Friday, 23 May 2014

I've Moved

I guess from the title you can see where this post is going.

I've moved the post to a new hosting platform and address. You can now find Healthy Simplicity at

Please come by and let me know what you think. Some of it looks different and some looks the same. There were a variety of reasons for this move and hopefully it will be the last move I make with this blog. It's easier than packing up a house, but still not easy. ☺

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Saturday, 17 May 2014

Library Time 27

It feels like a long time since I posted about what we're reading.
Recently my oldest daughter wanted to watch the BBC Production of Great Expectations on Netflix. I wasn't too interested because I've never liked the story. It just was too sad. So I watched most of it with her. I missed some in the middle, and it inspired me to read the book "again".  As I read the book, I discovered that I never had read the unabridged version. All my opinions and feelings were based on children's versions which can never do justice to the richness of Dickens. I fell in love with this story. Yes, Pip does some stupid, selfish things, but since he is telling the story as an adult he points out his shortcomings in a way that you know he's sorry for them. And in the end he gets the girl so all's well that ends well. My favourite character is Wemmick (I love Dickens "minor" characters, but are any of them really minor?), and if you don't know who he is you'll just have to go read the book.
15-year-old daughter - Divergent to her younger sister
14-year-old son - The Lego Book
12-year-old son - The Lego Idea Book
10-year-old daughter - The Kootenay Kidnapper by Eric Wilson
8-year-old daughter - Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary
6-year-old son - The Biggest Bear by Lynn Ward
3-year-old son - A Tale of Two Pandas by Adrienne Kennaway. He loves pandas because our zoo has a couple on loan for five years and we've been to see them a couple of times now.
What did you read this week?

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Thursday, 15 May 2014

An Easy Tip for Diaper Rash

I've been trying to learn how to use essential oils to help keep our family healthy. Little by little I'm learning more about these amazing oils.
In a recent bout of the flu our baby ended up with a bad diaper rash. Normally when he gets a little pink I slather on some coconut oil or jojoba oil and it all clears up by the next change. This time though he had diarrhea and things just went from bad to worse. The coconut oil and jojoba oil weren't working. I convinced him to take a nap without a diaper on one day. He wasn't crazy about it, but sleepiness finally won out. That helped but not enough. I was getting desperate enough to go buy something from the pharmacy. I just felt so bad for his pain and discomfort.
Finally (don't forget I had the flu all this time as well and wasn't functioning on a full brain) I looked up in my essential oils book what I should try. One of the first oils they suggested was lavender. Let me just say that lavender seems to cover a multitude of needs.
Lavender can be applied neat which means directly on the skin with no dilution, but since I was using it for a baby I decided to be safe and first melt about a half a teaspoon of coconut oil in my palm. Coconut oil melts very quickly at body temperature. Then I added one or two drops of lavender and covered my baby's bum in it.
By the next diaper change the rash had cleared up by 50%. I am not exaggerating. I did another application and we were home free. And I was back to my happy, smiley, dimpley baby.
So, this may or may not work for you. I am not an expert, but if you're desperate this may work.

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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Life Changes

Having just gone through Mother's Day I've done a lot of reflecting on how my life has changed from where it was twenty years ago.
When I was single and oh, so sad about it, my mom used to say that in ten years I wouldn't recognize my life. I didn't really believe her, but two decades later I can say how right she was. I've now been married sixteen years and have eight children with another one in heaven.
When I was first married I was so thrilled to finally have a husband to care for. Shortly after we found out we were having a baby and I could hardly wait to meet this little one. Then I could hardly wait to teach her so many things and start homeschooling her. Now she only has one more year of high school left. She has two great blogs and is writing some fantastic books. How did this happen?
Then I look at my oldest son. He was our millennium baby. ☺ I'll let you in on a little secret. I did NOT want a son. I never had a brother and just didn't think I could handle a boy. I'm so glad God saw things differently. Of course, I fell in love with Noah first of all as my baby before he was born and as a son the minute he was handed to me. Now I have five sons and love every minute of them. Boys are different, but it's a good different. That first little boy is now taller than me and starting high school next year. He's a whiz at designing things with Legos, and you can ask him almost anything about World War II, and he'll know the answer.
I went on to have another son, two daughters and then three more boys. We call the three youngest "The Three Musketeers". I love to watch the developing relationship between the two oldest of this set (they're bonding over Legos - what else?) and the two youngest. Every morning my baby wakes my toddler up by hugging him.
My two youngest daughters are best friends. You know the kind - fighting one minute and inseparable the next. My middle daughter is becoming quite the baker, and my youngest daughter is great with playing with the baby. I love to watch him hold out his arms to her. He's about half her weight, but she carries him around and they have a blast together.
This year my middle daughter made a cake for me for Mother's Day all by herself start to finish. My children chipped in with my husband to buy me a silver heart ring from Tiffany's. Time is flying by. I look forward to seeing what the next ten years will look like. I've learned to cherish the moments with my little ones instead of always looking forward to the next step. They grow up so fast, and I want to hold on to these precious times of hugs, kisses, cuddles, silly laughs and the ease of kissing hurts better. I know the aches my children will face as they grow up won't be so easily comforted with just a kiss from Mommy.
And in case you need any more convincing at how fast time goes by here are two pictures only three years apart. The first picture is Mother's Day 2011 and the second is this Mother's Day.

