"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."


What blog is about Intro

Come on in and sit awhile while I talk about the "Little Things" in life. I will share my journey of everyday life.... homeschooling, raising my children, homesteading, gardening, health and wellness, and real life.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Ten Breakfasts for Kids (& Adults) Instead of Cereal

It’s so easy to just give your kids cereal for breakfast but the convenience can be costly and is not the best thing for their health.  Now, let me start by saying this is NOT a post with the most healthy options.  I’m simply listing alternatives to cereal here; however, all of these can be healthy options depending upon your product choices.  My inspiration for this is my family’s skewed belief that if we are out of milk or bread we “don’t have any food in the house”.  (eye roll)  It drives me insane.  There is more to breakfast than milk and cereal!  I always have food in my pantry and fridge and I assure you know one is going hungry at my house.  Some of these options will be easy while others will be more time consuming.  Choose what works for your day.

  1. Yogurt — Yogurt is versatile!  I always keep yogurt on hand.  I avoid brands that use high fructose corn syrup and lots of additives.  My favorites for the kids are Dannon or Yoplait and I buy those in the quart sizes.  Dannon Vanilla is a staple in our home.  For those focused on health I recommend Oikos Triple Zero in various flavors or a plain unflavored Greek Yogurt (Greek has higher protein).  Simply put, a bowl of yogurt can be a lifesaver.  Add fruit, oats, chia, or even a SPRINKLE of cereal and it’s a great option.  
  2. Smoothies — Hmmm... back to yogurt, again.  Kids love smoothies.... even the ones that say they “don’t like yogurt”.  Ummmm... of course, you don’t like yogurt, except when you have no idea that’s the main ingredient in that smoothie you just sucked down.  Ha!  We use any flavor yogurt, frozen strawberries and blueberries, and a tablespoon or two of water when needed to thin it out.  This is when a mini-blender is invaluable.  I can whip this up in just a few minutes.  Of course, you might want to add other fruits or even veggies but I focus on strawberries and blueberries because those are low glycemic index fruits (low sugar) and I keep those on hand at all times.  
  3. Scrambled Eggs — Well, this one is pretty straightforward but honestly if you have a kid that will eat scrambled eggs this is one of those "it's so simple it's insane" options.  Protein!  Kids really need protein and there is very little in a cereal option. Add a slice of toast or some berries alongside and you have a great start to their day.  
  4. Omelets or “Scrambles” — Omelets sounds so fancy but most of the time I am in a hurry and I add the same ingredients but I stir it around the whole time so I tend to refer to mine as "Scrambles".  It's all the same and they are loaded with protein so not matter what veggies or meat you want to throw in there you are going to have a healthy option for the start of the day.  I like to oil my skillet with olive oil and use a slice of lunch meat and some veggies that I saute a few moments before adding my scrambled up eggs to the skillet.  Surprisingly, broccoli is amazing in eggs but I also love any squash.   
  5. Oatmeal — I don't recommend those little individually packaged oatmeal packs that are full of sugars but if that is what you want to do it certainly will pass as an alternative to cold cereal.  I buy whole rolled oats or Quick Oats (we use those to speed things up a bit sometimes).  I also cook (this can include the microwave) my oats IN MILK which totally changes oatmeal for people that often say they don't like oatmeal.  Actually, I use half water and half milk most of the time because I like to cut out milk usage as much as possible because I believe it is one of the worst things for your health.  At our house we simply add some sugar to sweeten it up a bit and we are good to go.  If you need a healthier option here I have found that I can have oatmeal for me in Oikos Triple Zero Vanilla yogurt and I am pretty happy with that.  Adding fruit, cinnamon, etc to your oats might be something that makes you happy.  Find what works for you.  
  6. Pancakes — Make your favorite pancakes fresh or make ahead and freeze for a quick option.  Serve with bananas and syrup for an extra yummy treat!  For a healthier option I use cream cheese and an egg that I whirl in my mini-blender and cook on an oiled skillet to make low carb pancakes.  I have mine with sugar free syrup.
  7. Protein Shakes — Well, this is incredibly simple!  You can use a mixer cup or a mini-blender (Can you tell that mini-blender is my favorite gadget?!) Simply add your protein powder and your choice of nut milks or water and you are good to go!  For added fat (and creaminess) I like to add two tablespoons (or more) of heavy whipping cream.  Yes, I add fat because fat burns fat and this adds more protein, also.  I recommend Jay Robb protein powder, Trim Healthy Mama protein powder, or Plexus P96 as I have found the ingredients in those three to be superior.  I personally prefer the Plexus P96 (chocolate or vanilla) because the flavors is stronger and better in my opinion.  *Note: You can also add fruits and veggies to your liking to protein shakes for a more complete meal.  
  8. Waffles — Grab the frozen ones if that works for you.  I use my Belgium Waffle Maker to make huge thick ones using Emeril's recipe.  I can control my ingredients for healthier waffles.  Again, topping them with bananas or other yummy stuff makes them even better.  
  9. Ham & Cheese Melts —  This sounds like a sandwich and you could do that if you want to but what I am talking about it simply placing sliced lunch meat ham or turkey on a plate, sprinkled with grated cheeses, and nuke in the microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.  This is super fast and super flavorful.  Served along 3-5 whole strawberries it is extra yummy!  
  10. Apples & Peanut Butter —  Core and slice an apple and dip some peanut butter on a plate and you are done!  Eat up!  For a healthier option I use Peanut Powder (peanut flour; defatted peanut butter; PB2, etc) to make my peanut butter for me.  My kids think it's weird but it tastes like their peanut butter but less sweet.  
So, there ya go!  Go eat something besides cereal!!  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MTHFR & Plexus

