Sunday, June 12, 2016

Moms Meet Kabrita Review

A lactation consultant once told me this analogy if breastmilk protein is the size of a baseball then goats milk is the size of a basketball then cow milk protein (casein) is the size of an exer-flex ball. Which do you think is the easiest to digest?

The smallest, right? Then the next smallest: goat. With this knowledge, we discover introducing goats milk first (before cows) when weaning can actually be beneficial for sensitive tummies. In general, goats milk is easier to digest than cow milk. However, cow milk drinkers may find the taste strange. Good quality goat milk can be delicious and refreshing.

In an effort to wean my 18 month old son, we started introducing raw goats milk into his diet. Then when Moms Meet offered for bloggers to review Kabrita, I jumped at the chance! 

My daughter was easy to wean (and enjoyed eating) but my son enjoyed his "mommy mil". It was a soothing, quiet ritual for him where we got one-on-one time together. He wasn't interested in eating solids at first. I was scared he wasn't getting what he needed (of course, us moms never worry, right?). In an effort to include extra nutrients, we tried a few things but stuck with goat milk (and fruit+veggie nutrient dense smoothies). It was hard at first. Weaning is no small feat so if you're having difficulty I want you to know you are not alone! Now he can go a couple weeks without having goat milk and enjoys eating. But in the moment, it was a challenge. It put my mind at ease that the goats milk was giving him extra nutrients and he was digesting it well! 

One day a package of goat milk formula and yogurt pouches showed up at my door.

My son thoroughly enjoyed the yogurt pouches. They were very flavorful but in a real, delicious way - not artificial tasting at all which  means a lot to this momma. The sugar content was a little higher than I desire but I felt okay if I split the feeding. Of course, he wanted to eat the whole thing in the moment he was eating it. There was usually 3 grams of protein which I appreciated. 
The formula was also good. Fairly fresh taste for formula and not overtly goaty. However, I was disappointed that lactose (different than milk protein) from cows was added. In fact, it was the number one ingredient. When I researched on their website it said that lactose in goat, cow or breast milk is molecularly the same. This information was new to me. I wondered if it is possible to make formula without lactose then? Interesting thoughts to ponder.

We will definitely be buying more Kabrita yogurt pouches as treats and special snacks. Or they would be perfect for camping or road trips! 

If you're interested in feeding your children goat milk products, definitely check out Kabrita

I received these products from Moms Meet in exchange for an honest review.

All this being said, I did not feed any of this to my daughter. She has an intolerance to casein in cow milk. There website said anyone with cow milk protein allergy should avoid their products and although she hasn't been diagnosed with CMPA,I didn't want to expose her to any discomfort.

Friday, May 20, 2016

10 Reasons to have an Herb Garden

Instead of a full-out vegetable garden this year, I chose to focus on my raspberries and herb garden (plus taming my backyard which, besides some weeding, hasn't started). I love growing my own food. Particularly, I've found a passion for the gentle yet vivacious leaves we call herbs. So today I'm going to encourage you with 10 reasons to have an herb garden.

1. It's cheap frugal!
The other week I bought two containers of fresh basil from the grocery store. They each cost $4. That's $8 a week. $32 a month. Over $128 for my major basil-buying season (atleast 4 months).
Seeds and good quality dirt can cost me less than $10, meaning I saved over $100 this year if I cease buying and start growing. (And if you don't want to start from seed, you can still get several basil seedlings for $10).

2. It's right out the back door!
I don't always consider where the food I buy in the grocery store comes from but in this instance, I definitely know my food origins.

3. It's self-sustaining!
Growing, cultivating and preserving our own food is a way to remain independent. If the shit hits the fan, at least I have my herb garden.

On a second thought, you know how garlic keeps away vampires? Maybe sage keeps away zombies? One can hope!

4. Kids like herbs too!
My kids aren't major salad eaters. In fact, a year ago, my five year old went through a phase where she wouldn't touch them. But they will eat basil and tons of it straight from the plant. For them, it is the satisfaction of picking it and popping it right in their mouth.
Also, kids love to garden! Planting and sustaining their own herbs can be a great summertime activity/lesson in life.

