Lunzy Likes: FoodShouldTasteGood Multigrain Chips

This is a quickie post, but wanted to share a great snack item BigDaddy found at Costco last week. FoodShouldTasteGood MultigrainTortilla Chips. He said they looked like a better chip option so he grabbed a bag.  We are a total snack family, chips especially.  But I don't buy them often anymore, mainly because we eat them in a day. We all like to snack on chips.  A little too much.

I was pretty impressed that BigDaddy grabbed these.  For a processed snack, these are a great option.  Tasty, all natural, low sodium and no genetically modified ingredients.The chips contain flax and my favorite quinoa.  I seriously found a chip in a mainstream store with quinoa?? Who knew? They are Kosher, cholesterol free, gluten free and have some fiber (3 grams) for good measure.

I usually don't like "healthy chips/crackers" as they are typically a little too hearty (i.e. cardboardy) for me.  But these are super yummy and the kids LOVE them.  They are hearty enough for a hummus dip, but crispy enough to pass for a tortilla chip.
So again, I didn't get paid for writing this or sent free products.  I just wanted to share a fantastic product with my Loyal Seven.

Check out their website at: www.foodshouldtastegood.com for more info.


Pink Princess Sparkle

As you know, BigBoy's first day of K was an emotional day for me and Sassy.  So what better way to get our minds off the sadness in our hearts? Go Shopping! Go to Lunch! Shop some more!
Sassy and I hit the road and headed up to the City.  Girl Time I told her. "Girl Time? No boys?? Yeah!! Ha ha ha ha ha (think neener neener voice.)" Alright, game on. Let's see what this only child situation is like again. I needed to get some things for BB that I either a) couldn't find over the weekend or b) totally spaced.  Mainly tennis shoes. I forgot the boy needed some sneaks for PE.  BB doesn't wear tennis shoes. ever. It's Crocs in the summer and Fuggs in the winter--if he's wearing shoes at all. We walked into the shoe store and I quickly realized my mistake of taking Sassy with me. She raced down the crowded kid's shoe isle.
"AAAAAWWWWW!!!  Moooommy look! Pink! and 'parkley! and Piiiiiink! Ahhh!! and Princesses!!!! Oh Mommy. MY school shoes?? Deese for me???"
And then she gave me The Look. You know the sweet, you-really-truly-can't-say-no-to-me look. And usually I can, really, truly say no to her. Usually The Look only works on the Daddy/Grandparent types. But not today. Not on the day my first born, my baby boy, left me. She had me. I caved. I got her the most gaudy pink, sparkley, princessy shoes you could ever dream of. And she loves them.

She wanted to put them on the second she woke up from her nap. "Mommy, where my 'parkley shoes??" Shoes were on, a few taps on the floor for good measure and then came the second request.  "I need music mommy.... Beyonce.  I need Beyonce."  Cue All the Single Ladies, please ....(excuse the table- just keepin' it real folks)

I don't get the "girlie" thing.  I'm not girlie. I thought, no way my kids would be girlie... if I even had a girl.  I was totally convinced I would be a mom of all boys. And since my first child was a boy, surely any girl that would follow would be a tomboy-- like I was.  But no. She want PINK everything. You want sparkles on your toothbrush, really? This wasn't how it was supposed to be.  My husband is a coach for Pete's sake. We were supposed to have gym rat kids. I never saw this coming. I don't get it. It's not part of my being.  But I guess Karma came and bit me in the butt. My mom is about as girlie as you can get. The smaller, sparklier, cuter, the better. She's also a crafter. Me?  Not so much. But my daughter? OH YEAH. Nana's genes totally skipped me and took all that extra time and energy and gave me a super-turbo, pink and crafty, girlie girl. They are kindered spirits. *sigh*

So we have pink in our house. Lots and lots... and lots of pink. And dresses. And sparkles. And princesses. And to be honest, it is kinda fun to have tea parties and dress dolls and dance to Beyonce.  Maybe I'll cave again and get Sassy a Bedazzler for her upcoming birthday. She might get sparkles on her toothbrush after all.


It ain't easy being Mean

Apparently I'm a Mean Mom. Day 1 of Kindergarten and I'm a Mean Mom. Really? Already? We were, I was all excited about our cool laptop lunchboxes. BigBoy and I developed a list of food that was deemed acceptable for school lunch. We practiced opening the main box and the cute little containers. Talked about healthy choices and how hot lunch at school was junky. How mommy was packing a special, healthy lunch for him that will give him lots of energy and brain power for the day...

