A wife of noble character who can find?...She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10, 26 & 28

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 40 Update (40 days of raw, plant-based, eating)

Well day 40 was two days ago so I need to post my final update. Today I weighed myself and I have lost around 6 1/2 kilos over the course of 40 days. I feel so much better for making the change and will continue to implement many aspects of eating this way. Of course with 9 kids sometimes life just gets a little too hectic and so I have to not get down on myself if I can't stick to it.

I've had fun trying new recipes, reading new blogs and liking new facebook pages. I don't think I'll ever be a true 'Raw' foodie as I do like hot meals and I like my baked goods too much, but I am using recipes that don't include white flour and refined sugar .

Tim's sugar levels are consistently coming down from eating this way and so we will continue, probably for another month or so. We really want to see them normalise completely without medication at all.

The kids have been pains and so sometimes I've felt like I've been running a restaurant, cooking for them and then preparing our meal. I'm determined to change the way they think about healthy food, though.

All in all it's been a rewarding experience and I would encourage everyone to give it a try, even for just a few days.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Day 30 Update

Sorry it's been so long since I've written an update. It's been really crazy here, even now I have my two year old on my lap and my 1 year old yanking on my arm crying, wanting to be picked up. Each post probably takes me three tries and for some reason when I'm typing they need me.

My babiest girl, Faith, had her first birthday a week and a half ago and is starting to take steps. Last night she took two steps from me to the coffee table to get her eldest sisters dinner.

So time for the update. The last two weeks I have found really hard mainly because of our little one year olds birthday. I had only the little kids on her actual birthday day and so we went to the shop and got some junk food, lollies and chips, and had rubbish for dinner. I didn't stick to the plan at all. And for a whole host of other reasons I didn't manage to stick to the plan for the rest of the week. Then we went to an all you can eat restaurant for her birthday, with family, I'm not paying to eat at an all you can eat restaurant just to eat salad but I didn't eat any bread or dessert. And then this whole last week I cheated and just ate bread for lunch and even pasta for dinner on Tuesday.

So after a week of only partly sticking to the plan I have noticed that I was a lot moodier. I had a great day hanging out with the little kids on Tuesday but then on Wednesday I was so grumpy and every little thing they did that made a mess got to me. Like at the moment Faithy Baby is sitting next to me spreading the magnetic letters all over the kitchen floor and I'm fine with it but last Wednesday it would have really gotten to me. Now she's putting them back in the plastic bags, which wouldn't have happened if I'd lost it. I've also had some stomach aches from the bread and pasta. I feel way less bloated and even though I've only lost around 5 kilos I feel thinner.

Today is day 31 and I'm cooking porridge for breakfast. The kids will have their usual brown sugar and milk, except for Christian who loves blueberries as well. I'll have just blueberries and cinnamon on mine.

Just because I've had a week and a half of not really sticking to the plan does not mean I'll be giving up. I'm coming to really like eating this way and can see myself eating like this after my 40 days are over.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Preschool Activity Chart

I know I owe you some updates regarding the 40 Days but I thought I'd share with you what I've been working on for my almost 3 year old.

She is a handful, this one, and as soon as my back is turned she is getting into mischief, either climbing on furniture, making a huge mess and just leaving it or sitting on her baby sister. She is adorable but at that in between stage where she's discovering new skills and needs to be guided in those but can't quite keep up with her older brothers and sisters and so gets a little left out sometimes. To help with the mess making part I've packed up a lot of their toys and put them in containers and in the garage. We still have the toys in baskets on shelves in the house but a lot of the little things have gone into the garage to be played with when I bring them out. I figured her little brain was overwhelmed by the choices she had to make and by not having as much available it's decluttered the house and made it easier to keep clean.

Another thing I've done is assess all of our toys and puzzles to see if they can go into 'quiet bags' or 'busy bags', whatever you want to call them, and made up a whole lot of these bags. Google and Pinterest is my friend and I just googled for some ideas. Then I made up a Chart to write down the daily activities I will be getting out for Grace in her Daily Boxes.

