Have a Healthy Halloween

Lets face it. Times have changed. What used to be the old age tradition of dressing your kids in costumes and venturing out into the dark night with bags (or pillowcases) for long walks around your city are coming to an end.

Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s being more conscious of what we are putting into our kids system, or it could be a combination of the two.

These realities do not put a damper on this time of year, but they do allow for some creative, fun, healthy changes for your children and future generations.

As we know, change is always inevitable. Nothing stays the same. When you know better you can’t help but to do better. This new set of parents known, as Generation X and Millennia’s, are raising ourselves and our children healthier and wiser than our parents did.

And for good reason. Candy is filled with even more sugar and artificial dyes. Yellow #5, Blue #1, and Red #40 sound more like a cool dye to color shirts with, but instead it’s dyeing our insides.  Venturing into the darkness with your children is still popular for some, but many view the world a little differently than they used to.

You might be wondering – just how might one Mom or Dad get past Halloween without allowing our children to collect the Hershey, Twix, and M&M bars at costume festivals or household Halloween parties?

For starters, we always prepare the kids for what’s about to happen – the “good” and the “bad”.  For the “bad”- We let them know that when they graciously collect their goodies, they get to pick one, eat it for about a minute and after the minute is up it goes in the trash.  When we get home a few (and I do mean VERY few) go in the freezer and the rest in the trash.

Never feel bad about throwing away candy. Anything that does not serve as nutrition for my families insides has no place in our home.

Call it cruel and unusual, but my children have come to look forward to the small indulgence of unhealthy sugar. And believe it or not they don’t bother to ask about what happened to their other candy.

The “good” – we offset the artificial stuff with some healthy sweets. There is an overabundance of healthy sweet alternatives that you can swap.

As your families ideals change during Halloween, there are still many cool, healthy alternatives that can be created within your own family tradition. And yes, Halloween can be enjoyed with minimal amounts of sugar!

Keep in mind – if you decide not to buy organic or raw it’s okay. You are still making a healthy decision to stay away from the commercial “shelf life” candy choices!

Baked Pumpkin Seeds with Cinnamon and Organic Coconut Sugar

Slice open a pumpkin, take out the seeds. Let the seeds dry overnight. Place pumpkin seeds on a baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon and organic coconut sugar on top. Place in the oven on 425* for 25 minutes. Let cool or use as a topping over Tofutti Vanilla Ice Cream. Enjoy!

Candied Apples with Organic Raw Honey dipped in nuts

Grab a Green (Tart) or Red (Sweet) Apple. Dip or drizzle Organic Raw Honey then dip into nuts. Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes and Enjoy!

Organic Raw Fruit Fondue w/ Dark Organic Chocolate

Grab your favorite fruits – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, cherries. Grab your favorite organic dark chocolate bar (most can be found at your favorite non-commercial grocery or health food store – the health benefits of dark chocolate are endless!).

Kids House Party w/ fruit infused water ice cubes

Once again grab your favorite fruits (limes, lemons and ginger go great here too!). Add cubes to fresh water (or parents, add to your favorite mixed drink). After all, they will already by amped up from those healthy candied apples and pumpkin seeds. Balance their nutritional benefits with water. Enjoy!

Homemade Pita Pizza Party

Split open a wheat pita. Smooth on the organic tomato sauce or marinara. Choose your favorite toppings such as red, green, and yellow peppers. Sprinkle with fresh mozzarella cheese – or if you are dairy free, Daiya cheese has a wide assortment of delicious dairy-free cheese to choose from. Place in the oven on 425* until brown. Enjoy!

Movie Night with Brown bag popcorn and Pink Himalayan Salt

Grab organic whole kernels and place into a brown bag. Pop in the microwave according to your settings. Sprinkle with Pink Himalayan Salt and Enjoy!


From my Family to yours – Have a Healthy Halloween!






Keeping Bees: A few tips for Beginners

About a year and a half ago, bees began to pique my interest. The way they lived, their determination, caring for their queen bee and of course – the honey!

And so my journey began. I started to read and watch documentaries as much as I could about beekeeping for beginners, bee anatomy, organic beekeeping. I attended a few classes watching slides and networking with other seasoned beekeepers. I learned a lot!

After years of building up the courage, I attended a beekeeping class that would allow  some hands on experience. I knew that attending would let me know if this new found interest was meant to be. Surely, it was! I felt at home near the hive and with the bees.