5. It's healthy!
Major powerhouses of antioxidants. Herbs are superfoods! They are chockfull of vitamins and minerals. They are anti-inflammatory and full of powerful greenness (that's the scientific term, of course).
A local family shared with me how drinking my Blueberry Basil Smoothie every morning had helped the father with chronic pain. My recipe for Chamomile Cantaloupe Smoothie is another fruit + herb concoction.

6. It's convenient!
The ease of having to go nowhere to have your own bounty of fresh herbs is more than appealing. It's downright amazing. No extra trips to the store for the sage that recipe for the baked butternut squash needed. You can just walk out your back door (or front door or maybe you have a nice kitchen windowsill).

7. It's fairly easy!
Usually growing a small garden of kitchen herbs takes very little effort. Recipe for success looks something like:
Maybe it's their antibacterial properties or stronger taste but I've also found that bugs (the mean garden-plant snatching ones) aren't taken to herbs as they are to other plants.
Borrow some books from the local library about gardening if you are nervous. Here is a stash I found at mine last year:

Or here are some specifically herbal gardening books ( I love Rosemary Gladstar's books): 

8. It's yummy!
It's all about the tastebuds! The above recipe for success can go a long way for the delicious factor! Seriously, the taste of homegrown herbs (even dried in winter) is far better than storebought. They are fresher and will last longer (with better flavor).

9. It can make you an herbalist (or herbalista)!
I like the autonomous-ness of making my own herbal remedies - makes me feel like an old time apothecary. It can be as simple as a sage honey cough syrup or PMS-relief tea. If you are interested in herbal remedies, I suggest these books to start:


10. Because it's downright ___________ (fill in the blank)!
Let me help you - It's downright amazing!

Are you still reading this? Or are you out working on your herb garden?

I was racking my creative mommy brain, trying to come up with yet another reason (it'll probably come to me two weeks after I publish this post while I'm folding laundry or driving) because I said ten reasons and only having nine seems somehow incomplete. But let me ask you, do we really need another reason? If you have the means and the time, having an herb garden is going to benefit you and those around you!

It's tasty. It's fun. It's a lesson in life!

"Come forth in the light of things, let nature be your teacher."
      -William Wordsworth

And I was inspired to write my own little ditty...

An Ode to Herbs:
It's great in a salad.
It's great with a ballad.
It's great on noodles.
It's certainly frugal.
I love it with strawberries.
But some like it in Bloody Mary's.
Basil, Sage, Thyme
or Rosemary sublime...
Oh wonderful herb
How very superb!

And if you're in the market for trustworthy, quality dried herbs, hop on over to Mountain Rose Herbs and give them a gander.
Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Easy 2 Ingredient Dandelion Honey (freezer) taffy

(Whoops! I accidentally posted this while I was writing  laying out thoughts on my phone so I apologize if you received a barely-written, random crazy person note about honey taffy in your inbox. Now here is the real thing.)

We love freezer taffy - essentially what we call honey poured on frozen food. One of my favorite treats in summer is a half cup of frozen blueberries over a scoop of coconut cream (just cream not ice cream) with a drizzle of honey. Something wonderful happens to the honey on contact with frozen foods - it hardens (solid matter - science can happen in the kitchen!). And this hardened honey becomes the texture of taffy.
And it is good.
For homeschool, we were learning about dandelions in our spring unit. We used this post from Proverbial Homemaker as a base/foundation for the study. If you're interested in a plant study, check out Little House Grand's plant unity study and borrow Dandelions: Stars in the Grass from your library. We watched a time lapse of a Dandelion on Youtube. And I made a word search all about Dandelions. My daughter really likes word searches (she is five and she randomly discovered them one day) and I've found that after we read our books about a subject, doing a word search together can be a fun way to review letters, material and start phonics. The Dandelion Word Search is here (and free) if you'd like to use this at home!
Because I'm all about herbal and Wild Edibles, I liked the idea of making something from our dandelions... but the ease of a project and the amounts of mess were (and are) big factors. So instead of baking cookies or making fried dandelion fritters (although I'd really like to try this), I thought "Why not use my honey taffy idea and make a nutritious candy?"
My daughter was all for it. She loves to help cook and the scavenging for dandelions added to the excitement! Here is my littlest scavenger frolicking through the fields:

