right spaces for all of our belongings. We had a basement in Vermont where we kept the boxes of overflow items. Not so here! No basement and no attic. This means that I have been getting rid of stuff left and right. If there isn't an appropriate place for the boxed item, it goes. No ifs, ands, or buts.
We are all kinds of having a garage sale. And I hate having garage sales, so this is serious business! I hate clutter more than I hate holding a garage sale.

Waiting for his waffle

Aaahh! Breakfast!

We headed over to the library Thursday evening. I picked up three "Fancy Nancy" books for Eve. How cute are they!! I love those books. They are perfect for my "fancy" little girl. I really appreciate our base library - friendly librarians, beautifully kept books, and a great atmosphere.

Friday... Zoo day!! We got into Albuquerque around noon; it was an easy trip in. The kids did awesome, and it was gorgeous weather. I think it was in the high 70's and sunny.

What a great time we had at the zoo.

"Hi monkeys!"

The kids were incredibly happy and well behaved. They had a blast running from each exhibit to the next. Daniel and I had a blast just watching them!

Eliza hung out in the Macpac the whole time. Amazing!

I loved the Rio Grande Zoo, and I am kind of a zoo snob. If it's dirty, unimaginative, and smelly, I am very unhappy. What makes me most unhappy, is when I see the animals living in squalor. That drives me nuts! I hate to see any human or animal mistreated, so every zoo gets my very critical eye.

In this picture there is both Judah and Eve. Can you see Eve?

I love peacocks! This one scared the crap out of Judah when it made squawked in the tree he was standing under. I might have laughed.

This polar bear kept pacing back and forth. I think he was trying to decide which one of us he wanted to eat!

After the zoo we headed over to Trader Joe's to stock up on some good health food. I took the baby in because she was awake but everyone else was sleeping. We had such an enjoyable time in there! It was busy, but the store was clean and neat, so finding what I needed wasn't a problem. I had two carts full of bags when I left... yikes! But, it was good. I needed to stock up. Fitting it in the van... well, it was a creative venture to say the least! And it only became more creative as the day progressed because we also went to Whole Foods and Costco! We headed back home at about 8:45pm. An incredible sunset was our parting gift.

Daniel did great driving - he and I had some nice conversations, listened to new music, and just enjoyed being together. The kids passed out after their movie and went right into bed after we got home. Daniel and I were pretty awake still so we ate ice cream, and put away the cold groceries. What a fantastic day!

Saturday... Otherwise known as the day we put away groceries.

Friday night we put a bunch away, but Saturday was dividing up all the flour etc.

Breakfast was a feast! Relaxing and delicious. A great way to start our Saturday morning.

Afterwards we went for a walk, but got caught in a thunderstorm. It was really kind of hilarious! The kids didn't appreciate it, but the baby loved it! She smiled and squealed as the rain poured down on us. We finally had to run from porch to porch of uninhabited houses, as we made our way home, because the rain started to really hurt!
We ended up taking our walk later that evening after the weather had cleared up. We were audience to another spectacular sunset.

Overall it was a good, no, great week. We made the most of it and created some treasured memories.

Thanks for walking with me again. I always enjoy our walks together; you're pretty great company, you know! See ya next week....
I am "Twittering" now! It's such fun! Check it out in my sidebar under miscellaneous... If you Twitter, let me know so I can follow along!
It has begun...
Back to life, back to reality......

I woke up this morning next to an empty place in bed. Daniel started back to work today. For some reason my mind is having a hard time grasping that he isn't recruiting anymore. I had been dreading this day, last night I just wanted to run away and hide, pretending like the morning wasn't going to come. It's silly, really. His hours are a dream, the stress is non-existent, and he isn't on goal.

I mean c'mon! What is my problem?

To be honest, I don't know. Maybe my mind is conditioned - to not be able to grasp anything other than recruiting. I can't hardly remember what life use to be like before Vermont. I know that I longed for it while in the midst of recruiting duty. But, now that I have regular life again, I don't know what to do with it. Daniel equated the feelings he was having to a dog that had been chained up; the chains have now been removed, but he still didn't go anywhere. I would have to agree. I want to sing and dance and laugh, but I don't. I just stand here waiting for the shoe to drop. Waiting for the sound of the chains again.

