Loot!

Okay, the holidays aren’t all about what you get, but come on, that’s part of what makes it fun!!! I got: 2 cookbooks, a DIY life manual of sorts (yeah, figure that out), another cast iron skillet, an iPod shuffle (my mini was 7 years old), a hoodie, a video game, a prism for the window, makeup brushes, and a train case for my makeup…I’m sure I’m forgetting something but that’s the gist.
I got a generic low carb cookbook. I won’t even bother to give the name, cuz it’s just down and dirty forΒ  me. I’ll pick and choose. However, the other cookbook was the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. http://paleocomfortfoods.com/ We tried 3 recipes tonight. Not kidding. I did the fish tacos, the coconut flour tortillas, and the super awesome slaw (not sure if that is the name or not, but it was good!). The boys liked the fish and the slaw, but not the tortillas. Mr. Dawn was ‘meh’ on the tortillas too. I’m thinking either they’ll get used to it (they ARE different), or I can use it as a base to tweak to our preferences.

I am ready to Body Rock tomorrow! I’m getting it going. I got Just Dance 2 for the boys’ Wii, so we do that after dinner and it’s fun, but I wanna burn some calories and build some supersexy muscle! Eating has been going well, I haven’t really overdone it or gone un-primal for a few days. And that’s with chocolate in the house, people!!!! Come on, give it up! *revels in cheering*

Our Holiday Traditions….Or Attempts At Traditions ;)

Here at Primal Dawn Headquarters we take it super easy during the holidays. We don’t stress it, we don’t buy a bajillion gifts for every single person our children know, we don’t sweat cards (although we may send a few out). I find the holiday hustle and bustle that we think of as just coming with the territory as completely unnecessary! We do our shopping online where we can, we do it early, and we only get gifts for immediate family and grandparents. That’s it. It’s not that we don’t love all of you, it’s just that once we add this person, then we add that person, and Primal Dawn has a huuuuuge blended family so that can get really expensive really quick.

So, on the topic of traditions. I have to confess something. I’ve recently become pagan….ish. I don’t like labels, and I hesitate to lump myself in with a group that contains Wicca, witches, and wizards simply due to the eyebrow-raising factor. BUT….after being a spiritual nomad searching for so very long for something that spoke to me, I found paganism. More specifically, I seem to vibe to a green, earth, or even kitchen path! Buddhism spoke to me for a bit, but I found it to “hands off” for me. I like to feel like I’m one with and part of the universe, and that’s what paganism has given me. It’s simple for me: I was born of this universe and am of it, how could I not contain all of that energy and power within me? I love the naturalism and earth vibe of it. I care for the earth and am concerned with its wellbeing, which I considered tied to my wellbeing. I’m teaching my children to be kind to nature (even trees and ants!), and my oldest in particular has been very curious, which is unusual for him. He’s actually asking about rituals and we talk about nature and the circle of life. He even asked to perform a candle ritual for his class for their English studies! We lit a candle, said a few words, and meditated, then released our good intentions out into the universe to work on his class. It was very sweet, very innocent, and for once I didn’t feel uncomfortable or like I didn’t know what to say to my kid about my spirituality! I won’t push my beliefs on them, because I believe in giving knowledge and letting them decide for themselves, but if he’s curious, I will more than happily indulge him πŸ˜€

So, this is what the holidays look like around here: Christmas Eve we just sort of hang out. Play games or whatever. J gets picked up by his dad in the morning/early afternoon and then he opens gifts with his dad’s family, and comes home late that night to enjoy Christmas morning here with us. Christmas morning, the boys get up and are allowed to dig in to their stockings while we get up and get coffee going. FYI: you wish I did your stocking for you. I always overdo it. Seriously, I have no idea of the cubic capacity of a freakin’ stocking! This year, I went so far overboard, I may have to just randomly toss odd little stocking stuffers into gift bags! It’s like the gift, and the bonus!! There have been years where I have had to just lay the extra stuff on the stairs too. Like stocking tied up to banister, with overflow spilling over to the steps.

