Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tons of catching up!


Time to get caught up again. I love reading my friend’s blogs when I have a moment. I see their cute pics of Halloween, birthdays, and think ‘Oh yeah, I should blog about that too. Oops.’

So, I now take a tiny break from my ravenous researching on holistic skin care recipes to try to come off as a normal mother and post some over due pics:)


Our cute, darling friends at a park play date. Wild hogs, ha ha!


Was at a friend’s house, and went nuts with excitement over her chickens. They are like little pets, and wait patiently at the door for her to come out and give them attention. Hilarious. Can’t wait to finish the chicken coop next year.


Trunk or treat! My little superheros. Ethan is obsessed with Spider Man, even though I don't date let him see the movies yet. A tad too violent for a little guy. We were at Costco recently, and ‘The Amazing Spiderman” was on the big TVs. ( Really liked that one. Different from the Tobey Maguire ones.) Ethan got about a 30 second moment to watch some of it. I was secretly happy that it was a part in the movie that showed Spiderman in action, flying through the air. Ethan was incredibly happy:)


Cutie pie Brooke!


Our little birthday party for Brooke. I’m really a simpleton when it comes to parties. Stress free. Cupcakes and friends, that’s all the kids seem to really want. Grateful for our little group of friends here in town:)



My darling friend, Jessica! Love you!!




Our happy camper!


I had the tremendous blessing of selling our treadmill to get this incredible Jumpsport fitness trampoline. HUGE difference between crappy springs tramps and bungee cord ones. Oh, how I love this thing. Been exercising, rebounding, on it consistently. Super great.


We’ve made Friday nights Family Fun Nights. The boys love to sleep in the pop up tent with a movie. I think it’s so fun to let them do that once a week, when they can sleep in on Saturdays. Sleep in, yeah right. 6:30 is sleeping in. The love the tent sleeping, and go crazy in there.



Our outdoor adventures, letting the kids get nature play time. Vital for their well being!


Ergo. Best baby carrier ever!


No bike riding. Ethan just really loved wearing his helmet. All day!



Ethan enjoying Calvin and Hobbes. Highly intellectual literature in our home, that’s for sure!


This place was SO much fun for the boys. They loved it!


Kevin on the left.


Is this not hilarious? There’s me on the right, cute baby picture. We look SO stinking alike!!!


And now, back to reality tomorrow. Mondays. Weekends tend to go by fast. Let’s see what this week’s treasures will be!

Monday, November 19, 2012

He cares

I had a neat, little lesson learning experience this weekend. I was going by myself to the Post office to deliver photo orders. As I got out of the car, I had the distinct prompting to ‘check for keys’. Like an idiot, I assumed that I had them in my purse, and that there was nothing to worry about. I locked the car, shut the door, and promptly locked my keys in the car.

I realized this as I was inside paying for my packages. As I dug around in my purse searching for keys, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, man, that was the spirit prompting me. Why didn’t I listen?’ I laughed at myself going back to the car, peering in the window, and seeing the keys inside.

I called Shaun, and started walking towards the library. It was a beautiful day, and I really didn’t have far to walk. I looked at the trees, and the gorgeous clouds surrounding the brown mountains that are growing on me. (Not a fan of desert beauty, but it’s fun to find beauty in everything. At least, I’m trying:)

I was so thankful that my legs worked, I could walk far, and my body was in amazing shape to do so. For that short walk, I had time to reflect on how many things I was blessed with.

I though about Heavenly Father, and how He cares so much about his children. He cares about the little things in our lives, and wants to help us always. Even something as small as locking your keys in the car. I mean, that’s not a huge thing in the eternal perspective, but it matters to Him. It’s so neat to be reminded about that.

Lesson I learned; when the spirit prompts you to do something, for heaven’s sake, don’t assume you’re smart and know all;  just act on the dang prompting!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What I’ve learned: White sugar

Ok, here we go! Quiet time now, so let’s see how much I can write down. The food posts are starting today, and I’ll attempt to hit the big one; refined white sugar.

Before July of this year, I had no idea about the ‘poisonous effects’ of this stuff below, this stuff that we all love to eat, including me, especially at lots of activities at my church. You guys remember all the sweet recipes I would post on FB. Now, I’m going back to some of my white sugar recipes, and tweaking them to be processed free.

