The BEST honey balsamic dressing recipe

I am a huge fan of making things yourself at home when you can. Its not realistic to expect to be able to make everything from scratch…you would never have time to do anything else! Making one or two things at home is a great place to start, and will give you some confidence that you can be a crunchy mama! Some super easy things to start with are granola, popsicles, and salad dressing.

When you make things from scratch, you know exactly what you’re eating. There are no hidden ingredients, preservatives, or toxins. Processed foods are filled with toxins that can are linked to adhd, ulcers, weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and several types of cancer. Those are things I want to avoid for myself and my family, so I make a conscious effort to feed my family healthy, whole, organic foods.

Salad dressings you buy at the store are normally filled with extra sugar, high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, and more unwanted ingredients.
Sodium benzoate is a commonly added to salad dressings and other condiments as a preservative. In several studies, sodium benzoate has been linked to increased rates of ADHD.

Removing all processed foods from your diet is unrealistic, but you can make small, healthy changes every day!

I know that sometimes processed salad dressings may seem convenient, but my honey balsamic dressing takes just minutes to throw together and tastes amaaaaazing.

You can also save money making things at home! For this salad dressing, I always have these ingredients on hand, so I don’t have to spend any extra money.

This is by far my favorite salad dressing. I actually crave salads with this dressing. (Like your mouth watering kind of craving)

This dressing has local raw honey, and raw garlic. Both are AMAZING for your health!

All you do, is add the following ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake! This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (dijon or grey pupon)
  • 1 clove of garlic- crushed
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake until combined, and enjoy!!

Please let me know if you make this dressing and what you think of it!

Are you washing yourself in chemicals?

Soap is supposed to help keep us clean and healthy, right?

Trick question, because it depends on what kind of soap you’re using.

Antibacterial soap may not be healthy for us. “In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of 19 chemicals used in antiseptic products. These include triclosan used in antibacterial liquid soaps (as well as toothpastes, body washes and some cosmetics) and triclocarban used in hand soaps. Some evidence suggests that these two chemicals can disrupt hormone cycles and cause muscle weakness.”

These chemicals have also been linked to infertility.

Some studies also suggest that the use of antibacterial soap reduces the amount of good bacteria we have in and on our bodies. We need our good bacteria!

Please do yourself a favor and check what’s in your soap!! You will be shocked to see what you may be using to “clean” your body.

Our family loves and trusts Dr. Bronner’s soaps. We have been using this soap for years, and seriously love it.

Their castile soap is concentrated, and can be diluted and used for cleaning pretty much everything in your home. I love finding products that are healthy for my family that I can use in multiple ways around the home. We have used Dr. Bronner’s castile soap for mopping, our hands, our bodies in the shower, and dishes.

My love for their Organic Sugar Soap is seriously strong. It’s what we are currently using for handsoap at all of our sinks, and we are also using it for washing our kids in the bath. This soap uses fair trade and organic sugar plus organic white grape juice keeps hands-face-body-hair clean and nourished.

Their soap is very “green” and the ingredients are safe, clean, and organic.

They also have tons of other clean and nontoxic products that I can’t wait to try!

#metoo

This blog post has been weighing heavily on me. It isn’t crunchy or mom realted and I was unsure if I even wanted to share it, but ultimately (obviously) I decided to. In the spring of 2012, I was sexually assaulted. This blog post discusses that event and what followed. If for any reason, you do not want to read this post, please don’t read any further.

When I was 22 years old, I was sexually assaulted. By someone that I thought was my friend, we’ll call him Ron. I had known Ron for almost 10 years. We went to middle and high school together. We hung out as teenagers. A group of us used to hang out in his basement as kids. He had kissed my best friend.

I trusted Ron, and he took advantage of me while I was sleeping. We went out to a couple of bars together, and I went back to his house to sleep it off before driving home. I woke up to my pants unbuttoned and his unwanted touch.

I’m not going to go into excruciating detail about how exactly Ron assaulted me, because to me, that’s not the point of this post.

My reason for disclosing this story is to share who deeply it hurt when people didn’t believe me about the assault. And how deeply it hurt when people judged me for what happened.

It hurt so much more deeply than you might think it would. Growing up in a very conservative and religious home, I was taught that sexuality was bad. That women are supposed to cover their bodies and be virgins until they get married. Although I wasn’t a virgin anymore, I still felt a lot of shame and embarrassment in sharing what happened to me. Like I had done something wrong.

I had my own stepmom tell me that it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been drinking. Like my drinking was an open invitation to my vagina.

I had a friend completely delete me out of her life because she didn’t believe me. She had also been friends with Ron, and somehow, chose his “side”.