Preschool Program.pdf

I'm hoping these will help keep her occupied, stop her hurting her sister and stop the meltdowns. Even just writing this small post she has hurt her sister twice and had a melt down. I'm hoping to share more pdfs that I have created. If anyone knows of a better way to share them please email me.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 17 Update

Well the last week has practically been a write-off! I think I mentioned in the last post that the breast-fed baby was really unhappy and I thought it could be the change in diet but as I had actually implemented most of the changes a few weeks earlier I didn't really see how. Well now I know she must've had a tummy bug and then passed it to me and then to a couple of other kids. I had a really bad stomach ache for about 4 days and felt a little sick and I had 2 of the little girls throwing up and not eating for a few days. I tried to stick to the plan but in the end, being sick and weak, it was just easier to eat what the kids were eating, when I actually felt like eating.

I have tried to stick to the plan and made a yummy vegetarian cabbage roll dish. I just googled vegetarian cabbage rolls and made my own version of a few recipes. I also only had half a cabbage and would be much easier to follow the instructions and use a whole cabbage.

I was tossing up whether to skip the last week and start counting from the day I fell sick but I think that would be making the task become impossible because life always throws some tough times in the way and I don't feel guilty for getting sick and doing what I needed to do to make sure food is on the table. It'll be good to go shopping and get some fresh food today, though.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Days 6, 7 and 8 update 40 days 80% raw

Faith has been a bit sooky lately so I find it hard to write anything on the computer. I don't think it's the raw food diet, though, she looks like she's getting some more teeth and her first four teeth were very painful for her so these one probably are too.

Day 6 was extra busy, again, as this time I took some boys to the movies. I ran out of time for breakfast, altogether, and didn't even have time to get a smoothie from Boost. Other than that I ate well for the day. I went shopping on the way home from the movies and scoffed down a banana while I was loading the shopping into the car then when I got home I had another banana and a carrot. I also had two pieces of the almond meal fudge. For afternoon tea I had a couple of the Lemon Larabar bites. Tim wasn't home for dinner so I just ate a simple salad for dinner with a balsamic vinegar dressing.

Day 7 was great until the evening. I had to go and pick Tim and the older boys up and so I didn't get home until nearly 7 o'clock pm. I hadn't prepared anything for dinner and I have to admit I was just too tired to be bothered so we ordered pizza. Normally when I do stuff like that I feel like a failure and find it very easy to slip into old habits and give up for the time being but not this time. I am determined to keep going. Even though it was only day 7 of blogging and keeping track it's actually been close to a month of eating this well and it's been more than 6 months of integrating healthy eating habits into our normal diet so I'm finding it easier to maintain a positive mind space.

Day 8: Back to the new normal
Breakfast: Lemon drink then Raw muesli with almond milk
Morning: a piece of almond meal fudge
Lunch: I wasn't really hungry and I was laying down with a cuddly Faith so she could have a bigger nap than usual, hoping she would stop being so fussy. Didn't work.
Afternoon: went really fast and so I forgot to eat.
Dinner: Raw Pasta Primavera It was delicious except that there was far too much sauce, next time I will probably freeze half of it.
Dessert: 2 pieces of raw fudge.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Days 3 and 4 Update 80% Raw

Boy was the weekend busy for me. I took the girls to see that latest Tinkerbell movie Saturday morning and then went to the market in the afternoon and got home just in time to 'cook' dinner. I still mostly managed to stick to the whole 'raw' thing. I had my lemon drink in the morning but skipped breakfast and so I had a Boost Weekend Warrior smoothie. It had banana, blueberries, chia seeds, rolled oats and a few other things I can't remember. I don't like movie popcorn very much so it wasn't hard not to eat the girls popcorn. So here's how Saturday went:

Breakfast: Lemon drink then a superfood smoothie
Lunch: Carrot (too busy to eat much and not really hungry anyway) and a slice of Raw Almond Pulp Fudge
Afternoon: I cheated and ate not quite 1/2 Lamb, spinach and ricotta gozleme with my son who came with me to the market.
Dinner: Raw Spaghetti Marinara
Dessert: Another slice or two of the Raw Almond Pulp Fudge

Sunday was just as busy and this time I have to admit that we totally fell into our usual Sunday afternoon groove. Quite often family will come over for lunch, after church and we just have bread rolls with either bbq chicken, ham or bananas.