And here is my daughter's hands plucking out all the flowers:

So before we finish, let's review some important notes. Please be safe scavenger/wise foragers! Don't pick food from the roadside. Don't pick where land is sprayed. And if you don't know, don't pick! You can check out more information about foraging in this book Wild Edibles.
For the recipe, all you need is non-sprayed dandelion flower heads and some local raw honey. Grease (we used coconut oil) your mold. Hold the bottom of the Dandelion head and pull all the flowers out (each yellow petal is actually a flower - one Dandelion head holds hundreds of flowers!). Stick these in your greased mold and then pour honey over them (you can use a chopstick to stir the flowers in each section). Freeze for at least two hours (we had a hard time waiting that long - it can be a lesson in self control)! Take out and devour enjoy right away!

And here is the Dandelion Word Search if you missed it earlier. We've found them to be a fun way to review letters, phonics, and learning material with our five year old!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Avocado Mango Ice Cream (healthy green treat for St. Patrick's day)

St. Patrick's Day is this week and what better way to celebrate than by eating all things (naturally) green? In this post, I'm going to share with you one of our favorite (and simpliest) desserts - Avocado Mango Ice Cream! It's delicious and oh so nutritious - that's a lyric in a new song I'm writing. I'm kidding about the song but I'm serious about this treat. Full of healthy fats yet refreshing! Light yet satisfying! This recipe is perfect for Spring! And a great way to participate in all things green on St. Patrick's day.

It's fun to drizzle with honey (which hardens into a chewy, taffy-like topping on contact with the cold ice cream) or top with fresh fruit.
You'll need a high-speed blender (food processor will work but will take longer) to make this in less than 3 minutes.
Here my little one is showcasing it before he takes a big bite. Love my little helpers!
Avocado Mango Ice Cream (vegan, paleo)
2 cups frozen organic mango
1 ripe avocado (room temp or refridgerated)
2-4 TB coconut milk
Tiny splash lemon juice helps bring out sweetness
Blend all ingredients until completely incorporated. Enjoy, my sweet readers!
My instagram phone pictures shows I topped it with fresh blueberries. It is a pretty dessert!
Other green food ideas are:
2 Ingredients Green Ice Cream (this goes great with chocolate)  
I hope you enjoy this tasty ice cream! Do you like to make healthy desserts? What's your go-to recipe? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sweet Potato Fridge Fudge (vegan, paleo, gluten free, dairy free)

We made this to celebrate Valentine's Day. An easy treat to make ahead of time that kids and parents can both enjoy.

On a dark chocolate scale, this would be more of a "milk" chocolate fudge. Because chocolate is a stimulant and my children are wildly affected by it, I kept the cacao powder to a minimum. Feel free to add another 1/4 cup cacao powder if you want darker (just be wary your kids may jump off the walls).
This is very similar to my sweet potato frosting and sweet potato pudding recipes. Can you tell I like to use vegetables in our dessert? Sweet potatoes have an affinity for that.
This is a very soft fudge but feel free to keep in freezer for harder fudge (or use raw cacao butter instead of extra virgin coconut oil).
Sweet Potato Fridge Fudge
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and still warm
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
Pinch of salt
6 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp lucuma powder (optional)
1. Blend in your blender until thoroughly mixed.
2. Pour in a lined 8x8 baking dish.
3. Put in fridge (or freezer) until frozen.

Looking for other sweet potato recipes that are savory?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Welcome Succulents and Serenity Workshop attendees

Hi there!