These people added so much salt to my open wound.

I didn’t want what happened to me to happen to any other women. So the next day, I reported it to the police. Ultimately they decided there wasn’t much they could do legally with my case. However, Ron did escalate in his behavior and a short while later, he raped. The woman reported it, and charges were pressed against him. After years of legal hoops, drama, and battles, Ron is now in jail for the rape.

Because I reported what happened, and the rape he commited, it all ended up in the newspaper. People I went to high school with didn’t know part of the article was about me, but still said I was a liar. They commented on the online article that I was a liar and a slut. They said there was no way that’s what happened. They said I must have misunderstood what happened. Like it’s easy to misunderstand someone’s hand in your pants.

Admitting you were assaulted is scary, difficult, and embarrassing. Then add to that people may not believe you, or may shame you. This is only part of the reason that only 20-30% of sexual assaults get reported.

So if someone in your life tells you that they have been sexually assaulted, please believe them. Odds are, you already know someone who has been sexually assaulted. Every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.

Now, I feel much more comfortable talking about what happened to me years ago. I have learned so much more about myself, and I am in an extremely loving and happy marriage. My husband is supportive and a wonderful listener. Assault victims need to be given safe spaces to talk about their experiences.

It’s never too late to talk about your experiences. Friends and family are a great place to start. There are therapists, hotlines, and support groups. Most importantly, you need to know that you’re certainly not alone.

https://www.rainn.org/get-help

http://ncdsv.org/ncd_linkshotlines.html

Let’s be honest

Today, I’m going to share one of our longstanding favorite crunchy products! We have used this product since the birth of our first son, who almost 4 years old.

The Organic All-Purpose Balm (formly called Organic Healing Balm) from the Honest Company is a staple in our home, and we never go without it. It costs $12.17 on Amazon for 3.4 ounces.

We use this balm for diaper rash, chapped lips, dry skin, random bumps and rashes. It clears up these things and more really quickly. We prefer to use this balm instesd of petroleum jelly, or diaper rash creams. These products can be filled with seriously toxic and dangerous chemicals.

It has a rating of two from the Think Dirty App. This is on a scale from 0-10. If you don’t have the app yet, go download it right now! You won’t regret it!

The Honest Company has not always been squeeky clean and honest about their products, so some people may feel unsure about supporting them. We love this product so much that we still choose to purchase it.

As always, I recommend for you to do your research and make an informed choice for you and your family.

Snackies Lunch

As a parent of a toddler, I’ve quickly learned that my life is a lot easier if I let Dexter make small choices throughout the day. I give him options and he decides what he wants. It lets him feel like he has some control, while still allowing me to put some limitations on things. Almost every single day for lunch, I offer Dexter a couple of choices. Some of these choices include peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, random leftovers, and his current favorite…snackies lunch.

Carrots and hummus, blackberries, sliced cheddar cheese, and fruit pouch

Snackies lunch is just a term we started using for lunch that is made up of random little snacks. Just like every other toddler, Dexter goes through phases of loving certain foods and meals. Right now, he is very into snackies lunch.

Mozzarella cheese stick, dill pickle, trail mix, celery with peanut butter, fruit pouch

Mom likes snackies lunch because I don’t really have to do much. I throw some random things on a plate and call it a meal. Dexter seriously gets excited when I put something new on the plate. I tell him to close his eyes and that it’s a surprise. Adding this suspense makes a big difference in his interest in eating.

Roasted seaweed, berries, yogurt, veggies and hummus

I typically try to make sure lunch always has at least 1 vegetable. Of course there are days when I fail at this. One super easy way we incorporate veggies into Dexter’s meals, is with bags of frozen organic vegetables. I buy bags of organic frozen mixed veggies, peas, and green beans. I thaw them in a mug of hot water while I prepare everything else. I thaw them like this because Dexter hates when his food is too warm. I’ve learned that by thawing them in hot water, they will be the perfect toddler temperature.

Mixed veggies, kalamata olives, dill pickle, berries, cucumber and hummus, mozzarella cheese stick, cashews

Here are some of my favorite snackies lunch items:

  • Frozen veggies
  • Nuts
  • Dried/roasted seaweed
  • Cheese sticks
  • Veggies and hummus
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Baked chickpeas
  • Beet chips
  • Kale chips
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Pickles
  • Kalamata olives
  • Trail mix
  • Celery with peanut butter

This possibilities for snackies lunch are seriously endless.