After stockings, we go downstairs where the tree is and one of the boys (usually J) hands out presents one at a time. Then after everything is open, we all vegetate. I cook some brekkie, usually some fried potatoes with eggs. This year, I may do sausage gravy and primal biscuits. Then we commence, after the vegetating, then comes the ROTTING. WE DO NOTHING. We don’t get out of our jammies, we don’t worry about meals, we snack all day, we watch tv, we play games, we play with our new stuff, we just basically keep it chill for the whole damned day. And I love it.

This year money was a little tighter, so we had a strict budget for both boys. However, when I wrapped everything, I think we did alright! One thing I focused on this year with T-Lo was ‘active toys’. Anything to get him moving physically. I got a hippity hop, we got a zip-line for the backyard, a mini trampoline, jump rope….anything to get that boy moving his bod. When he’s active, his behavior is better and his coordination and strength improve, which are a huge issue for him. He has very poor trunk strength from his prematurity, and he has sensory integration issues which can kind of look like attention deficit, but it’s not the same. Don’t ask me how, I just know it’s not autism or attention deficit. Yet. J got his usual video games/media stuff and science toys and books! I got him prepared microscope slides and a human body model and a few board games and a sci-fi series by Isaac Asimov for younger readers.

So yes, holidays this year are good for us. We’ve also been charitable this year. We adopted a family in our community that were struggling. A family with 2 young children and a father in Afghanistan. It pains me to think that this country doesn’t take care of the men and women who sacrifice themselves for us. I know it’s not all military families, but I found one right here at home that weren’t making ends meet. So we helped. Then….just last week, T-Lo’s bus came and the bus driver and assistant were practically in tears as they told me that a little girl who rides with T-Lo’s house burned down not even 7 hours before the bus pulled up. They pulled up to the home and there was NO HOME. It was gone. I put the word out on facebook (it’s good for something!) and I ended up collecting a bin of clothing for the little girl, we donated some of my clothing for the mother, some toys, I got blankets, and a gift card. I am completely amazed at how quickly it came together and how many people helped out! Every time the bus pulls up, I give the assistant another donation. And it makes me feel good to know I’m helping out someone who lives right here in my neighborhood. And I didn’t even need to go through any charity. No overhead or agenda. I have a huge issue with certain religious charities who exclude certain groups. I don’t want my money supporting discrimination. I don’t judge those who choose to donate to religious charities, they do good, but my family chooses not to support those types of companies or charities. Secular is the way to go for us, but you may not feel the same. And that’s okay. As long as you’re helping!! πŸ™‚

Homemade Bug Spray

I have researched a bit on bug repellant. I hate using toxic, disgusting crap on my kids and on myself. The smell makes me ill, the chemicals make me itch and give me a headache. So, I had posted a bit back on geocaching and my search for bug stuff.

The main components seem to include eucalyptus, tee tree oil, and lavender. There are variations, of course, depending on the specific buggies you are trying to avoid. The main offenders here on Long Island are ticks (including the dreaded deer tick) and moquitoes. I’ve seen cloves and cinnamon work well too. Just do a search to find what works for what you need in your area.

I tried to use baby wipes and douse them in the oils. Those were “okaaay.” But nothing to write home about. We all got a few bites.

Then I invented this recipe: Use your old olive oil sprayer (Misto is the brand I have)!!!! You’re not using it for cooking anymore, are you??? Are you? Well, you shouldn’t, because olive oil gets unstable in cooking. You should only use it raw for salads and dipping.

I put witch hazel in the Misto sprayer. I then put in tons of the oils! Pump it up and spray liberally on your kids skin and clothing, and yourself! It smells great, nobody gets ill or gets a headache and there’s no worry of some dreaded diseases coming down the pike later from DEET or whatever. Try it and let me know what you think!

Week’s Menu!!

Ahhh….the weekly menu. I’ve missed you!

Mandarin Monday– Asian salmon and Asian cucumber salad

Torrid Tuesday–Chicken with Cilantro Sauce and some veg of some sort!

Weird Wednesday–Getting adventurous with a Cheddar and Parsnip Soup. I’ve also found a really good plain biscuit recipe that will go great with this soup.

Thick and Creamy Thursday–Swedish Meatballs

Fahgeddaboutit Friday— Crock Pot Beef Roast

Savory Saturday–Chicken Piccata (primal of course, no flour)

That’s what we are eating! Mr. Dawn and I have added a treat dinner on Sundays. I don’t like saying “Cheat Meal”, but there ya go. Lately it’s been Pad Thai. Homemade. Pad. Thai. I found an awesome recipe that actually tastes better than any takeout I’ve had! I made the tamarind juice and everything. It’s so awesome. We don’t always have the dinner, but we allow it if we want something specific.