What I do know is I didn't like waking up without Daniel next to me. I became quite spoiled with all the leave Daniel took. But, we needed it. It was time to let some of the wounds heal, to remember that we don't have looming deadlines anymore, time to re-group. It was good. Now I need to work on realizing that life and work can co-exist. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Perhaps hearing Daniel come through the door at 4 o'clock this afternoon will help.

I can't believe Daniel will be home for dinner and we will still have time to take a walk. And I won't have to put the kids to bed without them seeing their Daddy. It's good to be back.....!
Whole Grains - a great place to begin
Whole grains are a really great place to start if you are wanting to incorporate more nutrition into your diet. They are incredibly accessible to us all. And while organic may be best, just incorporating any form of whole grains into your regular diet will be great. The benefits of eating more whole grains include increased intake of vitamins, minerals, as well as an increase in fiber. I personally think whole grains help food have more taste, more interest, and will definitely make you feel full for longer. They are also purported to help reduce heart disease, strokes, Type II diabetes and some forms of cancer.

I have read in a few different places that we should be consuming at least six servings of grains daily, with three of them being whole grains. Americans typically consume only one serving daily. Six may sound overwhelming, especially when you remember that you are to be eating five serving of fruits and vegetables, drinking eight glasses of water, exercising three to five times a week etc... But, truly, whole grains can be very easy to incorporate into your diet. Let me offer up some easy and very yummy ideas, and products to help you on your way:

Lets begin with breakfast....

Whole Wheat English Muffins I find Matthew's at my regular grocery store. I am sure these, and other whole wheat muffins, can be found at the health food store also. We regurly eat the whole wheat ones, but I recently bought the multi-grain and found they are totally delicious! A helping of scrambled eggs, an english muffin, and a piece of bacon or sausage is regular breakfast fare for us.

We are big fans of bagels at our house. The brand I like to buy is Alvarado, though Ezekiel Bread is very similar. I like that they are made with sprouted wheat, they are hefty, and they taste delicious. These bagels will be a big change if you are used to Bruegger's or the typical big, fluffy bagel. But, you'll quickly get use to the change in texture. You won't find yourself hungry an hour after you eat one of these!

Another option for breakfast is making pancakes with half white flour and half whole wheat; a simple trick is adding in a quarter cup of wheat or oat bran to your pancakes or waffles - this is a great way to achieve fiber and whole grains. This keeps the pancakes fluffy and light yet you have your whole grain easily incorporated. I also make waffles with all whole wheat flour, and french toast with whole wheat bread. Eve loves oatmeal with cut up apples - rolled oats will give you the most benefit, rather than quick oats.

My kids will occasionally eat cereal with milk; Barbara's is one of our favorites.

The kids love Puffins, and Shredded Oats. Barbara's has a fruit sweetened "cheerio" type cereal that they enjoy as well. I cut up fresh fruit, or a few frozen blueberries, put them on top and they are happy as can be. There is another company called Mother's who has some really delicious cereals out. A few of my personal favorites are the Peanut Butter Bumpers, Graham Bumpers, and Honey Bumpers. I usually buy this cereal for snacks for those in my family that have a sweet tooth (ME!).

On to lunch:

Annie's. My kids love Annie's! I buy them when they are at the grocery on sale ten for ten dollars. I buy the Appelgate Farm's hotdogs and add them in. I also add in some organic veggies for good measure. This is one of my kid's favorite lunch meals.

I also like to make mini pizzas for them - that brings us back to English muffins. I cut one in half, spread some pasta sauce on it, sprinkle a bit of cheese ( any kind will do) and broil them for about 2-3 minutes. It's fast, my kids love them, and they are filling. I make these when I am in a time crunch!

A simple tuna fish sandwich, with a thin slice of cheese on whole wheat, or rye bread is great as well. For fun I sometimes use a cookie cutter to make the sandwich extra special. The other day I was bored with our regular lunch fare so I whipped up some sweet potato biscuits. My biscuits are made with 100 percent whole wheat flour which meant that they would be nice and filling. I gave the kids a couple of those, warm from the oven, with a slice of cheese - they were thrilled.

