I’ve been away…

I’m sorry I’ve been away. A lot has happened in the past few months. Life has been scary, exciting, and blissfully happy lately.

You may recall me saying that I wasn’t sure what to do with this little piece of me. One morning I woke up and didn’t feel like writing anymore. I didn’t see the point.

After I converted the blog back to a WordPress-hosted blog, I didn’t really see the point. Why was I putting myself out there? Why was I letting this stress me out? Why do I care? I didn’t want to do it anymore, so I stopped.

I feel like I’ve gotten away from what I wanted this to be. I want readers, but I don’t want to write about things just to gain them. I really don’t care about being “Pinterest perfect” because honestly, it’s too much work. My time is more valuable than that.

So I decided to take a break. I was unsure if I’d come back or if the blog would just one day disappear.

Then life happened.

I was unhappy in Texas. As much as I thought I would love it, I didn’t. Tony could tell I was unhappy. We discussed moving back to Florida. We decided that he would start looking for a job there and to put it in God’s hands.

Two weeks later, Tony was laid off. It was sudden and unexpected. He was anticipating a promotion, not to be let go. This horrible blow to our family was actually a blessing. We decided to sell everything (again) and drive back to Florida. We prayed, a lot.

We moved back to Florida just before Thanksgiving. It was so wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with my family. We all crammed into my sister’ college apartment where I cooked an amazing meal from scratch. It was amazing.

So here we are. I feel happy where we’re at and excited for our future. We are home. That is something you can never replace. We are home with our family, our church, and our friends.

I think I’m ready to pick this back up again, but maybe in a slightly different way. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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Reader Q&A: How Do I Get My Family To Eat Healthy?

How do I get my family to eat healthy?

Reader Melissa A. sent me an email asking a question that I think most mothers and wives face: How do I get my family to eat healthy?  See what she had to say.

I am on a path to start eating clean but I am having trouble getting my husband and children on board. 

My children are 2 and 3 and would not eat/throw a tantrum for hours if they don’t get their standard terrible toddler food (hot dogs, crackers, tons of sugar loaded processed foods).   I’ve actually tried for over a year to correct their menu just to throw it away in the trash every time.  Since I’m the grocery shopper in the house I have tried to reduce their intake where I can, improving the amounts they receive. 

Our biggest challenge is that my husband feeds them 5 out of 7 dinners as I work an hour away.  He’s not much of a cook/leftovers guy so they almost always eat Take and bake pizza or corn dog nuggets on a daily basis. 

Any words of wisdom?

Thanks so much,
Melissa A.

I know exactly how you feel.  While Ava has always had fairly good eating habits, Tony has not.  My husband had what I considered to be the “typical American diet”.  He is a lover of  meat, fried things, and anything containing the ingredient “partially hydrogenated oil”.

When I started this clean eating journey, he thought I was totally nuts.  He didn’t understand why I didn’t want to eat meat, or that I didn’t want our daughter eating Doritos.  I continued to do what I knew was right.

Tony’s eating habits are changing.

If you ask him, he may still tell you that my eating habits are a little strange, but I know he hears what I’m saying.  I realized that I had gotten through to him when I heard through the grapevine that he got on to someone who was trying to give our daughter excessive amounts of candy.  He explained to the person that we (yes, he said WE!) choose not to give junk like that to Ava and even though I wasn’t there, we stand together (together!!!) on our decision.  He was listening all along!  He made me proud!

So what did I do to get through to him?

In the beginning, I led by example.  I knew he would never just jump on board.  Like most men (sorry guys), I needed to let him decide that it was his idea.  Even though he thought it was all crazy, I ate healthy.  I also explained to him why I was eating the way I was.  Once the weight started falling off, I think he started to notice that it wasn’t a bunch of nonsensical hippie talk.   What I was doing made perfect sense, and he noticed!

I wasn’t above trickery.

I admit it, I tricked my family more than a few times.  (And I still do!)  I got crafty with the whole wheat and whole grains.  I learned how to add veggies into meals so that they wouldn’t  notice.

