Archive | April, 2013

A Weeks Worth of Groceries (April 15-21)

30 Apr

I thought it might be interesting to show what we are purchasing at the grocery store each week so that you can get an idea of what we are eating on our whole foods diet. All items are organic, non-GMO, and contain no sweeteners except honey or pure maple syrup.

Central Market


Applegate Smoked Turkey Deli Meat, Organic Whole Milk, Lactose Free Whole Milk (for my husband), Red Jacket Fuji Apple Juice, Stahlbush Frozen Vegetables (broccoli, green peas, corn, sweet potatoes, butternut squash), Stahlbush Frozen Fruits (strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries), Organic Bananas, Organic Fuji Apples, Organic Blue Corn Tortillas

Cupboard Natural Foods


Caramel Sea Salt Macaroons, Woodstock Frozen Fruit (pineapple, blueberries, mango), Chocolate-Mint Tart, Chocolate Tart, Frozen Corn, Organic Whole Milk, Fruit Leather (raspberry, apricot, grape), Apple Cider Vinegar (with “mother”), Organic Strained Tomato, Organic Crushed Tomato, Organic Diced Tomato, Organic Black Currant Fruit Spread, Texas Pure Honey, Barbara’s Organic Cereal (Honest O’s), Organic Tomato Paste, Pepper Belly Salsa, Numi Rooibos Tea Bags, Choice Green Tea Bags, Newman’s Raisins, Casbah Couscous, Apple Cinnamon Yogachips, Blue Corn Chips, Dried Fruit (mango, apricot, apple, pineapple), Honey Acres Mint Patties, Heartland Raisin Walnut Bread, Heartland Sunflower Seed Bread, Raw Cashews, Raw Sunflower Seeds, 4-color Spiral Pasta, Larabars, That’s It Bars

Earthwise Gardens


*All items are local (within the state of Texas), organic, meats and eggs from animals that are pastured/grass-fed, cheeses made with raw milk.

Spinach, Cabbage, Grapefruit, Oranges, Red Leaf Lettuce, Granola, Pecans, Pork Bratwurst


Where I Shop For Groceries

25 Apr

My grocery shopping habits have definitely evolved in the thirteen years that I have been married, and even more drastically in recent months since changing to a whole foods diet for our family. I have done my grocery shopping at so many different stores over the years, I doubt I could remember them all! Where I used to be concerned with convenience/location and cost of goods, I now concern myself more with quality and healthfulness. The following are places that I shop on a weekly basis for our groceries:

Central Market – I shop here mainly because it is the only place I know of to get the Applegate deli meat that we like. I always pick up a couple other things while I’m here.

Cupboard Natural Foods – I shop here for a lot of my staples. However, even though they are a “natural food store”, I still read labels careful before buying anything. Not all of their products fit within my guidelines of what is acceptable in our whole foods diet.

Earthwise Gardens – I shop here for the bulk of my produce, meat, eggs, and cheeses. I also buy other items here as they are available like granola, pecans, honey, etc. This is a local farmer’s produce shop, and everything in the shop is either from his garden, or sourced as locally as possible and all within the state of Texas. All his produce is organic, the honey is raw unfiltered, the meat is local grass-fed, the cheeses made from raw milk. I can not say enough how much I love this shop! I am supporting local farmers and getting the freshest healthiest food for my family by shopping here.

Other stores I intend to start shopping at soon:

Whole Foods – There is rumored to be one in the works in our area!

Farmer’s Markets – These should be starting back up soon, and run through fall.

What are your go-to stores for healthy eating?

Homestudy Field Trip – April

22 Apr

For our home-study field trip in April, I took my girls to the Fort Worth Zoo. We went after I picked up my oldest from school, so we ended up with an hour and a half to explore and covered roughly half of the zoo. Despite not having enough time to see everything it was the perfect time of day to go, we pretty much had the place to ourselves!