I still have a considerable amount to learn about keeping bees, but here are few helpful tips if you are considering this hobby.

Read, read, and read some more!

There is a lot to learn about the busy bee. From their life stages in the hive , their jobs (baby, nurse, worker) and their anatomy. Books such as Beekeeping for Dummies will also explain the different types of hives available. Depending on how you want to keep the bees (domestic or commercially), it is important to understand which type of hive is best for you prior to ordering your bees.

Bees can suffer from various diseases and bug infestation that can destroy a hive. Foul brood disease and varroa mites (to name a few) are serious conditions that a beekeeper must be aware of. Understanding both of these situations is a must!



Did you know that bees can thrive in the city and the country? Beekeeper Andrew Kotes set up his hive of 20,000 bees on top of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City!

Bees can travel the length of 4 football fields to forage for pollen. That being said, your location is a small factor in deciding if you can or can’t keep bees. Others are doing it in very unique places.


Their are ways to be economical when keeping bees. You can catch your own swarm (I would personally wait until I had more experience), you can build your own hive, and you can create your own bee suit. In my opinion, being economical would be more ideal for the seasoned beekeeper.

If you are just starting out I recommend the following:

1) Buy your bees from a reputable, state certified bee farm. It will not guarantee that your bees will be mite free, but a good bee farmer should have less than 3% mites in the packages they give you. A popular trustworthy bee supplier to purchase from is Blue Sky Bee Supply. The two to five pound packages of bees come in the mail and are picked up at your local post office. The cost is about $130 containing around 9,000 bees and one doting queen.


2) The most common type of bee hive – The Langstroth Hive will cost you about $200 including the frames. A more economical approach could be the top bar hives. These hives are more common in tropical areas and their structure is horizontal versus the more common vertical hive. Finally, there are “nuc” or nucleus hives that you can purchase for $160. Nuc hives come with the bees and the queen already introduced to her hive and all stages of bee development inside. That situation could make things a lot easier for a beginner beekeeper.


3) A newbie will definitely want to consider purchasing a full suit and gloves when going out to the hive. Not only does it protect you from a potential sting, but your clothes could get super messy from the propolis resin and honey. Seasoned beekeepers warn of wearing gloves when inspecting the hives because of the potential to kill bees accidentally. Killing a bee releases a pheromone to the bees which can cause them to get defensive. Leather gloves can be bulky and harder during inspection, so eventually as you get more comfortable you can go glove-less or with thinner hand gloves. A bee suit and gloves will cost you up to $200


4) The last few supplies to get started are a smoker and a hive tool. A smoker is helpful in moving the bees around (calming) when inspecting the hive and the hive tool is needed to separate the propolis that can adhere to the sides of the frames. The smoker and hive tool should cost you around $40.


5) Bee food consists of white sugar in water which is treated as carbohydrates for the bees. This gives them the energy needed to work and forage honey. There are also bee protein patties that are typically given to the bees when you first put your hive together. This should cost you about $25 or less.


Join a club

In almost every state there is a Beekeeping Association that you can join for a minimal fee. Being part of a club allows you to learn from seasoned beekeepers and attend bee seminars and classes to help with educating yourself on keeping bees.

Beekeeping is definitely not for everyone, but can be a rewarding experience when you are doing it for the right reasons. Here are some additional facts to consider before deciding to keep bees that I learned at a recent beekeeping class:


Bees need about 50 pounds of honey during  the winter to survive


Killing weeds and clover in your yards is not ideal for bees – they need it!


Living near corn and soybean fields in the country is not ideal for bees to consume


Check with your neighbors, zoning requirements, and state certifications prior to setting up your bees


After a few stings your body will set up a resistance to bee venom, but always have an action plan just in case of a bad reaction.


It is ideal to check your hive every 10 days to check for food and room


Drone (male) bees do not sting! They are their simply to mate with the queen


A queen mates ½ mile away from the hive and always returns


There are organic chemicals such as formic acid that can be used to kill mites


I wish you best of luck in your beekeeping future! Bees are important to our food supply and way of life. If you would like to help the bees by planting delicious wild flowers in your yard click here.



Taking our Food Back!

The Big Pay Back!