I’m still having a very hard time with my boys regarding diet. I cannot get the cereal and rice out! They most certainly don’t eat as many refined carbs as their peers, but I struggle so much with this. Everything I try with them is just not working. They get bored and tired of sausage and eggs and they don’t really care for the primal/paleo subs I make. I guess I’m lucky because they are both very healthy, but I really really want to change it. I know I just have to do it and stick with it, whatever the whining or crying or fighting that happens!

Exercise. Where do I begin? Oh, I know where to begin….what exercise?? I was doing Zumba with a friend, then she moved away and I quit because I didn’t know anyone in the gym and I don’t like constant cardio (even though Zumba is fun fun fun!!). I am planning to re-start my Bodyrock.tv workouts every other day, and get more (read: any) hula hooping in.

I think I’m ready to use this Yule season to reassess and reinvigorate my motives and goals for being healthy. No New Year’s resolutions. No big announcements. I’m just gonna make it happen. I know I’m not alone here. Any goals for you? How do you plan on getting there? I have my vision board, and I can light a candle and meditate and focus on what I want. Visualize my hotter bod being strong and healthy. And of course, along with all this vision-y stuff I’ll need to actually get my arse moving!! πŸ˜‰

Starting Over?? I Guess?

Wow. So much to update. I quit school. I think the last year of school was a disaster for me. My bipolar flared up every single semester and I’d have a meltdown, never fail. The pressure I put on my self was too much. My meds have been completely revamped. I was gaining weight and nothing was moving it, so my Nurse Practitioner switched a few things up and I’m losing a little bit. It was not an easy decision to quit school. I struggled through feeling like a failure and the “what will everyone think” that most of us do, but I think I made the right choice. Why? Because as soon as I made the decision to quit, it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like I have so many other interests and things that fulfill me in life that I don’t feel the need to have a job with “status”. That may sound elitist, I don’t mean it that way. I mean that, somewhere, deep inside me, I wanted to be admired for the career I had. To impress people with what I do. I don’t feel like that’s such a good motive, but I’m being totally honest here. And yes, I do love science and biology and learning. The learning will never stop for me. I love learning. And teaching. I can find ways to pursue all these things in my life without freaking out over another degree!

I got a job! I am a teacher assistant at T-Lo’s school! I will work with disabled and developmentally delayed preschoolers. Waxing philosophical, I’d say that this job has a lot of meaning for me. Why? Because I feel like if I can help, in whatever small way, kids and parents who are dealing with some of the issues we’ve dealt with with T-Lo, then the Dark Days when T-Lo was born won’t have been in vain. A positive will come out of it. Other than an awesome little human that I’m proud to be related to!! But those days were tough, and the idea that my knowledge can maybe help someone else is intriguing to me. And I get to play with kids all day!! Who wouldn’t love that??

So that is the major thing for us at Primal Dawn headquarters. The boys are doing really well in school. Mr. Dawn is freaking out about how much money we’ve spent this Christmas. I’m still working on simplifying and making life more meaningful for my family. We all watch too much television and play too many video games still. But we’re working on it. As I’ve always told you guys, we are works in progress. I’m not perfect and I’m pretty sure you’re not either. But every day is a chance to do better than before!!! Gawd, I’m getting sick of myself, I better go! Too many warm-fuzzy hippie vibes for me! I need some metal!!!! \m/ \m/ (those are my metal horns)

Busy

Life is so busy right now at PD Headquarters. I’ve got 3 classes, 2 of which suck up a LOT of my time. Basically, I’m the parent Monday through Thursday, then Mr. Dawn pinch hits Friday through Sunday because I have to do all of my studying and homework. I hang out downstairs, isolated, and just bang out my homework and study study study.

The 30 Day Primal Challenge? Uh……I didn’t really do it. I was all hopped up, then everything got in the way and I got sidelined. It was not a total loss, however. I did come out the other side with better eating habits and doing more exercise than I was doing (which was none!).

