Moderate Minded Mama

Walking the line between crunchy and modern everyday

Thankful (well kind of) for answers September 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 9:50 pm

On and off for over a year I’ve had random numbness and tingling. Last year, the night before my birthday, it landed me in the ER because it was so prevalent and was moving randomly throughout my body I had to get it checked out. 

It backed off but never fully went away. Blood tests were all normal. CT was normal. Neuro exam was normal. Etc, etc. I was told it was “stress” or migraine and given muscle relaxers. Thanks? Thankfully it calmed down and only flared up once in a while, still no rhyme or reason.

Then over the last month or so I’ve noticed when I lay on my right side my left side feels like it’s asleep. Or if I’m sitting down on the couch (no matter the position) my legs get tingly. It was back and getting worse. Then I woke up one morning and I couldn’t feel my left side. I was freaking out and hubby initially thought it might have been a medicine complication as I JUST started a med for my stubborn kidneys. I wish it was that simple. 

After a call to the neuro they got me in that day and my exam was normal except for less  sensitivity on the affected side. After discussing more bloodwork he agreed MRI was probably best bet. I’m glad I asked for one! 

Turns out I have a mild case of Chiari 1 malfomation. Basically it “causes the cerebellum – the part of the brain that controls coordination and muscle movement – to push into the space normally occupied by the spinal cord” (thank you Google lol). Spots in my skull/spine are too small, brain things are going places they shouldn’t be etc…whoopie! 🙄 It can cause dizzy/fainting spells, lack of coordination/balance, tinnitus, migraines (and probably explains the neuro symptoms I get with mine), vision issues, numbness and tingling…and a host of other things I’m not experiencing thank God. 

After hearing this a lot of random things about my health since high school “clicked” into place that NO doctors have ever been able to figure out. It also made me angry and sad that there isn’t anything I can do to “fix” it. I was probably born with it, it isn’t bad enough for surgery (the only “cure” which can actually take 2-3 surgeries to get it right), and it’s unpredictable. 😔

A week later and I’m STILL processing it and just trying to get on. I mean, what other choice do we have when life throws us a curve ball? I had a REALLY bad moment today that caused it to send shooting tingling down my left cheek/neck/arm but it’s starting to dull down. Gonna have to deal. So, yeah.

Why am I writing/sharing a random blog about this? Because I want you to know that if I’m having a rough day and don’t seem like myself I’m sorry. I makes me really gumpy sometimes and I’m trying to work on that.

I KNOW that there are people who have it far worse off than me, but I’m still kinda upset. 

I KNOW I should be glad it’s not MS or a tumor, or heart condition, or a million other things, but there still isn’t anything I can do to make it “better” and that makes me grumpy.

 I KNOW I’ll be fine. Some days are gonna suck, some days will be amazing. Some days I’m going to sit on the couch and watch Tv all day with the kids and others we will move mountains together. Such is life. 

Finally, I KNOW I’m blessed to have my family and tribe for support and love. Thank you all of you. Know that I love each and every one of you and I’m ALWAYS so grateful for your help and listening ears.

So, if you’re still here with me through this random blog where I’ve just verbally thrown up thank you. I love you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been grumpy at you recently. I’m working on it. 

 

The Love of a Mother September 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 11:09 pm

One day this week, as we were leaving the house for school Lily asked me “Mom do you love Izzy the most?”

I was taken back, slightly hurt that she felt that way, but curious how she came to that observation. She didn’t seem hurt or upset, she wasn’t angry, she just seemed genuinely curious. Ok. Time for a quick talk. 

Before we got one foot outside that front door I gave each of the kids a kiss and told her “I love each of you as much as the other and in different ways. You all need different things from me right now and I try to show you I love you in those ways.” She immediately smiled and looked quite satisfied.

As a mom I immediately wanted to ask her “how can you think that?” but  I stopped that thought. If I said that it would have changed the focus from her question about my love for them and shifted it to “what is wrong with you?”. She wasn’t wrong for asking, and I needed to meet her where she was, NOT make her feel bad for questioning. 

On the way to the car we continued to talk about how the baby still needs a lot more help with simple tasks, nurses, and sometimes just needs a lot more attention. I apologized if it seems like that means I don’t love her as much but that I try to love on her in other ways. I asked her what makes her feel loved, how I can help her more often, and if we can change anything around the house/our routine to help her feel more loved. All I can say is I did NOT expect this conversation this week!! 

