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Friday, June 28, 2013

Yum Yum Yogurt Game

I feel terrible because I've promised my video story time and haven't been able to upload it to my blog for some reason!!!!  Stinky!!  But, I WAS able to upload one of my favorite vocal play games for you and your child to enjoy together until I figure out the other video snafu!

Yum Yum Yogurt is such a fun game!  The idea is that you set a steady beat, and say "Yum yum ______ fill in the blank with a food, and than your partner echos.  In this video, my daughter Natalie is leading the game, but we love taking turns!  I encourage you to play this engaging, language- learning game with your kids or students!!



Have fun!!!!
Anna and Natalie

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gluten Free Bread- Tuesday's Real Food Recipe!

This year, my family has decided to trim the gluten from our real food lifestyle.  I know, I know...how trendy of us, right?  But let me tell you, my kids MISS bread.  Their previous school lunches included a yummy sandwich which used my soaked homemade bread and they were wondering where it went!  I came up with some awesome alternatives, like the affectionately named "smoosh balls" (Recipe coming next week) but it's nice to have the variety of a sandwich now and again, no? 

The first time I attempted Gluten Free bread, I simply substituted freshly milled rice for the exact same bread recipe.  Any reader who has done GF baking is currently shaking their head and giggling at me.  Yes, it was a disaster, and unless you want to rub your tongue off with a napkin followed by several chasers of water, I don't recommend it.  I brought out my old softball arm and the entire loaf was chucked full force into the trash can.

Instead, gluten free bread requires xanthan gum, a natural thickener.  It also has a much thinner dough, which could throw the baker off if you're not used to it.  Here is my recipe for Gluten Free bread.

My bread straight out of the oven.  You may experience a little "sink" when it begins to cool.  This is pretty normal for GF bread.

Wet Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
2 TBSP. honey
3 TBSP. olive oil (EVOO) or coconut oil
2 tsp. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 eggs
4 TBSP. water

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup tapioca flour
2 cups all purpose GF flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. xanthan gum
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Mix eggs and 4 TBSP. of water until slightly frothy.  Mix all ingredients in your standing mixer (the dough hook is less imperative with GF bread...I used it, but you could use any of the attachments), and slowly add dry ingredients until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides, and then mix on high for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice. 

Meanwhile, grease your loaf pan.  Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan (the dough will be a little thicker than cake batter) and let it proof for 20 minutes.  Another huge difference from traditional bread making.  You don't proof as long or punch down the dough and do a second rise.  Place your dough in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Turn the pan in the oven the last 10 or 15 minutes for even browning. 

Leave the bread in the pan for a good 5-10 minutes to avoid the bread "falling."  Roll out onto a cooling rack, and do your best to let it cool before slicing.  Slice and store in the freezer.  Bring to room temp before eating! :)

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and let me know if you have questions!

Happy Baking,
Anna


Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Way We Are is NO Mistake

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why am I the way that I am?"  I have.  Too many times to count.  Growing up I would always ask myself, "Why am I so loud, flippant and obnoxious?  I don't want to be!  It was lots of fun most of the time and I know I brought love and care to many people, but there were also many times of regret in things that I said and did.  I thought I wanted to be quieter.  Smaller.  Figuratively and literally.  I had a mentor tell me that my personality wasn't from God, and that I really should be somebody else.  He suggested my personality was actually crappy, annoying, and wrong.  ouch.  Did God make a mistake when He created me?

Me after completing a labyrinth walk
Before it hurt to realize the flaws inside me, but using them as a reminder to allow the beauty of my personality to be refined- to listen more, think first- has been a great tool for improving my life, not changing my center. 

My center. 

I love this.  I can't take credit- it comes from my daughter Natalie's current favorite movie, Rise of the Guardians.  I love it too, and it truly reflects my own journey to finding my center, who I am, why I'm here, and how God can use me- my personality- as I allow Him to refine me.