Where are we now? Well….we got our first 1/4 beef from a farm upstate. We did the “home harvest” so the animal was killed on the farm not trucked away and such. I made the first steaks from our cow the other night and oh. my. god. so delicious!!!Β  J is officially a meat snob. He loved it and is now asking whether the protein in any of his meals is “organic”. He doesn’t get the various distinctions, but he knows the grass fed beef tasted better!

I have been using my crockpot at least once a week, and keeping it mostly simple with a protein (chicken, beef, fish) and a veggie. We’ve been in a bit of a budget crunch, so I’m trying to use produce that is on sale and base the meals around that.

I joined an all-women gym with a friend. I want to do Cross Fit so very much, but at over 100 bucks a month it is really too prohibitive. I have huge issue with this. Cross Fit supposedly uses less equipment and is a back-to-basics style workout, yet it costs 4 times what I’m paying at my local gym. I just don’t thing Cross Fit is truly for everyone at that price. And it’s too bad, because there is a CF facility right by me. But, I do the classes with my friend and although it’s a lot of cardio, it is fun and social and I’ll keep doing it.

So that’s where this Primal mama is right now. Haven’t been packing lunches, haven’t been doing a lot of things….but that’s okay. It’s about the journey not the destination. We’ll get there…..eventually!

Where The Hell Have I Been???

Well, I’ve been getting two small boys up and running on their school/homework/extracurricular routine, and getting myself up and running on classes and exercise. I’m starting the 30 Day Challenge on Mark’s Daily Apple (haven’t figured out the linkies with Android, just google it). So as of tomorrow, I’m dialing in the diet, doing 3 to 5 hours of easy slow movement a week, 2 bodyweight workouts a week, and one all-out sprint a week. I will most definitely be keeping you all posted on how that goes. I’m excited. This is my first Challenge, and I’m looking forward to some comradery and contests and general silliness.

I have been geocaching a lot. I’m only 12 away from my 100th find! I spent yesterday out with C on the east end of the island. We saw lots of sand, surf, boats, and shells. We even got to get all MacGuyver by using boards to get across a particularly swampy area. I think this qualifies as play, judging from all the giggling and fun we have every time we head out for our adventures.

Dinners have been awesome. However, I have to cinch the belt in on my budget for food. Ugh. Turns out, I’ve been spending about 40 bucks too much each week on groceries. I don’t yet have a game plan, and when I do I’ll let you all know. So far, “Don’t spend so much” is as far as I’ve gotten. I guess I have to try to use more of what I have on hand?? But I always spend money on produce!!! How can you have that on hand?? I think I may have to start scoping sales flyers for our local stores, and base my dinner menus on what sort of fresh produce is on sale. That seems soooooo hard though! That seems like a LOT of planning. But, as you know, I’m stubborn and I don’t let stupid things like dinners and menus and budgets punk my ass πŸ˜‰ I will be victorious.

So, my little corner of the world is just buzzing and humming with activity and possibility. How ’bout yours? Are you living to the fullest? Go outside, stare at some clouds, go play, read, learn, love unconditionally (geez I’m sounding like an inspirational poster here), make mistakes…..I know I make mistakes every day. Work in progress, baby, work in progress……at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I Hate Painting

I hate painting. You know, you start out all fresh and rarin’ to go, and by the end you’re sweaty and dirty and have that damn blue tape stuck on your butt. I had the brilliant idea to paint both of the boys’ rooms. I did J’s first. Since it was summer, I thought I’d just move the furniture out from the walls and do one wall a day. Nice and easy. It would give it time to dry in this humidity, and I wouldn’t have to do any heavy lifting to get stuff out and I wouldn’t need tarps. Well, it took me a week and a half to finish his room, and it looked like a hurricane hit it the entire time. But I finished. It’s a beautiful turquoise-y blue with glossy black trim. Then I decided to get crazy with T-Lo’s room. He picked purple, but his room is dark with just one small window. I didn’t want it to look like a dungeon, so we did opposite walls in a grape purple, and the other two are a pale gray. So pale it just looks white to me. What a pain in the ass. He has a loft bed so I needed help with moving that to the other side of his tiny room. It left me with just enough room to fit around it and paint. It was awkward and hot and it sucked. I just finished and it looks great. I have to take the doors off next weekend and paint those and the door trim, since I didn’t do that yet. It’s been 2 weeks for just T-Lo’s room! So yeah, I hate painting.

