Saturday, March 23, 2013

Homemade Almond Milk | So Easy!

We go through a lot of almond milk in our home. We actually just started using it because we're trying to cut back on our dairy intake. My husband is becoming more and more sensitive to lactose, and at the advice of a friend we decided to give almond milk a try as a dairy replacement. So far we really like it, especially in our 180 Smoothees!

However, almond milk isn't cheap. It's about $3 for one quart. And when we each drink a 180 Smoothee every day, we were spending A LOT on almond milk... like up to $20 per week. Not acceptable.

Apparently, making your own almond milk is all the rage. And now I can see why. It's super easy. As in RIDICULOUSLY EASY. Especially if you follow the recipe and use a blender like the author calls for instead of a food processor. (Not that I would know about that or the mess that ensued from trying to use said food processor first.)

So, I Googled "how to make almond milk" and tried one of the first recipes that popped up.

Here you go! Let me know if you try to make your own!

Source: Barefeet in the Kitchen
Yields 4 cups
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups filtered water
pinch of salt

Soak your almonds for at least 8 hours in filtered water. I put mine in a glass measuring bowl early in the morning, then got to 'milking' around 8pm the same evening.

Rinse the almonds with water and put in your blender along with 4 cups of filtered water. Blend on high for a few minutes until it gets frothy. It took about two minutes with my blender.

Put a fine mesh sieve (strainer) over a bowl and put a thin tea towel or cheesecloth in the sieve. Pour your almond mixture into the towel about 1/3 at a time and let most of it strain through.

Once you've emptied your blender, carefully wring the cloth so you get the rest of the almond milk out.

You're going to be left with almond meal (aka almond flour). I put my in a baggy and tossed in the freezer...I'm sure I can find some way to use it later.

Taste your almond milk and add any flavorings you wish if it's too nutty for you. I added a pinch of grey salt and a dash of vanilla.

Pour it into a glass container and refrigerate until needed. It will separate in the fridge; just give it a good shake to mix it up.

What I love about making my own almond milk is that 1) it's cheaper than buying in the store and 2) I can add control the amount of sugar (if any) that's in it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What's in Our Medicine Cabinet?

We don't have a medicine cabinet, per se. It's more of a natural nutrition cabinet with vitamins, supplements, and essential oils, with a few of your basic headache aids thrown in.

My husband and I started a quest for more natural nutrition over the past few years (well, really since we had our first child over four years ago). We want to avoid going to the doctor as much as possible and avoid prescription and most OTC medications.

I wanted to share with you what we use and how our natural choices have helped keep our entire family healthy and happy!

All four of us, even our 18 month old, take supplements every day, without fail. We chose Shaklee for all of our vitamins and supplements. Shaklee is the #1 natural nutrition company in the US and we've been very pleased with their products.

Vitalizer for Women
It's an all in one and has everything I need everyday. You can read about my accidental test with Vitalizer here and see what all the fuss is about!

  • Vitalizer supports bone health, breast health, heart healthy, immune health, physical energy, reproductive health, and digestive health. It's fantastic to take as prenatal supplements!

My husband takes Vitalizer for Men

We give them a combination of Chewable Vitamin C, VitaLea Ocean Wonders, and the Optiflora Pre and Probiotic System. They love the taste of their vitamins and ask for them every morning!

Did you know that Vitamin C helps support the body's natural immune system? Our oldest struggles with seasonal allergies so we give him a mega dose of C each day (2 tablets). It has really been a helpful, natural approach to his allergies.

Ocean Wonders multivitamin provides kids with 19 essential nutrients they need each day for healthy development. Plus, it's all natural with no artificial colors, flavors, or added sugar. Win!

Pre and Probiotics have been a wonderful addition to the boys daily routine. (We get a probiotic pearl with our Vitalizer strip) Our oldest struggled with getting stomach viruses at least every 8 weeks. It was horrible for him. Once we added the Optiflora system to his daily supplements, he has had ONE stomach virus in 18 months!

They also LOVE smoothies...we frequently make smoothies for breakfast. Healthy and quick!

Defend & Resist is our go to when we start feeling that tightness or tickle in our throats. We make our own vitamin water using Defend & Resist, Chewable C's, and Performance. It's yummy and it WORKS! I've warded off at least two colds this past season by using the homemade vitamin water system!

D&R has black elderberry in it, which helps super charge your immune system when you start feeling that funk. Some people like to chew it (my oldest son), but along with the vitamin water approach, I like to crush them up and make a hot tea. Yummy and soothing!

We use Young Living EO's as they are therapeutic and food grade. I'm sure there are other wonderful EO's out there, but just be sure what you buy is pure...some that you can get at local grocery stores have other 'stuff' added in.

Lavender - this can be used for SO MANY things! We put it on the boys feet at night to help calm them down before bedtime, put on small cuts to stop the bleeding, help relieve allergy symptoms by dotting along the sinuses...the uses of lavender are virtually endless.