I know He didn't make a mistake even though I have made thousands.  "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.  Every day was recorded in your book." Psalm 139:16.  He also told me, "I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth.  Even when you are old, I will be the same.  Even when your hair is gray, I will take care of you.  I made you and I will take care of you." Isaiah 46:3-4.

YES!  I knew it!  Be refined, always, but always trust that God created you for a special purpose with a true uniqueness that is special in this world.

Your thought for today,
Anna


Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Delightful Juvenile Fantasy story, "Nimpentoad"

"A children's fantasy book telling the tale of the courageous and resourceful little Nimpentoad, who leads his tribe of Niblings through the perilous Grunwald Forest, overcoming obstacles and encountering strange creatures along the way. Kids aged 5-10 enjoy the adventure and stunning illustrations. Parents appreciate a story that discourages bullying, and emphasizes teamwork, creativity, perseverance, and leadership."

 
 
I was excited to read Nimpentoad because this delightful fantasy is written by a dad, Henry Herz, and his two elementary-aged sons, Josh and Harrison!  It is so exciting to see a hobby and creativity come together and make something for the world to see and enjoy.  As I read Nimpentoad I couldn't help but fall in love with this little Nibling, saving the day, exemplifying courage, care and leadership against everything they came across.  He is a positive example for children, as well as introducing them to the fun, imaginative world of fantasy stories. 
 
I recommend this as a special story for elementary-aged kids to add to their library!  Find it on Amazon here!  Let me know what you think as you support these young, creative authors!!!
 
Happy Reading,
Anna 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hello blogosphere!  I am still here!  See, after my last post, I was put on bed rest, which meant I wasn't hanging around my computer, and blogging from an iPhone...yeah, not so much.  And then, 9 short days later.... this happened...


Here is my new beauty, Elizabeth (Elli) Grace Everhart!  She is the sweetest baby, and my older two are enamored with her sleepy charm.  So, it's not that I'm ignoring you or anything, but I'm easily distracted by cuteness like this, so I've been too busy snuggling to be typing much. :)  I am excited to post a book review of an early-mid elementary book called "Nimpentoad" hopefully today...unless I get too caught up in poopy diapers!!!  Here's to another beautiful, wonderful creation who will one day change the world with love and kindness!  Miss Elli, we love you soooo much!!!  oh...and there she is crying....

Love,
Anna

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: "Cursed With Power", by Lindsey Sablowski

Over the past few weeks, between prepping for having Elli (baby #3), and redoing a kitchen island (pics and learning experiences to follow!)...I read the first book in a YA Fantasy series called, Cursed With Power by new author Lindsey Sablowski.  As you know, Fantasy books are much more up my hubs ally than mine, but I did enjoy this book!  It caught my attention because it was significantly different than any fantasy book I've read.  It wasn't a Harry Potter wannabee, nor was it Twighlighty.... it was something new. 


The quick premise is that main character Celestria and her family stem from a group of dark magicians, and she recently discovers she is one of the last of her kind.  There is a group of white magicians who are plotting for the demise of the remaining dark magicians.

Celestria experiences significant loss in her family, along with other close friends, specifically her sister and best friend, Leal.  While trying to find the last of her kind, Celestria meets one of the remaining dark magicians with a sinister past, Alaire, and gradually falls in love with him.  Together, Celestria and Aliare navigate new faces and decide who is trustworthy, who is worth fighting, and who is worth saving. Aliare gets very injured in a fight with a white magician, leaving Celestria to the greatest task of fighting for her people alone.  However, she has to decide if those she thought she knew, including her own family, have really been honest, and if there is anyone she can trust. 

"Cursed with Power" immediately interested me because the main character is from the supposed "bad" group.  After seeing the world through her eyes, you have automatic sympathy for her. You see her perspective, what she's been through, and realize that both sides have positives and negatives.  The book also leaves you with a significant cliffhanger, begging for its sequel.  Sablowski's book is well edited, and has a unique style of writing.  The dialogue includes subtle formalities as one would expect from the fantasy genre written for young adults. 