Lunch was not a hit. And when lunch is not a hit, Mom is mean. Baby spinach with dip is not cool at school- so I've been informed. "Junky chips in little bags"= cool.  Wow. I'm fighting this fight already. *sigh*

The day started out well enough. BigBoy was actually up 15 minutes before I needed to wake up him up- Hallelujah! We've been hitting the sack way late this summer and he got in the habit of waking up after 8, which was unheard of pre-CA trip. Our morning was pretty smooth-- lunch was packed, outfits set out, and BigDaddy was home to help. 
Since we had some extra time and Sassy was still snoozing, we decided to read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. At Back-to-School night all the K teachers read the story to their classes and they wore little hands around their necks.  Totally puppy dog cute. We had the book already so I pulled it aside to read the night before. Oops! Mommy brain totally spaced it so luckily we had some time in the morning to cuddle and read. Great for BB but BIG, HUGE mistake for me. The story is about a raccoon who is leaving for school for the first time. Mama Raccoon kisses his palm and tells little raccoon that when he gets sad and misses her, all he has to do is press his palm to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mother's kiss. Sappy book for mamas, sweet and reassuring for kids. Strangely, no mention of Mr. Raccoon. Sorry BigDaddy. By the end of the book I was already fighting back the tears.
While I was taking the kids' pictures I caught the munchkins sitting on the front step and could hear BB telling Sass the story in a very serious tone.  Proof that They DO love each other!

Now Sis, I'm going to Kindgergarten today...
and I'll miss you and you'll miss me. But see, this is your "Kiss Hand."

 Now you'll have my kisses all day.
 I heart my brother!
We met up with our friends down the street and take pictures upon pictures. The kids were jazzed and thankfully the frenzy of activity and the bus showing up early (EARLY?!) kept the kids the moms from getting too weepy.  But the tears started to flow as I watched the bus pull away down the street with my Baby Boy inside.

The mini-munchkins were not happy the older sibs got to go on a cool bus and head off to school, so what's a mom to do? Instant playdate and snack time!  Throw a little dancing into the mix and we have some happy 2 y.o.s and moms.  Sassy and I headed home after our emotional morning and then decided to have a girls' day.  Shopping and a leisurely lunch.  Nothing like a little Panera and retail therapy to forget about our woes.

That afternoon, we had an entire Welcome Home Crew for the kids; tons of hugs and kisses from the families.  About 2 seconds after BigDaddy walked back to work the meltdown started. Here we go...

Between trying to stomp on his sister's shoes, chug milk leftover from his lunch and overreacting to e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I tried to get the gist of the day. Did you like it? Was it fun?  Were the kids nice?

BigBoy: You're a MEAN MOM! I didn't like my lunch! I didn't have ANY junky stuff! The other kids had LOTS of junky stuff... like junky chips in little bags. They were in their own little bags. I don't get anything like that! Just a little bit of junky snack mix, and THATS... ALL! [For full effect, insert major stomping here.]

Mean Mom: Well honey, when we went over your list of lunch foods that were yummy, all those things were on it. You LOVE spinach and wanted it all yesterday. And you wanted peeled clementines. These were things you said you wanted.

BB: I don't remember that.

MM: Well maybe next time you can help me make your lunch from the list. But we don't eat a lot of junky food at home, so you won't get a lot of junky food for your lunch. And we buy snacks in big bags and use containers so we can re-use them.

BB: Um. Okay. But I really want those junky chips in little bags. I would even recycle the bags mom. really.

That's my boy. Saving the world, one little junky chip bag at time.

After prying out more info throughout the afternoon I was informed I was a Mean Mom yet again.... I left his rest towel at school as part of his supply list. HOW COULD YOU?! Now, all of a sudden, he LOOOOOVES that towel. I found out some kids had actual blankets and nap sacks. Good Lord. So I found an acceptable baby quilt that was cool enough to use at school and sent a note asking Mrs. S to switch it out.

At the end of the day, we were both beat and having meltdowns. In a few hours Day 2 will be over and I'm sure the laundry list of how Mean I was today will start. I just picked a bunch of ripe, orange, Sunsugar Cherry Tomatoes from the garden- the same ones on the previously mentioned list.  I think I'll send them with BB to school tomorrow to give to Mrs. S for snacktime. Nothing screams Mean Mom like sending Organic Vegetables with your son to hand out for snack time.  I'm thinking this being Mean thing is gonna take a lot of work and preparation. I better whip up my own list: Things Mean Moms do to embarass their 5 year olds at Kindergarten. Attn: Loyal Seven- I'm open to suggestions...


School lunch follow-up: menu ideas

It's here, it's here! Our laptop lunchbox! Shipping is definitely not their strong point- FedEx and it still took all week. And I'm a bit disappointed in Sassy's- it's the older version and the little cubby containers don't fit. Thought I checked to make sure, so now I need to call them... But overall, I'm happy with boxes. Bonus: it fits in the Land's End lunchbox. phew! Didn't even think to measure, but it fits perfectly. I'll do a review on them after we've been using them for a bit.