Our society is so focused on kids being seen and not heard, making sure they  behave, don’t question authority, etc, etc…and SOME of that has merit in certain circumstances. I feel that kids and their emotions/questions get brushed aside and unanswered so often. How does that help? Would we do that to another adult? Why do we do it to children? Now, am I dismissive sometimes on a bad day when all I need is patience and they fight me on every.damn.thing? Yup. “I told you so is why!” suffices sometimes those days. However, matters of the heart are MUCH more important. 

I keep thinking about this moment and I am so glad we had the time and the patience for this conversation! As the big kids get older the way they give and receive love changes!!!! I never want my kids to feel unloved or unappreciated (unhappy with consequences sure, but not unloved). Bringing up children who feel unloved or unappreciated will not help this city/state/country/world improve. In the end love needs to and will win. The change starts here, at home, and it’s a roller coaster!! Oh, and between you and me, I’m white knuckling it most days 😂

 

Potato and Butternut Squash Curry Hash March 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 11:24 am

I have found a love for breakfast foods again. Recently I’ve added eggs back in and haven’t had any issues which makes me SO happy. Also, I love poached eggs.

This morning I had a serious craving for curry chicken but wanted hash browns…and I have a butternut squash begging to be eaten. It looked so sad and forlorn by itself on the counter! So I surfed the web, combined a bunch of recipes, and came up with this!

Potato & Butternut Squash Curry Hash

  •  2 med red potatoes
  • 1/2 med butternut squash 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • dash of white pepper
  • your choice of cooking oil

Peel & grate your potatoes & squash into a med sized bowl. Sprinkle a bit of salt, mix and let sit while you prep other ingredients.  

 

Measure out remaining spices, salt, & pepper. Set aside. 

   

Using your hands squish the potato/squash to remove excess starch/liquid. I don’t get it “dry” but leaving ALL the starch in is too much. 

Once you’ve removed a bit of that liquid add your spices and mix WELL with your hands. A spoon won’t cut it here. The curry and cumin will start to change the color of the potatoes and squash. Mmmmm. 

Heat your favorite skillet, add about 1Tbs of your favorite oil & coat the pan. When both are hot over a med heat evenly spread the hash into the pan. It should start to sizzle.

Turn the heat up to med high and cover with lid vented on one side. Let it cook for 4-5mins before moving it. It’s getting a nice crispy side! After the 4-5mins use a spatula to check for crispness and if it’s getting crispy carefully flip them over (if not give it a few more minutes). 

Let the hash cook uncovered now so you can watch it. I usually let it cook 2-3mins more, and then flip/move them a bit to get some of the insides out and crisp them up too. The whole process usually takes me about 15mins. 

When done plate and serve up with your favorite egg! This morning I topped mine with a poached egg (I use the whirlpool technique here), and a serving of home fermented sauerkraut. Yum. Even the kids enjoyed it! Buuuuuut my kids are weird!  

Seriously, yum.

   

 

I Am Not That Mom February 29, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 12:11 am

I’m the hot mess crunchy mom who usually has no concern about appearances. Let’s be honest though, I often wish our home was spotless for more than 24hrs at one time or another. With 3 kids, I think I wish that daily! 

Last week and this weekend were busy and tiring. We had a lot of activities, then little one got sick and everything stopped. Except the house and the big kids..they still need tending. Needless to say it was a disaster. I couldn’t keep up. I often fell asleep at night with a restless baby & prayed for a few hours sleep before she woke up congested or coughing again. Hubby helped but we were still behind. 

Tonight was the same, however thanks to caffeine at dinner, I wasn’t so tired. So I laid there trapped, next to a coughing baby waiting for the perfect moment to escape. It happened at 9:45p 😒

I figured she would be up within an hour so that was what I gave myself, an hour.She gave me TWO!  I managed SO much. Kitchen and floors are clean, caught up on dishes, kids laundry folded & clothes set out for tomorrow, diaper laundry folded…I sit back and look thinking “I wish it would last longer than 5mins tomorrow morning.” 

