Monthly Archives: May 2011

Pros and Cons of a CSA

Last summer I joined a CSA for the first time. If you are not familiar with what a CSA is, check out my guest post at Becoming Crunchy! I share my experience with the CSA we joined last summer, as well as pros and cons so you can figure out if joining one would be a good fit for your family.

If you read the post and decide a CSA sounds like a great choice for you, you can check out Greenbrier Farms!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Becoming Crunchy site, too! I always enjoy the posts there and am frequently inspired to live better! She makes appearances in my Sunday Surf’s often and she wrote a guest post here not too long ago. You can start with some of my favorite posts:

Why I Chose Baby Led Weaning: 4 Personal Reasons

Getting Rid of the Garbage

A Garden Made of Straw

Moving Away from Household Toxins- an Update


Sunday Surf

I hope you enjoy this week’s Sunday Surf, the best of what I’ve read this week.

Babywise is Not the Bible. Parenting by the Law or by the Spirit? – “You do not have to answer to Gary Ezzo or anyone else. You do have to answer to God. You don’t need Babywise, you need the Holy Spirit.”

It’s OK, just not in public – “I don’t know why people get so weirded out about praying out loud in public. Maybe it’s the thought that faith is such a personal thing. Maybe it’s the fear of imposing one’s faith on another, one who may or may not want to be exposed to faith-matters.”

Try Again – “When we make mistakes, even if it comes to the point where he feels like spanking is his only option, that doesn’t mean he’s stuck parenting that way from then on.  We will encourage each other to “try again” to break the old patterns ingrained in us from how we were parented.”
 
Avoid Green Guilt and Do ONE Thing – “Let’s ease the anxiety and focus on what you can do.  How about the motto:  ‘Do One Thing.’ Doesn’t that sound simple?  Just ONE thing!”

Get Jealous? – “I want to be able to give a straightforward answer when asked if Sparky and Spunky are my only or if Sparky is my oldest. I don’t mince words about it for the most part, but it makes people very uncomfortable.”

via e-mumshop.com

The Gift of Milk- “I felt like I had a superpower. Nursing our babies is kind of magic. After years of nursing my now-weaned children, I still marvel at the basic premise: growing a baby simply on the nourishment that our own bodies provide!”

That Psychology Today Blog May Say Black Girls Are Ugly, But My Baby Knows Better – “I came across this poem, written by my beautiful, chocolate drop, Mari. She is, simply, amazing, and her words assure me that no matter what idiot tries to make her think she’s a lesser than, the work Nick and I are putting in to remind her she’s the straight fire is paying off.”

So What Exactly Is Instinctual Breastfeeding? And How Old Is Too Old? – “The problem, in my opinion, is simply the way America views breastfeeding.  Giving expectant moms a list of the benefits of breastfeeding is nice, but we need to start making it more socially acceptable.”

Early Parenting Choices: Sleeping and Nursing – “So a message to those parents that are confused about what the right choice is –  follow your gut.  If listening to your child cry makes you cry – pick him up and hold him. Do what you feel is the best and natural. Don’t let anyone else make these important choices for you.  Your child is depending on you and only you.” 
 
International Day of the Midwife – “And then, with relief and wonder I thought, “Thank goodness the births of my children were not like this.” And I felt terribly sorry for the many many women who experience their children’s births the same way I experience the dentist.”
 
Baby food. Excuse me while I get up on this soapbox…. - “Does this imply that other commercially marketed baby food is not real food? Absolutely. Because it’s not.”
 
It’s really quite simple… – “So when I ask myself if, as a parent and a wife, I am acting as Christ would act, I don’t need to look very far. He Loved me so much that He died rather than require me to face the punishment I deserved.” 
 
Top 10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates Should Stop Saying – “Breastfeeding is the biological norm.  Anything less is inferior by default. “Best” conjurs a notion of something that only a select few can achieve and sets formula up as the norm; we want to talk about breastfeeding as something that’s achievable for almost all moms.”
 
Husband vs. Children?- “I think that this whole child-centered vs. husband-centered premise is a false dichotomy that completely lacks balance and perspective. Why must it be an either-or situation to begin with?”
 

