Monthly Archives: March 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A Kiss For Luck

I picked this title as a reminder that when you wear your Sweet Pea, one of the safety checks is that they are “close enough to kiss” <3  Read more about safe babywearing HERE from The School of Babywearing™.

So sorry that the posts that were supposed to be #wordlesswednesdays are a little late this week…I have been under the weather and being #1 for the kiddos has been my priority.  Being a gentle parent is definitely a worthy goal…and letting go of other things helps me do that 🙂  I will announce this month’s submission contest winners tomorrow!

So, here are the lovely submissions for the Babywearing Theme of the Month.  Be sure to check out our post on Sweet Pea Births to see this month’s Breastfeeding Theme: Lucky Charms.

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Have you heard of the “Snugli”? I remember that this is what we used to call carriers “back in the day” when my brothers were babies 25 years ago!

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Soft-structured carrier

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Woven wrap

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Ring sling

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Soft-structured carrier

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Woven wrap


There is always Grace

Sorry I have not been very active on here this week.  We did some spring cleaning and are preparing for a very special guest and event this weekend.

So while I don’t have any ‘day in the life of” writing to share today, here is a story from a couple of week’s ago.  We are very spiritual people, although I wouldn’t say we are religious.  Whenever the opportunity comes up to share the grace of God, I feel called to share it.  Maybe someone reading it needs a reminder that there is a bigger picture and a master plan.  Maybe someone needs to know that we are loved.  We certainly felt all of those things as we reflected on the day.  Most of all, we are just continually humbled by God’s grace and mercy…we know He loves us because we see His hand in our children’s lives over and over again.

It took me some time to process the day…sometimes it’s hard to let go of the “could haves” and “what ifs” and get to the unending praise.  Here is how we found out that Otter is very reactive to scorpions, and why she will never get to walk barefoot on our patio again.  Thank goodness we have some grass for her to enjoy.

Otter’s Scorpion Story

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday morning: usually involves craziness as we get ready to go to church.  In addition to the usual crazy, we were getting ready to host a class reunion for our Fall 2012 Class later that day.  Daddy Bruss and Otter were outside, moving furniture, and getting ready to clean the coolers.  A scorpion was under one of the cooler, and Otter unwittingly stepped on it when the cooler was moved.

Daddy Bruss came in calling my name.  The fact that he was saying “Krystyna” over and over again instead of calling me Mommy tipped me off that something was wrong.  I met them in the kitchen and we put her foot over the sink to rinse it off.  We made a baking powder paste on her foot, and held her there with some ice.  She wanted to nurse, so we did that, too.

We texted our amazing chiropractor to check in with him.  He does this “thing” where he can check in with us remotely…he suggested a baking soda paste…checked off the “we did the right thing” box and thought we were going to be in the clear with this sting incident.

She calmed down – we calmed down.  Ten minutes later, we got her off the counter and we went on with getting ready.  Kids dressed, food packed, it was my turn to get in the shower…and Otter starts crying inconsolably.  She said her “peepee” hurt – I thought maybe she was feeling a little numbness from the sting.  Then along with crying she starts to spit…this was not looking like the after-effects of the other children’s scorpion stings.

We called poison control and found out that if she was spitting and her symptoms were intensifying, we should go straight the hospital emergency room.  We loaded everyone up in the car, I quickly rinsed my face, and I hope I brushed my teeth!

As we were pulling out of our community, a caravan of bikers – hundreds of them, blocked us.  They were not going to let us pass – they were exercising their right of way.  I started banging on the windows, and Bruss rolled down his window to tell them we needed to pass – we were on the way to the E/R.  They were blocking traffic for fully two miles.  They took up one whole lane, and another lane was blocked by construction barriers – not a lot of room to maneuver when you are in a rush to get to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Otter is still screaming & spitting…cue the vomiting…. and I am beside myself.  I am begging Bruss to honk the horn and roll down the windows so we can tell these people to move over.  I don’t know how we got to the hospital in one piece – it was a lot of crazy driving.

