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!

3/18/15

Spring Fever

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“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want— oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
Mark Twain

And just like that, spring in the air. The windows are open wide, despite the slight chill that continues to linger, and the curtains are softly swaying in the cool breeze. Fresh air trickles in through the sheer screens, into the office and over my fingers are they quickly type these words. It travels down the hallway and into the kitchen picking up comforting scents of roasting chicken, baking bread and sweet vanilla pudding. Spring is in our home and spring is in the air.

For me, spring always brings a sense of renewal and hope. It's a time to start fresh, to clean and clear the clutter that has accumulated over the grueling winter months. There is certainly something to say for spring fever. Something that you can't exactly name or pinpoint, but something you can feel. Something that drifts with the wind and floats just close enough to touch and grasp.

This past winter has been by far one of the most challenging times we have faced; as parents, as a couple and as a family. Jonas has missed fifty-two days of school and we are still feeling the stress of "catching up" with all of our missed work and grades. I can't even begin to tell you about the emotional roller coaster we have been through with him or even with his brother, who has felt the weight of his brother's diagnosis just as much as anyone else. I recently wrote an article, How I Cope With My Son's Chronic Disease, over on What to Expect website. I could have easily spun this short article into a book full of ramblings; there are endless thoughts and feelings that accompany a chronic illness. What I spoke about was a solid introduction to how I cope with my son's chronic disease but I also know that I have left out a few vital key points.

I never mentioned what I learned over these past seven months.
I never mentioned what this experience has taught me.

Again, I could probably write a book on what I've learned but I'll try my best to sum it up in a few words.

I've learned that life really is short and that time really is precious. I've learned that life is already stressful enough, why add additional stress? I've learned that we need to slow down and enjoy the every day moments, the small moments that tend to pass by un-noticed. I've learned to let go of the "wants" in life and focus my valued time on the "joys" in life. I've cleared our home and space of clutter, I've significantly cut back on social media and online outlets, I put more focus on the good relationships in our life and less on the stressful or negative ones. I try to include the kids in more activities rather than handle everything myself. Matching socks in now a counting game, making beds is a timed event and helping with dinner is just a must. I've also set aside two days of the week as a "no screen time" day, which has made a huge difference!

I'm taking on less and learning to let go. Spring fever is in the air and I'm ready to soar into warmer days with a clear mind, a peaceful soul and a patient heart.

Cheers to warmer days!

2/26/15

Roasted Chicken + Pesto Over Zucchini Noodles {Paleo, SCD}

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"I'm just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression."
Maya Angelou

I think Maya Angelou may be on to something here. I like cooking. In fact, I love cooking. But what I love most about cooking is the fact that we can share these indulgences and they in turn become experiences. They become expressions for the various phases that we enter in life. The meals we cook and share with friends and family become memories and moments that will last a lifetime. So why not share these secrets with our children? Why not start creating these memories from the minute they are little? Why not teach them the power and wonder of what "eating well" really means.

These days, the kitchen has become my home. Food has taken on an entire new meaning in our household. It has become more about fueling our body, soul and mind. It has become about ridding the toxins and replenishing the nutrients. It has become about sharing these experiences and living them out together as a family. It has become about change. Change for the better.

I have always considered my lifestyle healthy. I eat well, I cleanse occasionally, I workout, I practice yoga. Since our son was diagnosed with IBD we have searched through many various venues to find the right path to heal him. We have tried homeopathic methods, acupuncture, essential oils, functional medicine, traditional western medicine and food. So what works? Well, I really don't know. Right now, we use a blend of all these options and for right now it seems to be working. His pain has subsided, he's back to school and even back to soccer. Regardless of the path we will end up on, I will always believe that food impacts the way we life our lives. If there is any message that I want to pass along to my children after going through this experience it's that fact that food is what fuels the body, mind and soul and it's what keeps us strong and healthy.

"The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

Ann Wigmore

Roasted Chicken + Pesto Over Zucchini Noodles | Paleo, SCD

Pesto:
1 C basil
1 C parsley
1/2 c cilantro
1/2 c walnuts, pine nuts, or other nut of choice (raw)
1/4 c EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
salt & pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a food process and blend until smooth, add more olive oil as needed.

Roasted Chicken:
1 lb boneless chicken breasts (organic, free-range)
2 TBS olive oil
chopped garlic
chopped turmeric (if you don't have fresh you can use powder)
salt & pepper

Place the chicken on a roasting pan or tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic and turmeric over the chicken and
add salt & pepper. Roll the chicken around so each side is coated with olive oil and spices and then bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Cut chicken in one inch pieces or strips.

Zucchini Noodles:
2 medium zucchini
4 TBS water
salt

Peel the zucchini and cut off the ends. Using a vegetable slicer (I love the Sur La Table Vegetable and Fruit Slicer) make noodles and place in a large glass bowl. I'm not a fan of the microwave and we hardly use ours, but I've found this is the best way to make "non mushy" noodles. Add about 4 tablespoons of water to the noodles and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and drain.

Plate the noodles on individual plates and sprinkle with sea salt. Add 2 tablespoons of pesto and place chicken on top.

*I've been toying with the idea of sharing more of our recipes here and what measures we are taking to keep healthy. Mostly, I just want to have a place where the recipes we enjoy are documented. I'm curious, is this something that interests readers? Are you looking to see more "Crohns friendly" recipes that are paleo, SCD, gluten free and dairy free? Thanks!


2/1/15

A Place We Call Home

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We are well past the holiday season, but I stumbled across these photos the other day and was quickly swept back to December and the sounds of holiday cheer. I was tossed into a home steeping in the scent of vanilla and cinnamon and the subtle jingle of silver bells that could be heard here and there as we strolled through our every day routines. It seems like this past holiday season was over before it even began. It was certainly a different year for us, but we tried our best to embrace it. I tried my best, as a mother, to make our holiday home joyful. Christmas music played daily, we read our holiday books nightly, and I baked everything and anything that I could to accommodate our new lifestyle. But most importantly, I tried my best to remember the true meaning of Christmas and the season, and out of all the years, I think I came the closest to understanding it this year.

This year I discovered that Christmas is about a place we call home.

Home can have a different meaning to each individual, and the thought of home can change with each year. Home could be faith, the Church, friends, new love, family. For me, at least this year, home became the roots that I planted right here under this roof where I am typing. Home became the strong branches that grew upwards and outwards, reaching to new open skies and bending down to lend a helping hand. Home became the fragile leaves that swayed with the slightest wind but brought color, strength and meaning wherever they fell.

Home is my family.

This holiday season taught me that no matter what ups and downs we encounter, our roots our grounded deep into the earth which allows us to stand strong. We may sway and softly blow in the wind, we may find ourselves fragile and broken, but we are anchored to something and that something is family.

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."
Ernest Hemingway