It did take me several pages to get into the story, and the second half of the book kept me much more interested than the first.  What was strange to me about the dialogue or possibly the personality of Celestria is that she comes across as extremely dramatic in some instances, yet barely shows her feelings at other times.  A normal scene turns in an instant with Celestria's outbursts, and I couldn't tell if it was poor word choices, or truly a reflection of character development, revealing the true "YA-ness" of this young woman- I mean, a teenager is going to flip from time to time, right? 

I do believe that there is significant promise for young Lindsey Sablowski, and I am excited to see what she writes next!!!  Great job, Lindsey!  Click here to purchase your hard copy of "Cursed with Power."  Click here for the Kindle Edition!

Happy Wednesday!  Happy Reading!
Love,
Anna Everhart

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mama Monday's- My favorite curly hair trick

In today's Mama Monday's series, I thought I would share with you a fun little tip for curly hair that I discovered.  I love those moments when an idea just floats into my mind out of nowhere.  They typically are the best ideas...OK, except the ones that aren't, but who's counting?  So, this is my hair styled "curly."  (And my cute husband, who has stick-straight-out-hair.)


I have that hair that has some ringlets, but it has a bountiful amount of frizzo to accompany it, and parts that just aren't as curly as I'd like.  Humidity helps, and the longer my hair is, the better.  I can't stand crunchy curls, so my favorite product for my curly hair is Aveda's "Be Curly."  It helps define but is soft to the touch.  I LOVE curly hair.  I pretend my hair has perfect curls, but my ego was wounded when a middle-aged man asked me if I was "going for the wild look" one week when I styled it curly at church.  Ouch!  Really?  Is it THAT BAD???   I felt like there had to be another trick that would give me more curl with less frizz. 
Then. 
Shawawala.  (That's the sound an idea makes in my noggin.)
 
I had a flashback of all the times I got out of the shower, hair already curled up loosely, and, visualizing in slow motion, me picking up my brush and combing out my hair to a straightened glossy shine, only then to apply product, scrunch and blow dry with a diffuser on low to regain those precious curls that disappeared upon my brushing through my wet hair!!!

What if.....I brushed out my hair BEFORE my shower, and then left it ALONE after my shower, when the curls were already developing, and blowdry it without ever brushing it straight?  So, I tried it, and I swear, my curls were more defined than ever before! 

Maybe this is old news, but it was new to me!  So, give it a try, you half-way curly tops!  Brush before you shower.  Shampoo and condition per normal.  squeeze dry your hair out of the shower but DON'T BRUSH.  Apply your fave product, dry while gently scrunching (I scrunch with my hand and the blow dryer on low, not with the clunky diffuser that comes with many blow dryers.)  And hopefully your hair will have that extra sexy bouncy flouncy curl!  Let me know how it goes!

Don't you love a good tip?

Happy Hair day,
Anna

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Giveaway and Author Spotlight for "Night Buddies, Imposters and One Far-Out Flying Machine"!

Today's We-Read Wednesday Series is bringing you a spotlight on a new juvenile chapter book for ages 7 and up, called "Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine" by Juvenile author, Sands Hetherington.

This is the second book in the Night Buddies series; the first being "Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare."  Don't you just love that title?  I think a scare would be well worth eating a pineapple cheesecake!  Today, I'm excited to not only share this delightful book with you, but to top it off, we are offering a book giveaway!   Yep, we're usually cool like that, and if you share this blog post with your FB friends and fans and let us know in the comments, we'll add your name to our drawing for a giveaway of "Night Buddies, Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine!"  Below, you can catch a glimpse of this engagingly fun tale perfect for young readers, and you'll also get to dive into a little game of 20 q's with Sands!