Here is my list I've been compiling (thanks to all you who have sent me links/e-newsletters for ideas!)  I think we are off to a pretty good start.  BigBoy seems more interested and excited about his lunch since he's been helping me "practice" lunch.  I also ask him if there is anything he might want from the store before I leave. He's helped me make our grocery list a bit.  Plan on seeing more meal planning, "spring cleaning", and home organization posts in the near future.  My meal planning has gone out the window with BigDaddy's preseason, we've even eaten at the school commons a few times--- help me!  

Next post will be first day of Kinder re-cap!  Wish us luck!

Let me know if you have any other ideas and I can add them to this list!

Salami, ham, roast beef sliced
Cold chicken breast slices/tenderloins with dip* - We have a winner!
Pinwheels: flour tortilla with roast beef & cream cheese, pb & j, hummus
Peanut butter & honey on whole wheat
Eggs-hard boiled eggs, egg sandwich
Buckwheat pancakes w/ bacon
Pasta salad*
Lunchmeat rollups (filled with cream cheese)
Tuna salad *
Chicken salad
Cold pizza (leftover from homemade)
String cheese, cube cheese (maybe use cookie cutter shapes?)
Black bean dip

* Need to taste test still.

Clementines- peeled
Apples- whole, applesauce
Grapes, frozen?
Banana, flat banana
Spinach w/ ranch
Carrots w/ranch, hummus
Celery w/ ranch, hummus, cream cheese, pb – ants on log?

Kashi crackers
Annie’s bunnies- chocolate, cheddar, whole wheat
Homemade chex/trail mix
Homemade muffins/cookies
Pita chips


Our baby's all growns up

It's starting to sink in a little bit more and more each day. I'm a Kindergarten Mom.

Starting on Tuesday, I will no longer with him 24/7. It's bitter sweet for me. BigBoy is so excited to start public school. But he also doesn't realize this means we are no longer homeschooling. No mid-week play dates playing in a creek, no field trips to amazing gardens while no one else around (they are all in school or at work), no homeschool co-op every week, and no more waking up when he feels like it. And now he has a teacher that he can't charm he way out of everything. For now at least.

Deciding to go the public school route here was a little stressful for me. I wasn't sure if a kinda country school was going to be the best place for BB. He's busy. and creative. and a hands-on learner. and doesn't always listen. and has a million and one questions. I'm terrified that he will be "that kid" and then of course I become "that mom." I want him to love learning as much as, if not more, than he does now. and I like our homeschool friends. and I'm sad I won't be learning side-by-side with him anymore. Being his teacher was amazing. I realize we will still be "homeschooling." It doesn't end because he's in public school... yada yada yada. but it will be vastly different. He will be away from me more than with me. Can you feel the waterworks edging their way in here? As a mom, my role is dramatically changing. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. We are creatures of habit and I am used to being BB's main caregiver, teacher, friend, role model. That's my job as a stay-at-home-mom. It's exhausting, but that's what I signed up for. And I love it. I'll miss it.

We had our Orientation Night last night. Thankfully, I have our neighbor friends to go through this with since BigDaddy is in preseason. I found myself in a mini-van with not one, but two, giddy, excited, soon-to-be Kindergarten chatterboxes. We arrived at "MY SCHOOL!!!! " with plenty of time to grab our packets, drop off forms and find seats. As we were filling in something amazing happened to me for the first time since moving here. I knew people. I saw familiar faces, lots! And they knew me too! I'm on the board at Sassy's preschool and we had a meeting last May with a combined incoming/outgoing board. To be honest, it felt good to finally be in a setting where I didn't just have to smile a lot and pretend to look for stuff in my purse as everyone chatted away. Times are a-changing.

We sat down in the gym and soaked it all in. Mr. Principal welcomed us, said a few words and then it was time to release the Kinders! Teachers names were called, then their charges were listed off. BigBoy jumped up and ran off to Mrs. S., turned to wave and smile, and off he went with his new leading lady. I got to see him again when everyone rode the school buses around town and then had a snack-- cookies and Hawaiian punch at 6 pm. *sigh* Thankfully BB kept asking for more water.