We are an enlightened people who will not just reach for the shelf! We will take back our bodies, our minds, and our planet and furthermore what we consume and use will be conscientiously thought about. We do not need you to necessarily “prepare” our food and products, we just ask that you make available to us access to non-GMO seeds and allow for organic space and living to create our own. For those who cannot grow everything, allow farmers to raise and grow their animals, fruits, and veggies organically. We will slowly start to replace your shelf products with a healthier alternative for our friends, families and ourselves. We will spread the word, create and educate those around us.

Disclaimer: The following article is an informative article about some simple swaps that my family and I have consciously chosen to remove out of our lives for a healthier lifestyle. It may not be necessarily a good choice for you and your family. However, I confidently stand by my choices and would like to offer you the opportunity to seek a better understanding of what you are consuming and using.

For many, unbeknownst to us, we wake up to a routine of: showering with Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate(soap). After we dry off, we wipe moisturizer onto our skin with Panthenol, and brush our teeth with fluorinated toothpaste.

Knowledge is power! The more that you seek to understand and pay attention to what you are using and consuming, the more power you are giving back to yourself. You do not have to take my word for it. Simply read up on it and do your research.

Let’s take a look at some simple “swaps” that my family has made that you might like to consider and research further:

Swap Iodized Salt for Pink Himalayan Salt

bigpay2Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink Himalayan is a non-processed, healthier and more nutritious alternative to salt, containing over 84 minerals and trace elements, including iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, and potassium to season your food. Many of us have come to watch our salt intake due to the offerings of high sodium table salt at restaurants. Pink Himalayan gives you a reason to season! Take your salt back!Pink Himalayan can also be used to detox your colon and heal your adrenal gland! Check out the recipe for this master cleanse here: http://7-min.com/himalayan-salt-water-flush-recipe/ 

Other seasoning swaps to try:

Garlic Salt – use garlic cloves or minced garlic



Replace garlic salt with minced garlic or garlic cloves for a healthier alternative.



Black pepper – use peppercorn grinders

Regarding packaged seasonings –just understand this – Say Bye-Bye to seasonings containing dye, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, OLEORESIN (true words off a seasoning label) and all those strange words that none of us truly understand. Most ingredients that will season your food can be grown or purchased from a farmers market. It may require some preparation but once you have an abundance, those seasonings can be stored in the freezer or in jars. Just like they store packaged seasonings on the shelf at the grocery store – but without the other additives. Won’t take my word for it? Next time you go to a commercial grocery store read the labels on packages and watch the scientific experiment wording labels explode!


Swap Cow Milk for Almond, Rice, or Soy Milk



 Almond Milk


A childhood favorite that can’t be wrong. Right? Let’s consider some common sense facts before the criticism. Baby cows consume their mother’s cow milk. It has all the nutrients and vitamins it needs from its mother for it to grow and become a healthier cow (of course!) Same concept as with a human mother producing milk to breastfeed her children. Even at birth we are told not to feed our children cow’s milk until after age 1, however after age 2 through adulthood we should be free and clear to consume this substance. The only difference is that our bodies by age 1 has built up antibodies and are able to consume more than that of a newborn could, but are we really free and clear to consume a milk that was produced by a cow mother for her baby? There are also other additives to milk such as hormones, pus, blood… I can go on. Check out this article by Global Healing Center to get the nitty gritty on cow milk http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/dangers-of-cows-milk/

However, not to worry. There are several fantastic healthier variations of milk that give you that rich, creamy taste that you are seeking on your taste-buds. Almond Milk is my families #1 choice for a non- animal milk replacement. Almond milk is made from almonds which are mixed together with water. The result is a rich creamy milky like substance. As muchas I used to love my cow milk, this was easy to switch to. We have also tried rice milk and soy milk, but found almond to not only have the most protein, but also a great taste to use in our cereals and other favorite dishes that call for milk!


Swap Canned Food for Whole Food

Can food has become so popular in most households for the convenience of longevity and simplicity. But, what comes in those cans are ingredients that can be harmful to our bodies. Additives to canned vegetables, soups and meats to prolong the shelf life are digested into our systems. And we wonder why our intestines are blocked and constipated.

A nice start would be to grow or buy  fresh vegetables and fruits and either use them within a few days (yes go back again for more in a few days) or you can freeze them. Homemade soups can be prepared ahead of time such as chicken noodle, and cream of mushroom and can also be stored away in the freezer.

A little preparation ahead of time can go a long way to leading your family away from the “shelf life.”