Lunch can be as creative as you want - and who says you have to be conventional - certainly not me! Just look for interesting ways to incorporate whole grains - a pasta salad made with whole wheat pasta, a cold quinoa salad topped with salmon and asparagus, drizzle on a bit of oil and vinegar dressing. Whole wheat tortillas with black beans, leaf lettuce, cut up tomatoes, and a dab of sour cream or plain yogurt. I often enjoy a simple salad made with cooked brown rice, cut up grilled chicken, slices of black olives, sometimes cold steamed broccoli. I pour a bit of homemade italian dressing over top, and it's delicious. Simple, simple!

Okay, now for dinner:

Brown rice is awesome, and if you pair it with a legume (beans) you are completely golden. But don't forget to broaden your horizons! You've got whole wheat cous cous, whole wheat pasta (organic brands such as Bionaturae are very inexpensive and delicious), quinoa, wild rice (expensive, but if you just add in a handful to your regular brown rice it adds a nice texture), and bulgar to name a few. Also a whole grain roll on the side is a tasty addition to a meal.
It's easy to incorporate whole grains, and they really aren't expensive when bought from the bulk section of the health food store. It's not as if you have to buy a ton of the food item either. You can buy as much or as little as you like!

I have some great snack ideas as well, but those will have to wait for another day.

In no way is this post comprehensive, my goal is simply to help you understand how easy and delicious it can be to take a step towards a more healthful lifestyle. I know a lot of you are way beyond the point of just adding more whole grains, but some of you may have needed a little insight. I hope this helps! Now, go enjoy some delicious whole grains today!


The Rio Grande Zoo was amazing. It was clean, not stinky, and the animals seemed really well taken care of. We spent four hours there and weren't able to see everything. We didn't make it to the Aquarium or the Botanical gardens, much to Eve's disappointment. Regardless, we all had so much fun! The pictures are coming....
My Mother's Day present
Whoo-hoo! I am totally thrilled about my new Dreamer Design stroller! Tuesday it will be on my doorstep... I am excited about the extended headroom - poor Eve has had to scrunch way down, otherwise her head will hit the cover. I am also excited the one step trigger folding. That feature will sure make sticking the stroller in the van a whole lot easier and faster. I like the colors too, it's a nice change of pace from the red and gray.

I am really happy to be able to be serious about my walking routine again, this New Mexico weather is awesome for that! I'm working 5 miles now because of the lack of hills; I need that amount to get the same benefit as the 3-5 miles I walked in Vermont.
Eliza is loving the Macpac, which is awesome since we've been walking nearly every day. And the kids have fallen right back into the habit of being in the stroller.

I am most thankful that the mornings here are cool, even though the days are hot, hot, hot. It makes a big difference in my walks. And there's no humidity! That's the best part. In Vermont I use to nearly die from the humidity in the summers - I'd be sucking oxygen like there was no tomorrow. I don't think I'd do so well in Florida!

Thanks to my ever thoughtful husband for my new stroller. He knows how to put a smile on my face!
The Zoo
If one would like to leave for Albuquerque by 6:30 in the morning, one should not fall back to sleep for 45 minutes. Said one, is now leaving for Albuquerque at 8:00 in the morning....

We'll let you know how the Zoo is!

And Costco, and Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods...
Healthy Eating Made Simple - Question #1
It's best to start at the beginning, right?

Question number one was by ABW:

"Here's my stupid question! I know it is expensive to eat all organic, etc. I do try to buy it when I can, but what things would you absolutely not budge on? (eg I heard don't buy organic bananas or fruits with skins you don't eat. Although I swear organic bananas taste better!)"

This is an awesome question! I use to have a little list in my wallet of the best foods to buy as organic; I would refer to it when grocery shopping. I don't have the list anymore (Darn!), I tossed it because I got to the point where
nearly everything I bought was organic. But now, because I am living in a place where organic is pretty much ignored, I am having to re-evaluate what I will and won't give on.