Here we are in the Texas themed part of the zoo 🙂


After we spent as much time as we could exploring the zoo, we went to dinner at a nearby cafe McKinley’s. While we were waiting for our food the girls worked on the worksheets I had previously printed and brought with me. My 3rd grader worked on her cursive handwriting (something that is severely lacking in her public school!), and a zoo theme word search. My pre-k girl did some basic math (subtraction), and a fun zoo themed sudoku that she had to cut and glue (working on those fine motor skills!).


Food Babe vs Kraft

18 Apr

You may have already heard about Food Babe, and Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food, taking on the American food giant Kraft over petroleum-based dyes yellow #5 and yellow #6 that are used in Kraft’s macaroni and cheese as well as many other products in this country. If you have not heard about this, let me fill you in on this very important issue and how YOU can help.

When the UK decided that products with yellow #5 and yellow #6 (potentially harmful artificial ingredients) must have a warning label on their packages, Kraft reformulated their macaroni and cheese using natural coloring (paprika and beta carotene). Unfortunately they have not voluntarily done the same in America. In fact, lots of companies (including Kraft) continue to use ingredients here in the US that are banned in other countries. Don’t we as Americans deserve the same safer food as our friends overseas?


These harmful dyes are completely unnecessary. The UK version and the American version look and taste almost identical! Food Babe and Lisa Leake have done taste tests themselves, as well as on the streets of Chicago, and people actually preferred the UK version. Imagine that!

Yellow #5 and yellow #6 are:

  • contaminated with known carcinogens (cancer causing agent)
  • cause hyper activity in children
  • have a negative impact on children’s ability to learn
  • have been linked to health problems such as asthma, skin rashes, and migraines
  • have no nutritional value and are used for aesthetic purposes only

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that stuff in my body or my children’s bodies! I grew up on Kraft Mac & Cheese, just like most of you probably did, and I have fed it to my children occasionally (before we started on our real food diet). No more! I have taken a stand and boycotted all Kraft products, I signed the petition and posted on Kraft’s facebook page. I am doing my part to get rid of these nasty dyes…will you help? Go here to sign the petition, and help us change Kraft’s mind about serving Americans mac & cheese with yellow #5 and yellow #6!

Email and Facebook: Why I am Cutting Back

12 Apr

I get so many emails everyday, 64 on Sunday alone (I just counted), that it takes a lot of my time to read them all and respond when necessary…too much time. I know a lot of you feel the same way!

I made the decision a couple weeks ago to cut back on the amount of time I spend reading and answering emails. When I sit down at my computer now during the day, which I usually do in-between other things (dishes, laundry, cleaning house, kids stuff, etc.), I will read and answer three emails. Just three. This means that I am always behind on my email, and I have to be ok with that. It definitely wasn’t easy the first couple days! Currently I have 350 unread emails in my inbox, and another 182 in my spam folder. I am ok with that!

I did worry at first how other people would react to this. We live in a world where instant gratification rules, so how would people react when I didn’t respond to their email for several days? I have gotten a comment or two about why I’m not responding to email as quickly, but for the most part the reaction has been minimal. What if I miss something important, or don’t read it for several days? I feel like if it is that important, that person should call or send me a text.

In addition to email, Facebook was one of my bigger time wasters. I would usually spend an hour on the couch every evening browsing through Facebook posts while my husband watched TV and our girls were asleep. I know there are better ways I can use that time, but I don’t think I should have to give up Facebook altogether (it is a form of entertainment that I enjoy), so instead I only check Facebook from my iphone while waiting in the pickup line at my girls school, or waiting in the reception area of the doctor’s office, etc.

While neither of these things (email and Facebook) are wrong, I do feel like cutting back on the amount of time I devote to them is in keeping with simplifying my life and spending the time I am given wisely. If you have come to a similar conclusion in your life, please let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about it!

2013 Goals: April Update

10 Apr

My progress so far this year…


1.Pay off all debt except student loan and home mortgage (this includes two cars, a line of credit, and credit cards) – Paid $2,526.72 extra towards debt

2. Make a decision about what I want to do (for work), and work towards putting myself in that position – My husband and I are kicking an idea around that we are both very excited about!