Breakfast: Lemon drink and Gingerbread Overnight Oats
Morning Tea: Some banana and apples.
Lunch: A bbq chicken roll and a ham roll
Afternoon Tea: a piece of Raw Almond Pulp Fudge
Dinner: A green smoothie made with Kale

I've been really surprised because I haven't really been hungry, even on the busy days where I haven't had a chance to eat much. I've lost almost 3 kilos in under a week (that's not the reason why I'm doing this), I just weighed myself and I'm 66.3 kg. I feel a lot lighter, my tummy is feeling a lot better. I do think Faith has had a bit of a tummy ache because of the change, though. But being nearly 1 I'm starting to feed her more solids so I don't think it's affecting her as much as it would a younger baby. Tim's sugar levels were under 11 yesterday so they are consistently coming down. I'm out of raw snacks so I need to make some today. I find they help me to stay motivated as I've never really gotten excited about main meals but love baking. Maybe I'll make these Lemony Cookie Dough Bites.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Day 2 Update 40 Days 80% Raw 20% Cooked Plant Based Eating

Just a quick post.

Morning: Hot lemon drink followed by Gingerbread Overnight Oats
Morning Tea: I had some Banana Bread Larabar Bites left so I had a couple.
Lunch: I had a carrot, as I've committed myself to having a carrot a day, just to see what happens. Plus I has 3 left over Parmesan Crusted Eggplants from last nights dinner.
Afternoon:  a Mixed Berry Smoothie made with almond milk, mixed berries, bee pollen, flax meal.
The kids were eating chocolate mudcake so I made the Rawtarian's Raw Almond Pulp Fudge ready for dessert.
Dinner was Dr. Fuhrmans Yum Good Beans from his book The End Of Diabetes served in 1/2 a red capsicum and with a huge salad.

Tonight I took the little kids to play at McDonalds. It was a little bit tempting to have some ice cream, I will admit, but I knew I had the Fudge waiting for me in the freezer. It was very yummy and worth the wait.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 1 update- 40 Days of Raw

I think I'll start this post with a disclaimer: I might have to change the name to 'plant based eating' but I will endeavour to have 80% raw and only 20% cooked. Yesterday was a write-off as it was one of my children's birthday and as I hadn't officially started I decided that I would wait until today. I kind of wished that I hadn't as I had my favourite bread for lunch, Turkish Bread. I felt horrible afterwards, especially after feeling so will having Ginger Overnight Oats for breakfast.

So what did today's menu look like?
Pre-breakfast: hot lemon drink (I've read somewhere it should be warm but as it replaces a cup of tea I like to have my lemon drink hot).
Breakfast: a bowl of home-made muesli with almond milk.
Morning Tea: A fruit smoothie made with almond milk, blueberries, raspberries, a teaspoonful of bee pollen and a heaped teaspoon of ground flax seed.
Lunch: I had a really small salad as I was still full from the morning. Then as we were at the shops and the girls wanted a smoothie I had a mango smoothie from Boost.
Dinner: Parmesan Crusted Eggplant and a wombok salad.
Dessert: a couple of Coconut Butter Buttons and Choc-Mint Cookie Dough Bites

I loved the eggplant but the kids didn't really. One thing I am struggling with is getting the kids on board. They are always turning their noses up at what I make lately and it does get to me. Tonight they 'tasted' the eggplant but only because I promised them ice cream if they did.

So I will change what we're doing to 80% raw 20% cooked plant-based eating.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

40 Days of Mostly Raw

My blog has taken on a vastly different tone from when I first started it. My husband suggested that I start a new one but I like this one and don't really see the need for getting another one.

