Look at what Chris built yesterday!

All of these beds were created with lumber salvaged from the junk heap from the house they are building next door! The tall one is for potatoes. Chris has already picked out some miscellaneous veggies for the other three. There is another small one (not pictured) that I think I might steal for my sunflowers!

HI! Is anyone still there?  *crickets chirp*

I understand if you're gone now. I just thought I'd offer up a little explanation for my absence here lately if there is anyone still out there. Let's put things into an numbered list, so I stay on track! 

  1. Time: Perhaps the most important of all of my reasons for my lack of blogging is the significant amount of time I was spending on my blog during it's "peak". At the encouragement of one of my dear friends, I joined a blogging group on facebook last fall. This incredible group of women were/are super serious about blogging. I tried to jump on the bandwagon. I wanted their successes for myself. But what I quickly learned was that professional blogging is a full time responsibility. Because in this day and age, you not only spend time writing blog posts, you also have to manage multiple social media pages to drive readers to your blog and create interest, read and comment on other blogs, and be present and involved with blogging groups. I quickly became overwhelmed by the amount of time it took to do all these things... in fact, it got to the point where I was hardly producing blog posts because I was spending so much time on other blogging responsibilities! It didn't make sense to me anymore. I started feeling guilty about not spending my free time with my family. And ultimately I decided that at this point in my life, it was more important for me to be present with Chris and Gisella as much as I could rather than devote any more time to "serious" blogging. I'd still love to post things about my garden, or share awesome recipes, but other than that, I can't imagine myself every starting up my blog facebook page again, or posting on a regular basis. 
  2. Privacy: I had this moment of panic a few months back about the amount of information about my family that I was sharing on the internet with total strangers. Now I'm definitely a worst-case-scenario, alarmist-type person, but there is some legitimacy in this concern. I shared pictures of my husband, daughter and I that could be easily stolen. I post pictures of my home and our belongings. I am still a bit in panic mode about this. You may not know this but this blog was born after I was harassed by a (severely mentally disturbed) woman on a previous blog. Part of me wonders why I ever even considered creating this blog after that experience. But I did, and now here I am. I'm at the point where everyday I consider deleting my personal facebook account and this blog. This internet scares me. I put all of my information out there, but now I want it back!
  3. Content: One of the things my awesome group of lady blogger friends helped me to do was narrow down the focus of this blog. In the past, my blogs were a conglomeration of mixed experiences and emotions, with no overall theme or focus. I suppose that was okay, because those blogs were more for my personal use and not meant to attract readers and be informative. Anyway, after some struggling, I came up with the idea to write about my adventures as an urban homesteader. I could pretty much get away with any topic under that "theme" because it encompasses such a wide range of things. But I began feeling forced to produce, forced to fit my ideas inside of a box, and then I simply ran out of ideas on interesting things to write about it. It was as if my creativity had been turned off as soon as I restricted myself or tried to make this blog something that it wasn't, and won't ever be. Interesting side note, the same thing happened to me when I began studying music in college. I was very lucky to have been blessed with some musical talent. I could play most anything on my clarinet decently well, I taught myself to play piano (not well, but enough), and I'm occasionally able to sing harmony with Kate, but I never knew or cared about music theory. I was just able to produce music in some magical way, and I loved it. But as soon as I was forced to learn the details, it took all of the joy out of it. I don't think I ever recovered from that. This blog writer's block isn't nearly as dramatic of an experience, but it definitely was an eye opener. My writing was becoming boring and uninteresting. It felt forced, because it was! But if you look back, you'll see that the posts I most enjoyed putting together were ones that didn't necessarily fit into any "theme." And they didn't take any sort of effort or extra thought to come up with. I guess I just live better outside of the box. 
If you've made it to then end of this, thank you. Thanks for taking the time to understand my crazy a little bit better. Reflecting back on every blogging experience I've ever had (...I've had many---anyone remember LiveJournal? Diaryland?!!?) they always kind of end the same. I start posting less and less frequently until I just forget that the blog ever existed and the content just kind of floats in the interwebs untouched for the rest of eternity (which is probably really for the best anyway). For the time being, I'm going to look into getting a journal that requires a pen and stick to writing for myself instead of others.

I may see you around here every now and again if I think of something I'd like to share. But if not... peace out, friends. 

And NOW if there is anyone still reading this, you are either A. my mom, B. you feel sorry for me, or C. you think I'm a total genius and I'm going to share some kind of amazing revelation any second now. Wait for it... wait for it...
I just finished the first week of The Abascal Way or TQI (check out the background info here and here) and I'm feeling AWESOME. 