Swap Meat for Local Hormone-Free Grown Meats or Vegetarian Substitutes

At a young age, I eliminated red meat out of my diet completely. Still a work in process, I am slowly eliminating both chicken and turkey. My husband being a vegetarian makes it easy for me to swap certain dishes that call for beef or turkey by using soy or turkey meat. When the kids and I need our poultry fixings, we do our best to buy meat from kosher, amish, organic, or free range labeling local farmers. We rarely purchase deli packaged meats as they are full of sodium and that strange slimy gel that appears just doesn’t seem right. The solution: Try roasting a whole chicken or turkey for the week for sandwiches. Just all around better for the tummies!


Swap Fluoridated Toothpaste for Non-Fluoridated Teeth Cleaning Options


Tom's has become a household favorite for its non-fluoridated choices.

Tom’s has become a household favorite for its non-fluoridated choices.

Pick up your favorite commercial toothpaste and read the label. More than likely it is packed with words that the average consumer won’t be able to pronounce. So why put those chemicals on your teeth to push down into your stomach? Fluoride is also NOT our friend. Fluoride not only blinds your third eye (pineal gland that is responsible for your spiritual connection to Source), but also is toxic to our overall health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, most doctors, dentists and other health establishments make no money from taking these products of the shelf. They like to push the ‘idea”that Fluoride is good for us. Not convinced? Check out this article from Dr. Axe athttps://draxe.com/avoiding-fluoride-and-how-to-detox-it-from-your-body/.

Solution: There are Fluoride free toothpastes such as Tom’s for your family. If you want to take it one step further here are some recommendation’s that my family and I have used for years.

Activated Charcoal  leaves a supreme, oxygenated clean feeling. Prolonged use also whitens the teeth. It can be super messy at times, but worth it once you learn how to do it right!

Virgin Pressed Coconut Oil  can be used as a maintenance in between teeth cleanings and dental office visits. This is often known as oil-pulling. A half a teaspoon a day swish in your mouth for as long as you can stand (15 minute minimum recommended) helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.

Peroxide  an excellent alternative to alcohol driven mouthwash. Swish peroxide mixed with water in your mouth for a bubbly fresh feeling in your mouth.


Swap Chemical Cleaning Products for Simple Household Products

Cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals that can get into our skin and cause long-term damage and irritation. Remember this rule of thumb: most things that we clean with should be okay to also consume(ammonia should Not be eaten, but aren’t as toxic as other chemicals). Go back to basics with household products such as Baking soda, vinegar, borax, ammonia, and lemons.

Baking Soda  good for deodorizing, and cleansing. Add some tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus oil for afresh carpet cleaning deodorizer.

Vinegar  freshens, eliminates odors and cuts through tough stains.

Borax  can be used for cleaning clothes. It also can be used to eliminate fluoride from the body. Make a fresh detergent with Borax using this “chemical-free” recipe atwww.dwellinginhappiness.com

Ammonia  can be used for window cleaning, lifting stains and dirt. Add some fresh squeezed lemons to a squeeze bottle and you are in business!

Lemons  the strong citric acid in lemons is known for cutting through grease and eliminating odors. That’s why most cleaning products purchased on “the shelf” contain lemon scent. You can take raw lemons and wipe off counter tops, toilet seats, and clean the ring around the tub. Squeeze into any mixture above for a lemon fresh scent. Grapefruits work just as good so give those a try!

Cleaning the skin – When it is shower and bath time I highly recommend Bonner Brothers Peppermint soap. It’s one of the most natural soap/cleaners on “the shelf” that can be used to clean the body and the house. The label on this product says it all.


Swap Sweetener’s for Raw Organic Honey

My goodness! I could go on and on about how terrible these Aspartame chemical flavored sweeteners are out there. Honestly, there are NO healthy and chemical free sweeteners out there that come in little packets. PERIOD! Just say NO! And white raw Sugar consumption is toxic. Check out this video from sikuvideo for a brief overview of Sugars effect on the body: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yda8RtOcVFU

What do I recommend when you need to get your “sweet on?”

Raw Organic Honey  get as close to the source as possible. It may require some soul searching trying to locate a local farmer that you can purchase honey from, but it’s well worth it. We use honey to replace syrup on pancakes, sugar in oatmeal and so on.

Coconut Sugar  similar taste, but healthier alternative to brown sugar that can be used in baking and other recipes that you would normally put sugar in.

This list is short and to the point because sugar in general is just plain bad man. It is.