Overall, the orientation was great. If this school delivers everything Mr. Principal claims, we are in for a great ride. They talked about really focusing on the individual learner and building a program to suit his/her needs. Stressed communication with parents. They are big on email and actually use email to alert parents on closings and to send out weekly e-newsletters. Hooray! His teacher has been teaching for 30 years and says she knows that kids learn through touching, feeling, doing. Cooking will probably happen weekly. Lots of field trips that units are based on. No assigned seats. She doesn't like lined paper- just get them writing-- period. And one thing BigBoy has been missing with our homeschool. Blocks. Big, heavy, wood school blocks. Mrs. S has them. Lots and lots of them. And tons of Lego bricks. And they have an "Engineering Center" that they go to to build things out of "stuff" (boxes, tubes, paper, containers.) Heaven to my 5 y.o. boy.

So far, I'm feeling pretty good about our decision to go the public school route. for now anyway. See how I'm still holding the door open?. Our community is fantastic, involved and concerned. And it feels like our school will be like that too. I was blown away when our bus driver called to check-in with us about the bus route. She apologized for not being able to pick BB up at our house; she doesn't go down our street, so the closest she can get is his stop at the corner. I could probably yell down to him at the corner it's so close. After talking to her a bit, I found out she was calling my neighbor next since she realized the computer set her stop way, way, too far for a K kid. She's picking her up at her house since it's along the route. After talking with my friend about it, we decided to just have her pick up BB there too since it's not much farther, the kids will love it, and it will give them a nice porch to hang out on while they are waiting. I'll be able to call back Ms. Bus Driver since she gave me her cell phone number and told me to call anytime. (But she couldn't talk during the route.) She said she'll just keep an eye out at both stops on Tuesday and we'll figure it out.

Seriously? My kid's bus driver is sorry she can't pick him up in front of our house and she's calling me at home before school starts to touch base. Good God, I love the Kinda Country.

All in all, I'm already stuffy. I didn't think it would be happening already, but it is. Thankfully the kids are riding the bus from Day 1, so I won't be at the actual school sobbing, just my neighbor's front porch. Then I can hide inside, enjoy a strong cup of coffee with my fellow KinderMom and reminisce about when our kids were "little."


Visions of tomatoes

Tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. So many tomatoes I couldn't eat them all-- even with my tomato sandwich addiction. BigBoy is not such a fan of tomatoes, except for the orange cherry "sun sugar" variety. Even that is hit or miss. I think he likes the concept of eating them more than actually eating them in reality. Sassy will grab them throughout the day to pop a quick snack. Sometimes she'll go total stealth mode and pluck a whole Roma tomato from the bowl, eating it apple style. I'll even object from time to time to make her think she's all sneaky and grabbing the forbidden fruit. Oooooh, okay fine, you can have another tomato. BigDaddy is in volleyball mode. Tomatoes? we have tomatoes? maybe I can use a new drill tomorrow for practice... oh sorry, were you talking to me about tomatoes?

This canning business sounds so charming, really it does. and the thought of beautiful jars of organic tomato sauce, tomato puree and general tomato things lining my pantry shelves is intoxicating. But it scares me. I'm totally intimidated. The kettle (big pot,) the jar sealing "pop." the tongs, the specific amounts of ingredients. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

But I had to do something. I couldn't let some 40 lbs of organic tomatoes just rot. Marinara sauce. I can do marinara sauce. we use a lot of sauce. It's easy. I've done sauces before. And the best part? I can just FREEZE it! No need to can! Hooray! But apparently it's best if I remove all the skins. seriously? I needed to quick boil the pounds and pounds of tomatoes, and cool them in ice bath/cold water. Peel them. cut the core. de-seed them and then puree them. and I can strain over a bowl and collect the juice. THEN I'm in good shape to start my marinara sauce. But this first part took the better part of two hours- when Sassy was napping and BB was glued to wii/tv. Add time for prepping and clean up. This is an all-day thing people. Who in the world has time to do this and be the best mama that ever lived to their children?

I've decided this whole "happy homemaker" thing isn't what it's cracked up to be. I'm thinking housewives of days long gone totally neglected their kids, or had lots of family to pawn their offspring off to, or didn't attempt anything until they were all in school. or faked it.

So I quick boiled my tomatoes with scored booties. peeled them, squished them and pureed them. I even strained all the nutritious juice from their bowels. I didn't get to all the tomatoes, I was pretty tomatoed out by this point. The fruits of my labor? Three quart size bags of halved Roma tomatoes, three large yogurt containers of puree, and about a gallon of juice. I figure I can do my day o' sauce later this week.

As for the very loved (not by me) canning pot, rack, and 3 dozen jars. I'll use them. really. After BB starts Kindergarten next week. or maybe I'll whip up some lovely Christmas gifts using the mason jars. or create an art installation... Canning- Don't try this at home.


Early to bed, early to rise.

Recently on FaceBook my status was Lisa "is a morning person. how in the world did that happen?"