Don’t fight against them.

Although Ava is a fairly good eater, I know a little girl who sounds just like Melissa’s kids.  She only eats chicken nuggets (frozen or from McDonald’s), cookies, and a few other unhealthy items.  Her parents continued to feed her these things for fear of her being hungry.  Start by offering your children healthy options along with their favorites.  Slowly (over a few weeks) remove the unhealthy options from their diet.  They will probably protest, but if they are truly hungry, they will eat the healthy options.  If they won’t eat the healthy foods, set them aside for later when they are hungry again.  When they are hungry, they will eat.

Get your children involved!

Children who help grow or prepare their meals are more likely to try new things.  Start a small garden and let them grow new veggies to try.  Invite them into the kitchen.  Not only will your child be more likely to try new foods, but you will be bonding with them and building their self-esteem.

Prep your meals.

If you are not the one who cooks most of the meals, prep easy and healthy meals ahead of time.  Here I talked about prep being one of the three “P’s”.  If you can’t be home to cook a healthy meal, try doing once-a-month cooking.  Make and freeze healthy, clean meals that your spouse or kids can heat up.  If it’s just as easy as a frozen pizza, they just might cook it.

Getting your family to eat clean (or just somewhat healthy for that matter) is not going to happen over night.  Just remember to stay positive and lead by example.

Do you have any advice for Melissa or anyone else dealing with a picky family?

nopin

Food Waste Friday | Saving Some Spinach

FoodWasteFriday After years of wasting hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of food, we are attempting to reduce our food waste. I will post a photo each week of our food waste and I will link up with Food Waste Friday over at The Frugal Girl.

This week wasn’t all that bad.  As usual, I found a few new ways to save some veggies AND trick my family into eating more of them.

I had a package (ugh, I hate overly packaged food) of organic spinach that had a few leaves that were starting to look sad.  I decided to throw some into dinner that night and put the rest in the freezer for fear that they wouldn’t make it before I got around to eating them.  We were having pasta with a simple tomato sauce (no meat), and I diced a few spinach leaves very fine and tossed them in.  Tony had no idea.  That’s one thing I really love about spinach.  Its flavor isn’t all that strong, so it’s easily added to other dishes with little or no detection.

The Scacchi House: Food Waste Friday

Freezing spinach is super simple.  I just pick off all the stems and toss them into a freezer bag.  Simple as that.  Oh, don’t forget to wash and dry it first.  As long as the spinach is really dry, the leaves shouldn’t stick to one another making it really easy to just pull a few out and add to meals.

I did actually throw something away this week.  We made pasta the first week we lived in the house and not thinking, I made an entire box.  Rylan was still here, so I think that threw me off.  I usually cook just over a half of a box.  This makes enough for the three of us, plus a small lunch-sized leftover portion.  This particular meal made lots of leftovers.

The Scacchi House: Food Waste Friday

After eating on them for a few days, I guess this little container got pushed to the back of the fridge.  Although it doesn’t look or smell bad, it has been in the fridge for about two weeks.  That’s way beyond my threshold for leftovers.  Oh well.

How did you do this week?

nopin

Let’s Go Sledding!

The Scacchi Family

We went sledding on Monday afternoon at one of the wonderful parks in Anchorage.  This park has one of the best sledding hills in the city.  You can sort of see the hill behind the trees in the background.  This hill does not mess around.  It was super fun!  Don’t you love my $5 Columbia jacket from The Salvation Army?

Family in Alaska

It was a little chilly out, about 25 degrees.  After I ran back up the hill a few times, I was definitely not cold.  Ava always has a blast when we go outside.  (Trust me, she’s not miserable and cold like she looks in all the pictures.)

View from Anchorage, Alaska

This park has gorgeous views of the inlet and Sleeping Lady (the mountain, not an actual woman).

Alaska Mountains

Sledding in Alaska

We had a blast spending time as a family.  What outdoor activities have you done this winter?

