After four kids, ten moves and nearly two decades, we are still blissfully in love (most of the time) and I found myself back in the state I was born and raised in. It has definitely been a journey. In fact, on our 18th anniversary we pulled the last of our stuff up over the pass and into Montana, leaving our surprise love, Idaho, behind. But Montana is a great place. The last best place according to some. And we fully intend to explore as much of it as we can! Join us on our continued adventure through life, love and other stuff that comes with it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Some new birds!

Over three years ago when we moved the FIRST time, I gave away a whole flock of chickens to several friends. 

This summer when we moved for the FOURTH time, I had to leave my beautiful flock of chickens for the people who moved into our house.  I wasn't thrilled about that, but living in a camper with six kids and a dozen chickens just wasn't going to work.

When we moved here, I managed to get eight hens off Craigslist for a reasonable price.  It took them a while to start laying again, but they are a beautiful little flock of Rhode Island Reds. 

But four to six eggs a day just doesn't cut it four our family of six.  And after watching Craigslist for the last four months and missing all the good deals on hens, I totally scored yesterday! (And now I don't have to wait until AUGUST for eggs!)

Thirteen beautiful hens and one rooster. 

My eight reds are kind of miffed at me, but the new bunch is so beautiful. And only a YEAR old!

Look at my beautiful birds. Araucanas, Rhode Island Reds, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Black Australorps.  That rooster is a Black Australorp, my favorite breed I've decided. 

Look at this gorgeous guy.

So far he seems pretty nice.  And I'd like it if one of his ladies got all broody and hatched some eggs.

But, if he as much as looks at any of my kids cross-eyed, he's soup.

Silver laced beauty.

Peachy Araucana lady.

What-are-you-lookin'-at Araucana lady.

Where-did-all-these-other-wenches-come-from lady. I love my Reds. They have attitude.

 Violet.  Sometimes I think she looks like this more than she doesn't.  Three is tough. 

Fine, I'll smile.

She's loved this hat since she was two--SIX years ago.

He's pretty excited about the chickens.  One of this first words and he feeds them with me every morning.

Behold, the reason I love having chickens:

That and I think they are a hilarious animal.   Ever seen a chicken run?  Makes me laugh just thinking about it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Irony of labels

I'm tired of feeling labeled by labels I don't think fit me.  So, for purposes that make me feel better about who I am and what I believe and what I support and what I don't support, I think I shall re-define a few words and play along so I can feel good about being an old fashioned, intolerant, ignorant bigot who feels hate towards fellow humans, since that's apparently what I am and how I feel.

Bigot:  a person who does not agree with or whole-heartedly support and defend the current political hot topic. 

That's much more accurate than the current definitiona person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

Ignorant:  not agreeing with or whole-heartedly supporting or defending the current political hot topic.

That seems a much more accurate definition of my ignorance than the current definition destitute of knowledge or education; also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified

Hate: to not agree with or whole-heartedly support or defend the current political hot topic. 

That seems much more accurate of my feelings than the current definitionintense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

Intolerant: not agreeing with or whole-heartedly supporting or defending the current political hot topic.

Again, this seems more accurate than the current definition: a : unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters b : unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights : bigoted

Since I already re-defined bigot and I think intolerant has such negative connotations, I think I prefer the term old fashioned.  But I don't like the connotations there, either.  So, I shall re-define old fashioned, too.

Old fashioned:  a person who holds onto what they believe no matter what they are labeled and does his/her best to not label others with strong, negative labels and then attack him/her based on a few assumptions associated with that label.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Primal Comfort

I love eating Primal. The food is fabulous.  I don't really miss roughly 98% of what we used to eat. 

However, that 2% that I missed? I think biscuits and gravy made up roughly 1.5% of it.  I haven't really gone out trying to find substitutes for my old favorite things.  It just seemed better that way. 

My sister-in-law, one of them at least, is eating primal, too.  We found it roughly at the same time and completely independently of one another. 

She's ahead of the game though, because she found Primal biscuits and gravy before I did.  She's that awesome. 

I made it and then changed it.  The husband is pretty excited to have this back in the meal rotation.  It's even worthy of having for dinner on occasion. 

Behold, Primal biscuits:

Primal sausage gravy:

Now, the biscuits are different than regular biscuits.  But they make up for the "different" in the "easy" category.  And let's just say it like it is:  the biscuits are really just there so you don't have to eaty the gravy with a spoon.  That's just weird. 

The gravy is just as good as any gravy I've ever made with flour.  Arrowroot starch/flour is a great stand in for flour as thickener here. 