Thieves - oh, Thieves. I adore this EO. It smells amazing and packs a powerful punch. During the cold and flu season, I put it on our feet before going to preschool, or play areas where germs are running rampant, put some on cotton balls and stuff in car vents to help kill airborne bacteria, diffuse in the house to again kill airborne bacteria.

Peppermint - mmm...I love peppermint! I dab some on my temples or base of my neck when I feel a headache coming on, dab on the inside of my wrists before a workout to get an extra boost of energy, and it's always super yummy in hot tea.

Colloidal Silver. I've used this with both boys when they had pink eye. Cleared it right up and no visits to the doctor!

Performance. Hands down, Shaklee Performance is the best hydrating drink you can get. It has more electrolytes than any other product. We use it for our vitamin water, during and after workouts, I make popsicles out of it for the boys, and it's WONDERFUL for upset tastes great!

So there it is...our natural medicine cabinet! Do you use natural/homeopathic remedies in your home? What questions do you have about what's in our home?

Thanks for stopping by! I would love for you to join my Healthy, Happy community on Facebook!

Hello, PB2!

Disclaimer: Bell Plantation does not know who I am, therefore, they did not ask for, pay for, or reimburse me for this review.  

I'm usually the last to know about things, PB2 being one of them.  Have you heard of it? It's powdered peanut butter! What, you say? Yes, powdered peanut butter.

All you have to do is mix one tablespoon of water with two tablespoons of PB2 and you end up with the perfect serving size of yummy peanut butter. It sounds weird, but it's so good.

Why is it significant that it's powdered peanut butter? It has 85% less fat calories than your regular peanut butter because there are no added oils and it's all natural. I'd been buying Jif Natural Peanut Butter for a few months, because it had no artificial ingredients in it, but it still has all the fat.

Side note: I really need to be more careful about my label reading, because I just looked at the label today and was dismayed. 1) Jif is part of Smuckers, which is on the Monsanto list. Basically, Smuckers is one of the many companies that DON'T want to be required to list GMO ingredients. 2) That 'natural' peanut butter is made from palm oil. We try not go buy products with palm oil in them. The worlds rainforests and beautiful animals are rapidly diminishing because of companies using palm oil in their products. 

As a serious peanut butter lover, I am stoked. I've been known to eat a healthy size spoonful of peanut butter as a snack. I'm one of those weirdos who thinks peanut butter goes with everything.

We've tried the regular PB2 and the CHOCOLATE PB2. Oh yes, chocolate. It's yum-o!

So, it's become a staple in our home...we love the fact that it's natural, lower in fat, and easy to make. And that's your product review for the week!

Have you tried PB2? Do you like it?

Friday, March 15, 2013

An Accidental Vitamin Test

I just put myself through a test about the effectivness of my vitamins. Mind you, it was an accidental test, but it ended up being proof of how important it is for me to get all of my daily nutrients!

Here's the story:
For about 10 days I'd really been struggling with being low on energy and just couldn't figure out what was going on. I'd been getting enough sleep (finally!), I'd been exercising consistently, and eating pretty well. However, around 3pm I would start feeling what I refer to as 'the drag.' I would be super sleepy and just want to nap.

It was driving me crazy, because I'd started resorting to coffee in the late afternoons as a pick me up. I love coffee, but I don't like relying on the caffeine to get me through the rest of the day.

So, I mentally went through my usual morning routine. Coffee, breakfast Smoothee, vitamins...

Wait. Vitamins.

I'd started taking Vitalizer back in January to go along with my Shaklee 180 Lean & Healthy Kit.  I'd drink a Smoothee at breakfast and take my vitamins at that time. After about 7 days of taking Vitalizer, I mentioned to my husband that I felt 'better.' I had a consistent level of energy through the day and I knew I was getting all my needed nutrients.

I realized that for some reason, I just stopped taking the vitamins. I think it's because I rearranged our medicine cabinet and the Vitalizer wasn't in front of my face anymore. Out of sight, out of mind.

Could my lack of energy be because of that one little strip? No, probably not. But, since I was starting Vitalizer back up again, I figured I'd keep track of how I was feeling just to see if it really played a part.

Well, what do you know?

Again, after about a week of taking Vitalizer, I got my energy back! No more afternoon drag, no more late afternoon desperate grab of coffee! I'm thrilled to know that all I needed was my Vitalizer!

This tiny strip is proof enough to me that it's giving me all the daily nutrients that I'm not getting from food alone, which in turn helps me feel better, more energetic, and ready to conquer the day!

Tell me, do you take a vitamins and supplements? Have you noticed an improvement in your overall health?

Are you interested in learning more about Vitalizer? Contact me directly or read about it here.

And here's a special incentive for you!