Once we finally get past the bikers and the traffic blocks, the hospital E/R entrance we are familiar with is gone!  Due to construction, everything is re-routed there, too.  We finally get to the door.  I jumped out with Otter and ran into the E/R.

I quickly tell the desk person that a scorpion stung our daughter, and that poison control sent us to the E/R.  She takes one look at Otter and puts a call in to take us straight back – and straight back we go.  Within a few minutes, we have a doctor there with three nurses and a respiratory therapist.  He tells us the course of treatment, gets our consent, and starts the process.

Somewhere in here Bruss grabs my phone and calls his sister, Cindy, to see if she can come take care of our older children so they don’t have to be in the E/R with us. She is available, and comes over to watch the kiddos.

As part of the consent, I tell them I will only consent to them trying to put an IV in Otter if they will find their best person to do it.  I tell them, “I know I sound like a crazy mother – I am telling you her veins are tricky.  They look good, but they blow the minute you put pressure on them.”  They give me their pat answer…and proceed to blow two veins in her foot that they thought “looked good”.  I contain my, “I told you so!”

Now they really believe me and call up to the pediatric unit to have someone come down.  The charge nurse arrives, and she blows one in the crook of her left arm that looked good.  One of the other nurses who has been holding her arm points out a vein up by her shoulder that looks good and strong.

Up to this point, I had been singing her Twinkle Little Star in Spanish.  I can tell the nurse is freaking out a little, and I want to pray but I don’t want to stop singing, so I start singing the Lord’s Prayer so Otter can hear my voice and I can still say a prayer. 

 The pediatric nurse is nervous about it, and the other nurses chime in and encourage her to try anyway.  “A vein is a vein,” they say, and lo and behold, it goes in.

Praise God – we have a line in and they can start the medication, known as “anti-scorp”.

Doctor is holding her shoulders and stabilizing her head, one nurse is holding her left arm, Bruss has his hand on her chest, another nurse is holding her hips and knees, I am at her right side making eye contact and talking to her, and then to my left is the respiratory tech with oxygen and the “vacuum” to keep her from choking on her saliva and vomit.  Three rounds of medication go in…the saliva production is starting to slow down.  She is still screaming bloody murder and insisting that she is done and wants to go home.

The doctor assures us that all the symptoms we are seeing are the effects of the venom: screaming, thrashing, spitting, vomiting, eyes shuddering and unable to focus.  He points out how easy it would be to believe in demon possession when you see all these symptoms exhibited at one time.

We have to keep holding her as we wait for the timer to tell us that it is time for the next round of medication…she doesn’t like the cold feeling and gets amped up again when the fourth dose is started.  That runs it’s course and her eyes settle down a little and she isn’t thrashing so much.  The vomiting has stopped, although she is still spitting a bit.

We still have to calm her as we wait for time for the fifth round.  The timer is up again, and the fifth dose is administered.  By the time the fifth round is done, her eyes are able to focus again, the saliva and spitting are under control, and she is still asking to go home now.

We were able to let her up after that fifth dose.  We asked that they tape up the IV line because it was clearly bothering her.  Good thing they did because the first thing she did once unwrapped her from the swaddle in the sheet and her arms were free: she went straight for the IV line.  My “mama quick” reactions blocked her hand and I tucked it under my left arm as I cradled her.  She was still agitated and unwilling to sit still.  We walked a couple of laps around the nurse’s station.  After a few minutes, she had settled down enough to nurse.

Thank God for nursing - once she was settled it was exactly what we both needed to connect and feed our tired girl.

Thank God for nursing – once she was settled it was exactly what we both needed to connect and feed our tired girl.

Within 5-10 minutes she was sound asleep.  I heard her breathing start to sound labored, so we asked the nurse to check her.  She called the doctor and came to listen herself.  We were assured that it was probably just the congestion in her sinuses from the fluid and the crying.  Doc came in and confirmed that.  We were kept for about an hour after the last dose for observation.