Primal Biscuits
Makes about a dozen

6 egg whites
3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Mix almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and salt together in large mixing bowl.  Cut in butter.  Stir in milk.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl wisk egg whites until they are very frothy.  (I cheated and used the blender.)  Fold egg whites into flour mixture until combined.  Drop batter by spoon fulls onto baking sheet. 

Bake 15-18 minutes or until tops are golden.

Primal Sausage Gravy

1 lb. ground sausage
1 tablespoon almond flour
2-3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2-4 cups of milk
salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage until cooked through.  Remove from pan, keeping drippings in the pan.  You'll need about 1/4 cup of drippings.  You can add butter or bacon grease if needed.

To drippings add almond flour and arrowroot powder, wisking over medium heat until you get a good paste.

Add milk--I used about 3-1/2 cups since I was feeding my family of six.  Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly.  Add sausage back into the mixture and continue stirring until it is the desired thickness.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve over biscuits.

Primal comfort at its finest. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm not going to lie. I think you ought to eat primally.

Inspired by my new low yesterday, I decided that I want to be able to do a pull up.  Just one.  And all I need to do is start getting back on the exercise wagon. 

I haven't done any "formal" exercise for months.  And while my weight loss slowed down, I didn't feel hopeless and I still felt pretty awesome and hopeful.  The whole purpose of my journey to wherever I'm headed was to feel better so I could get out and have fun with my kids.  Recently I realized that my goal has been realized. 

When we went rollerskating some weeks back, I was one of maybe a dozen parents on roller skates.  Of the fifty or so families there, I was out there with my kids skating around and having fun.  Not just sitting there watching.  Part of that had to do with the fact that the husband took the two younger kids, but the rest of it was the fact that I COULD go out and do it and I WANTED to go out and do it.  I can't say all those things have been true in the past when I had no energy and no drive. 

Since starting to eat Primally, I have realized that quite a lot of what I was dealing with had to do with what I ate.  It sounds silly to me now, but before, I just didn't put those things together.  Here's a short list of things that have been resolved without any other intervention other than changing what I eat, and what my family eats.  Some of them I didn't even realize were problems until I realized they were gone.

1.  Eczema--I haven't had a flare since Thanksgiving, a holiday on which I pretty much ate everything in sight for three days straight, whether it was primal or not.  I was not surprised by the flare, but again realized that what I eat affects what my body does.

2.  Joint inflammation--I was beginning to get some inflammation in my pinkie and thumb on both hands.  Arthritis apparently runs in my family since my mother and two of my grandmothers have it.  A couple weeks after beginning to eat primally, it was completely gone.

3.  Energy levels--I don't feel like I'm dragging through my day.  I have energy and I dance around the kitchen singing silly songs with the kids.  I drag them out in the cold and make them run around the yard with me.  We go places and we do fun things and I KEEP UP WITH THEM and even PASS THEM UP on occasion!

4.  Brain fog--I feel like I can think clearly and I don't feel like I'm struggling every day to just get the daily things in order.  My house is still a mess, but I can think and focus and plan.

5.  Food is EASY to prepare and YUMMY to eat and we have very little waste--I'm not a slave to the kitchen baking bread and other meals that seem to take such preparation.  Maybe it has to do with the brain fog lifting, but now that I have a good rotation of good meals that I know my family will eat (and that I'm working on adding to as well), it's so EASY.  For dessert instead of making cookies, which we all know is a huge mess, takes all afternoon, and then since I eat way too much cookie dough I don't even want a cookie, we make maple glazed pecans for dessert.  Pour a couple tablespoons of real maple syrup in a pan, bring it to a bubble, pour in some pecans, sprinkle with salt and stir for a bit.  Pour on a plate and cool it until you can touch them and put them in your mouth without burning yourself and enjoy.  The kids come running.  Except Carsten just sucks the syrup off and spits it on the floor.  But whatever.  And I no longer clean out the fridge and find a half dozen containers of rotting food in there.  We just eat it all.  All of it.  It's awesome.

6.  My Calla--This kid is awesome.  But sometimes she can get out of control in a way that you can tell that she really doesn't have any control over what she's saying and doing.  She just doesn't.  Since switching them all to eating primally we have noticed a HUGE difference in this kid.  She's my steady, thoughtful and deliberate kid now.  Except when we go to Costco and she gets 1/8th of a burrito from a sample table.  Then she's completely out of control for the next 18 hours.  There's definitely a connection between what she eats and how she acts.

7.  The husband has noticed a difference in how he feels--He commented the other day that since he's started P-90X again, he got back to where he was before much more quickly. 

