Dear USA, I Love You but I Don't Trust You |

Dear USA,

I wanted to start my letter by telling you how proud I am to be living within your borders. I was born in sunny California with great expectations to make a beautiful life in the land of the free. You see, my father is a Mexican immigrant. He immigrated with his family to the United States from Mexico when he was a mere 2 years old. His father had a burning desire to give his family a better life in this country. I’m sure you’re wondering if they swam across the border or jumped over high fences to get to the land of the red, white, and blue. Well, let me assure you, my grandfather drove across the border legally with 8 or 9 children in tow. Yes, my father comes from a large family. There were a total of 12 children and I’m sure my grandmother and grandfather were beside themselves that the youngest were born rightful citizens of the USA.

Dear USA, I Love You but I Don't Trust You |

My father was raised in East L.A. in a small 2 bedroom home. The children would sleep horizontally in beds to get their rest for the night. Although their pockets were bare, my grandfather and grandmother raised their children to rise above their means. One of the greatest gifts my grandfather gave to his children was the teaching of hard work and that nothing in this country comes without a cost. At the age of 18, my father joined your military, the Air Force. During his service he was sent to work overseas in the blazing heat of Southern Spain.

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My Favorite Links and Things |

This past week has been a more difficult one for me. I’ve been dealing with a head cold that’s zapped my energy levels from a 10 to a 4 on most days. I’ve been pushing through it but goodness as soon as the evening rolled around, I felt completely wiped out. This past week we’ve eaten out 3 times since I just didn’t have the energy to get in the kitchen and cook. Praise God for Chipotle, local pizza, Vietnamese Pho, and an understanding husband that takes care of me ;) I am happy to say that I’m starting to feel better today. I woke up this morning with more energy than I have had all week. I really hope this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Besides my sickness, I did have a great week with my family and am so happy to share with you that my Little Mama turned 2 this past Friday. We’ll be celebrating her birthday along with Big Brother turning 8 on a camping trip this coming weekend. I am so excited for that. I still have quite a bit of planning to do for our camping trip so I’d appreciate any food ideas you’d care to share with me. This week, the boys and I are going to make homemade marshmallows for our smores. So good! So if you have any other ideas, let me know in the comments below.

Let’s get on to my favorite links and things.

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So Your Child Doesn't Like Their Food... Don't Stress it Mama, Here's Why! |

Just a couple of days ago, I was in my kitchen quietly chopping a bit of cilantro and diced onions for our chorizo tacos that my family would be eating for supper that evening. I walked over to the refrigerator as Little Brother made his way into the kitchen and watched me pull out a black avocado perfectly ripened for our meal. He watched me quietly as I made my way around the giant seed with a sharp knife and sliced it in half. As I pulled the creamy flesh into two, Little Brother looked up at me and said, “Mama, I like avocado’s now.”

I looked down at him with dismay and said, “really?”

He said, “yes, they’re really good especially when sprinkled with the color salt. Can I have one for supper tonight?”

“Um… sure,” I answered with surprise in my voice knowing quite well that he’s never eaten a plain avocado with salt before.

Sure enough, that evening I gave him half of an avocado sprinkled with Real Salt and a spoon to eat it with. He excitedly took it from me and to my unbelief, he spooned out the green flesh and ate it with joy. When he finished, he looked up at me from across our table and with pride gleaming from his eyes said, “see mama, I like them now!

You know, this may not seem like a big deal to some, but to those that know Little Brother, this is a big deal for me. He’s always been my pickier eater. One that I’ve been spoon feeding since he’s started eating solids. It’s been quite amazing watching him lately. Really, just over the past couple of months he’s gone from me having to sit next to him at the supper table so that I can spoon feed him to hurry him along to excitedly trying all sorts of new flavors by himself and clearing his plate.

Little Brother just turned 6.

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My Favorite Links and Things |

Tomorrow will be the first day of June – my favorite month of the year. I’ll have a Little Mama turning 2 and a Big Brother turning 8 years old in the next month. Now that the spring will soon turn to summer, my family will slow down – revering in his creation. We’ll camp, swim, bike, tend to our urban homestead, and for the next month, swing into a slower routine in homeschool. We only have 1 more month until we’re officially done for the school year; however, right about now, we’re all ready to lay down the academics for a bit to just read good books. Lord willing, it will be good.

Enough about that, let’s get on to my favorite links and things.

Below are a few of my favorite links from this past week

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Creamed Spinach, Sausage, and Potato Casserole |

Each spring, when the farmers market first opens for the season, I excitedly visit my favorite vendors to see if they’ve begun to sell spinach. I enjoy its mild flavor that complements many dishes well and coupled with its nutritional benefits, I try to sprinkle into as many meals as I can.

Did you know spinach is a great source of magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin c, vitamin k, manganese, and folate/folic acid? Or, oddly enough, that it’s also high in protein? Pretty great, huh?! Besides the powerhouse of nutrients that spinach contains, one of my favorite things about this dark leafy green is that it’s so mild that it doesn’t phase the kids – they eat it up in whatever I seem to add it into.

I’ve tried to grow my own spinach many times; however, with our sporadic temperatures that we have in Iowa, I never seem to get a decent harvest before the weather warms and the spinach starts to bolt. This year I’m trying an heirloom chard variety called perpetual spinach which is supposed to be just as mild as spinach with a similar look and texture. Since it’s a chard variety, it should grow all season long. I’m excited to see how well it does and how it tastes in our meals. I’ll make sure to update you as it grows.

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Easy, Whole Wheat Einkorn Cheddar Crackers |

This post is sponsored by Mighty Nest: An online store that provides you the ability to research, get advice and buy natural, organic and non-toxic products all in one place… plus they donate 15% of your order to your local school!

As I’ve been sharing on the blog lately, my family is in the midst of baseball season. I’ve been intentional in making quick and easy meals for the busy baseball season and I’ve been trying to cut down on sugary treats that spread like wild fire at the ball park. Like I mentioned on facebook, although I’m being more intentional with the snacks and treats my children munch on during the season, I do not restrict what they choose to eat when other members of their team bring in snacks on their assigned day. It’s certain that during this time of the year they are eating more processed foods than they are used to so I make sure that they are daily consuming good probiotics like homemade milk kefir, kombucha, pickles, and beets.

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