Swap Plastic Bottled Water for Glass Bottled Water



Reuse your glass jugs by refilling with fresh water at stores such as Whole Foods.

True: It can be super hard to find pure water that naturally comes from the source. I truly don’t think there is one water company out there today that is 100% pure and not cleaned with some “type” of chemical. But again, there are always better choices!

My family and I recently switched from purchasing plastic jugs and storing our water in glass jars. Plastic bottles are not only bad for the environment (hard to decompose), but plastic also contains harmful chemicals that can interfere with the hormones in our bodies. To make this simple switch, we purchased large glass jugs of organic apple cider from Whole Foods for $3.99. Once those jars were emptied we took the jugs to Whole Foods for a $.33 jug fill up at their filtered, oxygenated water station! Not only is it some of the BEST water I have ever tasted, but you can’t beat the cost for the quantity. Recycle and Repeat!

Wondering how to take water on the go? I recently came across these cool glass bottles at www.faucetface.com

As with introducing anything new into your life, making small gradual changes work best. Are there any daily household products or foods that you or your family have “swapped” out of your lives?  I would love to hear about it!











Seeking Your Ancestry? Give these websites and ideas a try!

Our life experience here, in this moment, is so precious. Who we are now and will become is full of so much history. The wise words and knowledge spoken upon our lips, may have, at some point, been a distance memory spoken from a grandmother, or grandfather – who heard it from their mother – who heard it from their mother, and so forth.

 Have you ever stared into an old black and white photo of a relative imagining what was going on for them? Wondered if their struggles, hopes and desires were similar to the thoughts you have today? How they overcame so much, with so much less than what we have offered to us today? Just what was their story and how did they get there?


This is you! Your ancestors have spoken and want so much to share with you their past – And how you became uniquely you.

How do you have that amazing drive and courage? How do you cook such delicious award winning dishes? How do you draw the finest of fine art that could be hung and sold for thousands in a gallery? How are you…You?

If you have ever considered wanting to know more about your family history, here are some ideas that you can do now to get started:



Start recording questions you want answered from your oldest living relative:

They are the closest link to your past that you can get. Go spend an afternoon asking for family names and what times were like for them. Typically, their grandparent’s name will give you a great leap into the past. Jot down as many names as they can give you. This will help in locating your relatives when doing a search.

Take the names gathered and start searching:

The Ancestry DNA kit is great for those serious searchers looking for more precise linkage to what there blood line is.

You can use awesome websites such as ancestry.com (more listed below) and pay a minimal membership fee depending on the level that you want to take it to. Ancestry.com also does DNA testing of your saliva (I am excitedly awaiting my results), for $99. Within 7 to 8 weeks they will pinpoint exactly what country or region your family originated from. Combine that with the information from your older relatives and you have a great start in digging into your past.

The old school way:

Another way to search is through the library of records in the city that most of your relatives were born in. Every city keeps a record of live births and deaths. Depending on the city though many slaves were sold off and were only accounted for in their slave masters property records (see below for a website specifically for African Americans). Talking with a Historian once you have a few names to search under will be of great help.

A few website recommendations:


Google FREE

Most people love and use Google because it gives you such a large database to search for places, names and can guide you to the perfect family history search engine tools. Google has a variety of other tools that you can utilize to help you such as, Google Maps and Google Earth. Both searches can help you locate ancestral addresses. Google Translate can help you translate text from other languages, and Google Books incorporates an online library of out-of-print resources that may contain local histories and compiled genealogies.

RootsWeb World Connect FREE

How cool would it be to have others (including researchers) share and provide helpful tips and clues to add to your growing family tree? Well that’s exactly what you can do on the RootsWeb website. Information can be updated or removed at any time and although the findings may not be 100% accurate, it truly increases your chances! Don’t know exactly where to start? You can browse their database that is full of over half a billion names with over 400,000 family trees!

AfriGeneas FREE

A phenomenal website providing a unique slave database of research and education for those researching their African-American roots. Most records for slaves were kept by the slave owners and are generally the only clue most African Americans have in tracing their ancestry. AfriGeneas site allows for an ample forum to communicate with other users searching into their African American genealogy.

So what are you waiting for? This weekend go spend an afternoon drinking tea digging through old photos, reminiscing of old times past and learning new things about your family history. After all, in this circle of life, one day you will be the relative the family goes to, to find out more about where they came from. Or, maybe you will be the one in the photo, long gone, standing proud as your loved one stares and admires just who you were and where you came from.