8.  The winter germs--It's January.  We've had two colds in this house.  The husband got one from work, but nobody else got it and it lasted three days and he wasn't even sick enough to miss work.  Carsten got one this week.  He's on day three and it was only boogers and he coughed about five times.  Yes, we're homeschooling, too, so that cuts down on the germs we are exposed to in the first place, but I still think this is a significant development that nobody has been sick enough to actually cancel some event so they can be home in bed all day.

9.  I'm not a slave to food.  If I skip lunch because I'm trying to get all the kids fed and out of the house to go do something fun, I don't get ravenous or cranky or desperate for food.  I am hungry, but it's not the kind of hungry that makes you want to eat your hand.  It's the kind of hungry that somehow seems natural and actually kind of beneficial for my body.  Cleansing might be a good term for it.

10.  I catalog shop with a smile.  You know those clothing catalogs you get in the mail? Not the ones with the scantly clad models that make you feel dirty just touching the catalog, but the ones with healthy, athletic models in cute clothes out surfing and hiking and riding bikes in the sun?  Those ones.  I was looking at one of those the other day thinking that some of what was in there would actually be cute on my new self.  It used to be a "when I lose this weight" thumb through the publication.  Now it's "when we get our tax return." 

11.  I feel great about the food that I'm feeding my kids.  For snacks they eat apples and carrots and cucumbers and olives and jerky and bell peppers and cottage cheese and they drink water.  There's good stuff in every bite.  Yes, I still make them popcorn with lots of butter.  And I'm not going to be the mom who demands my kids don't have pretzels and fish crackers at church.  Or cookies at grandma's.  Those things aren't going to hurt them in the quantities they get them outside the house.  But my goal is to feed them good food and keep them feeling good so when they get out on their own, they know what foods make them feel good and what foods make them feel like garbage.  We talk about it and why we don't eat certain things we used to eat all the time.  I'm not convinced they miss the old foods either.  Now that I figured out how to make biscuits and gravy primal, I'm good to go!

13.  It's EASY and it doesn't require *special* foods or a stupid membership or anything else.  It's everything you need in a book.  Or if you don't want to buy a book, go to and sign up for the newsletter.  You'll get everything you need right there to get started.  There's no commitment other than you have to read the material.  Really.

12.  We only get one chance at this whole health thing. We live and die by what we eat and what we do. This is the real deal.  I no longer struggle and feel discouraged about myself and what I'm eating.  In the 21 Day Total Body Transformation, one paragraph basically asks how what it is you are doing now is working for you.  I thought it would be difficult to give up toast and honey and sugars and such.  But I'm sitting here thinking that I really don't miss any of it.  None of it.  Maybe it's because it makes me feel like crap. 

**This post brought to you by a girl who flipped through her closet today and tried on a pair of size 8 pants.  They fit.  Almost.  A few more pounds and they would actually be comfortable.  YAY!**

Oh, and I don't get paid to say this stuff.  I just really think everyone should try it.  I dare you to try it just for a weeek and see what happens.  It's changed my life.

Well, you asked . . .

Dad: Are we going to watch the Super Bowl this weekend?

Grace: What's the Super Bowl?

Dad:  Well, it's when the two best football teams play for the championship and they have a really big halftime show and we sit around all day and watch football on television and eat lots of food that makes you feel like crap later.  It's an American tradition!

Grace: Oh.

Frankly, once again, I'm can't even tell you who's playing. 

Maybe we'll get a movie and watch it since it's still winter and we only watch movies when it's winter.  If we get a DVD player since ours has been broken for several months now.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A new low (or high!) and hope for Mount Laundry!

After struggling since basically Thanksgiving to get my Primal ways working and in line again, this morning I got on the scale and saw a number that I have not seen in quite some time. This number has been elusive since before Grace was born over eight years ago. And just to check, I got off the scale and on again. And I saw it again. And then I did a "new low" dance (fully clothed of course) right there in the bathroom, making it up as I went along. I'm sure it wasn't pretty since I really have no dancing skills, but it was still a great way to start the day.

THEN, I called my friend and she told me that she's building a family closet in her new laundry room. The more she told me about it, the more I realized that I NEED ONE!!! I told her about my awesome calendar that has simplified my life (I even wrote my new little neice's birthday on it and she was just born YESTERDAY! How's that for efficient!?!) and how I had been thinking that there has got to be some way to simplify my whole laundry mess. Now I have this idea in my head of a laundry room between two bathrooms that is a huge closet where everyone has a space for all their clothing and accessories and everyone gets changed in there and it's all in ONE big room! No more transferring laundry to and from everyone's space and . . . I'm shaking with anticipation. Though it might also just be the coffee.

No, it's definitely anticipation, because right now I don't have the space for it and we are not planning to be here in this house forever. And my washer is broken. So no laundry for today! hahahaha!
Some days are just awesome. Today is awesome. I have HOPE!!!!