  • Purchase Vitalizer and your Shaklee Membership is FREE! That's a $19.95 savings!
  • Purchase Vitalizer on monthly autoship and save an additional 10%!
  • There are no monthly or yearly minimum purchase requirements!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Mommy Wars - iPhones and How I'm Missing Childhood

So, if you've been alive the past few weeks, you've probably seen several Twitter and Facebook posts about a few mommy bloggers and their judgments towards other mommies daring to use their iPhone's while at the park. One mommy blogged to a mommy all the wonderful things she was missing out on while she was on her phone at the park. She did a darn good job at throwing down the guilt gauntlet and shaming her.  The other mommy blogged in return about why she's on the phone at the park and her reasons for it. Mind you, these blogs were not writers attacking someone personally or calling out names...they were written to the general mom blog population.

I'm tired of it.

I'm so sick and tired of the mommy judgment, the mommy guilt, the assuming we know what's going on in someone else's life based on the fact that they are on their smartphone at what WE deem an inappropriate time.

Judging other moms because of what you see of their lives in 5 minutes is wrong. Have I done it? You bet I have. Am I proud of it? NO WAY. Do I think I'm a better mom because I DON'T sit at the park with my head in my phone? NOPE.

(I've experienced first hand a mom who DID choose her iPhone over participating in her daughters field trip. Read about it here. Maybe it is judgmental to you, but I'm sticking by it.)

Isn't there enough pressure to being a parent without these silly mommy wars? I know that I put myself under a lot of pressure to be the perfect stay at home - work at home mom. I struggle to find a way to do it all...perfectly. That kind of pressure is more than enough for me. I don't need the mommy wars. I don't need the eye rolling, the finger pointing, or the whispers about how I'm not doing it right.

Instead of writing posts about what someone else is doing that you disagree with, why not find something they're doing that you do agree with? I mean, as moms aren't we all in this together? Don't we all have the same goal in life? To be the best mom that we can be, with what works for OUR family?


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

There's No Such Thing as Balance

Wanna know which word makes me cringe? Balance. I seriously dislike this word when it's used to describe how we (as wives and moms) should live our lives. Balanced. Finding that balance. You've just got to get the right balance in your life. 



  • A state of equilibrium or equipose; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
  • Something used to produce equilibrium, counterpoise.
  • Mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc. 

I don't know about you, but our life is anything but balanced.  I mean, just read the last bullet point: mental steadiness? Calm behavior? Have you been to our home?? Puh-leeze!

Why is our life unbalanced? Thanks for asking. We have two young boys (4 years and 18 months). 
Enough said.

But seriously, while my husband and I strive for some sort of harmony in our lives, it just rarely happens. Our boys are young. They need a lot. A LOT. Right now, in this season, our little boys get 80% of us, 10% goes to each other, and the remaining 10% goes to paying bills to keep the cable on, running errands, attempting sleep, attempting showers, attempting exercise, going to church, having a life outside our get what I mean.

This is me
Sometimes this unbalanced life gets the best of me. I get overwhelmed at the chaos, at the unpredictable sleep routines (ahem, I'm talking about you 18 month old!), at the Hot Wheels strewn everywhere, the always dirty bathrooms, the exhaustion, the lack of daily showers (yes, I said it), the left shoulders of all my shirts becoming a napkin and tissue for the littlest one, the lack of one on one time spent with hubby, the lack of me time....I could go on.


This is NOT me
When I get to the point of being totally overwhelmed, my husband always reminds me that it's just a season. It's a HARD season, but it won't last forever. Before we know it, our oldest will be in in kindergarten (NO!), and our youngest will be potty trained (YES!). In his wise, gentle ways, he's reminding me that "the days are long, but the years are short." So true. He's so patient with me in my freak out moments!

We've given up on finding balance in our lives right now. It's not going to happen during this season (unless we hire a full time nanny). I've accepted it, which is so not me. (Control freak, anyone?) I'm slowly learning to embrace the chaos. To roll with it. Am I going to be able to roll with it with grace and ease? We shall see.  We shall see. 

Are you one of the rare gems that has achieved balance in your life? If so, please tell me how you do it!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Day I Dumped My Purse

OK, so what I carry right now isn't really considered a purse per say. It's a very pretty, trendy looking diaper bag. I have two kids, one of whom wears diapers. Said kids constantly need water and snacks, snacks and water. So my bag needs to be big enough to hold their junk and mine.

The bag is deep and has lots of pockets. Things get lost in it. All the freaking time. I can never find my lip gloss...ever!

So the other day, I was at home looking in the abyss for that blasted lip gloss. I found my lip gloss, along with these items:

  • About 5 other lip glosses. Clearly, I have a problem
  • A pink pacifier. Yes, I have boys and I know his paci is pink. We had an emergency one evening and pink was the only color the store had. Whatevs.
  • Every single hair clip I own
  • Two diapers (No wipes though. This is not good.)
  • A packet of sanitizer wipes
  • A measuring spoon (1/2 teas to be exact)
  • A bottle of Thieves essential oil
  • Receipt after receipt after receipt (aka: trash)
  • A dog leash. What the what??
  • Energy teas 
  • Snack bars

So tell me, what kinds of odds and ends do you find in your bag?