So one of the reasons I don't do cake decorating from home anymore is that it is so hard with 9 children that are also homeschooled. Towards the end I was making 2 or 3 cakes a month and the house was never tidy, the kids weren't getting any school work done and I was feeling guilty about all the time I wasn't spending with them. The other big reason was that I was concerned about the amount of sugar they were eating from the left over cake and fondant that was in the house.

Over the last 15 years I've learned a lot about health and nutrition as well as using safe personal products but I hadn't been putting what I had learned into effect. This was partly due to financial reasons, having 9 kids with a husband studying will do that, but also because it's hard to change 30 - 40 years of eating and living a certain way. Something would come up, I would get pregnant or we would have an illness or a large financial problem, and I would slip back into old patterns and struggle to get back to where we were. This happened again just recently. My husband, who has type 2 diabetes, contracted an infection and an abscess and was really, really sick. We didn't realise how sick but looking back we now see that it was life-threatening. I know that these things should spur me into trying even harder to eat well but normally they thrust me into a hopeless depression that I feel I can't climb out of easily and that it's just too hard to try and look after everyone's needs.

But what we've been doing must be making an impact slowly as I've found it much easier to get back into the swing of things. Personally I've been cutting down on my gluten intake such as bread. I can quite easily say 'no' to lollies but bread, cakes and donuts are my bane. I've also deluded myself into thinking that my diet isn't really that bad, because I don't eat lots of lollies or add sugar to things like tea and cereal.

Just a few months ago I decided to finally use the probiotic I've had sitting in my cupboard for 2 years and start taking the multivitamins I was taking throughout my pregnancy and also take a better vitamin C and take the Vitamin D that's been in the fridge since I had my last baby. It was just a little experiment to use up the last of the vitamins that I normally use while pregnant but then stop when I've had the baby. I must say that I noticed a huge improvement in my gut health, even with 2 year old probiotic (Neways is the BEST!) and my energy level went through the roof. I hadn't felt that good in ages. This led me to facing the fact that my diet wasn't the best and could be improved on. I wanted to slowly replace the bad stuff with the good stuff so as cakes and biscuits are my bane I needed to find a replacement for them so I didn't feel like I was missing out and wouldn't be tempted to eat the kids food. This led me to My Whole Food Life. I love her snacks and am constantly inspired to try her creations. My favourite so far are these Choc Mint Cookie Dough Bites but I've loved just about everything I've seen on her blog so I have heaps of things to try. Another favourite blog is The Coconut Mama. I've been making my own coconut butter and almond butter. I killed our blender so I haven't made almond milk for a while but will get back to it now I have a new one.

With all this growing and learning I've gradually been stocking up on my health food/superfood supplies and my husband and I have decided to take the next step and try a Raw Food Diet or at least as much as possible. We really want to get his diabetes under control or even gone without the use of medication. We also want our children to see that this is the way to go. Having been brought up on a diet with lots of bread, grains and junk food for snacks I'm meeting a lot of resistance in trying the new things I make. I really want them to not notice the lack of lollies, cakes and biscuits. I've decided to blog about this change for two reasons, firstly as a way of keeping track with how we're going but secondly to let average people of average income with families know that they can do it too.

I just have to share that at the moment my 8, 6 and 4 year olds are standing in the kitchen with carrots held up to their noses, pretending to be Olaf from the movie Frozen :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Faux Filofax, Control Journal, Planner or Whatever You Want To Call It.

Hi again,

I've been a follower of Flylady for a while now but I haven't done anything about it for a few years. Flylady calls me a SHE: Sidetracked Home Executive and I really am. One of the things Flylady recommends is a control journal and at one stage, a few years ago, I really did try to put one together but I guess I wasn't ready for it because I didn't stick to it. A couple of months ago somehow I ended up watching a youtube video on putting together a 'faux filofax', I can't remember exactly which one it was but you could google it, and I was inspired to put together my own. One thing I have always used, over the last few years, was a folder or compendium with notebook paper so I could take notes, write lists etc. I don't know why but a faux filofax seemed the next logical step and maybe it could help me remember my jobs.

The first thing that I needed was a new folder. My old one was bright red, not me at all, and my pretty pink compendium wasn't right for the job. Thankfully I had a spare white one that had a clear pocket for me to add a pretty piece of scrapbooking paper.

