joy boy

Rory asked me recently if I was getting enough pictures of Alden and his great grin. So here they are with Grandpa Paul. Alden is such a riot. He wakes up first in the morning with Rory and then later I come down with Hattie. And when I do Alden goes bananas, "aaaaaaaTeeeeee! aaaaaaaaTeeeeeee!" And he and Hattie hug and rub their heads together and discuss which kitchen cupboards and drawers they are going to empty first that day. It's a great way to start the day.

kittens!

Our cat Boa had another litter of kittens when we were at Mount Carmel! You may remember she already had a litter back in March, so she is quite...fertile. And this time she upped her game to SIX kittens. Oh my. Bob Barker would be worried about this. But we're not because we live on a farm. And because they are so, so darling. 

That said, if you or anyone else is looking for a kitten, these are VERY tame and sweet. 
Five are orange and one is black. A friend of mine recently told me that most black cats are female and 80% of orange cats are male. I never knew this before and haven't officially checked with this litter, though it was true for all of our former cats!  I suppose it has something to do with a punnett square or something. So now you know too. 

soaking it up!

It's been quiet here on the blog, but mostly because it's not been quiet in real life. We are soaking up these days of gorgeous weather and trying to fit it all in. This picture above is a personal fav. We celebrated these births of these fab four at the Apple Valley Water Park with this darling birthday cake made my Lisa. She always hits it out of the park. I went down the green slide and toilet bowl with Ivar again and laughed so hard. That is definitely one of my very favorite things to do with that boy- go down water slides. We scream and laugh and I feel 7 too.

I have so many pictures to post and decided I will do lots of short little posts to get them all up there. So get ready. Here they come...

can the rainbow

Did I ever tell you my new year's resolution? My resolution was to Can the Rainbow and I'm on my way! Sunday I came home from a baby shower and Rory had spent the two hours making pickles. Then yesterday he came in the house with a box of red tomatoes and a box of green tomatoes. And on a whim I decided to make tomato sauce. And then today I made a new favorite: Green Tomato Salsa.  I got the recipe from Can it and Ferment it, written by a Minnesota author, with a few additions.

And the rest is jam: raspberry, blueberry and blueberry/raspberry. I still plan to make a few more things to fill out the rainbow, but I'd say this is a very glorious start!

Other Resolution Check-Ins:
Rory's was to grow his own wheat and make a loaf of bread. I think we're going to do it! The wheat definitely went to weed, but we harvested the wheat last week, me with a scissors and Rory pulling the weeds as we moved down the little test plot. It will be a small loaf, but it's going to happen! (Also, the oats we grew were harvested and will be ground into my next batch of soap!)

Elsie's was to learn how to read. We are making progress! We are on lesson 68 of her 100 Easy Lessons and making sure we are fully confident before we move on.

Hattie's was to grow her hair it. It's coming! We think.

Alden's resolution was to learn how to walk. He'll definitely be there by the new year! He's doing that standing and crouching thing without holding onto anything.

Ivar's was to get a rabbit and build a hutch. Done and done. And I will say Rory built a gorgeous hutch with him. It's still not completely done, but it is one classy rabbit dwelling. Also, look at this picture of him. He is getting so old. I feel like I'm watching him change right before my eyes. His humor is sense of self and his blue on blue. He's growing up!

the whole 30

I never posted this blog post. I wrote it back in April, and I think I felt weird since it's about a diet. But I found it and thought the pictures were inspiring and I really did appreciate my 30 days on the Whole30. So here's that long, and picture-full post:

When I was pregnant with Alden my number one craving was Whole Milk. I drank glasses of it each day. And even now, while in the season of nursing, I still love the stuff. And every day in my coffee I pour a whole lot of heavy whipping cream.

When we got Miracle back from the vet we looked up Lamb's Milk Replacer and found a recipe that called for whole milk, heavy whipping cream and two raw eggs. It promised to fatten our lamb up nicely.

Sometimes the dots have to be reeeealy close for me to connect them. But these ones got connected. I was consuming all the same things that promised to fatten up my lamb. So I knew my days of Whole Milk needed to come to an end. But then I started thinking about all of dairy and how they add growth hormones to the cows and how that is affecting the size of people in the world. And so I googled, "no dairy eating plan" looking for inspiration as I try to lay off the cow's milk.