I got "you lie" from my sister and "no way!" from a friend. Gee, thanks guys! Mornings were kicking my butt. One of the kids would usually stand bedside and stare at me, then start poking me or in the case of Sassy would sometimes just yell "MOOOOOOOM?!?" in the hallway. I'd drag myself out of bed and stumble into the living room, throw on the TV and try to shake off my sleepiness. Not my idea of how to greet the new day.

Something had to change.

This month I joined the 30 days of [blank] challenge and I decided to dedicate 15 min. of time to myself everyday. Little by little my Me Time began around sunrise and before little munchkin feet hit the ground. So in reality, I'm getting waaay more than 15 measly minutes and I'm getting the benefit of another habit: waking up early everyday. I'm doing my blog writing, on-line reading, thinking about my day and what I need to do, and hanging out with the cat. I get my coffee, look out the window and soak in the morning, and check out the sunrise. Now THAT is my idea of greeting the new day. Sometimes I just sit on the back porch and enjoy the coolness of the dewy morning since we don't have central air conditioning and it's been sweaty hot everyday.

And as you know, BigBoy is starting school next week and needs to be curbside just before 8 a.m. This is a HUGE change for us. I need to be up and ready for the day- prepared to organize the troops. If I'm in a frenzy, the kids will be too. Yelling "Come on, we need to GO!" isn't exactly setting them up a great start.

I'm usually up around 6:15 nowadays, but I'd like to be up by 6 on a regular basis: get my work out done and still have some free time. It might need to be 5:45 which pains me as I write that. But I know mornings are where it's at for me and getting stuff done. Nights just seem to fly by... dinner, bath, bedtime. And then I'm beat or totally unmotivated. I've also started to meander back to flylady. Why I do this to myself is beyond me. But I love that she has you plan out your life to be more orderly. This speaks to me. So BigDaddy and I actually mapped out our daily schedule. Volleyball season creates such a crazy schedule for us, if we don't plan it, it won't happen. And even then, sometimes things just don't happen. In typical lunzygras fashion, I'm sharing the ever so exciting details with my Loyal Seven.

Wake up:
Me- 6
BigDaddy- 6:30
BigBoy- 7
Sassy when sassy wants. ;)

Nap for Sassy around 1

Dinner around 5/5:30
Bath around 7

Sassy- 8
BigBoy-8:30 (these may be adjusted, but for now, this is the game plan)
Me- asleep by 10:30, BD asleep by 11.

I might be able to get BB off for the day and then workout after he's gone since it will only be 8 and Sassy is pretty happy to watch or do yoga with mommy :) We'll just have to see what works best.

I'm hoping to get BB's lunches packed the night before and it should be a snap since I ordered the laptop lunch box. Yep, I just went for it instead of hemming and hawing my way through it, only to realize they're out of stock when I go to buy them. btw- I ALWAYS do a google search for coupons when I buy on-line. Found a 20% off coupon for the laptop lunchbox systems ideal55. SCORE! I got one for Sassy too.

So back to my morning time... we'll have to see how the reality of school will play into this, but I'm glad to have a head start. This week we will be scaling back bedtime and taste testing lunches. Can you feel the excitement?!

Some inspiration for you to become a morning person, if you so choose:

One of my new favorite blogs: 10 Benefits of Rising Early from zenhabits.com.

How To Wake Up Early, the blog. Of course someone has a blog about getting up early!


More food for thought.

BigBoy starts kindergarten in just over a week.

I'm feeling a lot of pressure. PTA membership? Classroom volunteer sign-ups? Stress about the bus route times? Nope. Not so much. Not yet anyway. The big unknown: what the heck am I going to make for his lunch every. single. day??

BB has full day kindergarten, everyday. So now I need to actually plan every lunch out for him. Make it healthy, appetizing enough that he won't trade it away or throw it out, and have it all fit in a box, stay fresh and be intact when he digs it out hours later. phew! Now THAT's pressure. I already ordered his lunch cooler which matches his backpack. But now I'm thinking I want to get something like this laptop lunchbox to put inside (pictured above.) I love the compartments and like how it's more eco-friendly.

I'm searching for lunch ideas (with photos) and so far found these:

From parents.com (they actually had a decent article this month, but I can't find it online only in the mag- Sept. 09, page 198).

Laptop lunch idea photos

Very cool flickr pool of laptop lunches

5 ways to pack a healthy lunch

We're doing dry runs this next week, testing out what will be winners and losers in the lunch contest. BB and I have started discussing what is okay and what is "definitely, definitely not" okay

good ol peanut butter and honey on wheat- I think my kids will turn into PB pretty soon.
salami on anything, or just plain
pinwheels - flour tortilla with cream cheese and lunch meat, rolled up and sliced
clementines- peeled
apples- whole, NOT sliced
baby spinach- with blue cheese dressing to dip in
cheery tomatoes- only the orange from our garden. sigh.
nuts- almonds, peanuts, cashews
flat banana- from trader joes
Annie's snacks

so that gets me to what, day three?? Maybe I can convince him that pasta salad rocks in the next week. or cut up chicken breast is super cool. or maybe he will just have peanut butter and honey sandwiches 5 days in a row. Think he'd notice?