How has your life changed in the last ten years (or three)?

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Time to do the Dishes

Breakfast is over so it's time to clean the kitchen. This has been a fun week, and I hope you have discovered some new menus for your breakfasts.

I didn't talk about meats - bacon, sausage, etc. - or drinks. Everyone has their own preferences for these. For that matter, I didn't really get into fruits, yogurt, applesauce, etc., but those are all quick breakfast options.

The winner of the giveaway is Georgel La More. Congratulations! You don't need to send me your contact information - I think I have it. ☺

I had lots of fun with the poll. The "ideal" breakfast from our poll is scrambled eggs, pancakes or waffles and tea. Sounds good to me. I may just have to make some pancakes tomorrow. ☺

What was your favourite part of this week?

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Saturday, 10 May 2014

Breakfast Time - Eggs

We're down to the end of our week about "Breakfast Time". I've enjoyed doing this series. My family has enjoyed having some variety in their breakfasts so I could take pictures of different breakfasts.
So now we come to eggs. Eggs are a perfect breakfast food. They can be fast to prepare and are full of nutrients. As well, there are multiple ways to prepare them so everyone is sure to enjoy them in some form. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, supper or a snack. Our family eats between twelve and fifteen dozen eggs every week!
When I was a little girl I didn't much like eggs. Scrambled eggs especially made me feel nauseous. However, when my husband first made scrambled eggs for me I found a new favourite food. I don't know how, but my husband makes delicious scrambled eggs. Well, I kind of know how because now I can make scrambled eggs that I enjoy. BUT when my husband makes them they are about ten times better. ☺
So how can you make eggs?
  • fried
  • boiled
  • baked in muffin cups with add-ins
  • scrambled
  • poached (Eggs poached in tomato sauce with toast or a bagel to dip is really good.)
  • pickled.
  • as a quiche
You can add meat, cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms, really any veggie you like to them. They go nicely on toast, an English muffin, a bagel, with a biscuit, in a tortilla. You can add them to sandwiches and salads.

Check out my "Food - Breakfast" board on Pinterest for recipes and ideas including how to freeze eggs.

What is your favourite way to eat eggs?

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Friday, 9 May 2014

Breakfast Time - Cold Cereal

Aww - cold cereal - one of the greats in convenience foods. The only problems are a) they're expensive if you are buying for a family of ten and b) they're not known for their nutritional value. Still though, sometimes you really want/need the convenience of cold cereal. Happily I've learned to make several different kinds.
The first kind I've made for years. I found the recipe years ago on a blog about a mom with fifteen children. When I wrote down  the recipe I didn't write down the name of the blog or any other identifying notes. I have not been able to find the blog again. It is called "Breakfast Bars", but we don't really eat them as bars as you'll see. 
Breakfast Bars
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar (The original recipe called for 3 cups but we found that too sweet)
5 eggs
2 cups flour
2 cups raw wheat germ
1 1/2 cups coconut
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups nuts
2 cups raisins

Cream together the butter and sugar and then add the eggs. Mix the rest of the ingredients except the raisins and add to the butter, sugar and eggs.
Divide between two greased 9 x 13" pans. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.
When it comes out scoop into a large bowl and break into small pieces. Add the raisins and mix. Transfer to the container you will store it in.
Serve with milk or over yogurt or with applesauce.
It can be frozen and even eaten straight from the freezer as we have discovered.
just out of the oven

using a spatula to crumble it - and yes, I did leave it in just a little too long

all crumbled

using a Tupperware cake holder to store it

I've also learned to make a homemade version of "Grape Nuts". I have to say that as a child I did not like Grape Nuts. However, this homemade version is tasty. It is also very filling. I find that a little goes a long way. I found the recipe here. It's simple to make, and as my daughter says fills the need for something crunchy if you're craving something like "Corn Flakes".
A couple of months ago I came across this recipe for homemade "Cocoa Puffs". Can you see where this is going? Chocolate? I pinned it. I didn't make it right away though because one of the ingredients is chocolate extract. I have visited a few stores looking for this. Everyone has every other flavour known to man BUT chocolate. It is available on Amazon so I guess I'll be ordering it. In the meantime I decided to try the recipe. It is great. I think the extract would give it just that little extra chocolatiness to put it over the edge, but still it was good even without the extract. It's simple to make. The only problem is that I will have to double or triple the recipe for our family. We all had a small bowl and everyone enjoyed it. The baby loved eating it dry. It was great finger food.
I conducted a little survey and here are the results - Breakfast Bars and Cocoa Puffs tied for first place. I was a little surprised because I thought the Cocoa Puffs would be the hands-down winner, but that could just be me and my love affair with all things chocolate.
There is one breakfast cereal that we buy on a semi-regular basis from the store. I had never heard of it until I married my British husband - Weetabix. It only has four ingredients (all pronounceable ☺)plus some vitamins and iron. It's tasty and filling. All of our children enjoy it from the time they are babies.
What is your favourite cold cereal? I grew up on "Cap'n Crunch" and would still eat it faithfully if I wasn't trying to eat healthy. ~sigh~ Every two to three years my husband buys a box for me just for nostalgia.
Have you entered the giveaway?

