4/14/15

An (Almost) Sugar-Free Easter

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I know Easter has already passed, but I thought I would share some of our snacks and treats that we use for the holidays. Eliminating processed foods with kids in the house has been an extremely difficult journey. I've always been into living a healthy lifestyle, but I never envisioned making my own fruit strips and gummy treats. And yet, here I am. Making batches of bone broth, coconut yogurt, fruit bars and every meal from scratch.

I don't want to paint the perfect picture, but we do try our hardest. I wish I could have the entire family on a strict paleo lifestyle, but the younger kids sneak in fruit bars and fruit snacks on occasion. And I'm okay with that. If fact, since Jonas has been doing so well we've been a bit more lenient with his foods. We are slowly introducing new foods and he can eat any legal SCD or paleo food without problems (we still avoid raw nuts and seeds), which is a huge step for him. I'm still planning on writing a post about his update, but I haven't had the chance to sit down and type that lengthy one up yet.

In the meantime, here are some tasty treats that we love to keep around for special occasions, long car rides or school lunches.

Stretch Island Fruit Strips | Peeled Snacks dried fruit | Samai Plantain Chips | Plum Organics Mash Ups | Larabar | That's It fruit bars | bare snacks | Nature's All freeze dried fruits

Tips on picking healthy go-to snacks:
+ Always choose fruits or veggies first: carrot slices, avocados, apples, oranges, raw almonds or cashews if you can tolerate them
+ The less ingredients the better. We stay away from preservatives and sugars. Most of these items featured above are wholesome ingredients that are simply fruit
+ Buy organic when possible
+ Buy non-gmo foods when possible
+ With three kids we buy in bulk, it can sometimes help cut down the price

*Please note that these foods are not necessarily Paleo or SCD legal. They are, however, foods that my son can tolerate

4/8/15

Easter Sunday

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Easter
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Every year after Easter Mass my family treks across the yard to set up for our annual family photo. Sometimes, believe it or not, this may be the only photograph of all five of us together that is documented all year long. While I may be good at snapping photos of the kids in a real lifestyle setting, I am not so good about snapping photos to capture all of us together.

This year we didn't get our family photo. It was a quiet and calm Easter and I decided to set aside all stresses. And yes, sometimes digging out the tripod and getting the family to take a photo can be stressful. I also skipped the fresh flowers on the dining room table, I forget to set out the crystal water glasses and the colorful kids table turned out to be three children plopped up on the island with stools. I meant to capture pictures of the food but it just never happened. And you know what? I'm completely okay with these missed moments. While we do have stress in our lives, I managed to set it aside for a night. I managed to focus on the family present, the guests, the toasts in good cheer and the food. Rather than documenting the moment I decided to live the moment. I decided to be present.

As I move forward into spring and further into 2015 the focus of my days has been: to be present. With a blink of an eye my son will be ten this summer (gasp!) and I feel like there are moments in life I have missed. When I am old and gray the last thing I want hovering over my mind are the moments I have missed in life. I want to be full of moments embraced and moments lived.

“The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

These photos aren't perfect, but they are perfect to me. I will always remember the story we shared as we walked through the woods, the fox that ran in front of us, the tears that Jess shed because the boys scared her and how her big brother scooped her up in his arms. These are the moments I want to be full of at the end of the day.

If you want to see the colorful kids table, the family photograph, the fresh flowers and more here's last year's Easter post :)

4/7/15

Calm Mornings + Daily Routines

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I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a morning person; something I inherited from my mother. The fact that we run a restaurant doesn't help my case either, but motherhood tends to begin at sunrise regardless of when I get in bed. While I may not be up at sunrise, I am up shortly there after and have to be prepared to take on the day. The one thing
I've learned as my children get older is there is no time for rest during the day. Between school, working out, maintaining the house, ballet, soccer, piano, music class, homework, dinner and more our day is non-stop. Even when they are in school, the time flies by and I never accomplish everything on my to-do list. The other thing I've learned is that I thrive on routines.

Having a set morning routine helps our days start off on the right path. We can easily avoid the morning hustle and chaos if we are prepared for our day ahead of time. I would like to say I'm the first to rise in the morning, but that would be a lie. Our oldest is an early riser and likes to spend fifteen minutes alone downstairs on the iPad, which he is allowed to do since we are always ready for the day the night before.

Part of our bedtime routine is preparing for the next morning. Once bath time is over, snacks are given and teeth are brushed we lay out clothes for the next day. Depending on the day the appropriate clothing is laid out: schools days are uniforms, soccer days are uniforms and all the gear, church days are dressy clothes and open days are play clothes. The first thing the kids do when they wake up is get dressed and head downstairs. On a perfect morning, breakfast is prepped the night before, but that's not always the case. Since we've been avoiding processed foods, breakfast usually entails eggs, a homemade loaf of bread and fresh fruit. And endless cups of coffee for me!

Weekends tend to be very laid back, as long as we don't have early soccer games, and everyone does their own thing until we all sit down together for breakfast. Schools mornings are a bit more of a rush to get out the door but never too stressful. Lunches are packed the night before, backpacks filled and homework checked.

It's taken a couple years, but I've finally found the key to calm mornings for our family is a daily routine and organization. How does your family handle the early mornings? Do you have a set routine or morning pattern?

3/28/15

Hello Weekend

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"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming."
Pablo Neruda

We are madly dreaming of spring. As the soft flurries of snow continue to drift across our windows, we close our eyes and dream. We dream of freshly cut grass and the sweet earthy scent that always accompanies it. We dream of amber colored tulips popping up from the loose fragrant soil. We dream of soft songs fluttering in the freshly blossomed trees as the robins float gracefully through the air.

We dream of spring and the hope it holds.

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to keep dreaming of spring!

3/26/15

An Afternoon In Cleveland

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These days we're finding ourselves heading up to Cleveland on a regular basis. Unfortunatley, it's always to visit the Cleveland Clinic for doctor appointments or tests, which doesn't make for very much fun. Cleveland is one of those cities that I took for granted when I was younger. I never considered moving there after college because I was blinded by the notion of "moving to the big city" once I landed that dream job to get me there. Well, I never landed that dream job and my move consisted of moving into an apartment two miles away from my parents house. BUT I did meet my future husband and I eventually got a great job. And I'd have to say my three amazing kids are proof that it's a win-win situation.

Over the years, Cleveland has quickly become a favorite city for us to sneak away to for good food, live music and a night on the town. Back in February we were scheduled yet again for another day up at the Clinic. It just so happened that it turned out to be a snow day. Rather than scramble for sitter coverage we decided to make an advetnure out of it and take the whole family. The great thing about living close to a big city is you don't have to cram everything into one day. On this particular day, we took our time heading up there. We spent a couple hours at The Greater Cleveland Aquarium and finished up with a quick lunch at Ohio City Burrito just before we had to head to our appointment.

If you have an afternoon to spare I definitely recommend heading to the aquarium and spending some time in Ohio City!