Here is a great list of foods to buy organic from the Gaiam for Life website:

1. Peaches 2. Apples 3. Sweet Bell Peppers 4. Celery 5. Nectarines 6. Strawberries 7. Cherries

8. Lettuce 9. Grapes (imported) 10. Pears 11. Spinach 12. Potatoes

Here is their list for the least contaminated foods ( the ones to "give" on):

1. Onions 2. Avocado 3. Sweet Corn (frozen) 4. Pineapples 5. Mango 6. Sweet Peas (frozen)

7. Asparagus 8. Kiwi 9. Bananas 10. Cabbage 11. Broccoli 12. Eggplant

I have found that I do the price comparison thing a lot - Organic bananas... 20 cents more expensive a pound? Worth it. Frozen sweet corn is usually only a dollar more - again, worth it.
And I know, it all adds up, but I have chosen to give on other things rather than our food.

To answer ABW's question in a concise manner it would be this:

Concentrate on buying the things you and your kids eat the most of, organic. If I can't afford the organic version, like fresh raspberries or blueberries, I will either buy them as (organic) frozen, because they are much cheaper that way, or not at all. We have tried a lot of different foods out because the ones we normally eat are just too expensive. I also used the local farmer's market, as well as local (organic) orchards and farmers to their full potential. I would buy/pick large amounts of fruit and vegetables, bring them home and freeze them.

Rice and grains are good to buy organic, as well. The most cost effective way to go is buying them from your local health food store's bulk section. I buy my flour and rice, my beans, popcorn, grains, and spices from the bulk section - I bring them home, divide it up into ziploc bags or containers and stick it all in my freezer. That way I have the amounts in easy to use quantities, and I am preserving the nutrition and keeping the food from going rancid. Some grocery stores have a bulk section in their natural foods section - I have found that they are not always cheaper though.

I buy organic bread - always - because we eat a lot of it. If I couldn't find organic bread, I would make my own. It's that important to me. Milk - I buy organic because, again, it's a highly used item in my house. I don't buy organic cheese or butter because it's just too costly. Eggs, I normally buy from a local farmer because they are fresher and more nutritious. As far as meat, well, that's a tough one for me. I just can't afford to buy organic meat. It's just too stinkin' expensive. In Vermont I bought chicken from Costco - it was natural without any added crap, and my beef I bought from a woman my mom knows back home. The cows were grain fed and it was as close to organic as I could get. The meat was definitely something I had to give on - but I did the best I could.

And that is truly the point. Be informed about what you are eating, drinking, and rubbing on your body. And with that information in hand, make the best decisions for your family - and don't stress about the rest. You just do what you can do!

Well, so much for being concise!

Hope that helped, ABW! By the way... I agree! Organic bananas taste tons better than conventional. I find that is true about a lot of organic food.

Wordless Wednesday with a Twist - Chocolate
This week Rachel's Fotofest theme is "Chocolate." It was a real sacrifice to participate, I can assure you. Actually, that's a boldface lie. I enjoyed every moment of it!

I chose chocolate covered strawberries so the children could join in - it was fun, loud, messy, and very delicious! Enjoy.... We certianly did.

Chocolate covered strawberries, made by small children on a rainy day, will always taste incredibly delicious!

Seeing chocolate covered, delighted faces on small children will always be the best.

Eating the pan of leftover chocolate with your husband, after the small children go to bed, will always be the most fun!
An update of sorts.....
Remember when I mentioned I was interested in taking meals to the new arrivals to base? Well, I am in the process of setting it all up, and I am so excited! I love doing this kind of thing - I live for helping people. Just wanted to let you know it's in the works!

Oh, and I decided not to paint.


You were all so supportive and encouraging, but I think the whole moving experience was entirely too fresh. The thought of having to paint the walls back before we move again was an overwhelming thought. And I've got some big walls.

I'll just focus on how BRIGHT, and CHEERY, and CLEAN looking the walls are now. I am going to buy a colorful carpet for the living room, and my curtains will be full of life and interest. I'm going to put up big pictures on the walls, (anyone have any experience with a great quality online photo printing company?) and buy some more large plants to place in strategic spots.

I am so not a decorator. I know a lot of you are and I am filled with envy when I see pictures of your homes. I wish you could come and put my house together in beautiful ways, but you're all so stinkin' far away.

Anyways... thought I'd update on a few things.


....got a haircut.

Somebody was just being silly.
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