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Becoming Crunchy, Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle,The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama Eve, Momma Jorje, One Rich Mother, Greener Cleaning Moms, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


April: Reader Spotlight

I’m happy to bring you another Reader Spotlight so we can all get to know each other better! Reader Spotlight is where I tell you all about an A Little Bit of All of It reader. I choose someone that is either a commenter, subscriber or Facebook fan to highlight.

Today I’m going to introduce you to April who blogs at Wishful Thinking. April comments here on the blog. Her first comment was on my Fun With Etsy post. She doesn’t have just one favorite post but enjoys the Product Reviews on baby items the most. She says, “When I’m a mom, you are someone I will look to for advice because I know you’ve put a lot of love and thought into choosing what you will use for your daughter.” Ah, thanks April!

April started a blog because she enjoys “reading other people’s blogs, so I thought it would be a fun way to connect with other people. And I enjoy writing and getting my thoughts down.” She blogs about her place in life right now which is not where she expected to be. “I never expected to be nearly 32 years old and be so unsettled. I always assumed I’d have a couple of kids by now. And I never thought I’d go back to school!” Specifically, she has plans to attend law school in the near future. Moving to Nashville was the catalyst that brought this decision about in her life, along with many other changes. She is “scared and excited about law school, but I think it will be good for me.” It’s a decision she is proud of.

She also has been struggling with infertility for the last 2 1/2 years. She says, “I’ve come to terms with it, more or less, and now I’m just waiting until we can afford either treatment or adoption. She is “inspired by people who overcome difficulties in their life and maintain a positive attitude while going through hard times. Everyone faces problems, but I think how you handle them is the most important thing.

Her family is very important to her, and her parents and husband are her biggest influences. She is happy to have “a great example of a good marriage in my parents”, and enjoyed her childhood. “We didn’t have much extra money, but we had a lot of love. And I had a lot of fun with my younger brother, making up games and playing outside.” But the most important thing to her is her Christianity. “It affects everything about me and everything about how I view the world and live in it.” She also credits Christianity with keeping her balanced along with trying to “find the time to rest and relax amid all the busyness of life.”

Some of her favorite things:

  • Favorite meal: “Fresh corn, fresh tomatoes, mashed potatoes, cornbread, pinto beans and chicken fried chicken. And maybe some fried green tomatoes, too!” She loves to eat “good southern food”.
  • Her miniature Dachshunds
  • Reading: “I almost always have a book I’m working through.”

April’s wish for the world is that everyone would “treat other people the way they want to be treated; it would make things so much better!” You can find her at her blog, Wishful Thinking.


Henry’s Smokehouse

Back in my highschool and college days I worked at Henry’s Smokehouse. And it pretty much ruined me for barbecue anywhere else. Yep, it’s that good. I don’t even bother ordering barbecue from anywhere else because I am ALWAYS met with disappointment if I do.

What makes Henry’s barbecue so special? Well, for starters they cook in open barbecue pits with hickory logs to lock in that fantastic hickory flavor. (Drive by and you’ll see the smoke coming out of the building for yourself.) They cook the pork butts for 12 hours in low temperature and their fall-off-the-bone ribs for over 8 hours. But the special treatment doesn’t stop there; once the pork is cooked, the meat is hand-pulled so only the best meat is chosen.

Now let’s talk about their sauces. I’m personally not a fan of tomato- or ketchup-based sauces and I like some spice. Enter Henry’s Spicy sauce. It’s a mustard-based sauce with a little kick and it’s delicious. I’m told by others that the Mild, tomato-based sauce is good but I haven’t actually tried it.

Besides their signature pulled pork barbecue, they also have smoked chicken, ribs, hash and rice and Brunswick stew. I’m a fan of all of these items. When I worked there the only sides offered were baked beans, slaw, fries and rice. (The fries are phenomenal and I used to eat these quite a bit with the special sauce one of my co-workers made sprinkled with Henry’s special garlic salt or dipped in the malt vinegar.) They have since added green beans, potato salad, sweet potato casserole, banana pudding and mac and cheese.