About the book:
 
For young John Degraffenreidt, lying awake at night is no reason to fret when it brings a bright red crocodile named Crosley out from under his bed.  Night buddies like Crosley promise a big adventure to any kid not sleepy yet-- and tonight is no different!  Out of bed, and into the city, John starts on a very special program, (Night-buddies-speak for adventure), with his crocodile friend.  Crosley is a unique, wacky character, the only red crocodile in the world for sure, but look-alike's have started popping up all over town, committing crimes, causing confusion, and making Crosley crazy at the sight of them.  The impostors must be stopped, and the Night Buddies John and Crosley are just the ones to stop them!  Stake-outs and wild chases in a fantastic flying machine, far-out schemes to snare the impostors, with the help of old friends and new ones, and a never-ending supply of Crusted Creme Fro-Madge frozen yogurt make for one totally super night.
 
Twenty Questions with Sands Hetherington
 
 
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm an old man and live by a small lake in North Carolina with my Saint Bernard's Dudley and Maggie.  I didn't finish tenth grade but got into our state university by the back door.  I have two advanced degrees, two children, have been a hod carrier, a laborer at a newspaper, a mutual fund counselor, and a sporadic storyteller.  Now it's just the stories.

2. Describe your desk/workspace.

Sometimes the kitchen table, but usually it's the old chaise in my living room.  There's a little table on one side, and I always use an ancient green clipboard on my knees like I'm doing right now.

3. Do you have a favorite quote?

No.  There are too many great ones.

4. What are you currently reading?

Huckleberry Finn.

5. What is the best advice you've ever received?

Don't just do something.  Stand there.

6. If you could have coffee with anyone (living or dead, real or fictional), who would it be and why?

Caesar (the Dictator).  I'd give anything to see what some of these ancient colossi were really like.

7. What are your top three favorite books and why?

That's really a hard one, because there are probably 35 in my top 10.  Three that I really, really like are the one just mentioned that I'm reading for the fifth or sixth time, Joyce's Ulysses, and The Catcher in the Rye.  Obviously for different reasons which are too complicated to explain in fifty pages.  I could easily add twenty more books to these three.

 8. What was your favorite book as a child and why?

The OZ series.  Critics said Frank Baum had no literary merit, and I understand what they meant, but kids weren't interested in literary merit.  They knew what they liked, and that guy had a captivating imagination if anybody ever did.

9. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Really goofy ideas.

10. Do you write full-time or part-time?

I don't know any fiction writers who do it for more than two or three hours.  I call that full time.  It's certainly as much as I do.  I suppose you could consider this part-time if the writer goes off and plies some other trade for the rest of the day, but this is muddying the issue.

11. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be and why?

I would have a time machine, and a device to make me invisible like my character Crosley has, and I would go back and snoop on all of the great people and events.  Just the past, mind you: I don't want to know the future unless it's just the stock market.

 12. What is the craziest thing you ever did? This could be as a writer or any other time in your life.

During the oil embargo in the early seventies, I hoarded 120 gallons of gasoline in an aquarium in my garage.  The gasoline started dissolving the aquarium sealant and leaking, and I had to move it to proper containers just before the neighborhood would have been incinerated!

 13. Did you feel like a celebrity when you held your first published book?

No, that was just the start.  For all I knew, it might be a bust.

14. If you could have a star like on Hollywood Blvd, who would you want to have your star by?
This can be an actually star on Hollywood Blvd. or someone you just admire.

L. Frank Baum.

15. Is there anything in your life you wish you could do over and why?

The number of things is legion.  (There were approximately 6,000 soldiers in a Roman legion.)  All of the usual stuff like bad marriages, bad investments, and I really wish I had done something to prevent two of my dogs from getting run over.

 16. Who has been your biggest support or inspiration?

Probably my grandmother.  She was a prominent educator and role model who raised and put up with me.

17. What would be the best way for readers to contact you?

www.dunebuggypress.com
info@dunebuggypress.com

 18. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Thanks for having me.  I've got to go try to get John out of the fix he's in.