I'm pleased to have met you and I enjoyed my time with you all! I hope you left the workshop with a little bit more understanding and confidence in using essential oils. Let me know if you have any questions.You'll be receiving an email soon from Alisa with the Serenity Spray ratio.

Meanwhile, I'm glad you stopped by! Take a look around!

Mountain Rose Herbs is where I buy most of my essential oils and herbs.

Organic Essential Oils
I'm looking forward to our next workshop! Leave a comment if there is anything you'd like to see in the future!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love is Patient Butterfly Character Trait Homeschool Unit Study

I based this homeschool study on the first character trait of Love in 1 Corinthians 13: Patience. Look up the passage. In fact, I challenge you to read 1 Corinthians 13 with your family for Valentine's Day (check out my 1 Corinthians 13 Valentine's day wreath for a pretty decoration idea). If Valentine's day is about love, then it's especially important for my children to understand what real love is and 1 Corinthians 13 nicely lays it out for us.
It's interesting the more we study character traits, the more homeschooling has been refining my character as well as my children's! My patience is definitely something I could tinker for the better! What about yours? 
Originally, my sister inspired me to include Character First Education in our homeschooling. It's where you learn about an animal and a character trait that ties in with that animal. Here is a post about the resources we use for our character trait study. Plus until Sunday evening, you can still leave a comment on that blog post to win this character trait book Achieving True Success: How to Build Character As a Family
Character First Education provides some free resources on their website that have been helpful and you can include that in this homeschool study as well.

To kick off our Love is Patient Butterfly Character study, we read 1 Corinthians 13 (and made this wreath). We read this book about butterflies: Grow with Me: Butterfly that we picked up at the library. We talked about how caterpillars have to patiently grow in their chrysalis until they become butterflies and how waiting can make things better (i.e. food to cool off so it doesn't burn our tongue). Also how showing patience with our friends, family, and siblings shows them love. So if we truly love our neighbor, we must embrace patience!

Because my daughter is part kinesthetic learner, we role-played each stage of the butterfly. We rolled up like an egg, inched around on the ground like a caterpillar, stood very still like a chrysalis, then opened and fluttered our wings like a butterfly. (A great introduction to life cycles)

We then did a word search that I made with most of the vocabulary used in the book Grow with Me: Butterfly. You can print that word search here (for free!): Butterfly Word Search

To have some bonding time, I created a copy and trace coloring page for young kids and a "Mommy Meditation" page on 1 Corinthians 13 (also great for bigger kids who can read). The Mommy Meditation is a way you can lead by example! Get your color on and face-time with your children all while focusing on the word of God!

This Love is Patient Butterfly Trace, Copy and Color Butterfly Page (for young kids): write your name, copy and trace Love is Patient (after reading 1 Corinthians 13), and then color in your butterfly.

For the Mommy Meditation page: color as you like! I also suggest highlighting the word LOVE, then underlining in one color (I used gold) what love is, and underlining in another color (I used red to signify "stop") what love isn't.

Here is Big Blue Eyes and I after we colored our pages!
Love this girl! And learning together!
We also read page 70 "Monarch Miracle" in the book My Big Book of 5-minute Devotions and page 54 "Patience vs Restlessness" in Achieving True Success: How to Build Character As a Family (you can still win this book - details here).
Here is an outline of our unit study and resources below.
Language Arts
Butterfly Life Cycle Craft from Buggy and Buddy
Life Cycle of a Butterfly pasta activity from the Hildebrands
Comparing Types of Butterflies (or make a Venn diagram with 2 different types of butterflies)
Painting B Butterflies: A lesson in Symmetry (I'll post this tomorrow)
(I'll update this with a blog post tomorrow as well)
Character First Education for Patience page includes a poem, nature story, and song along with a few activity pages and a story of George Washington Carver. Check them out for some more free resources.

And a bible!
(Purchasing through the book links above can monetarily help/fund support Sweet Roots! I'm thankful to be an amazon affiliate!)

Please comment below if you decide to partake! I'd love to hear your thoughts and any other butterfly-related activities!

Thanks again, my dear readers!
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