The first item at Henry’s I ever tasted was actually the hash. Being from Southern California originally, I had never even heard of hash but I’ve always said I would try anything once. I’m glad I did. It’s delicious, spicy, meaty yumminess. I have since forgotten what all is in it but I do know it is good.

The Brunswick stew is my go-to on a cold, winter day. The smoked chicken is great chopped with some spicy sauce and slaw. The ribs are extremely tender and seriously come right off the bone. The baked beans are sweet and delicious. And the lemon cake is moist and, well, lemony. But the best, of course, is the incredibly delicious pork barbecue. Seriously. Go get some. And try it with slaw on it even if you think that sounds gross…because it’s not.


9 Day Menu Plan

I’m going to do things a little differently this week. For one thing, I’m going to buy meals for 2 weeks instead of 1. We are going to be out of town starting Friday afternoon through Wednesday night though so I won’t be including any meals for those time periods except for some snacks for the road and dinner in the car so we don’t have to stop for fast food on Friday night. The other thing I’m going to do differently is have the format more clearly reflect the way I actually meal plan. I generally just plan 7 dinners/breakfasts/lunches and decide each day which we will have. However, if we have a specific reason for having a specified dinner on a certain day, I’ll notate that (just for myself, not that my readers need to know necessarily. ;)) For breakfast and lunches, I’m just going to list stuff I have, or will be buying to have, on hand to make stuff since that is normally how we roll around here.

One last thing, because I feel guilty everytime I see my huge collection of cookbooks, I’ve started trying (again) to use my cookbooks more. I actually am going through each one slowly and marking down recipes I think we would enjoy and am going to start making some of those. That may mean I don’t have as many links to recipes as I did before but I will always at least include a link to the cookbook in my post and, if I can find a link, of course I’ll include it!

As always, I use the Publix weekly ad to make my menu to help save money!

This week I’m using The Mafia Cookbook for some of my recipes. I will notate those recipes with an asterisk.

Via earthfare.com

Breakfast and Lunch items – Plain Greek Yogurt, Apple Blueberry Granola, Fruit Salad, Eggs, 100% Whole Wheat Bread, Honey, Earth Fare Red Wellness Tea, Mango, Peanut Butter, Dinner Leftovers, Raisins, Blueberries, Strawberries, Almond Milk

Dinners

Pasta with Zucchini* and Garlic Bread

Double- Herb Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Panacotte (Greens and Beans)* with Salad and Homemade Ranch

Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato and Fontina

Creamy Spinach Enchiladas with Brown Rice and Salsa

Loaded Baked Potatoes with Salad and Homemade Ranch

Friday – Ham & Cheese Wraps with Carrot Sticks & Pretzels

Jerk Chicken with Cucumber Relish and Corn on the Cob

Salmon Casserole with Green Beans

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Lots of Mommy Stuff Sunday Surf

Pottytime!

Image by tarabrown via Flickr

Here’s the good stuff I’ve read this week. Enjoy!

Getting Rid of the Garbage – “I honestly can’t believe how amazingly all this stuff works – I was kind of doing it begrudgingly at first, because I thought I should…but all of it has worked better than anything I was using before.”

EC From Birth – “Fourteen months in, I am convinced that reading books and formulating a plan is really not all that important. All one needs in order to EC from birth is a desire to communicate with their newborn, and a desire to meet all of their needs in a timely and sensitive manner. EC flows naturally from the connection we instinctually form with our babies, and that connection is all we really need.”

This Week’s Small Change – What To Do When Your Child Behaves Inappropriately – “Sometimes you just wish you had a simple techniqueas an option when your child, tween, or teen is doing something you do not approve of.”

My First Birth Story, Part 1 – Mikko, June 2007: Labor at Home and My first birth story, part 2 — Mikko, June 2007: A hospital transfer – “I could hardly believe such a thing existed outside of my body, and here he was, and I was seeing him for the first time, and he was going to be mine for all time now, and I was just now getting a glimpse of what he looked like.”

Zinc Oxide Sunscreens For Safe Sun Protection – “Many brands offer Zinc Oxide based sunscreens. Here are a few of the better options.”