I started reading about The Whole 30, which has been around for a while and decided that very moment to start. It was quite impulsive. But I was excited. I needed this swift kick in the right direction. It was time.

So thanks to Miracle, I am now heading in the right direction. I will say this is pretty extreme cleanse, and I will add some things back into my diet after the 30 days, but I will also say I feel incredible. My energy has not been this consistent in a long while. Even at 4:00pm I'm still feeling good. That's a real wonder with Alden teething and Miracle's feedings.
Also, I have been taking pictures of my food, something that really motivates me to plate my food and make it look delicious and I want to share those here. I have taken so many pictures of my plates that Elsie has started asking me to take pictures of her plates as well. She's the best. And not on the Whole30.

Here is the page that explains the Whole 30 Shebang if you're at all interested. I will say to eat this way has felt incredible, and to get off of sugar is quite the experience for me. They call it 'the sugar dragon' and say, 'don't wake your sugar dragon.' Waking your sugar dragon could be taking just one bite of a brownie. And suddenly that dragon inside you is awake and ravenous. It wants more sugar. So you feed it more and more and more.

But if you can get off of sugar, that dragon does go to sleep, and sugar does not have a grip on you. Easter was a real test. I was surrounded by cookies, brownies, reeces peanut butter eggs (!!!) whoppers (another personal fav), snickers, dots, jelly beans, chocolate bunnies...all of it! And it's all been in the house since then. But my sugar dragon is sound asleep, and I do not even feel tempted. Truly. It is quite the phenomenon for me to experience. Because if I wasn't on this Whole30 and if my Dragon was awake, I would have eaten it all. It would all be long gone by now. I just love candy and sweets so much. But because I'm off of sugar, it doesn't hold that control over me. My Dragon is asleep, and life is less tempting. How incredible is that?!! If you've never had a sleeping sugar dragon, it really is something amazing to experience.

The Whole30 is an eating plan that says for 30 days I will not eat any 1)dairy 2)grains of any kind 3)added sugar of any kind 4)beans and legumes. Which leads a person to wonder, then what in the world can you eat?!!

So here's what I have been eating. And man, I have been eating well! So many eggs, sweet potatoes, kale, peppers, cauliflower rice and asparagus. My body is getting better fuel than it has in months. And though this is a challenge, it is not hard. I'm doing this because I want to feel my best.
 This is sort of a taco bowl: taco meat, kale, cauliflower rice and homemade mayonnaise,
The family was eating spaghetti. So this is my version.
 Mediterranean lamb patties with cauliflower rice
 We've got beef, lamb, goat and chicken all in our deep freeze right now!
 I almost got a spiralizer but figured out I could just cut my zucchini with a knife. :)
 Leftover Easter Frittata: ham, asparagus, sweet potatoes and onions
 Shepherd's Pie with lamb and sweet potatoes (so good, but next time I'd use yellow potatoes.) 
Along the lines of the Sugar Dragon...I am realizing through this Whole30 that I typically put sugar on everything. BBQ sauce on my chicken? Sugar. 57 Sauce on my steak? Sugar. Ketchup on my fries? Sugar. Dressing on a healthy salad? Sugar. Marinara on my Spaghetti? Sugar. We take foods that are good for us and cover them in sugar. At like every meal! This is really eye opening. All my condiments are now all under scrutiny and will likely be either handmade or well researched from here on out.

My cast iron skillet is used daily on this eating plan. I am cooking a lot, but I am feeling really good about it. Also, I checked out all of the Whole30 books I could find at the library, and they are great for giving me new ideas of what to eat each day. And the Whole30 isn't new. So there are TONS of ideas online, tons of one-week-eating plans with grocery lists. It takes some prep time in the kitchen, but it's worth it. Energy is up, mood swings are gone and I feel great. I once said the thing about eating less processed foods is that YOU have to do the processing. That is true here, but it feels really satisfying, just like everything that is worth doing. If you're feeling like you're in a eating rut, give this a go. It makes for a great, empowering, learning month.