Finally sleeping peacefully after an eventful morning.

Finally sleeping peacefully after an eventful morning.

As we are waiting, I start to get texts from students.  I wonder how they found out we were in the hospital…when one spills the beans…they saw a post on Instagram and wonder if she is okay.

Instagram??  I take a look at my account.  While the kiddos were in the waiting room with my phone, Puma took a picture of she and Charger, and posted a plea for prayers for our family since Otter was in the hospital.  I was touched to the point of tears – what a blessing that our eldest daughter’s first instinct in a situation like this was to post a prayer request!

Otter woke up, they took one more listen, signed off on us going home, and took out the IV.  We left not a moment to soon.   As we were leaving, another patient who was being administered CPR was waiting to be wheeled into the room we had vacated.

We went home, where Cindy helped get the kiddos settled, took a take-out order, and went off to Rubio’s with the older three to pick up lunch.  Bruss and I got ready for class and our reunion.

I taught the early-bird class, we held the class reunion…and then it was time to regroup and reflect on the day as a family.  Somewhere in the events of the day Puma shared with me that she had been so scared; so she pulled the boys into a corner at the hospital waiting room and led them in prayer for Otter and the doctors taking care of her.  Again, from the mouth of babes: pray – call on His name for all things.

We went around the room and each of us shared:
Me: Thanked the kiddos for their amazing teamwork and behavior.  Thanked Puma for remembering to pray, Night Owl and Charger for behaving, Daddy Bruss for getting us to the hospital safely.

Puma: Aunt Cindy not being in yoga class that morning so that she could come take care of them.

Night Owl: Thankful Otter was okay now, and for our family

Charger: Was thankful for the doctors that took care of Otter

Daddy: The scientists who developed the medicine and the doctors and patients who tested it.  He also thanked the kiddos for being amazing today.

God’s hand in all this:

  • Otter was stung during the day – we “have heard” that the best staff at the hospital is the day shift.
  • She was stung by a mature scorpion that measures it’s dose of venom.  Baby scorpions give you all they’ve got since they do not know how to regulate their sting.  Given Otter’s severe reaction, I cannot even begin to imagine how much worse it could have been.
  • Finding a usable vein with only two people trying, and finding it within minutes when the second person tried to run the IV.
  • A doctor with a newborn daughter who was moved to personally provide care the whole time Otter was being administered the medicine, instead of leaving a nurse or PA to take his place.
  • Cindy was not in yoga class as she usually is on Sunday mornings and she was available to come down and help.
  • Puma, Night Owl and Charger were visited by a therapy dog in the waiting room.  Her name was Lexee, a Red Setter…looked so much like the dogs my Nana Mil used to have…hi, Nana <3…a reminder from heaven that God is always with us.

It was a scary day.  It was a day that worked God’s blessings and grace in so many ways.  As I read over the story again as we brace ourselves for another full and wonderful weekend, I am reminded of the lesson Puma taught me…just pray and receive the grace.

P.S. Big props to the E/R crew at the Chandler Regional Hospital that morning.  I love that we received care in a Catholic hospital.  IMO it never hurts to have the Holy Family on your side when you are receiving medical care.

Tuesday Tips: Greening Your School

I am so honored to be helping my friend Rebecca Fleischmann help raise awareness about her passion, reducing toxins in a child’s environment.  We met when she was a student in our Bradley Method® classes, and she really opened my eyes to the areas we could improve on as a family that was going green.  She has helped me update the information we share about pregnancy nutrition – you can read that post HERE.

She is now involved with a company called Healthy Green Schools.  It is definitely a vehicle to bring a better experience to children everywhere.  Please take a minute to read our Q&A and contact her to help you make a difference for your child.

Why it’s important:

“Children spend so much time in school, and this is where we can make a huge impact.”