Thanks Pirate Johnny for the photo!


Food, glorious food.

I love, love, love this time of year. The seasonal produce is kicking into high gear. I'm faced with the daily dilemma of just how many tomato sandwiches I'm going to eat in a day- my all time favorite summer food.

I've been winging it more often with meals than follow an actual recipe, using what we have on-hand and making it up as I go. I've created some interesting combos: egg, corn & tomato breakfast burritos, kitchen sink veggie/chicken tacos (literally any vegetable that as in the fridge plus a little chicken), and some tzatiki-ish dip.

I'm also testing out new recipes to use up our morning bounty. And then there's the nights when it's just too dang hot to put on our Barbie Oven (the smallest. oven. ever.) and I go all "raw food" on the family proclaiming dinner to be edamame, cheese and fruit smoothies.

During my Family Command Center project, I also organized my recipes a bit better so planning meals (again) will be a snap. I actually have two Recipe Binders, well three. tee hee. One for recipes I use regularly or will be using in my meal plan and one to collect recipes- holiday items, stuff to try, family recipes, etc. And one other cool binder my friend Nikki made made with her personal family recipes. I loooove binders and hole punchers/page protectors for holding my recipes Plus it gives me another reason for office supplies!! Hooray! But seriously, it makes it so easy find my recipes. I hate those little cards, they just don't do it for me. I also have a delicious account to tag and organize recipes online. I use delicious to bookmark/tag just about everything I organize online. It's a social bookmarking site, so you can actually search for terms that other users have bookmarked/tagged too. It's super easy if you download their toolbar buttons.

I have lots of favorite food websites I check out, but these are the ones I go to the most:
tastespotting - Best food porn around
101 cookbooks - Things I typcially don't try, but love to think I will.
simply recipes - I've done quite of few of hers. Lots of Hispanic recipes too!
green lite bites - great healthy, recipes.
all recipes - My go-to site. Community based with reviews and pictures.

But honestly, when I'm looking for a new recipe for say, zucchini, I would just google "recipe zucchini" and see what pops up. Zucchini Patties was the latest. Something I wouldn't have created or searched for. But it was great! And the entire family loved them. We ate them with eggplant parmesan and fresh sweet corn. This turned out to be one of my favorite locavore meals and vegetarian to boot (something I try to do once a week.) I stopped by the produce farm up the road to got our usual eggs, plus eggplant and corn, we had zucchini already- viola!

I've had my fair share on not-so-great meals, but if you don't try you won't get any better or try something totally different, like zucchini patties. So jump out of your food comfort zone. What are you going to try with your yummy summer produce? Please post a new/favorite recipe in the comments that uses great summer veggies or fruits! I know, I know, it's scarey posting something in the ominous comments box. But I have faith, you can do it. You don't even have to leave your name, I'm making it easy for you!


H1N1 - is it worth a shot?

I have a lot of new readers lately, I'm not really sure how or why, since I've been MIA for more than a month, but Welcome! Since a lot of you newbies may not know, my blog could be categorized as a "Mommy Blog" or "Family Living Blog" but I tend to lean toward the slightly eco/green/organic side. I'm a bit crunchy, but still shave and don't smell like hemp.

Given that, I usually don't get on my soapbox and preach that the government is out to get us, or rant on and on about social concerns, or freak out about health issues. But this one IS kinda freaking me out. I view this blog as a chance to sit down and act like I'm on the phone with a close friend. So after an actual phone conversation a few days ago with one of my BFFs, I feel like I need to share, with you all, my virtual BFFs. Shall we do a group hug, hold hands and sing Cumbaya?

Okay stop singing! It's time to panic! N1H1 is coming to a town near you! This FALL! You better be prepared with a big fat shot! or not. I'm not a big fan of putting ANYTHING in my body, or my kids' bodies, that isn't meant to be there in the first place be it chemical or biological. Our bodies were created the way the are for a reason. Messing with that system, or any bio-system for that matter, is risky business. We just don't know what we don't know. But like it or not, we will soon be faced with a big choice this flu season regarding the H1N1/Swine Flu Vaccination.