Cheers, Sands
 
Follow Sands and the Night Buddies series!!!
Twitter: @Night_Buddies
Goodreads: Author Sands Hetherington
Press: Dune Buggy Press, www.dunebuggypress.com

I hope you buy a copy of "Night Buddies, Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine" online or at your local bookstore!!!

Happy Reading,
Anna
 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Milk Paint Furniture Redo

Whenever I am in a creative slump, I end up doing some sort of creative project around my house that gets the excitement and ideas flowing again....and this month, I decided to do an antique redo of my coffee and end table in my living room.  My friend told me about the amazing qualities of chalk paint (not to be confused with chalk board paint), by Annie Sloan, and in doing more research, I also found another antique-type paint called Milk Paint.  It's actually the type of paint people used to white wash fences or paint walls before all of the new latex and commercial paints were on the market.  I love the fact that it's virtually zero VOC, natural paint that uses none other than milk and hydrated lime!  So, I wasn't set on using milk paint over chalk paint, but when I visited my local antique market last week, I saw that they carried milk paint, so I just had to buy it!  I bought a creamy color, as well as a bonding agent to help the milk paint adhere to my already painted surface.  Yeah, milk paint will stick like a stain to unfinished wood, but if your piece is already stained, painted, poly'd, etc., you may need to add the bonding agent to your milk paint to keep it from totally peeling off. 
 
About that peeling....milk paint will give an authentic antique look because it chips off the surface of finished or painted objects.  It is unpredictable, so there is a partial gamble when you choose to use milk paint.  I had to use the bonding agent because I had painted my coffee and end tables black.  My goal was to have the black show through the spots that the creamy milk paint chipped off.  
Here is my milk paint:
 
 
Milk paint comes in a powder form that you mix with water.  It's perishable because it's, yanno; made with milk.  The best part is that you can mix a little at a time, so you can make your milk paint last a long time!
 
Here is my project: black end and coffee tables that were originally oak or something like that. :)  These were college hand- me- downs so I've never been afraid to "play" with them...before the black, I had painted some swirly floral pattern on it in college.  And, now they are onto a new phase of life- antique cream.
 
There isn't a need to sand with milk paint, but I did use the bonding agent since my surface had been painted first.  Here is the table after the first coat...pretty streaky, but that's normal.  You can also see all the funky distressing in the wood courtesy of my 3 and 5 year old over the years.  at least it fits the antique look!
 

 
Covering this black took more coats than I anticipated.  I could have actually done another coat, but after a second trip to the antique store to buy another pint of paint, I made the executive decision that three would have to do.  If you aren't covering a dark surface, or you're using a darker color milk paint, one or two coats usually does the trick.  After it was completely dry (2-3 hours after it's painted), I sanded with pretty gritty paper, as well as scraped very lightly with a putty knife along the edges, and anywhere that kind of "bubbled" up.  This bubbling where the paint doesn't adhere to the surface is what gives you the chippy look.  Unfortunately....wait for it...I had a major craftastrophy.  I made the mistake of not sanding my end table before I painted it black.  So, even though I used the bonding agent in the milk paint, (which stuck beautifully to the black paint), it unfortunately pulled the black paint away from the wood.  This is what happened:
 
I scratched as much paint off as I could, sanded the entire thing till I broke a sweat, and made yet another executive decision (that I half way regret now) to not repaint it black, but to just paint it with the milk paint.  I didn't want to have to buy more milk paint for this project, and I was running short on the amount of time I could stay sane with a torn apart living room.  That reason is enough for me not to care that it doesn't have black like the awesome coffee table, and it still looks cool.  So, here they are; painted and sanded, looking all antiquely amazing. 