Tell me a little about Healthy Green Schools – what is the mission?
Our mission statement:  Healthy Green Schools is a unique program that protects children by reducing and eliminating asthmagens, allergens and toxins in our schools through education of administration, staff and parents. Healthy Green Schools is a hands-on, fun, robust program that includes addressing healthy foods, setting up “child-friendly” recycling and more. Our program aims to create sustainable, long-term, healthy changes for children, staff and our planet through education and grassroots momentum.

When did you become aware that this was important?
I became aware that this was important when I started working as a teacher.  I saw just how many cleaning products were being used on a day to day basis.  I also noticed how many children has respiratory issues, developmental delays, allergies, and ADD.  It has changed so dramatically since I started working with children at a young age.  Almost every classroom had a sign posted listing the food items that were not allowed in the classroom.   Children spend so much time in school, and this is where we can make a huge impact.

What are some symptoms that your child may be exhibiting that are an indicator they may be allergic to something being used in their school environment?
Children can exhibit  a multitude of symptoms as a result of an environmental allergen.  The most common would be cold like symptoms.  Any respiratory issues, headaches, hives, or rashes can be an indicator of an allergic reaction or sensitivity to chemical cleaners.  Many of these chemicals area also known asthmagens.

What are the benefits to greening a school?
There are so many benefits to greening your school.  Over the past 50 years over 80,000 chemicals have been introduced and dispersed into our society.  Of these, only 200 have been tested for safety, and only 5 have been regulated.  Children are more susceptible to the negative impacts of these chemical due to the fact that they small.  A child breathes up to twice as much air as adults do.  Indoor air pollution is 5 to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution.  By switching to non toxic cleaners, the indoor air pollution is reduced to 1/6th of that amount.  Children are also putting their hands in their mouth a lot, so that is another was that they are exposed to these chemicals.  Switching to non toxic cleaners has been shown to decrease student absences.  Improved air quality by the use of green design, building materials and technologies, has been shown to lower cold and influenza by 9% to 20%, and allergies and asthma by 8% to 25%. (Indoor Environmental Department at the Lawerence Berkley National Design Laboratory in California) .

Greening your school also involves educating teachers and parents about healthy eating.  There are may reasons why it is so important to make healthier food choices as well.  Children are consuming a large number of chemicals in the foods they eat on a daily basis.  Children are more vulnerable to damage from these chemicals because they are still developing.  Pediatricians are beginning to recognize the the benefits to eating organic foods, and the AAP is weighing in on these choices as well.  Our food has changed drastically over the past 50 years, and so have digestive disorders, allergies, and many other food related issues. Many of the preservatives, food dyes, and additives that we use are banned in other countries.  The makers of GMOs are the same people who created Agent Orange and DDT.  Now they are in charge of our food supply.

Are there any risks associated with greening schools?

There are no risks associated with greening your school.  There is absolutely nothing bad that can happen as a result of participating in this program.  There are many misconceptions about going green.  One is that green cleaners are not as effective.  The disinfectants that we use are hospital grade disinfectants, proven to kill MRSA, flu, staph, salmonella, etc.  They actually have a faster kill time than bleach and Lysol.  School absences have been shown to go down when switching to green cleaners.  They do work!  Green cleaners have come a long way!  Typical green cleaners cost 30%-60% more if you purchase them on your own.  With our program, we have been able to reduce that cost to make them comparable to standard cleaners.  We have been able to keep the cost neutral for all of our certified green schools.  This is amazing!

What is the biggest obstacle to greening schools?
The biggest obstacle to overcome with this program is getting school directors to listen to what we have to say.  Many people immediately disregard what people have to say when they have preconceived ideas of what going green is all about.  We have found that school directors are a lot more open to listening to us when parents ask them to take the time to listen.  Then we need to also help the rest of the staff see the importance of what we are doing as well.  This is why we are reaching out to parents who share our passion to help us make a change. We need to help schools see that we are truly passionate about helping children and changing the future. Education is power!