A couple of years ago after my third of four miscarriages I was advised to have genetic testing.  The results came back confirming that I had two copies of the MTHFR gene.  What this means is that my body does not rid itself of toxins that enter into the body like a normal non-MTHFR person.  Those toxins store up and lead to a higher risk of heart problems, miscarriages, allergies, asthma and the list could seriously fill a page.  Just trust me when I say it's not a good thing.

If the body cannot rid itself of the toxins that "enter into it" then, the way to control MTHFR is to focus on what is "entering into the body".  How do most things "enter into the body"?... By eating and taking vitamins and supplements that you may be consuming.  The biggest thing to watch out for is folic acid and B12.  These vitamins are mostly synthetic (man-made) and are being added into our foods.  If the food label says the word "enriched" that means vitamins have been added in.  That means the MTHFR person can't safely eat those items.  That's a lot of items! The only safe thing to do is eliminate those things from the diet and consume only foods with natural forms of those vitamins.

Vitamin supplements are mostly made with "folic acid" rather than natural "folate" and even if they are made with natural they are often labeled incorrectly and you just don't know anyway.  A good example of the labeling faults is to look at the nutrition information for green beans.  It will list "folic acid" but we know this is actually the naturally occurring "folate".  For this reason unless it says it is natural folate in the vitamins and supplements these items should be avoided.  I haven't taken vitamins in over two years because it is really so confusing.  I am now taking Plexus X-Factor vitamins.  This vitamin supplement has been specially formulated and is not made with synthetic vitamins.  I am not only taking it, I have decided to join the company so if you are interested you can order through my website at www.littlethingstx.myplexusproducts.com .  Read more about X-Factor on the website.  I am thrilled to finally be able to take vitamins, again. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My New Venture: Plexus

Have you heard of Plexus? I would love to introduce you. I am starting a new venture as a Plexus Ambassador (that's fancy talk for a "representative"). I have researched it, prayed about it, tried it, and discussed it with my husband. What I have found is that it fits well with the health journey I have been on. It is my belief that overall health and wellness leads to the goals we want to achieve. Based on my research, Plexus can take us to the next level. Feel free to message me if this interests you. You can also explore my website at www.littlethingstx.myplexusproducts.com but please allow me to guide you through choosing products and explaining the details. ‪#‎plexus‬ ‪#‎alwaysroomforimprovement‬ ‪#‎itsstartswithhealthyinsides‬ ‪#‎drinkpink‬ (Did I mention it tastes really good?!!!)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Have Duck, Will Travel

Do you have any idea how many strange looks you get when you drive down the road with a duck in your car?... Or, go through the bank drive-thru with a duck in the car?  People were staring, laughing, flapping their arms like a duck, and other such silliness.  