This is also a great way to introduce new things to your children. Since you’re only giving them a small amount of something, they may not feel intimidated of scared. Everything else on the plate can be things they know and love, and then you add one new thing. Tell your child they only have to try one bite of the new thing. This motto has been tremendously helpful with Dexter. We’ve literally been doing it for years now, so he knows he must take at least 1 bite of everything on his plate. More often than not, he likes the new thing. And if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to eat any more of it.

Trail mix, mixed veggies, yogurt, clementine

We also do snackies dinner whenever the adults are eating something that is definitely too spicy for the kids. We really make it a point in our family that we all eat the same meal for dinner, and that Dexter doesn’t get to throw a fit and get something special. But Dexter thinks pepper is too spicy, so sometimes he gets lucky with a special snackies dinner.

The truth about being a SAHM

I’m going to say the thing I’m not supposed to say…being a stay at home mom sucks. Of course not always, but definitely sometimes.

As a stay at home mom (SAHM), I think it’s very common to feel like we shouldn’t complain. We’re supposed to feel lucky. There are so many moms out there who wish they could be stay at home moms so I’m supposed to pretend every day at home is magical. Of course most days at home with my boys are great. I am very grateful that I get to spend so much time with my kids. We get to read books, go on walks, play at parks and do plenty of other fun things together.

I feel like I’m not supposed to complain or talk about how some days are a serious struggle. Since I choose to stay home, I feel like I shouldn’t. It’s almost like an unspoken expectation from society of stay at home moms.

But can I be honest? This stay at home mom shit is hard. Some days I’m up with the baby at 5:30 in the morning and then our day runs until 7:30 at night. Sometimes I’m really lucky and can synch up nap times and get 30 minutes to myself during the day. Otherwise, I go for over 12 hours. I use the bathroom, shower, and do everything and anything else with 2 little humans following me. I share every bite of food, wipe noses and tears, wash dishes and fold laundry with two little boys hanging off of me. I argue with a toddler about brushing teeth, not peeing in the front yard, and explain more times than I know that we DO NOT go fishing for little brothers. My days become a blur of dishes, diapers, vacuuming, and boogers.

I don’t get mandated breaks, or lunch times. I don’t get any praise or recognition for keeping two little humans alive all day every day.

Being a stay at home mom means my needs are often put last, and I’m exhausted and covered in someone elses bodily fluids at the end of the day. But that’s okay, because my babies won’t be babies forever. One day, they won’t need me as much.

So for now, I wake up every single day and get thrown right back into it. Some days are harder than others. Some days I call my husband crying because no one will nap and I’m afraid I’m going to snap. Some days are great and I miss my babies as soon as they go to bed. The good days are so sweet. We spend these days laughing, playing, learning and growing together.

The good days most definitely outweigh the bad. I am very grateful that my husband works as hard as he does so I can be with our kids so much. Like with any job, there are good days, and bad days, and just because I acknowledge the bad, doesn’t mean I’m not thankful, it just means I’m human.

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Suddenly, Somehow I’m down to just wiping 1 extra butt a day?

Before I became a mom, I never considered how many times a day I would be wiping someone else’s butt. When I imagined becoming a parent I daydreamed about cute little baby outfits, snuggles and giggles. Not the diapers, massive amounts of poop, and potty training.

Dexter was ready to potty train 1 year ago, when he was 2.5 years old. I say he was ready, because I had attempted it before that and he simply wasn’t ready and things didn’t go well. So we listened to the advice of other parents and waited until Dexter was ready. One day he decided he wanted to go on the big potty and never looked back.

So after a year of going on the potty on his own, we were in a pretty normal routine. He would tell us when he had to go, he would do the deed, and then call us to help him wipe and wash his hands. But about a week ago, Dexter became very interested in being independent in the bathroom and I knew we had to jump on his enthusiasm before we lost it and were stuck wiping his butt until he went to college.

It’s been a little nerve wracking letting a 3.5 year old wipe himself, but so far he’s done a great job. And honestly I’m surprised how great it feels to only have 1 extra (the baby) butt to worry about.

Dexter also suddenly wanted to learn how to stand up to pee. Which led to some pee on the floor (and other weird places) of course but after just a few days, he got that down too. Now when we’re in a public restroom I’m not struggling to hold him on the toilet, while holding the baby, and trying not to fall over myself, and make sure no one touches anything.

We weren’t sure if he was ready to handle so much on his own in the bathroom, but clearly he is. Matt and I were a little hesitant to let Dexter do all of this on his own.  He is only three and a half years old, and he has been known to make quite the mess.  As parents it can be scary and a little frustrating when we hand over control to our little ones. But allowing Dexter to experience more independence, and take care of himself more has been very positive for him. He is proud of himself, and has more self confidence.

Now I just have to figure out how to potty train an 8 month old…