Feeling a Little Bit of Organization

Last week I got the itch, the itch to organize.  Ava received a bunch of new clothes for her birthday and Christmas, so things had become a little unruly.  It was to the point where I felt like she had a million outfits but she only wore 4 of them because they were the most convenient to get to.  I had to fix that.

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/perry-moore-photography/

Photo by: SeanLeonardPerry

I pulled out everything and made a few dividers out of a cardboard box, nothing fancy.  I began to fold and sort each item, grouping them together.  She now has a neatly organized space with designated spots for her pants and skirts, shirts, onesies, outfits, pajamas, leggings and tights, and socks.  I also made a home for her hats, gloves, and sweaters.  It’s all so cute now in their own spaces and I can actually find things.

I also somewhat organized Tony’s clothes and some of mine too.  Nothing as elaborate as Ava’s, but everything is a little easier to find.  Our current place is furnished, but it’s lacking enough drawer space for all three of us. Some of our clothes are still in our suitcases.  I makes you realize that you don’t actually wear everything you own.  It will be nice when we get into our house and have room to spread out, but for now, this is working out just fine.

I also sat down and organized my Pinterest.  If you follow me, you probably noticed my hundreds of pins within a few hours.  If you don’t follow me, you should!

I had all of my house ideas on one board.  I decided that it would be a little overwhelming when it actually came time to look for something, so I broke it down by room.  I also took my “Holiday” board and broke it down by each individual holiday or season.  Much better.  My “Food” board has always been a huge mess.  I broke it down by different meals.  So much easier to find that french onion soup recipe when it’s on the “Soup” board and not pinned with 1,000 other food pins.  I feel so much better now.

Do you ever get to that point where you just break down and organize something that’s been bothering you?

Our Living Christmas Tree

It’s finally Christmas around The Scacchi House. We had our first heavy snow storm this evening and we finally found a Christmas tree.

Yes, we live in a state filled with trees. How could it be so difficult? I wanted a living Christmas tree. I wanted a tree in a pot. I really didn’t think a potted tree would be difficult to find, boy was I wrong.

We initially went to Lowe’s, but they only has fresh-cut trees. The sales lady at Lowe’s sent us to Bells Nursery, which is a local place here in Anchorage. No luck again. The only potted trees they had were these floppy looking things. I literally wanted a mini Christmas tree in a pot. I gave up looking when the lady at Bells told me I wouldn’t find anything like that around here.

 We were out shopping today and we decided to stop into Fred Meyer (think: high-end Walmart) after I discovered that the Eagle River Salvation Army has closed down (boo). I walked toward the garden center and guess what they had? They had a 3 foot tall potted Christmas tree. I was like a kid in a candy store. And it was only $19.99!

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 The point behind the potted tree is to have a Christmas tree for life. Some families spend $60-$80-$100 every year on a fresh-cut tree, only to put it out to the trash in January. They other option is an artificial tree, but then you miss out on the fresh tree scent and all you’re really getting is a mess of plastic chemicals straight from China (unless you bought yours from Christmas in America, those are actually made here). I want a tree that can grow with Ava.
My plan is to keep the tree potted and bring it indoors year after year. I will replant it in a larger pot when necessary. Eventually, when the tree is too large or heavy to bring in the house, we will plant it in the yard. We will continue to decorate it year after year.

The best part is that I didn’t have to put it in a base or fluff any branches. I brought it home and set it on our table. I purchased two boxes of white lights a few weeks ago when they were on sale at Lowe’s. While unboxing them, I realized they have white wires. They will do for now, but tomorrow they are going back to Lowe’s. Now to figure out a few decorations, since ours are in storage in Florida.

What type of tree do you have? Do you have a living tree too?

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The Alaska Zoo

A zoo?  In Alaska???  Yes, there is a zoo in Alaska.  The Alaska Zoo is located right here in Anchorage.  We wanted to do something fun as a family to celebrate Ava’s 1st Birthday.  I heard from some of the girls at La Leche League that the zoo has story time on Monday and Wednesday.  What a perfect idea!  Ava loves animals.