Got Melke? – “Most women can breastfeed.  But if you live in a country with poor breastfeeding rates it is almost like preparing for a war.  You have to be confident that you WILL do this for your baby.  You have to educate yourself, and arm yourself with a lactation consultant and facts and figures to wave in the faces of your family and friends.  Because so many unqualified (or just plain ignorant) people will be ready and waiting with bad advice, misinformation and bottles of free formula.”

On Labels and Boxes and Trusting Your Gut – “Let’s start trusting ourselves and our instincts about what we should do as parents instead of judging ourselves for not fitting perfectly into a box or judging others for choosing a different kind of box. Let’s just parent our kids the best we know how, instead of spending so much time competing with each other.”

Mom Wars – Guilt, Grief, and Healing – “Being sensitive about a subject is a clear indication that there are some unresolved issues surrounding that experience that need to be dealt with. Often the ‘guilty’ feeling is actually other emotions in disguise like anguish, anger, betrayal, disappointment, etc.”

Gently Responding to an Aggressive Toddler - “As a parent we get to guide behavior when necessary towards what is appropriate. We can see each situation as a perfect opportunity to learn and guide. Nothing more, nothing less. This takes away the stigma of dealing with a child who is defiant.”

Talking and Listening – “Please, for the sake of building a strong rapport with your child, slow it down.  Let your child process what you have just said before you say something else.  And use non-verbal communication:  smile while you wait for an answer, tip your head attentively while you listen to that answer, and offer hugs to go with your acceptance of it.”

Real Food School Lunches III – “…my hope is that one more lunch post will help rejuvenate us all so even during these last few weeks we can continue to send our kids to school with healthy, creative, homemade school lunches that contain nothing other than real food!”

How To: African Babywearing – “It might seem a little scary the first time around, but it is really rather safe and millions of babies are worn that way from dusk til down without accidents. Once you get the hang of it, you might come to love it, as I do, as there is no strain on your shoulders or arms like other ways of carrying might involve.”

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Becoming Crunchy, Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle,The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama Eve, Momma Jorje, One Rich Mother, Greener Cleaning Moms, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


Frugal Menu Plan

Here is this week’s frugal menu plan. Trying to save some money this week!

I use the Publix weekly ad to make my menu.

Monday

Swedish Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes (leftovers)

Tuesday

Crock Pot Chicken with Red Potatoes

Wednesday

Green Chile Cheddar Eggs

Thursday

Creole Shrimp and Rice

Friday

Pasta with Sauce, Green Beans and Garlic Bread

Saturday

Lemon Salmon Burgers with Corn on the Cob

Sunday

Eggs and Bacon with Toast

For more menu plans, check out the home of Menu Plan Monday, at I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Caring for the Poor

11,000 hits is here! Let me introduce the newest guest writer at A Little Bit of All of It. Keri is a wife and mother of two boys. In her free time she likes to write articles for her blog, The Grace Post, and plan events for her non-profit organization Women of Acts. (You may remember that I blogged about Women of Acts not too long ago, great organization!) Today Keri is sharing her heart with us and I know it will be beneficial to all of us to read this.

via chuckwarnockblog.wordpress.com

“Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

This is a verse that is short but says so much. Throughout Scripture we are admonished to care for those who are less fortunate. There is no underlying motivation other than to show the love of God for people by caring for the physical needs of others. Generosity is not limited to donating cash to a person in need, although that is a wonderful thing to do. Generosity is a state of the heart. It is a mindset that truly what we have is God’s. He has given us stewardship over it, and we are to use it in a way that pleases Him. A person with a generous heart toward the poor will be blessed for that spirit. They don’t have to question whether the financial decision to help the poor will please the Lord. They know it to be so.

You do not have to have large wealth to have a generous spirit. The widow with two mites who gave her all is seen as the biggest gift even though monetarily it was the smallest. A person of great wealth who gives their required tithe but does so without generosity and love has missed the mark of what God asks of us.