Now, you might be wondering WHY we were driving down the road with a duck in the car.  A smarter person would have put the thing in a kennel of sorts during travel but Sierra is the one who loaded the duck in the car and she thought it was a good idea to hold it in her lap with a piece of cardboard under the duck to catch any "accidents".  Let's just say that was gross and at some point I was thinking we needed a diaper!  Yucko!  This bird was flapping his wings wildly some moments.  As I was trying to drive I was having to reach over and help her get the duck under control.  (Shaking my head!). 

It was re-homing day for this feathered friend of ours.  Last year when we purchased him as a wee duckling we were hoping for laying ducks.  Once we determined that both the ducks we purchased were males we knew we would not keep them permanently.  Fast forward to now one of the ducks died and we have kept this one out of pity for him.  The problem is that he is the only duck and is living with our chickens and turkeys.  There is no water for him to play in unless we fill small containers.  I think it is affecting his health to not be able to be in the water.  His eyes have had matter in them which I am hoping in a more natural, wet environment will clear up.  And, then there's the feed bill.  Ducks eat quite a bit.  Since he can't lay an egg he is just driving the feed bill up.  

We took him to a beautiful park locally that has other ducks and plenty of space.  There is a nice little pond that will be a wonderful new home for him.  Immediately, upon being released into the pond he flapped his wings and splashed around with joy washing himself.  It took to it very well.  Hopefully, we will see him when we visit the park.  Maybe he will find a mate and start a little duck family.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

More Raised Beds & Chicken Changes: Part 2

Today we finished building the two new raised beds like our other two.  I still need to get soil and lining before I can plant but after that it is on!  I may have to buy a little bit different soil this time unless I want to wait about a week for a the other stuff to arrive in the store.  That's okay, though.  It might be good to try different soils and see what works best.  I will decide soon, of course.... because I can hardly wait to get things growing!!!

I also worked on the frames that I am adding to our chicken coop.  I had a little run in with a tiny rooster that is about to become part of a soup.  He ran up behind me and started spurring my legs.  Thankfully, I had on water boots and long pants... and, he is a little squirt.  Our tom turkey has always been a gently guy but he has decided he is the protector of this little tiny rooster.  My tom actually spurred me in the leg leaving a hole a couple a of weeks ago.  Tom started after me today after I took after that tiny rooster.  It was on!  I grabbed a big plastic barrel and guarded myself and then, made Tom and that tiny rooster feel intimidated.  Tom went in the coop and we locked him in while we worked on our project.  Seriously, this little guy's life is about to end soon.   Sierra was in the coop yesterday and dropped her new eye glasses.  She bent over to pick them up and Tiny jumped up and spurred her in the face and left big scratches all across her face. 

Anyway, I veered off track... Sierra and I got those two old raised bed frames situated in their new location and they are ready for their new life.  I will need to chop up the soil a bit in the one, scatter the wheat, and cover it with wire.  Wheat grows really well and really fast even in hot climates.  I am still deciding if I want to use both frames for this or if I want to make one a dust bath area partially filled with sand.  I am thinking that if I have two like this I could rotate planting times.  I could easily find a different little area in the run to make a dust bath area.  I am still deciding, though. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

More Raised Beds & Chicken Changes: Part 1

We made the decision to add more raised beds to our garden.  We will be building two more the same size and width near our others that we recently made.  We purchased more tin screws and more metal flashing and that is all we needed.  All is left is to assemble them, fill them with compost, and plant in them.  This is very exciting to me.  This year I will have a full out garden.  I did not get to do that last year with it being our first year here.  My husband is being such a good sport about it.  This is really not his thing but he knows it is a good thing.

We also carried our old recycled wood raised beds out to the chicken coop.  They are each about a foot deep and I plan to plant wheat in one of them and cover the bed with chicken wire.  As the wheat grows up through the chicken wire the chickens can eat the tops off the wheat and supplement them with some extra nutrition.  The other raised bed could be the same way or I might put some sand in it for a dust bath area.  Any thoughts or other ideas on that would be greatly appreciated.  I could always make a different area a dust bath area. 