To see all the posts in this series go here.

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Breakfast Time - Pancakes

Next to oatmeal I think pancakes are my favourite breakfast. In fact, when my husband takes me out for breakfast I always order pancakes. Some times I think, "Today I will get something different." But when the waitress comes I always end up getting the pancakes. What can I say? I love pancakes - buttered and dripping in syrup.
As we had more children and they got older and started eating more I started doubling and then tripling a pancake recipe. I finally developed the recipe I'm sharing today. It makes 30-36 pancakes. I usually use the time while the pancakes are on the griddle to fold laundry, wash dishes, nurse a baby, do a French braid. It takes about an hour from the time I start mixing the recipe until I have it on the table. We usually have some form of eggs to go along with it. I like a tea, but the rest of my family love their coffee (well, the little ones love coffee, but they're not allowed to have it yet ☺).
I usually stack the pancakes on a cookie sheet as I make them and then put them in a warm oven. Sometimes I transfer them to a fancy serving platter. Most times I just bring them to the table on the cookie sheet. They're generally gone in about fifteen minutes. If there are any left, the children eat them cold with peanut butter for a snack later in the day. (I say later. This does not mean what you think it does. It can actually be only a half an hour since we finished breakfast.) Leftover pancakes do not usually make it to lunch time.

One of my sisters likes peanut butter and syrup on her pancakes. Pancakes are easy to do add-ons. You can add banana slices or blueberries or chocolate chips. I've made different kinds of syrup. They are just so easy to personalize which is one thing that I think makes them fun.
6 eggs
3 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup applesauce or oil
2 cups water
2 cups yogurt (or substitute 4 cups buttermilk for the water and yogurt)
1-2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
7 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Whisk the eggs and then add the honey, applesauce, water and yogurt. Mix the dry ingredients and add them to the wet ingredients. Mix well. Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake on a medium-high griddle. When bubbles break on the surface and the bottom is golden brown, flip. Cook for another couple of minutes. Serve warm with butter and syrup.

ready to be flipped
ready to go into the oven to stay warm
soon to be an empty plate

Here is some more about pancakes from another Laura Ingalls Wilder book - The Long Winter.
"Almanzo and Royal were eating supper. Almanzo had stacked the pancakes with brown sugar and he had made plenty of them. Royal had eaten halfway down his stack, Almanzo was nearing the bottom of his, and one tall stack of two dozen pancakes, dripping melted brown sugar, was standing untouched when Pa knocked at the door. Royal opened it.

"'Come in, Mr. Ingalls! Sit up and have some pancakes with us!' Royal invited him...

"After some talk about it, Almanzo charged a quarter and Pa paid it. Then he did sit down, as they urged him, and lifting the blanket cake on the untouched pile, he slipped from under it a section of the stack of hot, syrupy pancakes. Royal forked a brown slice of ham from the frying pan onto Pa's plate and Almanzo filled his coffee cup.

"'You boys certainly live in the lap of luxury,' Pa remarked. The pancakes were no ordinary pancakes. Almanzo followed his mother's pancake rule and the cakes were light as foam, soaked through with melted brown sugar. The ham was sugar-cured and hickorysmoked, from the Wilder farm in Minnesota. 'I don't know when I've eaten a tastier meal,' said Pa."

How do you like your pancakes?

Have you entered the giveaway?

To see all the posts in this series go here

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Thursday, 8 May 2014

French Toast

French toast is something I don't often make which is kind of funny because I loved this as a child and teenager. I still like French toast, but we eat bread pretty much every day for lunch so I don't much feel like having it at breakfast too.
I've put together a list of links for various French toast recipes. Hopefully there will be something that will tickle your fancy.

Apple and Brie Stuffed French Toast - This looks like a little bit of extra work, but, oh, does it look good. I think I just may have to try this one day.
Baked French Toast Muffins - This one looks good too and can be made the night before - just get up in the morning and pop them in the oven - no mess, no clean-up.
Baked French Toast Muffins on
Baked Strawberry French Toast - Another one to get ready the night before.
strawberry baked french toast recipe
Pumpkin French Toast - I'm not crazy about pumpkin, but I know some people love it so maybe this will excite you.
Pumpkin French Toast |
French Toast Waffles - An interesting idea. Use you waffle iron to cook your French toast.
French Toast Kabobs - A fun idea that the children would love.
Banana Bread French Toast - I'm not sure I could get banana bread to last long enough around here to make French toast with it, but it sounds yummy.
banana bread french toast
Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast Casserole - This looks so decadent and wonderful, and I love the syrup recipe.
Overnight Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast Casserole from
Nutella French Toast Rolls - Another fun one for the children - Who am I kidding? If it has Nutella, I'll eat it.
Peach French Toast - I love peaches. These sandwiches would be so good.
Peach French Toast Recipe
Now it's your turn. Do you have a favourite way of preparing French Toast?

Have you entered the giveaway?

To see all the posts in this series go here.

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