The government rushed to get H1N1 vaccination massed produced and has granted the pharmaceutical companies legal immunity. (Associated Press, 7-17-09) Which means we have no idea what the side effects are short term (tests just starting and they want to start administering by October) or long term since this is brand spanking new and you need two doses before you get full immunity. Which means, after the two doses you are "fully covered" around mid-December. But rest assured Joe Citizen, they are doing these rapid tests and not taking any shortcuts, really. Don't you have full faith in Corporate America anymore? Big Business is here for YOU. Even if there are major side-effects (which we won't know for a while,) we can't do much about it, since the drug companies- not you- are protected from injury.

"The purpose of these trials is always to make sure they are safe," said Dr. Karen Kotloff, professor of pediatrics and lead investigator and researcher at Maryland's Center for Vaccine Development. "But even after six weeks, if things look good, we're pretty sure the vaccine will work." So apparently they feel confident, well "pretty sure" at least, that six weeks is enough to mark this new product as safe. In their defense, apparently this shot isn't developed much differently than the regular ol' flu shot. So fast tracking the design I understand. Fast tracking it with different components without long-term testing sounds shady.

We've had swine flu scare before. Wait, what?? Yep in 1976. And a swine flu vaccination fiasco to go right along with it when more people died from the flu shot than they did from the swine flu. In a round about way, I guess proves the vax worked? Some 500 Americans out of the 43 million vaccinated developed a rare paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome that was most likely a immunopathological reaction to the shot. Thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. (AP, 7-17-09) Hence the legal immunity for phamra companies.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) banned Thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative with is 49% ethylmercury) from all child immunizations. (CDC Mercury FAQ) However the H1N1 vaccination will be a multi-dose shot that WILL contain Thimerosal. *There will be Thimerosal-free shots available, but finding a doctor that has them for you could be a challenge. Also, if you are preggo, most OB/GYNs don't bother with this option because the CDC doesn't say there's any need for pregnant women to avoid Thimerosal (but the FDA does say to avoid mercury.)

Speaking of the Preggos, the CDC is strongly recommending that pregnant women get the new N1H1 flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Pregnant women (and infants) are in the "high risk" group. (CDC, 6-30-09) but are also more susceptible in general due to a compromised immune system. And guess what, they weren't a part of the test group, so this is a TOTAL unknown.

The CDC also recommends that pregnant women receive an annual flu shot, again with Thimerosal. But the FDA categorizes it as PREGNANCY CATEGORY C (this is from the flu shot package insert) Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Influenza Virus Vaccine. It is not known whether Influenza Virus Vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. Influenza Virus Vaccine should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

H1N1 has sickened more than a million people in the U.S. alone since April and circled the globe in a matter of weeks. However,"Despite a brisk flu season in the Southern Hemisphere, the new swine flu isn't yet mutating to become more dangerous," says CDC's Dr. Nancy Cox. "It's actually quite surprising that the virus is showing so little genetic variation given its rapid spread." (AP, 7-23-09) So the strain they are currently basing the vaccine on, looks like it will remain the same for the big H1N1 flu season. Good news for people already planning on getting the shot.

I'm officially confused. The shot is based on this particular strain. But this particular strain hasn't mutated to become more dangerous. It becomes more dangerous AFTER mutation and then the strain this vax is based on isn't the same as the strain causing mass infection. Am I the only one this sounds totally insane to? Maybe something is better than nothing? Or is nothing, better than something? Is the best defense basic hand washing with plain ol' soap and water, staying away from sick people as much as possible, and getting your vitamin C? Is that enough?

p.s. if you are allergic to eggs, you may have a reaction to the shot itself since, like regular flu shots, it will be egg based. (AP 7-23-09)[From the flu shot insert: CONTRAINDICATIONS: Fluzone vaccine should not be administered to anyone with known systemic hypersensitivity reactions to egg proteins (eggs or egg products), to chicken proteins, or any component of Fluzone vaccine or a life-threatening reaction after previous administration of the vaccine or a vaccine containing the same substances.]

My Disclaimer: I'm not posting this to convince you one way or another. I DO want you to get informed ANYTIME you do something to your body. I'm just a mama looking out for my family and friends. I'm not a scientist, a doctor or health professional of any kind. I'm not out to argue these points with anyone or get into a battle of wits on this (there are MANY places on-line you can find to do this.) This is just the tip of the iceberg, there are more facts, more figures if you want to go digging. If you have info to share, please do. But leave any attacks at the door TYVM.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program where I'm a techie wanabee or drooling over Strawberry Panzanella or slowly getting healthier.

* Photo courtesy of thehomsar via flickr.com

Other resources:
CDC's H1N1 site

Dr. Mercola's wrap up

US News on Women- Dealing with the Swine Flu Threat During Pregnancy


Well, looky there!