Other things we will be doing this season will be building a bigger coop.  Our chickens have lots of changes in their little world right now.  A few weeks ago I cut old limbs from a tree and built a long climbing and perching area for them.  I also plan to do something creative with an old basketball hoop in their coop... maybe make it a nest. We have turkeys and added quail to our flock this year.  We have the quail in our old rabbit caging right now inside our chicken run.  We will be assessing whether this setup works for them and changing as needed.  What are you doing new for your chickens and other flock this year?

Saturday, April 2, 2016

My New Raised Beds for Spring Planting

I have been keeping my eye out for the style of raised beds I wanted at our current home.  At our other house I had used what I had and what I had was our old privacy fence that had been knocked down about ten years ago during Hurricane Rita.  When moved here over a year ago I just never found the time to get raised beds together and did not have time to properly work the ground soil.  I did bring along some of the old raised beds from the other property and the remaining fencing.  Last year our focus was more on planting our orchard trees and I had my husband till up some of the ground between each fruit tree and we planted some tomatoes and pepper plants that were given to us.  It was not very successful. 

This year I knew I would need to get my raised beds done.  Once again I was feeling like I might not have time to get it done.  I had my husband help me assemble the old fencing ones in our front yard... but I just did not like the look and my heart was really set on making galvanized tin ones.  I had seen some last year that were trimmed out with wood that was so pretty but not only would that come with wood rot issues in the future, it would also be more expensive.  My daddy called me a couple of months back and asked if I wanted some old tin that a neighbor wanting to get rid of.  I said yes not really even having an idea what I might use that for or what exactly it was.  Once it was here I thought about different projects to use it for but had not settled on what to do with it.  The sheets were cut into 5 foot lengths.   I kept looking at that tin and then, one day I saw a design for raised bed that did not have wood frames on it.  The more I thought about it I realized I could do that and I could use what I had here and it would be low cost. 

This is what I came up with.  My new raised beds!!! I am super excited! They are 15' x 2 1/2' and 1' deep. I have learned from past experience if they are very wide I have a difficult time reaching in during weeding and picking. The two beds are just far enough apart to push a mower (an important detail I have learned). All materials are recycled, except the flashing that I used to bind the tin together. I also used the flashing to make brackets that are holding the support posts. The support posts are metal poles from an old trampoline net that did not last. The tin is the recycled tin my daddy delivered to me. It is short 5' sections. If you had full length sections of tin (10' normally), you would not require as much flashing for this project. We ripped (cut) the tin down the center longways for a depth just over 1'. One piece of tin per bed was cut in half so the bed would be 2 1/2' wide. Trust me when I say that 5' wide would be too wide for working these beds later. I learned that lesson the hard way. I had the tin screws leftover from a previous building project.

We lined the beds with plastic drop cloth sheeting leftover from a recent painting project and we also used our soil bags. The trick to this is to dump one bag into a wheelbarrow (etc) and place the thick plastic bags in the bottom of the raised bed and then, start opening more bags and pouring your soil onto those bags. As you empty a bag it goes into the bed. At the end you pour the soil in from your wheelbarrow.

The only cost for me was the flashing which I purchased at Parker's for $4.29 a 10' roll and I bought two rolls. $8.58 !!! Totally what I wanted... Priceless!!!! The real cost is in filling it with soil. I absolutely will not purchase anything that says "Scott's" or "MiracleGro" because I refuse to intentionally support Monsanto. Hopefully, my soil choice was not a sub company of theirs. I got the Compost & Manure mix by American Countryside at Wal-Mart. I just gave up on finding what I wanted locally because I was not getting great reports on quality. I have 40 bags in my beds right now.

I love to use old galvanized containers for my container gardening.  I have more that I will be filling and I have not decided exactly where the container gardens will be.  It is wise to decide this before filling them usually since they will be heavy once filled with soil.  I like the area I have them in if I had them arranged nicely but I do not like the idea of the weeding that it is sure to require around them.  All of the containers have seeds planted in them.  It is all coming together.

Now, I just need to build two more of those raised beds... (wink, wink).