And now to completely change gears. Wanna know what we’re eating this week and next week? Here goes:

Monday–Bison Shepherd’s Pie. My own creation and I may post this because it was so good! I started out trying to make sweet potato latkes but they weren’t holding up in the pan, so I scrapped it and saved the mixture. Then I browned up the bison with onions and spices and made a little gravy in it too. I topped it with the sweet potato mixture and it came out awesome! The boys ate it and Mr. Dawn liked it too. Bison was a manager’s special at the grocery store. I picked up 3 pounds for 1.99 a pound!

Tuesday–Spaghetti Squash with meat sauce

Wednesday (today)–Bone in pork chops in a mushroom sauce

Thursday–Colcannon. Our weekly starchy potato allotment. Bacon, potatoes, cabbage, onions, and cheese. Heavenly.

Friday–Mr. Dawn’s favorite: Burgers!

 

NEXT WEEK:

Meatless Monday–Greek Salad

Tzatziki Tuesday–Salmon with tzatziki sauce

Wang Chung Wednesday–Chicken stir fry of some sort

Thrilling Thursday–Bone in Pork Chops…I think maybe breaded with spiced up almond flour? Maybe a compound butter for them as well?

Fromage Friday–Chicken breasts in goat cheese sauce

A quick update on the diet and exercise goals….I’m doing well. I’m down 4 pounds which is nice, but I don’t even really care about the number as much as I care about how I feel. I’ve been feeling like a sloth lately, and it’s nice to feel lighter and peppier. Can’t wait for school to start and get back to some sort of regular routine!!

Winding Down or Gearing Up?

I guess both, since summer’s winding down and we’re gearing up for school here at PD headquarters. I start school the 29th, a full week before my boys. Which is very annoying, since Mr. Dawn has to take off from work to watch them while mama gets her academical on. He has the vacation time, so it’s better than hiring a sitter for the week, which would be pricey! I’m going to a new campus this semester for my chemistry class. My school has 3 different campuses, and this will be number 3 for me. The second class (precal 2….again….don’t ask) is at the main campus which I’m totally familiar with, and the last class is online. That last class is also my first official ‘teacher’ class. Intro to Education! Yay for being taught to teach!!

So we are all getting ready. J needs new sneaks and the last bits of his school supply list. I have all my books and notebooks and my favorite mechanical pencils. T-Lo doesn’t need to get ready, he doesn’t have a supply list and he wears a lot of hand-me-downs. I usually pick up a few new things for him, but the first days of school all they wear are their summer stuff anyway, so we’re not in a rush. I also managed to perfect my pencil skirt pattern, so I whipped up a few new ones to rock the pin-up girl look while taking notes and raising my hand to ask relevant questions πŸ˜‰ Hey, moms need new school clothes too!!

I have to say, this summer I didn’t really play as much as I wanted to. However, I read a lot more than I did last summer, so I accomplished something! I also think that this summer caught me off guard as far as diet and exercise go. It started in June when J had mono, then went steadily downhill from there. I had a few fine moments, but I’d say the 80/20 primal rule was more like 65/35 the past few months. Eek. Not good. I will say though, moving forward, I think better preparation for summer madness is in order next year. I got off track and never really got back on fully. This is another reason I’m looking forward to the school year. I have a set schedule, less junk in the house for the boys (and me), and I’ll be busier with school/studying/chores/activities.

Speaking of activities…..both boys are taking swim classes, J is probably going to start drum lessons, and I’m looking into either acro or some dance lessons for T-Lo. With T-Lo’s energy and pending ADD/ADHD diagnosis, the developmental pediatrician says that more physical activity is the way to keep him (and us) happy and calmer. I know, I know, developmental what? ADD? When did this happen? Long story, but I started noticing some things a few months ago, talked to his school and the district, had a meeting, and voila, here we are. I was going to do a whole post on it, and I may later on, but it’s still sort of new and I haven’t sorted out my thoughts yet.

Well, there you have it. Nothing from me except menus for ages, then BAM, you get a nice little update on how life really is in this crazy house. Enjoy these last days of freedom, ice cream trucks, sunscreen, beaches, barbecues, and kids up your you-know-what 24/7. I know I will.