Great Healthy Local Eats: Munch in Solon, Ohio

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We must make small gradual changes to our health!

One of the absolute hardest parts of healthy eating is being out on the go and you get hungry. Yeah, you can grab a protein bar, yada yada. But, even that gets old after awhile. What you want is to grab a filling sandwich, salad or soup just like everyone else – But, you want it to be a healthy, nutritious, guilt free meal. And, dare I add nice ambiance into the mix?


Delicious Munch Menu

In walks the healthy fast food spot Munch. Munch, located in Solon, Ohio is ran by super nice husband and wife Scott and Jamie. Their menu specializes in healthy vegetarian soups, salads, wraps and sandwiches, along with high-quality meats for meat lovers. Got a bit of a sweet tooth? Special treats include freshly baked cookies, ice-cream, smoothies, parfaits, and chocolate (and or almond) milk.


much4Local artists artwork line the walls.

And, if things couldn’t get any better, the décor of this place is absolutely gorgeous! It’s full of artwork from local Cleveland artists, beautiful wooden tables and delightful music!


munch5My girls enjoying the food and sights.

The kids enjoyed off the bone turkey sandwiches, full of romaine lettuce and cheese, along with a bowl of delicious onion soup. We splurged a little bit off the healthy track and let the girls select from a wide variety of local kettle chips and chocolate almond milk.


munch6A vegetarian selection – Papa’s Portabella Melt

My hubby, being the vegetarian that he is, was highly pleased with his pita sandwich. The Papa’s Portabella came stuffed with marinated portobello mushrooms, red onions & herbed mayo. He added some bean sprouts for extra veggies.



Turkey lover’s would enjoy the Moe’s Home Roasted Turkey Breast.

My teen and I also enjoyed some turkey off the bone on pita better known as Moe’s Home Roasted Turkey Breast. It was stuffed with melted cheese, tomato, lettuce, red, green and yellow bell pepper. I also selected the bean sprouts and herbed mayo. The homemade all natural pickles were also an added delight!

All in all, I would highly recommend Munch when considering my next “on the go” meal, or even for a break from the typical food places you go to. We are all guilty of “insanity” at some point in our lives. We want more for our business, but we don’t do anything new to change the outcome. We want better relationships, but we don’t do any internal soul searching within. And, we want a healthier lifestyle and body, but we don’t do  anything new to change our eating habits or exercise more.


munch7Healthy Drink options on tap! Gotta love it!

Thank goodness for healthy eating places such as Munch that recognize people do want “real” food and cucumber water as a selection. If you are trying to make a switch to a healthier lifestyle, here are some small things you can do NOW that can make all the difference in the world to your body.

 Simple Substitutions:

1) Eliminate the can foods – prepare fresh soups and put in freezer. That way when the kids or someone is sick, you are not reaching for a can that’s been on a shelf for months.

2) Eliminate the Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and the dancing lady with umbrella – Believe it or not, Pink Himalayan salt, black peppercorn and garlic cloves make great natural seasoning. They also hold very unique health benefits.

3) Eliminate the “fake fruits juices” – just say no to high fructose anything!

4) Eliminate the Cow’s Milk – as hard as a pill this may be to swallow our bodies were not made to consume cow milk. Cow’s milk can disrupt the digestive track and is made from mucus. Believe me, we still love our cheese, but we are slowly trying to eliminate it. Daya cheese is a delicious tasting cow free alternative. Even replacing your regular consumption with Almond or Rice milk is a great start.

5) Eliminate the plastic – plastic is not a good receptacle for water, drinks, or food to be stored in. That plastic gets into our bodies and can cause all types of problems. Do your best to limit your plastic consumption by keeping things stored in glass containers or BPA free containers. Glass containers are becoming very popular and can easily be bought online or by recycling glass jugs from the store and filling them with water.

6) Eliminate the fake sugar products: syrup’s, sweeteners, dollar store honey. Buy local honey native to your area at local farmers markets. Period, pretty much!

7) Eliminate the fast foods – limit as often as you can. Visit local eateries in your area such as Munch!

8) Stay away from commercial grocery stores – more than likely if there is a particular store chain on every corner, the less and less you are getting away from fresh, local organic food choices that are not full of all the additives that our bodies do not need.