I studied about refined sugar from a lot of health sites, Livestrong, organic food blogs, but the most detailed and accurate source of knowledge I found came from Dee Mcaffrey, and organic chemist and nutritionist, who lost 100 pounds from eating processed free foods, and kept if off for 20 years. She is a former sugar addict, and went back to school to learn about the body’s chemistry relating to food. She has a great website, Processed Free America. 

I'm going to share some tidbits from her book, ‘The Science of Skinny. Start understanding your body’s chemistry, and stop dieting forever.’ I like that last line. It seems we live in a nation that is full of dieting, all sorts of diets. Wouldn’t it be nice to not diet to lose weight and be healthier? Totally possible.

Chapter 4 is a super chapter of information! Here goes:

“Seductive and sweet, refined sugar is more a drug than it is a food, it is a poison. Aside from quickly adding pounds of fat to our belly, butt, and thighs, sugar interferes with many body functions and slowly and deleteriously robs us of important nutrients. The result is a myriad of complications and degenerative diseases such as allergies, arthritis, gallstones, colitis, depression, gout, diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart disease, osteoporosis, obesity, and cancer (particularly breast cancer and colon cancer) to name just a few!” Page 49

How sugar starts out:

Before sugar becomes the white sugar we all know, it starts out as Sugarcane, a plant similar to bamboo.

“Sugarcane is brimming with vitamins, minerals, fibers, enzymes, and phytonutrients. If you walked into a field of sugarcane and cut off a piece to chew on, not only would you experience a yummy, sweet, yet dark flavored treat, but you would also get nourished. Sugarcane is rich in the minerals calcium, copper, and zinc. In addition to vitamins and minerals, sugarcane contains a high concentration of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and numerous other health-supportive compounds. The refinement of sugarcane removes all of these wonderful nutrients, leaving a nutritionally empty substance.” P. 49

Dee then goes into great detail of the steps of refining the sugar. I’ll let you read the book on that, because it’s a lot to write down.

Sugar depletes calcium:

“Although most people don’t understand their body’s nutritional or digestive requirements, our body knows what it needs. That’s why raw sugar cane is brimming with enzymes and nutrients. By contrast, refined sugar is devoid of nutrients and the built in enzyme systems that exist in raw sugarcane. So when you eat a cookie made with refined sugar, your body freaks out. It knows that to properly digest the sugar, it needs these missing nutrients and the corresponding enzymes. Therefore, your body is forced to adapt by pulling stored nutrients (especially calcium) from your bones, tissues, and teeth, just to digest the sugar you just ate. This is called leaching. The depletion of calcium leads to a whole host of health problems, including obesity.” p. 58

Sugar and cancer:

Dee talks a lot about insulin and the job it does in your body, fructose that goes directly to your liver to be stored as fat, and about insulin resistance leading to the development of heart disease. Lots of details to read, but here’s a snippet:

“In his April 13, 2011 New York Times article, “Is Sugar Toxic?”, Gary Taubes writes, ‘One of the diseases that increases with obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome is cancer. The connection between obesity, diabetes and cancer was first reported in 2004 in large population studies by researchers from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is not controversial. What is means is that your are more likely to get cancer if you’re obese or diabetic than if you’re not, and you’re more likely to get cancer if you have metabolic syndrome than if you don’t.. Cancer researchers now consider that the problem with insulin resistance is that it leads us to secrete more insulin, and insulin (as well as a related hormone known as insulin-like growth factor) actually promotes tumor growth.’”

“In 1920, Otto Warburg, a German biochemist and Nobel Prize winning doctor, discovered that normal cells get their energy for reproduction from oxygen, while cancer cells reproduce by fermenting glucose (sugar). In other words, cancer cells require sugar to perpetuate their growth. When you eat sugar, you are actually feeding cancer cells. Additionally, if your don’t eat enough Life Force Energy foods loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals, it is almost certain that the stage is being set for cancer to develop in your body.” p 61

Learning this really made me go ‘wow.’ I don’t want cancer in my life. No one does. It’s a heartbreaking, horrible way to die. My mom had it, Shaun’s mom passed away from it, and just about everyone has a loved one who has had cancer. It’s awful. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to see Shaun getting chemo some day, or me. I just don’t want that. Let’s see if I can reduce the cancer buildup in our eating.” So, I challenged myself to see how we could eat sweets that wouldn’t damage our bodies, these wonderful bodies that Heavenly Father gave us that we only get once.