Even if a school can’t commit to a whole green program, is there one change that a school can make to have a significant impact?
We make converting your school to a green school as easy as possible for the school and staff.  We provide constant support, and we are very involved in the transformation.  We want it to be as easy and stress free as possible for everyone involved, as we know that schools have enough going on!  Once the school is converted and everything is in motion, it really does become a habit, and it is a lot of fun!  We get the kids involved, and they get really ecited about being a part of protecting our planet.  I worked with kids for many years, and they have a surprising amount of passion for our planet.  We just need to talk to them about it.  If a school can’t make the full commitment to going green, the most important thing they can do is to switch out their cleaners.  They can do this with out doing the whole certification program.  This will have the most significant impact on the children’s health.

To contact Healthy Green Schools for help with your or your child’s school, you can contact Rebecca at

Milestone Monday! I survived NIP…

…with a toddler!  As you can see from the picture…this kiddo is active, and clearly not a “baby”.  I think for the most part as a general public we are more comfortable with babies being nursed in public…toddlers…not so much.

Otter is pushing me much farther out of my comfort zone.  The oldest nursling I had breastfed in public was Charger…and I stopped nursing him in public right around his second birthday as my pregnancy with Otter was progressing.

She is now 29 months old, and this “baby” of ours will not take no for an answer.  She wants her “leche” and she wants it now!  So, I nursed her in front of a whole bunch of folks and horses at the gymkhana we went to yesterday afternoon…and it was no big deal!

Now, while I am working on setting boundaries and we are negotiating this NIP thing, it was a relief to be able to feed her and do so without any comments of negativity from bystanders.

What’s your share for Milestone Monday?

Parenting Forward: Reflections One Year Later

I wrote THIS a year ago – here is an excerpt:

I had the incredible realization yesterday that no matter what I do to “be better than”, my children are going to have something to say about it – and not necessarily good things!  I decided yesterday that beyond forgiving her, I have to stop trying to “be better than”.

The only thing I can *do* as a parent is listen to my children and do what it is best for them.  Parenting has to look forward, not backward.  What is my child’s personality?  What do they need from me:  Time? Touch? Kind words?

Instead of trying to be a better mother than my predecessors, I have to focus on being the best mother for the child in front of me.  I can’t do “one size fits all” mothering – it has to be individual, personal and invested in them.  That old saying “it’s not about you” is so poignantly true here.

Parenting is not about our past and us.  It is about our children and their future.

So, I am still working on forgiveness and my perceived shortcomings in how I was parented.  I am happy to say I feel like I have completely let go of being “better than” other parents from my past and those that are around me.  I embrace the fact that each of my children is an individual and needs me in a different way than their sibling may or may not be wanting to connect with me.

Things that I try to honor in each of them:
  • Their love language
  • Their space – each one has different touch and proximity needs
  • Making time for each one every day, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes of time with them without their siblings around to get on the floor and play, snuggle, or read a book.
  • Making sure they hear me say, “I love you and that love for you will never diminish” and making time to give each one a long hug every day.
  • Their need to see their dad and I in a healthy, safe relationship – as much as we can, we try to use humor and not talk unkindly even if we are in disagreement.

Parenting is definitely one of the biggest challenges I have faced as a human being.  The responsibility to love, nurture and create healthy, confident, thoughtful, empathetic human beings that will do good in the world because they want to is a big job.  I pray that I am up for it and that at the end of my life, my children can at least know that they were loved and cherished in spite of my imperfect parenting.

WW: Feeling Green

This week’s theme focuses on the small changes we can make as individuals and as a family to green our homes and workplaces.  One small shift can drastically diminish the amount of chemicals and toxins you are exposed to….some of our alumni have taken even more steps to make a big shift in their environments..

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Eating out at restaurants that are committed to reducing plastic.

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SPB alum family: Raising chickens: you know what they are eating and how they are cared for 0 the eggs and the meat are as safe and non-GMO as you want to feed them.

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SPB alum family: Replacing typical one-use, disposable items with fabric towels, laundry soap nuts, and wool dryer balls (not pictured).