As I’ve studied what the Bible says about our responsibility to care for those in need this verse is the most forceful in my mind:

“‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. Ezekiel 48:9

The people of Sodom had everything they could want. When the Bible lists their sins it doesn’t just mention their pride and gluttony, it mentions that they ignored the poor around them. So self absorbed that they just turned a blind eye to those who were hurting and needy in their community. It tells me that God cares deeply about those who are poor and needy around us. Intentional giving to the poor in our community is expected of us. It is not just a mark of a virtuous woman. By not caring for those around us we are actually committing sin.

I feel like just saying that is radical. Maybe it is our American mindset that tells us that we just need to work harder to achieve greatness. Truly the ability to work hard and achieve success is a great thing. It is something we relish in the United States. The reality though is that this work ethic often leaves us feeling entitled to our wealth. Like we have somehow earned it through our hard work and now our money is ours. Arrogance that the wealth is ours and not from the blessing of a good God who cares for us.

Now, I know most of you already know the truth of what I just said. What matters more than my explaining a Biblical truth is how we apply to our lives. Maybe you don’t have much. That is ok. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Volunteer at a food bank
  • Use coupons and fill a bag with your deals for a family who really needs it
  • Give your nice used clothes to a family who needs it instead of consigning them.
  • Get a group of friends together and collect coats and blankets for a homeless shelter
  • Donate coupons to a shelter
  • Keep $5 gift cards for fast food in your purse and give them to someone who is homeless

These are just a few ideas I’ve come up with. I’m sure there are hundreds more, so be creative! Involve your kids in a project like these this summer. That way instead of simply telling them to be generous, you show them how to live generously.

We need to open our hands to them in generous and abundant ways. The poor in our church. The poor in our community. The poor in our world.  The care of the poor and needy should not be left to others. God has called Christians to this work. Do it with an loving and generous spirit, and you will be blessed!


Real Food, Cloth Diapering and Weaning – Sunday Surf

Freezing in Glass Jars

Image by Chiot's Run via Flickr

Here is what I read this week that I found interesting! I think you will, too.

My Children are People – “Seeing my children as people helped me look at every interaction and think hard about how I would want to be treated in that situation.”

How to Freeze Food in Glass Jars – “The world is yours, of course – anything you can freeze can go in a glass jar…”

“I Can’t Afford the Start Up Costs of Cloth Diapering” - “I have a few issues with the “start up costs of cloth diapering” argument for not using cloth though, I have to tell you. It doesn’t make sense. Are we Americans so short sighted that we can’t see past a few months into the future?”

The Weaning Party“At first it was mostly about nourishment, and later mostly about comfort and closeness. Nursing gave us ample opportunities for physical closeness, and I think it brought us very close together emotionally too. It meant that even when we were apart, we were never far from each other’s thoughts.”

15-15 for Marriages with Young Children - “This 15 minutes of intentionally restorative time will have a cumulative effect in the week for both of you.”

Talking Real Food with Robyn O’Brien – “We need to demand that companies take out dyes, high fructose corn syrup and the like, by voting with our dollars. If we buy foods that do not contain unhealthy ingredients, O’Brien said, the industry will provide more of those options and the accessibility of healthy options for everyone will increase.”

Why I UCed - “Unassisted birth is not everyone’s choice, but I do feel it is a viable option for women who want it.”

Best Natural and Organic Face Soap? – “Besides the cosmetic benefits, it makes me feel really good to know that when Baby plants his frequent open mouth kisses all over my face, he’s not ingesting toxins.”

The Slippery Slope of Soap - “Unfortunately, many of the things we use as ‘soap’ are actually harsh detergents or chemical cocktails.”

I am Not Raising Obedient Children - “I don’t want children who obey without hesitation.  I want children who can think for themselves, recognize and listen to their feelings and instincts and respond appropriately.”

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Becoming Crunchy, Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle,The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama Eve, Momma Jorje, One Rich Mother, Greener Cleaning Moms, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast

To celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary, my husband and I booked a one night stay at the 1847 Blake House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC. We had been passively looking for a while for a bed and breakfast that would allow children as most will not. Thankfully, the Blake House does and also welcomes pets, too which would have been really nice if we still had a dog.

The accommodations are lovely, but instead of my describing them all to you, I thought I’d show you our room instead. You can see in the last picture in the far left corner, there was even a little twin bed for our daughter to sleep in.


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