How to get the sugar out of your life:

I became a food label detective, constantly checking the ingredients for sugar. Sadly, it’s in nearly all processed foods. Here’s a list of other types of sugar on ingredient labels to watch out for:

  • Agave
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup solids
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Maltose
  • Organic Cane Sugar


To name a few!

Once I learned the damaging effects of refined sugar, I wondered “What can I use for sweeteners?” I still love sweets, but no longer had the desire to eat refined sweets. Here’s good alternatives:

  • Stevia
  • Raw honey
  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Unsulfured Blackstrap Molasses
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Organic Whole Cane Sugar
  • Coconut Nectar and Coconut Crystals

p. 65-71

We’ve been happily using Grade B maple syrup from Fresh and Easy and Trader Joes, Raw honey, and my main straight swap for white sugar is this:


I get it from Fresh and Easy, but go to Azure Standards online to see bulk deals on ‘safe’ sugar such as this, Sucanet, Rapudura, and more. I need to do that.

So now, I have fun finding good sweet recipes that don’t damage. I’ve found 2 great cookie recipes, some wonderful pancake recipes, and at the moment, an awesome BBQ sauce. Darn refined sugar is in nearly all the condiments I used, so I’ve been making things from scratch. Ketchup is awesome. I post pictures on Instagram of my food quests. Look me up as ‘erinhatch’, and ask to follow me. It’s fun.

There’s always two parts to eating processed free; Part 1, what you do at home, and Part 2, eating out of the home. We hardly ever eat fast food anymore. We do occasionally eat at restaurants, (still love BJs:), but we notice more how we feel after we eat processed junk. It’s harder for your body to digest the food.

Ok, kids are up. Look how much I wrote, woo! Enjoy the food posts:)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Family pictures 2011 and an update

We recently got our family pictures done, but before I post those, I want to post our pictures from last year:) I’m a terrible slacker, and needed to do that a long time ago. My dear friend Celise Salmon took these for us, and I think she did a fabulous job! It’s definitely not easy to get my guys to hold still for very long, but we did it.









Wow, looking through these makes me reflect on so much that has happened since those pictures. Here’s the update since the crazy and emotional time of Shaun’s job loss.

Shaun was out of work for about 4 months. Seeing your dear sweetheart stress over paying the bills with no income is the worst. It’s scary, and a huge test of faith. Yet, we were so blessed to receive so much kindness and help from friends and family during those months. It was an enormous blessing. Shaun worked every day on sending out resumes, learning how to do good job interviews, and doing a few interviews here and there. The waiting was hard, but the time we got to spend with Shaun was priceless. Going from only seeing Shaun on Sundays to seeing him everyday was absolute heaven for the kids and I. He now works only 4 days a week, and that is much better.

  • We did our best to stretch our dollars. We tried using home made laundry soap for awhile. For some reason, all the recipes I tried of soap never seemed to get our clothes quite clean. Instead of switching back to Tide, which is great but also expensive, we went with a big generic powder box at Costco. Works fine.
  • We slowed down. We took more walks. More park days. Shaun got  to know the lifestyle at home more. We cut out the Direct TV, and other bills, and did our best to squeeze. I have to say this; I love not having TV channels. The commercials are gone. No channel surfing. Whenever I go to some one ‘s home and the TV is on, it just seems so loud to me. We do Netflix now. Its great!
  • In this last year, we were able to cut the car debt. With the blessing of tax return, we purchased a used Honda Odyssey mini van. It’s a smaller change from the big Armada, but it’s so much more little kid friendly. Whenever I push the button on my keys, the doors magically open, and I think my car is some super James Bond car. I love the opening doors. Another blessing; Ethan can get into his seat and buckle himself. I would practically cry tears of joy over this. Before, I had to climb into the back of the Armada to buckle him in. It was the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. Super hard. I love my mini van so much, and it’s paid off!
  • Learning how to budget and keep track of the expenses better. We use a few apps on our phones that are awesome; Accounts and Grocery IQ. Accounts means we can both make notes of what we spent in what account, and share it with each other. Totally up to date on our expenses. Same with the grocery list. They synch with our phones. Excellent.

There’s lots more, but I need to go make breakfast. Losing the job was a big, scary, and faith testing change, but it was meant to be. Heavenly Father knows what trials to send to his children. He knows the bigger  picture. He was watching out for us, through many angel friends. Everything is getting better and better. It was hard to learn that way, but we definitely learn from our hardest trials.