 Last step: waxing.  Waxing protects the milk paint similarly to a polyurethane.  You can use dark waxes to add more drama to your pieces, especially those with intricate woodworking details.  I wanted to keep my furniture light, so I used this nice beeswax with orange oil.  Again, a low chemical formula, so I could feel good about using it in my home and not use a gas mask. :)  It intensifies the colors beautifully without actually changing the color.  I did 2 coats of wax, letting them dry between coats, and three coats on just the top of the coffee table since it gets so much abuse. 

Here is the *almost* finished living room!  I still need an area rug, and a few other things...but I do love the new look with the lighter tables.  There was too much black before!
 
 
What's inspiring you these days??
Happy Crafting!!!
Love,
Anna



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Real Food Recipe- Downtown Chicken Enchilada Lasagna

I'm excited about today's real-food recipe because it brings me back to one of my favorite dishes of my mommy's!  She always made such yummy dinners, even while working full time, and we almost always ate together as a family.  I know I'm blessed to have had such a great example, and guess what?  My family is close and functioning, partially due to those family dinners, I am sure. 

The yummy dish that was a favorite among the fam?  Downtown Chicken Enchiladas.  They aren't your traditional enchilada with the red sauce- it's actually a creamy chicken-based sauce, and quite unique and simple.  My husband is always thrilled when I make this, but I rarely do because it is an absolute MESS to make!  Dipping each tortilla in the cream sauce and layering cheese inside, rolling them up- my goodness!  I feel like I'm at a pottery class!  Especially when I need to be ready at a moments notice to referee my kids, or answer the phone, etc.  I am sure my mom had some fancy technique that was neater than mine, but I came up with a great way to tidy up this process while still keeping the dish very similar, and tasting the same.  Turn it into a lasagna!

Downtown Chicken Enchilada Lasagna


So, here is the list of ingredients:

*about 1.5 cups of either homemade cream of chicken soup, or the best store bought one you can find (regular soup has nasty msg and BPA in the can- not what I want to add to my real food dinners!)
*3 or 4, 8 inch tortillas of your choice.  Homemade, soft corn, soft flour, sprouted
*1 lb. chicken (white or dark meat, and preferably free range/organic)
*8 oz. each of pepper jack and monteray jack cheese
*1 jar or can of black olives (I like Lindsay's Naturals when I can't find them in glass jars)
*1 Serrano or jalapeno pepper, broiled, skin removed and diced
*1 small onion chopped and sauteed
*Greek yogurt or sour cream
*salsa
*butter for greasing your 8x8 dish

Grease an 8x8 casserole dish.  boil chicken and shred with a fork or in your stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Pour the chicken and the cream of chicken soup into a bowl or pan.  Place your hot pepper under the broiler and turn so each side is charred, about 3 minutes.  meanwhile, Chop and saute 1 small onion in olive oil or butter until soft, about 3-5 minutes.  Now, I am the queen of forgetting the onion.  I probably forget it 90% of the time, and it still tastes great without it.  So if this recipe seems like too many steps, meh- cut out the onion. 

When the pepper is charred, remove from the broiler and let cool until you can handle it.  Place it under running water and the skin will peel right off.  Carefully remove the seeds (you may want to wear gloves if you're dealing with really hot peppers), and chop the pepper and black olives.  Add the pepper and olives to the cream of chicken soup, and mix well.  Grate your cheeses together onto a plate or bowl.  Only use monteray jack if you don't like things spicy, or use ALL pepper jack if you love the little happy slap to the soul like I do. :)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Place a small amount of the cream of chicken soup in the bottom of the greased dish like you would if you were making lasagna.  Place one tortilla in the bottom, and add about 1/2 in. layer of the chicken mixture on top.  Add a layer of cheese, and then place another tortilla on top.  Repeat.  You will probably have enough room for 3 layers if you use a regular casserole dish, but may have room for more if you use a deep covered baker or something similar.  End with the chicken and cheese layer on top. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until your cheese is golden brown on the top.  If you are making this in a deeper dish, you may want to bake it for about an hour.  The chicken is cooked, so you really just want to heat it through and brown the cheese on top. 

