Saturday, April 25th, 2015

My First Pinterest Inspired Art Project (EASY Kid Fun)

by Kristen Suzanne in family, home school, kamea
Painting our Pinterest inspired art project.

Painting our Pinterest inspired art project.

More often than not I tune out the moms gushing about Pinterest inspiring their kiddos birthday parties, home decorations, or art projects. It’s just too much for me. I mean, who has time for that? Surfing Pinterest, getting supplies, and then making all of those projects? Good grief.

Well, there’s a first time for everything I guess.

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Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

One of the Best Things I’ve Done – A Journal to (and for) Kamea, My Daughter

by Kristen Suzanne in family, kamea
Kamea having fun. A memory.

Kamea having fun outside of True Food Kitchen. A great memory for us.

I started a practice at the end of 2013 that I’m so glad I started. It goes on the list of the best things I’ve done.

I started a journal for (and about) my daughter, Kamea. It’s a journal where I simply write a few notes about the day we had, or things that were special, or just a little something about my feelings for her. Capturing the moment for her (and me) as best I can.

It’s not only a beautiful thing to read myself, thinking back on our time together as I read the entries, but it’s going to be something special for her. When she’s older I will put it all in a book or something and give it to her as a gift. I keep it a secret for now. Perhaps I’ll tell her about it sooner than later, but for now, it’s my own special gift to us.

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Saturday, February 14th, 2015

A Starbucks Date With My Husband

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne
Greg & Kristen. Valentine's Day 2015. Madly in love.

Greg & Kristen. Valentine’s Day 2015. Madly in love.

Right now I’m in Starbucks, on a date, with my husband, Greg. It’s Valentine’s Day and we carved out some “alone time” while Kamea spends the afternoon with her Nana.

It’s weird though, we’re at Starbucks of all places. We’re in Sun City West area, a retirement community because that’s where mom lives, so there’s not a lot of hot-n-happening places from which to choose. We considered a movie, but strangely, it wasn’t attractive. We couldn’t help but find ourselves with laptops, Justins’ peanut butter cups, green tea, and coffee at Starbucks. (I was secretly hoping they’d have their new coconut milk option but it doesn’t roll out until Tuesday).

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

How to Make: Kiddo Card Holder for Playing Cards with Kids

by Kristen Suzanne in family, kamea
Kamea playing with her kiddo card holder.

Kamea playing with her kiddo card holder.

My daughter is about 4.5 years old and she’s getting to the age where we play cards. Yay! I have so many memories of playing cards growing up with my mom and my nana. Imagine my excitement when Kamea asked me to play again and again after we played Crazy 8s… Frozen style of course.

My mom bought this box of Frozen games (I think at Target, but it’s on Amazon now too), and it’s soooooooooo good. It comes with a whole slew of Frozen games that are actually really good. I even like them.

Anyway… in the box of games is the game Crazy 8s and we love playing it. Trouble was that Kamea always played it open handed because she struggled holding all of the cards in her cute little hands.

We were at Nana’s one day and the two of them were playing the Frozen Crazy 8s and Nana had a solution! OMG it’s perfect! (My sister-in-law’s mom came up with the idea – brilliant. Thanks, Chris!)

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Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Our Aging Parents… How Do We Deal?

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne
Family. Making memories for all of us, including my daughter.

(Thanksgiving 2014) Family. Making memories for all of us, including my daughter.

I’m suddenly feeling like I’m in a chapter of my life that I’m not ready for and I’m unsettled. It feels weird to write about this but perhaps by writing about it I can gain some insight and peace.

Here’s the thing: I’m getting older which means my parents are getting older, which means I’ll be in a time of my life where my parents won’t be here.

I don’t think I would’ve have paid so much attention to this except that in the past few months, my good friend’s dad’s health started deteriorating to the point where he might pass sooner than later. Then, my step-dad became ill, and long story short, I don’t know if he’ll ever be back the way he was before falling ill, and I don’t know how long I have with him. Even if it’s 5 years or 10 years, he’s changed. Then, my old best childhood friend’s dad suddenly died last month. Just gone. My new good friend’s dad is having difficulties with his heart.

It seems like it’s all around me, and this is the course of life. I get it, but I don’t like it. I know, duh, cuz who would like that? But, seriously, no one told me about this. No one prepared me for it. It’s like I am supposed to expect it because parents get older as you get older, and one day they pass. But, I feel unprepared.

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Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Oh, Drambuie. Where Have you Been All My Life? I Love You.

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne, Motherhood
Drambuie - my favorite alcohol. Warmth. Gently Sweet. Mmmmmm.

Drambuie – my favorite alcohol. Warmth. Gently Sweet. Packs a punch. Mmmmmm.

Drambuie is a unique blend of aged scotch whiskey, spices, and heather honey, to quote directly from their bottle.

What do I say?

Drambuie is decidedly wonderful and I looooooove it.

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

How to Have a Real Food Foodie Road Trip – What to Pack!

A mini-van almost packed to the gills, ready to roll.