Then I remember why it doesn’t last. The clean doesn’t last because I’m not that mom. I’m the mom who would rather be outside, having play dates, visiting museums or nature centers, doing a science experiment, baking bread, working on homeschool activities, reading books, having tea parties, playing Star Wars or Shopkins…I’d rather be doing anything with my kids over cleaning ANY day. 

So tomorrow as the sink starts filling, the laundry needs more washing, and the crumbs need more sweeping, hopefully I can remember the fun we had and that its ALWAYS worth the mess.

Baking soda and vinegar fun above and my oldest who was VERY excited about homemade play dough below!  

 

Crunchy Kitchen Adventures February 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 9:06 pm

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a weeeeeeee bit crunchy. I could go through the trouble of listing all the ways but a look at my post titles will give you a decent list. The problem with eating healthier and using more gut healing/natural remedies instead of partaking in the standard American diet and all western meds is that it is expensive. Significantly more expensive if you do organic. Four things I HATE paying for: 

  1. Kombucha
  2. Gluten free bread
  3. Granola
  4. Bone broth/stock 

This week has inadvertently been focused on those 4 items.

I used to brew my own Kombucha but when we moved my SCOBY died. I recently discovered a local mom also brews it and had a SCOBY to spare! After scouring the web I found a large glass beverage dispenser with PLASTIC spout perfect for brewing kombucha! Thank goodness for Target. So what is sitting on my counter right now? A half ready gallon of kombucha!! Just for giggles I broke down the cost of tea, water, and sugar required to make kombucha at home vs purchasing a bottle at Meijer. It costs me roughly $2.50 to brew a GALLON vs buying a 16oz bottle for $4-$5!!! 

Next gluten free bread. I’ll be the first to admit that most commercial gluten free breads have their issues. Too dry, too dense, lacks something nobody can put their finger on…some are just awful. The brands that aren’t awful run up to $6 a loaf! Thankfully our Aldi carries a decent GF bread and Ana loves it (I mostly keep it around for her as hubby has his own glutenous bread stash in the freezer). We ran out this week and grocery funds were allocated to other items needed for dinners. Instead of driving to Aldi for one item (and inevitably buying $60 worth of food lol) we made our own!!  

  
It’s not perfect. The inside is just a tad bit gummy (sounds like it might be a xanthan gum problem!). However, it tastes great; toasts up well; and doesn’t crumble when made into a sandwich! It held up for an awesome BLT last night. 

 Mmmmmmm.

Granola…I have a love hate relationship with it. I love that I can use it in my kids yogurt and that Ana will eat it as a quick breakfast some days. I hate some of the fillers added in store bought and how expensive it is for decent gluten free granola. $6 for a tiny bag?! Even the $3 gluten free ones at Aldi don’t impress me. So since a sick baby kept us home today Ana and I made our own! 

I started here and made changes based on what we had on hand. Gf oats, almonds, cashews (both chopped), sunflower seeds, a handful of chia seeds and rinsed quinoa, and coconut flakes. Instead of canola oil we used coconut oil. I added a dash of real vanilla, a lot of cinnamon, and about 1/4 of the maple syrup the recipe called for. While granola cooked we measured out raisins, dried cranberries, and chopped a few dried apricots. As soon as it was all cooled and tossed together BOTH kids devoured some in yogurt! Success! This will be made often.   

Last but not least, bone broth. My littlest has a cold & hubby had a touch of one so I’m in “mama remedies” mode. Good quality bone broth isn’t something you can buy in the store. I would NEVER drink a cup of store bought stock when I’m feeling ill. Homemade bone broth though? You bet! It can’t be easier. Tomorrow afternoon I’m putting a chicken carcass in the crock pot with 8-10c of water, salt/pepper/spices/a bay leaf, 1Tbs of Braggs apple cider vinegar, and letting it cook on low for at least 24hrs.

The result is a silky broth that can be sipped to help heal the gut or help you feel better when ill. It’s also great for cooking! I try to make a batch every other week or so, more often if we are sick. Anything I won’t consume in a few days gets popped in the freezer for soups/rice!

After the kombucha, bread, granola, and stock I have saved myself quite a bit of money this week! I suppose I will also mention there is also a small batch of homemade sauerkraut fermenting in my kitchen. If it turns out I will be one happy mama! 