To view the menu and for more information visit Munch at http://www.munch216.com/











NYC with Kids

Kids. From the moment they come into our lives they bring new situations and adventures.

I can honestly say that I have delightfully experienced many things and met many new people in my life thanks to my girls.

This past weekend’s trip to New York City was no different.

My oldest daughter, who is 15, was invited to play string bass at the world famous Lincoln Center in NYC with her schools Chamber Orchestra.

What an honor and what an opportunity for all of us to finally take a bite out of the Big Apple…..with KIDS!

As a mom, the thought of traveling to NYC with little ones (4 and 7) makes me a little uneasy. We have only traveled through Manhattan by car a few times a year to drop off my step-children who live in Queens. I was overwhelmed just watching the hustle and bustle from the car.

I would stare out the window thankful that my kids were safely strapped into their car seats – peering their eyes above the brim of the window. And my husband taking on the honking and numerous fender benders that we nearly missed inch by inch as we made our way through the city.

However, we survived New York City! Not only did my daughter’s school place in the competition, but we all grew from the experience.

Here are some cool pics and tricks to help you out if you are considering heading out to the city that truly never sleeps.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Newark, New Jersey to save money before heading into the big city for the weekend. You can save big and it’s only a 20 minute drive away. Great cocktails, ambiance, and kids eat free!

The food trucks making their way through traffic in true New York fashion.


We choose The Watson Hotel on 57th St. so we wouldn’t have to walk too far with the little ones. It was about an 8 minute walk to our event at Lincoln Center. It had some of the least expensive parking at $37 a day, and the rooms were clean and decent. The prices for rooms were fairly inexpensive as compared to other hotels in the city.


The premise of our trip! My daughter playing string bass (far left standing) at Lincoln Center. Her schools Chamber Orchestra placed second runner up (third in the nation) and received the honorable Forte Award for most distinguished group. Good news parents: there is an upscale snack bar in the lobby that serves sandwiches, chips, fruits, and cocktails. Perfect breather that your kids will definitely need in between performances.


We made reservations at The Colesium Bar and Grill. We choose this restaurant based on location (an 8 minute walk from Lincoln Center), a diverse menu that both adults and children could find something they would like, and they were okay with kids eating there. The prices were a little high for bar priced food, but the food was very good.

Next, we headed underground in a glass elevator which was located in the middle of a sidewalk. The elevator took us to an underground mall and food eatery called TurnStyle. The kids went to the well know Dillon’s Candy Store full of a candy emporium!


We were anxious to hit up Times Square, but getting there was a 20 minute walk. Not good for the little one’s unless you have a stroller. It was also freezing so Uber and Lyft was a MUST! The cost was inexpensive $8 to $12 for a 7 seater vehicle to fit my entire family. We waited less than 10 minutes going and coming back.

Stepping out into Times Square was like stepping into a fish bowl. Wall to wall people. Hang on to your kids and enjoy the lights, sights and people watching.


The Statue of Liberty and other characters were dressed to take photos with eager tourists, but BE AWARE! They want your money. $20 to be exact for snapping a photo with you.



Hold on tight to your children! My daughter and I got caught in the middle of another NY traffic jam!


Inside the NYC subway near Times Square.


I had no idea that it was similar to an airport. There were places to eat, small shops and loads of people hanging out. There was live music to watch and people dancing. You buy your tickets ($2 to $4 range) and wait to hear what gate you need to to be at to jump on the train.

If you enjoy a nice beer/cider you are in luck! They have beer/cider on tap in the subway. A small to large costs $6 to $8. You get a cup to go and are free to walk around with it.

I felt more comfortable than I thought I would be waiting at the Subway Station with kids in tow.




Call it cliche but we wanted to experience all the “New York” like things. On a short walk from our hotel we found Morningstar Restaurant for breakfast. They served lunch and dinner . A cute typical neighborhood New York diner. The food was great, the staff was super nice, fast and accomadating.

A Yummy New York bagel sandwich with turkey bacon, scrambled egg and cheese. This won my kids heart. I enjoyed a coffee with many selections of Brandy to go inside! Morningstar Restaurant.




Key points to consider when traveling with kids:

1) Google the address and area of your stomping grounds. I always investigate the area with Google Earth when planning where we will stay and where we will go. It helps to familiarize yourself with the area. Many things look better on a website than they do in person.

2) Map the distance between certain attractions you plan to visit. Everything can seem appealing to visit, but may be further away from where you thought. Mapping out the distance between each location will save you so much frustration!