A mini-van almost packed to the gills, ready to roll.

We are a family who loves to travel, and our most recent epic road trip took us to Michigan. But, travel can wreak havoc on anyone’s best attempts to eat healthy. Not always. Check out my post below where I show how we traveled across the country while (almost exclusively) staying on our Real Food Foodie Lifestyle (i.e., we ate really healthy in spite of being on the road). It meant extra work, which isn’t always the thing you want to do after a day of being in the car, but I’m simply not willing to eat crap food which is most often what’s served in restaurants.

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Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Meditation: Why I Meditate. How I Meditate. Plus Meditation Tips

by Kristen Suzanne in family, Kristen Suzanne, longevity, Meditation

Every New Year’s eve my husband and I sit down and write out our lists of goals and intentions for the coming year. I usually divide up the ideas by life segments such as career, family, relationships, leisure, finance, travel, etc.

For 2014, I did something different. I did something I’d never done before. I decided that 2014 was the year I would embrace only one goal for the whole year: Meditation.

My 3yo meditating. #Longevity #Peace

My 3yo meditating. #Longevity #Peace

Why only one goal? For a long time, I’d been wanting to make meditation a big part of my life, a regular staple in my daily routine. But for some reason, I wasn’t doing it consistently. I always said to myself, “Oh, I need to meditate…. I’ll do it tomorrow.” And, as the 2013 year was coming to an end, I decided it was of vital importance to make it a regular part of my life (and for my family, too). So important that it was going to be the only goal I focused on for the year.

Why I meditate. There was a reason that I suddenly came to place meditation with such importance. That’s because I’m now a firm believer that meditation deserves top billing.

As most of you know, over the past couple of years, I’ve dramatically changed the way I eat. I went from being a militant vegan, with animal rights fueling my purpose, to eating a Real Food diet of grass-fed omnivore foods, when my family’s health was failing with vegan foods. (See here and here and here for specifics.) The frustrating thing about using diet for optimal health and longevity is that you can find diametrically opposed camps — with each claiming to have science on their side — about what is right and what is not right when it comes to the food you put in your mouth.

Amid the firestorm of controversy on so many facets of what comprises “optimal” health, the fascinating thing I realized is that there’s at least one thing that pretty much everybody agrees on: Meditation is healthy and important for health and longevity. You might have respected doctors vehemently disagree on whether kale or bone broth is the best superfood, or which position is the best way to sleep, or how to treat a cold… but I have never heard any expert in recent years say you shouldn’t meditate as a daily practice for optimal health. After years of peer-reviewed interventional studies, meditation has become not only non-controversial, but they just keep discovering new amazing benefits. The only people who don’t say meditation is good for your health are people who don’t know the first thing about the topic.

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Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Meeting Other Moms: Lessons of Meetup.com

by Kristen Suzanne in family, home school, kamea, Kristen Suzanne

I’m not much of a social butterfly, though I pretend to be one sometimes (because deep down I wish I were more extroverted). But I’m a mom now, and, well, Kamea needs more human interaction than just from her parents, right? Add homeschooling to the equation and the pressure increases to expose her to people and situations so she doesn’t grow up to be a hermit.

Therefore, the hunt to do more with others began for us.

Kamea learning science. Homeschool.

Kamea learning science. Homeschool.

To start, it seemed like a good idea to enroll Kamea is various classes where she could learn skills, enjoy herself, experience new activities, and meet other kiddos. I put her in classes like music, gymnastics, dance, swim, etc, but I learned that in those structured environments it’s kind of difficult to really meet and get to know the other kids. Not to mention it’s hard to strike up a conversation with other parents who usually have their noses in their smart phones. Err… not that I would ever do this myself.

So, I did what I always do when I’m trying to figure something out… I went to the internet. It works for most things, including introducing me to my husband years ago (thanks, eharmony!), so why not see if I can learn how to make more friends for us with it?

Enter: Meetup.com

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Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Recipe Orange Chicken & Yams Slow Cooker Gluten Free Paleo

Orange Chicken & Yams Slow Cooker Gluten Free

Orange Chicken & Yams Slow Cooker Gluten Free

The easier and simpler a recipe is, the more attracted I am to it these days. Being a mom to a 3.5 year old is busy, but with easy recipes like this, then it’s a breeze.

Enter Orange Chicken & Yams. And, of course… ENTER: SLOW COOKER. I think my slow cooker will go from being my best friend to my bestest best friend. With a recipe as easy, delicious, and nutritious as this, I have so much time on my hands that I can read a book. ;) Speaking of books, I just finished Chris Kressers’ The Paleo Code, which is a good book detailing a Paleo diet with a Real Food spin which I like.  I’m about to dive into Eat the Yolks (by funny gal Liz Wolfe) between chapters of one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon. I’m on her 5th book in The Outlander Series, The Fiery Cross. The Outlander Series is soooooo fantastic and very popular (so popular that I believe a TV series is being made of it). I love to read. It’s one of my favorite things.

On to the recipe:

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