1. Convert to clean eating, while spending wisely to save on groceries – Carefully reading the ingredient labels on everything I buy. Continuing to read and learn more about eating real, fresh, organic, local food. Watched the new documentary Hungry For Change.

2. Exercise 2-3 times per week (30 minutes or more)


1. Finish girl #1’s room re-model

2. Start (and hopefully finish) girl #2’s room re-model

3. Continue improvements to yard and landscaping – Planted new flowering shrubs, ornamental grass, and flowers in our front flower bed.

4. Start a garden


1. Find a church home


1. Learn Spanish with my girls – Still working our way through the 6-disc children’s Spanish learning DVD set I purchased. Finished disc 1 (learned all words), currently on disc 2.

2. Read (books) – Currently reading two books

3. Volunteer (more often)

4. Be a better wife/mother/daughter/sister/friend

5. Simplify my life – Made the decision (it’s been a long time coming) to close my portrait photography business for good

Bounce Energy Plan

8 Apr


Our current energy plan (12 month fixed rate 7.9 with Tara Energy) expires on April 16th, so I have been on the hunt for the best rate I could find in our area with at least a 12 month fixed rate. A friend recommended Bounce Energy, and they have a good rate of 8.8 right now for 12 months so we decided to go with them. Using my friend’s referral code I will get a $75 credit on our bill, and she will get one as well. In addition we earn rewards and cash back using their Peak Rewards and Energy Rewards programs. If you are looking for a new energy company with a lower rate, consider using my referral code 1396144 and we will both get a $75 credit on our bills!

Sugar Everywhere You Turn

4 Apr

Now that we are truly committed to eating clean/whole foods and making a conscious effort to eliminate anything artificial, genetically modified, highly processed, and/or with excess sugar from our diets, it is quite astounding the amount of sugary treats that our girls get from other people. These sugary treats are coming to them from every possible angle….the school cafeteria, teachers, classmates, friends and their parents, family, neighbors, and even stores. I have left the bank and the post office with my youngest in tears this week because I wouldn’t let her have one of the suckers they hand out! While I am ok with our girls having the occasional sugary treat, I have to come up with creative ways to eliminate as much of the rest of it that I can without turning into the mean mom that is always telling her children no (I do enough of that already!).

Knowing that my youngest had an egg hunt scheduled at her preschool last week, I went into that day prepared. When I picked her up from school I told her she could pick three eggs that had candy inside to keep, and she could also keep any eggs that didn’t have candy. Personally, I filled the eggs I sent to school with little trinkets instead of candy (bracelets and rings for the girls, bouncy balls and poppers for the boys, and stickers for all). I knew she had 13 eggs (13 students in her class). I had previously purchased a new mini LalaLoopsy doll (she loves them), and told her I would trade it for the rest of the candy filled eggs. This is what I ended up trading for and throwing in the trash…


Unfortunately I have not yet had a plan for what to do on a day to day basis when my girls are given sugary treats…a piece of candy here, a cupcake there, and so on. For this reason I have come up with the following list of things that they can trade in their sugary treats for, in hopes that it will ease the pain of me saying no almost all the time and throwing away their loot.

1 piece of candy = .25 (this can be saved until they have enough to buy a new toy or something else they want)

Cupcake/piece of cake/cookies/etc = their choice of the following: stay up 30 minutes later on a weekend night, movie night pick, healthy treat, or $1.00

I originally got the idea for a system of trading from Lisa over at 100 Days of Real Food. I absolutely love her blog, and have learned so much from her! With all that I have learned, from Lisa and others, it has been life changing to say the least. A few weeks ago I felt so guilty after buying one of my daughter’s friends two big movie size boxes of candy to go with the DVD we got her for her birthday…I won’t be doing that anymore! Knowledge is power, but it has also created a delicate issue when it comes to others giving us things we chose not to eat on a regular basis. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the same time I don’t want to always be compromising our health. I hope to be able to find a good balance, and handle gifts of sugar with grace.