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SPB alum family: DIY dish soap, All purpose orange cleaner, glass cleaner, vinegar (which cleans stainless steel!), foaming handsoap (and DIY dispenser), bath salts, deodorant, vicks-like chest rub, toothpaste, tooth powder, powder foundation, bronzer, blush, mascara, and eyeliner. Everything is in glass except the mascara, blush, foundation, and bronzer. Those are in the containers my old makeup was in.

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Using dry-erase boards instead of paper in our schoolroom.

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Using our home-garden for medicine: aloe is great on burns and scrapes.

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Growing our greens: we know they are from organic seeds and pesticide free. Bonus: this method is low-water and chemical fertilizer-free.

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Instant compost using our Vitamix: instead of throwing out rinds and peels from the produce we use to juice and make smoothies, we blend it with water in the Vitamix and pour it over our kitchen-herb container garden.

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Recently started using mama-cloth to reduce the toxins our girl parts are exposed to once a month.

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We have been using un-paper towels since the summer. Just added the little toilet-size cloth for use in the car for all the little clean-ups!


A mix of Vera Bradley, PBKids, and Itsy Ritzy.  Since switching over to reusable containers we hardly ever use plastic baggies - don't miss them at all!

A mix of Vera Bradley, PBKids, and Itsy Ritzy. Since switching over to reusable containers we hardly ever use plastic baggies – don’t miss them at all!

Have you made any changes to green your home, school, or workplace?  What did you do? What was your motivation?

Expecting?  Read more about greening to avoid harmful substance for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy on our sister blog Sweet Pea Births

Read more about greening:

Why we made the switch to mama-cloth from Shannon’s Cloth and More HERE

Home-gardening HERE

Not pictured:

How we greened our nursery HERE

 Green Nail Polish HERE

Living Green HERE

Tuesday Tips: Tablets

You may be looking at the chart above and laughing your pants off.  Am I crazy?? What are we supposed to do without our little digital babysitters when we need to get things done??

The chart is from THIS article on the Huffington Post that gives 10 reasons why hand-held devices should be banned for children under the age of 12.  WHAT?!?! Now you are calling me names.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood was on my radar a few years ago…after reading today’s linked article on screen time, plus a recent study out of Taiwan that the blue-light from smartphone screens change our children’s eyes – literally…we will be getting more involved with their Screen-Free week (May 5-11, 2014).

Seriously, we gave Puma a tablet for Christmas in 2012…so we can’t go back and take it away.  We do ask her to do certain things before she can use it every day, and after reading this article, I am going to have a tablet collection at night and ask the Sweet Peas to earn their time with them, making a more specific effort to limit time.

We are also in the habit of allowing Night Owl and Charger time with two other tablets we have in the house…boy, is their world going to be rocked when I limit their time even more!

I know it is not for everyone, and we all have our reasons why tablets serve our needs.  We try to remember to ask our children to do these things we ask our children to do to earn “tablet time”.  Basically, all these things “should” be done before they can use their devices:

  • Complete their schoolwork
  • Practice their piano pieces
  • Practice dance/tumbling
  • Walk the dogs

What I am going to post up on the wall as alternatives to “tablet time”.  We are definitely instituting a new expectation that time is limited.  Once the timer rings and their time is up here are some options:

  • Sensory bin
  • Play with their toys *gasp*
  • Play with modeling clay
  • Play outside on the swing set
  • Play outside with balls
  • Set up and run an obstacle course
  • Painting with finger paints or water colors
  • Draw/cut/paste
  • Read (to themselves for the ones that can; be read to if they are learning)

All the alternatives we have mean that we have more interaction with our children.  We are setting-up and/or supervising, and even engaging with them…all the things we lose when we hand them a tablet and ask them to go away so we can do whatever we are doing (on our computer, tablet or smartphone?).

It will mean I have to be a better time manager so I can be available to them and not on the computer when they are awake.  It will mean getting Coach Bruss on board so that we are a united front on limiting screen time.

Where are you with this whole screen time thing?

What do you do with your Sweet Peas if you are limiting screen time?