3) Visit the websites of each city, attraction and hotel. Websites are a wealth of information. You can find reviews from recent visitors and events that are going on during your visit. That gives you a step up on visiting as a well informed tourist.

Enjoy your Family Time!


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7 years without Cable! Here’s what happened.

Yes indeed. We are one of few households that have survived more than five years without the daily media blitz of reality television, sports games, breaking news, and celebrity gossip.

It all started when our “hook-up” finally came to an end and we were met with the decision to join the millions of other households paying high cable premiums.

I protested with my husband (he has never been a fan of television) to fit this bill into our already expanding budget.

I MUST watch my evening and morning news!

I MUST watch reality T.V!

I MUST have my daily dose of channel surfing – where I might stumble upon an intriguing documentary on Ancient Aliens!

My older children protested, as their bedrooms (what was once the place to get away from it all) became lifeless, quiet room caves of boredom. Thank goodness the youngest children were to little to understand that this was a major problem. What in the world were we all supposed to do now?

It forced me to have to be logical with myself for a moment. Let’s just stop going through the motions and actually really think about what is the “problem” here.

“Problem #1″

No morning News

Faithfully for many years started my morning with the latest news. I mean, how could you not? There is so much that might have happened overnight, or that morning. For goodness sake, a major Apocalypse could be happening! Or, a storm brewing. We must have cable so that I can prepare my family for such events before we head out into the world. Right?

My solution

Believe it or not, the days without the  morning news turned from 1 week to 100+ weeks. Without my daily dose of “panic stories,” I found a sense of peace. Yes, I knew that there was a chance that someone was killed overnight, or a major traffic jam should be avoided, but I chose to not allow that to be my experience. I truly believe that no news is good news.

Instead, I engage more with my children by turning on music and dancing in the hallways before school. They get a kick out of choosing a book to read and sharing it. When we do get a media itch, we select positive content for the kids to watch via our phones or tablet. We like to show them our favorite programming. Not what the major channels think our children should see.

Problem #2

Sports or Championship Games

Yes, we have been salty a few times not being able to watch major sport situations that have occurred over the last year.

My solution

On a few occasions it forced us to venture out to spend time with family or at a new restaurant to watch . A majority of the time though we just check the score on our phone and find something better to do. Yes, there are better things we can do with our time than watching sports. But, I get it. Many people love watching sports as a way to relax. But, only you know if that time could be better spent.

Problem #3

Missing New Programming

It can still be a hard pill for me to swallow when I hear of new season of my favorite show coming out (Give me that $150+ cable bill right now damnit, lol). For several years I would have family record the episodes for me so I could catch up when I visited. However, to my surprise as time went on, my demand for those recordings dwindled. I realized that many of those shows were better off being missed anyway.


My Solution

I would often browse the internet and see the people on these programs not “growing” anywhere. I saw them just getting worse with their fighting and accusations. What we watch greatly impacts our minds unconsciously. Rushing over to watch who fought who, or who slept with someone’s man started to feel foolish. How were these people in anyway impacting my life for the better? Now I spend my time reading more. Reading is the key to your ongoing success.

Problem #3

The Kids

Almost everyday at least one of the kids ask if we can get cable. I understand how they feel. Their friends ask if they saw the latest episode of a show, or everyone around them sings the jingle to that commercial that’s played only in cable land. I would have cried if I wouldn’t have had my MTV or Disney Channel to show me the way of the world.

My Solution

We agreed on having Netflix in the living room. Now believe me, this was not met with immediate cheers. For one, it meant sharing the television. Also, Netflix doesn’t necessarily have all our favorite shows and limited programming. But, we have survived with it. The kids are at a point where they are like “just give me some piece of normalcy.”

Although, due to this limitation they are not quick to just plop in front of the T.V. I have noticed an increase of art projects and imagination. I will take that any day over couch potatoes. : )

 So, there you have it. Our family has survived without headlining news and commercials. Another plus that I meant to mention is where that extra cable money can go to: activities, shopping, investments and more. Looking back I see how cable really had control on my perception of how I felt and saw the world. Cable has evolved into something where a vast majority of us feel like it’s a necessity. Don’t believe the hype!

I am beginning to understand that there are many things we all do just “because” it has been the norm for so long. What other things can we change within ourselves and for our households? Take a moment in your day today to ponder that question…