Today is moving day for my in-laws. Josh is off all week and will be helping them move until we leave for our romantic getaway to Charleston on Thursday! 🙂

The babies, Ellie and Clara, are doing very well. Ellie (the tiniest one) was rushed into surgery Christmas morning when her doctors discovered her belly was filling with air. They found a hole in her GI tract and had to remove a portion of her intestines. She will now have an ostomy bag and her intestines on the outside of her tiny body for the next several months until she heals and can have another surgery to put everything back where it belongs. She is a fighter and is doing quite well. Thankfully, the wonderful doctors at University hospital arranged to have Clara moved to the Children’s Hospital NICU so she could be with her sister. Erin and Eric seem to be taking everything in stride, continually relying on strength and peace that only the Lord can give. Their testimony through all of this has been incredible and I love hearing them testify to the nurses and doctors about their BIG GOD who saved and healed their tiny babies.

Christmas was wonderful and relaxing and enjoyable and precious. Compared to past years, Christmas was small this year. That is how we requested it. We got each of the boys one thing. Joshua got an Erector Set, Jesse got a child-sized guitar (which he has been playing for the last 72 hours straight!), and Owen got the TAG reading system and the books that teach him all of the short vowel sounds. I was practical with my wish list this year.

Canisters for my flour, sugar, and coffee.

A spice rack.

A cast iron skillet. So long toxic teflon!

The book, The Conscious Kitchen, which I devoured within a few hours on Christmas day.

And the book, The Doctors’ 5-Minute Health Fixes.

You can go ahead and write me off as a tree hugger if you’d like, but really I’ve been making many of my household and health-related changes for financial reasons as well as for the health of my family, not so much for the sake of “going green”.

I would highly recommend The Conscious Kitchen. Here are just a few of the topics discussed:

*which fruits and veggies are most important to buy organically due to highest concentrations of pesticides

*why storing and re-warming our food in plastic is horrible for our health

*why we should be cooking with cast-iron and stainless steel while removing all teflon-coated bake/cookware from our kitchens

*cleaning products in our home

*how to better use what we already have

I’ve already gone through the book a second time with a highlighter, pen, and paper so I could make note of some of the things I’d like to change first.

I got rid of all my teflon and plastic storage containers and replaced them with glass pyrex containers. I’ve decided to forgo paper towels for a month to see how we can survive without them. Instead of paper towels, I am now keeping a stack of old wash cloths under the kitchen sink.

On the food side, we are going to experiment in the month of January (you can try just about anything when you know there is an end date). Here are the changes for January:

*no boxed snacks (granola bars, cereal bars, crackers, etc)
*no white sugar (instead we’ll use honey and honey granules from our bread co-op to sweeten things like yogurt and oatmeal)
*organic, free-range eggs
*organic, free-range, whole chickens (making sure to use the entire chicken and not waste anything. I will make stock with the bones when we’re finished with the meat.)
*fruits, veggies, and cheese sticks for snacks instead of empty carbs. (google “the dirty dozen”, a list compiled of the twelve non-organic produce items with the highest amount of pesticide residue…and “the clean fifteen”, the top 15 non-organic produce items with the least amount of pesticide findings…very interesting!)
*more water. We’re pretty good about drinking water. It is usually the boys’ first choice. We never have soda in the house and rarely even have juice. I will not be making any sweet tea in January (that’ll be a tough one!)
*we are going to try VERY hard to go the ENTIRE month of January without a single item of fast food. This will by far be the biggest part of the challenge for us. A $1 sweet tea, a cup of Starbucks on a stressful day, or a quick $1 cheeseburger for 3 hungry boys while running errands will be tough to give up…but I know we can do it…and will save a lot of cash in the process!

All in all, the two books I received really go hand-in-hand in many ways. Much of what the Doctors’ book recommends is simply reiteration of what I read in The Conscious Kitchen, even about the plastic and teflon items. There are also some really good recommendations in the Doctors’ book for small things that can make a big difference in your health. Read it! 🙂 They’re both easy reads that you could pick up before bed for thirty minutes at a time.

I’ll let you know how it goes as we begin in the next seven to ten days.