Friday, January 23, 2015

Ebble's Favorite Things: Juicing Edition

I'm on a juicing kick, and I just can't quit! Someone should hire me to make commercials, because obviously my slogans are legit.

One of my BFFs recently moved to the other end of the world (Philly), and this means I no longer have a coffee buddy at work. It also means I no longer spend money on mochas and doughnuts every day of my life. Instead, I am allocating those funds to produce! This all came about when a complete stranger pointed out my acne problems, and thereafter informed me that juicing would solve all my skin woes. Yes, you read that right. Those were the words spoken to me in my own paraphrased terms. In this person's defense, I have been toying with the idea of getting a juicer for months, so I took the suggestion at face value and bought one anyway.

I have ginger girl skin, and nothing can change that, so I am here to tell you that having a daily Juice (I am capitalizing it since the liquid produced is the purest, highest form of liquid goodliness and foodliness) has done very little to clear redhead far...That being said, I can tell you the following fun facts:
  • It is an easy way to ingest fruits and vegetables - It is the general recommendation for adults to consume 9 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. I am lucky if I can get in 2, so throwing fruits and veggies in a juicer or blender are an easy way to get our daily intake. Everett refuses to eat spinach, but he does not notice its presence in a smoothie or juice drink.
  • We waste less produce - I love buying produce in bulk. It just makes sense. For the most part, I am able to use it all up by making baby food puree or adding leftovers to another recipe. However, sometimes I am unable to use an entire bag. Throw it in the juicer and you have yourself an empty refrigerator!
  • Everett has an easier time taking a just hit me - No doubt, this stuff travels through the digestive system at a rapid rate.
  • We are drinking less coffee and eating fewer snacks - The Juice tastes amazing right out of the machine, and there is no need to add sugar. Since we are powered by natural sugars, as well as vitamins and minerals, we no longer feel that need for afternoon caffeine. Nothing can ever replace my morning cup of coffee. It truly is the best part of waking up.
  • Our compost bin has never been happier.

So here is what we have to get started.

1. Breville Juice Fountain Plus: I went to the store and got the cheapest juicer they had available. It happened to be this one, and I am not at all disappointed by it. There is no pulp, the motor is powerful, and there are 2 speeds depending on how tough the fruit/veggie is you are putting down the chute. I put whole apples in this guy and it says, "Bloop, here you go."
2. Compost Bin: Juicing creates a lot of pulp, which will make an awesome compost over time. If you have an outdoor compost bin, it is helpful to have a canister in the kitchen to collect food and paper scraps from in the house. Once we fill this guy up, we take it out to the big bin. We bought this one because the ceramic is easy to clean. Ours has been going strong for 3 years now, so we are proof of its durability.
3. I admit it, these boots have nothing to do with juicing. But I LOVE them! They are perfect for slipping on your feet to take the kitchen compost to the outdoor bin, or for taking the garbage out, or for walking to the store in the rain/snow, or for cleaning out the hypothetical chicken coop. They are cute, and they are durable, not to mention incredibly comfortable. Warning: heed the sizing recommendations posted online. I prefer these over standard rain boots because they insulate the foot a little better. Regular rain boots = cold Ebble feet.
4. Juicing Recipe Books: It's important to have recipes for your new juicer. The manual to the Breville includes a few recipes, but my favorite book is Juice Alive, by a N.D. in Portland. The recipes contain information on how to address physical ailments, and they go beyond the standard concoctions you will find in a juicing manual.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Adventures in Potty Training!

Potty Training Boot Camp -  Round 1
Everett: 1          Me: 0

I've said it once, and I've said it at least four times after I said it that one time: raising a child is like training a dog. When we acquired Willow, we read this awesome book about how to train a dog. You see, dogs are social beings, and each "pack" has a social makeup.  The first step in training a dog is to get them used to their place in the family's hierarchy. There are simple non-verbal cues you can give a dog to let her know where she stands, such as rolling her on her back when she tries to take over as alpha, or feeding the dog after the humans have eaten, as beta animals in the pack eat after the alpha dogs.

Everett's "pack" training has been pretty similar, except he gets the first course of meals rather than the table scraps, and we feel no need to roll him into submissive postures to "put him in his place" - although I did have to bodycheck him into his car seat once during a particularly brutal tantrum in the grocery store parking lot. However, for the most part our parenting during this phase of life is teaching him social norms, and giving him both verbal ("We don't play with fire.") and non-verbal (leading by example) cues as to how he can properly behave. Hopefully my wrestling skills will not be put to use too many more times. That singlet doesn't fit me anymore.

So when it came down to potty training, I referenced the good ole Monks for advice. To my absolute shock, I found that they offered ZERO advice on how to potty train a child. Since their crate training methods in no way applied to my toddler, I read some actual potty training manuals (aka articles I found on Pinterest). Kiddo was doing great! He could pretty much pee on command, and he always asked to "Use potty please," when he needed to "Takin' the dump."  <---- Everett's words, not mine.

And then something happened. I don't know what it was, but all of a sudden he became frightened of the process. To get back on track, I decided to implement Potty Training Boot Camp this weekend. Here's the gist of how it all went down -

Me: "Everett, do you want to go potty on the toilet?"
Everett: "No."
Me: "Do you want a piece of candy?"
Everett: "Yeah!"
Me: "Great, you can have a piece of candy if you go potty on the toilet."
Everett: "It's Tuesday...Friday. Garbage truck!"

I'll spare you the gory details of me stepping in a pile of human feces, but I decided to throw in the towel after Everett peed on the kitchen floor, ran away after he realized what was happening, slipped in the puddle, then split his lip open on a kitchen cabinet. One can only take so much trauma in a day.

However, remember how next weekend is a 3-day weekend? I have a few tricks up my sleeve (spoiler alert: it's Hershey Kisses), and I'm looking forward to VICTORY. I do wish we could just stick him in a crate, but I guess the process is pretty similar to training a corgi: hydrate, wait, pee, treat, repeat. The good news is our efforts were not completely wasted. We got him to put on underwear after we made up a song for it, and he will pee on command if he can see the prize, but only if the candy is sitting right there. Baby steps!

If anyone has any advice on potty training boys I am all ears. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!

Christmas is over and it is a Brand New Year. Like clockwork, every year the busyness of holiday preparations is quickly followed by the tearing down of all our beloved decorations. This year, I saw someone taking down their Christmas lights on Christmas Eve and it made me abysmally sad. To top it all off, we said Aloha to some loved ones this last week. A handful of our friends are moving on to new chapters of life in new cities, and we are stuck here with the emptiness they once filled.

But hey, it's a new year and we all get a new slate. Rather than making resolutions, I have dedicated myself to personal growth and being true to myself. I think that's pretty doable. After all, "How am I not myself?" (Kudos to anyone who gets that reference...we are officially friends.)

Oh, and I plan on getting myself organized now that we have more house space. But that's not really a resolution. It is more of a seasonal goal - among other seasonal goals in my mind (Jeff doesn't know it yet, but I am going to make him build things this spring).

I've felt a little stifled creatively these last few years. I am a creative person by God's design, and my day is generally filled with data, structure, and repetition. This online space has helped me cope with that, so thank you for following me on this crazy journey we like to call Life.

Goodbye 2014!
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