As you probably already know, I have intolerances to wheat and dairy and have already cut them out of my diet. This eating plan also eliminates sugar (which I don't tolerate well... though who really does?), red meat, corn, processed foods, and various other things in order to reduce inflammation in the body. Once I created my eating plan and shopping list, prepped and cooked the meals, I realized that, though this does take more work than my usual routine, it is totally do-able! And very well worth it. But more on that in a minute.

In January, I shared a guest post from Debbie at I am, therefore I write which highlighted her experience with "The Abascal Way" or TQI (To Quiet Inflammation), an eating plan that focuses on eliminating foods from your diet for four weeks and then slowing adding them back in and testing them for reactions. Debbie (who is also my MOM!) has had much success with this plan, almost entirely eliminating her arthritis pain, getting rid of congestion, and losing weight!

I've been trying to start this plan for a while now. But each time I sit down to meal plan, I get overwhelmed with the restrictions. For someone who already feels as if she is severely restricted in her diet without choosing to be (I miss gluten and dairy! :( ), you would think meal planning for TQI would be easy for me. I have gotten so used to reading labels I don't even realize I do it anymore! 

Anyway, I FINALLY came up with a fairly simple meal plan and shopping list for the first week and I feel excited to begin this program! I cannot wait to detox my body a bit (still having a hard time cutting out all dairy... it's in everything!) and begin to feel better and HOPEFULLY have the nice side effect of weight loss. Summer is coming up quickly after all! :-)
Can't wait to incorporate veggies from our garden into our plan!
Here are my meal ideas:

Breakfasts: egg muffins with greens, almond flour muffins (Joanne's muffins), hard boiled eggs, buckwheat porridge with berries, and lots of fruit!
Lunches: Lots and lots of salads. Fresh green salads with tons of goodies mixed in topped with homemade vinaigrette, lentil and green bean salad, quinoa salad, fruit salads, and leftovers.
Snacks: Fruits, celery with nut butter, avocado, leftovers.
Dinners: Sprouted lentil burgers, hummus cakes, mahi mahi steaks with pesto and caramelized onion brown rice, buddha balls with mustard dipping sauce, chicken and veggie curry, breakfast for dinner!

The main things I need to focus on are making sure my meals are proportional! 2/3 of each meal and snack needs to be veggies and fruits, and the other 1/3 will be grains/proteins. I always have to have protein for breakfast (no sweets or grains) but do not need protein for any of my other meals. I need to eat my breakfast within half hour of getting out of bedI must pack enough food with me during the work day because I should never be hungry! And NO eating 2-3 hours before bed!

I cannot wait to begin this journey and find out if I have any other food sensitivities, feel awesome, and hopefully lose a few pounds! I'll share updates! 
We may have jumped the gun a bit here... we've had some beautiful weather this past week and have been so eager and anxious to get our garden started... so we transplanted most of our seedlings yesterday into their beds... and then I woke up to frost this morning. EEK. Luckily Chris covered the beds with plastic so I'm hoping the little guys will be okay out there! Talk about an anxious mom! I rushed out first thing to see them this morning and they were hanging in there!

Our beds have finally been built... check out the process below! 
Lumber all ready to go!

Here is a super quick and simple lunch or snack recipe that is guaranteed to give you a little health boost: 

It is chock full of vitamins and minerals that will help stabilize your blood sugar levels, lower your cholesterol, and give you some extra energy to get through your day with it's healthy, brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids! 

Pile this high on some chips, over pastured eggs, or just eat it with a spoon! 

Look who I caught sunbathing in the backyard today! We have all missed the sunshine so much! 

Last week I FINALLY got my seeds started! I ordered some organic seed starting soil from Amazon (I'm obsessed with amazon prime) and two days later I was mixing soil and seeds in my dining room with glee!!

Note: I was inspired to sit down and write this for a few reasons: chats with friends online about their breastfeeding struggles, blog posts about the support or judgement women get for both bottle AND breastfeeding their babies, and my own frustrations and struggles with feeding Gisella after she was born.
When I was pregnant, I envisioned my life with a new baby a lot differently than how reality played out. We were happy, we slept well, we never once bought a disposable diaper, and we breastfed exclusively until age 2+. I remember seeing mama's bottle feeding or buying boxes of disposables at costco and rolling my eyes while thinking, "that will never be me."  
What I learned very shortly after becoming a mom is that you may have an idea in your head about how things are going to go, but rarely will your reality match those ideas.