Wordless Wednesday: Eating A Rainbow

This Wordless Wednesday is not so “wordless” since I am going to share some of the benefits of each of the colors from as per Michigan State University.

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Red produce contains lycopene . Lycopene helps provide the reds with their red color, as well as helps lower our chances of getting certain cancers, lowers blood pressure, reduces joint pain associated with arthritis, helps with heart health and memory functions.

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Orange produce contains beta-Carotene, which helps our bodies make vitamin A. Vitamin A helps us have healthy skin, improves our vision and overall good eye health and lowers the risk of certain cancers.

Yellow produce contains antioxidants that promote wound healing, and aids in digestion, supports a healthy immune system, lowers the risk of certain cancers, improves vision health and heart health.

Yellow produce contains antioxidants that promote wound healing, and aids in digestion, supports a healthy immune system, lowers the risk of certain cancers, improves vision health and heart health.

Green produce contains fiber, calcium and folate. Folate is essential in a healthy pregnancy, helping to reduce birth defects, as well as helps to maintain vision health, strong bones and teeth and lowers the risk of some cancers.

Green produce contains fiber, calcium and folate. Folate is essential in a healthy pregnancy, helping to reduce birth defects, as well as helps to maintain vision health, strong bones and teeth and lowers the risk of some cancers.

Fresh greens from our garden :)

Fresh greens from our garden 🙂

Blue produce contains vitamin C, flavonoids and lutein. Blue produce also helps maintain urinary health, improve memory function, lower the risk of certain cancers and supports healthy aging.

Blue produce contains vitamin C, flavonoids and lutein. Blue produce also helps maintain urinary health, improve memory function, lower the risk of certain cancers and supports healthy aging.

Violet produce contains many of the same vitamins, nutrients and minerals as the other colors including resveratrol and zeaxanthin, which helps to boost immunity.

Violet produce contains many of the same vitamins, nutrients and minerals as the other colors including resveratrol and zeaxanthin, which helps to boost immunity.

Some of the other produce and dried berries that we enjoy that are not pictured:

  • red apples and green apples
  • apple-sweetened dried cranberries
  • dried currants
  • dried goji berries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • avocado
  • carrots
  • broccoli





Lessons in What Really Matters

I watched a couple of video clips this morning that really left me thinking about what we are doing as parents.

1.  Children really DO learn everything that they see.  

I watched THIS video early this morning.  It really convicted me that I need to strive to be at my best every minute that I am in front of them.  To that end, I need to do the things that work so I can be at my best every minute: pray, breathe, reflect, and remind myself why I am important and why they are important.

2.  Our daughters are getting messages about their image and their self-worth every time they see women portrayed in the media.

It is so hurtful to hear Puma say she doesn’t want to be part Mexican – she will only claim her Puerto Rican heritage.  Not a big surprise given the way the State of Arizona vilifies people of Mexican descent.  This moving (and short!) speech by Lupita Nyong’o offered a great starting point for the conversation about what is really important about beauty.

“You can’t “eat” beauty – you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.  What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful, is compassion: for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul…And so, I hope my presence on your screens and in magazines may lead you, young girl on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty, but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.  That, there is no shade in that beauty.”

You can watch the whole speech HERE.

3. Partnership is important.  

Have you seen the 25 “rules” for mothers raising sons from blogger Tabitha Studer?  It has been loved and hated all over the internet.  While I agree with most of them, I feel like the things I do just can’t beat the example that their dad sets for them.  He is hard-working, dedicated, a leader and demonstrates that he loves all of us with his words and his actions.  That example is something our sons can learn from and model themselves after every minute of every day.

As far as impacting all of our children, our partnership sets the example our children will have as a baseline when they choose partners.  I will praise him in front of our children more often, instead of at the end of a long day when we are both falling into bed.  They should hear how he is loved and appreciated by me when we are all awake.  I also want them to know that we are team, and that teamwork is a worthwhile and rewarding endeavor.

What really matters to you when you think about the impact you want to make on your child’s life?