I needed some white dividers and then I was set to put my personal touch on it. It's still a work in progress as I find other important things that I need to add to it. When I open it up I have a few stickers and pieces of scrapbooking paper tucked into the plastic pouch inside the cover. I have a binder document wallet for my pens and pencils and some sticky notes. Under that I have an inspirational poster I've laminated and also put up on my fridge. I don't know if anyone else looks at it but it was one of the first things I found that helped me get on track with organising my life.

Next I have my Daily Task sheets. This is the one I've been using. I've taken it in to Gimp and changed the colour to pink. I've also laminated a Weekly Home Blessing Hour checklist and a Routines checklist. These separate my previous days, which are held together with a bulldog clip, from my current day.

Then I have my Weekly Cleaning Schedule. This is still a work in progress but you can find plenty of you google 'Cleaning Schedule'.

Then I have my Monthly Calender.

After that I have my Monthly Meal Plan and my master shopping list.

Then I have my Flylady Zones list. Then my bill and then some blank lined paper.and empty plastic sleeves.

I went ahead and started putting this together and then I remembered that Flylady encourages us to have one. So I went ahead and checked out what she had to say on her website. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had included nearly everything she suggested. I love mine and take it everywhere. I even have a spot in the car just for my Control Journal, so it doesn't go rolling around in the van. I think the reason why it didn't work for me before is that I didn't personalise it, I didn't make it 'Mine' and this time I have. I've decorated it with cute little owl, butterfly and flower stickers and I've colour co-ordinated as much as I can.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where I'm At Now

Hi again,

It has been a really long time since I written and a lot of things have changed. I guess the important thing is that we have another baby. Number 9 - Faith. She'll be eight months old tomorrow. Life is so busy in this household with 9 children, 5 are 8 years old and under, homeschooling still, church and various other activities.

One thing I hear all the time, when people find out we have 9 children, is how organised I must be. I am in no way a very organised person. Or at least I don't think I am but over the last few months I've been learning to organise and be more organised. I still have a long way to go and I've started writing on my blog again so that I'm a little more accountable and can track my progress.

For the last, oh I don't know, eight years or more I've been telling my husband that I wanted a new, queen sized, bed. We moved up to N.S.W. with the same bed but had to make a quick move back and left most of our furniture up there so we gave our old, double bed away, I was hoping that we would then get a new bed and sadly we didn't, but at least the bed we were given was a queen sized bed. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against being given things, in fact I feel that it makes our 'footprint' a little less harsh by using second-hand items. Finally, with our last baby, I took the leap and put a whole new bedroom setting on lay-by. After being married for 21 years and having all these children I deserved a 'bedroom makeover'.

Our home seems to be bursting at the seams so lately it seems very important to me to have my bedroom as a sanctuary. I then went to a linen party with the intention of actually buying a decent quilt cover set that I fell in love with, no matter what the price. It just so happens, though, that the one I fell in love with was marked down to about 60% off :) I even splurged a little a bought some throw pillows and euro pillows. A few weeks later I had my own linen party and got matching sheets for a heavily discounted price too. I was going to wait until I had my bedroom setting to use all my new linen but realised that this was a part of my problem. I won't use something unless the circumstances were just right and sometimes those right circumstances don't eventuate. So I made my old bed with my new linen. I loved it and it made me even more determined to get my bedroom setting out of lay-by.

Having linen I love on my bed has had a roll-over effect in that I want my bed made. I love walking into my room and seeing the bed made and the room neat and tidy. Here's a picture of what my new room looks like.

There's still a bit of mess in my room but each month, following Flylady's zones, I am slowly getting rid of the clutter. Also the grey is not normally my 'thing' but I wanted something different from my usual and I'm finding the neutral tones very calming. I look for excuses to go into my bedroom now, rather than shutting the door and hoping the mess will go away, or at least not get worse. I also discovered that it only takes a couple of minutes to make the bed so I put on the song 'Happy' from the movie Despicable Me 2. It's a great start to the day.