Serve in squares, and garnish with sour cream and salsa. 

This may seem like a rich dish to you with all that cheese, but i'm telling you, this is the best comfort meal when you want something a little sassy!  And, you can always use less cheese if you want to make it lighter.  It seriously warms the soul and is always a family favorite!  Serve with chips, guacamole....you know what you like!  Make it fun!


Happy Cooking!!!
Anna



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Real Food Tuesday!!! Juicing Power!

Why, hello my long lost readers!  I've been getting back into the swing of life after the holidays, and unfortunately i've been hit with the post-holiday writing slump.  I even went to a coffee house to write some children's book material last week in hopes that the creative ambiance would help me reach a new level of writing nirvana, but I left with pretty much nothing.  I guess we spend a lot of creative juices over the holidays, coming up a little dry in January! 

I had a friend ask if I would do a blog about juicing, so here we are.  My fabulous hubby bought me an Omega juicer for Christmas!!  Hip hip!  I really wanted to add more raw veggies into my diet, and not all veggies work well in a smoothie.  I mean, carrots and celery smoothie?  Chunky ewwww monkey.  So, I can't wait to tell you how it's going, and especially about the surprise side effect I've had since we started. 

when we returned home from our Christmas trip down to Florida, I started juicing for my family every morning.  A nice mix of fruits and veggies, and I absolutely LOVE it.  The Omega Juicer, (find it at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Omega-VRT350-Dual-Stage-Vertical-Single/dp/B00434JINO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1358867893&sr=8-3&keywords=omega+juicers), is a heavy duty juicer that has a cool motor, so it doesn't kill sensitve enzymes and also helps extend the life of your juice if you want to juice for two days at once, for instance.  There are a few parts, but I find it easy to clean and put back together.  I keep the juicer out on my counter, and I haven't found it inconvenient at all. 

My go-to juice has been half carrot, half citrus just because I brought home practically every available bag of oranges and grapefruit at the fruit stand when we were in FL, and not to mention, it's been perfect to shorten our winter colds and has kept us healthy with all of the vitamin C, A (and D from some nice sunshine outside this winter)!  I have also enjoyed green juice, which is a mixture of kale, celery (watch out, the celery flavor is strong!), cucumber, broccoli with an orange or apple tossed in for sweetness.  I also will add some fresh lemon juice to the veggie- heavy juices, which seems to give it that extra bit of brightness and makes it taste better. 

Really, you can try any combo you want: I have added tomatoes and kale to the orange/carrot mixture and both worked out well.  Whatever I have on hand, I throw in!  You need a LOT of green to make a lot of juice, whereas a grapefruit yields the most juice, surprise surprise.  However, I figure I am getting straight nutrients to my body, so even if it's not a full glass of green juice, it's still providing my body with the best medicine!

One side effect to all of this juicing was quite unexpected.  As many of you know, I am currently expecting my 3rd baby, and I am 29 weeks along.  Pretty much the entire fall through Christmas I was struggling with what seemed like a severe case of pregnancy depression or anxiety.  I never went to the Dr. for it, but man- I was an overwhelmed MESS!  So, miraculously, the DAY AFTER I started juicing, my depression went away entirely.  Like, boom. Done. Gone.  I was so excited and grateful that it went away, but I am sure my poor kids and husband are even more glad.  Now, obviously this isn't some huge scientific study or anything, but in my experience, I feel so much better!  What a great motivation to continue the juicing!  Mind you, I was eating a healthy, real food diet before, so it's not like I switched from eating fruit loops every morning to healthy juice- juice was just something I added to an already healthy, whole food diet, and it has really made a difference!

We still eat fruit and veggies whole or in smoothies for variation and fiber, etc. too. 

So, if you've thought about juicing, I do highly recommend the Omega Vert Juicer, and juicing in general. 

Here's to your health!!!!

Love,
Anna