We have watermelons! As part of my Mother's Day present, we went to the Mennonite Nursery and picked out plants for the yard. BigBoy insisted on getting watermelon plants. Really? Watermelons? Okay, fine, but we are putting them on the back of our house away from everything else. When they weren't growing as fast as the garden plants were, we figured it was a bust. I consulted with my personal gardening mentor (my step-dad) who said they take quite of bit of time to grow. So we figured we would do a wait-n-see. On our trip to CA they exploded!

But unfortunately, so did our weeds. sigh...

And the bird's nest has been abandoned yet again. The Blue Jays built it first with thick sticks, but I don't think ever laid any eggs. The Robins swooped in and added some fluff and little twigs and called it Home. But now the chicks are on their own. Just an empty nest now. I still look out the window every time I walk into our bathroom; still expecting to see Mama and Papa Robin and the three little scrawny necks popping up for worms. sniff, sniff. Our little baby's all growns up.

And then I stopped for a moment and realized who we were all really, REALLY missing from our yard...

This guy:

Zip, please, please tell your Mama she needs to board you at school again this year. pretty please. We have peppermints and apples waiting for you. We promise to do lots of activities in the backyard to keep you entertained. I'll even pet you EVERY time I see you hanging around the fence. Pinky Promise!


Weekend Warriors!

This weekend we kicked some major booty! Go Team Spector!

I started my 30-Day Challenge and on Saturday, Day 1 of taking 15 min. each day for myself. I sat outside drinking my coffee and enjoying the morning cool. Sassy found me at about 13 minutes (2 shy of my goal) but for Day 1, I'll take it! Yesterday I hid out in our guest room, lay down on the bed and listened to the rain. I was trying to nap, but it didn't work, so I settled for rainy calmness. This morning I woke up before the entire family and had over an hour by myself. I'm still in shock! I did some on-line maintenance junk and starting writing this post. woo hoo! I might actually try to wake up before everyone on a regular basis since I'm feeling better and everyone seems to be sleeping later than normal- a total bonus from being on West Coast Time for almost 3 weeks. Anyone else decide to do the challenge? I want to hear about it!

I'm back in my blogging groove, finally! It feels soo wonderful to have this outlet again. I didn't realize how much I missed it and YOU, my Loyal Seven. You guys rock! I'm working on a research heavy (lots of links) post, but it should be up later this week. Anything YOU are interested it or curious about? Drop me a line at lunzy@lunzygras.com or leave a comment here and I'll do my best to address it.

My favorite weekend project is our Family Command Center (don't mind the table, just keepin' it real, people):

I simply love it! I see it before I walk out the door and I smile. It makes me happy. The whole set-up was ridiculously cheap. I had everything I needed on hand already, minus the white board/cork board combo, which only cost $8 at my favorite close-out center, Ollies. But right now is perfect for finding dorm room organizational pieces and supplies anywhere due to Back To School. I used 4large 3M hooks (bags), 3 medium sized hooks (keys), and 1 small hook (for the bucket). I got the small metal bucket (for the white board pens) at Target for a buck in their dollar zone forever ago. New board pens, and some push pins a la WallyWorld. I already had the shoe basket, just needed to clean it out (and put all the shoes that spawned more shoes back into our collective closets.) On a side note... I loooove these 3M Command Hooks I seriously have them in every size. I've used them for Christmas Stockings on the fireplace, hooks for dress-up clothes on our brick, basement walls, to hang up our homeschool calendar, towel hooks in the kids rooms, everything. They're great and pretty cheap.

I also kept going and cleaned up our dish hutch and turned it into more of a desk area with space for our laptop and office/mail supplies. I love it! I doubt if I'll ever actually use it as a desk, but maybe for paying bills. At least the laptop has a home!! It also a good space to hold important mail. I still want to add some wall file folder holders and a small basket cup thingy for outgoing things.

The hooks: #1 mama's purse, #2 Sassy's backpack that will arrive soon and is basically the same as the one pictured, only pink, of course, #3 BigBoy's backpack that hasn't arrived yet, #4 our cloth shopping bags. Big Daddy got a tub under the desk area for his work bag and all the random things that come and go between our house and his office. It's a nice big catch-all for his stuff, which is usually larger and heavier.

I cleaned up our Household Family Binder and reorganized my Recipe Binder. Have I ever confessed to you my obsession with office supplies? Throw me in an Office Depot for the afternoon and I'm a happy girl. FWIW, Lowes works just as well for my Inner Home Improvement DIYer that hasn't materialized just yet. I worked on our menu plan for the next two weeks and it's almost done! BigDaddy rocked my laundry world and the kids' rooms are cleaned. Yeah!! It feels great to start the week off like this!


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