We picked the perfect day to go to the zoo.  It had snowed all night, so the entire city had a nice white blanket.  The zoo opens at 10:00am and story time starts at 10:30.  We got there right at 10:00.

We walked for a few minutes before story time began.  We found Honest Abe guarding the thermometer.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It was 20 degrees.  A perfect day for the zoo!

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Story time was great.  There were 5 other children there and we all gathered in the greenhouse.  The zoo keeper read 3 books.  Each week they choose a different animal at the zoo to read about.  This week we read about river otters.  After she read us the books, she walked us down where the river otters live and told us a little bit about them.  Of course I chatted with one of the other mothers there and learned all sorts of stuff.  Did you know you can go skiing with an infant?  How awesome!

Ava has been all about her daddy since we arrived in Alaska.  She has lots of Ava and Daddy time.  We also made the mistake of bringing her stroller and not her sled.  The sled would have been so much more fun.

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Tony found a new best friend.  This Lynx was pacing in front of the gate.  Tony said that he is Moose’s brother (Moose, our cat).  Not likely.

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Ava loved watching the black bears.

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But our absolute most favorite animal at the zoo was this baby Dall Sheep.  He came right up to us and wouldn’t leave us alone!  So cute and fluffy!  He let Ava pet him.  We were ready to stuff him in the stroller and take him home.

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We had a great time at the zoo.  I have a feeling we will be buying annual passes.

Have you taken any fun family trips lately?

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What Alaska Is REALLY Like

We had many people try to keep us from moving to Alaska.  Most were for selfish reasons (not wanting our precious baby to be so far away).  I had countless people tell me all kinds of crazy things about Alaska.  So here are my favorites, along with how things really are up here in the last frontier.

  1. “You know it’s dark all the time up there.” – I think I got this one the most.  It is not dark all the time up here.  I got up this morning at 9:30am and it definitely wasn’t dark out.
  2. “It’s dark and dreary all the time and everyone’s depressed.” – Ava and I have been here for almost a month.  It has only been overcast TWO days.  You should have seen the sun shining yesterday!
  3. “All construction stops in the winter.” – I originally believed this one to be true, until I got here.  They continue to build throughout the winter by covering the job site with giant plastic covers.  Construction crews work under toasty warm heated plastic all winter.
  4. “Everyone in Alaska drives a 4-wheel-drive truck or SUV.” – Again, laughable.  There are just as many cars on the road up here as there are trucks and SUVs.  All you need is a good set of snow or all-season tires.
  5. “Everything in Alaska is more expensive.” – The first week I was here, I went through the grocery store to see if this was true.  The only items that really stood out were 12-packs of Coke for $8.45 and a few produce items were 50 cents more than in Florida.  Bananas were 15 cents more per pound.  Alaska actually has quite a bit of agriculture.  There is a whole “Alaska Grown” movement up here.  Restaurants are also the same price.  Housing is comparable to a larger city like Tampa or Orlando.

I did learn something new!  I learned of the concept of an “Eskimo Fridge.”  Basically, you put your food in Tupperware or whatever like you normally would… then you put it out on your porch.  That’s it.  It’s perfect if you are just going to reheat leftovers the next day.

If you have any questions about our family, or just living in Alaska, please email us at scacchihouse@yahoo.com or you can post on our Facebook page!

Afternoon at the Park

The weather was absolutely beautiful this afternoon in Eagle River.  It has been sunny and clear ever since Ava and I got here.  Today was sunny and 38 degrees.  We took advantage of the good weather and went for a walk to the park.  I love living in a place that is so pedestrian friendly.

Ava had her first experience with a slide.  I went down with her the first time. 20121024-170015.jpg

Then she went down by herself.  She likes the slide, but only if you hold her hand.

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She found a little pine cone.  She then decided that it looked like a good snack.  Yuck.

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The park has these nice big boulders all around the perimeter.  I love her little beanie!

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We went to the swings next.  Ava hasn’t been on the swings in the park for quite a while.  She loved it!

Have you been to the park recently?