Best part of this whole week, my middle child loves to cook and had a blast with all the kitchen fun!     

 

Tonight, I Sip February 13, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 10:27 pm

Sometimes life throws you curve balls. This winter has been one BIG curve ball of illness for me. Between kids colds, stomach bugs, plugged milk ducts, lymph node infections, thrush, migraines…it has seemed never ending. So what have I done? Taken a step back, gone back to basics, worked on the families nutrition, and I have started healing my gut again. 

I could go into WHY I eat gluten/dairy free and mostly sugar free (except locally sourced AMAZING raw honey!), why I drink bone broth, why I take copious amounts of vitamin D, etc for days. Tonight my mind is on herbs. I don’t used a lot of them for medicinal purposes (especially when nursing!) but I do love them in teas.

Our home currently houses about 10 different varieties of tea. From bagged green, herbal fruit teas (kids love them!), tension tamer, & sleepy time teas to loose leaf smokey chai, soothing speramint, earl grey…all delicious and call for different occasions/moods.

This evening, as I washed my daughters tiny tea set, I chose a wonderful loose leaf hibiscus ginger blend from a local shop, Peaceful Parlour. I had to snap a picture as it steeped because it turned such a beautiful red color!   

The hibiscus in this tea is tangy and sweet, the ginger is warm and soothing. I chose this blend for its calming and anti inflammatory properties. Hibiscus, in some, may help lower high blood pressure/cholesterol, cold symptoms, relieve constipation, irritated stomachs, & nerve disease. 

Ginger is well known for its ability to calm nausea and upset stomachs (hello morning sickness remedy!). It may also also help with dizziness, menstrual pain, arthritis, muscle pain/soreness, and other inflammation related problems. It’s pretty darn awesome. 

It’s no coincidence that the foods and teas I’ve been craving and drawn to all have one thing in common, they are inflammation reducers. Healing my gut and reducing inflammation is how I helped myself feel SO HEALTHY about three years ago!! It also keeps my migraines at bay. 

So tonight I sip on this beautiful tea blend, contemplating how its ingredients are aiding my body in healing. How the work I do externally is being helped internally by nourishing whole foods, supplements, and herbs…how it’s about balance, about listening to my body, about knowing that when diet and stress get out of hand I get sick…a lot. 

I breathe deep and sip on, enjoying these thoughts a simple cup of tea AND the silence of three sleeping children has brought me. 

What are your favorite teas? 

*I am NOT a medically trained professional and the information I provide here has come from multiple sources ranging from WebMd & medical journals to herbal books. Herbs can work differently for each person so please consult with a health care professional for further details/information. 

 

Meal prep Monday! February 1, 2016

Filed under: Food For The Soul,Uncategorized — laurab06 @ 10:41 am
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I typically meal plan on Saturday, organize my pantry/fridge and prep shopping lists on Sunday, and shop/prep food Monday’s. 

After I drop big kid at school the littles and I hit up Starbucks in town and then Aldi & Costco. Have I told you how much I LOVE those two stores!! Anything I can’t find there hubby usually picks up from Meijer or Jewel on his way home from work one day. I seriously loathe grocery shopping with all three kids OR shopping multiple times a week 😜. 

So, here is what’s on our meal plan this week:

 Breakfasts: 

  • French toast sticks (Lily)
  • Oatmeal (all)
  • PB Breakfast balls (Lily and Ana)
  • Pancakes and bacon (all)
  • Sausage and hash browns (all)
  • Eggs & vegs (me)

Lunches:

  • Lily rotates between: homemade “lunchable”, bagel with cream cheese, hard boiled eggs, and ham sandwiches. All which are served with a fruit and vegetable.
  • Ana, Isabel, and I will be having: pasta and steamed California mix, fish sticks with fries and raw vegs, salmon patties and braised Brussels sprouts, probably PB&J with carrots one day too.

Dinners: 

  • Tacos! (check out the homemade taco seasoning recipe I use here)
  • Crock pot chili with my favorite gf cornbread
  • Veg and cabbage soup 
  • Crock pot beef roast and vegs (carrots, potatoes, squash, celery, onion)

Bonus, she usually gets a Costco hotdog & it makes her so happy.

  
What’s on your menu this week?

     

     
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